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How The Kroc Row Builds Real Strength & Size

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Kroc row

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The Kroc row is one to enhance strength and size in your lats and forearms for better grip and bigger lifts.

Those back exercises we all know and love are great and can give us the best chance at seeing those gains we want most, but one in the Kroc row may be overlooked and it can really work to boost your lat and grip strength. Working our backs will provide great support for sport specific and those more functional movements and should not be forgotten. Having a good exercise in your routine, a quality variation at that, can work for your benefit and the Kroc row is definitely one to try.

Let’s take a look at the Kroc row and see what this exercise is all about. From what it is, to muscles worked, the many benefits of it, and how to perform it, you will have all the tools you need to execute this exercise to see that desired strength and size.

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Kroc row

What Is The Kroc Row?

The Kroc row is a variation of dumbbell row named after a famous bodybuilder and powerlifter, Janae Kroc. How this differs from a traditional single-arm dumbbell row is that this is not just a strict row. In fact, this will use your legs and lower back to help get that weight up and moving. An effective exercise, this works well with higher reps as it involves more of a compound movement working multiple muscle groups at once. What the Kroc row can also do is work on better lat and grip strength to give you the best chance at improving those other big lifts. This is typically done with a dumbbell but a kettlebell can also be used.

Muscles Worked

When it comes to what muscles the Kroc row works, we must look first to those main ones being your lats and forearm muscles. Helping with grip and lat strength, these are the primary movers in addition to your biceps, traps, and obliques. As a part of helping you stabilize, your legs will also see a little work done.

Kroc row

Benefits Of The Kroc Row

The benefits of the Kroc row are hard to ignore but can greatly influence all your gains. When it comes to boosting training and athletic performance, as well as aiding in your overall strength and size, the Kroc row is certainly one to include in your back day routine.

Benefits of the Kroc row include:

  • Improve deadlift performance: With many of the same muscles used for your deadlift, this exercise can greatly improve your deadlift as you look to move that massive weight (1).
  • Provide for back support: By working your back muscles, you strengthen the area around your spine to give you the best support with limited pain and strain.
  • Enhance grip strength: By working to enhance grip strength, you give yourself the best chance at seeing those gains you want most when it comes to other big lifts where grip is important. This can also assist with functional movements as well (2).
  • Activate your core: With this lift, activating your core is important to stay grounded and stable.
  • Nice variation for your workouts: The Kroc row is a nice variation for your workouts and can change up your traditional dumbbell row exercise a bit so you see growth occur in a different way.

How To Perform It

Here are the steps for performing the Kroc row:

  1. Holding the dumbbell in one hand, position yourself about shoulder-width apart, but one foot will be slightly in front of the other.
  2. Placing your free hand on a bench, bend at the hips with the dumbbell hand hanging down. You can also place a knee on the bench for added support if you would like. If you do this, firmly plant the other foot on the ground.
  3. With an engaged core and neutral spine, pull the weight up towards your chest and give a good squeeze at the top.
  4. With a controlled movement, lower the weight back down to the starting position.
  5. Repeat for your desired number of reps.

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Featured Supplement For Additional Gains

When it comes to boosting your gains, having a solid supplementation routine on the shelf is imperative and can greatly influence those gains to the max. An intra-workout BCAA is something that can work to burst through fatigue and increase energy (3) while a protein powder can boost growth and recovery. Something like a fat burner can work for that shredded physique by burning unwanted fat and a multivitamin can pump you with the essentials so you don’t suffer from a deficiency. Others like creatine, meal replacements, and super greens can also greatly affect those gains. But a pre-workout can offer energy and muscle pumps and is exactly what you need to spark up that pre-workout routine (4).

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Check out our list of the Best Pre-Workout Supplements for more great pre-workouts!

Wrap Up

The Kroc row is a great alternative to the single arm dumbbell row that provides the ability to really increase strength and size in your upper body. By working these muscles, you will enhance your grip for other lifts and really give yourself the best chance at seeing those gains you want most when it comes to the deadlift. Adding in a nice variation can make your workouts fun and engaging and work your muscles differently to add slight confusion so they do in fact grow. Give the Kroc row a try and see what this alternative can do for your grip and lat strength goals.

Let us know what you think in the comments below. Also, be sure to follow Generation Iron on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. 

*Images courtesy of Envato


  1. Bird, S.; Barrington-Higgs, B. (2010). “Exploring the Deadlift”. (source)
  2. Lee, J.; Sechachalam, S. (2016). “The Effect of Wrist Position on Grip Endurance and Grip Strength”. (source)
  3. Blomstrand, E. (2006). “A role for branched-chain amino acids in reducing central fatigue”. (source)
  4. Kedia, A.; Hofheins, J.; Habowski, S.; Ferrando, A. (2014). “Effects of a Pre-workout Supplement on Lean Mass, Muscular Performance, Subjective Workout Experience and Biomarkers of Safety”. (source)

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