What muscles does hex bar deadlift work? Mistakes made in the form of a hex bar deadlift

The hex bar is an excellent tool for performing safer deadlift reps that are generally as effective as barbell deadlifts.

Hex bar deadlifts are a forgiving exercise, which is important for safety but also means that some lifters continue to do it wrong without realising it.

What muscles does hex bar deadlift work
What muscles does hex bar deadlift work

Learn how to do hex bar deadlifts for maximal bulk and strength gains, as well as how the hex bar compares to barbells, in this guide.

What exactly is a hex bar?

The hex bar, often known as a trap bar since it was used to enhance traps, is a hexagon with handles and weight bars on both sides. When the weight plates are attached, it looks like a miniature trailer. Weights can be placed in four different places on some versions.

What exactly is a hex bar?

To lift the complete contraption, stand in the centre of the hexagon and utilise the handles on either side. Unlike most barbell workouts, the weight is dispersed around the lifter rather than in front of or on top of them.

In the 1980s, American lifter Al Gerard came up with the idea for the hex bar while trying to find a way to boost his deadlift max without putting too much strain on his lower back. Squats and rack pulls in a power cage helped a little, but he wanted to find a way to build a lift that was even more efficient.

The bar was instantly effective, but it wasn’t until the early 2000s that it truly took off. It’s becoming commonplace in gyms around the world. That doesn’t mean it’s without controversy, either.

The great hex bar controversy

The great hex bar controversy

Some weightlifters refuse to use the hex bar because they believe it taints or simplifies the exercise. The grips on either side help to shorten the distance the lifter must go to reach the weight and lift it off the ground.

The hex bar deadlift, according to some researchers, may be more beneficial at developing maximal power. So why are so many weightlifters determined to avoid it?

It appears to be reliant on messaging. Because hex bar lifts are more efficient than barbell lifts, you can often deadlift more weight at the same or faster speed. From one point of view, that’s a form of deception. It’s a terrific technique to workout with extra weight without risking injury, in our opinion. Let’s dissect the hex bar deadlift to see which group you belong to.

A hex bar deadlift: Muscles worked

A hex bar deadlift: Muscles worked

Deadlifts primarily target your glutes, quadriceps, hamstrings, and calves. Your hip and back extensors, as well as your core muscles and lats, are all worked out. A hex bar deadlift is a hip-hinge exercise that utilises the same muscles and muscle groups as a regular deadlift, with a few significant differences.


You must break your knee and pull the bar off the ground in a barbell deadlift. The main source of power for this attempt is your quads. Most of the first phase of the exercise is eliminated due to the height difference between the bar and the floor.

Hex bar deadlifts work the quads as well, although not to the same extent. To keep your quads working hard, switch up your stance. To do deficit deadlifts from a raised platform, either flip the hex bar over so you don’t have the benefit of the handles, or flip the hex bar over so you don’t have the benefit of the handles.



Deadlifts and other hip hinge exercises focus on the posterior chain, which includes the glutes. In one study, hip thrusts were found to activate the gluteus maximus more than typical deadlifts.

Place the hex bar on a raised platform or in a power rack at about knee height to enhance glute development during a hex bar deadlift. Lift the bar as you would in the second part of a deadlift, but before locking out, tilt your pelvis forwards. This places a premium on glute activation.


On the descending second half of a hex bar deadlift, the hamstrings are worked. In the second part of the hex bar deadlift, go gently on the downward motion to maximise your hamstring improvements. On the way down, you can also include a strategic isometric pause.

Because you have to come down a little bit more than you would with a deadlift on flat ground, deficit deadlifts are also wonderful for the hamstrings. If you have to get the bar down pretty low, just make sure you’re not breaking your shoulders or rounding your back.

Spinae erector

Spinae erector

As you begin to lift weight off the ground, the muscles that control hip movement come into action. The gluteus maximus and biceps femoris (both hamstring muscles) have already been discussed, so let’s move on to the erector spinae.

Your erector spinae run the length of your spine, assisting with posture and side-to-side rotation. When you deadlift any weight, they put in a lot of effort. Because hex bars bring the weight closer to your body’s centre of gravity, you’re less likely to injure your erector spinae while still receiving a good exercise.

Lats & traps

It should come as no surprise that your traps are operated by a piece of equipment known as a trap bar. Your traps are active whenever you shrug your shoulders. When you lower your arms so that your hands are at your hips, your lats strive to stabilise your back and expand your shoulders.

During a hex bar deadlift, both of these motions occur. The traps are engaged right away, while the shoulder extension that engages the lats occurs in the second part of the movement.

How to do a deadlift with a hex bar

How to do a deadlift with a hex bar

To perform a trap bar deadlift, follow these instructions. In the next section, we’ll go over some crucial form notes.

