I want to tell you about one of the most effective, but pretty hard exercises that can be incorporated to your home workout – the renegade row. This specific movement captures the rowing movement and incorporates the plank position to form a rather amazing movement that will definitely make your heart pound and leave you covered in sweat.

Renegade rows, or commonly known as ‘purest’, feast exclusively on the back while offering a ruthless test for the core. it is a movement, which, despite having little apparatus requirement, yields immense total body advantages for those working out at home.

Here you will know:

What is a Renegade Row?
The Beauty of Renegade Rows for Home Gyms
How to Perform a Renegade Row
4 Common Mistakes and How to Avoid Them
Renegade Row Variations to Explore
Renegade Row Alternative
Renegade Row Muscles Worked

Let's start!

What is a Renegade Row?

Renegade Row

The renegade row is a full-body exercise that combines a plank with a rowing movement. It requires balance, strength, and coordination, making it a functional exercise that translates well to everyday activities. Performed with dumbbells, this exercise not only strengthens your upper body but also engages your core and lower body muscles.

The Beauty of Renegade Rows for Home Gyms

While the renegade row brutally taxes your muscular endurance, one of its biggest benefits for home gym enthusiasts is how elegantly simple the movement is. All you need is:

  • A pair of dumbbells (any weight)
  • Enough floor space to create a long plank position

That's it! The elegant simplicity of the renegade row makes it an ideal option for small workout spaces or taking your gym on the road.

From an equipment perspective, using hex dumbbells can make the plank rows more user-friendly compared to round dumbbells rolling around. You could also opt for kettlebells or weight plates held at the corners. Getting creatively minimalist with your equipment selection is part of the fun!

Additionally, the renegade row is an amazingly joint-friendly compound exercise. By working in a plank position, you eliminate nearly all shearing forces on your spine and hips compared to conventional bent-over rows. Your wrists get a break from heavy overhead pressing too!

If you normally struggle with recurring tweaks or mobility issues from heavy barbell compounds, the renegade row provides a potent full-body alternative to increase training frequency without excessive loading.

How to Perform a Renegade Row

To reap the full benefits of the renegade row, proper form is essential. Follow these steps to perform the exercise correctly:

Starting Position: Begin in a high plank position with your hands gripping a pair of dumbbells directly under your shoulders. Your feet should be slightly wider than shoulder-width apart for stability.

Engage Your Core: Tighten your abdominal muscles to keep your body in a straight line from head to heels.

Row the Dumbbell: Shift your weight slightly to the left and row the right dumbbell towards your hip, keeping your elbow close to your body.

Control the Movement: Lower the dumbbell back to the ground in a controlled manner.

Switch Sides: Repeat the rowing motion with the left dumbbell while shifting your weight to the right.

Maintain Stability: Throughout the exercise, avoid letting your hips rotate or sag. Keep your core engaged and maintain a stable plank position.

4 Common Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

Avoid these common mistakes to ensure you're performing the renegade row safely and effectively:

Sagging Hips: Letting your hips drop can lead to lower back strain. Keep your core tight and maintain a straight line from head to heels.

Rotating Hips: Excessive hip rotation reduces the effectiveness of the exercise and can lead to imbalance. Keep your hips square to the ground.

Rushed Movements: Performing the exercise too quickly can compromise form and reduce muscle engagement. Focus on controlled, deliberate movements.

Improper Dumbbell Placement: Placing the dumbbells too far forward or backward can strain your wrists and shoulders. Keep them directly under your shoulders.

Renegade Row Variations to Explore

The Renegade Row is a dynamic exercise that combines a plank with a rowing movement, targeting the back, shoulders, arms, and core simultaneously. By incorporating variations, you can enhance different aspects of your strength and stability.

1.Push Up to Renegade Row

How to Do It

  • Begin in the traditional renegade row position.
  • Perform a push-up by lowering your chest to the ground and pushing back up.
  • Row one dumbbell towards your hip, then repeat with the other side.
  • Continue alternating rows with push-ups in between. 

Benefits

  • Combines upper body pushing and pulling movements.
  • Enhances overall upper body strength and endurance.

2.Single-Arm Renegade Row

How to Do It

  • Start in a high plank position but with only one dumbbell.
  • Perform a row with the dumbbell on one side while the other hand is flat on the ground.
  • Complete the desired number of reps, then switch sides.

Benefits

  • Increases core stability due to the unbalanced load.
  • Focuses on unilateral strength development.

3.Renegade Row to Tricep Kickback

How to Do It

  • Start in the traditional renegade row position.
  • Perform a row with one dumbbell.
  • At the top of the row, extend your arm back into a tricep kickback.
  • Return the dumbbell to the starting position and repeat on the other side.

Benefits

  • Adds an extra tricep activation component.
  • Enhances upper arm strength and definition.

4.Alternating Renegade Row

How to Do It

  • Start in the traditional renegade row position.
  • Perform a row with one arm, return the dumbbell to the ground.
  • Quickly switch to the other arm and perform a row.
  • Continue alternating rows in a controlled manner.

Benefits

  • Maintains a higher intensity throughout the set.
  • Improves coordination and rhythm.

