T Nation

Kirk Row Question


Hey all,
I know Jim Wendler has spoken about the Kirk Row, and I've done some reading and given the exercise a try. My question- since the movement is essentially a partial rep upright row and a shrug combined, does the kirk row work the lateral deltoid?

As far as I can tell, the exercise does work it. I'm always trying to hit the lateral delt more, and compound options are always preferable to me. I feel like a putz doing lat raises after a heavy set of compound lifts. SO when I read about and tried the kirk rows, it seemed like possibly a safer alternative to the upright row while still hitting the lateral deltoid somewhat.

Thoughts? Am I way off?


why not just try it and see for yourself what it does?


Yes, the lateral deltoid is in the movement. Go do it, and see for yourself. Also, I never injured myself doing them, and they never seemed to cause stress for my shoulders.


Yeah they got their first try in my assistance work yesterday. My traps are angry today. I'll keep it up and see. Thanks


It should be noted that I do mine a bit differently than most. I use a bench to stay as parallel to the floor as possible, dead stop at the floor, and touch to my upper pec/delt.

Sometimes I hate them because they are hard as hell if you're doing them right (I believe the intensity is "doing it right"). I think that you will get some lateral delt involvement, however it is mostly a lat, scapular retractor/elevator, and rear delt movement. That being said I have noticed my biceps get hit a bit with them.

If you are going to worry about delts, I have had great success with standing press, rear laterals (both dumbbell and machine), and face pulls. I do think that Kroc rows are good rear delt builders, but I don't think they should be the only movement you are doing, as over time you will neglect the delt if all you do is row.

I have noticed a tiny bit of shoulder discomfort while doing them, but I do two bench variations with a huge shoulder stretch right before them, and I occasionally do them paused at the top. That is just me though, and it has only been a couple times ever.


Oh I'm sorry I meant to write Kirk shrugs not rows.

I think maybe you thought I meant Kroc rows. Kroc rows, yes, would hit the rear delt.

Kirk shrugs, I was asking about the upright row portion and it's effect on the lateral delt.


rack pulls and cleans did more for my traps than shrugs ever did. ($.02)


Snatch grip high pulls did (do) more for my traps than anything on the planet. ($0.04)


Op was asking about lateral deltoids, not traps. Did you kinda just see the title, not read the original post, and simply post your favorite trap exercise?

I personally like kroc rows (and all rows), really, really heavy pulls, (straight weight, off pins, reverse band, against bands, ect) front squats, and carries for that area. I noticed some nice growth lately in that area after added farmer walks/other carries to my training.

Oh, this also comes from someone with traps, and some who oly lifted your weights a year ago while weighing 38 pounds less! :slight_smile:

Oh by the way...perhaps you should consider posting about something you know? I don't go in the body building forum and talk about the best way to get a huge proportional body because that is not what I try to do. And you shouldn't come in the powerlifting section and talk about strength, nor should you talk about traps until YOU HAVE TRAPS. :slight_smile:

You are progressing though, keep it up.

Thanks, DSSG.


snatch grip high pulls also work delts. by your logic, is it absurd to even mention targeting lateral delts specifically in the powerlifting forum? they don't contribute to any competition lift. my understanding was that this thread was about shrugs, and any variant of shrug i've found to be virtually useless compared to a multi joint lift targeting the traps... now if you want to "build" lateral delts, just focus on them like a bodybuilder would and BAM, they'll grow. heavy dumbbell partial laterals a la John Meadows, with some full rom laterals after to "burnout". if this thread isn't about shrugs, then it's over.


I can't say I know much about the Kirk row, but one thing that blew my side delts up where doing side raises between every main lift. 5/3/1 I would super set every single set with around 12 reps of side raise then finish off more sets of side raise to get 60 reps out. 120 reps a week from just that plus some band work. This worked for me more then anything really ($0.06).

Also, Zoro looking at the bio mechanics of a bench, will training side delts blow your bench through the roof, is it some secret to a 700+ raw bench fuck no, but when to push your elbows out at the top of the lift side delts play a role and can get a person through a sticking point. Also just because something doesn't play a role in the 3 main lifts means you shouldn't do it? What is the point of bicep training then or calf training. The do nothing to increase a lift but they should be exersized no matter what to stop a chance from tearing.


oh, i completely agree about training things that don't directly contribute to judged lifts. I personally don't feel like lateral delts do anything for me, as I use a medium grip due to past shoulder injuries in my left shoulder from martial arts. Just responding to " I don't go in the body building forum and talk about the best way to get a huge proportional body because that is not what I try to do.

And you shouldn't come in the powerlifting section and talk about strength, nor should you talk about traps until YOU HAVE TRAPS. :slight_smile: ", as the insinuation here was that traps and their connection to shoulder training should not be discussed in the PL section.


kirk row, or kirk shrug, what ever you want to call it, named after Kirk Karwoski, one of the greatest PLer's ever, anyway, you start with the BB hanging aty arms length against your thighs, you then pull it up forcefully to your belly button, where you hold for a 5 count, then lower, and repeat. This is an assistance exercise for the deadlift, building upper back (traps) and grip, lots of grip. Thats it, Thats what it does. If you want to work your shoulder's, do latterals, or more military.

this exercise will build thick traps, and big forearms, and I do a couple sets at the end of my deadlift workout, as I'm lowering the weights. Excellent exercise. Kirk invented the exercise because he had real small hands, and needed to work on his grip for his world record deadlift. Hope that clears up some of the confusion.


My mistake man sorry :D.