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Daniel Mesa

Deficit Trap Bar Deadlift: Benefits and How-To

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.

deficit trap bar deadlift

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.

deficit trap bar deadlifts

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.

deficit hex bar deadlift

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

Video Guide

Step By Step 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

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 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

trap bar jump

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.

Final Thoughts

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


Find The Best Trap Bar

After years of testing, we assembled a master list with the best trap bars for every home gym owner


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.