As usual, quality trumps quantity. Unfortunately, the renegade row is one of the most abused and butchered exercises in the gym. More often than not the exercise looks more like a twerking video gone wrong, with excessive spinal rotation and inefficient movement. Perform the exercise correctly from the get-go to prevent injury, improve performance, and not look like a complete jackass.
Beware, though, you’ll need to lift lighter weights than you’d expect. Even NFL athletes get absolutely owned by 45 to 55 pound dumbbells when they slow down and do things properly.
When you’re trying to evaluate the worth of an exercise, ask these three questions:
In short, you need exercises that give you what you want and what you need. In the case of the renegade row, you have a versatile, compound exercise that triggers muscle growth, improves performance, and attacks a weak core. That’s hard to beat.
The renegade row is a compound, high performance exercise that attacks a weak core, improves performance, and stimulates muscle growth. It also helps you prevent injury and build a rock-solid physique from head to toe. Here’s how:
There are two times during a workout when you can use renegade rows:
A warm up primer
You can use the renegade row as a “primer” exercise before heavy strength work. Because of the large amount of muscle mass and integrated stability required to do the exercise, you’ll fire up prime movers in your upper body while firing up deep spinal stabilizers.
If you do renegade rows after your warm-up but before heavy strength work, keep the weight light and do 1-2 sets of 5 reps per side. The goal here is to stimulate, not annihilate. If you do too much volume, you could fatigue muscle fibers needed to produce massive amounts of force on the compound lifts you’re about to do. Keep it light and controlled. The goal is priming and stimulation.
At the end of your workout, your primary movers (triceps, chest, shoulders, lats) should be fatigued. Do renegade rows at the end of your workouts and you’ll fatigue the snot out of muscle fibers to increase metabolic stress to drive hypertrophy. Further, your core will work double time to prevent movement while you’re fatigued.
This will teach your body to prevent unwanted motion (and thus, prevent injuries) when they’re most likely to occur – when you’re fatigued. Try 3-4 sets of 5-7 reps with 60-seconds rest at the end of your workout.
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