Deadlifting is a great exercise to build powerful muscles in your legs and back, but it does pose some dangers for your body. That’s why the trap bar was invented as a way to let you lift with a greater degree of comfort and safety.
However, you don’t want to start off with just any bar when you’re using them for your lifting regiment. You want the best trap bar that will suit your needs and keep you safe.
With that in mind, we're also going to take a look at the things that make a trap bar worth buying.
Alright, let’s get down to it.
Comparison of our Top Picks
Iheartsynergee Trap Bar
XMark Trap Bar
Titan Olympic Trap Bar
Valor Fitness Trap Bar
CAP Trap Bar
Go Plus Olympic Bar
What is a Trap Bar?
Basically, a trap bar is a hexagonal-shaped frame bar that can fit a lifter that has solid bars on two sides. There are handles affixed to the same sides of the hexagonal shape as the bars that hold the weights. It can be difficult to visualize, but if you’ve spent more than fifteen minutes in any gym, the chances are that you have seen one before.
The trap bar was invented in the 1980s according to most stories at the behest of Al Gerard, a powerlifter that was worried about the toll that his sport was taking on his back. He basically reinvented the wheel by creating a bar where the weight wasn’t out in front of you.
Check out the video below for a comparison between a trap/ hex bar and the traditional barbell.
Benefits of Using a Hex Bar
Ideal for Beginners
Deadlifts are a great exercise for people looking to build muscle mass and complementary muscle groups for other workouts.
However, deadlifting comes with a risk, especially for people that are new to lifting. The hex bar helps you work muscle groups while focusing on learning proper form for the future.
Allows for the Most Powerful Movement
There are a quite a few things that these types of bars do better than a straight bar, and among them is activating your most powerful muscle groups. When using this type of bar, your body is forced to rely more on the lower body areas like the knee rather than the lower back.
Aside from avoiding injury, you get to activate more force from your body compared with the movements generated from using a straight bar.
Easier and Safer for the Spine
Lifting with a straight bar can make you put a lot of strain on your back that could end up doing more harm than good. Not only is it easier to get into the proper form, but it’s safer, too.
The knees-forward position allows you to put less pressure on your lumbar spine and avoid those painful knocks against your shins as your performing the lift. The bottom line is that it is not impossible to get hurt using a trap bar, but a little proper coaching combined with this bar greatly reduces the likelihood of injury compared to a straight bar.
How to Choose the Best Trap Bar for Deadlifts
Finding the best bar is a matter of paying attention to the right features of the bar that you’re going to use. We’re going to examine several sections such as the coating, type of weights and handles, and the knurling to show you what you need to look out for when getting a bar.
The first thing that you will want to look at is the coating. You don’t want to buy something that is going to rust or corrode in just a few years. Look for powder coating on top of good materials like steel so that you can count on the bar lasting for a while.
Types of Weights
In case you didn’t know, there are generally two different kinds of weights out there that will fit your hex bar. They are Olympic weights and standard weights. Both of these have different sized holes.
Obviously, you want to have a bar with the type of weights that fit that bar for safety and practical reasons. If you already have weights, check to see what type they are before you buy your bar so you don’t have to buy new ones.
Types of Handles (High vs. Low)
Your hex bar is going to either have high handles or low handles that you will grab onto while you’re performing your lift. The low handles are on the same level as the hexagonal shape of the bar itself. They are useful for maintaining a high range of motion in your exercise.
There are also high handles which are raise above the bar, usually about 8” or so. These are good for people that do not have a complete range of motion due to flexibility or back issues, just like old Al Gerard intended.
Type of Knurling
Alright, a lot of you might learn a new word right now: Knurling. The knurling is the grip that is rolled into the metal by a lathe when it’s being made. It usually looks like crosshatching or squares.
This can be really fine or coarse depending on the bar designer. It is absolutely crucial that you find a hex bar with the knurling that feels good for you. It doesn’t have to be good enough to use without gloves or chalk, but it should not slip easily from your grip or cause pain while grabbing.
Best Hex Bar for Deadlifts Reviews
The iHeartsynergee Trap Bar has pretty much everything that you want to see in a trap bar.
