Performing the Renegade Row
Performing the Renegade Row
Improve your core strength, mix up your work outs, and sculpt your guns in the process with renegade rows.
The buzz word in the fitness industry for quite a while has been the word “core.” There is no doubt that a stronger, more stable midsection is something that athletes need. The question is how to go about achieving this? Are you going to lie on your back and do billions of crunches, reverse crunches and exercises of that nature? Or is there a more effective way to train as an athlete? I believe there is.
Personally, I typically do not prescribe any sort of spinal flexion in the training programs of my athletes. By spinal flexion, I mean we don’t do sit ups, crunches, reverse crunches or anything of that nature. Right now you’re probably calling me a fool, but I’ll tell you why. You don’t want to train your abs to move your ribs towards your hips because in reality you want to train them to do the opposite. Their job is to stabilize and resist movement, not create it.
Think about whatever sport you play. Do you turn your lower back? You might initially say yes, but then I’ll ask you, how much? Chances are when you look at yourself on tape, and you look at the best people in the world at your sport you will see they don’t move their mid sections all that much. In fact, I bet you find that their ribs are usually directly in line with their hips. It may look like they’re moving their “mid section” when in reality they are moving their shoulders or their hips while their actual mid section is stable and not moving. So, I give you the first type of exercise we’ll talk about, an anti rotation and anti flexion exercise, known as the Renegade Row.
Here is a step by step of how to perform this movement:
In this exercise you’re going to assume a push up position holding a pair of dumbbells. Set up in a perfect push up position (for more on that check out the “how to push up” article), and once you’re set, move your feet about 6 inches wider than they are, so that they are shoulder width apart. Next, set your core as hard as you can by squeezing your abs and your butt as hard as possible. Think of this as if someone were about to kick you in the stomach. You wouldn’t pull yourself up. You’d just squeeze your abs as hard as you can. This will lock your spine into place and allows you to perform this movement.
I want you to row one dumbbell towards your hip. You don’t want to pull it up high, or you’ll lose your balance. But, if you pull it between your ribs and your hips, you’ll be able to keep your posture and balance. Here’s the catch. You’re going to do this without rotating your body at all, or at least as little as possible. Pretend there’s a hot cup of coffee on the small of your back. What happens if you turn or flex your hips or lower back? You’ll spill the coffee and get burned. You want to keep from getting burned, so stay tight, flat, and straight throughout this exercise.
So why are we doing this exercise? What we want to do is to train the “core” to do its job, which is to stabilize your lumbar spine (lower back). Now in order to do that here we need to move one arm without the rest of the body moving out of this position. This is what “core training” is: making the “core” do what it’s supposed to do while we perform other things.
Now, this exercise is not a “primary” exercise by any extent of the imagination. However, I use this in conjunction with a “bigger” but not primary exercise. So, let’s say on the day you want to do this you will also do the Rear Foot Elevated Split Squat. I would super set the two exercises. Now, to break that down, you’ll do a set of RFESS, then walk over and set up and perform a set of Renegade Rows. After that, I’d hit a stretch or two. Repeat this cycle for the prescribed number of sets and reps.
I prescribe exercises in this nature for two reasons:
- Instead of standing around, or sitting down, you can be active during your rest and get better by performing a less taxing movement after your main exercise for the set.
- To cut down the time of your workout. Instead of taking an additional 15 minutes at the end of the workout doing these exercises, you can get them done with other exercises in order to get out of the gym and back to your real life sooner.
So throw these into your strength and conditioning program and give them a try. This is a much harder back exercise and core exercise than you’d expect so go slow and learn it. You’ll see great gains in core strength and stability using this exercise as long as you perfect the technique. Don’t rush to grab a heavier dumbbell. Remember what we’re training here. This isn’t just a strength exercise. It’s a core exercise also. Posture runs the show with core stability, so keep it perfect, keep the exercise progressive without sacrificing the technique prescribed, and you’ll see great gains in athletic performance.
To maximize your gains using the renegade row 1R would recommend the following supplements:
- Cytosport L-Glutamine - Needed for immune system support, energy production, and the building and protection of the lean muscle mass when stress is increased on the body
- Gaspari IntraPro - This post workout protein shake that's loaded with BCAAs, L-Glutamine, and Taurine, will help you recover, and build lean muscle, faster after workouts
- Cytosport Creatine - By increasing your body's ATP production creatine will help you become more explosive, more powerful, and more athletic when taken before or after workouts
About the Author
Jay DeMayo has been the Head Strength and Conditioning Coach for Men’s and Women’s Basketball at the University of Richmond since October 2005. Jay is a graduate of the State University of New York College at Cortland where he was a two year starter on the Men’s Soccer team. Prior to taking over the responsibilities of Men’s and Women’s Basketball at UR Jay worked with every team on campus as the Assistant Strength and Conditioning Coach working. During his tenure at Richmond, Coach DeMayo has worked with five All-Americans, and 10 Atlantic 10 championship teams. Presently Jay is also responsible for the dry land training for NOVA Aquatics LLC, one of the top youth swim clubs on the eastern seaboard where he has coached over twenty athlete’s whom have qualified for Olympic Trials. Coach DeMayo’s constant effort to better himself as a coach has brought him numerous certifications. Coach DeMayo has his Level I coaching certification from USA Track and Field, is certified as an American Kettlebell Club Coach, United States Weightlifting Sport Performance Coach and a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist by the National Strength and Conditioning Association.
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