My workouts over the years have varied from long distance endurance to Brazilian jiu jitsu (BJJ) to Starting Strength power-lifting-esque to Crossfit. I enjoy the thrill of competition, but inevitably when going at any sort of high level this 40-year old former athlete ends up injured. Recent case in point was despite running and sprinting for fun over the years, it took all of about an hour of jumping into a local standing Old Man Soccer Sunday soccer game to end up with a pulled calf. At this stage of my life, I am looking for the basics of health, strength, and wellness, and staying uninjured. With that as a backdrop, my workouts are pretty basic. I use the big lifts (bench, bent over barbell rows, front and back squats, overhead press, and deadlift) in a variety of ways (from unstructured variety of sets and reps, to very structured Tactical Barbell when I want to see tangible structured results). Cardio is regularly running, boxing on the heavy bag, and the occasional Crossfit workout or bike ride to mix things up – oh, and hiking or walking regularly too. Very simple and keeps things healthy for me.
Deadlifts are still one of the best overall strength makers for men. Heavy deads put a nice stress on the central nervous system and hits your entire body when using heavy weights. The barbell version also stresses the lower back and at heavy weights, many compromise form a lot. I always toed that line of going heavy and staying healthy with barbell deadlifts, sometimes ending up injured for weeks or even months at a time. Unbeknownst to me, several years ago an X-ray done at a new chiropractor showed I had Spondylolysis – perhaps born with it, perhaps from my youth wrestling days. Regardless, it helped to explain my issues.
This father’s day, I ended up getting this cheap Hex Bar (or Trap Bar as it’s sometimes called)
to add to my home gym. The knurling is pretty rough, and the sides are a little short (necessitating eventual purchase of steel 45# plates instead of my bumpers since it basically maxes out at 3 wheels of bumpers [315#]), but besides that, it has been well worth the $84 investment. My back feels great from the more balanced and upright positioning and the hand rotation is much more natural. These article below site studies on hex bar vs. oly bar for deadlifting and it mirrors my experience. And though I haven’t tried to max out yet on the hex bar, I have no doubt due to the leverage and balance aspects it would be more than the traditional way and subsequently would provide more strength benefit.
So if you have a home gym, and have healthy back issues or are a past 40 dude like me, I really think a trap/hex bar is a good investment and is one I’ve been very happy with over the last 6 months. My back thanks me too, and the callouses on my hands from the rough knurling are tough looking.