What Do Hex Bar Deadlifts Work?

A strength training exercise, the hex bar deadlift (also known as the trap bar deadlift) is suitable for both those new to lifting and professional athletes. It’s a variation of the traditional deadlift, and uses a specialty hexagon-shaped barbell.

The lifter steps inside and lifts the weight around them. It’s a deadlift designed to improve athletic performance, strength, and power.

The muscles worked by the hex bar deadlift include your glutes, vastus lateralis, hamstrings, quadriceps, trapezius, erector spinae, latissimus dorsi, biceps, brachioradialis, calves, and adductors.

But how do you actually do a hex bar deadlift, and what else is there to know about this deadlift variation? The following article will outline the benefits of the hex bar deadlift, and how it differs from the conventional deadlift.

What Do Hex Bar Deadlifts Work

Muscles Worked By The Hex Bar Deadlift

The muscles worked by the hex bar deadlift include the quadricep muscles, the hamstring muscles, the calves, the erector spinae muscles, the adductors, the abdominal core and obliques, the trapezius, the latissimus dorsi muscles, the infraspinatus, and the gripping muscles. 

Let’s look at the primary muscles in more detail, and how they’re worked by the hex bar deadlift. 


The hex bar deadlift focuses on the quadriceps (muscles on the front of your thigh that include the vastus intermedius, the rectus femoris, the vastus lateralis, and the vastus medialis) more than the conventional deadlift.

It’s an easier exercise on your back, because your center of mass is within the hex bar, rather than behind the bar. 


The hamstrings, on the other hand, are targeted less than with a traditional deadlift. This muscle group includes the semimembranosus, the semitendinosus, and the biceps femoris. They’re also found in the thigh, directly opposite the quads. Your hamstrings are the driving force of lower body strength. 


The calves muscle group is also worked during a hex bar deadlift, and this group includes the gastrocnemius, the soleus, and the achilles tendon. 

Erector Spinae Muscles 

The erector spinae muscle group includes the iliocostalis, the longissimus, and the spinalis. They run parallel to your outer vertebra, and run all the way from the back of your skull to your pelvis.

The hex bar deadlift puts less pressure on these muscles than the traditional deadlift, due to your upright position in the bar. This makes for far less chance of lower back pain. 

Adductor Muscles

The adductor group muscles, also known as the hip adductors, help with moving your thighs from your body’s center. This muscle group includes the pectineus, the gracilis, the adductor brevis, the adductor longus, and the adductor magnus.

The adductor magnus is one of the biggest muscles in the human body. 

Abdominal Core And Obliques

The abdominal core muscles and obliques include the rectus abdominis, the transverse obliques, and the internal and external obliques. Your core is targeted by any form of deadlift. Your core muscles are worked by tightening your body, which is known as blocking. This helps to stabilize your spine. 

How To Do A Hex Bar Deadlift

When you’re attempting a hex bar deadlift, you should be using a weight that you can comfortably control for two to three sets of three to eight repetitions.

Start by standing right in the center of the hex bar, with your feet somewhere between a shoulder’s width to a hip’s width apart, and your knees slightly bent. Make sure your shoulders are directly above your hips, and that your head and your neck are in neutral positions. 

When executing the hex bar deadlift your chin should stay tightly tucked, and the weight on both of your feet should be distributed evenly. Make sure your feet are gripping the floor in order to keep yourself stable.

Your arms should be by your sides, slightly bent at the elbows. Take a considerable inhale and exhale before you start lowering yourself towards the bar handles by bending at the knees. 

Take firm hold of the handles. At this stage you should be engaging the muscles in your back. This is done by rotating your arms so that your inner elbows are facing forwards. Now you can lift your hips until you start to feel stretching in the backs of both legs.

At this point your shoulders will be higher than your hips, and your hips should be higher than your knees. Your shins should be upright.

Keep your spine neutral and the bar centered as you begin to push yourself upwards through your feet. Squeezing your glutes will allow your hips to move forwards. Remember to keep your arms long at this stage. Now you can start to move downwards.

The hex bar should remain centered, and your spine should remain neutral. Bend your knees to lower the bar to the floor. The repetition is done once the weight plates have reached the floor. 

How Does The Hex Bar Deadlift Differ From The Conventional Deadlift?

Hex bar deadlifts vary in a few ways from conventional deadlifts. The main difference is in safety. The traditional deadlift puts the spine under quite a bit of stress, and this not only makes you prone to injuries but you’ll also be limited by how much your spine can actually take. The hex bar deadlift puts far less strain on your spine.

It’s also often argued that hex bar deadlifts are more effective than traditional deadlifts, when it comes to building strength and power. Hex bar deadlifts allow you to lift more weight over a farther distance, and faster. 

Finally, hex bar deadlifts are a lot easier for beginners to execute than traditional deadlifts. It’s a far more natural position to achieve, which also means you’re avoiding the risk of knee scrapes, which are common amongst beginners trying traditional deadlifts.

Conclusion: What Do Hex Bar Deadlifts Work?

An ideal exercise for beginners and professionals alike, hex bar deadlifts are perfect for if you’re worried about hurting your back, or even if you’re just looking for something to complement or replace your traditional squat or deadlift.

The muscles worked by the hex bar deadlift include the quadricep muscles, the hamstring muscles, the calves, the erector spinae muscles, the adductors, the abdominal core and obliques, the trapezius, the latissimus dorsi muscles, the infraspinatus, and the gripping muscles.

Overall, it’s a very versatile exercise

Kevin Harris