Renegade Rows — Build Your Core and Carve a Chiseled Back!


Renegade Rows are part of my compound exercise routine. While some people prefer bent over rows or Lat-Pull Downs, I prefer Renegade Rows because it not only blows up your back, but it carves out your arms and your core all at the same time. While the primary muscle groups get worked, it puts more emphasis and pressure on the secondary muscles than almost any other compound exercise that’s out there.

Renegade Rows are practically a full body workout by themselves. Whenever I’m traveling for business and I’m lean on fitness equipment, I will usually incorporate push-ups into my Renegade Row routine just to get a great full body workout.

How To Do Renegade Rows:

Renegade rows are actually pretty easy to do, but like anything, start a little lighter your first time around. When you start going heavy on the renegade rows, it gets to be a very extreme workout. If you aren’t running to the drinking fountain after going heavy on a set of renegades, then you aren’t challenging yourself enough and it’s time to move up in weight. I still get winded doing these in every single workout I incorporate them into. Here is the basic breakdown on how to do Renegade Rows:

  • Grab a set of dumbbells and place them on the floor.
  • Space them Shoulder Width apart.
  • Get into the Push-Up position and grab one dumbbell in each hand.
  • Raise one dumbbell up and position your body slightly sideways until the dumbbell is near your ribcage.
  • Lower the dumbbell and repeat on the opposite side.
  • Incorporate push-ups if you are doubling up and working on your chest on the same day.

Below is a great video on how to do Renegade Rows properly:

Can I get injured doing Renegade Rows?

As with any exercise, you should always use lighter weights to start out until you have a good feel for the exercise. Not doing so can really put you in an awkward situation and where you might injure your back or otherwise. While Renegade rows don’t typically require a spotter because no weight is putting you in a compromising position, I’d still recommend you start off light and work your way in. Once you’ve done them for a week, start pushing yourself on the weight and manage it as you would any other exercise (I prefer doing 5×5 which usually ends up 5×5,5,5,3,1 which means I’m dropping reps on my last two sets).

Alternatives to Renegade Rows:

There are a few very good alternatives to renegade rows that I will cover below. All of them are solid compound exercises, but you may find that they don’t give you the same total body workout that Renegade Rows do.

Here are a few Alternatives:

  • Bent Over Barbell Rows
  • Cable Rows
  • Machine Rows
  • Lat Pull Downs (higher risk of injury here if not done properly)

The best advice I can give you is to experiment and see what works best for you. You may have better results than I have by introducing any one of the above exercises into your routine, but personally there are few exercises that will hold the same category as my beloved Renegade Rows that kick the crud out of me at least twice a week. As always, Renegade rows should be a part of a proper nutrition and supplementation plan if you want to maximize your results!

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