For people new to weightlifting or who are unfamiliar with the gym, the first time you see a hex bar, you’ll probably be a little confused.
Once you learn a little more about them, though, you’ll realize that they’re actually a pretty important innovation in weight-training.
Hex bars originated from Al Gerard, a powerlifter in the 1980s who was looking for a way to avoid causing lower back injuries while deadlifting heavy weights.
Today, it’s become a much-lauded tool for lifters to use to perform back-friendly lifts while continuing to get the benefits of training.
If you’re thinking about buying one, we’ve composed a list of the six best hex bars for this season. Before we start looking at our reviews, let’s take a little more time learning about hex bars, why they’re important, and what to look for when buying one.
There are a lot of lifts that can put a lot of pressure on your back and cause damage that could haunt you for the rest of your life. That’s where a hex bar comes in.
What exactly is a hex bar?
You’ve probably seen serious lifters using hex bars at the gym, but maybe you’re not exactly sure what they do. A hex bar is shaped like a diamond or an elongated hexagon. On either end of the long sides is a bar where the weights are attached.
You stand in the center and grab onto handles that are positioned on either side.
This eliminates the need to lean forward and shortens the distance between the lifter and the weight, reducing pressure on the lumbar spine and significantly reducing the chance of injury.
It also keeps the weight spread evenly and centered so there’s less chance of injury.
Studies have shown that not only is using a hex bar safer, it actually produced more force and velocity. 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 should I look for when buying a hex bar?
If you want your hex bar to last a long time, make sure it has a finish that will prevent rust and corrosion. Some coatings are available in a wide range of colors so you can pick the one that suits your personality or just the one that stands out the most.
Standard vs Olympic Weights
The biggest difference between standard and Olympic weights is the size of the hole. Olympic bars are thicker than standard ones, so the hole in the center of the weights has to be different, too, in order for them to fit.
There doesn’t seem to be a lot of manufacturers making standard sizes, but in our opinion, if you’re serious about deadlifting (or even using deadlifts as part of your workout routine), we believe you’d be better off sticking with Olympic bars for durability and safety (not to mention options and availability).
Most hex bars are designed to fit Olympic weights since those are the kind that is preferred; but, if you have standard weights, make sure you get the right kind of hex bar or they won’t fit.
Knurling is the grip that’s etched into the handles. Some knurling is finer than others. Sometimes, you might need to use chalk while other times, you’ll need gloves. You might not need anything at all if your hex bar has a knurling you like.
Make sure you’re comfortable holding onto you hex bar so you don’t injure yourself.
While hex bars are much safer than standard bars, always be careful. If you feel that you’re still having some back pain or if you’re lifting an exceptionally large amount of weight, please check into getting a weight belt to help.
Now that we’ve looked at little more at hex bars and what you need to know to buy them, let’s get to know the six best hex bars of the year…
Best Trap Deadlift Bar Reviews
This best-selling hex bar is now available with Accu-coat specialty coating. It uses an industrial/military-grade material that makes the bar rustproof, corrosion-resistant, and extremely durable.
No need to worry about your grip, the accu-coat has a solid gripping surface that’s easy to clean. It’s also available in a range of colors so that you can add even more personality to your lifting routine.
The Custom Olympic 2-inch Combo Hex Bar is made of solid steel and either zinc plated or covered in the Accu-coat color of your choice. They’re designed to accommodate 2-inch plates and can hold up to 750 pounds.
CAP is a trusted brand whose products are exceptionally durable They’re been in the business for a long time – thirty years, in fact – so they’ve definitely earned their reputation and are continuing to innovate.
- Accu-coat for a rustproof, corrosion-resistant finish
- Good gripping surface
- Multiple colors available
- A little unpolished and rough in appearance
Here is one of our best recommendations for a hex bar. The XMark XM-9065 Olympic Hex Trap/Shrug & Deadlift Barbell is designed with maximum versatility and ergonomic precision.
It reduces stress on your spine and in so doing, the user can lift more weight.
This bar features a knurled, revolving tri-grips that offer 3 handles with different diameters for a more comfortable and efficient grip (depending on the weight and the size of your hands/fingers).
Larger sized grips help to build strength in your forearms. The Olympic plate storage bars or sleeves are elevated and that makes it easier to load and unload plates. A standard 45-lb weight still allows for plenty of clearance.
