Renegade rows were first made popular in Crossfit but what I love about them most is that they are a super effective back exercise that can be done at home with just dumbbells. If you are looking for a back workout that goes beyond the traditional cable exercises like lat pulldowns, straight arm cable pulldowns, or seated rows then you are going to be very impressed with how effective and efficient dumbbell plank rows or renegade rows can be.
What muscles do Renegade Rows work?
Dumbbell plank rows are a tough compound movement that not only strengthens your back but really works every part of your body from your upper body muscles through your core and even into the legs and glutes as you concentrate to maintain a plank body position. Long story short, the renegade row is a multi-joint exercise that incorporates and builds the trapezius, rhomboideus and latissimus dorsi primarily along with the glutes, triceps, and biceps.
Renegade row versus Plank Row
Both the Dumbbell Plank Row and the Renegade Row start with the same body position and both utilize your whole body to engage the row motion. With a renegade row however, you incorporate a full pushup immediately following the rowing portion. The renegade row is considered an advanced modification of the dumbbell plank row.
How to do a renegade row…
Choose a set of dumbbells that feels challenging but not too heavy. For most women I recommend starting with 10 or 15 pound dumbbells and seeing how those feel. You can go up or down from there as needed.
Starting Position: Begin in a high plank or push up position high with the dumbbells in your hands directly below your shoulders. Arms should be solid but not fully locked out. Shoulders are lined up directly over your elbows and elbows directly over your hands. If you are in the correct position for the renegade row then your gaze will be about 6 inches in front of your finger tips. Assume a push-up position with the dumbbells beneath your shoulders and your arms locked out. This stacked-joint position sets the stage for optimal results.
Imagine a straight line from the tip of your head down through your heels making sure that you do not allow your stomach to sag downward nor your hips and glutes to lift up. Maintaining this proper plank position for your dumbbell plank row is critical.
Position your feet just a bit further apart than shoulder width. The wider your stance, the easier the renegade row will be. As you get better at this back exercise, try moving your feet closer together. Be sure though that when you are completing your renegade row that you do not allow your hips to twist upward or rotate.
Begin by pulling your elbow in and up for the row motion on one side first, followed by the other side. Be sure this movement is slow and controlled focusing on squeezing your shoulder blades together as you utilize your back muscles. Throughout, your core will be fighting to stabilize as you keep your hips level.
Once you have done the row on each side, complete a pushup with your elbows tucking in at your sides and keep your chest level. Bring your chest down in line with the dumbbells, it is not necessary for your chest to touch the ground although that can be an advanced version of the renegade row.