Trap bar deadlifts are often referred to as the “athlete's deadlift”. Studies have shown that when compared to conventional barbell deadlifts, trap bar deadlifts create a stronger force output, recruits more quadricep strength and results in less shear stress on the spine. So for the athletes who crave pushing their limits in the weight room, is there a way to make the trap bar deadlift even more demanding?
Short of adding more weight, the usage of accommodating resistance via bands can significantly enhance the training effect of trap bar deadlifts. Like the conventional deadlift, the easiest part of the movement is near the top. This is even more apparent considering how the load placement of a trap bar makes locking out less demanding on the posterior chain.
Location and equipment courtesy of TripleFit
As such, the concept of accommodating resistance lends itself perfectly to this situation. Employing a band increases the amount of tension on the bar as each repetition nears completion, creating a more evenly demanding exercise. Furthermore, as the trap bar deadlift is classified as an extension-based movement, having to perform more work at the actual point of extension itself allows for greater contractile strength to be built.
Using a resistance band in this form is also another effective way to introduce progressive overload. Overuse of heavy training (>80%) can often result in joint pain; band-resisted training allows for greater tension to be employed while minimising any risks to joint health. It is also a good way to test if an athlete is ready (at least neurally) to attempt a heavier load on the bar for subsequent training sessions.
Due to the amount of tension subjected to the resistance band, it is recommended that you utilise bands of medium to heavy thickness to avoid snapping or tearing. Of course, a heavier band will result in more tension being generated at the top of the movement, so be sure to select your band thickness accordingly.