Exercise Spotlight: Renegade Rows

The list of exercises for effective core training is ever-growing. Sit-ups and crunches are out, planks are in. Traditional core exercises are losing popularity as we learn more about core strength and proper ways to challenge the core. (See: Let’s Get To “The CORE”)

The Renegade Row has recently grown in popularity. I love this core exercise! A renegade row challenges you to hold a high-plank position while performing a dumbbell single arm row.

Here’s how to do it:

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  • Set up a dumbbell directly under your shoulder on one side.
  • Assume a push-up position with your hand grasping the dumbbell instead of flat on the ground. Position your feet shoulder-width apart.
  • Tighten your core, and keep your back flat and hips square to the ground.
  • Pick up the right dumbbell and row it to your side. (You should control/not allow hip shifting from side to side while rowing the dumbbell)
  • Slowly lower the dumbbell and repeat.
  • Perform a set of 10-20 reps. Switch sides.

Seems simple enough, right? Well, appearances can deceive. Your core has to do some serious work to enable you to perform the Renegade Row correctly.

To perform the exercise properly in the plank position with your hips level and square to the ground, your core muscles work to keep you in the exact same position as when the dumbbell is on the ground—but now you only have one arm for support. In addition, it also works anti-rotation, meaning your core muscles prevent your torso from rotating (your hips from shifting side to side).

Of course, as you would with any other exercise, it’s important to gradually increase the weight. You might be able to use a reasonably heavy weight for the row, but if your form isn’t clean holding the plank and controlling hip movement, use a lighter weight.

Enjoy this fantastic core exercise and stay tuned for my next Exercise Spotlight!

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