Straight Bar vs. Hex Bar Deadlift

by - 2:00 PM

Not many pieces of equipment in the gym draw as many confused looks from new clients as the hex bar (otherwise known as trap bar).  Despite its awkward appearance, the hex bar allows for many benefits over the straight bar for the beginner, novice, or expert lifter.

  • Less stress on the spine - the trap bar allows the moment arm of the weight to be closer to the body causing less torque on the lower back
  • Less stress on the wrists - I sprained both my wrists this summer playing church softball and the hex bar allows me to keep my wrist in a more neutral and pain free position
  • More power - partly because you don't have to spend as much time decelerating at the top of the movement
  • Easier for beginners to perform without weeks of perfecting technique - Getting into a good straight bar deadlift position takes lots of coaching and mobility work
  • More knee extensor involvement - with the moment arm shifted posterior, there is a greater knee extensor torque making this a great all around hip and knee dominant exercise
  • Less torque on hip - with moving the moment arm closer to the body (taking stress off the spine), the hips aren't loaded near as much as in the straight bar deadlift, making it a more quad dominant lift.
The hex bar deadlift can be much more user friendly than the traditional straight bar deadlift. However, if you have great technique and plenty of mobility, the straight bar deadlift is still one of the best way to really load your posterior chain.
Move Well, Move Often!
- Jeff
Swinton, PA, Stewart, A, Agouris, I, Keogh, JWL, and Lloyd, R. A biomechanical analysis of straight and hexagonal barbell deadlifts using submaximal loads. J Strength Cond Res 25(7): 2000-2009, 2011

Vogel, A. (n.d.). T Nation | Strength Training, Bodybuilding & Online Supplement Store . T NATION | The Trap Bar Deadlift. Retrieved August 2, 2014, from

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