Renegade Rows: How To, Muscles Worked,…

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There are many ways to work your muscles with rows. Find out how to do renegade rows, what their benefits are, and whether they are good.

Renegade rows are a variation of one-handed rows where you do the exercise in a plank position. By doing this you make the exercise harder on your abs, balance, and coordination.

Even with that in mind, renegade rows are still mostly good for growing and strengthening upper back muscles like your latissimus dorsi and trapezius and arm muscles like your biceps.

One downside of renegade rows is that your abs may fatigue before your upper back muscles had a good workout. Additionally, a lot of your attention will have to go to keeping your back and shoulders straight.

Renegade rows are more of an all-around exercise. For optimal upper back and ab muscle gain you likely want to keep exercises for these body parts separate.

Keep in mind that even if it is not the most optimal choice, doing renegade rows can still offer a lot of benefits.

How to do a renegade row

You can do renegade rows with just your body weight but most people want some resistance to make the exercise challenging enough.

If you have them available, you can use hex dumbbells if you don’t want to worry about your dumbbells rolling away. You can also use regular dumbbells or kettlebells. In general, kettlebells are slightly less stable.

Take the following steps to do a renegade row with dumbbells:

  1. Put the dumbbells about shoulder-width apart on the ground. The hand grips should be horizontal to each other.
  2. Put your hands on the dumbbells with your arms slightly less than stretched. Walk back with your feet until your body is in a straight line from the top of your head to your heels. Keep your shoulders above your hands and your feet somewhat wider apart.
  3. Slowly raise one dumbbell as far as comfortable by pulling your shoulder blade back and folding your arm. Keep your upper arm close to your body.
  4. Lower the dumbbell again in a controlled range of motion.
  5. Either continue the set on one side or alternate between what dumbbells you lift.
How to do a renegade row

Putting your feet wider apart can help if you struggle with balance while doing the row.

That aside, the main things to keep in mind while doing renegade rows are keeping your spine straight and your hips and shoulders more or less horizontal.

Also make sure you keep your neck in one line with your upper body.

To get some extra muscle engagement, you can even consider the pushup renegade row variation.

Renegade rows muscles worked

Renegade rows are a compound back exercise which means they work a variety of muscles. That being said, only a few of these will have to generate most of the force.

In this case, the main muscles worked with renegade rows include your latissimus dorsi (middle/upper back), trapezius (upper back), biceps, and abs.

You will likely also use your obliques, hip flexors, quadriceps, glutes, and tricep muscles a nice amount.

Compared to a regular bent-over row, renegade rows will engage your ab muscles a lot more.

Something to keep in mind is that you still have to work these muscles enough to see growth and strength increases.

A downside of renegade rows is that your abs may fatigue before you worked the other muscles enough. This is not helpful for people who are interested in back exercises.

Renegade row benefits

At the same time, it is good to note that doing renegade rows can still offer many benefits over doing nothing. Some of these include:

  1. Stronger muscles: While they are not always ideal, renegade rows can still help you make a variety of muscles stronger.
  2. Can help with losing weight: By increasing your energy usage and building some muscle, renegade rows can benefit your weight loss journey. Keep in mind that other lifestyle habits still matter a lot too.
  3. Can improve posture: The muscles renegade rows work play a big role in avoiding suboptimal posture.
  4. Balance and coordination: Challenging your balance and coordination with renegade rows can improve your skill in these areas.
  5. Helps you avoid muscle asymmetries: Renegade rows mainly work your muscles one side at a time. This can be helpful for avoiding muscle imbalances.

Renegade rows are not always the best for these benefits but again, some of these effects could still make it worth implementing this movement.

Renegade row alternatives

At the same time, you may also want to know what alternatives could be more effective than renegade rows for some of the benefits above.

A few renegade row alternatives include:

  • Bent-over rows
  • Ab wheel roll-outs
  • Single-arm dumbbell rows
  • Lat pulldowns
  • Bicycle crunches
  • Pull-ups

Most people will prefer one of the other variations but you could like the ab muscle engagement aspect of renegade rows too.

In that case, one of the core exercise alternatives could be helpful too.

Are renegade rows a good exercise?

Renegade rows are a good exercise in the sense that they could help you grow and strengthen a variety of muscles and improve your balance and coordination.

At the same time, you need to know that your ab muscles could potentially fatigue before you gave your other muscles a good workout.

Additionally, the balance and coordination requirements of renegade rows could distract you from working your muscles optimally.

In simpler words, while doing renegade rows can offer valuable benefits, there are likely also many exercises that can help you get to your fitness goals more quickly.

That being said, it is also worth mentioning that your personal preferences matter too when putting together a workout routine.

If you find renegade rows fun to do, you may enjoy your workouts more too. This could help you stay more consistent with your exercise routine.


How effective are renegade rows?

Renegade rows can work your biceps and back muscles a nice amount but due to the extra balance requirements, they are not that effective compared to many other row variations.

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Matt Claes founded Weight Loss Made Practical to help people get in shape and stay there after losing 37 pounds and learning the best of the best about weight loss, health, and longevity for over 4 years. Over these years he has become an expert in nutrition, exercise, and other physical health aspects.