The renegade row is a great full-body exercise that will really challenge your core and shoulder stability. Though you’re performing a row, because you’re not using heavy weights, this version shouldn’t be treated as a back exercise but more so a core exercise. Your focus here should be to try and remain as still as possible through your trunk, hips and legs while rowing the dumbbell to just below the chest. Because we don’t want to rotate through the hips, in order to perform the exercise with proper form, you must actually engage your obliques to prevent this twisting motion from taking place. In return, we’re developing anti-rotational core strength, which can help with balance, coordination, and even fall-prevention.
How to set up the renegade row:
- Place the dumbbells on the floor, positioned so that when you set up in a high push-up position, the dumbbells are roughly shoulder-distance apart and the handles of the dumbbells are parallel to one another.
- Start on your hands and knees in a tabletop-like position, gripping one dumbbell with each hand. Your hands should be aligned beneath your shoulders and your knees under your hips.
- Step your feet behind you to enter a full plank position, your body supported by your hands and the balls of your feet. Check your form here—your body should form a straight line from your heels to your head with your core engaged and tight. Position your feet so they’re roughly hip-distance apart to offer more balance and support to the exercise. Too far apart or too close together could result in unwanted twisting at the hips.
- Inhale and shift your weight slightly to your left side so more of your weight is supported by your left palm. Your body shouldn’t twist—make sure both hips and shoulders remain square to the floor.
- Squeeze your right shoulder blade toward your spine and draw the dumbbell held in your right hand toward your chest, bending your elbow as you draw the dumbbell toward you. Exhale as you lift the dumbbell. Check your form at the top of the movement—your hips and shoulders should still be squared to the floor, the dumbbell should be pulled all the way to your right chest/shoulder, and your right elbow should be pointing up and toward the back of the room.
- Lower the dumbbell slowly to the floor, returning it to the starting position. Repeat on the other side and alternate back and forth until you’ve completed 8-12 reps per side.
When done correctly, most would consider this an intermediate to advanced exercise. If you can hold a plank for over a minute or you’re ok with doing full push-ups you should be ok with the full version.
If you’re still working on improving your planks and pushups or if you have a shoulder injury, try modifying the exercise first by dropping to your knees while you do your rows.