The Best Trap Bars

The Best Trap Bars

A trap bar is a specialty weightlifting bar that will allow you to deadlift without placing undue stress on your lumbar spine. Investing in a trap bar will take your home gym to the next level, allowing you to pull more weight from the floor, while targeting the trapezius, glutes, and hamstrings. In this article, I’ll review the 8 best trap bars on the market right now. I’ll also show you how to use this bar to best effect and spell out the benefits of trap bar deadlifting.

Quick Overview: Top 3 Trap Bars

Rogue TB-1 Trap Bar

  • Extremely rugged
  • Great customer service
  • No whip on the bar
  • Powder coated
  • Sharp knurling
  • Rackable

CAP Barbell Olympic Super Trap Bar

  • Large internal space (25 inches)
  • Great price
  • Solid construction
  • Zinc finish
  • Max weight allowance 750 lb

Sunny Health & Fitness Olympic Hex Bar

  • Diamond knurling
  • 750 lb max weight capacity
  • 9.5” sleeves
  • Chrome plated

The 8 Best Trap Bars Rated:

Trap BarPriceFunctionalityOverall
Rogue TB-1 Trap Bar4.75/54.75/54.75/5
CAP Barbell Olympic Trap Bar4.55/54.75/54.5/5
Sunny Health & Fitness Olympic Hex Bar4.5/54.25/54.5/5
PapaBabe Hex Bar4.55/54.25/54.25/5
Kabuki Strength Trap Bar4.5/54.5/54.5/5
Titan Fitness Hex Trap Bar4.5/54.0/54.25/5
Cap Mega Olympic Hex Bar4.25/54.0/54.0/5
Eleiko Öppen Deadlift Bar4.25/54.0/54.0/5

The 8 Best Trap Bars:

1. Rogue TB-1 Trap Bar

Rogue TB-1 Trap Bar

Pros:

  • Extremely rugged
  • Great customer service
  • No whip on the bar
  • Powder-coated
  • Sharp knurling
  • Rackable

Cons:

  • Powder-coated sleeves
  • Knurl may be too aggressive for some

Rogue are the acknowledged top dog when it comes to premium home and gym fitness equipment. It’s not surprising, then, that this is a very well-made bar that can handle a lot of weight. The thick frame and aggressive welding will allow it to hoist in excess of a thousand pounds from the floor (good luck with that!).

The sharp knurling through the handle grip region of this trap bar is a key feature. It will allow you to get a solid hold on the bar. However, it may be a bit sharp for some, so you might want to wear workout gloves. 

Another benefit of the Rogue TB-1 Trap Bar is that it is rackable. The ability to rack the bar on a power rack makes this a more versatile workout tool, allowing you to do rack pulls and deadlifts from different heights. You can also perform overhead presses with this bar. 

This trap bar is powder-coated in the classic Rogue black finish. That powder coating includes the sleeves, which makes it likely that the plates you stack on those sleeves will cause flaking. 

2. CAP Barbell Olympic Super Trap Bar

CAP Barbell Olympic Super Trap Bar

Pros:

  • Large internal space (25 inches)
  • Great price
  • Solid construction
  • Zinc finish
  • Max weight allowance 750 lb

Cons:

  • Sleeve Design can cause forward tilt

CAP Barbell are renowned for putting out great quality, no-frills weight training gear at a budget price. Their Olympic Super Trap Bar is a great example. It’s built to accommodate all sizes of lifters, including taller people. The sleeves are higher than floor level which makes it much easier to slide the Olympic plates on and off. 

The bar has a 74,000 psi tensile strength, along with a 37,000 psi shear strength, which allows for a max lift of 750 lbs, which is very good for a budget-priced trap bar. It is also fitted with rubber footed, shock-resistant bolts designed to keep your floor from getting damaged. 

