I’m a fan of the Trap Bar Deadlift. The Trap Bar is a hexagonal bar that surrounds your legs as you stand, with the handles on the side and set front-to-back. This allows for a different position for your arms and hands. If you have any kind of shoulder, elbow or wrist issues this might be the answer.
I’ve included a video to help show you how I do it. Note that my arms and legs are very long in proportion to my torso. That changes my alignment a bit, so that I’m starting with a more forward position with less bend in the legs. I’m also using the upper handle on the Trap Bar Deadlift so it might be viewed as a type of “pulling from pins” exercise. I train hard with the Romanian Deadlift (RDL) so my lower back can tolerate it better.
One thing to pay attention to is that I duck down a bit to relax and stretch my tendons and joints, then put tension back on them as I rise up and prepare for the lift. I’m doing sets of two singles. I do a heavy pull from the floor and set it down. Then I rest up for about 3-5 seconds and do another pull from the floor. Be careful in doing any type of lift, but especially the Trap Bar Deadlift, to keep that arch in your lower back. If you hunch it into a reverse arch you could risk some damage to your spine or pelvis.
A Trap Bar Deadlift is fine if you’re not training to compete as a Power Lifter. In my opinion it’s valid as a way to lift heavy weight and improve strength and fitness. I’m also doing the negative, or eccentric motion. That’s setting the bar down under control for most of the way down. Many Power Lifting training articles will recommend against it, since it can increase muscle soreness for some people as well as fatigue that might result in a shorter duration workout.
Since I’m not training for maximum load or, again, as a Power Lifter, I’m not sure if it’s so relevant. I also like to train for the purpose of fat loss, and heavy Trap Bar Deadlift training to fatigue, in my opinion, can help with that goal.
Trap Bar Deadlift Video Demonstration:
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