Refresher Course: Hex Bar

This barbell crossbreed is popularly known as a tool for shrugging, but it has other values.

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This barbell crossbreed — aka the trap bar — has two shafts that arc outward from one another to form either a square or hexagonal shape. The user stands inside the bar and grasps the handles near the plate collars. Though most people know it as a tool for shrugging, the hex bar has other values. “They are especially helpful for those new to deadlifting,” says Dan Roberts, CSCS, founder of the Dan Roberts Group. “Because you hold the bar with a hammer-style grip and the weight is positioned at your sides rather than in front of you, your center of gravity is always in line with your shoulders.”

Technique — Tabata

This short but intense training protocol intersperses 20 seconds of all-out effort with 10 seconds of rest, a pattern that repeats eight times for a total of four minutes. Though a four-minute workout might sound ridiculous, when done properly, a Tabata can burn as many calories as a 60-minute jog because of the “afterburn” effect: A Tabata jacks your metabolism for hours afterward, burning fat and calories and improving your aerobic and anaerobic energy systems. A Tabata can be performed with any sort of cardio, strength move or dynamic exercise, but remember — in order for it to be effective, you have to perform your 20 seconds of work all-out each and every time.

Hex-ellent Tabata

Repeat the below workout four times through for a total of four minutes.

Move Time
Deadlift 20 seconds
Rest 10 seconds
Pivot Push-Up 20 seconds
Rest 10 seconds
Hex-Bar Deadlift for Hex-Bar Refresher Course

Hex-Bar Deadlift

Stand inside a hex bar with your feet shoulder-width apart. Shift your glutes rearward and then bend your knees slightly to grasp your hands on either side of you in a neutral grip, keeping your back flat and your head and spine neutral. Extend your knees and hips at the same rate to come to standing, then slowly return to the start. Touch down lightly and go right into the next rep.

Hex-Bar Pivot Push-Up for Hex-Bar Refresher Course

Hex-Bar Pivot Push-Up

Put a plate on one end of the hex bar and leave the opposite end empty. Get into a push-up position at the empty end, placing a hand on each side of the bar with your head, hips and heels aligned. Find your balance, then slowly bend your elbows and lower your body toward the bar in a push-up. Pause briefly and then press back to the start without allowing the bar to rock back and forth as you execute the move.

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