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The Eleiko Öppen Deadlift Bar is one of the only specialty bars Eleiko has come out with and features the typical refinement and simplicity of other Eleiko products. Essentially, the Öppen Deadlift Bar is an open-ended trap bar that utilizes their world-class barbells and knurling for handles and features a unique built-in jack that is extremely useful. Although Eleiko hasn't ventured far outside of barbells and plates, I'm glad they have with this bar as it is the best on the market, in our opinion, as of this writing. We don't use that moniker lightly, it's that good, although pricey.
Put simply, despite the name, the Eleiko Öppen Deadlift Bar is essentially an open-ended trap/hex bar.
Every now and then a new lifter will come in and ask about the “Strongman Hula-Hoop” located next to the barbells. But nowadays, most people (including casual gym goers) will have an idea of what it is you do with a trap bar. Considered by many to be the most valuable specialty bar, the trap bar has become a mainstay in dedicated strength training gyms everywhere since its introduction 30+ years ago.
The high value of the trap bar for most lifters is that it is a strategic yet subtle play on the barbell deadlift. Throwing some barbell variation into the mix has been good for many seasoned lifters. The diamond-shaped bar was invented by powerlifter Al Gerard. Al was an innovative guy who wanted to find a way to continue training the barbell squat and deadlift in spite of recurring back issues he had grown accustomed to. He started out with standing on a box and grabbing 2 heavy dumbbells by his sides so that he could perform a squat/deadlift hybrid movement. That’s when he quickly began to think about how he could load such a movement safer and easier. Once he sketched the original diamond design down on some paper, you could say the rest is history.
For years, the diamond shape of the trap bar changed very little from its mainstream debut in 1986. In the early 2000’s, some companies picked up on the idea and started tweaking this diamond pattern in favor of a hexagon. The hexagon shape provided the lifter with perhaps a little extra room for their stance and foot positioning. Besides that, little changed. The trap bar remained as a very basic specialty barbell, and rarely did a company move away or experiment with that basic geometry.
Late 2017, we began seeing a paradigm shift in regards to the trap bar design. Instead of the traditional diamond, barbell manufacturers started experimenting with what we call the open concept. Instead of being enclosed by trap bar on all sides, several manufacturers started hacking off one side while attempting to counterbalance the weight. What this did is make the trap bar more approachable, and also added several new exercises to the trap bars traditional arsenal.
The newest open concept of trap bar, the Eleiko Öppen Deadlift Bar, we believe to be the best Trap Bar currently on the market. Not only does it improve on the classic Gerard Trap Bar, it is also built more impressive than any of the open styles we have seen come out in the past couple of years.
Here’s what I like about Eleiko in general, and I told their Marketing Director this when he asked what I thought about the bar. Eleiko has a high-level of execution through simple products. I, as much as likely you reading this love a piece of equipment with a lot of bells and whistles. Adjustments, attachments, customizable options are all things I love, but here’s the issue, the more changes and features added to a product, the more likely it is for there to be issues. Think about it, as much as I like my Leatherman Multi-Tool, if I just need a knife, I’m going to reach for my BenchMade every day of the week. Eleiko recognizes this. Here was Jochem (Eleiko’s Head of Marketing) reply to me, “We try to be the best in the existing categories and deliver outstanding lifetime value through smart engineering.”
Eleiko, in general, doesn’t try to compete in areas they don’t feel they have a competitive advantage. Despite being in the fitness industry as long or longer than any current standing company, I have never seen an Eleiko made leg extension, functional trainer, or air bike. Not that Eleiko couldn’t make one of those machines, but instead of spending R&D money and time to create a wide array of equipment that is all just “okay”, their efforts are focused on a few pieces of equipment that they feel they can be the best in, and the Eleiko Öppen Deadlift Bar is a great example of this.
The Eleiko Öppen Deadlift Bar is essentially a trap bar. But, what separates the Öppen Deadlift Bar from the competition is not just in its features, but it’s attention to detail. Without a doubt, and this may come as a surprise to some, my favorite feature of the Öppen Deadlift Bar from Eleiko is the bar handles. Rather than using a cheap pipe and having some second-rate knurling used (even the best trap bars on the market do this, for instance, the Rogue TB-2 Trap Bar has so many improvements that need to be made but up until this point was the best overall option) the Eleiko Öppen Deadlift Bar utilizes what feels and looks like the same steel and knurling as their world-renowned IWF Weightlifting Barbell. In fact, because we have an Eleiko Training WL Bar on hand, I was able to compare and they are pretty much exact.
Having a handle on a trap bar that feels and looks like a barbell may seem obvious, but up until this point, we haven't really had it, and especially haven't had it at this level. In order to help center the hand on the bar, an extremely important and often overlooked feature, the Öppen Deadlift Bar utilizes two evenly spaced knurling marks similar to what would be found on a barbell. This allows you to find the center of the bar quickly and easily. Why most other trap bars haven't done this up to this point is beyond me.