3. Sunny Health & Fitness Olympic Hex Bar

Sunny Health & Fitness Olympic Hex Bar

Pros:

  • Diamond knurling
  • 750 lb max weight capacity
  • 9.5” sleeves
  • Chrome plated

Cons:

  • Sleeves do not rotate

The Sunny Health & Fitness Olympic Hex Bar is another budget-priced model that provides plenty of strength and durability. This one, too, allows for a max lift of 750 pounds. It features quality knurling to ensure a strong grip. It comes with easy on-off quick-release collars to provide a fast, secure lock. 

The 9.5-inch sleeves on this bar allow for the loading of Olympic weight plates. Brass bushings fit between the bar and the sleeve to reduce friction between the outer and inner sleeve. This allows for a much smoother spin. 

4. PapaBabe Hex Bar

PapaBabe Hex Bar

Pros:

  • Ideal for taller people
  • Max weight allowance = 1000 lbs
  • Powder-coated in black
  • Stainless steel

Cons:

  • The coating on this bar chips quite easily

The PapaBabe Hex Bar is a very good trap bar for big people. The 33-inch x 24-inch frame dimensions will allow taller deadlifters to fit within the frame comfortably. This is also a very strongly constructed bar, as attested by its 800-pound max weight allowance. 

The stainless steel frame is black powder-coated and is rust, sweat, and scratch-resistant. It comes with dual gripping options; both raised and flat. The sleeve length on this bar, however, is a little short. The knurling on this bar is quite sharp, helping you to achieve a firm grip on the handles. 

5. Kabuki Strength Trap Bar

Kabuki Strength Trap Bar

Pros:

  • Open-end design

Cons:

  • Expensive

The Kabuki Strength Trap Bar is a premium quality open-ended design hex bar. That makes it ideal for use in confined spaces and allows it to be more versatile. Unlike most trap bars, this one uses square tubing that has been bent at the corners. This bar can also be jacked up to make it easy to load the plates on and off. 

A unique feature of the Kabuki Strength Trap Bar is that it provides you with dual grip positions. You can either grab it in line with the bar sleeves or a few inches higher. There are also three different grips that can be inserted. The bar comes with two of them: one-inch and one-and-a-half-inch handles and a two-inch handle can be purchased as an extra.

The sleeves on this bar provide you with 16.5 inches of load space, which is more than you find on most trap bars. This is a very impressive bar, but the $500 price tag will be a bit steep for many home gymers. 

6. Titan Fitness Hex Trap Bar

Titan Fitness Hex Trap Bar

Pros:

  • Great value for money
  • Powder-coated
  • High and low handles
  • Quality knurling on high handle
  • Solid construction

Cons:

  • No knurling on the lower bar
  • Sleeves likely to chip

The Titan Fitness Hex Trap Bar is one of the best value for money bars on the market. This one is clearly modeled off the Rogue TB-1 Trap Bar, providing a similar design and specs but not being quite as heavy duty. Like the Rogue bar, the powder coating includes the sleeves, providing the same issues regarding chipping due to friction with the loading plates. 

7. CAP Mega Olympic Hex Bar

CAP Mega Olympic Hex Bar

Pros:

  • Low cost
  • 1000 pound weight capacity
  • Zinc plated
  • Thick bar

Cons:

  • Uneven knurling

The CAP Mega Hex Bar is a budget trap bar that delivers a silver steel bar that is simple and functional. This is a thicker bar than the CAP Barbell Olympic Super Trap Bar, which accounts for the fact that it has a greater maximum weight capacity at 1000 pounds. This bar is zinc plated. Unfortunately, the knurling on this bar is pretty passive and quite inconsistent. 

Check the best price here.

8. Eleiko Öppen Deadlift Bar

Eleiko Öppen Deadlift Bar

Pros:

  • Thick, round steel tubing
  • Open-ended frame design
  • Max user weight = 1000 lbs

Cons:

  • Very pricey

The Eleiko Öppen Deadlift Bar is a premium-level bar that delivers at the high end on all levels. The steel used here is thick round, high spec tubing. This is an open-ended frame design, allowing for easy access and more versatile training options. You can stand this bar on its end to make it easy to load plates onto the bar. The max weight allowance on this trap bar is 1000 pounds. 

