6 Benefits of Renegade Rows

In previous articles we discussed the power of unilateral training, the importance of a strong core, and the role of the lats and spinal erectors lifting posture and performance. When looking for a metabolic movement that stresses all of the right areas yet can be done with the simplest of equipment, look no further than the renegade row.

Renegade Row Benefits

Below are six benefits of the renegade row, regardless of ability level and/or sport.

Core Stability

The renegade row is a challenging movement that starts in the tall plank position, which immediately challenges deep intra-abdominal stability and control. The rowing movement entails an athlete to shift weight onto three limbs, creating a natural imbalance in loading that must be met with fluid movement and control. Additional weight can be used in the row to increase unilateral demands on the body, further stimulating core strength and bracing to withstand spinal and hip rotational forces.

Unilateral Strength and Balance

This rowing movement offers a magnitude of unilateral benefits to a lifter, with the addition of training the core, back, arms, quads, and deep muscular control. Unilateral training can increase muscle activation, hypertrophy, movement awareness, and core stability, which is exactly some of the unique benefits offered by this complex plank row variation.

Total Body Movement

While it is called a row, this movement employs nearly every single muscle in the body. By starting the movement in the plank position, the core, arms, legs, and back must be set correctly to withstand the loading and body weight of the lifter. When progressed with the rowing movement (with little to no weight), the complexity changes as the lifter must learn to then control the full range of motion in the back and arms while minimizing rotational forces at the spine and hip. By adding weight to the movement, all of the previous total body movement benefits are elevated to the next level.

Metabolic Movement

Whether done slowly, at tempos, in circuits, or as part of a complex, this total body movement has the ability to create some serious muscular and metabolic demands. Increasing the range of motion, length of time under tension, loading, complexity, and even explosiveness of this total body lift will result in more muscle fibers and neurons being innervated, and therefore increase caloric and energy expenditure. Furthermore, the new muscle fibers and movement patterns you create will unlock greater finesse and can increase your metabolic output in future high intensity training sessions.

Scapular Stability and Control

Push ups, planks, and scapular circles are all great ways to increase retraction, protraction, and scapular movement and stability. Adding loading to the plank while increasing unilateral demands on the upper back for stability can really increase the structural demands on the scapular and shoulder stabilizers. In addition, rowing requires a strong ability to retract and and control the scapulae as the lats produce force, furthering this unilateral movement outcomes.

Movement for Infinite Progressions

Once you have learned the basic components of the renegade row and mastered the exercise itself, you have the ability to then add push ups, burpees, jumps, and other complex and dynamic movements into the mix, making this a foundational movement and function exercise to add to any high intensity total body routine.

Back Row Articles

Check out these two articles on the Renegade row!

Featured Image: @virginactiveaustralia on Instagram

Mike Dewar

Mike Dewar

Mike holds a Master's in Exercise Physiology and a Bachelor's in Exercise Science. Currently, Mike has been with BarBend since 2016, where he covers Olympic weightlifting, sports performance training, and functional fitness. He's a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) and is the Assistant Strength and Conditioning Coach at New York University, in which he works primarily with baseball, softball, track and field, cross country. Mike is also the Founder of J2FIT, a strength and conditioning brand in New York City that offers personal training, online programs for sports performance, and has an established USAW Olympic Weightlifting club.

In his first two years writing with BarBend, Mike has published over 500+ articles related to strength and conditioning, Olympic weightlifting, strength development, and fitness. Mike’s passion for fitness, strength training, and athletics was inspired by his athletic career in both football and baseball, in which he developed a deep respect for the barbell, speed training, and the acquisition on muscle.

Mike has extensive education and real-world experience in the realms of strength development, advanced sports conditioning, Olympic weightlifting, and human movement. He has a deep passion for Olympic weightlifting as well as functional fitness, old-school bodybuilding, and strength sports.

Outside of the gym, Mike is an avid outdoorsman and traveller, who takes annual hunting and fishing trips to Canada and other parts of the Midwest, and has made it a personal goal of his to travel to one new country, every year (he has made it to 10 in the past 3 years). Lastly, Mike runs Rugged Self, which is dedicated to enjoying the finer things in life; like a nice glass of whiskey (and a medium to full-bodied cigar) after a hard day of squatting with great conversations with his close friends and family.

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