How To Do Renegade Rows

How To Do Renegade Rows

How To Do Renegade Rows

The renegade row is a total body exercise that specifically works the back and bicep muscles while incorporating the core. It’s one of the most effective compound exercises strengthening the upper body’s largest muscle: the latissimus dorsi while also engaging the biceps.

Better than just a standing mid-back row, the dumbbell renegade row adds a plank to the mix, forcing you to also engage your core muscles. It’s at the top of our list for multi-muscle group moves. This is definitely an intermediate to advanced exercise designed to improve upper body and core strength, but we also include renegade row variations and modifications in order to increase or decrease the intensity.

How To Do A Renegade Row

Here’s how to perform the renegade row properly: 

  1. Begin in a full plank position with dumbbells in your hands, arms extended, hands under the shoulders, and on your toes. Make your feet a little wider for a more stable base and keep your body straight from head to heels. Think long spine, butt down, and abs engaged.
  2. Pull the right dumbbell up toward the right hip keeping the dumbbell close to your side, elbow driving back. Resist rotating your shoulders and hips. Use your core strength and keep them facing the floor as best as you can.  
  3.  Slowly return it to the floor and repeat with the left dumbbell.

Renegade Row Modifications

The most common mistake people make with this exercise is that they let their hips sag in the plank, opening up room for back pain. You have to keep your abs contracted and engaged and keep your spine neutral. If you are a beginner or working towards better core strength, you’re better off practicing renegade row modifications than doing them without proper form. To modify this move and make it easier you can: 

  1. Use lighter dumbbells. 
  2. Perform this exercise on an incline. Place your weights onto a step or sturdy platform. The higher the incline, the easier the movement becomes.  
  3. Drop to your knees which will take some stress off your back and make it easier to focus on the move itself. 

It’s a good idea to practice renegade row modifications if you’re just starting out.


If are more advanced and want to this even more challenging, you can: 

  1. Add a decline by elevating your feet onto a sturdy bench or step. The decline row will really challenge you. 
  2. Check out more renegade row variations below for additional ideas.  

Benefits of a Renegade Row

In today’s world, with our laptops and smartphones, we are constantly in vulnerable positions for bad posture. Our backs really take a hit! A dumbbell renegade row is a great way to help strengthen the back muscles, which are also vital muscles for functional core strength. There are many reasons you should incorporate this exercise into your workouts. Here are just a few:

1. Improves Core Strength

A renegade row flies under the radar for core work but this move will actually bring you quicker results for a strong core than all the crunches in the world! Your core muscles not only hold you in a plank position but also force you to find stability and stay centered while the arm is rowing. It’s a double duty for the six-pack!

2. Improves Coordination

This exercise uses unilateral (one arm at a time) training. Working one arm at a time helps to improve coordination and core stabilizing. 

3. Improves Balance

This exercise is also an awesome move for improving balance since you have to hold your body in a plank position while lifting and lowering one arm. Keep your body as still as possible while you rotate between sides. If at first, you find yourself leaning to one side, practice our modifications and keep at it. Before you know it, you will have improved your balance.

4. Improves Upper-Body Strength

The dumbbell renegade row is primarily an upper-body strength move. The main goal is to strengthen your upper back, shoulders, and arm muscles. It’s an amazing move that sculpts and shapes your upper body quickly.

5. Improved Metabolism

This multi-muscle group exercise fires up several muscle groups and when incorporated into a full workout will help build muscle and improve metabolism. 

Courtesy / Credit: Get Healthy U

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