Everyone knows that trap bar deadlifts are a great way of challenging your entire body and building serious lower-body strength. If you want to truly take things to the next level, the deficit trap bar deadlift makes the movement even harder. In this guide, we will break down how to perform the deficit trap bar deadlift correctly and all the benefits that come with this unique lift.
Table of contents
Deficit Trap Bar Deadlift Benefits
The deficit deadlift is not a novel concept. It is something that people have been doing for decades with the conventional barbell deadlift. However, what people often do not realize is that many of that same benefits apply to the trap bar deadlift as well:
More Quad Activation
By performing the hex bar deadlift at a deficit, you are increasing the range of motion and stretch on your muscles. In particular, you will notice that your quads and hips will feel a deep stretch at the bottom of the lift. This lift is not a squat, but the level of knee flexion does provide similar levels of stimulus for your quads.
Strengthen Your Posterior Chain
The posterior chain is the group of muscles that run from your upper back down to your calves. This includes muscles like the spinal erectors, glutes, and hamstrings. All these muscles are very important for posture and stabilization on other lifts.
Thanks to the increased range of motion, this deadlift variation is more challenging and can place more emphasis on your back. Granted you will have to use less weight but this simply means you are getting more out of less weight.
Lower Back Strength
In order to do this movement with proper form, you will need to develop tremendous lower back strength to keep your back from rounding at the bottom. With a bulletproof lower back, you no longer have to worry about the strain brought on by squats and regular deadlifts.
Increased Time Under Tension
While getting stronger on your lifts is a key factor in muscle growth, another important factor is time under tension. Again and again, studies have shown that time under tension is a form of progressive overload that leads to greater hypertrophy. Since this lift has a greater range of motion, your muscles will be under the tension of the weight for a longer period of time. Meaning more muscle growth.
Carryover To Other Deadlift Variations
Strength is strength. If you get stronger on the hex bar deficit deadlift you will experience some carryover to your regular trap bar and barbell deadlift. Not only that but the hex bar deficit deadlift can help expose weaknesses in your regular deadlift. If you struggle to get the most to get the weight off the floor, it will be obvious.
Likewise, the greater range of motion and time under tension may show you that you struggle the most with locking out. Either way, the deficit hex bar deadlift is a great way to work on your weaknesses and breakthrough deadlift plateaus.
Develop Explosive Power
To get the bar off the ground, you are going to need to learn how to be very explosive off the ground. The more you do this movement, the more this force production and explosive power will be developed in the human body. This will not only show in your weightlifting as getting stronger on the trap bar deadlift has also been shown to help with athletic movements like jumping and sprinting.
How To Do Deficit Trap Bar Deadlifts
Step By Step Deficit Trap Bar Deadlift
How To Deficit Trap Bar Deadlift
Prepare your platform
Place a platform that is between 1-2.5 inches inside your hex bar where you would usually stand. This can be weight plates or something else that is stable and will elevate you.
Get into a deadlift position
Drive your hips back until your torso is parallel to the floor and firmly grasp the neutral handles.
Engage your body
Take a deep breath and tighten your core and back. Make sure your lower back is not rounding.
Lift the bar up
With your chest up drive your hips forward and push through your feet to deadlift the bar up
Drive the bar all the way up and slowly lower the weight back down.
Trap Bar Deficit Deadlift Tips
To get the most out of the movement, use the following tips:
The elevation you use should depend on your mobility and range of motion. If new to this lift, start out with 1″ or just use the low handles on the trap bar.
Your back and abs should be engaged throughout the lift to keep the bar stable. Do not allow your back to bend or shoulders to roll forward
Use a stable platform. For most people, this will be a flat weight plate or blocks.
Do not allow your elbows to bend, keep your arms straight.
If you feel your knees caving in, lower the weight. You do not want to risk a knee injury.
Trap Bar Deadlift vs. Deficit Trap Bar Deadlift
These are the main differences you will notice between the two lifts:
Cannot Lift As Heavy
The first thing you will notice is that you will be weaker on the deficit variation. Personally, I have found this to range between a 10%-20% deduction in strength. This is not bad as you can get more out of less weight and therefore spare your central nervous system from dealing with extreme loads. Just be ready to leave your ego at the door.
More Quad Focused
As far as deadlifts go, the trap bar deadlift is already heavily quad focused. However, this deficit hex bar deadlift is quad focused to an even greater extent thanks to the increased range of motion.
More Mobility Required
One of the many trap bars benefits is that it is very beginner friendly. Most people can walk and perform a deadlift with decent form no problem. However, the deficit variation does require a bit more mobility in the ankles and hips. Also, the technique will require some more time to master.
Other Trap Bar Deadlift Variations
There are tons of other useful variations that you can incorporate into your trap bar deadlift work. Here are some of our favorites:
Trap Bar Romanian Deadlift
Trap bar RDLs are a great RDL variation. Without grip being an issue, you can really load your posterior chain.
Trap Bar Deadlift Jumps
Sometimes simply referred to as trap bar jumps, this variation is basically just a deadlift followed by a jump at the top of the rep. These are very popular with athletic coaches and sports teams for their ability to increase power.
The deficit trap bar deadlift is a great way to mix up your lower body training and get more out of less weight. The increased quad activation and carryover to regular deadlifts, make it a useful exercise to have in your arsenal
Are deficit deadlifts bad for your back?
As long as you have the required mobility and core strength to maintain a straight back, deficit deadlifts are safe.