If You’re Not Using This Exercise, You Should # 3: Strict Renegade Row

The goal of this series is to help coaches at the high school level and beyond expand their coaching “tool box” with practical movements, drills, and exercises – ones that aren’t just for show, but ones that can positively impact a training program.

Each week I will post an exercise along with a video demonstration, as well as a brief description.

Enjoy this week’s exercise!

Strict Renegade Row

Renegade Row (Strict vs. Sloppy) from Ryan Faer on Vimeo.

Intro: The Renegade Row is a very challenging exercise  no matter how you perform it. But, this often-utilized upper-body “pull” and reach – which also incorporates trunk stability – is generally performed hastily without much thought to technique. To get more out of the Renegade Row it should be performed strictly, and with the right goals in mind.

Goal: The overall goal of the Renegade Row, when performed strictly, is similar not actually the same as other upper-body pull exercises (e.g. a standard DB Row). Where the goal of a standard pulling exercise like the DB Row is to increase the strength of the muscles that create that movement, the Renegade Row is not designed to enhance upper-body strength.

To illustrate my point, think about your standard DB Row strength; say you can 1-Arm DB Row 70 lbs for a few repetitions. Now, think about getting into a push-up position and trying to row that same 70 lbs. The very nature of the Renegade Row’s position decreases your ability to exert the same pulling force as opposed to a standing or keeling position.

Thus, the Renegade Row should not be performed with the intention of moving heavy weight. Rather, the goal of a Renegade Row should be to perform the movement as technically and postural sound as possible – making it more of a trunk and shoulder stability exercise, one that aims to challenge posture.

When performing the Strict Renegade Row, choose a weight that allows for a slow, controlled, and deliberate movement of the arm, while simultaneously allowing you to keep the body as still an quite as possible. A couple of keys also include:

  • In the set-up position (i.e. the high plank) spread the feet, lock them into the floor, and squeeze the glute muscles to keep the hips from moving or rotating as the arm pulls the weight off of the floor
  • The “down arm” – or the arm supporting the body as the opposite arm rows – should not only remain locked out, but you should also be thinking “push the floor away” with that arm in order to activate the serratus and protract the scapula
  • The body/upper-trunk should not rotate as you row
  • When exchanging hands at the bottom of the movement, the goal should be to make the weight shift from right to left and vice-versa as smooth as possible, and to avoid clanging the weight on the floor.

The Strict Renegade Row is all about stability and deliberate control of movement!

Implementation: The Renegade Row is often thrown into a training session simply to challenge the athlete with a tough exercise. For me, the Strict Renegade Row should only be implemented when the athlete has shown that they are ready to accept the trunk stability and postural awareness challenge it poses. This means that the Strict Renegade Row should be a progression only used when the athlete has cleared the previous trunk stability regressions, such as various Quadruped (aka Birddog) and Plank variations, while also exhibiting adequate lumbopelvic control.



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