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Body Power – Olympic Shrug/Deadlift Bar

   

DISCLAIMER

What follows is an honest, unbiased review.
Feel free to skip to the sections below if you’re on a time limit.

Body Power – Olympic Shrug/Deadlift Bar

RELATED PRODUCTS

 

1. Background

2. Delivery/Condition on Arrival

3. Technical Specifications

4. Build Quality

5. Ergonomic Rating

6. Adaptability

7. WOW Factor

8. Longevity

9. Price

10. Final Verdict

 

Background

T’was 2017. I was scraping the funds together to snap up a decent trap bar so that I could add some variation to my deadlifts. Hmm, there may be a theme starting here!

At the time I had some niggly injuries that conventional deadlifts were aggravating. So as you do, instead of going to see a physio to address the issue, I tried trap bar deads in the local gym instead. To my amazement, it felt like they were helping!

I therefore started to learn the nuances of the engineering master piece that is the trap deadlift bar. I’d ignored the bias interpretations of Starting Strengths’ Mark Rippatoe, who’d say things like it’s not safe to use because of the instability in the sagittal plane (a fact of which is correct – but that doesn’t make it an unsafe exercise).

Some of the strongest deadlifters I’ve known will train on the trap bar year round until 4-6 weeks out of a comp, where they’ll then strictly reinforce their neural patterning to that of the conventional dead. They do this, they say, because it’s a safer way to lift the pure volume of heavy ass weight that they torture themselves with day in day out.

The Trap Bar

Equal Distrubution of Force

With a trap bar, the centre of gravity (COG) is directly over base of support (BOS) which places the majority of the load onto your legs. In comparison, the COG with a conventional deadlift is slightly in front – requiring more effort from the posterior chain (lower back and hips).

Grip

A conventional bar wants to roll out of your hands. In some cases, this can make grip strength the limiting factor in whether or not you rip the bar off the floor! This is why mixed grip, hook grip or straps tend to be adopted with the heavier lifts.

With a trap bar, the handles are fixed in a neutral position – meaning no rolling out of the hands. With grip strength not being a limiting factor, you’ll be free to load up the bar and train the back and legs harder before the grip packs in.

With that being said, of course, there’s always two sides to a story. If you want to work your grip more, then a double overhand grip on a conventional barbell will do just that!

Handle Heights

Due to most trap bars having two options for handle height, it’s fairly easy to accomodate high pulls or low pulls. This comes in handy when you really want be exposed to a lot of load (😁). Simply load up the bar and pull from a higher starting position with the grip.

Shin Health

A slightly less considered benefit to using a trap bar is shin skin health! If you’ve ever pulled heavy, you’ll have experienced this. Ripping bare skin off the shins as the conventional bar’s knurling acts as a cheese grater is no fun, whoever you are! There’s none of that malarkey with the trap bar.

Less Injury Risk

Conventional deadlifts place shear forces through the lumbar vertebrae, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing if neutrality is maintained throughout the spine (see more about anti-core strengthening here). Issue can however rise if the user fatigues and places, continuous, prolonged excessive shear stress through the lumbar vertebrae – pulling in a manner not unlike that of the commonly termed ‘gym bunny’ with the excessively anteriorly tilted pelvis, or the opposite being the classic ‘cat back’ deadlift seen in novices attempting to pull far more weight than their strength levels allow.

 

The risk of this happening with the trap bar is far less due to the whole COG factor. Remember, with the trap bar, the COG is pretty much directly over our base of support (imagine dropping a plumb line right down through the middle of your head and see where it lands). This also means that our centre of pressure (COP) is very close to our COG.

Centre of Pressure (COP)

When a person is standing or walking, their body exerts a force on the ground, to which the ground responds by exerting an equal and opposite force, called the ground reaction force (GRF). The COP is the point at which the total force (the GRF) acting on a person’s foot or feet is concentrated. This is different to the centre of gravity (which is basically the point [or plumb line] where there is an equal division of weight on all opposing sides of the body).

In layman’s terms (which are always the best terms), the COP is the point at which your weight is being placed through the feet on the ground.

