20 Exercises To Look and Move Like an Athlete

Build a better body fast with these exercises backed by modern research.

Trap Bar Deadlift

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Trap Bar Deadlift

There's a reason athletes like Rory McIlroy and Christian McCaffrey count the Trap Bar Deadlift as the most important exercise in their routine.

This monster of a movement allows you to safely move big weight and build serious lower-body and core strength.

"The Trap Bar Deadlift for us is our No. 1 bilateral exercise," says Mike Boyle, co-founder of Michael Boyle Strength and Conditioning in Woburn, Massachusetts, which is regularly named one of America's best gyms.

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There's a reason athletes like Rory McIlroy and Christian McCaffrey count the Trap Bar Deadlift as the most important exercise in their routine.

This monster of a movement allows you to safely move big weight and build serious lower-body and core strength.

"The Trap Bar Deadlift for us is our No. 1 bilateral exercise," says Mike Boyle, co-founder of Michael Boyle Strength and Conditioning in Woburn, Massachusetts, which is regularly named one of America's best gyms.

"It's brilliant. It's been around a long time, and much like a lot of things, I didn't get it in the beginning. And now, it's such a staple of what we do."

Research has found that when compared to Straight Bar Deadlifts, Trap Bar Deadlifts allow for faster bar speeds at identical loads and greater maximum loads, which makes sense given their superior mechanical advantage.

Arguments against deadlifting with a trap bar often center around the fact that the implement can decrease muscle activation in the hamstrings and place a greater demand on the quads. While this is true, it's not as significant as some may lead you to believe.

Additionally, the shear forces you can place on your spine via the Barbell Deadlift are rarely worth a little extra hamstring activation, and there are plenty of other movements you can use to strengthen your hamstrings (the Single-Leg RDL is one such movement).

How to Perform Trap Bar Deadlifts

  • Stand in the center of a trap bar with your feet hip-width apart.  Bend your hips and knees, reach down and grasp the handles of the trap bar.
  • From this position, sit your hips back so you feel tension in your hamstrings. Pull your shoulders down and back, stick your chest up and flatten your back. Tuck your chin and focus your eyes about 20 feet in front of you.
  • Take a deep breath in and tighten your core as if bracing for a punch.
  • Explosively stand up by straightening your hips and then your knees. Keep your back flat and core tight. Tighten your glutes at the top of the rep.
  • Lower the trap bar to the ground in control and set up for the next rep.

Photo Credit: Nike


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