The Hex Bar Deadlift – Why YOU Should Do It!
The hex bar deadlift has been a hot topic lately. Many top trainers have implemented it into programs for elite athletes in an attempt to help them increase power and speed.
But what if, like me, you are more interested in gaining lean mass then you are decreasing your 40-yard dash time? We can argue that the conventional deadlift has more benefits for hypertrophy – or LEAN MASS GAINS, but is it worth the risk?
I feel we should explore why athletes use the hex bar deadlift and then I will explain why you need to implement them into your program immediately regardless of your goals! With that said, when looking at a lift, we have some factors to explore:
Risk vs Reward: With certain things, like ultra-heavy, max squats or barbell bench press, we have the risk of hip overuse with squats if done over a long period of time without proper deloading and with barbell bench press, we risk torn pecs. As someone who has done this, let’s just say, it isn’t fun! These would be considered high-risk lifts.
Training Experience: Form and load will obviously increase over time. I want a lift that can be used for a 12-year old beginner as well as a 35 year old professional.
The hex bar deadlift is the perfect lift to load your posterior chain, maximally stimulate the back and legs with a VERY low injury risk and also hit as many muscle groups as possible! Some reasons you should do the hex bar deadlift.
Why Use the Hex Bar Deadlift?
Have you ever picked a box up off of the floor? When you did this, did you analyze their head placement, squat angle, and if you were lifting in a balanced manner?
When doing the hex bar deadlift, we are simulating a primal lift – or a lift one would do in nature as a primitive human. The hex bar deadlift is a primal movement of “bending,” and is very natural and safe.
With the hex bar deadlift, you keep your head in a “neutral spine” position. This means looking at an imaginary object 10 feet in front of you on the floor for the entire lift.
DO NOT LOOK UP! This will compress the spine and can lead to injury. The same goes for looking straight down. Keep that neutral spine the entire lift!
With the hex bar deadlift, we are able to load the posterior-chain (the posterior chain are the muscles that generate force during running located on the backside of the body such as hamstrings and erectors) directly and avoid any chance being unbalanced. With other lifts, like the conventional deadlift, this can be compromised since the body is tilted forward to grip the barbell.
You can learn it in one day
This is a simple lift – pick it up and put it down. No cleaning or pressing, list lift it up and put it down. With my youth athletes, they get it the first session 100% of the time!
Bang for the Buck
The hex bar deadlift is estimated to work over 90% of a person’s musculature. This will burn more calories and overload more muscle. More overload equals more gains!
If you do want to get faster….
In research compiled by Nike, the hex bar deadlift was the ONLY gym exercise to be directly correlated to increased speed. In addition, hex bar deadlift offers superior benefits to power generation based on its generation of power from the legs and not lower back but has all of the benefits of the deadlift – like increased posterior-chain load.  Conventional deadlifts DO stress the lower back and back more, but I feel the risk doesn’t always justify the gains.
Implementing the Hex Bar Deadlift
Just do it!
The way I like to structure a program is to have two leg days per week, one posterior based and one quad based. So for day one, do deadlifts (hex bar or conventional), and hamstring movements. For day two hit squats and then quad movements like the leg press.
I have a great program written about the big five here.
So get yourself a hex bar and be on your way to making gains… Safely!
"An Examination of Muscle Activation and Power... : The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research." LWW, journals.lww.com/nsca-jscr/Fulltext/2016/05000/An_Examination_of_Muscle_Activation_and_Power.2.aspx.