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The Trap Bar -- And Some Armchair Expert Advice

A few years back, I was at the National Strength Coaches Convention and if you've ever been at the NSCA, you know that on the convention floor they have all the "latest and greatest" pieces of equipment.

One of the pieces of equipment that I tried was an interesting looking incline bench which docked into a power rack etc etc, now, the thing of it was in the area of the rack where the bar rested, there was a giant bolt at the attachment point which was just above the bar cradle.

So, when you did your incline pressing and went to put the bar back, you had to move the bar around these bolts, instead of straight down which complicated the process.

My interpretation was that this contraption was put together by an engineer who didnt know how to train or actually train with it -- and it was confirmed when I talked to some of the guys in the booth.

-- It was a worthy attempt -- but training equipment designed by people who dont train is "problematic" - to say the least, and when YOU train, you can spot this type of issue right away or at least you should be able to.

Now, there's been some recent grumbling about the Gerard Trap Bar -- some folks that are flapping their gums about it being "too small" -- about the handles not being wide enough, about the handles being too small etc etc. and blah blah blah.

Keep in mind that our manufacturer can build anything to any spec we want, so, if any of those issues were, in fact, issues, we could make whatever adjustments are necessary.

However, I train with the Trap Bar, and so has Dr. Ken, and Brooks Kubik, and so do thousands of other people in the world over the last two+ decades, and I have yet to hear any of those issues from anybody -- anybody who actually trains with one --

So, the only conclusion that I can draw is that anyone who claims there are such issues, doesn't actually train -- another arm chair expert. And if you don't think so, ask 'em yourself -- see what their last workout was with it, see how much progress they have made from it (or any exercise), and ask why they would make such claims in the first place.

I would hope that you would'nt ever think of taking any training advice from anyone who doesnt train, but there are people out there who evidently do.

Meanwhile, several hundred people are currently training with the *New* Trap Bar and making big gains, (myself included) and there are many more yet to come.

If you want to add your name to the long list, here's the quickest way to do so: Order a Gerard Trap Bar

On the site so far we have all kinds of pictures illustrating exactly *what* the Trap Bar is all about -- how much it will hold, the finish, the knurling, the exercises etc, and we will have some videos shortly further illustrating said points. Every aspect of the *NEW* Trap Bar was chosen for a reason: the shape, the material, the finish, the knurling -- there is nothing "random" about them. They were all chosen because they were the best possible choice of alll the other choices out there, so to train with anything else would be a compromise.

But I urge you not to take my word for it, see it for yourself and make up your own mind...

And, of course, if you want ANY custom option, we would be happy to make it happen for you.

As always, if you have any questions or need anything else, please do not hesitate to contact us, and oh, by the way, tonight I'll be doing my usual 5 sets of 2 with the Trap Bar in the deadlift -- I'm up 20 pounds since the summer started -- with some shrugs and rows thrown in for good measure.

Train hard,
John Wood

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XL Trap Bar Now Available

The demand became too great so we now introduce the *NEW* Trap Bar XL for studs who want to lift even heavier.

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Some Damn Fine Collars

If you're going to be training with a Gerard Trap Bar, you'll need a pair of quality collars -- it's just that simple.

As you deadlift or shrug with your Trap Bar, the plates will have a tendency to move around -- and they may start moving toward the end of the bar which will throw off your balance.

A good pair of collars will let you finish your set without worrying about that happening.

Okie Grip Collars Okie Grip Collars

After all, you want to concentrate on getting stronger, not on whether your plates will fall off. We tried a lot of barbell collars and found the Okie Grip Collars to be the very best which is why they are featured here.

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Custom Trap Bars

The basic Gerard Trap Bar that we feature is more than enough for just about anyone. The handle-size, loading-capacity and overall dimensions will fit athletes of all sizes and shapes.

However, if you would like a "tricked out" Trap Bar, our manufacturer can probably make it happen. This might include custom dimensions, thicker handles, or a longer loading capacity. Just let us know what you need.

One feature that you might see on some of the knock-off versions is "high/low" handles a second set of handles welded a few inches higher above the regular handles, supposedly for taller athletes.

We have found through regular Trap Bar workouts in hundreds of strength programs all over the country and the world that these handles don't really create much of an advantage for taller athletes, nor are they useful in terms of the overall design which is why we do not feaure them here.

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5 Trap Bar Movements for Super Strength

With the re-introduction of the trap bar has also come a lot of questions, -- and one of those question is which are the best exercises to do with it so that's what I'm going to cover today:

1. Trap Bar Deadlifts - Numero uno on the list is the trap bar deadlift, partly because this is the specific exercise the Trap Bar was created for
and partly because this exercise is so productive.

A lot of people don't like, or just cant get the bar over their knees when they deadlift which obviously is not an issue with the trap bar. In addition, the natural advantages of having the weight in line with the bodys natural center of gravity makes this exercise much easier on the back.

2. Trap Bar Shrugs - A very close second, and a tremendous exercise. Way back in the day I was taught to do shrugs on a trap bar, and after that, could not understand why anyone would use anything but a trap bar for shrugs since a straight bar just wasn't as comfortable when it got dragged against the thighs.

If you want to build strong, powerful traps, (especially important if you play football) this is the exercise you should be doing.