This is easily the most expensive trap bar on this list. It’s a very impressive bar but will be out of the price range of many users. 

Trap Bar 101

The trap bar was invented by Al Gerard, a North Carolina powerlifter and engineer, who was looking for a way to deadlift despite ongoing back issues. The first trap bar was introduced in 1986. The original bar had a diamond shape. When it began to take hold in the marketplace in the early 2000s, manufacturers tweaked the design to a more hexagonal shape. This was done to provide more room within the frame for the user to work. 

The next innovation in the trap bar design was the introduction of the open frame. This removed one side frame enclosure to allow for easier access. It required counterbalancing of the remainder of the frame. This innovation made the trap bar more versatile, allowing it to be used for a variety of exercises

How to Do the Trap Bar Deadlift

  1. Place weights on the T-Bar and step inside the bar. Make sure the handles are in line with your legs.
  2. Drive your hips back and slightly bend your news as you grab the handles.
  3. Take a deep breath, create tension in your lats with a tall chest and stand up.
  4. Drive your hips back, slightly bending your knees, and find the floor to return. 

If You Don’t Have A Trap Bar

This article is all about buying the best trap bar for your home gym. In the meantime, a great version of the deadlift that very closely mimics the trap bar deadlift is the suitcase version of the exercise. You can perform this exercise with a pair of dumbbells or kettlebells.

Just like the trap bar version, the suitcase version is applicable to everyday life. If you have ever had to carry heavy grocery bags in both hands, you have done a movement similar to this before. Here’s how to do it …

  1. With your feet hip-width apart, and the weight sitting just outside the feet, drive your hips back, place your hands in each weight and lift your chest.
  2. Take a deep breath and stand up, with the weights staying outside of your body. 
  3. As you lower, drive your hip back and unlock your news to set the kettlebells or dumbbells back on the floor.

You need to keep your lats tense and engaged in this exercise. An easy way to check on this is that if the weights hit your toes on the way down, then you have let your chest collapse, and your lats are not engaged.

Using kettlebells makes it easier to find the floor than using dumbbells. If you are using dumbbells and are having trouble itching the floor, either don’t aim to hit the ground or place blocks by your sides and aim to hit the blocks.

Why Use A Trap Bar for Deadlifts?

The trap bar is also known as the Hex Bar, because it is in the shape of a hexagon. The handles are on the side and you step into the middle of it. The trap bar deadlift is like a suitcase deadlift, but you can add more weight than you could using kettlebells or dumbbells. The set up to use a hex bar is the same setup as a kettlebell suitcase deadlift, except you don’t need to worry about spacing the weights since the trap bar has them in a fixed location.

Easier Learning Curve

The standard bar deadlift can be quite daunting for beginners. The trap bar version, on the other hand, has an easier learning curve. That is the reason that the Army has recently introduced the trap bar version of the deadlift into their Army Combat Fitness Test (ACFT). According to the Army top brass …

Trap (Hex) bars are significantly easier (lower injury risk) for untrained Soldiers to learn and execute lifts…To date, we’ve tested more than 500 untrained Soldiers with zero reported injuries.

A trap bar bar allows you to lift more weight and is also higher off the floor. If you are struggling to get in a good starting squat position due to the depth required, a trap Bbar is a great way to work on it.

More Convenient

A trap bar overcomes the problem of having the weight in front of your body. When you do the standard barbell deadlift, you are having to pull the bar up the front of your body. This can be uncomfortable, especially if the bar drags up your mid-thighs. There is also a tendency to round the spine and have a forward tilting torso with the standard deadlift. With the load at your sides in the trap bar version, there is far less likelihood that you will round your lower back.

Reduced Bicep and Rotator Stress

A major benefit of the trap bar when deadlifting is that it reduces stress of the biceps. When you use a mixed grip on the straight bar deadlift, there is a possibility of overloading the bicep on the arm rather than forward palm facing if you have a slight elbow bend. This has been the cause of many torn biceps. The trap bar places your hands in neutral side positioning, greatly reducing biceps involvement.

