How Much Does A Trap Bar Weigh?

published by: Debbie Luna
Last Updated:
August 2, 2022

The trap barbell is a relatively new addition to modern weightlifter’s arsenals, having only been invented several decades ago - a relatively short span of time in comparison to how long barbells and dumbbells have been in use.

Because of its recent creation, trap bars have yet to be entirely standardized, and few exercisers are actually familiar with the various characteristics of these barbell types.

One of the most common questions asked is “how much does a trap bar weigh?”

Unfortunately, there is not a single standard answer to this (like in the case of the standard barbell), as a trap barbell can weigh anywhere between forty and one hundred pounds, depending on exactly what kind of trap bar it is, requiring the exerciser to learn the differences between these variants.

The Different Kinds of Trap Bars and Their Weights

As there is no standard trap bar weight or general design as is the case in other forms of free weight equipment, differing brands and styles of the trap bar will each have their own corresponding range of weight - with two trap bars of the same design but different makers being of different weights, unfortunately.

1. Conventional or Low Handle Trap Bars

The conventional trap bar is the most commonly seen variant of the hexagonal barbell, with six sides, poles at both ends fit for Olympic standard weight plates and handles that align in elevation with the rest of the barbell so as to produce a parallel horizontal plane.

The conventional trap bar is often modeled after Olympic standard barbells in terms of looks and material, with its total weight usually matching that of an Olympic standardized straight barbell: forty-five pounds or twenty kilograms when unloaded.

2. Elevated Grip or High Handle Trap Bars

A rather minor addition to the otherwise entirely conventional trap bar, hexagonal bars with raised handles are meant to aid the exerciser in achieving a greater range of motion without the barbell itself impeding their movement.

high bar trap bar

This addition of more metal clearly will also add to the total weight of the trap bar itself, thereby usually clocking in anywhere between fifty and sixty pounds or twenty-three to twenty-seven kilograms, depending on the brand of the barbell.

3. Reinforced/Heavy Duty Trap Bars

Meant to be used in particularly heavy shrugs or deadlifts, reinforced trap bars are generally made of denser material and in larger proportions so as to create a more stable and rigid barbell, even in the case of large amounts of weight being used.

The exact weight of these reinforced trap barbells will vary quite widely between brands and materials used, as well as the presence of elevated handles. 

As a general estimate however, one can assume that a reinforced trap bar will weigh a minimum of sixty-five pounds or approximately thirty kilograms - significantly heavier than the standardized Olympic straight barbell or the conventional trap bar.

4. Open Trap Bars

One major issue often found in the usage of a trap bar is that the exerciser’s mobility is limited by the bar itself, with their legs often hitting the inside of the trap bar if they attempt to walk forward or otherwise perform a similar motion.

The open trap bar was invented in order to solve this very problem; with one side of the otherwise hexagonal shape being removed so as to allow a full range of lower body motion to be used without worry of the legs hitting the bar.

In addition to this, open trap bars are also often created with far wider proportions than other hexagonal barbells - causing them to weigh anywhere between sixty-five and eighty pounds or thirty kilograms to thirty-six kilograms while unloaded.

5. Multi-Grip Hex Bars

Multi-grip hex bars or multi-handle hex bars are an advanced development in trap bar manufacturing wherein the trap bar will present more than a single type of handle on both sides of the exerciser, allowing the trap bar to be used in exercises that require the exerciser to grip the bar in a non-neutral form.

Much like the elevated trap bar where one pair of handles is added, the multi-grip hex bar will correspondingly weigh more than its conventional single-handled counterparts, placing it anywhere between fifty-five and sixty-five pounds or twenty-five kilograms to twenty-nine kilograms depending on the number of handles and their internal structure.

Fortunately, certain brands of multi-grip trap bars feature interchangeable and detachable handles instead of the usual fixed handle of conventional trap bars, allowing the added weight of these different handles to be mitigated at the cost of minor stability detriments.

What is a Trap Bar Used For?

The trap bar is used in order to present an altered distribution of load and angle of resistance in a free weight exercise, usually resulting in a safer and more natural movement in the case of heavy compound exercises normally performed with a straight barbell instead.

