3 Ways to Get Stronger With a Trap Bar

Try these Gronk-approved Trap Bar exercises to build football strength.

For six NFL seasons, Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski has tormented NFL defenses. He's too big and strong for faster defensive backs to control. And he's too quick and agile for big linebackers to cover.

He's almost always a mismatch, and defenses still haven't found an answer to him.

Much of this ability is rooted in his strength. Without it, he wouldn't have the horsepower to move his 265-pound frame with such explosive speed, nor would he have the ability to overpower some of the largest guys on the field.

To build his strength, Gronk's go-to piece of equipment is the Gronk Fitness Trap Bar. Here are three of his favorite exercises, demonstrated by his brother Dan, who also played tight end for several NFL teams.

Trap Bar Deadlift

Trap Bar Deadlift

The Trap Bar Deadlift is one of the single best exercises for athletes. It strengthens the glutes, quads and hamstrings, and develops strong traps, back, grip and core muscles. It's truly a full-body move.

It's been found to be the best Deadlift variation for building explosive power. The position of the weight next to your body rather than in front like in a traditional Barbell Deadlift allows you to produce more power because it's more of a vertical movement.

Also, most trap bars, like the Gronk Fitness Trap Bar, come with handles that are a few inches above the standard bar height of a Deadlift, which accommodates taller athletes like Rob and Dan.

How to:

  • Stand with your feet hip-width apart in the center of a trap bar.
  • Bend your hips and knees, and reach down to grasp the handles at your sides.
  • Tighten your core, pull your shoulders down and back, and tuck your chin.
  • Extend your hips and knees, and drive through your heels to stand up straight.
  • Squeeze your glutes at the top of the movement.
  • Lower the trap bar to the ground and repeat.

Sets/Reps: 5x5

RELATED: How Your Deadlift Max Will Make You Faster

Trap Bar Shrugs

Trap Bar Shrug

Not much can intimidate an opponent like a massive set of upper traps. These impressive muscles, which sit on the top of your shoulders, are a quick way to judge if someone puts in work in the weight room.

They are "mirror muscles," but they also play an important role in contact sports.

Having meaty traps adds a layer of durability to an area susceptible to contact. Also, strong traps contribute to neck strength, which is one of the easiest ways to prevent or reduce the severity of concussions—although building true neck strength is more complex than doing a few Shrugs.

Performing Shrugs with a trap bar hits your traps—hence the name of the bar—more effectively than a barbell. But don't spend too much time on Trap Bar Shrugs. This an assistance exercise that should be done no more than once a week at the end of a workout.

How to:

  • Set up exactly like the Trap Bar Deadlift and pick the bar up.
  • Keeping your core tight, shrug your shoulders up toward your ears.
  • Lower your shoulders in control and repeat.

Sets/Reps: 3x10

Trap Bar Farmer's Walks

Trap Bar Farmer's Walk

Although it's a simple exercise, the Farmer's Walk is one of the most underrated core developers.

Walking with a heavy load forces your core and hips to stabilize while you're moving. This essential attribute allows for more powerful athletic movements with greater balance and body control.

Also, carrying a heavy trap bar places your upper-body muscles under tension, building muscle in a similar fashion as the Trap Bar Deadlift. The Gronk Fitness Trap Bar includes thick handles, which are especially challenging for your grip.

How to:

  • Set up exactly like the Trap Bar Deadlift and pick the bar up.
  • Keep your core tight and shoulders pulled down and back.
  • Walk under control for the specified distance.

Sets/Distance: 3-5x20 yards

RELATED: Why You Should Train the Core While Standing Up

Photo Credit: Getty Images // Thinkstock