Our fitness expert recommends this high-impact hex bar with versatile hand grip options and enduring weight capacity for nuanced full-body exercises.
Multiple models with varying grip options available, including raised and combo grips. Increased weight capacity. Weighs 52 pounds with 9-inch load sleeves. Twenty-five-inch width between handles gives room for comfortable workouts. Nuanced full-body workouts.
Aggressive knurled hand grips may cause blisters and require lifters to use gloves.
The 2 different grip options and longer sleeves make it very versatile, according to our expert.
Durable steel with intimidating black coating. Weight capacity of 1,000 pounds. Over 56 inches long and nearly 22 inches wide. Load bar length reaches nearly 12 inches. Higher weight capacity and longer load bar length allow nuanced workouts for all muscle groups.
Handles provide minimal knurling, which affects grip and feel.
Durable bar that our expert loves; supports a large amount of weight during high-impact legs, back, and shoulder exercises.
Durable material. Available at 20 kilograms with flat handles and at 25 kilograms with extended, upright handles for more complicated workouts. Load sleeves measure 10 inches long and 2 inches wide. Holds large amounts of weight for serious weight lifters.
Steel on the load bar may peel as weight is added and removed.
A well-built design that has excellent areas for grip and provides a wide enough space for most users.
Comes in a wide variety of finishes to match your home gym. Has a max capacity of 500 pounds. The 2 provided areas for grip are easy to keep a hold of during high-intensity lifting. It has a hollow steel design that allows it to be reasonably light without weights.
Can not be used with Olympic bumper plates, which is a bit of a letdown.
A well-built hex bar that our fitness expert highly recommends for its versatile grip positions and its steel construction.
Has a diamond pattern that allows for solid grip throughout. Comes with 2 snap strings for extra attachments. The handles can fold in, making it easy to store in compact places. Can withstand up to 800 pounds of weight. The sleeves are 10 inches wide for added weights.
Some users noted that it could be a tad narrow.
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One of the most impressive feats of strength is the deadlift. It requires strength in the upper and lower body, proper form, balance, and lots of practice. While it’s common to perform deadlifts with a barbell, an increasingly popular alternative is the hexagonal, or hex, bar.
Also known as a trap bar, the hex bar allows for a safer deadlift with more weight used as compared to the barbell. Instead of pulling a barbell up in front of you, you stand inside a hexagonal frame and raise the hex bar using the handles.
If you’re a strength trainer or competitor, a hex bar may prove a worthy addition to your assortment of fitness equipment and accessories. This buying guide details the benefits and drawbacks of hex bars. We explore the exercises that can be performed with a hex bar and what to look for when shopping.
The hex bar is mainly used for two exercises: the deadlift and the shrug. While its versatility in terms of movements is limited, the muscles it targets are many. Deadlifts work the glutes, hamstrings, quadriceps, and spine erectors. The traps, obliques, and abdominals are also engaged. Hex bars are powerful tools in strength training.
As mentioned, using a hex bar is generally accepted as better for back support than a standard barbell. For beginners, deadlifts are easier to learn with a hex bar than with a barbell. There is also reason to believe that the neutral position of the forearms reduces stress and potential injury to the wrists, biceps, and elbows. What’s more, some users find they can perform a deadlift at a slightly higher weight than with a barbell.
Fitness bars generally come in two sizes: standard (1-inch diameter) and Olympic (2-inch diameter). Hex bars almost exclusively come in the Olympic size since they are geared toward training with a lot of weight. Bars are compatible with plates of the same size.
Hex bars are designed to withstand a lot of pressure and carry a lot of weight. Intermediate and advanced trainers who want to move ahead in their fitness journey should make sure a new hex bar purchase would be able to withstand the weights they use. Most hex bars have a weight capacity of at least 400 pounds. Some go up to 750 pounds, and a few have a 1,000-pound weight limit.
To use a hex bar, you must stand within the hex, so you’ll want to make sure the space comfortably accommodates you. Most hex bars have around 25 inches of space between the handles. Keep in mind that this consideration isn’t just about standing within the hex bar but also about where your shoulders are relative to the handles. An inch more or less may be the difference between a comfortable lift and a not-so-comfortable one.
If you’ve never used a hex bar before, try one out before purchasing to see how it feels. Remove all weights and just practice with the bar alone.
Most hex bars come with raised handles for an easy, comfortable grip. With raised handles, you will likely have the option of turning the hex bar over to access handles that are flush with the rest of the bar. Raised handles are useful for beginners in particular.
Holding a chrome bar is easier with a knurled handle, in which a pattern is carved into the bar to prevent slippage. Most bars have a knurled portion, but coverage and pattern differ from model to model. Without knurling, you would likely need to use chalk or gloves to maintain a strong hold.
A new hex bar will most likely not come with plates unless you happen upon a bundle deal. You will need to acquire the appropriately sized plates, which may cost as much or even more than the bar itself. While plates are durable and last a long time, the initial investment may seem steep. Consider the weights you’d need to effectively utilize a hex bar and whether you own any other equipment (curl bar, bench press) that could also use the weights. Many weights can be used on their own for certain exercises, too.
Curl bar: CAP Barbell E-Z Curl Bar
A useful complement to the hex bar is the curl bar, which can be used to strengthen the upper body in various ways. This standard option from CAP Barbell is inexpensive and effective.
Plates: XMark Fitness Olympic Plate Set
Weight plates are a necessary accessory for bar training exercises. We like this set of 10 weights from XMark. It comes at a good price and is ideal for beginners.
Weight plate tree: Champion Barbell Olympic Plate Holder
Storing plates can be tricky, especially if they’re heavy. Keep them securely stowed on a plate tree, like this strong and versatile option from Champion Barbell.
Weightlifting belt: Iron Company Power Lifting Belt
A weightlifting belt can help protect your back and tighten your core as you perform lifts. Check out this heavy-duty lifting belt from Iron Company to keep you safe and focused.
For around $75, you can find a handful of hex bar options. These will likely be shorter on length, hex space, and maximum weight capacity than pricier options.
Most hex bars cost between $75 and $150. These come in a range of sizes and may have more than one grip option.
Pricier hex bars run from $150 to $200 or more. These bars often have a high maximum weight, raised handles, and knurled grips.
When shopping, note that the hex bar has a few different names. It’s often referred to as a trap bar but may also be called a shrug bar or deadlift bar.
A. As with any exercise, proper form and motion are required to maintain safety. Any time you exercise without a machine to direct and control your movements, there is a risk of pulling or straining a muscle if you don’t perform the exercise precisely. Deadlifts, in particular, can cause back problems if not done properly. Beginners are advised to practice and develop consistent form before exercising with any weight.
A. Stand within the hex bar with your feet hip-width apart. Bend your hips and knees to reach down and grasp the handles. Keep your hips and shoulders back, your chest up, and your chin tucked in. Make sure your back is flat and your core is tight. Straighten your hips and knees as you raise the weight until you’re standing erect. With control, lower the bar back down.
This process takes time to perfect, and as mentioned, there are risks involved if you don’t use the proper form. It’s recommended that you watch others perform the movement first and slowly incorporate the bar and weights into your routine.
A. While there are two main exercises that can be done with the utmost effectiveness using a hex bar, there are some slight variations you can try. For example, a hex bar can be used to do a shoulder press in which you lift the bar above your head. You can use the bar to do a floor press, too, in which the bar is engaged to essentially perform a push-up.
If you have a weight bench, you can likely incorporate the hex bar with it as well. There are also some slight variations of the deadlift you can perform, but we caution you to understand the movements completely before attempting these exercises.
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