  1. Choose your weight. Beginners should practise the form with just the hex bar before adding weight plates. Make sure your hex bar is flipped over if you’re not utilising high handles.
  2. Get into the beginning position by stepping into the hexagon’s centre. Shoulder-width distance between your feet is ideal.
  3. Hinge forwards at the hips, allowing your butt to protrude behind you. Then slightly bend your knees so that you can grab the hex bar. Maintain a flat back and a raised chest.
  4. With a shoulder-width grip, grab the high handles or the hexagon’s outsides. With your palms facing your body, use a neutral grip.
  5. To get the hex bar off the ground, push through the soles of your feet. During the first phase of the action, keep your shins perpendicular to the floor and don’t move your knees.
  6. Unbend your knees after your upper body is almost totally straight. You should keep the weight in front of your thighs.
  7. Lower the weight in the same manner as before: hip hinge, butt out, knee bend.

Mistakes made in the form of a hex bar deadlift

Mistakes made in the form of a hex bar deadlift

Backing up during the first part of a deadlift is a common form fault we see. This occurs when the knees straighten out too soon, or when the weight is lifted with a tiny forwards push through the heels. The lower back is less stressed when performing a hex bar deadlift with good technique, but if you lift your knees first and then your butt back, your lower back will be doing the majority of the effort.

Another common blunder is extending your knees too far. This is a carryover from traditional deadlifting, when the lifter’s body wants to lean in due to the forwards weight distribution, but even beginners make the same mistake. In a traditional deadlift, your knees should be over your toes and the bar should be pressed against your shins. Some folks who are taller and lankier may have their knees out a little further. A hex bar deadlift can be performed from the same position.

Hex bar deadlifts benefits

Deadlifts with a hex bar are an excellent strength-training exercise that should be included in your weekly workout plan.

Here are some of the reasons for this:

Hex bar deadlifts benefits
  • Full-Body Exercise: This version works muscle groups in your legs, core, arms, and back, much like traditional deadlifts. Combine them with other exercises such as pull-ups, bench presses, and squats for a well-rounded workout that will sculpt your complete body. The last thing you want is to have beautiful muscles but no strength to back them up. Hex bar deadlifts are wonderful because the hand position is at your sides, which is a normal method to grasp objects in real life.
  • Grip that is more comfortable: The neutral grip does not twist the body as much as a mixed grip does, and it is considerably easier to maintain than an overhand hold.
  • Hex bar deadlifts can be used to increase strength for other strength training exercises such as bench presses and squats. It can help you prepare for pull-ups to some extent because it targets back muscles.
  • Less Back Stress: The hex bar does exactly what its creator intended: it works all of your deadlift muscles while lowering your risk of back injury. Hex bar deadlifts put less stress on your lumbar spine, which is the portion of your lower back, than regular deadlifts.

F.A.Q what muscles does hex bar deadlift work:

Are hex bar deadlifts better?

The hex bar deadlift also put less stress on the lower back, according to the UK researchers. After all is said and done, the hex bar is better for going heavier on deadlifts while also decreasing lower back stress.

What are the benefits of a hex bar deadlift?

Deadlifts using a trap bar strengthen the glutes, hamstrings, and back. The key advantage is that they place less stress on the lumbar spine than barbell deadlifts, which is beneficial for persons who have back problems.

Do hex bar deadlifts work back?

While one of the benefits of the hex bar deadlift is that it shifts some of the weight from your back and hamstrings to your thighs, it isn’t as effective in working these muscles. Stick to the barbell if you want to strengthen your back and hamstring muscles.


The case for the hex bar deadlift has been made. It’s a highly effective exercise for increasing functional strength while reducing the chance of injury, especially in the lower back.

People like doing reps with a hex bar because the weight distribution is more comfortable and maintaining a neutral grip is easier. With the hex bar variation, you can gain a lot of muscle and enhance your deadlift max.

And this article will help you answer the following questions about what muscles does hex bar deadlift work:

  • trap bar deadlift vs deadlift muscles worked
  • what does deadlift work
  • does hex bar deadlift work back
  • trap bar deadlift benefits
  • hex bar weight
  • hex bar deadlift vs conventional
  • trap bar deadlift 3 times a week
  • trap bar deadlift vs conventional

Field John

If you are an avid believer in health and fitness and want to do something for your team, I can help. As the founder of Field Goals Fitness, I lead a collective of health and fitness professionals dedicated to helping Australians lead a more active and healthier lifestyle. With a warm, friendly, and supportive approach that gets results, I enjoy helping individuals & organisations achieve sustainable success with their health and fitness goals. Certifying as a Personal Trainer in 2009, was a turning point in my life. I had spent 14 years in the corporate world in Business Development roles and decided to take all that I had learnt in sales and marketing and start my own business.

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