At the intersection of functional fitness and core strength lies the renegade row.
Essentially an advanced single-arm plank set in motion, a renegade row one-ups isolation moves like the abdominal crunch by forcing your core to stabilize the spine dynamically while your center of gravity is shifting.
The renegade row works the anterior oblique subsystem (AOS), one of the body’s key sling systems of muscle and connective tissue.
The AOS runs diagonally across the front of your torso and helps you pull down and across your body. It aids in the rotation needed for swinging a racquet, bat, or golf club. It stabilizes your hips and torso as you pull your back foot into the stepping position while walking. Driving a car, opening a door, even sitting with crossed legs — all involve some degree of twisting in the spine, using the AOS.
Tapping into the renegade rows’ benefits requires proper form. Common pitfalls include sloppy plank form, rolling and tilting the hips, and using more weight than you can control. It’s important to maintain a straight line in your body and keep your hips squared to the floor even as you raise one hand at a time.
Note that weight is not required for this move: Start practicing without weight, and gradually add load as you advance.
1. Take a plank position, with your left hand on the floor and your right hand holding a light- to medium-weight dumbbell. (Or use no weight at all.)
Tip: Progress the move by using two dumbbells, one in each hand, and alternating sides to complete the same number of reps.
Tip: Minimize rolling or tilting in the hips. Engage your core and squeeze your glutes to stabilize yourself.
2. Shift the weight of your upper body onto your left hand. Pull the dumbbell toward the right hip as if performing a single-arm row.
Tip: Position your planted hand directly beneath your shoulder. Draw the moving hand up to the same-side hip.
Tip: Keep your pulling elbow close to your body and your shoulders away from your ears.
3. Reverse the movement, touching the dumbbell to the floor. Repeat for two or three sets of eight to 15 reps per side.
4. Progress the move by using two dumbbells, one in each hand, and alternating sides to complete the same number of reps.
This article originally appeared in Experience Life, Life Time’s whole-life health and fitness magazine.