Saturday 25th October 2014,
Travis Holley's

Day 301 of 365: Another Kind Of Low-Bar

Yesterday we hit up some trap bar deadlifts, cleans and strict presses, among other badassery that went down during the warmup.

The focus of today’s post is to share with you the very versatile trap bar.  If y’all haven’t seen a trap bar yet, or don’t know what it is, you’ll see the apparatus in the video below so just hang in there for me.

Why is the trap bar so versatile?  Well, it has two handles at different heights that completely change the stimulus and the muscle activation.  In all of the prior TB videos you’ve seen us pulling from the higher handles, which tends to allow for more weight to be moved due to several reasons:
1. Due to the handles being higher, the lifter doesn’t have to move the load as far….makes sense, right?
2. With the lifter positioning him/herself on the high handles, the torso is more upright from the start, which tends to put lifters in a better, more advantageous pulling position.
3. In addition to starting in a better, stronger position, the athlete recruits more quad in to the lift.  And, as you know from previous posts, most of us are quad dominate.

So, with the reasons above, you can see why it would be extremely important to switch it to the low-bar pulling position, right?  If the majority of us are quad dominate, why would we neglect the variation that forces us to use more posterior chain?  Not to mention, the low-bar set-up requires the lifter to move the weight faster, as there is a longer range of motion to move that load.

The true beauty in the Trap Bar is its simplicity.  As you’ll see in the video, you simply step inside the cage, set your back tight, then pull.  It’s a very safe and effective way to introduce new lifters to the deadlift so that they can build confidence and know-how.  It’s also a fantastic way to keep athletes that are unable to squat properly(for any number of reasons) strong!  It’s truly a perfect blend between a squat and a deadlift when pulling from the high-bar.

So, there it is.  Pretty impressive peice of equipment, right?  If you’re still a little unsure about it, check out this video.  I think watching some of Red Black’s finest pull using the TB will do the trick.

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About The Author

Travis Holley is a CrossFit Level II Coach, has a B.S. in Sport and Exercise Science from the University of Northern Colorado, and has 3 years of experience coaching a wide variety of individuals ranging from young athletes to grandparents, and everyone in between.