Not everyone is comfortable with the Deadlift, a fact you can witness by going into a commercial gym and seeing the exercise frequently butchered—assuming people do it at all.
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But fear not. I have a variation of the Deadlift that can build serious strength without putting too much stress on your body.
The Trap Bar Jefferson Deadlift is a variation of the Jefferson Deadlift where you actually deadlift the bar between your legs.
This variation is beneficial because it is self-correcting. Anyone can use it to make it work for them. It limits the strain on your spine because your lower body does most of the work. Adopting this method can head off any injury you might sustain if the regular Jefferson Deadlift becomes problematic, or if you just want a new go-to deadlift progression.
Here’s how to perform the Trap Bar Jefferson Deadlift.
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Your position and mechanics should be as if you were doing a Plié Squat. If you’re unfamiliar with the basics of the move, a ballet dance class might be in order.
To do a Plié Squat, set your feet wider than shoulder-width and turn your toes out to the side at about 45 degrees. Your knees should stay aligned with your ankles and your feet should be planted on the ground, all while enabling efficient torque and muscle activation throughout your body.
Grasp both handles of the trap bar and maintain your grip throughout the movement.
Your center of gravity should be vertically over the load, and your your feet should straddle the trap bar in a Plié position to provide a broader base of support from which to generate force. Your hips should be even with your knees at the beginning of the pull, especially when you add weight to the bar.
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After you have a good plié squat position with your feet firmly planted, grab the trap bar, keep your chest up, lock your spine and externally rotate your inner elbows so they are pointing forward. Focus on keeping your ribs and hips down. Spread the floor as you lift the weight up, pushing down through the heels of your lead leg and back foot, moving your knees and hips at the same time. To make sure you do the movement correctly, there should be NO rotation; you should be tight throughout the movement.
Change It Up!
Though the Trap Bar Jefferson Deadlift might seem awkward because of the plié component, get past any discomfort and learn the movement. This variation of the Deadlift facilitates uncommon ranges of motion for improved health and performance, ultimately increasing your quad strength, leg drive, core strength, hip mobility and durability along with total body strength and power.