Everyone should deadlift, plain and simple.
If more people deadlifted with great technique, there would be a lot less problems in the world.
That being said not everyone is qualified to perform the same variation, and very few of those people are able to perform conventional deadlifts.
Luckily, there are a ton of different deadlifts that can be used to develop the posterior chain.
Dedicated time to build up the glutes and hamstrings is essential to a good training program. These two muscle groups are often very weak in the average person.
The posterior muscles are like the forgotten cousins to the quads. The quads get all of the love and flash but the glutes/hamstrings need more attention.
For those with low back pain, quad dominance is going to contribute to the problem. Having a strong posterior chain is going to provide stability for the low back/pelvis. This stability will then reduce stress of the area.
Those with the chronic tightness in the low back will relieve some of that tension with training these muscle groups. The glutes, hamstrings, and spinal erectors all extend the hip area. When the glutes are unable to get the body into extension, the spinal erectors have to do it. These muscles are not designed to be prime movers, instead they are supposed to be stabilizers.
When they have to become movers, they will fatigue much easier. When postural stabilizers fatigue, then it is up to the ligaments and bones to provide stability. When this is the case, an injury is just waiting to happen.
The hamstrings are also responsible for providing stability of the knee. Opposing the quads, is the hamstring group. When the quads get overused, which is in everyone, the hamstrings help to balance them out.
We start to see overuse injuries, such as tendinosis and patellofemoral pain, when the quads are overactive.
The back and knee are just two areas where a strong posterior chain can prevent injuries.
The hamstrings and glutes are also huge muscles. Training huge muscles will result in burning a ton of calories. This will help accelerate fat loss efforts in the gym and at rest.
Back to the hex bar. If deadlifts are one of the best exercises for developing the posterior chain, then we should find a variation for everyone.
In general, the hex bar is the best variation that fits the greatest amount of people.
By using the hex bar:
- The handles are a little bit higher which requires less hip mobility
- The weight is on the outside of body which requires less strain on the back and less technique errors.
- It allows for differences in body type (leg length, torso length, injuries, etc.)
- More weight can be handled for these reasons.
Now on the surface these reasons may make it seem like I am too lazy to coach proper deadlift technique and just avoiding the bigger picture problems.
Well, let me explain. Athletes and adults still need to receive a training effect while working on movement patterns. If they can start to practice loaded hip hinges while working on mobility then we will be able to perform other deadlifts in no time.
I also work in the private sector of sports performance, aka I do not get athletes year round for 4 years. More often than not I have less than 3 months to elicit the best results for these athletes.
When they are only training 3 hours per week (if I am lucky) and have 165 hours to reverse everything, I need to use the most efficient tools.
The hex bar also minimizes the impact of individual differences. The deadlift is affected by torso length, leg length, arm length, injury history, and technique. Most of these issues will be cleared up with one piece of equipment. On the other hand, we may see insanely slow progress by forcing the wrong variation on someone.
The great equalizer in all of this is weight on the bar.
What is going to get someone better results- forcing someone into a bad conventional deadlift at 225 or a great hex bar deadlift at 300-400 lbs? I’ll take the chances with the hex bar.
With enough weight on the bar, the hex bar deadlift can be just as effective as any other variation.
These are a few of the reasons why I think that the hex bar is so effective. The two main reasons for its effectiveness is that it allows a training effect while learning mobility, etc. and it transfers to different people much easier.
Start developing a strong lower half with this variation. Your back, knees, and performance will thank you.