Renegade Row

The renegade row is a challenging exercise works your core and back.

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  • Main muscles worked: Core and back, especially upper back (latissimus dorsi, rhomboids)
  • Other muscles: Shoulders, arms
  • Exercise type: Compound, Horizontal pull
  • Equipment: Dumbbells

Combine a plank and a dumbbell row, and you’ve got yourself a renegade row. This advanced plank row variation works nearly every single muscle in the body, including the core, arms, legs, and back.

Holding the plank position engages the stabilizing muscles of the core, shoulders, hips, and glutes in order to maintain good form. The rowing movement targets the upper back, shoulders, and arms. The combination of both moves means that your obliques work hard to keep your body steady as you perform the row, developing anti-rotational core strength and improving balance and stabilization.

Renegade rows are a unilateral exercise, targeting one side of your body at a time. This can help you find and correct strength imbalances between the left and right side of your body.

How to Do a
Renegade Row

Illustration of how to do a renegade row exercise

Starting position: Get into the plank position, arms shoulder-width apart and holding dumbbell on the floor. Your hands should be directly under each shoulder; your feet about hip-distance apart. Your body should form a straight line from head to heel, and your core should be engaged.  

  • Shift your weight slightly to your left hand. Then bend and drive your right elbow backwards, pulling the dumbbell towards the side of your chest.
  • Minimize tilting your hips and shoulders, which should remain square to the floor. Squeeze your glutes and engage your core to stabilize your body.
  • Slowly lower the dumbbell back to the floor, returning to the starting position.
  • Repeat on other side.

Breath: Exhale as you lift the dumbbell and inhale as you lower the dumbbell back to the floor.

Tip! Use dumbbells with squared-off ends for stability. Avoid using dumbbells with rounded ends, which make this exercise very unstable.

Renegade Row Modification

This is an advanced exercise. To perform a renegade row with proper form you need to maintain a straight line with your body from head to heel, and keep your hips steady and level even as you raise your arm. Start without dumbbells. Once you’ve mastered the move, add light weights.

To make this exercise easier, modify it as you would a push-up. Drop to your knees, which will reduce the load on your upper body.

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