This is most noticeable in such exercises like the deadlift or shrug, wherein altering the distribution of load by surrounding the exerciser with the weight instead of placing it in front of them will result in less shear force on the spinal column and a more even muscle group activation throughout the body.

Trap Bar Benefits

Apart from greater safety potential and changes in muscle activation of an exercise, the usage of the trap bar also presents several benefits over the usage of a pair of dumbbells or a standard barbell.

These primarily revolve around the fact that the trap bar does not present a mono-directional angle of resistance, improving the exerciser’s balance, reducing the risk of acute injury development and making the performance of certain types of exercises possible - even if they wouldn’t be with an ordinary barbell.

empty trap bar

As an added bonus, the majority of trap bar variations feature handles that allow the exerciser to hold the bar in a neutral grip, something that is impossible without attachments when performing exercises with the standard barbell.

This neutral grip ensures the exerciser reduces the risk of chronic wrist and forearm injuries, as well as aids in maximizing their grip strength by providing a more advantageous positioning of the hands in relation to the rest of the body.

Are the Trap Bar and Hex Bar the Same?

Both the terms trap bar and hexagonal or hex bar refer to the same type of barbell - that is, a piece of fitness equipment made of steel or a similarly hard material shaped in a hexagonal or semi-hexagonal shape for the purposes of loading with weighted plates.

The hexagonal barbell is casually nicknamed the “trap” bar as it induces greater activation of the trapezius muscle group atop the shoulders during the performance of the deadlift and trap bar shrug - two of the most common uses of the hexagonal barbell.

As such, any fitness media referring to “hex” bars, “trap” bars, “hexagonal” bars or even the “Gerard” bar (a la its original creator) all refer to the same six-sided barbell.

How to Choose the Right Kind of Trap Bar

With the numerous types of trap bars all presenting different weights, benefits and disadvantages, exercisers may feel overwhelmed when presented with more than one option in their local gym.

Despite the complexities of each brand and model of trap bar, picking the correct one is relatively simple; the exerciser need only match the handles of the hexagonal bar with the exercises in their training program.

For trap bar shrugs, trap bar deadlifts or similar pulling exercises performed with a fully extended elbow, the standard trap bar without elevated handles or additional reinforcement is all that is required - except in the case of advanced exercisers performing particularly heavy sets of these exercises, wherein a reinforced trap bar is more advisable so as to avoid damaging the equipment.

For exercisers performing more functional movements that involve moving instead of remaining in a stationary area, the open trap bar is the ideal candidate, allowing the exerciser to walk without impediment.

Finally, multi-grip and elevated grip hex bars are far more specific in their usage, with multi-grip hex bars allowing for movements that are otherwise not possible with the standard neutral grip handle of conventional trap bars - and elevated grip hex bars allowing for a more stable lift or a shorter range of motion if a pulling exercise is being performed.

References

1. Lockie, Robert & Lazar, Adrina. (2017). Exercise Technique: Applying the Hexagonal Bar to Strength and Power Training. Strength and Conditioning Journal. 39. 1. 10.1519/SSC.0000000000000327.

2. Lockie RG, Moreno MR, Lazar A, Risso FG, Liu TM, Stage AA, Birmingham-Babauta SA, Torne IA, Stokes JJ, Giuliano DV, Davis DL, Orjalo AJ, Callaghan SJ. The 1 Repetition Maximum Mechanics of a High-Handle Hexagonal Bar Deadlift Compared With a Conventional Deadlift as Measured by a Linear Position Transducer. J Strength Cond Res. 2018 Jan;32(1):150-161. doi: 10.1519/JSC.0000000000001781. PMID: 28394830.

3. “Trap Bar.” 2022. Wikipedia. March 16, 2022. Retrieved July 14 2022 from:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trap_bar.

Debbie (Deb) started powerlifting and Olympic lifting in High School as part of her track team's programming; She continues to train in order to remain athletic. Inspire US allows Deb to share information related to training, lifting, biomechanics, and more.
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