The Trap Bar is one of the most versatile pieces of equipment you can own. The 8 exercises featured in this article are the ones that should be tried first, or at least implemented into your current routine.
There are a few things that every gym rat should know about the trap bar. It is a highly underutilized piece of equipment, but it’s one of the best ways to build up your entire upper body. Plus, it is safer than most other pieces of fitness equipment.
We will be talking about the trap bar exercises today. These are the most effective types of exercises to do with a trap bar. Even if you are not interested in working out your upper body, these exercises are definitely worth trying.
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What is a Trap Bar?
Trap bars are hydraulic exercise machines that are used in the training of weightlifters. They are just like regular barbells, except that they have traps in between the middle and upper sections of the bar. This design is very useful because it allows you to perform exercises like deadlifting.
Without traps, you won’t be able to pull heavy weights with your shoulders in a sagittal plane position, which is how it should be when you deadlift. Instead, your shoulder blades will end up in a vertical position. This is what will make your shoulders more prone to injuries. The trap bar is also a great way to add free weight exercises to your routine. You can use it not just for deadlifting, but also for squats and hip thrusts.
Benefits of the Trap Bar Exercises
A trap bar is an excellent tool for almost any exercise that involves pulling or hip extension. They’re a versatile piece of equipment that can be used for a variety of different exercises, with benefits including:
- Improve joint health: The Trap Bar exercises can be a positive tool to harness the body’s natural ability to improve joint health.
- Improve muscle explosiveness: The Trap Bar allows your body to explosively push off the ground for an enhanced concentric contraction and/or to generate greater force production.
- Maximize intensity: Trap Bar exercises can allow you to train at the full range of motion with controlled momentum and not have the joints bear the brunt of your mistakes.
- Maximize range of motion: In many cases, conventional weightlifting movements restrict the full range of motion to protect joints from injury as a result of momentum, uncontrolled movement, or improper technique.
- Work out different muscle groups at one time: The Trap Bar allows you to train muscles in different stages of development, in contrast to barbell loading in which you are training all muscles at once. This allows your muscles to work in concert for optimal gains.
- Help you train for any sport: The Trap Bar can help athletes and non-athletes alike train for any sport by improving their performance through the development of high TUT (time under tension) exercises.
Trap Bar exercises are great for developing power, strength, and explosiveness. These exercises can provide a great workout for you with less joint strain and increase your strength dramatically.
8 Awesome Trap Bar Exercises
In this fitness guide, we will be discussing the eight most effective trap bar exercises that you should be working on in your home gym. When it comes to maximizing your progress in a sport like powerlifting, it’s more important than ever that you train exclusively with a trap bar. These exercises work some of the hardest muscle groups and can help improve your squat form beyond anything else.
Trap Bar Squat
The trap bar squat is a great exercise for strengthening your quadriceps and hip strength through heavy loading. It’s also a great way to develop power and explosiveness with your legs.
Start with your feet shoulder-width apart and the bar across your upper back (i.e., over the traps). Keep your elbows pointing down, and maintain a tight core throughout the movement. Get deep into the squat, then pause briefly at the bottom before standing back up.
Trap Bar Deadlift
The deadlift is an advanced exercise, but the trap bar deadlift makes it easier for beginners to perform. It’s a great way to improve your abdominal muscle strength and core stability through heavy loading.
Set the trap bar in a low squat position with your feet hip-width apart and toes pointed slightly outward. Your non-working arm should be wider than your hip. With your core tight and your hips high, bend forward from the hips, reach down and grasp the handles along the flat of your shoulders. Stand up straight. Maintain a tight core and keep your back flat. Lift the bar up to your waist. Lower the bar out of the rack, keeping your hips high and knees slightly bent, until it touches the floor or until you feel a stretch in your hamstrings. Your hips should stay at the same height throughout this movement.
Trap Bar Bent-Over Row
The trap bar bent-over row is a great way to build your upper back and strengthen the muscles in your posterior chain. It is also a great exercise for helping to improve basic pulling strength.
Stand in the middle of the bar. Reach down and grasp the handles with an overhand grip. Engage your hamstrings and glutes, then bend at the hips to lower your body as far as you can while maintaining a flat back. Your working hand should be closer to your body. Lift the weight toward your chest while keeping it close and driving with your elbows and shoulders (not with any of your arm muscles). Keep moving forward and bring the bar up toward the top of your chest.
