Trap bar ()Trap bar () © Copyright

Make the most of the Trap bar

The trap bar is probably the keen gym-goer’s worst kept secret. It’s helped revolutionise large lifts such as the deadlift, making the movement safer while improving overall form. The more natural grip the trap bar encourages takes strain off the shoulders, lower back and neck, meaning you can lift more, and lift better.

Deadlifts and shrugs aside, though, most people will use it for little else. But more can be done with the trap bar than you’d think, and it can make moves safer, maximising your lift’s potential. Here are three alternative moves… 

Farmer's walk trap bar diagram ()


// Glutes, hamstrings & abdominals //

Farmer's walk

Lift a moderately heavy weight until your body is fully extended. Standing upright, slowly shuffle 10m forward. Repeat four times, keeping back, neck and head aligned.

Overhead press with trap bar diagram ()


// Deltoids, pectorals & traps //

Overhead press

Rack a moderately light weight in a squat rack at shoulder height. Step inside, take hold of the bar and press it above the head until your arms are fully extended.

Romanian deadlift diagram Trap bar  ()


// Hamstrings, glutes & quads //

Romanian deadlift

Execute a standard deadlift. Lower the bar slowly, but keep your legs and back straight, allowing the hamstrings to take the tension. Raise back up when you feel the strain.

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Photo: Matt Beedle

Drawings: Nick Hardcastle