The Best Hex Bars to Shape Your Strength Training

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Sure, the barbell gets a lot of praise for its strength-building benefits, but in some scenarios, it’s not the right tool for the job. Especially for newer dumbbell exercises like deadlifts and rack pulls, dumbbells can force you into awkward positions that can lead to potential injury, and therefore, less training time and more recovery time. Fortunately, however, there are other options that allow for effective strength training without the necessary expertise.

Hex bars, for example, place more emphasis on the quads to pull the weight off the ground, relying on more muscle groups to move the weight and making things a little easier than a traditional barbell. Combine that with the yoke-style grip, where your hands are parallel to your toes, and the hex bar – also known as a trap bar – can be a great tool when looking to add deadlifts or squats. other lower body exercises to your strength training. routine.

There are a handful of these specialty hex bars, but not all of them are up to the task. Before you get on the platform and dive into the best hex bars on the market, here are a few things to consider.

What to consider when choosing a hex bar

Knurling

Like any barbell, hex bars feature a knurling pattern on the handle to aid in better handling during lifts. The diamond-style engraving is designed to dig into your palms or weightlifting gloves, creating a friction-like feel that helps you hold the bar better throughout the lift. Knurling can vary in intensity. While some hex bars may feature a subtle pattern that provides some grip, others may boast a more aggressive tread pattern designed for maximum grip. These styles of high octane knurling patterns can be a bit abrasive for newcomers, so it’s worth checking out before making a purchase.

weight capacity

While hex bars can be used for a multitude of exercises, the two main modalities where these specialized bars come into play are the deadlift and the barbell row. These lower body moves use a variety of muscle groups, which means you’re likely to move a lot of weight once you get used to the structure of the lift itself. For this reason, it is essential that you choose a trap bar that is up to the potential task at hand. Hex bars can range in weight capacity from 500 to 1,000 pounds. Consider your training goals and strength potential to ensure your specialty barbell can handle the loads you will place on it – or, at least, hope to place on it in the future.

Interior dimensions

A hex bar gets its name from the hexagonal shape it displays in the center. This is where the athlete stands when using the barbell, so it helps to have the proper space to work from. Most trap bars have an inside diameter between 25 and 30 inches, which should be enough for most athletes. For taller athletes or those who don’t want to feel constricted in the bar, I recommend going with a step setup. This essentially removes half of the hexagonal shape, allowing for an open front or back.

Handle location

Similar to the inside diameter, your hands should not feel constricted or enlarged when working with a hex bar. Most snare bars should feature handles at the sleeves, which should provide a comfortable lifting experience, as long as the inside diameter is adequate enough for your position. However, this feature comes down to personal preference and may require some experimentation to really find the right handle setup for your personal needs.

How we tested

Over my years of bodybuilding, I’ve gotten my hands on a number of hex bars, including a handful listed in this roundup. When looking for a hex bar to use for training, I often consider visible features, including perceived strength of the bar, grip placement, and how much space I have in the platform. Additional features, such as the hatch bar’s ability to be stored in a power rack, or whether it can stand upright for easier plate layout, are also considered. If you are looking to add a hex bar to your home gym setup, it is essential that you choose equipment that you will be comfortable with from the start, as there is nothing worse than buying fitness equipment you hate to use week after week.

Now let’s find our splint, lock it in, and step down to the best hex bars available today.

Force USA Walkthrough Trap Bar

BEST OVERALL HEX BAR

Force USA Walkthrough Trap Bar

  • The open back lends itself to more modalities like frame carry, presses and more.
  • The bar weighs 65 pounds without plates, which may be too much for more novice athletes
  • Inside diameter: 29 inches
  • Weight Capacity: 661 lbs.

    Functional, stylish, and ready for any new PR, the Force USA Walkthrough Trap Bar is a perfect addition to any home workout facility. I really like the integrated bar jack profile, which makes it easy to add and remove plates, and the open back allows for additional exercises like frame carrying and more. Keep in mind, though, that this hex bar weighs 65 pounds unloaded, which can be cumbersome at times, especially for those who are just training with dumbbells.

