Trap bar

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Trap bar

Post  Socrates on Tue Jan 25, 2011 10:15 am

Hi everyone. I thought i would kick off this new section of the forum with a quick review of the shrug bar from Watson Gym Equipment. Normally known as the trap bar, this is a great piece of kit for a home gym. It is a diamond-shaped barbell. You stand in it and hold on with your palms facing and the plates on the outside.

The main lift is the parallel grip deadlift / trap bar deadlift. Although it's basically a deadlift, the shape of the bar means you have to squat down more than usual to lift it up. This makes the exercise a cross between a squat and a deadlift. In my case (short legs, long torso), I have to squat down to parallel or a bit below and angle my torso so that my stomach is near my thighs. The trick is to drive your legs up and your torso straight at the same time.

The trap bar is also often used for shrugs. One of the most interesting is the power shrug or trap bar high pull. You basically try and jump the thing to waist-height. It is similar to a power clean, without being so technically demanding.

The big advantage of a trap bar is that you can train your legs and lower back very hard in a safe way by yourself. You don't need squatters or a power rack. When it's not in use, you can just hide it against a wall.

It is probably not the best option if you compete in powerlifting, but as supplementary training for martial arts, I strongly recommend it. You can get one here: http://www.gymequipment.uk.com/store/item/3408k/Special_Bars/Standard_Shrug_Bar.html

If you're on a budget, you could just combine it with dips and pullups for your upper body. You'd also need a couple of heavy-duty collars and a collection of big plates, but not much else.

Is anyone else using one? What do you think?
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Re: Trap bar

Post  Dave Evans73 on Tue Jan 25, 2011 10:27 am

For traps exercises, would dumbells not do the same job? Looks a bit pricy for what it is. Looks good for dead lifts though. If I had the dimensions of it, I could get one made at work.
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Re: Trap bar

Post  Socrates on Tue Jan 25, 2011 12:00 pm

Do you really think it's pricey? If you set up a home gym with a trap bar, collars, plates, a heavy bag and stand, parallel dip bars and a chinning bar, it would just be a few hundred quid. That's like a few months gym membership and it would last you a lifetime...

Before getting my trap bar, I tried the same thing with dumbells. There seem to be three problems. They're wobbly, they bang your legs and you can't use nearly as much weight. On the other hand, if you want to get a bespoke one made, you could use dumbells to find the right distances.
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Re: Trap bar

Post  Ade on Tue Jan 25, 2011 12:06 pm

Hmm,dimensions.Something like this maybe Dave?

http://diystrengthgear.blogspot.com/2009/07/trap-bar-dimensions.html

That is a good price Soc,i've seen them going for a lot more than that.A fine piece of kit


Last edited by Ade on Tue Jan 25, 2011 12:09 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Re: Trap bar

Post  Silent but deadly on Tue Jan 25, 2011 12:07 pm

Couldn't agree more, we are fortunate to have one in our gym and there great for adding variation. I tend to use it for deadlifts, but will be giving the powershrugs a go. We also have a large latex band that we wrap round to stop the plates slapping about, or if all the collars are in use.

Depending on what weight you want to use then getting one made up by a decent fabricator shouldn't be too much hassle. It just has to be fuctional not polished. If you need the dimensions from the one at the gym i use Dave, i'd be happy to get them.

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Re: Trap bar

Post  Dave Evans73 on Tue Jan 25, 2011 2:39 pm

Socrates wrote:Do you really think it's pricey? If you set up a home gym with a trap bar, collars, plates, a heavy bag and stand, parallel dip bars and a chinning bar, it would just be a few hundred quid. That's like a few months gym membership and it would last you a lifetime...

Before getting my trap bar, I tried the same thing with dumbells. There seem to be three problems. They're wobbly, they bang your legs and you can't use nearly as much weight. On the other hand, if you want to get a bespoke one made, you could use dumbells to find the right distances.

Fair point Socrates. Just pricey for me then as I have my own multigym at home which doe's all i need it to do. I also have access to free weights/treadmill etc at work should I want to use them so I suppose I'm very lucky.

Ade, thanks for the dimensions. I'll get on to the welders at work and see if they can knock me one up. Keep you posted on it....I might even sell em if they are succesful Smile
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Re: Trap bar

Post  samurai69 on Wed Jan 26, 2011 6:57 am

we have one in the gym, its actually a specialist lift at the AWA events http://www.usawa.com/

we use it for farmers walks as well as a modified carlift (like the walking with a car in strongman comp) where you stand in trap bar but with a weight in front and behind, makes for an interesting farmers walk

but it can be limiting a swiss bar or a normal Oly bar is IMO a better investment

.
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Re: Trap bar

Post  Socrates on Wed Jan 26, 2011 8:39 am

samurai69 wrote:we have one in the gym, its actually a specialist lift at the AWA events http://www.usawa.com/

we use it for farmers walks as well as a modified carlift (like the walking with a car in strongman comp) where you stand in trap bar but with a weight in front and behind, makes for an interesting farmers walk

but it can be limiting a swiss bar or a normal Oly bar is IMO a better investment

.

I've also got a Swiss bar and I love it. I can't bend one of my wrists, but the parallel grips mean I can use it safely for power cleans. Trying power cleans with a normal bar and non-bendy wrists is bloody scary. The nice thing about being able to do power cleans is that I can use them to set me up for front squats, push presses, military presses and so on without using stands.

I still think that if I was setting up a minimalist home gym from scratch, I'd start with a heavy bag, a trap bar, plates and somewhere to do dips and chins. I'd then add other equipment slowly (a dip belt, a couple of kettlebells or dumbbells, a Swiss bar, grip tools...)
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Re: Trap bar

Post  Steve bungle on Sun Jul 03, 2011 4:21 am

I have a key for my local grappling/mma club which has a matted area upstairs with bags, and downstairs a basic weights room....which has a trap bar! i have recently started using the trap bar and find it more comfortable that traditional deadlifts. It is sort of a hybrid of a squat and deadlift, but i find it works really good. I'm using it in a circuit of Dips/chins! Very Happy
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