3. Trap Bar Upright Row - Like the shrug movement except you bend
your arms and lift the elbows as you pull toward your ears. This one really hits the traps and upper back hard, due to the extra range of motion provided by the trap bar.

4. Trap Bar Deadlifts using blocks - there are two ways to utilize blocks when training with the trap bar, to either increase the range of motion (ie
you stand on them) which provides even more leg and hip development. Very effective for building "drive" in the legs.

5. The second method for using blocks is to decrease the range of motion by loading up the trap bar and supporting it on blocks. The Gerard trap bar isnt long enough to use in a power rack, nor does it need to be. By cutting down the range of motion, you can really overload the "top of the pull" This is a real power movement, also great for getting used to handling heavy weights.

That should about cover it, every single one of these movements is top notch. Obviously the focus is on basic movements for the largest and strongest muscles in the body.

This is by design, since those are the areas you need to focus on for best results.

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Trap Bar Deadlift Form

1. Stand inside the Gerard Trap Bar with feet slightly narrower than shoulder width

2. The ankles should line up slightly behind the weight loading area

3. Squat down with your hips as low as comfortable

4. Bend at the knees, not the hips while keeping your back straight and tight

5. Keep your head up and look straight foreward

6. Concentrate on "pushing" your feet through the floor while maintaining proper form

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A Workout You Can't Get Anywhere Else

With the re-birth of the Gerard Trap Bar, we though we would do something specia... We had our good friend Dr. Ken Lesitner ( who is no stranger to "Hard Training") put together a special Trap Bar workout.

As you may or may not know, Dr. Ken was one of the original proponents of the Gerard Trap Bars when it came out back in the 1980's and used it to train many of his Champion Power lifters. Dr. Ken also wrote several articles about it in his Steel Tip Newsletter as well as Powerlifting USA Magazine.

Anyhow, if you want a copy of Dr. Ken's Trap Bar workout, the only way to get it is to purchase a new Gerard Trap Bar for yourself. -- And we will send you a copy. This will be one of the very best decisions you could ever make in your training career.

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Will The Gerard Trap Bar Fit Me?

The Trap Bar will fit all athletes (Leistner Photo)

One unlikely concern that pops up from time to time is whether the Gerard Trap Bar will fit many larger athletes.

Not sure where this nonsense may have started but the fact of the matter is that the Gerard Trap Bar can be used by some of the biggest and strongest athletes in the world.

Tommy O'Riordin, pictured above, who trains with Dr. Ken Leistner, is 6'1" and weighs in at 290 lbs. and you can see there is plenty of room to spare as he uses the Trap Bar for rows and shrugs.

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Why Not Just Use Dumbbells

In response to the recent re-introduction of the Gerard Trap Bar, Jeremy wrote in:
"Hey John the Gerard Trap bar seem pretty cool but if you think about it all you have to do to get the same results is by using dumbbells. Just put a dumbbell in each and squat, and you will have to control to dumbbell in each hand so it might actually be better."
Jeremy, fair enough, and I'll be the first one to tell you that the dumbbell deadlift is a highly underrated and very underutilized exercise, however, in some respects, it does not hold a candle to the Trap Bar for some exercises.

Here are a few reasons as written by Paul Kelso in the Kelso Shrug System, published back in 1992:
1. It is sometimes difficult to get the bells into position without a spotter as many men can handle enormous poundages.

2. A lot of effort is bled off into the lats and other torso muscles as the trainee tries to stabilize the weights and keep them in the "groove."

3. Very few gyms stock dumbbells over 150 pounds.
And a bit of my two cents:

The Trap Bar was devised to handle some big poundages, 400 + at least in the deadlift and likely more for the shrug Movement.

As Paul mentions, few gyms stock dumbbells that heavy - few gyms stock dumbbells over 100 pounds and according to some news reports I've read, you just may get kicked out if you try deadlifting at all!

Now, as for the Trap Bar itself, it provides several unique, (as in cant be had with the normal choices) advantages:

According to Al Gerard as reported in Kelso's book:

1. The Gerard Trap Bar is designed as a deadlift training bar which provides reduced lower back stress and kneeshearing forces... It could be very useful to Olympic style lifters for increasing the drive off the floor. This would also be of aid in training the Squat, when using the deadlift movement on blocks

2. The Trap Bar may be used in place of equipment or in addition to that already in use.

3. Because of the Trap Bar's Balance, it provides leverage advantages that result in increased training intensity which everyone is looking for.

4. The Trap Bar is safer to use with certain high poundage movements; this is especially true in home gyms.

And finally, I believe the Trap Bar will become a standard piece of equipment in the Iron Game, and will bring back lost enthusiasm for a loft of people who, like yself, were getting a little discouracged because of lingering physical problems. Besides, it's fun to use. I also expect to see some deadlifting records broken as the word gets out about the Gerard Trap Bar."
Quite an interesting prognosis from something written over a decade and a half ago --no matter how you slice it, the Gerard Trap Bar is a winner.

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The Original Gerard Trap Bar is Back!

That's right, after nearly a decade out of the public eye the original Gerard Trap Bar is back and it's available right here: www.trapbartraining.com

Yes, it's the real deal, the original... We created the New Trap Bar according to Al Gerard's exact plans.

Tell the world!

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