3 Muscle Building Trap Bar Exercises

I have been incorporating the Trap Bar more into my workouts lately.  It has brought a nice change of pace and a new dimension to some old lifting staples.  Today I want to share with you, three Trap Bar variations to some old, basic exercises that I am sure you are already doing.  Give them a try with the Trap Bar and feel them out for yourself.


I love this version of the row for the back.  I think it is due to the placement of the hands at the side rather than in front when performed with a barbell.   To perform, safely pick up the trap bar as you would perform a deadlift.  From the standing position, push your hips back, bringing your torso slightly forward without rounding or extending the back.  Really, just holding a hip hinge position.  Set your shoulders back and down, pull the bar up towards your chest, squeezing the shoulder blades together at the top.



The trap bar deadlift is a great alternative for someone with lower back issues.  It is also great for people without lower back issues, of course.  I wrote a previous blog about it here.  The set up is the same for the deadlift, the grip is just at your sides rather than in front.  Having the hands at the side allows the lifter to set his shoulders back and down, creating a stable, strong shoulder girdle to handle the weight.  Compared to having to grab the bar in front, in an internal rotated shoulder position, and trying to achieve a stable shoulder girdle by rolling the shoulders back.  Some lifters might not have the range of motion or body  awareness leaving their upper back rounded.


I really like this carry variation because having the weight farther away from the body, creates more instability.  When used with dumbbells, the weight is close, even up against your leg and giving you a little support at times.  I really felt myself having to resist leaning to the side with each step.  Each step also felt a little unbalance.

To perform, pick the trap bar up as if performing a deadlift.  In a standing position, roll the shoulders back and down, creating a stable, strong shoulder girdle.  Draw the abs in and hold.  Walk in a heel to toe gait.  I use the cue, “walk like the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.  If you ever visited there, you know they walk in a slow, cadenced tempo.

As you can see, these exercises can all flow pretty easily together.  This makes them great for a complex workout or finisher, aside from your typical strength routine, for your posterior chain.



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About The Author

Kevin Fulton

Kevin Fulton is personal trainer in Pittsburgh, PA. His goal is to help his clients look, feel, and move better. In his spare time you can find him under a barbell or practicing jiu jitsu.

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