Hex Bar, Sumo and Conventional Deadlifts form the Max Effort Lifts in the Hinge Category. With each variation, athletes have the ability to load maximally and evoke maximal neuromuscular recruitment which is critical for developing the highest threshold, Type II fast twitch muscle fibres.
How the Hinge-Deadlift Challenge Theme progresses from the Fundamentals Theme:
The progression of skill from the Romanian Deadlift Variations (Fundamental Theme) is one of coordinating hip and knee bend to provide a vertical bar path over the mid-foot. All other skills learned previously remain highly relevant for the Deadlift in the Challenge Theme and are now put under the added pressure of intense load possible with these exercises.
(Summary of physical qualities: Maintenance of Braced Lumbar Neutral and saggital plane lumbo-pelvic control to provide access to True Hip Extension integrated with scapula retraction/posterior tilt under distraction load)
What does the Hex Bar Deadlift offer…
Pound for pound the Hex Bar Deadlift is the most simple of the 3 deadlift variants. A neutral grip on the bar, with the handle usually at a raised handle height requires less hip, knee flexion allowing the torso to remain more upright for the initiation of the lift.
This has a few implications for training:
- The lift-off position of a Hex Bar Deadlift has closer hip and knee angles (functional relevance) to many of the fundamental power-positions we see in sport: vertical jumping and accelerating to name just 2 really clear examples.
- Because the hip and knee bend is shallow, the mechanical advantage of the body is higher and we are able to put greater load on the bar compared to conventional deadlifts through this accelerative movement.
As a side-note: assuming trunk control is good, does your athlete have enough shoulder strength and control to resist this potentially massive downward pull? In a whole body approach to strength training for sports performance this can have negative implications, especially for throwing and racket sport athletes who’s shoulder preparation needs to be on point.
- Owing to the the more upright torso position, lumbar erector activity is going to be lower in Hex Bar Deadlift vs Conventional Deadlifting. This is an important consideration if you are looking to develop lower back strength.
- If deeper and/or wider ranges of hip and knee range are present in your target sport (e.g., field hockey) you might consider targeting conventional or sumo deadlift respectively or supplement Hex Bar Deadlifts with more skill specific exercises.
- If high eccentric strength is important for your target sports performance, consider other Max Effort Lifts primarily in your training (e.g., Squat Category, Leg Pressing).