Focus on total body tension with renegade rows


The Renegade Row is an excellent core exercise and a full-body workout at the same time. This exercise requires full body tension for proper performance, which makes it similar to a plank. However, this is one of the most challenging abdominal exercises that force you to stabilize your stomach muscles and keep your body as rigid as possible. Renegade rows strengthen your abs, increase the stability of your core and help build back and quad strength. This two-in-one exercise is a multi-joint, multi-purpose movement that works your biceps and triceps as well. The best part about renegade rows is that they actively engage your core through the range of motion.

If you're looking to take your rows and planks to the next level, this is an excellent movement to add to your routine. Not only will it improve your skills and fitness, but you will also benefit from exercise variety by performing a new and more challenging movement. This intense, compound exercise requires a high degree of muscle coordination, so stay firm and get ready to feel the burn!






Core Stability

The renegade row is primarily a core strength exercise that starts in a tall plank position. This challenges your deep intra-abdominal control and stability. The rowing movement involved in this exercise forces you to shift the weight onto your 3 limbs (legs and one arm), so that it creates a natural imbalance that is complemented by movement control and fluidity. Using weights with this exercise helps you stimulate even more core strength.


Unilateral Balance

The renegade row helps you train your back, arms, core, quads and promotes deep muscle control. The rowing movement of the exercise helps you activate your muscles, increases core stability, promotes muscle growth, proprioception, and it helps you identify muscle imbalances. This way you can fix your muscular imbalances for proper form and enhanced balance.


Full-Body Workout

Rowing recruits almost all of the muscles in your body. Because the exercise starts in a planking position consistent throughout the movement, your core, back, legs, and arms must be properly aligned in order to withstand both your body weight and load. When you add the rowing movement to this plank variation, you increase the complexity of this exercise by controlling the full range of motion in your back and arms, while significantly reducing the rotational forces of your spine and hips. The added weights only elevate your movements to the next strength level.


Progressive Overload

The renegade row is a functional exercise that can work as a foundation movement for your total body routine. You can learn the basic movements involved in this exercise by performing separate rows and planks. This way you will be more successful with your first renegade rows attempts and enable yourself to master the exercise faster. Once you are able to perform this exercise with proper form, you can add other complex and dynamic movements to it, such as push-ups and jumps for higher intensity.


Scapular Control

Scapular exercises such as push-up and planks are excellent for increased retraction, protraction, and good scapular stability and movement. The load and increased unilateral demands on your upper back help increase the structural demands in your shoulder and scapular stabilizers. The rowing movement also stimulates a stronger retraction as your lats produce more force.


Metabolic Exercise

This exercise will help you significantly increase your muscle mass and boost your metabolism. You will create new muscle fibers and increase your caloric and energy expenditure by increasing the range of motion, weight, complexity, explosiveness, and the length of time under tension. This will also enhance your metabolic output that transfer into your other high-intensity training sessions.







The key element for a successful renegade row performance is to keep your body as rigid as possible. Tuck in your glutes and squeeze your abs hard to stabilize yourself. Make sure your transfer the weight between your arms, otherwise you will not be able to maintain yourself rigid and parallel to the ground.

Additionally, you should tighten your supporting leg to establish a rowing support. Make sure you don't twist your hips or other parts of the body because that will compromise your movement. Row the weight only using your back. For this, contract your armpit muscles and rely primarily on your back for proper movement.



  • Grab 2 dumbbells that make your exercise challenging, but that also allows you to perform a complete set with proper form.
  • Place your hands on the dumbbells at shoulder width and extend your legs outwards, so that you are in an almost push-up position.
  • Tighten your muscles and core, straighten your left arm, and with a slow movement row the dumbbell upwards until your upper arm is slightly higher than your torso.
  • Hold the position for a second at the top of the movement and continue by lowering your arm with a controlled movement.
  • Switch arm and repeat!



You can start increasing the difficulty of the exercise with heavier weights once you’re able to successfully perform 10 reps per one set with a given weight. Make sure you don't overdo it, as this exercise is not meant to fatigue your muscles. You should perform it in order to develop muscle control in order to contract your body as hard as you can. Perform low reps with absolute focus.

Start with 3 sets of 5 reps each, and you'll enable yourself to use proper form and progress to more sets and repetitions. You can introduce renegade rows into your workout by performing them once per week in multiple sets of 2-5 reps. You can slowly progress to 3-5 times a week, but make sure you go steady and focus on your form.


Common Mistakes

Because this is a challenging back and core exercise, mistakes can happen. Remember to maintain total body tension throughout the exercise and avoid making the following mistakes in order to reap the benefits:

  • Rotating your hips: This is a very common mistake, but the key to maintaining body tension is to stabilize your hips and engage your abs during the movement. The renegade row is an anti-rotation and back exercise so keep that in mind. Don't allow your hips to swing or drop as you pull the weight off the ground. Just squeeze your glutes, quads, and core to help you keep your hips stable. You should also keep your feet firmly planted on the ground. If you cannot help rotating your hips, you should decrease the weight you are using and focus on building core stability, otherwise, you won't be able to reap the anti-rotational benefits of this exercise.
  • Hyper-rotating your shoulders: Another common mistake is to over-rotate your shoulders, but when that happens, you are not performing the exercise efficiently anymore. Your lats, traps, erector spinae, and rhomboids should be engaged and get stabilization from your rotator cuff. Focus on keeping your spine neutral and long, while keeping your core as tight as possible. This will help you maintain your shoulders (and hips) stationary as you pull the weight upwards.
  • Performing incomplete reps: If you can't keep your hips and shoulders aligned, and if you can't perform a full complete rep, then you must decrease the weight you are using. You can only challenge your core stabilization by performing full repetitions, otherwise, the exercise is compromised. Make sure you use a weight that allows you to perform a full renegade row set with difficulty but you shouldn't go heavier than that. You want to focus on total body tension, not on struggling with one arm pulling heavyweights. Make sure you complete each rep with proper form and take your rest in between reps if you need to.





Incorporate renegade rows into your training program to promote deep muscular control and strengthen your core. This multi-joint exercise adds complexity and variety to your workout routine, which can result in significant strength and new muscular gains. Remember to start with lighter weights in order to fully focus on total body tension and master muscle control. You can easily start increasing the load from there, but master the movement with perfect form first.

Perform complete repetitions with proper form and you’ll reap the multiple benefits of this exercise. Master the plank and rowing movement patterns before you attempt this exercise. Once you do that, you can enjoy renegade rows for your intense workout sessions and even take it to the next level by adding more dynamic movements to this exercise, such as jumps and push-ups. Train smart and you’ll get maximum results!


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