Hex bar is a very significant innovation in weight-training which might help lifters reduce the risk of lower back injuries while doing deadlifts or heavy weights exercises to perform back friendly lifts for improved training. If you are wondering which one should you choose, continue reading this list of the six best hex bars of 2018. But first, let me show you some basic information about hex bar itself, including what hex bar is, what hex bar is used for and what you should know when choosing a hex bar.
What is hex bar?
The hex bar is a piece of equipment that has a diamond or elongated hexagonal shape. On either end of the long sides is a bar where the weights are attached. It is a little different from traditional straight barbell that hex bar allows you to use a neutral grip when doing deadlift. To use it, you stand in the middle of the loaded hex bar and grab the handles on each side of you. In the start position, your thighs should be just above parallel to the floor with your torso bent forward at about a 45-degree angle. Drive your heels through the floor as you extend at the knees and hips to reach a fully upright position, then slowly lower the bar back to the start.
Researchers concluded that the hex bar deadlift is an overall better strength and power exercise. The design of the hex bar enables you to reduce contact of the barbell with your shins when you lift the bar off the ground during the deadlift. Also, the lumbar spine and hips might be placed less load, which is conducive to lower back pain or discomfort. A hex deadlift allows the weightlifter to do more weight, faster, over a longer distance. It’s a low-cost way to increase safety while also getting an effective workout.
What is hex bar used for?
Hex bar deadlift pros
The hex bar is used in specialized training in two main exercises, the shrug and the deadlift. This deadlift is considered far superior to barbells for power and strength training as it transfers the load more to the knees than to the hips of the lumbar spine, ideal for those suffering from lower back problems.
The hex bar provides a safer version of deadlift than the straight bar version as it produces significant levels of peak force, power and velocity while allowing more weight to be lifted over a longer period of time. It reduces the potential for injury and at the same time maximizes power. The upright torso position used in the deadlift improves posture and corrects weightlifting techniques.
The technique used in a this deadlift is more advantageous for beginning weight lifters who require a greater amount of upfront coaching in their mobility work. The one thing coaches find challenging is to prevent the over-extension of the back muscles which can be avoided with the right type of execution.
For most weight lifters, getting into the correct deadlift position using a straight bar is quite challenging without lots of coaching and mobility work upfront. This is especially true for those who are desk bound for 8 hours per day and do not have the same flexibility as serious lifters who practice their lumbar flexions and posterior pelvic tilt postures for hours. The trap bar design allows a more upright torso position where the knees move forward, allowing the hips to sit lower, which avoids scraping the shins as sometimes happens with a straight bar movement.
This strength training exercise is a good one, as you can see here. It helps to prevent injury, utilizes your full strength, and is a great exercise for your legs and back.
Less Stress on the Spine
One of the biggest cons of both the straight bar deadlift and the barbell back squat is the amount of harmful stress it puts on the lumbar spine. Both exercises require the weight to be some distance away from the axis of rotation where the work is being performed (i.e., the hip), thus relying on the back to act like a crowbar to move the weight. Hex bar might reduce stress on the lower back
The hex bar deadlift is considered far superior to barbells for power and strength training as it transfers the load more to the knees than to the hips of the lumbar spine, which is good for those suffering from lower back problems. Since the hex bar configuration allows you to step inside it rather than behind it, the long lever is shortened along a horizontal axis, thus significantly reducing the amount of sheer force on the spine.Hex bar deadlift produced lower peak moments on both the lumbar spine and hips, moving it several notches to the right on the risk-reward spectrum.
Not only was the hex bar deadlift a safer exercise than the straight bar version, it was also a more effective exercise for building maximum power. Also, hex bar is better for going heavier on deadlifts
Significantly greater levels of peak force, velocity, and power were produced with the hex bar compared to the straight bar across a range of submaximal loads. Since power is a measure of an object’s force times its velocity, this means the hex deadlift allows you to lift more weight, over a greater distance, faster.
The hex bar deadlift puts you at a better mechanical advantage than the standard deadlift, taking stress of your lower back while allowing you to engage all the same muscle groups, though to a slightly different degree
The authors go on to explain that the peak power values measured with the hex bar deadlift were on par with those captured in other studies that looked at Olympic weightlifting exercises like the power clean. This, of course, is a critical piece of information for coaches looking for a high-benefit, low-cost (in both time and potential for injury) exercise for increasing maximum power.
Better for Beginners
For the majority of the population, getting into a good deadlift position with a straight bar is a huge challenge requiring a lot of upfront coaching and a generous helping of mobility work. This is especially true among the desk-jockey demographic who spend eight hours a day practicing lumbar flexion and posterior pelvic tilt.
There’s that occasional outlier who comes walking into the gym – back arched, abdominals braced, shoulder blades retracted, looking for something heavy to lift off the floor with perfect form – but these people are rare.