Renegade Row Alternative

1.Bent Over Row

How to Do It

  1. Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, holding a barbell or dumbbells.
  2. Bend your knees slightly and hinge forward at the hips, keeping your back straight.
  3. Pull the weights towards your torso, squeezing your shoulder blades together.
  4. Lower the weights back to the starting position with control.

Benefits

  • Engages the upper and middle back.
  • Strengthens the posterior chain and improves posture.

Read More: How to Do a Bent Over Row

2.Single-Arm Dumbbell Row

How to Do It

  1. Place one knee and hand on a weight bench for support, with the opposite foot on the ground.
  2. Hold a dumbbell in the free hand, arm extended down.
  3. Pull the dumbbell towards your hip, keeping your elbow close to your body.
  4. Lower the dumbbell back to the starting position.

Benefits

  • Focuses on unilateral strength, helping correct muscle imbalances.
  • Targets the lats, traps, and rhomboids.

3.Inverted Row

How to Do It

  1. Position yourself under a secured bar or TRX straps.
  2. Grab the bar with an overhand grip and hang with your body straight.
  3. Pull your chest towards the bar, squeezing your shoulder blades together.
  4. Lower yourself back down with control.

Benefits

  • Uses body weight for resistance, enhancing upper body strength and endurance.
  • Improves grip strength and core stability.

Read More: How to Do Inverted Row

4.Plank Row (Renegade Row without Weights)

How to Do It

  1. Start in a high plank position with hands directly under shoulders.
  2. Shift your weight to one hand and lift the opposite hand to your hip, mimicking a rowing motion.
  3. Alternate sides while maintaining a stable plank position.

Benefits

  • Engages core muscles intensely.
  • Provides a similar movement pattern without the need for weights.

5.T-Bar Row

How to Do It

  1. Straddle a T-bar row machine or landmine setup.
  2. Bend over at the hips and grasp the handles.
  3. Pull the bar towards your chest, squeezing your shoulder blades together.
  4. Lower the bar back down with control.

Benefits

  • Allows for heavy lifting with a stable base.
  • Focuses on the upper and middle back effectively.

Read More: 15 T Bar Row Alternatives

6.Seated Cable Row

How to Do It

  1. Sit on a cable row machine with your feet braced against the footrests.
  2. Grab the handles and sit up straight, with your arms extended.
  3. Pull the handles towards your abdomen, squeezing your shoulder blades together.
  4. Return to the starting position with control.

Benefits

  • Provides constant tension throughout the movement.
  • Reduces lower back strain due to the seated position.

7.Pull-Ups or Chin-Ups

How to Do It

  • Hang from a pull-up bar with an overhand (pull-up) or underhand (chin-up) grip.
  • Pull yourself up until your chin is over the bar, focusing on engaging your back muscles.
  • Lower yourself back down with control.

Benefits

  • Builds upper body and core strength.
  • Can be modified with various grips to target different areas of the back and arms. 

Read More: Chin Up Vs Pull Up

Renegade Row Muscles Worked

Renegade Row Muscles Worked

 

While it may appear to be a simple row variation at first glance, the renegade row is truly a devastating exercise that leaves no muscle fiber un-fried. Here's a breakdown of the major muscle groups that get crushed during sets of renegade rows:

Back Musculature

As with any rowing motion, the renegade row is a prolific back-builder that heavily taxes the lats, rhomboids, rear delts and traps. The constant tension on these muscles from a suspended plank position leads to incredible back hypertrophy and strength gains over time.

Arm & Grip Strength

Your biceps, forearms and hands are under relentless demand during renegade rows. Squeezing the dumbbells with an iron grip while supporting your body weight eliminates any chance of grip or forearm fatigue becoming a limiting factor.

Core & Shoulder Stabilizers

Maintaining rigid plank form on just your hands and toes requires tremendous stabilization from your entire core musculature - abs, obliques, and spinal erectors. Your shoulder and scapular stabilizers also kick into overdrive to prevent any unwanted body movement.

Legs & Glutes

Since you need to support your entire body weight in the plank position, your quads, hamstrings, glutes and calves get serious work too. Renegade rows could easily replace your heavy leg day if needed!

Cardiovascular Endurance

Because you're essentially combining a plank hold with repeated explosive rowing motions, the renegade row proves to be a brutal cardio-taxing exercise. Your heart rate will be hovering in high-intensity fat-burning zones throughout your sets.

As you can see, the renegade row is arguably the most complete compound exercise you can perform with just a pair of dumbbells. Every major muscle group gets intensely trained through an integrated full-body motion. It's a true test of total-body strength and fitness.

If you are in search of an insanely easy yet complex exercise to dismantle your physiology and increase your velocity of the core train and gripping power and nimble muscles – then, the renegade row is yet another weapon that you should incorporate in your home gym.

Although packing an impressive punch, this beauty looks relatively harmless – but let me assure you that the renegade row is truly not a joke and will be the source of admiration as soon as you get the full experience of the supple dynamism it offers! Begin churning it out on this fantastic exercise and you will find that a brand new appreciation of just how tough dumbbells can actually be will rise out of you.

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