The first thing you’re going to notice about this bar is that it has the raised handles that are used to make sure you don’t strain your back while you’re lifting. That’s really important for people that are looking to modify their deadlifts or just get that powerful exercise without beating their shins up.
The entire bar is made from high quality steel, which is important because it resists rusting and will last a long while. You can get two different coatings on top of the steel. They are either chrome or black phosphate, either one is a good choice for your purposes here.
The knurling is designed in a diamond pattern and is known to be pretty aggressive in its design, so you may or may not want a pair of gloves depending on how it feels to you. The bottom line is that your hands should not slip off this bar while you’re lifting.
The bar itself weighs in at a mere 25kg so you can use this for beginners to show them the ropes without loading them down with weight. Yet, the bar’s 10” sleeves are more than capable of holding a lot of weight, so you can continue to pile on the weights as you need them.
Speaking of weights, this bar can load any Olympic grade weights, meaning that the 2” plates are the ones you need to use here.
Now, the final thing that you’re going to want to consider for the iHeartsynergee bar is the price point. This bar is tends to be in the middle of the spectrum, which is right where you want to buy from honestly. You don’t want something that is hollow, plated in steel and comes warped.
This bar comes from a well-known company and provides the user with all sorts of great features that will make it one of the best bars you’ve ever bought.
At first glance, you might laugh at the design on the X-Mark Olympic Bar because it looks like it is over-designed. However, once you get to know the ins and outs of the bar, you’ll enjoy its unusual look.
The X-Mark is a bar that was designed with ergonomics in mind and sought to overcome some common problems that lifters faced. That’s why you can see the rubber feet on the bar so that it doesn’t slam into your floor.
Better still, this bar comes with three different grips on a rotating platform that lets you lock in grips that are roughly 1 1/8", 1 1/2" and 1 3/4". That’s great for someone who is sharing the bar or is very particular about the size of their grips.
While these grips are raised, they aren’t as high as most other raised bars, but it’s still high enough to perform the function of lower stress on your spine. All three features knurling to aid your grip and it’s not particularly coarse. You might want to wear some gloves when you’re lifting with this bar.
There are some other interesting parts of this bar as well. The sleeves, 10” long and holding the standard Olympic size, are raised off the ground as well. This makes it easy to get the weight on and off the bar.
The steel construction of the bar ensures that it will last through some serious punishment without getting damaged, and the rubber feet can reduce falling damage to your floor.
All in all this is a pretty good bar, but the design might throw some people off. If you can look past that, then you will have a pretty good piece of equipment for a fair price.
If you’re looking for a pretty basic set up that has everything you need with no bells and whistles, then this is a pretty awesome option.
There are no crazy designs, brightly-coloured brand symbols, or anything else that makes this stand out. This simple, all-steel bar is designed to provide you with exactly what you need and not a lot more.
The first thing that’s important to know about his bar is that it uses the flip grip system. You can literally turn the bar over to get high or low grips. Speaking of grips, this bar is known for its knurling which is pretty fine but is clustered in such a way that your hands shouldn’t slip off the bar unless they’re really sweaty.
As the product name suggests, this bar is designed so that it can handle Olympic style weights with the 2” holes in them. The bar itself is 56” long and the sleeves are 9.75” long. This is interesting because they are slightly shorter than a lot of other models that feature 10” bars.
While it’s doubtful that the loss of a total .5” has an effect on the amount of weight that the bar can handle, the fact is that you are only going to load 500lbs onto this bar at a time.
This is lower than most other bars which tend to hold 700lbs or more. This is more likely due to the all-steel frame of the bar that just doesn’t have the kind of strength as more expensive bars.
All in all, this bar is truly designed for someone that isn’t investing a ton of money into equipment like a beginner. Its low price point and basic design will make a great start to a growing collection of weight.
The Valor Fitness Hex Bar looks almost nothing like a typical bar that you would see around a regular gym because it is a highly produced piece of equipment. Instead of featuring the long raised or lowered handles, this bar comes with three rotating handles that are designed to give you the perfect grip that you need.
The three grip options mean that men and women can both use this bar with ease. The knurling might not be anything to write home about, but it will stop your hands from slipping all around on the bars. This is designed so that you can assume a correct position that is easier on your back when you are doing your exercises.