That’s where the hex bar comes in so handy. Its configuration leads to a much more upright torso position, allowing you to “sit” into the movement with far fewer technical requirements than a traditional straight bar deadlift. It also allows the knees to move more forward and the hips to sit lower than normal, avoiding the bar scraping your shins at the bottom of the movement.
There are some famous brand you should check out when looking for a hex bar like: CAP Barbell, Power Systems, XMark and Valor Fitness. They have a wide range of hex bars in the range price from $100 to $300 which might be a good choice.
Hex Bar Basic Instruction: How to choose?
“High” or “low” handles?
The primary difference is the “high” or “low” handles. “Low” handles are handles flush with the height of the rest of the bar. So if the bar is sitting 8″ off the ground, that’s where you’re gripping.
“High” handles are raised a few inches. This has two effects. First, it means your starting body position is a little higher, so your range of motion is a little smaller as you don’t squat as deep. But the second effect isn’t so obvious until you use it. When the handles are raised it means the bar balances itself as long as you grip it reasonably in the middle. With flush handles, the bar is tougher to balance and can tip forward or back on you if you don’t grip it perfectly in the center and lift carefully.
A good coating in your favorite color can help you protect your hex bar from rust and corrosion and make it last longer. There are a abundance of colors so that you can choose your favorite one or the one that stands out the most.
Standard vs Olympic Weights
Size of the hole seems to be the biggest difference between standard and Olympic weights. To be detailed, standard bars are slimmer than Olympic ones, so the hole in the center of the weight is different as well in order to fit the weight. Make sure that you get the suitable kind of hex bar because if you buy a hex bar designed for Olympic weights, which are more common, it would be a waste.
Knurling is the grip that’s etched into the handles. You might not need anything at all if you has a comfortable knurling. Some knurling is finer than others. Sometimes you might need to use chalk while other times, you’ll need gloves. Make sure to check if you are comfortable holding onto you hex bar so that you don’t injure yourself.
You should always be careful despite the fact that hex bars are much safer than standards because they still may cause injure. While using hex bar, if you feel that you are still suffering from some back pain, please check into getting a weight belt to help or ask for advices from your trainer.
So, those are some basic information about hex bar that you should know. Now let’s see what are the six best hex bars of the year 2018.
Best Hex Bar Deadlifts Review
Valor Fitness Super Hex Trap Bar is a well-constructed Olympic hex bar. Its uniquely design keeps the weight centered through your body’s midline, which reduces unnecessary strain on your spinal flexors and the damage to shins normally associated with deadlifts. This hex bar is great for both beginning and advanced lifters.
Valor Fitness hex bar adds a few extra features that might hold up to your lifting even more. The OB-Hex allows you to safely lift heavier loads. The elevated plate Carriage system lets you add weight without having to lift the OB-Hex and rubber stoppers prevent damage to your floor. The bars you load the plates on sits high enough so even 45 plates don’t touch the ground. As a result, it is very easy to load plates on and off, which is a fantastic improvement over the basic trap bar. The spinning handle with 3 grips feels comfortable and deliver in different ways. These adjustable handles are a very handy feature because it allows you to choose between three sizes – just small, medium, and large. This hex bar is shaped like an octagon and gives you a lot of room so you don’t feel cramped and can enjoy your lifting more.. Heavy gauge metal is nice as well. The weight is kept centered which helps protect you from back and leg injuries
- Rotating grip System with 3 different handle sizes
- Elevated plate storage System for easy loading
- Rubber stoppers protect flooring
- Fairly expensive
If you are the one who owns Olympic weights, the Power Systems Hex Bar is likely to be a best choice. This hex bar is well made, zinc plated and designed to keep weight centered through the body’s midline during deadlifts, shrugs, and power pulls. The change in angle allows you to do dead lifts that incorporate less of your glutes and lower back while increasing the use of the quadriceps
This hex bar has great balance, nice grip area on top and bottom handles and a large area to stand in. You will not hit your knees on the front bar when squatting down low. If you don’t have access to a squat rack, this is the bar for you. The Power Systems Bar blends strong welds with a quality finish to offer a piece of equipment that is both highly effective and professional in appearance. It has two convenient handly positions and produces fluid movements for both deadlifts and squats.
- Safe for beginners
- Good knurling grips
- Long-lasting zinc finish
- Do dead lifts that incorporate less of your glutes and lower back while increasing the use of the quadriceps
- Pull significantly more weight without the impact on lower back
- 2-handle options for users of all sizes
- Fairly basic compared to other hex bars
CFF Monster Hex Squat & Deadlift Training Bar, as you can see in its name, is a perfect piece of equipment for heavy duty, a monster which is capable of holding up to 1500 pounds. Each sleeve has fourteen inches of load space. It’s steel construction and black powder coat finish makes it long lasting and durable, able to stand up to a lot of wear and tear.
The Monster Hex Bar has three different sets of handles, offering superior utility over the typical hex bar. That’s freedom of movement without feeling like your legs or knees will hit the bar. The wide frame also allows for racking inside a power rack or on a half rack with long spotter arms.
