The trapbar has been around since the 80’s. Powerlifter Al Gerard invented it to reduce stress on his back. Researchers at California State University compared the barbell deadlift to the trapbar deadlift. For more info see: The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research 30(5):1183-1188 · May 2016

The study results suggest that the barbells led to different patterns of muscle activation, and that the hexagonal barbell maybe more effective at developing maximal force, power, and velocity. 

Using a trapbar the load is shifted from the low back to the quads and hamstrings, which may explain why the trapbar deadlift produces increased peak forces. With the load closer to your center of gravity, your body is mechanically better positioned to perform the lift and you have less strain on the low back

Many argue that conventional deadlifts should be trained instead of trap bar deadlifts because a trap bar deadlift isn’t a true “hinge” movement – but more like a hinge/squat hybrid.
So if you already to squats, why would you not focus on the deadlift and work a true hinge for the posterior chain? 
1. Because the trapbar is safer on your back
2. Because the trapbar is more of a hinge than a squat and works the posterior chain
3. Because you need variety in your workouts
4. If you do not have sufficient mobility to lift a bar from the ground, you might be able to pick up the trap bar

More research:
Lockie et al. The 1 Repetition Maximum Mechanics of a High-Handle Hexagonal Bar Deadlift Compared With a Conventional Deadlift. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research: January 2018 – Volume 32 – Issue 1 – p 150–161

Lake et al. Effect of a Hexagonal Barbell on the Mechanical Demand of Deadlift Performance. Sports 2017, 5, 82.


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