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Build bigger and stronger muscles with a hex bar

Get to grips with your gym’s hex bar to build bigger and stronger muscles across your body, says New Body Plan editorial director Joe Warner

All good gyms should have a hex bar. But in most of them they stand gathering dust in a corner, neglected in favour of more recognisable equipment including Olympic barbells, dumbbells, EZ-bars, cable machines or the Smith machine.

But the hex bar – which is also known as the trap bar – offers many advantages it’s impossible to replicate with these other types of weight-training equipment.

To find all the information you need about the hex bar, don’t miss our extensive expert guide. Just hit the “How to use a trap bar to get big and strong muscles” story preview box below to discover how to get the most out of this clever bit of kit and get the results you want faster!

How to use a trap bar to get big and strong muscles

What is a hex bar?

A hex bar, sometimes known as a trap bar, is type of weight-lifting bar. Unlike a barbell, which is completely straight, a hex bar has two ends (on which you load weight plates to increase resistance) but a hexagonal shaped middle section.

To use this bar you stand inside this hexagonal space, then grip one of the two handle options. Most bars have a higher handle option and lower handle option. A higher handle makes the bar easier to use for people with poor mobility or flexibility. Why? Because they don’t have to position their body as low for their hands to grip the handles.

What moves can I do with a hex bar?

The most common moves performed with this type of bar are the deadlift, the stiff-legged deadlift (or Romanian deadlift), and shrugs. You can also use this bar for loaded carries, such as farmer’s walks. This is a fantastic type of high-intensity cardio conditioning drill to do at the end of a workout to maximise the number of calories you burn in your session. And it will improve cardiovascular fitness, making you not only leaner but fitter too.

But you can’t use the hex bar for doing lunges or any lunge-type movement like you can with a barbell. That’s because the shape of the bar means you’ll hit your standing leg with the bar as soon as your leading leg lunges forwards, backwards or to the sides.

How much does a hex bar weigh?

There is no formal international standard for the length, width or weight or a trap bar. This is in contrast to an Olympic dumbbell, which must be exactly 7ft (2.13m) in length and weigh exactly 20kg (44lb). Most hex bars weigh between 20kg and 30kg. It’s usual for them to weigh any more or any less than that range.

If you want to know more about the hex bar – also called a trap bar – don’t forget to check out our complete guide to this unique type of weight-training equipment by clicking the link above!

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