If you have rotator cuff issues, you may experience pain due to the unnatural forward pull on the shoulder joint when you perform a straight bar deadlift. With a trap bar, your shoulders are at a more neutral position.

Versatility

The trap bar has more uses than just for deadlifts. This is a pretty versatile piece of gym gear. It is ideal for doing the farmer’s walk. Because you’re carrying the load with a fixed bar, you’ll have more stability through the action. If you are planning to use your trap bar for the farmer’s walk, I suggest buying an open frame trap bar as this will allow you to move more freely. 

The trap bar can also be used for overpressing exercises, lunges, step-ups, and rack pulls. 

Athletic Applications

Several studies have shown that the trap bar version of the deadlift has greater sports application transfer than the standard version of the exercise. A 2011 study concluded that …

The enhanced mechanical stimulus obtained with the hexagonal barbell suggests that in general, l the HBD (Hexagonal Bar Deadlift) is a more effective exercise than the SBD (Straight Bar Deadlift.)

Another study found that the trap bar deadlift was better at developing explosive power. The study reported:

These results suggest that the barbells led to different patterns of muscle activation and that the hexagonal barbell may be more effective at developing maximal force, power, and velocity.

Trap Bar for Deadlifts

The trap bar allows you to do every type of deadlift except for the sumo deadlift, where your feet are wider than the frame would allow. Because your knees are not impeded by the path of the bar, you have more freedom as to your lower body positioning. The quarter squat starting position will allow you to more fully engage your quads while also maintaining a more upright torso position. This provides you with the benefits of a traditional back squat without the problem of compressive load on the spine. 

A benefit of deadlifting with a trap bar is that the bar doesn’t scrape up your shins and thighs on the way up. When you’re in the top position of the exercise with a straight bar, however, the bar is resting against your thighs. This puts you in a very stable position. With the trap bar, though, you are in a less stable position. That will rely on you keeping your core fully engaged.

Trap Bar Buyer’s Guide

Here are four things to check for when you’re shopping for a trap bar:

  • Open or Closed Design – you can purchase trap bars that are closed frame so that you have to step inside of it to do the exercise. Others feature an open frame design. It is really a matter of preference as to which design you select, with no biomechanical or performance advantage to either option. However, the open frame style bar is more versatile, making it easier to do exercises such as the Farmer’s Walk.
  • Hand Knurling – the knurling on the handle is designed to strengthen your grip and make it more comfortable. However, you don’t want a bar with knurling that is too aggressive. Medium knurling will enable a secure hold without tearing up your palm when you load up with max poundage.
  • Olympic vs Standard  Sleeves – you can buy trap Bars that take both Olympic (2-inch) and standard (1-inch) weight plates. You should go for a bar that accommodates Olympic plates or invest in a sleeve attachment that allows you to convert a standard sleeve into one that will fit your Olympic plates. 
  • Bar Finish – a trap bar is more likely to be abused, dropped, and generally mistreated than most other pieces of gym equipment. Look for a bar that has an anti-scratch coating and that is rust-resistant. 

Conclusion

A trap bar is a great addition to any home gym that will allow for a whole new level of heavy-duty free weight training. Trap bar design and quality have come a long way in recent years and now you can get high-quality bars across all price points. The best top-end bar in the market right now is the Rogue TB-1 Trap Bar. If you’re after a high-performing budget trap bar, I recommend the CAP Barbell Olympic Trap Bar. Finally, the best bar for taller users is the PapaBabe Hex Bar

This article was last updated on December 20, 2021 .

By Steve Theunissen

Steve is a former gym owner, personal trainer, and 20-year veteran of the fitness writing industry. Steve has written for websites such as Hardcore Muscle, Fitness, Carblite, and Men's Health and has been a fitness expert columnist for 2 international magazines.