Tip: The Trap Bar Death March

Short on time? Here's a nasty, versatile, total-body workout.

Categorized under Training

Quick and Nasty

The trap bar is one of the most versatile tools in the weight room. It can stimulate the entire body, torch the lower body without the spinal compression of having a barbell on your back, and build tons of muscle on your upper back and traps.

The trap bar can even be used for conditioning. Enter the “Trap Bar Death March” set. This challenges overall work capacity and grip strength (both static and dynamic). And the neutral loading of the handle placement allows for heavier weight on the bar for a powerful loaded conditioning movement.

In a nutshell, you’re going to do the trap bar deadlift and take a short farmer’s walk between mini-sets. Here’s how it looks with the 8-8-6-4-2 rep scheme:

The Death March for Conditioning

Keep weights in the 40-60% of max weight. Perform towards the end of the workout. Here are a few rep schemes to try:

Decreasing Pyramids

  • 10-8-6-4-2 (5-10 steps between each mini-set)
  • 20-15-10-5 (5-10 steps between each mini-set)

Timed Set (Conditioning and Grip Strength)

Start with 40% of max weight on the bar. Set the timer for 3-4 minutes. Do 5 reps and walk 5 steps for the duration of the time. Add 20-30 seconds each week for 4 weeks, then add 5-10 pounds and repeat.

The Death March for Strength

Set the weights higher (70-90% of max), the reps lower, and do the march near the beginning of the workout:

Decreasing Pyramids

  • 5-4-3-2-1 (2-5 steps between each mini-set)

The 3 and 3 Method

Start with 75-80% on the bar. Do 3 reps, walk 3 steps, do 3 reps, walk 3 steps, etc., until you can’t do any more. Try to beat total reps each week for 4-5 weeks. Increase weight 5-10 pounds and repeat cycle.

For hypertrophy, feel free to use straps. Time under tension is key and keeping grip failure out of it will amplify the results.