Outside of the handles, which in reality is the least marketed feature, are quite a few unique characteristics. First, the most obvious difference between the Öppen Deadlift Bar and traditional trap bars is its open-ended design. Although Eleiko isn't the first to offer this feature (Intek Strength and a couple of other companies have released open-ended trap bars, all of which claim to be the first), the use of it is outstanding. One only needs to use an open-ended trap bar for a short period of time to realize how much better it is than being surrounded on all sides by a bar. The open-ended design allows for a great increase in movements to be used by the trap bar including lunges, bounding leaps, tricep extensions, and more. For the garage gym owner, versatility is of utmost importance for nearly every piece of equipment, and there is not a more versatile trap bar on the market currently than this one.
In order to reduce shipping, the Eleiko Öppen Deadlift Bar is shipped with the sleeves detached from the main frame. This is a great idea, and although I was worried it would reduce the strength of the bar, I have yet to notice any potential issue. The reason for this, is the sleeve has a male connector piece that slides into a female sleeve on the frame and is then secured using phillip's head stainless steel bolts. It's easy to assemble, works extremely well, and reduces the cost of shipping. All in all, a great idea.
The next big feature of the bar is something that his something that has been previously done, but not in the seamless way that Eleiko has done it. The feature I'm referring to is the ability to stand the bar up on its end so plates can be added or removed without any friction from the platform. The first bar I saw use this feature is the goofy-looking York Multi-Hex Trap Bar. This is not a good bar and although I like that it has a jack built-in, York's execution is lacking in refinement, especially in comparison to the Öppen Deadlift Bar. Once you use this feature on a heavy-set of pulls (or light for that matter) you'll ask yourself why you didn't come up with it. It's incredibly simple and even more useful, which in the mind of many is the ideal innovation (Everything should be as simple as possible, but no simpler - Albert Einstein.)
The last feature of the bar that is special and ties into another feature that I haven't seen mentioned is that the bar is rackable. Although not everyone uses a trap bar in the rack, you'll want to use this one as overhead presses with it feel stupendous. The feature of the bar this ties into is that, believe it or not, the Eleiko Öppen Deadlift Bar can effectively be used as a cambered squat bar. Although I wish there was knurling on the center of the bar to help it grip your shirt, the bar diameter feels comfortable and you can choose to hold the handles for stability or wrap your arms around the sleeves. No, it doesn't feel as good as a traditional camber bar, but it works just as well and is easily rackable. When I saw this bar, I thought it was possible and am happy to report it is. I would have liked to see Eleiko knurl this portion as previously mentioned, but it's possible that they didn't even think about it.
In the end, the Eleiko Öppen Deadlift Bar is currently the best trap bar available. Although pricey, it's versatile and extremely well executed—if you want the best, this is it.
Although the Eleiko Öppen Deadlift Bar is excellent overall, we would be remiss to not mention the things we think could be improved.
First, as previously mentioned, we would have liked to see the center of the bar feature some sort of grip or knurling to increase the shirt-stay when using it as a cambered bar. This is very much a secondary use, but it works extremely well for this purpose and some knurling would have just helped make the slick surface stick better.
Next, one part of the bar that doesn't scream, "ELEIKO!" to us are the welds. Although they're functional, they're not pretty. I don't believe they're using a robot-welder for them and I think they should, largely for uniformity. This is obviously nit-picky, but Eleiko is striving to be the best and have an expectation to produce high-quality from top to bottom products, therefore, I have no issue making this suggestion.
Lastly, it would be cool if Eleiko made optional handles with widths. They could easily be interchanged with an Allen Wrench, would increase the versatility of the bar, and offer another item for Eleiko to make money on. A win for all involved.
The Eleiko Öppen Deadlift Bar is the best trap bar currently available. This means, of the bars available to purchase as of this writing, it is the best that we have tested.
Our previous top trap bar, the Rogue TB-2 Trap Bar is a good bar, but in comparison to the Eleiko falls flat and I'm sure Rogue knows this. There are other trap bars that beat the Eleiko in regards to price, but none currently with features or use.
The Intek Mod-F Trap Bar is a good-looking, feature-filled bar, but it lacks the jack feature and refinement of the Eleiko.
Ever since Eleiko released the Öppen Deadlift Bar, there have been many companies come forward with trap bars in the works,
A few notable ones are Kabuki Strength with an extremely versatile and feature-filled trap bar. It looks awesome, but we have yet to get one in our hands.
Mike Bartos Power Center has shown an open-ended trap bar that looks promising.
Prime Fitness has teased a trap bar that uses their RO-T8 handles that looks very interesting as well.
All of these bars provide interesting options with various features and price-points. It's an exciting time for the garage gym owner and we look forward to reviewing all of these as they come in and providing comparisons between them.
Despite having the Eleiko Trap Bar for over a year, using it in my home gym as well as my personal training studio, I still stand behind my initial recommendation. The Öppen Deadlift Bar is an extremely versatile trap bar that looks and performs as well as anything else from Eleiko.
Despite the amount we like the bar, there are still others available that are worth looking at. In fact, we did a full rundown on the Best Trap Bars that you can find here for those that are shopping and comparing what's available (there are a lot.) It will be difficult to decide between this and the Kabuki Trap Bar (full review here) for most, but you can't really go wrong with either.
I still love the way the Eleiko has the stand up feature, barbell knurling, and the ability to use the bar as a camber squat bar. Despite using it for a lot of workouts, it still looks pretty much as a good as new with some minor scratches from when I use it in the rack.
If you're in the market for a trap bar, despite a year's worth of use and abuse, I still give it a high recommendation.
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