Kroc Rows Vs Pendlay Rows – Which One Has Better Effect?

Kroc Rows Vs Pendlay Rows

Develop a stronger and healthier back

Impressive upper and lower back muscles are the fact all bodybuilders strive. The hunt for perfect dimensions and symmetrical muscles is on all the time. There are so many back exercises which require tremendous power, strength, balance, and muscle mass – sumo deadlift, clean, snatch, squats, rowing machine…

But what happens when one side of your body is weaker, and you need to decrease the differences to look amazing in the competition? How would you target strictly your erector spinae, latissimus dorsi, or lower trap muscles? Do you want very effective, safe, and easy to learn exercises to build monstrous back in a short period of time? We discover revolutionary two exercises – Kroc Row and Pendlay Row!

Kroc Rows

Kroc Rows are invented by Matt Kroczaleski, and this exercise means one-armed rows with extremely heavy weights in a very long time frame. The exercise improves your grip, middle and upper back muscles.


Stand with your legs more than shoulder-width apart, keeping your back slightly arched in the lumbar area, knees slightly bent and torso bent forward. Put your right arm on any machine or solid object, while your left arm keeps the dumbbell which is on the ground. Lift the dumbbell off the floor by flexing your arm. This is your starting position.

Exploding of your knees and hips, push the dumbbell up and at the same time lift the barbell to the height of your hips and exhale.

Return to the starting position relaxing your knees and inhale. Continue until the remainder of the set, then switch your arms and perform the same movement pattern for the opposite hand.

Mistakes and tips:

  • Do not bend the thoracic part of your spine or head.
  • Don’t lift your glutes up.
  • Make sure you don’t lift on your toes, you will lose balance.
  • Do not drop dumbbell, if it falls on your foot you are rocked for a very long period of time.

Pendlay Rows

This exercise is invented by the coach Greg Pendlay, and it emphasizes the fact you lift the barbell off the floor during every repetition. The exercise is known as the perfect one to maximize the strength of your back and improve explosiveness.


Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, with your body bent forward and maintain a pronated grip on the barbell, which is on the floor. Your torso stands parallel to the ground, while knees are slightly flexed. Make sure your back is arched, and keep your shoulders as protracted as possible. This is your starting position.

Pull the barbell towards your body as you flex your elbows and decrease the distance between barbell and your abdomen as much as possible. Squeeze your shoulder blades at the top of the movement, exhale, and protract your shoulders.

Return to the starting position with control relaxing your shoulders and inhale. Continue until the remainder of the set.

Mistakes and tips:

  • Try to keep your hips and knees as steady as possible.
  • Try to keep the spine as flat as possible.
  • Don’t bounce with your knees.
  • Don’t forget to squeeze shoulders or you will risk cervical spine injury.
  • Prepare well for this exercise, don’t lift giant weights at the first session.

Kroc Row Vs Pendlay Row – Comparative Analysis

The Kroc row and the Pendlay row are the biggest, baddest rows on the planet. But which one will build more strength and grow more muscle and why. We have taken six parameters into consideration – learning process, equipment required, progressive overload, safety, hypertrophy, and powerlifting strength. You will be amazed by the results!

Learning Process

Both exercises are designed for heavyweights, and you will definitively need some time until you get into the spirit of things. You have to strengthen lower back muscles separately first if you want a proper Pendlay row technique.

When it comes to Kroc Row, you won’t have the limit of your core and lower back muscles working against you when you reach heavyweights since the exercise targets your upper back more.

Even the complete newbie can lift as many pounds as possible with a Kroc row, while Pendlay row asks for serious training sessions before you start lifting 200 pounds. Sometimes it means months or even the whole year, so Kroc Row wins here!

Equipment Required

The lack of access to the weights might create a serious problem for a Kroc Row. It is almost impossible to go over 150 lbs with a dumbbell. You will probably need a special set which costs a lot of money. If you are an elite weightlifter, this might be a problem.

For Pendlay row, you will need a barbell and weights. You can find this in almost every gym, and investing some money in straps is also a wise choice. When it comes to an elite Superman power, Pendlay row is definitively your winner!

Progressive Overload

Deadlifters won’t have many issues with Pendlay row. But someone who has just started might suffer spine issues. You need to stop at the top of the movement, which decreases bouncing but uses more muscles at the same time. It will be easier to load your weights with Pendlay row. It is so easy to adjust gym accessories when you work with a barbell!

With Kroc rows, more tension is applied to your elbows and biceps. Unfortunately, when you work with big weight, there is a risk you will pop your biceps. And it is also a bit harder to find the appropriate set of weights when you look for the perfect 5 repetition sets.

Pendlay row is the winner – there is less momentum and bouncing, fewer accessories are required, and the weight is distributed evenly.


When it comes to Pendlay, the technique by itself moves the plates away from your feet, meaning chances of an injury are reduced to a minimum if you control your potentials. The only thing you need to be afraid of is the movement of your spine.

With Kroc row, if you accidentally drop weights, your feet will be in a big trouble, and you might hurt yourself heavily! And there is a chance you might lean to the side… Pendlay row is safer exercise.


Pendlay row is a great way to build your muscles but perfect rowing form might be a bit harder to master. Your body needs to remain parallel to the floor, and your arms perform the movement – it is excellent for advanced practitioners, but applying sets of 8-12 repetitions means a very difficult task.

Kroc Row maintains its form during 12 or even more repetitions with an ease, while Pendlay row is good for short and explosive sets of 1-5 repetitions. Kroc Row is an exercise specially designed for mass and you don’t need to return the dumbbells to the ground. Kroc Row wins here!

Powerlifting Strength

Pendlay row is an exercise which has a lot of similarities to powerlifting competitions, while Kroc Row shouldn’t be performed easily – you will have problems with your balance. Powerlifters by default need to have strong lower back and glutes, and Pendlay row targets lower back.

On the other hand, Kroc row targets mostly mid and upper back muscles, and negative transfer to powerlifting performances is possible. So, a victory for Pendlay row!

Final Word

It is time for judge’s scorecards or decision. Pendlay row leads with the score of 4-2. Which exercise is better? It really depends on what your ultimate goal is.

Yates vs Coleman

For someone who wants to add some mass and build the back of a Hulk and he is not patient by nature, Kroc Row would be the best option! However, when somebody needs power, slow progress, and maximum safety in the training session, we recommend Pendlay row. Both exercises are good at their own ways. Ask yourself a question – which is the final effect you are striving to?

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Vladimir Vlad
Vladimir is an educated fitness coach with a master degree in Sports And Physical Education, and more than 6 years of working in the fitness industry. A strength and conditioning coach of soccer superstars David and Dorian Babunski. An open-minded coach who is always ready to study and improve his skills. A man who really understands the mechanics of weights and exercises. He thinks that everybody can make a training program but only an educated coach can fully understand it. He also likes to write controversial topics from the world of powerlifting, strongman, and weightlifting. Vladimir discovered his passion for martial arts in the early age. He is the owner of Taekwondo black belt and trains kickboxing on a regular basis. He got his first journalism job when he was recruited by The first topic was related to Diaz brothers’ controversies. Since Nate Diaz is a member of his top five fighters, it was a real piece of cake. Vladimir then started writing about fighters’ profiles and later made a transition to MMA news. He describes himself as a man who is a real lover of MMA with an endless passion for it. This writer is extremely grateful to this amazing company for letting him express his full potential. Vladimir is a serious and dedicated martial arts lover. During the fight, he even has the ability to predict the incoming strike or submission attempt. Vladimir is a writer who really and honestly loves his job. He enjoys sharing his passion on his Youtube channel.

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