If you love the unilateral benefits of single-leg training and the trap bar, then the split stance trap bar deadlift is the lift for you. The added stability of the trailing leg allows you to get the benefits of focusing on one leg at a time even if you do not have the best balance or mobility. In this guide, we will break down proper form, and exercise benefits, and also share some other great trap bar deadlift variations.
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Split Stance Trap Bar Deadlift Benefits
Here is why you should add this unconventional lift to your training:
Works One Leg At A Time
Many lifters of all levels suffer from muscular imbalances. I am sure that if you were to measure your legs, one would be slightly bigger than the other. Most of the time this goes unnoticed, but sometimes small imbalances like this can eventually lead to injuries on the unnecessary joint strain. Aside from potential injuries, by addressing individual weaknesses in our muscles, we can get stronger and progress at a steadier rate.
No Balance or Mobility Required
Single-leg exercises like the single-leg RDL or deadlift are great exercises. The problem is that to do these movements safely, you need to have a certain level of mobility and balance built up which can take some. Thanks to the split stance of this variation, you can use your other leg to support you and do not have to worry much about balance issues. So even as a beginner, you can still be reaping the benefits of single-leg training.
The really great thing about the split stance trap bar deadlift is that you can really overload a singular leg with lots of weight. For some context, if you can deadlift 500 lbs, you could easily do 300-400 pounds on this lift. You cannot really get the same level of weight on other single-leg exercises.
Great For Injury Recovery
People coming back from leg injuries tend to shift lots of the load to their healthy legs when they first get back into training. This deadlift variation can allow those who have suffered from leg injuries to improve their muscular imbalances and get back to their previous levels of strength.
You can expect this exercise to work similar muscles as the regular trap bar deadlift. The main difference will of course be that you are working one leg at a time.
How To Do Split Stance Trap Bar Deadlifts
How To Do Split Stance Trap Bar Deadlift
Get into a split stance
Step into the trap bar and get into a split stance. The toes of your rear foot should be in line with the heel of your front foot. Realize that your front foot will handle most of the load.
Get into a deadlift stance
Bend down by pushing your hips back and grip the bar. Make sure your spine is neutral and your chest is up.
Deadlift the bar up
Take a deep breath and engage your core. Deadlift the bar up by driving through your front leg and bringing your hips forward
Lower the weight
Slowly lower the weight back down to the floor
After completing a set with one leg, switch your split stance and do the exercise again
Use an open trap bar if you can, this will give you more space especially if you are a taller person
If you notice your knee caving in, lower the weight. Do not risk a knee injury.
Try to focus as much of the load on the front leg as possible
Do not try to max out, stick to moderate reps and sets. For example, 3 sets of 10-12 reps would work great.
- It is okay if your back foot comes off the ground slightly, but make sure the front foot is flat
Split Stance vs. Regular Trap Bar Deadlift
There are a few key differences between these two exercises:
Greater Range Of Motion
The split stance variation of the trap bar deadlift will have a greater amount of range of motion compared to the regular trap bar deadlift. This will lead to a deeper muscular stretch and greater time under tension.
You will of course be weaker on the split stance variation. This is not necessarily a bad thing as it means you will be getting more out of less weight. Just be aware that you can expect to use around 60%-70& of your regular deadlift max.
With the split stance, you are moving from internal external to internal rotation which gets more loading on your back hip and proper posterior weight shifting. This kind of movement can be beneficial for your overall health and muscular growth.
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 way to strengthen your posterior chain. In comparison to the straight bar RDL, you will be able to move more weight while lowering your risk of a lower back injury.
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 for athletes as they can help you build serious explosive power and do not require much technique.
Deficit Trap Bar Deadlift
The deficit trap bar deadlift can be very useful if you are trying to increase the range of motion or working on your explosiveness from the floor. This version of deadlift variation is done by standing on a platform to make the lift harder.
