Irish coffee, workout dresses, cast-iron skillets—who doesn’t love a good two-for-one? Renegade rows are a mash-up of two of the best upper body builders: planks and dumbbell rows. But don’t be fooled by all the arm-talk—this move requires a crazy amount of core strength to keep your body stable, says Harris Murrieta, CSCS, coach for personal training platform Ladder and director of recovery at Performix House in New York City.
It also requires you to stop making one common mistake: Twisting your hips. Here’s the trick to mastering the move and getting the most out of this two-for-one exercise.
How To Do A Renegade Row
How to: Place two dumbbells on the floor shoulder width apart. Assume a plank position with your feet wider than shoulder-distance apart. Grasp the dumbbells so your hands are elevated off the floor, maintaining a neutral wrist position. Drive your right arm through the dumbbell into the floor, stiffen your entire body, and row the left dumbbell up and to the side of your rib cage—your elbow should be pointed up and back. Keep your body stable as you slowly lower the dumbbell back to the floor. Then repeat on the other side. That’s one rep.
Renegade rows strengthen your arms, shoulders, back, and core.
Reps/sets for best results: Complete 15 reps on each side. Or, complete 50 seconds of continuous reps, followed by 10 seconds of rest.
Form tips: Taking too narrow of a stance will make stability almost impossible, Murrieta says. But if your feet are the width of a yoga mat and you still can’t keep your spine straight during the plank and row, work on building your foundational core strength before you attempt this move—or you risk injury, she cautions.
Benefits Of Renegade Rows
The renegade row combines the benefits of a plank and traditional dumbbell row, meaning it targets your core, shoulders, and upper back. It’s also an anti-rotational core exercise—because you’re trying not to twist. The resistance actually works your obliques, as well as that super-hard-to-reach deep core, Murrieta explains.
Since so many muscles are involved, this move can also build strength without a super-heavy weight (read: great if you have limited equipment during an at-home workout).
Want to try a complete upper-body workout? Check out a full routine below:
Make Renegade Rows Part Of Your Workout
Because the renegade row is a tough movement, incorporate it early in the workout while your body is still fresh, Murrieta advises.
It’s a great addition to an upper-body strength workout and, since it utilizes so many muscles, it pairs well with isolation exercises like tricep extensions, bicep curls, and shoulder raises.
If it’s too hard, go for your standard pushup modifications: Drop to your knees. Murrieta says taking your lower-body weight out of the equation helps reduce the ask on your arms and core.
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