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What Is the Hex Bar Deadlift?
The hex bar deadlift, also known as the trap bar deadlift, is a deadlift variation that uses a specialty barbell shaped like a hexagon, allowing the lifter to step inside and lift the weight around them. Hex bars include two sets of handles, one at the traditional height and another placed slightly higher for easier lifting; this makes hex bar deadlifts a good option for beginners.
Hex Bar Deadlift vs. Deadlift: What’s the Difference?
The hex bar deadlift works many of the same muscle groups as the conventional deadlift. However, there are a few differences between them.
- Center of gravity: Hex bar deadlifts may feel easier for some lifters, as they keep the weight closer to your center of gravity during the exercise. With proper form, hex bar deadlifts put less stress on your lower back and biceps when compared to conventional deadlifts.
- Range of motion: The hex bar deadlift offers greater knee flexion, meaning that your knees bend slightly more when performing the hex bar deadlift compared to the traditional deadlift. This knee flexion requires a more upright torso, making the hex bar deadlift similar to a squat exercise.
- Muscle activation: While conventional barbell deadlifts put more emphasis on muscle groups in your lower back and the backs of your legs (like the hamstrings and erector spinae muscles), hex bar deadlifts activate your quadriceps.
How to Do a Hex Bar Deadlift
For the hex bar deadlift begin by using a weight that you can control for 2–3 sets of 3–8 repetitions. Choose a weight that allows you to maintain good technique throughout all sets and repetitions
- Begin standing directly in the center of the hex bar. Your posture should be tall with your feet shoulder- to hip-width apart and a slight bend in your knees. Your shoulders should be directly over your hips with a neutral head and neck position. Your chin should remain tucked throughout the movement, as if you were holding an egg under your chin. The weight on your feet should be evenly distributed along the entire foot. Grip the floor with your feet to create a stable foot position. Your arms should remain long by your sides with a slight bend in your elbows.
- Pre-tension your shoulders, hips, and core with good inhale and exhale before lowering toward the hex bar handles.
- Hinge your hips and begin to bend your knees in order to lower your body toward the hex bar.
- Grab the hex bar handles and engage your back muscles by rotating your arms until the inner elbow is facing forward.
- Lift your hips up and back until you feel a stretch in the backs of your legs. Your hips should be higher than your knees and your shoulders should be higher than your hips. Your shins should be in an upright position. All repetitions should begin from this position.
- While maintaining a neutral spine, keep the hex bar centered, and start your upward movement by pushing your feet through the floor. As you begin to stand, squeeze your glutes and allow your hips to travel forward. Imagine that your pelvis is a bucket filled with water and you’re attempting not to spill water out of the front, back, or sides of the bucket.
- As your hips move forward, keep your arms long, and finish the movement by squeezing your glutes while maintaining a neutral spine position. At the end of each repetition, your shoulders should finish directly over your hips.
- Begin the downward movement. As you lower to the start position, focus on keeping the hex bar centered, and maintain a neutral spine. Hinge from your hips, allowing your knees to bend in order to lower the hex bar back toward the floor.
- Once the weight plates reach the floor, the repetition is complete. (If you do not have weight plates on the hex bar, lower the hex bar until your hands reach your mid-shin.)
How to Work out Safely and Avoid Injury
If you have a previous or pre-existing health condition, consult your physician before beginning an exercise program. Proper exercise technique is essential to ensure the safety and effectiveness of an exercise program, but you may need to modify each exercise to attain optimal results based on your individual needs. Always select a weight that allows you to have full control of your body throughout the movement. When performing any exercise, pay close attention to your body, and stop immediately if you note pain or discomfort.
In order to see continual progress and build body strength, incorporate proper warm-ups, rest, and nutrition into your exercise program. Your results will ultimately be based on your ability to adequately recover from your workouts. Rest for 24 to 48 hours before training the same muscle groups to allow sufficient recovery.
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