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How to Do a Renegade Row: Benefits, Variations, & Common Mistakes

Renegade row is one of the most effective exercises you should know, so read on to find out how to do a renegade row, its variations, and common mistakes beginners make.

Luna Morin
How to Do a Renegade Row: Benefits, Variations, & Common Mistakes
Table Of Contents

The renegade row is a full-body movement that targets your back, shoulders, chest, and core. It’s a great exercise for building strength and stability and can be done with a barbell, dumbbell, or kettlebell.

This article will cover how to do a renegade row, its benefits, variations, and common mistakes people make when performing this exercise. By the end of this article, you’ll know everything you need to start incorporating renegade rows into your workout routine.

What is Renegade Row?

The Renegade Row is a popular exercise that works the back, shoulders, and arms muscles. It can be performed with dumbbells, kettlebells, or barbells.

There are many benefits to doing the Renegade Row. It helps build strength in the upper body, increases stability and balance, and can help improve your posture. Additionally, it is a great exercise for those looking to increase their core strength.

Ensure you maintain good form throughout the exercise by keeping your back straight and avoiding dropping into spinal extension.

How to Do a Renegade Row

Renegade rows are a great way to add variety to your workout routine and target your upper body. If you're anything like me, the thought of working out in a gym is enough to make you break into a cold sweat.

But there's no need to worry — with a few simple pieces of home gym equipment; you can get a great workout without ever stepping foot inside a commercial gym!

One of my favorite at-home exercises is the renegade row. Not only does it work your whole upper body, but it also gets your heart rate up for a killer cardio workout. Here's how to do a renegade row:

  • Start in a push-up position, with your hands placed shoulder-width apart on a pair of dumbbells.
  • Keeping your core engaged, row one dumbbell up to your hip, then lower it back down to the starting position. Repeat with the other dumbbell. That's one rep.
  • Continue for 10-12 reps or until you reach fatigue.

Beginner Benefits of Renegade Rows

Renegade rows have many benefits for both beginner and experienced exercisers alike. They can help improve your posture and strengthen your core, back, shoulders, and arms. Renegade rows are also a great way to increase your heart rate and burn calories.

There are many benefits to doing renegade rows, but here are some of the most important ones:

Work Your Whole Body

As mentioned above, renegade rows work your whole body, not just your arms or back. This makes them a great exercise for those seeking a full-body workout.

Improve Your Posture

Many people have poor posture due to sitting at a desk or hunching over their phones all day. Renegade rows can help improve your posture by strengthening your upper back and shoulder muscles.

Help Build Strength

Renegade rows are a great way to build strength in your upper body, especially your arms and back. If you’re looking to bulk up or get stronger, this is a great exercise to add to your workout routine.

They’re Versatile

You can do renegade rows in many ways, so they’re perfect for all fitness levels. Whether a beginner or an experienced exerciser, you can find a variation that works for you.

They’re Low-Impact

Renegade rows are a low-impact exercise that makes it easier for our bodies to deal with.

Variations and Progressions

There are many variations and progressions of the renegade row. Here are a few of the most common:

Elevated Renegade Rows

Elevated Renegade Rows are a great way to add an extra challenge to your workout routine. The traditional Renegade Row inspires them, but instead of being done from the floor, they are done from an elevated position.

This means you will need more core strength to stabilize your body, making the exercise more challenging.

  • Elevated Renegade Rows can be done with a dumbbell or a kettlebell in one hand and a dumbbell in the other.
  • If you are using dumbbells, start by holding them under your shoulder with your palms facing in.
  • If you are using a kettlebell, start by holding it by the horns with your palm facing in.
  • From this position, row the weight up to your side, keeping your elbow close to your body.
  • Reverse the motion and return to the starting position. Repeat for the desired number of repetitions.

Kneeling Renegade Rows

Renegade rows are a great way to mix up your workout routine and add new challenges. Kneeling allows the movement to become easier, especially if you are just a beginner.