Standing Trap Bar Overhead Press
The overhead press is an excellent upper-body movement for developing total-body strength, but the trap bar is the perfect tool for building maximum strength in the shoulders, arms, and core.
Stand on the end of the bar with your feet shoulder-width apart, then grasp the bar at shoulder width or slightly wider. Keep your arms straight, and press the bar overhead. Lower the bar back to touch your shoulders, then repeat. Make sure to keep your back straight and don’t lean into the bar.
Trap Bar Good Morning
The good-morning is a classic exercise to strengthen the posterior chain, leading with your hips rather than your shoulders. With proper technique, it can also be highly effective in developing hip health and mobility.
Engage your hamstrings and glutes, then bend at the hips to lower your body as far as you can, remembering to keep your hips up at all times. Don’t round or hyperextend at the low back. You should feel slight tension on that bottom part of the spine (just above the floor). Once you get back up to standing, squeeze your glutes and hamstrings hard to return the weight to the starting position.
Trap Bar Jump Shrug
The jump shrug elicits great power from the traps and posterior chain. It’s a high-intensity exercise that requires a lot of concentric strength, which can be particularly hard if you use a heavy load.
Stand upright with a trap bar on your shoulders. The handles should be facing forward. Squat down until your upper thighs are parallel to the floor. Pause, and explode up, shrug your shoulders as high as possible, and land softly in the starting position.
Trap Bar Floor Press
The trap bar floor press also called a trap bar shrug, is a great exercise to improve grip and shoulder flexibility. It also helps warm up your shoulders and can be used to practice form by yourself or with a coach.
Lie on the floor with your feet flat and your arms extended overhead. The handles of the machine should be directly under your shoulders. Lift the bar off the rack so that it’s resting at or above your shoulders. Hold the bar with a supinated grip. Lower the bar until your upper arms are parallel to the floor. Lift the bar back up, returning to step 2.
Trap Bar Farmers Walk
The trap bar farmers walk is a simple but effective exercise that resembles the way farmers walk around the fields. You’ll use this same basic approach, just with a little more weight.
Stand on the traps of your hips. Hold the bar with your hands shoulder-width apart and your arms straight, palms facing you. Walk forward by first leaning forward from your hips. Your weight will be on the balls of your feet, ankles, and heels as you take small steps forward with each leg move. Think about keeping your chest up, shoulders down, and your head up as you walk. If the weight is too much, do an alternating forward or backward walk.
Do these exercises every day will help improve the strength of your core, arms, and upper back. The trap bar can also be used to strengthen back muscles through a variety of good exercises. If you have ever been looking for a well-rounded way to build muscle and get in shape, a trap bar is a great investment.
Trap Bar Training Tips
If you don’t have any prior experience with this machine, here are some tips on how to get started without the risk of injury or discouragement.
- While the trap bar itself is shaped like a traditional barbell, you need to approach it differently when performing exercises. The best way to do so is to keep your back straight and still throughout all movements.
- It’s important not to over-speed the movements because the unstable nature of the bar can lead to accidents or even injury. The trap bar can also injure someone if it is overloaded with too much weight.
- Lastly, the safety straps featuring at the end of each side should be used while performing any movements, especially while using the exercise version of the trap bar. If you’re not using them, it may lead to injury or poor performance.
Trap bar training is the preferred choice of bodybuilders due to its unique benefits that can’t be found in any other type of training. It enables users to develop an impressive physique by targeting all muscle groups, adding diversity and intensity into their workouts, and boosting physical performance.
Despite its popularity, trap bar training does come with a downside: it’s difficult to master on your own. Since there are no other items that are similar to the trap bar, you can’t get enough practice except for using it in your workouts.
Why should I use a trap bar?
Trap Bar exercises are a great way to strengthen your entire body and build muscle quickly. They also give a great full-body workout, which is perfect for those who don’t have much time to work out.
Are trap bars made for big guys?
Trap bars are perfect for any sized person because no matter how big or small you are, they will help you get more explosive by increasing your strength and power.
Are trap bars safe?
Absolutely. Trap Bars are made with quality construction and safety is always of utmost concern with these heavy-duty machines.
How much weight should I use?
It’s all about personal preference. If you’re just getting started, it’s best to start light and focus on the form until you’re ready to increase your poundage.
How much space do I need?
You can use a trap bar in your home or in the gym, as long as you have enough space to perform the exercises.
How often should I do trap bar exercises?
Ideally, you should do these exercises 2-3 times per week for maximum gains in strength and power.