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The Best Hex Bars for Shaping up Your Strength Training

Unlock new workout potential with these specialty bars designed for big pulls and bigger results.

man using a hex bar to lift weights
Rep Fitness

Sure, the barbell gets a lot of praise for its strength-boosting benefits, but in some scenarios, it's not the right tool for the job. Especially for those new to barbell exercises like deadlifts and rack pulls, barbells can force you into uncomfortable stances that can lead to potential injury, and thus, less time training and more time recovering. Thankfully, though, there are other options out there that allow for efficient strength training without the needed expertise.

Hex bars, for example, put more emphasis on the quads to pull the weight from the floor, relying on more muscle groups to move the weight and making things a little easier than a traditional barbell. Combine that with the yoke-style grip, where your hands are parallel with your toes, and the hex bar — also known as a trap bar — can be a great tool when looking to add deadlifts or other lower-body exercises to your strength training routine.

There are a handful of these hexagonal specialty bars out there, but not every bar is up to the task. Before we step up to the platform and dive into the best hex bars on the market, here are a few things to consider.

What to Consider When Choosing a Hex Bar

Knurling

Like any barbell, hex bars feature a knurling pattern across the grip to help facilitate better handling during lifts. The diamond-style engraving is designed to dig into your palms or weightlifting gloves, creating a sense of friction that allows you to hold onto the bar better throughout the entirety of the movement. Knurling can vary in terms of intensity. While some hex bars might feature a subtle pattern that offers some tackiness, others may boast a more aggressive tread designed for maximum grip. These styles of high-octane knurling patterns can be a bit abrasive to newcomers, so it's worth checking out before making a purchase.

Weight Capacity

While hex bars can be used for a multitude of exercises, the main two modalities where these specialty bars come into play are the deadlift and barbell row. These lower-body movements employ a variety of muscle groups, which means you're likely to move a lot of weight once you become accustomed to the structure of the lift itself. For this reason, it's vital that you choose a trap bar that's up to the potential task at hand. Hex bars can vary in weight capacity from 500–1,000 pounds. Think about your training goals and strength potential to ensure your specialty bar can handle the loads you'll be placing on it — or, at least, hope to place on it in the future.

Interior Dimensions

A hex bar gets its name from the hexagonal shape it displays within the center. This is where the athlete stands when using the bar, so it helps to have the proper room to work. Most trap bars feature an interior diameter between 25–30 inches, which should be enough for most athletes. For larger athletes or those that don't want to feel constricted within the barbell, I recommend opting for a walkthrough setup. This essentially removes one half of the hexagonal shape, allowing for an open front or back.

Handle Placement

Similar to interior diameter, your hands should not feel constricted or widened when working with a hex bar. Most trap bars should feature handles at the sleeves, which should provide a comfortable lifting experience, provided the interior diameter is suitable enough for your stance. This feature is up to personal preference, though, and can take some experimenting to truly find the right grip setup for your personal needs.

How We Tested

Over my years in strength training, I've had my hands on a number of hex bars, including a handful listed in this roundup. When looking for a hex bar to utilize in training, I often consider the visible features, including the perceived strength of the bar, the grip placement and how much space I have within the rig. Additional features, like whether the trap bar is able to be racked within a power rack, or if it can stand upright for easier plate arrangement, are also considered. If you're looking to add a hex bar to your home gym setup, it's pivotal you choose a piece of equipment you'll be comfortable with from the start, as there's nothing worse than purchasing fitness gear that you despise using week after week.

Now, let's find our brace, lock in and get down to the best hex bars available today.

Force USA Walkthrough Trap Bar

BEST OVERALL HEX BAR
Force USA Walkthrough Trap Bar
forceusa.com
$599.99

  • Open back lends itself to more modalities like frame carries, presses and more.

  • Bar weighs 65 pounds without plates, which may be too much for more novice athletes
  • Interior Diameter: 29 inches
  • Weight Capacity: 661 pounds

    Functional, stylish and ready for any new PR, the Force USA Walkthrough Trap Bar is a perfect addition to any home training center. I really like the built-in bar jack profile, which makes adding and removing plates a breeze, and the open back allows for additional exercises like frame carries and more. Be mindful, however, that this hex bar weighs 65 pounds unloaded, which can be cumbersome at times, especially for those just getting into barbell training.

