Enter the Kroc Row
One thing I always find amazing about bodybuilding and strength training is how very slight alterations in grip, form, tempo etc. can have such a drastic change on how affective that particular exercise is along with what it's precisely targetting. The Kroc row is another example of this phenomenon.
Most guys don't know what the kroc row is.
Most guys have lagging upper back muscles and fairly average grip strength.
Learn about the Kroc row now, implement it into your routine and get ahead of the pack...
"SJ, what exactly is this Kroc row you speak of?"
The Kroc row is a variation of the one arm dumbbell row, named after Matt Kroczaleski.
Matt spent years performing variation of one dumbbell rows, eventually he dropped them from his routine and soon discovered that his grip strength on his deadlifts started to suffer... after reviewing his training logs and looking at what had changed he found that the removal of what is now deemed the Kroc row from his routine was responsible for this.
The kroc row is performed hard, heavy and with a little bit of cheating when it comes to form.
Instead of performing 5 - 10 reps of a heavy weight with a traditional one arm dumbbell row the goal is to perform between 25 and 40 reps per arm per set using the Kroc row variation.
What Benefits Will YOU See From Implementing The Kroc Row?
You don't have to be a competitive powerlifter like Matt Kroczaleski to reap the benefits, hell - I've added the Kroc row into my routine at various stages over the last 4 or 5 years and it has always served its purpose... here are the benefits you personally can expect to see from adding the Kroc row to your back day workout:
Your Deadlift Will Rise
These rows require a degree of grip strength and explosive power to perform and when you're performing them regularly you'll find your explosive power and grip strength drastically increase - these are two key components of the deadlift... as such Kroc rows when performed regularly will increase your back strength, explosive power and grip strength resulting in a monsterous number of the bar when you deadlift.
Your Grip Strength Will Increase Drastically
If you implement this row into your routine correctly your grip strength will never been a sticking point moving forward.
Many guys struggle with grip strength on exercises such as the weighted pull-up, they've got strong, well developed back muscles but they simply don't have the grip strength to keep up.
Performing sets of 20 - 40 reps per arm of heavy Kroc rows will sort out any and all grip issues.
You'll Stack On Upper Back Size & Thickness
To build a thick back you need to implement rows into your regime.
To achieve hypertrophy you need to exhaust the muscle.
The Kroc row nails both of these, with heavy weight and 20 - 40 reps per set your back will blow up in terms of muscle development once you've performed the Kroc row on a regular basis for a month or two.
Your Day-to-Day Life Will Improve
Matt attributes the Kroc row to his ability to lift fridges, engine blocks, washing machines and the like, not only will your newfound strength from Kroc rows become practical in everyday life, you'll also find your posture improves and you'll reduce your risk of injury.
A weak back is a liability both inside and outside of the gym.
How To Perform The Kroc Row Correctly
Before I delve into specifics we need to acknowledge that this exercise is NOT for beginners.
You won't find a personal trainer teaching a client how to perform the Kroc row.
If you train at a regular chain style gym you'll undoubtly get some odd looks from other gym-goers while performing these, they'll think you're performing an out of control one arm dumbell row...
As Matt said, "the Kroc rows are all about heavy weight, high reps, plenty of sweat, and sometimes even some blood."
Here's how to do 'em...
Place one leg on top of your flat bench before bending your torso forward from the waist, ensure your shoulders are kept higher than your hips and that your upper back is at around a 15 degree angle to the floor.
Place the matching arm on the bench for additional support.
With the opposite arm while maintaining a straight back, pick up your dumbbell with your palm facing toward your torso.
Pull the dumbbell up toward your chest, ensure the dumbbell is being pulled in a straight line - touch your rib cage with the dumbbell at the top of each repetition.
Lower the dumbbell back down until your arm is fully extended and your shoulder drops down, allowing for a full stretch through the lat.
Use your explosive power through your upper back muscles to explode the dumbbell back up again for the desired number of repetitions (should be within the 20 - 40 range per arm per set).