Look, I’ll just come out and say it:
Unless you’re a powerlifter, there is no reason to pull deadlifts with a straight bar over the trap bar
I love deadlifting and I’ve admittedly been a “barbell snob” in the past when it comes to deadlifts. However, when it comes down to it, every exercise is simply a means to an end. What that “end” is is entirely up to you and your goals. So if your goals have absolutely nothing to do with locking out a deadlift while looking for 3 white lights, why are you doing them? Here are 5 reasons you should switch to the trap bar to do your deadlifts.
You just want to be strong
Other than back squats, there aren’t really any exercises that build as much full body strength as deadlifts. So if you’re looking to build strength, you clearly want them in your program. However, your body doesn’t know the difference between a 300lb deadlift versus a 400lb trap bar deadlift. Heavy is heavy and as long as you can progressively overload it over time, you’re going to get stronger and get a training effect.
You can lift more often
You literally stand inside of a trap bar when you deadlift. This means there is much less stress on the lower back and spine compared to a normal deadlift. Stress on the spine and low back are, of course, not a bad thing. However, that stress is very fatiguing even when done with pristine form. The lower amount of stress that comes from trap bar deadlifting means you can lift with more volume, lift with more intensity, lift more frequently, or some combination thereof. In short, you can lift more weight more often, meaning you can train harder compared to the straight bar.
You can personalize the movement
While most people can get into a good position when it comes to a straight bar deadlift, some people can’t. Likewise, many people have weird issues due to a lifetime of accumulated injuries and compensations. This is where the versatility of the trap bar really shines; some people will adopt a much more “hinge’ like posture when they’re in the trap bar, whereas other people will look much more “squatty.” Really, it doesn’t matter that much either way; you’re still picking up heavy ass weight off of the floor regardless and doing so in the manner that is best for you. In fact, some people can’t squat for shit so they’d be better off adopting a more squat like trap bar deadlift to still get a similar training effect without forcing themselves to move in a way that their body doesn’t want to go.
As you can see, the difference is minimal but can make the world of a difference depending on your body
It’s great for getting huge or getting shredded
5×10 deadlifts? Kill me now. 5×10 trap bar? Yea, I’m good to go. Deadlifting a high amount of volume will send your heart rate soaring, flood your system with HGH and testosterone, and will lead your body to a perfect state of getting huge or burning a ton of fat, assuming you’re eating to support your goal. Again, since you’re inside of the bar, you’re less likely to put yourself in a compromised position and you’ll still feel (relatively) normal the next day despite the higher volume
You can still pull from the floor
The best thing about the trap bar is you can flip it over and pull from the low handles if people on the internet start giving you shit. In fact, one way to program for trap bar deadlifts is have one day of relatively lighter pulls from the floor and have another day of heavier pulls done with the higher handles. Or do heavy triples with the low handles and sets of 8 with the high handles. Or do two days of pulling with the high handles, people on the internet be damned!
The trap bar really is a versatile tool and there is virtually no reason to eschew it in your training. At the end of the day, you can still get brutally strong and jack up your heart rate all while pulling from a better position for your body.