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You may not know him by name, but you have undoubtedly seen celebrity trainer Don Saladino’s handiwork on the big screen. Saladino, who owns Drive 495 in New York City, is responsible for building practically every hard body in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, with a client roster that includes names like Ryan Reynolds, Sebastian Stan, Scarlett Johansson, Jake Gyllenhaal, and David Harbour.
When it comes to building a superhero body, few are as qualified to offer up advice than Saladino. So we tapped the hero maker for his thoughts on packing on MCU-worthy size, and he mentioned that deadlifting—specifically, with a trap bar—is one tool that he routinely reaches for in his proverbial training utility belt.
“This is one movement that really has a lot of bang for its buck,” he says. “You train the lower body, the upper back and lats, core strength, not to mention your glutes, legs, and grip strength.”
As for why Saladino likes the trap bar—a hexagonal piece of iron that has the trainee lift the bar centered inside of it—he offers up two reasons.
It has high handles, which, according to Saladino, allows a lifter with restricted mobility to get into a safe deadlift position compared with a conventional barbell deadlift, which is closer to the floor and requires a greater range of motion.
The weight is centered. A standard deadlift is loaded in front of you, which, says Saladino, “will pull you forward.” Lifting with the handles at the side keeps the lifter’s torso up, which is generally a stronger position to pull from.
Get the three workouts below, plus some accessory moves you can add to your routine for a well-rounded physique.