      Eleiko Öppen deadlift bar

      BEST IMPROVED HEX BAR

      Eleiko Öppen deadlift bar

      • Built-in rolling jack allows for easy transitions between lifting sets and loading or unloading plates
      • Only one handle adjustment, which can limit training potential
      • Inside diameter: 25 inches
      • Weight Capacity: 1,102 lbs.

        If you want to upgrade your dumbbell options at home, why not trust one of the most reputable brands in strength sports? The Öppen Deadlift barbell from Eleiko features an open-back design for easier entry, and when you get down to pulling heavy weight, the knurling featured on the neutral handles is top-notch. While I’d love to see additional handle placement for an added feel of grip variety, there’s no denying the power exemplified in this quality piece of fitness equipment.

          CAP Barbell Olympic Trap Bar

          HEXAGONAL BAR BEST BUDGET

          CAP Barbell Olympic Trap Bar

          • 29-inch width allows plenty of room between sleeves, accommodating more athletes at all levels
          • Neutral grips don’t have a knurled patch, which can make gripping a little painful
          • Inside diameter: 29 inches
          • Weight capacity: 500 pounds

            Taking the traditional hexagonal shape – okay, octagonal – the CAP Barbell Olympic Trap Bar can be a great, budget-friendly addition to your home workout space. The 500-pound weight capacity should be enough for most enthusiasts, and I especially like the roomy 29-inch interior that can accommodate a plethora of athletes. However, I would recommend chalking or tying it when using this hex bar. The grips don’t feature a knurling pattern, which leaves you with a weakened connection to the weight, especially if you’ve already sweated through a few RPE 9 exercises.

              Rep Fitness Trap Bar

              BEST HEX BAR FOR BEGINNERS

              Rep Fitness Trap Bar

              • Simple hexagonal shape creates better weight distribution as you get used to barbell deadlifts
              • The medium knurling can leave you wanting more, especially when pulling heavier weights.
              • Inside diameter: 28 inches
              • Weight capacity: 500 pounds

                Learn the ropes of weight training? The Rep Fitness Trap Bar features a simple design that creates better weight distribution as you hone your kinetic chain for serious pulling action. I’ve trained with a handful of Rep Fitness Trap bars over the years and have always enjoyed the simple, easy-to-digest nature of these specialty bars. However, you can exceed the medium knurling, which requires chalking if you plan to get close to this rig’s 500-pound weight capacity.

                  Titan Fitness Rackable Hex Trap Bar v3

                  BEST HEX BAR FOR POWER RACKS

                  Titan Fitness Rackable Hex Trap Bar v3

                  • Extended weight sleeves let you really chase the 800 pound capacity
                  • The narrow diameter of the handle can feel constricting, especially for larger athletes
                  • Inside diameter: 22 inches
                  • Weight capacity: 800 pounds

                    I’ve always liked this hex bar for the simple fact that it can be securely attached to J-hooks in a power rack for presses and other modalities. The medium knurling is nice in the hands, and I really like the extended sleeves, which can be great when using thicker bumper plates when looking for new PRs. Although the coating may be prone to chipping with prolonged use, this can be a great specialty bar for anyone building their dream power rack setup within the confines of their garage.

                      Valor Fitness Hex Trap Bar

                      BEST MULTI-GRIP HEXAGONAL BAR

                      Valor Fitness OB-HEX Hex Trap Bar

                      • Four different grip modalities offer a variety of training possibilities for better grip strength
                      • Short loading sleeves can be a problem if you don’t use thinner cast iron plates
                      • Inside diameter: 22 inches
                      • Weight capacity: 500 pounds

                        Grip strength is essential in any dumbbell movement, and you can train grip strength by using dumbbells at different thicknesses and angles. Instead of loading up your home gym with a slew of bars, the Valor Fitness OB-HEX includes four varieties of different diameter handles for a multitude of workout possibilities. I recommend you use this hex bar with traditional cast iron plates though. Although it can be noisy, it will pair well with shortened plate sleeves, especially if you are moving loads over 300 pounds.

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                          Richard V. Johnson