Trap bar deadlifts are sometimes touted as a safer alternative to the deadlift. Jason Ferrugia's article addresses that idea, and some uses for the trap bar deadlift.
Are Trap Bar Deadlifts Safer Than Straight Bar Deadlifts?
It's a good article. I actually prefer trap bar deadlifts with my clients, for a few reasons:
- less shin damage. Pulling a conventional deadlift up off the floor (or off pins in a rack) demands the bar takes the straightest, most direct path to lockout. That means it rides right up your legs. The knurling can tear at skin and open up abrasions and cuts. This is a small price to pay for an athlete getting stronger, and it can often be avoided with judicious use of long socks and/or sweat pants, but it happens. Most clients, especially fat loss clients, aren't looking for very unaesthetic bar scrapes.
- easier hand position. For most people, it's easier to find the right spot for their hands on the trap bar.
- I find them easier to coach, for the reasons above - easier to tell people where to put their hands, less shin scraping, and therefore no worries about people trying to push the bar away instead of sitting back into the weight.
- They fit a nice middle ground between the squat and the deadlift. This allows me to cover a larger swathe of territory with one lift, especially for once-a-week or twice-a-week clients.
I do agree with him, though - for most clients, I avoid maximal lifts. But I'm not having fat loss clients pull 1-rep-maximums anyway, nor am I having most older clients pull much heavier than a 5-rep max. So it's a good exercise for that.
The article is worth reading, and it's got Jason Ferrugia's thoughts down in an organized fashion. If you haven't thought about trap bar vs. straight bar, this one will get you thinking.