Movement of the Day: Renegade Row

In conjunction with the last movement of the day, this article will be reviewing a complementary exercise to the push-up: the renegade row. The renegade row is a high efficiency, low equipment compound movement. This movement is relatively unique because it stimulates multiple muscle groups. The muscles used are the core, back, biceps, forearms while requiring the shoulders, chest, and triceps to stabilize the body. The renegade row has many benefits like the low equipment requirement, plenty of variations, and its ability to be used as a great warm-up, accessory, or finishing lift.

To perform a renegade row, have a dumbbell in each hand and assume a push-up position. To assist in balance, the feet should be further apart than the feet would be in a push-up. Brace the core to stabilize. Be sure to pull the shoulders down toward the hips to engage the lats. Once stabilized, lift the elbow of one arm until the arm is in line with the torso or when the elbow is higher than the torso. Then return the dumbbell to the ground and repeat with the other arm. During the concentric phase, your arms should make a 45-degree angle with your torso if someone glanced at you top-down. Changing this angle will alter the muscular emphasis but may also come with some risk. Do not use too much weight on this movement. Moderate weight is advised for this movement since a large portion of the body is required to stabilize the movement. Strict form is vital. Renegade rows are a poor exercise to cheat reps.

The renegade row has other benefits than just being a great back builder. The renegade row into push-up is a fine exercise to achieve a significant amount of stimulus with lower time investment. To perform this exercise, perform a renegade row with each arm, once this is done, perform a push-up, then repeat. Instead of a push-up, you can do burpees or mountain climbers. These different options are one of the greatest strengths of renegade rows.

If you wish to use the renegade row as a major exercise, it would be best to use it within circuit training. Renegade rows can be an exhausting exercise. However, within a circuit, it can be used more as a tool for conditioning than strictly strength training. In more traditional training, it is better as a warm-up or accessory. As a warm-up, it can be utilized to prepare the musculature for bracing and warming up for other back movements such as bent-over rows or inverted rows. As an accessory, it can be used as a movement to complement your now fatigued back musculature. Lighter weight once the muscles are tired is a great way to squeeze out more with less injury risk and since renegade rows double as a core exercise, for those who do not like training core as an individual entity.

A short circuit example you could use the renegade rows is as follows. Of course, feel free to add this movement to your training routine.

  • 10–15 Push-ups
  • 10–15 Each Arm Renegade Rows (20–30 reps total)
  • 10–15 Burpees
  • 30–60 Second Plank
  • Rest for 90–120 Seconds
  • Repeat for 3–5 sets

The renegade row is a great movement to add to any workout routine. It provided a way to focus on multiple body parts efficiently. I would recommend looking into if it can fit into your program. The renegade row is a unique rowing variation that allows the exerciser to incorporate many different movements, such as burpees or push-ups. The renegade activated many muscles in the body.



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Quentin Washington

Quentin Washington

I am an exercise physiologist and online fitness/nutrition coach. If you like what I write here, check out my website: