Move of the Week: Trap-bar Deadlift, coming right at you!
THE MOVE: Trap-bar Deadlift
MOVEMENT PATTERN AND MUSCLES WORKED: Bend pattern: posterior chain (hamstrings, glutes, upper back).
WHY DO IT: Having done variations of the squat and bench press for out first two installments of Move of the Week, I figured today would be a good time to introduce one of the deadlift variations that we like to use here at Halevy Life: the trap-bar deadlift.
The deadlift and their many variations are full-body exercises that train one of the most basic and essential human movements: bending. Learning to bend properly can make tasks in our daily lives easier, such as carrying a week’s worth of groceries home, or even bending to pick up our kids. Too often though, people like to bend at their lower back to do such tasks, when they should instead be using their more powerful glutes, hamstrings and upper back muscles to do so.
This is one of many reasons why deadlifts are important. We like the trap-bar because the higher handles allow those with restricted range of motion to maintain neutral spine throughout the lift, and because the design of the trap-bar distributes the weight centrally over the body. Unlike a barbell deadlift, the weight is not in front of the body. Ultimately, this makes the trap-bar deadlift a safe and friendly movement even for beginner lifters.
HOW TO DO IT: We primarily use deadlifts to build strength, so I recommend 3-4 sets of 4-6 reps for the trap-bar deadlift. Those who have mastered form and are already strong will probably benefit from higher intensity and using heavier weight, and should stick to 4 reps, while a beginner trainee who is still training the pattern and building strength would benefit from bumping up to 6 reps.
Start by stepping into the trap-bar and setting up in the center of the bar. Take a neutral stance with your feet–stack your hip sockets over you knees, and your knees over your feet. Sit back into a hip hinge by pushing your butt back and keeping your shins as straight as possible. You should feel your hamstrings and glutes turn on, and your back should be straight. Grab the handles on the bar, and use the weight of the bar to get tight and sit back into the hip hinge even more. Now, stand up by pushing away from the floor with your feet and finish the rep by squeezing your glutes to achieve full hip extension. Finally, lower the bar to the ground while maintaining neutral spine, and reset for the following reps.
If you’re looking for a friendly way to work on bending properly, the trap-bar deadlift might be key. Start using it, and let us know what you think on Twitter or Instagram @halevylife !
by Jeremy Lau
Jeremy Lau is a Staff Coach at Halevy Life.
Jeremy graduated cum laude from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute with a BSc. in Biomedical Engineering and is currently pursuing his M.Ed. in Exercise Physiology at Columbia University. In addition to his academic accolades, Jeremy is a Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist (CSCS).
Prior to joining the team at Halevy Life, Jeremy completed a coaching internship at Cressey Sports Performance, where he coached both amateur and professional athletes, among whom were many professional MLB baseball players.
As an athlete, Jeremy has played baseball competitively for most of his life.