Most weights will not even touch the floor so changing them is super easy. The shock-resistant bolt-on rubber feet offer exceptional protection for your floor.
- Wide, open shape for plenty of space
- Knurled grips
- Triple handle design
- Elevated weight stacks
- Can only fit Olympic weights and not smaller 1″ plates
A hex bar is going to do the job right even without any special features, but the Valor Fitness Super Hex Trap bar adds a few extra features that you might find help your lifting even more.
Because of the unique design of this bar, the weight is kept centered which helps prevent back and leg injuries. This bar allows you to add weight quickly and easily.
It holds the weights up and off the floor when you put it down so you can just slide off and on the weights to adjust how much you’re lifting. That said, this hex bar is compatible with 2-inch plates only.
There are also rubber stoppers on to bottom to protect your floor from scratches and other damage.
The handles here are unique. The rotate and allow 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.
- Rubber stoppers to save your floor from scratches
- Rotating handles
Another option for someone who owns Olympic weights, the Power Systems Hex Bar is a well made, zinc plated bar that is great for any level athlete. It’s solidly made with a good, durable finish.
The knurling grips are just about perfect, allowing you some grip without hurting the palms of your hands. You may not even need to use chalk if your hands are dry and you tend not to sweat.
You may need to consider using gloves when lifting if the knurling hurts your hands.
This bar holds up really well and won’t severely rust or corrode, even if it’s primarily used outside. The welds are great and the finish is durable. Another good thing?
The dual handlebars give you more options to figure out how you’re most comfortable using a hex bar to lift.
- Good knurling grips
- Very basic compared to other hex bars
Here is one of the absolute best-valued hex bars available anywhere. Priced at around $120(ish) it offers all the basics with not a lot of downside.
We love the fact that this model comes with an open end to allow you to easily squat and lift rather than having to step into it first. This bar is NOT hollow or tubed. It’s 100% solid, heavy-duty steel. It offers an OVER 1000-lb capacity.
The dimensions are as follows: 56.1″ L x 21.65″ W – External Bar Length: 11.42″ – Distance between handles: 20.07″. It offers extra-long sleeves for loading more weight plates than a standard hex bar.
The handles are both regular in style and raised handles for greater versatility. It weighs 45 pounds (the regular bar) and 77 pounds (the open-back bar). Unfortunately, no collars are included.
- Two different handle configurations
- Two versatile styles (regular and open-back)
- Can hold over 1000 lbs
- Not as convenient to use as raised weight sleeve designs
A 4.7 out of 5.0 rating on Amazon says this is one excellent value and option for a hex bar. The 25 KG Hex Bar has two sets of knurls – a 1.5 mm diamond knurl on the lower handles, and 1.2 mm on the raised handles – to provide sufficient grip for your lifts.
Synergee’s 20 KG Bar and has a 1.2 mm diamond knurl on the standard-height handles.
With 10” sleeves and a maximum load rating of 750 lbs, the Synergee Hex Bar is designed to withstand your heavy training sessions.
- Has a very sturdy feel to it
- IS AVAILABLE online (can’t find too many standard bars)
- More expensive than many Olympic bars
- Weight sleeves could be a bit longer for more weight plates (not necessarily BIGGER weight plates)
Final Thoughts & Conclusion
The CAP Custom Olympic 2-Inch Combo Hex Bar has a special accu-coat finish that protects the hex bar from the elements so that will last a really long time. You can also pick from a few colors so you can find one that is uniquely you.
Valor Fitness Super Hex Trap Bar has a few unique features to it, like the way the weights sit on the bar so you can easily change them, the rubber stoppers to prevent damage and the rotating handles that provide you with several grip options.
For a solid, well-made option, Power Systems Hex Bar is another great choice for a bar that will last a long time. It’s durable thanks to its zinc plating. The knurl on this one might be a little uncomfortable if you have a more sensitive grip.
For a beast of a hex bar, there’s the XMark Olympic Bar. It can hold a heck of a lot of weight and it’s way easier to use than a standard hex bar without raised weight sleeves.
This is a little expensive comparatively, but it comes with a lifetime warranty and positive reviews from its customers.
If you’re a seasoned weightlifter or if you’re just getting started, a hex bar is a valuable tool. We brought you reviews of six of the best that are out there right now so you can do your research and decide which one is right for you.
Check out our review of deadlift shoes to get the most out your strength training!