The trap bar deadlift is a godsend variation for lifters who can no longer pull from the ground with the barbell. With the weight being more in line with your center of gravity and the elevated handles, the trap bar puts less stress on the lower back and reduces your range of motion; both allowing you to deadlift from the ground pain-free. But there may be a better way to improve this exercise, in comes the trap bar b-stance deadlift.
As great as the trap bar deadlift is, there’s always the chance of developing strength imbalances between sides. That’s when adding the single-leg deadlift comes into play can benefit your training. However what if your balance isn’t so steady? Say hello to the trap bar B-stance deadlift, a very under-the-radar but excellent single-leg exercise you should consider for your next deadlift day.
What is a Trap Bar B-Stance Deadlift
The trap bar B-stance deadlift is often referred to as a staggered stance or kickstand deadlift. It’s a deadlift that has you adopt a staggered stance, with one leg forward and one leg back. The back leg acts as a support, while the front leg takes on most of the load. The B-stance is an excellent single-leg deadlift regression for those struggling with balance and for lifters wanting more baby-got-back look.
How To Do The Trap Bar B-Stance Deadlift
- Step inside the trap bar and set up with a heel-to-toe stance, with the back leg as a kickstand.
- A heel-to-toe distance works for most lifters, but you can adjust to find what works best.
- Then, with your shoulders down and chest up, hinge and grip the trap bar.
- Stand up and lockout out your front glute.
- Then hinge down using your back leg as support until it’s back on the ground.
- Reset and repeat, and then do the other side.
Trap Bar B-Stance Deadlift Muscles Trained
Like most deadlift variations, if you cannot grip it, you cannot rip it, making any trap bar deadlift variation a full-body exercise. Here are the primary muscles trained by the trap bar B-stance deadlift:
- Forearms: Your forearm’s flexors and extensors contract isometrically to grip the trap bar.
- Upper Back and Lats: To keep your shoulders down and chest up, you need to contract your upper back and lats to keep your spine neutral.
- Glutes: Like all deadlift variations, the hinge movement targets the glutes, through hip extension, particularly at lockout.
- Hamstrings: Assist the glutes with hip extension, and their eccentric strength assists in lowering the trap bar to the ground.
- Quadriceps: Trap bar deadlifts target the quads more than other deadlift variations due to the increased knee flexion and the narrow stance within the trap bar.
- Lower Back: Works together with the upper back and lats to keep the spine neutral.
4 Trap Bar B-Stance Deadlift Benefits
The beauty of performing lower body exercises in the B-stance is that using the back leg for support allows you to improve single-leg strength with increased stability and safety. Here are a few more vital benefits of the trap-bar B-stance deadlift.
- Less Stress On The Lower Back: There is less shear force on your spine because the lower back and hips are more in line with the load. This fact makes it easier on your low back, and if you need to focus on single-leg strength without getting hurt or falling over, the trap bar B-stance deadlift is a great option.
- Easier On The Upper Body Joints: The neutral grip on the trap bar reduces the strain on the wrist, elbows, and biceps compared to gripping a barbell with an overhand, underhand, or mixed grip.
- Improved Performance: All unilateral exercises strengthen imbalances between sides to improve muscular development and decrease your chances of injury. But with the increased stability on the B-stance, you can use more weight than pure unilateral exercises for enhanced muscular size and strength.
- No Balance Needed: Single-leg deadlifts are a fantastic exercise, but only some have the balance or mobility to perform them with good form. The trap-bar B-stance deadlift is an excellent bridging exercise between the bilateral and single-leg deadlift, allowing you to build the strength, stability, and mobility needed for single-leg work.
3 Trap Bar B-Stance Deadlift Mistakes
Although the trap bar is pretty forgiving, the B-stance deadlift is still a hinge exercise, and all the hinge rules apply. It still requires more hip flexion than knee flexion and shoulders down and chest up for a neutral spine.
Here are a few more mistakes to be aware of when performing the B-Stance.
- Loss Of Upper Back Tension: Not only is this not great for your lower back health, but you end up lowering the bar to the ground using your arms rather than your hips. Both could be better.
- Aggressive Loading: As tempting as it is to load up on this hybrid unilateral exercise, it is not an absolute strength exercise but an exercise used to strengthen imbalances between sides. Best to start with 50% of your one rep max and work up from there.
- Rushing Through: Take time with your set-up. Although a heel-to-toe stance works for most, but not for all. Before you load up, find your comfortable B-stance before gripping and ripping. Plus, take your time during the eccentric (lowering) to increase your muscle-building time under tension. You can hurry it, but what’s the fun in that?
Trap Bar B-Stance Deadlift Workouts
Single leg work, like the trap bar B-stance deadlift, must be programmed as accessory work to address muscle imbalances between sides and improve muscular development. Here are a few general programming recommendations to get the best out of this exercise.
Three sets of six to eight reps per side, starting with a load of roughly 50-60% of your bilateral deadlift 1RM, taking two minutes rest between sets. Supersetting this with a recovery exercise works best. For example
- 1A. Trap Bar B stance Deadlift: 6-8 reps on each side
- 1B. Hip Flexor Foam Roll: 30 seconds on each side
Three to four sets of 8-12 reps per side, starting with a load of 50% on your bilateral deadlift 1RM, works best. When building posterior muscle is the goal, superset it with a bilateral exercise focusing on the glutes or hamstrings. For example
- 1A. Trap Bar B stance Deadlift 8-12 reps on each side
- 1B. Cable Pull Through 12-15 reps
3 B-Stance Deadlift Variations
Like with most exercises, it pays to keep things fresh with variations to prevent boredom and to keep on the gain train. Here are three B-stance variations to do just that.