See this video for a visual reference

 

So, why is this relevant to a review of a trap bar? Good question!

Well, the above is a very long winded explanation to illustrate that the COP in a trap bar deadlift is smack bang in the middle of the BOS, as long as the user has normal biomechanics (meaning as long as their weight isn’t offset due to injury, neurological impairment or chronic muscular imbalance). This ultimately facilitates a more evenly distributed power demand amongst the anterior and posterior chain, thereby reducing the shear stress on the lumbar vertebrae (*remember – the demand on the posterior chain is more in a conventional deadlift due to the bar placement being slightly forward of the body).

Ok, enough science b**ch (shout out Jesse Pinkman 😊)

With all this being said, in a similar vein to the Watson Safety Squat Bar – not all trap bars are created equal!

Cue the review.

 

Delivery/Condition on Arrival

Can’t fault it.

5/5

 

Technical Specifications

Bar Type: Hex
Classification: Olympic
Bar Length (ft): 4.60
Solid steel build: With a super-durable zinc plated finish
Uniquely designed: To eliminate contact with the upper thighs and front torso to provide greater range of muscle contraction and deep tissue development
Used for a variety of exercises: Including shrugs, dead lift, bench press, military press, squats and lunges
Length of Bar: 56″ (1.42m/142cm approx.)
Weight of bar: 20.5kg
Bar KG Rating: 220kg
Shaft Diameter: 25.4mm

 

Build Quality

It’s as solid as you’d expect. Cosmetically, it is severely rusted. The rust itself doesn’t bother me, however the flaky metallic silver coating that regularly falls off onto the gym floor does. It’s required regular wire brushing, with liberal applications of oil for damage limitation. Not great.

2/5

 

Ergonomic Rating

Well, it is a hex bar. So it’s comfortable for all the reasons mentioned in the science bit. BUT, unlike most trap bars, this one doesn’t have raised handles which allow you to start the lift from different heights.

This is definitely a first world problem, but it’s still frustrating because if you want to have the handles higher up the leg, you have to build the height up from the floor with boxes, gym mats, or more weightlifting orientated options like Gym Masters Drop Mats.

In reflection, although this does sit nice and flush on my wall due to the lack of raised handles – I’d definitely go with raised handles in the future to avoid the need for boxes/mats.

3/5

 

Adaptability

The lack of available sleeve length is a biggy here. Yes, you can load it up to around 200kg with standard bumper plates. But if you use the bar regularly, you’re going to want to go beyond that. Especially if you start pulling from higher hand positions.

The lack of raised handles also influences its score here. Raised handles aren’t just good for adding that variety to the pulls, they’re also great for adding real variety to your bench (yes, you can go wild and floor press with these bars too!)

2/5

 

WOW Factor

I’m sorry to say, nothing really blows me away with this bar.

0/5

 

Longevity

Well, it’s still one solid piece of metal, so I suppose it’s got that going for it! The flakey silver metallic paint hasn’t faired up too well to Father Time though.

3/5

 

Price

Currently sitting at £119.99, with free delivery. To be honest, I think this is a bit pricey for what it is. For that price, I’d expect higher handles and longer sleeves to accomodate more weight. Take for example, the Mirafit Olympic 2″ Trap Bar currently sitting at £119.99 or the RIP X 2″ Diameter Olympic Hex Trap Deadlift also currently priced at £119.99.

2/5

 

Summary

Total rating: 2.43/5

Should you:

  • Avoid!
  • Consider
  • Shortlist
  • Buy it NOW!

If you don’t want to avoid this like the plague, then grab one below today 😊

Body Power – Olympic Shrug/Deadlift Bar

Or find similar options at Amazon and check them out for yourself.

 
 
 

Whilst not writing for FGUK, Tim works as a Physiotherapist, Personal Trainer and is a Retired Ammunition Technician with the British Army. In his spare time Tim enjoys engaging in a whole variety of sports, spending considerable time with his little rascal of a dog, relaxing with his friends and family, but most of all.. geeking out on all things fitness!

 

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