The renegade row is an exercise performed with dumbbells. It targets your core, and involves use of the muscles in the back, including the trapezius, lats, and the rhomboids. Like deadlifts, it also hits the biceps, triceps forearms, and the back of your shoulders. Renegade rows are a phenomenal exercise for your core and your back. It’s a functional exercise – you’re moving the whole body at the same time, and using the abdominals and back muscles to stabilize the body while you’re performing them.
These are quite a step up from regular rows. They not only benefit your full body, but doing them provides additional benefits that show up when you’re doing other exercises.
You see, unlike a regular row, which you perform in a seated position, the renegade rows are performed with dumbbells from the standard pushup position. You can already see this going to be a gut busting work out, can’t you? Since you are doing these modified dumbbell rows from the pushup position, your body works extra hard to keep you stabilized and in proper form. To keep your back straight and body aligned, your abs and glutes engage to maintain balance and position. Since you’re moving, too, they are continually adjusting to keep you in proper position. In that sense, renegade rows are holistic exercise. The abs and glutes protect you almost automatically so you can leverage the maximum value from this amazing exercise.
The renegade row is what’s known as a compound exercise, because it engages so many different muscle systems during its performance. You engage the core, the back muscles, the glutes, the legs, the chest, and the arms in fluid motion, keeping your body stable and strong. You will feel the burn from doing renegade rows, we promise you. And you will enjoy a much stronger overall physique because the renegade row is working multiple parts of the body at the same time.
How to Perform Renegade Rows:
- Get a pair of dumbbells. Start off with lighter weights as you would with any new exercise until your body has had a chance to adapt to it and until you build up the necessary core and back strength to be able to execute the exercise in proper form. Hexagonal dumbbells are the best for renegade rows since they sit flat on the floor.
- Set the dumbbells about shoulder-width apart on the floor. Get into pushup position with your hands gripping the dumbbell. Extend your legs as you would in a standard pushup. Engage your calves, your thighs, your glutes, your core, and your arms. Don’t let yourself sink into the dumbbells, and avoid locking out your arms and wrists. Keep the arms firmly pushing into the dumbbells.
- With the core and glutes engaged, straighten your left arm fully, again without locking out. With your right hand, draw the dumbbell up until it touches your chest. Your body will naturally rotate along with the motion, and you’ll feel your back muscles pulling up and across. Hold the dumbbell in this position for 3 seconds.
- Return the dumbbell to the floor, reground yourself, and repeat the motion using the left arm. Do 10 to 12 reps per arm. When you can successfully do 15 to 20 reps per arm, increase the weight of the dumbbell.
Extra Credit Move: When you come back to the starting position, do a pushup.
If you find the exercise is too difficult, there are a couple of things to do. First and foremost is to lower the weight you’re using. Selecting too much weight is a rookie mistake, and you’ll likely hurt yourself trying to perform renegade rows with a weight that forces you to strain. As soon as you strain, you’ll over-train.
Like the squat, you can also spread your legs wider to provide a more stable base as you’re doing the exercise. Gradually bring them together over time as your strength improves.
When you have become comfortable doing renegade rows with hexagonal dumbbells, try using kettlebells. Because they’re round, your body will have to work harder to maintain proper form as you’re doing the renegade rows.
When you’re done doing a set of renegade rows you will feel the burn in your body and you’ll know that your core and your back are getting stronger. Not only that – you are going to feel great and you’re going to look great thanks because renegade rows are a phenomenal exercise for your core.
Below is a great video of how to perform the renegade row if you need a visual instruction on how to do the exercise.