        Eleiko Öppen Deadlift Bar

        BEST UPGRADE HEX BAR
        Eleiko Öppen Deadlift Bar
        eleiko.com
        $799.00

        • Integrated rolling jack allows for easy transitions between lifting sets and loading or unloading plates

        • Only one grip setting, which can limit training potential

        • Interior Diameter: 25 inches
        • Weight Capacity: 1,102 pounds

          If you want to upgrade your barbell options at home, why not trust one of the most reputable brands in strength sports? The Öppen Deadlift Bar from Eleiko features and open-back design for an easier entry, and when you do get down to pulling serious weight, the knurling featured on the neutral handles is top notch. While I’d like to see an added handle placement for an extra sense of grip variety, there’s no denying the power exemplified in this quality piece of fitness equipment.

              CAP Barbell Olympic Trap Bar

              BEST BUDGET HEX BAR
              CAP Barbell Olympic Trap Bar
              amazon.com
              $89.99
              $55.89 (38% off)

              • 29-inch width allows for plenty of space between the sleeves, accommodating more athletes across the board

              • Neutral grips lack a knurling patch, which can make gripping a bit of a chore
              • Interior Diameter: 29 inches
              • Weight Capacity: 500 pounds

                Taking on the traditional hexagonal shape — okay, octagonal — the CAP Barbell Olympic Trap Bar can be a great budget-friendly addition to your home training space. The 500-pound weight capacity should be enough for most enthusiasts, and I especially like the roomy, 29-inch interior that can accommodate a plethora of athletes. I’d recommend chalking or strapping up when using this hex bar, however. The grips do not feature a knurling pattern, leaving you with weakened connection to the weight, especially if you’ve already sweat through a few RPE 9 exercises.

                    Rep Fitness Trap Bar

                    BEST HEX BAR FOR BEGINNERS
                    Rep Fitness Trap Bar
                    repfitness.com
                    $264.99

                    • Simple hexagonal shape creates a better weight distribution as you become accustomed to barbell deadlifts

                    • Medium knurling can leave you wanting more, especially when pulling heavier weights
                    • Interior Diameter: 28 inches
                    • Weight Capacity: 500 pounds

                      Learning the ropes of barbell training? The Rep Fitness Trap Bar features a simple design that creates a better weight distribution as you fine-tune your kinetic chain for serious pulling action. I’ve trained with a handful of Rep Fitness Trap Bars over the years and always appreciated the simple, easy-to-digest nature of these specialty bars. You may outgrow the medium knurling, however, which requires some chalk if you plan to pull closer to the 500-pound weight capacity of this rig.

                          Titan Fitness Rackable Hex Trap Bar v3

                          BEST HEX BAR FOR POWER RACKS
                          Titan Fitness Rackable Hex Trap Bar v3
                          titan.fitness
                          $329.99

                          • Extended weight sleeves allow you to truly chase the 800-pound capacity

                          • Narrow handle diameter can feel constricting, especially for wider athletes
                          • Interior Diameter: 22 inches
                          • Weight Capacity: 800 pounds

                            I have always liked this hex bar for the simple fact that it can be racked securely on J-hooks within a power rack for presses and other modalities. The medium knurling feels great in the hands, and I really like the extended sleeves, which can be great when using thicker bumper plates as you chase down new PRs. While the coating can be prone to chipping over extended use, this can be a great specialty bar for anyone building out their dream power rack setup in the confines of their garage.

                                Valor Fitness Hex Trap Bar

                                BEST MULTI-GRIP HEX BAR
                                Valor Fitness OB-HEX Hex Trap Bar
                                amazon.com
                                $305.98

                                • Four different grip modalities offer a variety of training potential for improved grip strength

                                • Short loading sleeves can be a hassle if not using thinner cast-iron plates
                                • Interior Diameter: 22 inches
                                • Weight Capacity: 500 pounds

                                  Grip strength is pivotal in any barbell movement, and you can train grip strength by utilizing barbells at varying thicknesses and angles. Instead of loading up your home gym with a multitude of bars, the Valor Fitness OB-HEX includes four grip varieties ranging in diameters for a plethora of workout potential. I would recommend, however, that you use this hex bar with traditional cast-iron plates. While this may be noisy, it will pair nicely with the shortened plate sleeves, especially if you’re moving any loads over 300 pounds.

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