It’s a little on the expensive side because of lifetime warranty; however, if you are an serious Olympic lifter, powerlifter, crossfitter, or strongman competitor, the Monster Hex Bar is a must have!
- Four bullrings
- Versatile and rackable
- Can hold up to 1500 pounds
- 2 x 3 steel construction, black powder coated finish
- 3 sets of knurled handles
- multiple grips for Olympic and powerlifting movements
This is one of the best-selling hex bars on Amazon. They’re designed to accommodate 2-inch plates and can hold up to 750 pounds. For about $90 you will have Accu-Armour Coated Sleeves which are rust proof, corrosion resistant and remarkably durable to be used in high performance or high wear components. Accu-coat knurling provides a solid medium gripping surface that is rust/corrosion resistant and easy to clean, which means that you do not need any wire cleaning brush! However, make sure to keep it dry so that it might last longer. You also has an abundance of colored coating such as blue, red, purple and pink, so feel free to add your personality to your daily workout.
CAP Custom Olympic 2-Inch Combo Hex Bar is really reasonable price compared to what you would find elsewhere. It is great for shrugs and deadlifts which might allow you to do deadlifts without putting too much strain on your lower back. All the welds are well-made and relatively clean. This hex bar is level and balanced. The two handle positions allow you to vary the depth of a squat or dead lift. To sum up, it really does the job at a great price.
- Good gripping surface
- Various color choices
- Combines hex and high hex bar features
- Made of zinc-plated solid steel
- 750 lb weight capacity
- A little rough in knurling
The TDS Olympic Shrug-Hip Bar is a great piece of equipment that is able to take standard 1-inch plates. This is a well made, durable hex bar that gives you plenty of standing room because of its wide, open diamond shape. Having stands attached to bar lifts it off the ground enough so that a lot of stress is taken off the lower back and also makes it very easy to load/unload plates from it. If you do squats, dead lifts, and shrugs and you are beginning deadlifters, this hex bar would be a wise choice because it helps the lifter use better form and is very conducive to band attachments for additional resistance.
TDS Olympic Shrug-Hip Bar is suitable for standard plates. You can put 5 plates per side depending on what brand plate you have. It feels very sturdy and durable because of being knurled and chrome plated. It is not only great for grip but will also help keep the bar free from corrosion so it will last a long time.
- Wide, open shape for plenty of space
- Knurled grips
- Light and Strong with built-in stand for easy plate loading
- Suitable for Shrugs, Squats, and Massive Dead Lifts
- 400 lb. Capacity
- 6″ long sleeve on each side for OLYMPIC plates
- Comes with the raised handles
The Gorilla Strength Rackable Hex Bar is really a a high quality, heavy duty work of art, which is not an assembly line product. It is all handcrafted by a small family owned and operated business in Kentucky. They make all of their own equipment. This hex bar was so popular since they’re sharing it with other gyms and anyone else who’s interested in owning one.
It is widely said that Gorilla Strength Rackable Hex Bar is nothing short of amazing. Everything from the measuring, the cuts, the welds, the paint job and so on is all top notch. The frame is made of two-inch thick steel. There are no knurled areas so you might need to get some gloves if you prefer something with a little better grip. It has a sixteen-inch loading space so you can get quite a bit of weight on here. Due to the expensive price, this hex bar comes with a lifetime warranty.
- Constructed out of thick 2-inch steel
- 2-inch Box steel construction
- 2-inch steel frame
Hex Bar Final Conclusion
If you want a hex bar that has some unique features, Valor Fitness Super Hex Trap Bar would be the best choice. This hex bar has a spinning grip system with 3 different handle sizes and rubber stoppers that help prevent flooring damage.
For beginners who want to try a hex bar, Power Systems Hex Bar is another great choice with good knurling grips and long-lasting zinc finish that make it durable. It has 2-handle options for users of all sizes.
CFF Monster Hex Squat & Deadlift Training Bar is a beast of hex bar. It can hold up to 1,500 pounds and has a black powder-coated steel construction that will last for a long time. It is also a versatile and rackable hex bar.
The CAP Custom Olympic 2-Inch Combo Hex Bar has a special accu-coat finish and owns zinc-plated solid steel that protects the hex bar from rust and corrosion so that it will last a really long time. There are a range of colors that you could choose a suitable one for yourself.
TDS Standard Shrug/Hip Bar own wide and open shape for a lot of space and builit-in stand for easy plate loading. It’s chrome plated for durability and knurled for grip.
Finally, Gorilla Strength Rackable Hex Bar was handcrafted by a small family who just loves working out and sharing their passion with other people. The two-inch thick steel frame and box steel construction as well as lifetime warranty make it a popular choice.
A hex bar is a fundamental tool, whether you are a beginner or weight lifting professional. I hope you are able to use these reviews of six best hex bars out there so you can make a right decision about which one is suitable for you.