how to do renegade rows

Renegade row your way to a desk-proof back

Posted by for Workouts

Welcome to our weekly Move of the Week series. Every Monday, we’ll be sharing with you one of our favourite exercises – how to do them, what muscles they work and why they should be a regular part of your workout regime. This week: renegade row.

Renegade rows are a strength circuit favourite. Trainers often like to throw in a bout of renegade rows after getting you to do umpteen squats and lunges. But if you think that hitting the mat is a kind of break, think again. Renegade rows are a plank upgrade: you’ve got to hold your body weight still lifting one hand off the floor. Oh, and neither hand is balancing comfortably on the floor – you’re holding onto your dumbbells the entire time. The result is an exercise that tests you in every stage.

WHAT EXACTLY IS a renegade row?

Think of renegade rows as a hybrid of a plank and a bent over row. You’re in a high plank… but your hands are balancing on dumbbells and you’re alternate rowing while the rest of your body stays still. Simple in theory, slightly more tricky in practice.

It’s great because:

  • It improves stability and core strength: The aim of the game is to avoid rotation at all costs and to do that, you’ll have to switch on those core and big powerhouse leg muscles to maintain stillness.
  • Works hard-to-reach muscles: Back muscles can be easy to neglect but rowing and pulling movements target the upper and mid back.
  • Give the whole body a workout: Every part of the body needs to be switched on to help you stay still, from the glutes to the fingers. 
  • Makes other moves easier: Nail the renegade row and you’ll find holding a simple plank a lot easier – trust us. You might also find that press ups get slightly easier as you get used to moving against gravity in that plank position. 


This is a full-body exercise, working the:

  • Trapezius (upper back)
  • Latissimus dorsi (side back)
  • Obliques and abs (side and front core)
  • Biceps
  • Glutes and quads 

How to do a renegade row

  1. Place your dumbbells on the floor, shoulder width-apart.
  2. Get into plank position, holding onto the dumbbells instead of having your hands flat on the floor. The futher apart your feet are, the easier it will be to balance. If it’s too tricky on your feet, feel free to drop to your knees.
  3. Ensure that there’s a straight line between your wrists, elbows and shoulders – bodyweight should be over the wrists.
  4. Slowly bend the right below to bring the dumbbell towards your hip.
  5. Lower the weight back down and repeat on the left. 
  6. No other part of the body should be moving – only the single arm.

Keen to improve your form? Check out our How To library to see exactly how the experts do over 100 of the most common strength training exercises.

Image: Stylist

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Miranda Larbi

Miranda Larbi is the editor of Strong Women and Strong Women Training Club. A qualified personal trainer and vegan runner, she can usually be found training for the next marathon, seeking out vegan treats or cycling across London on a pond-green Tokyo bike.

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