The Trap Bar
The Shrug Bar or the Parallel Grip Deadlift (PGDL) Bar
If you're into strength training, then you'll know that
you have to Squat and deadlift. But what if you
have a fragile back and can't do either properly? That's
where the Trap Bar comes in.
: This Trap bar was made by strength writer,
Malcolm Watson of Scorpion Gym Equipment - sadly, Malcolm
has since passed away. So this review is more relevant
as a generic commentary, rather than just for this particular
bar. It cost about £75 in 1993, which was pretty
good for a handmade piece of equipment.
bar has a decent chrome finish, good knurling on the
handles and non revolving 'Olympic' sleeves (sleeves
that are 50mm in diameter). After nine years of use
and lugging it from country to country it's stood up
capacity? Not sure, I've only ever loaded up to 200kgs
on it, but it was rock-solid at that weight and looked
like it would take double that without a problem.
Gerard Trap Bar
Trap Bar info:
Invented by Al Gerard, a deadlift record holder in ADFPA
(US drug free powerlifting) - Deadlifting 625 lbs at
a bodyweight of 205 lbs, and past age 40. The Trap Bar
solved his way to training without aggravating old lower
found that the Trap Bar could work his legs and hips
extremely well, without aggravating his fragile back.
In fact, his Trap Bar training replaced the Back Squat
most of the year, even though he competed in powerlfting.
He found he could squat 500lbs despite only training
in the squat a couple months a year - the Trap Bar kept
his legs strong.
Trap bar has been championed by Hardgainer Magazine,
Cyberpump, Bob Whelan's Natural Strength, Paul Kelso
and Dr Ken Leistner.
or Squat or "Squatlift"? : It's
basically a hybrid of the deadlift and the squat. Very
similar to doing squats with dumbells, except you can
load up far heavier weights. It's a brilliant alternative
to the Squat and regular barbell deadlift. Most people
find the parallel grip very comfortable. On high rep
sets, it can tilt backwards and forwards, but you can
solve that with lifting straps. Although, obviously,
it's gives your grip less of a workout.
McRobert says in Beyond
Brawn "Do not consider the Trap Bar deadlift
as just an alternative to the barbell squat. It is an
outstanding exercise in it's own right....The Trap Bar
deadlift is the equal of the squat for many hardgainers...In
fact, it has the potential to be the number one
productive exercise for many hard gainers"
it works: Because you stand in it, rather
than behind it - you can lower yourself down whilst
keeping you back straight - rather than tilting foward
like in the barbell squat and deadlift.
I'll quote McRobert : "In any type of bent-legged
deadlift with a Trap Bar there are some big advantages
relative to the squat:
and weights: This particular bar was weighed
by British Airways (horrible excess baggage bill!) and
it came in at a whopping 35kg. The Trap bar was a 'one-size-fits-all'
which might disadvantage huge guys or people that lift
with a very wide stance - but these days larger sizes
are available - Other options are: regular size sleeves
and thick handles.
Bar v Shrug Bar : What's
the difference? Not much. The Trap bar is made under
license from Al Gerard - to get around this the Shrug
bar is a slightly different shape. It has the advantage
of having a little more space inside it, but it's really
the same thing. Be careful when buying Trap bars, as
there have been reports of quality issues with US made
Trap bars. The Shug bars from Watson and FractionalPlates
(see links below), have a great reputation for quality.
amazing training tool. Get one or force your gym to