Clients Love Trap Bar Deadlift

I love deadlifting. It is one of the best ways for experienced lifters to build strength along the entire posterior chain.


However, there are some drawbacks to it, especially for novice lifters -- of which, most of my clients fall in this category. I was a novice lifter when I blew my back out in High School doing deadlift.


That's why I recently bought a trap bar deadlift.


Why is the trap bar easier for clients? Since the bar doesn't hit shins or knees, the angle of the back is not as steep and therefore there is less horizontal pressure on the back during the lift.


Here's a compilation video of my clients kicking ass on the trap bar.


Why is the trap bar easier for clients? Since the bar doesn't hit shins or knees, the angle of the back is not as steep and therefore there is less horizontal pressure on the back during the lift. (You can read more at bottom of why it is hard)


This does mean there is a eency, teency, little bit less posterior chain used? Yes. Will this ruin their gains? No.


Are there other ways to hit the posterior chain without putting the novice lifter in a somewhat less exposed position than traditional deadlift? Yes -- Romanian Deadlifts, Lunges, Bulgarian Split Squats, Step-Ups, just to name a few!


Do personal training clients need to know how to safely pick things up off the ground and tax their bodies with a lot of weight in order to get adaptation in the muscles, nervous system, and increase bone density of their femurs, hips, shoulders, and back? YES. Does it have to be straight bar deadlift? NO.


A good trainer would recognize this and not force clients in to a position they're not comfortable with or ready for just because the deadlift is "the grandfather of all lifts".


If you'd like to learn more about why straight bar deadlift is harder? You can read more below...


Why Traditional Deadlift is Hard for Novice Lifters

With traditional straight bar deadlift, the bar goes right in front of the shins and knees on the way up and down. This can create a problem in the set up or in the motion itself.


In this video of my client Chetan, you can see his knees start in front of the bar and his hips have to rise to get the bar past his knees. He worked for several months building up his back strength so he could get to the point of doing traditional deadlift. It can be hard to jump into.


In the set up, sometimes (most times) people's back's are so deconditioned, they can't hold a neutral spine -- meaning their lumbar spine rounds with their tailbone and the "fulcrum point" of the lift moves to the spine, instead of the hips.


A way people work around this is to drop their hips way down to flatten the back, but then that creates two problems:

1) that position makes the lift a more quad dominant lift (it's supposed to hit the hamstrings);

2) that position puts the knees in the way of the bar path up resulting in scraped knees or the butt flying up in the air to avoid knees getting hit. The butt flying up in the air usually means the spine is taking the load, not the hamstrings and glutes.


For most new lifters, this bar path is difficult for them to get into because of a lack of mobility, lack of strength, lack of body awareness, or a combination of all three.


Here is a video of me deadlifting. You can see my butt rises before the bar moves. That move puts increased pressure on the back (won't cause serious injury, but still not necessarily needed).



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