Another cool feature about this bar is that it has raised weight sleeves. These will let you slip 45lb plates on and off without having to lift the bar yourself. Not only is it less stressful, but it is faster, too.
While it is on the ground, the bar will rest on rubber stoppers that make it less likely to sink grooves into your floor. You definitely don’t want to drop this bar though because the rubber can only do so much.
Despite the steel construction of this piece of equipment, it does not have the ability to hold more than 450lbs at a time. While that is plenty for some people, it might not be enough for others. Still, the bar itself is quite hefty and weighs 59lbs.
The final thing that you will want to consider with this bar is the overall price point that you can expect to pay. This is a highly-developed piece of equipment that is designed to have all the best functions of a trap bar
For that reason, it’s also one of the most expensive bars that we have on this list. Don’t count on your local gym picking these up for you, but it could be something for your personal home gym!
This is just about as basic as you can get while still having some pretty good features to show for it. It doesn’t have any fancy shapes or anything else that is really fancy for that matter.
The first thing that you’re going to notice when you get this bar is that it is made of pretty heavy steel and plated in zinc. Nothing fancy there for sure, but it will stop rust from settling in and it won’t flex on you when you’re trying to put in some heavy lifting.
The handles that you’re going to find on this bar are low instead of raise, so you’re going to have to get down lower to the floor before you pick this one up. It might not be ideal for people that need that extra support for their spine, but it is still a safer bet for most people than a straight bar.
This hex bar fits 2” plates like any other standard Olympic bar, so don’t count on being able to slip standard plates on to this one. It does come with a pair of spring collars, so that gives you a little more value for what you’re paying for this bar.
The sleeve on the CAP Trap Bar is 10” on both sides and can hold up to 1000lbs total on the bar. That is a pretty massive amount of weight that only true professionals are going to want to attempt, though. That bar alone weighs 44lbs which is about the average.
The final thing you’ll want to know about is the price point. This bar is definitely on the lower end of the spectrum of price, but not the lowest. It’s a bar that gets the job done and would make a find addition to anyone’s gym as long as the low handles are the style you want.
There's no denying that this is a pretty solid addition to any gym.
The reason that this is considered one of the best deadlift bars is that it combines a lot of features into a relatively simple and cheap package. Starting out with the price point, this one is just below the moderate price point on the overall spectrum established for these bars.
The hex bar itself is made from pure steel and has a chrome coating. It looks nice, it feels nice, and it’s not going to get all rusty or damaged in normal usage. The knurling on this bar is decent. It’s not very aggressive but it won’t slip out of your hand. When you start getting sweaty, you might want to use some powder.
The whole bar is 58” long and 10” of that on each side is dedicated to the sleeves for the weights to slip onto.
Speaking of weights, you can load this one up with about 800lbs and it will be good to go. It also comes with some spring collars that you can use to keep the weights locked onto the bar.
The handles on this bar are fit for high and low grips which are nice for people that want to swap between the two. A common complaint is that the raised side isn’t really that high compared to other bars, and that might be something that you want to consider when buying this one.
To summarise, this is a pretty nifty bar that is capable of helping you get in some pretty heavy workouts. It looks nice and does its job pretty well while not being too expensive.
Alright, we’ve taken a look at some of the top options, now it is time to check over the evidence and decide which is the best trap bar for deadlifts.
After due consideration, we’ve come to the conclusion that the I Heart Synergee Trap Bar is the best hex bar when you look over all of the available information.
It is built to an exceptional standard, is very simple to use even for beginners, and has a money back guarantee that shows that the company stands by their work. The benefits of this bar don’t end there, though.
First off, this thing can be loaded down with weights up to 750lbs. The bar itself weighs another 50 or so, but it is still compact compared to some of the larger bars out there.
The next thing that we took a look at was the usability of this product. It has raised handles but can still be used for a low grip when you flip it over. The knurling on this bar is amazing, giving you a great grip that won’t leave your hands sore but still makes sure the whole thing doesn’t slip out of your hands.
Finally, this bar can be used for a lot of exercises and is made of materials that can take a massive beating without showing wear and tear.
All in all, we chose this bar because it represents the best kind of equipment while still being accessible for most users in terms of price.
As always, thanks for checking out our trap bar reviews. Let us know what you think of our choices and feel free to drop us a line if you’d like. See you next time!