A trap bar is another one of the better pieces of weight lifting equipment available.
Sometimes this bar is called a shrug bar. Exact same thing.
This is not a required piece of equipment, but it does allow you to do several compound exercises that are great muscle builders.
As an example…
I use this weight bar for stiff legged deadlifts because I feel my hamstrings so much better with this exercise than other versions of the stiff legged deadlift.
Most people know this bar as only a barbell that you can do shrugs with.
Many people call this a shrug bar and have no idea the variety of exercises you can do with this bar.
It's time to learn so you can take advantage of these awesome weightlifting exercises.
What is a Trap Bar? What Can You Use It For?
A trap bar is simply a weight bar in a hexagonal shape that you can stand inside with parallel handles at your sides.
I prefer to use this weight bar with the raised handles on the bottom side so the bar sits lower to the ground for better range of motion on deadlifts and stiff legged deadlifts.
Some of the trap/shrug bars you'll find won't have raised handles.
With the raised handles on the bottom side, you can get better depth on your exercises. You can also load the bar with smaller weights like 25's and 10's if you want an even larger range of motion at the bottom of the exercise.
Here's a picture of a bar with raised handles:
All you have to do is turn the bar over if your weight bar has raised handles. This will give you a bar without the offset handles and a greater range of motion on certain exercises.
The bar is designed for working your traps by doing shrugs with heavy weight.
This special bar puts your arms at your sides for shrugs instead of in front or behind you with a regular barbell.
I've found that you can do much more weight for shrugs with the handles at your sides instead of gripping a barbell from the front or rear. It gives you a slight strength advantage so you can really overload the trapezius muscle.
Many people will and should argue that you can simply use dumbbells at your sides to get the same effect.
There's something about using a shrug bar that allows you to use much heavier weight.
Sometimes it's tough to find large enough dumbbells for shrugs at your side. You'll have to find some HUGE dumbbells to equal the weight you can load onto this weight bar.
Weightlifting Exercises to Use with Your New Shrug Bar
One of the best exercises you can do with this bar is a deadlift. It's a mix between a barbell squat and a regular barbell deadlift from the floor.
It's a great exercise and comparable to the two best exercises out there: the squat and the traditional deadlift.
This exercise is called a trap bar deadlift. Many serious weight lifters abbreviate it as TBDL. I've been using that abbreviation now for years.
Many weight lifters choose a TBDL over a squat because the pressure is taken off the spine. Many people have trouble supporting weight that is sitting on their shoulders. The weight is held around hip height and is held in your hands and not on your upper back.
You just won't get the depth, though, that a squat will give you. I like the depth you can achieve with a squat because your quadriceps get a great weighted stretch at the bottom of each rep with squats.
For those people that have back problems and can't support heavy weight on their shoulders, I recommend either TBDL or hip belt squats.
Heavy weight does not have to be supported by your back and shoulders in both of these exercises.
In order to do deadlifts with this bar, you have to have the bar. This form of the deadlift gets your quads involved more than a regular barbell deadlift. You'll be able to feel the difference.
I also suggest that people with weaknesses in their legs use this exercise for their back to get some extra work for the legs.
Like I've already mentioned, you can also use this bar for stiff legged deadlifts and shrugs. You can also do romanian deadlfits. I'm sure there are other weight lifting exercises you can do, but I've never experimented with any others.
If you've got the extra money, I highly recommend a trap bar — I absolutely love mine and wouldn't trade it for too many other pieces of weight training equipment. I use it during almost every weight lifting cycle.
Here Are A Few Videos Of A Trap/Shrug Bar In Action:
Make sure to get your trap bar today. If you workout at a commercial gym, they might already have one. It's probably hanging in a corner somewhere with dust on it. It's time for you to get the dust off the bar and start using it.
It's worth the huge muscle and strength gains you'll get from using this unique weight lifting bar.