What’s Better For Your Back: Barbell or Hex Bar Deadlifts?
The deadlift is one of the gold standard lifts in the gym. It’s pretty simple, really: You load a barbell up with weight, grab it with a shoulder-width grip, plant your feet on the floor and pull until the weights come off the floor.
But (newsflash): It doesn’t need to be done only with a barbell. If you’re struggling with deadlifting form, lifting your butt up too early in the movement and using too much of your lumbar extensor musculature, or if your killjoy of a chiropractor told you deadlifts aren’t ideal for your lower back condition (sorry!), there is another option to explore.
Do This, Not That
That option is the hex bar, and it’s one of the most underrated tools in the gym. This hexagon-shaped piece of metal just may be what you need to fix your deadlift. It’s been around for decades, but it’s just now finally starting to grow in popularity.
That’s as it should be. Because if you’re having trouble with deadlifts, the hex bar is the tool you need. It’ll instantly put your body in position to execute cleaner deadlift mechanics (it’s essentially a cross between a barbell deadlift and a front squat).
And if your goal is strength and muscle and you’re not prepping for a powerlifting competition, then hex bar deadlifting with proper form is going to serve you in the long run far more than deadlifting with the barbell.
What The Evidence Says
In a 2017 study from the Journal of Strength and Conditioning, researchers from the UK compared the strength and biomechanics of competitive powerlifters when they did deadlifts with an Olympic bar and a hex bar. They found that when test subjects performed the hex bar deadlift, they were able to lift an average of almost 50 pounds more than when they did the deadlift with the barbell. Furthermore, they reported that the hex bar deadlift placed far less stress on the lower back and lumbosacral junction.
All said and done, the hex bar is better for going heavier on deadlifts as well as for reducing stress on the lower back.
If your gym has a hex bar, stop using it just for shrugs and consider doing some deadlifts with it. It can allow you to go heavier than standard deadlifts (and therefore place more overload on the leg muscles), leading to greater muscle growth in the long run. Even if you compete in powerlifting, using the hex bar occasionally can help you go heavier to get stronger in the lower-body muscles. And if you had to give up deadlifts due to lower-back issues, the hex bar may be your key to doing them again.
The Ascent Chiropractic Difference
Whether you’re a pro athlete, weekend warrior or just looking to tone up, study after study shows that regular chiropractic care is an essential part of correcting problems, reducing pain and reaching your full potential. Ready to get stronger and looking for a Brookfield chiropractor? To make an appointment at Ascent Chiropractic, call 262-345-4166 or schedule an appointment with our online scheduling app.