To do a renegade row with rings,

  • Start in a push-up position with your knees on the ground.
  • From there, row one dumbbell up to your hip while keeping your body straight.
  • Lower the dumbbell back down and repeat with the other arm.
  • Keep your core engaged throughout the exercise to maintain proper form.

Single-Arm Renegade Rows

The renegade row is one of the most versatile exercises you can do to target your back muscles. And, by using just one arm, you can increase the challenge and work those muscles hard.

To do a single-arm renegade row,

  • Start in a push-up position with your feet shoulder-width apart and your hands placed slightly wider than shoulder-width apart.
  • Then, brace your core and row one arm up, keeping your body straight from head to toe.
  • Return to the starting position and repeat on the other side.

Remember to keep your hips level throughout the exercise and to move slowly and with control. As you get stronger, you can increase the number of reps or add weight to make those back muscles work. Single-arm renegade rows are a great way to add variety to your workout routine and target those back muscles.

Common Mistakes

One of the common mistakes people make when doing a renegade row is not keeping their hips level. It's important to keep your hips level throughout the entire movement, or else you'll put unnecessary strain on your lower back.

Another common mistake is not rowing the weight to your hip. Doing partial reps won't give you the full benefit of the exercise and can also lead to lower back pain.

Finally, some people swing their torso from side to side as they row the weight up. This not only takes away from the effectiveness of the exercise but can also be dangerous. Keep your torso stable and focus on using your arms and back muscles to do the work.

How to Workout Safely and Avoid Injury

When working out, it is important to avoid injury. Here are some tips on how to work out safely and avoid injury:

  • Warm up before working out. This will help prepare your body for physical activity and help prevent injuries.
  • Use proper form when doing exercises. This will help minimize the risk of injuries.
  • Don't push yourself too hard. Listen to your body and stop if you feel pain or discomfort.
  • Cool down after working out. This will help your body recover from physical activity and prevent injuries.

Renegade Row Vs. Bent-Over Row: What’s the Difference?

Renegade rows and bent-over rows are both exercises that target the back muscles. However, there are some key differences between the two exercises.

For one, renegade rows are done with your body in a push-up position, while bent-over rows are usually done from a standing, bent over position.

Finally, renegade rows are more challenging than bent-over rows because you utilize more of your core muscles to stabilize your body during the exercise.

So, which exercise is better? It depends on your goals and what you want from the exercise. If you want to focus on building strength in your back muscles, then either exercise can be beneficial. However, if you’re looking for an exercise to help improve your core strength and stability, Renegade Row is probably the better option.


1. How many sets of renegade rows should I do?

The number of sets will depend on your weight and goals. If you use a weight that you can control for 2–3 sets of 5–8 repetitions, then you should do 2-3 sets.

2. Where should you feel renegade rows?

A good renegade row should activate your back, arms, and core muscles. You should feel the exercise in your lats, biceps, triceps, and obliques.

3. What muscles do renegade rows work?

Renegade rows are a type of full-body workout that work the core muscles like the obliques, the back muscles like the rhomboids, and the arm muscles like the triceps simultaneously.

4. What is an alternative to renegade rows?

If you're looking for an alternative to renegade rows, one option is to try kettlebell swings. Kettlebell swings are a great way to work the muscles in your back and shoulders and can also help improve your cardiovascular fitness.

The Bottom Line

The renegade row is an excellent exercise for developing strength and stability in the back, shoulders, and core. It can be performed with various implements, including dumbbells, barbells, kettlebells, or even body weight.

Many variations of the renegade row can be performed to target different muscle groups or to vary the intensity of the exercise. Common mistakes when performing the renegade row include using too much weight, rounding the back, and not keeping the core engaged.

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Luna Morin

Luna is a freelance writer, passionate about bringing a positive change in people’s lives by producing well-researched content related to health and fitness. She makes sure that her content is relatable to her audience by exploring the latest trends in fitness.

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