Benefits of Hex Bars
Many gym purists will argue that the standard straight barbell is the pinnacle of all exercise equipment. While the barbell may be an immensely useful tool, the hex bar has some unique benefits to take into consideration
It is Easier On Your Lower Back
In terms of trap bar deadlift benefits, the primary one is injury prevention for your lower back, When you are doing a deadlift with a hex bar, the weights are situated directly at your sides as opposed to in front of you during straight bar deadlifts. This means that the trap bar allows the weight to be more in line with your own center of gravity.
In practice, this means that there will be less sheer force on your lumbar spine when you are moving the weight. Also, trap bars tend to offer a higher starting position so you do not have to bend down as much.
I am a large proponent of the straight bar deadlift but will be the first to admit that lower back injuries are common especially if proper form is not used. The trap bar relieves some of the risks by putting you in a much safer position.
Neutral Grip Position
Unlike traditional barbells where you either have to be pronated or supinated, the trap bar has a neutral grip.
This will make the biggest diffrence in injury prevention when it comes to your shoulders and biceps:
Shoulders Are Externally Rotated
Many people have extremely limited shoulder mobility due to a sedentary lifestyle. This lack of mobility can lead to pain during pressing movements.
Comparatively, a trap bar allows you to take a neutral grip which externally rotates your shoulders. This externally rotated position removes lots of strain from the shoulder joint and is more comfortable.
No More Bicep Tears
When you are doing a barbell deadlift, you can either take an overhand grip or a mixed grip.
The overhand grip is fairly safe for your biceps. The problem is that the overhand grip often becomes the weakest link in someone’s deadlift. Meaning that their grip strength caps their deadlift.
Advanced lifters find that a mixed grip allows them to lift more weight. However, if you use a mixed grip, you are putting your bicep in a very vulnerable position. Bicep tears are not uncommon using this grip and should be a cause for concern.
There is no need to use a mixed grip with a trap bar. In a neutral position, your biceps are much safer.
Less Technique To Learn
If you are a serious lifter, you will know that lifting is NOT as easy as it looks. To master a lift you need to spend time learning the movement and acquiring the needed mobility.
And while the same could be said for a trap bar, it is much easier to learn. You do not really need a whole lot of mobility to technique.
For the most part, you can really just get inside it and lift it up. This makes it a great choice for beginners or anyone who does not want to worry too much about their form.
You Can Lift More Weight
Due to the weight being at your sides during a hex bar deadlift, you will find that you easily lift more weight than you with a regular bar.
Simply put, trap bars allow you to put more total weight on your muscles. This can lead to more muscle growth and stimulus.
Furthermore, the gains you see on trap bar lifts will almost certainly translate to your other lifts as well. I know for a fact that when my trap bar deadlift goes up, my conventional deadlift and squat have gone up as well.
There is a reason that hex bars are used a lot by professional sports teams and that is because they build explosiveness and power like nothing else.
A study conducted at Robert Gordon University concluded that the use of a trap bar resulted in significantly greater peak force, velocity, and power during deadlifts compared to a regular straight bar.
Most people look at trap bars and just see deadlifts. But the truth is that trap bars are very versatile pieces of equipment that can be used for a number of exercises. Here are just a few:
Single Leg Deadlifts
Trap Bar Deadlifts
This benefit is not as clear as the other ones but I’ve found that many people especially have found that the trap bar does wonders for your grip strength.
Simply put the neutral grip allows you to focus much more on the way you hold the bar and grip it.
Not to mention that the trap bar makes it very easy to do. grip strength-based exercises like farmers’ walks or shrugs that are also heavily worth the forearms.
The split stance trap bar deadlift is a great exercise variation for people of all levels. Even if you limited mobility/balance or coming back from an injury you can get the full benefits of single-leg training. Be sure to give it a try the next time you are in the gym!
What is a split stance deadlift?
A split stance deadlift means that the lift is performed with one leg in front of the other. This is done to shift most of the weight to one leg. The benefit of single-leg training is that you can address muscular imbalances.
Is it good to deadlift with trap bar?
A trap bar is good for deadlifting because it reduces stress on your lower back. Also since you are more in line with the weight, you can actually lift more weight than with a regular barbell.