Dumbbell Renegade Rows

The dumbbell renegade row is a plank to row exercise that works your abs as effectively as the basic plank and engages and tones additional major muscles such as the upper back and shoulders.

Because it’s a multi-tasking workout, the renegade row is particularly useful when you are pressed with time.

By adding dynamic moves (rowing) to the plank exercise, you are able to intensify the static plank and get the results of a flat stomach, sculpted shoulders and slender back faster than keeping at the plank hold. As an added bonus, this dynamic plank workout also targets your glutes and obliques, leaving almost no body part untouched.  

It’s simply a well-performing, full-body toning workout anyone can do. 

When most think of ab exercises and core workouts, they think of crunches and sit-ups. Although they both have a place in workouts and unique benefits that make them superior choices in certain situations, they are not the best at flattening your abs. 

Crunches don’t make your abs flat. 

So what to do for a flat abs?

Do full-body exercises such as the dumbbell renegade rows that command hard work from all your ab and core muscles and all the other major muscle groups in the body such as back, shoulders and glutes. 


Because uncovering all your fat layers in the midsection to show your true, slim abs requires a drop in the overall body fat percentage, and when it comes to burning fat and expending calories during and after your workout, there is nothing more superior than compound exercises (such as this row exercise) that target multiple major muscle groups at once. 

Renegade Rows Targets Just About Every Part of Your Body

What makes this exercise great is it’s full-body engagement. It works various muscles throughout the back, including the mid and upper trapezius, lats, trees major/minor and the rhomboids as well the biceps  and the rear deltoids. 

This move takes the rowing exercise to a new level by relying heavily on the core and abdominals to stabilize the torso and provide the body with balance. Unlike traditional one-arm rows, where you perform in a vertical sitting position on a bench or ball, dumbbell renegade rows are done fully-extended in a plank position.

This forces the abs, core and glutes into deep, forceful, isometric contractions to support dynamic rowing movements without sacrificing balance, stability, and body alignment. The renegade rows also help create a slimmer waistline by working and toning your obliques with each successive twist and row. 

While the renegade rows can be performed by beginners, note that it’s an intense, functional exercise that requires pre-existing core strength, balance and flexibility. Giving the high degree of muscle engagement, you will feel your full-body body working and grasp for air just after a few rows. 

If you are not looking to take inches off your body and sculpt just about every part of you, this is not for you. Other than that, it’s a great functional exercise well suited for weight loss, fat loss, body toning and slim down.

How to Perform Dumbbell Renegade Rows

  1. Start in a pushup position with your legs wider than hip-width distance; the wider stance makes you more stable. Hold onto your dumbbells, keeping your wrist locked to protect the joint.
  2. With your core tight and your glutes engaged, exhale, stabilizing your torso as you lift your right elbow to row; feel your right scapula sliding toward your spine as you bend your elbow up toward the ceiling.
  3. Keeping your neck long and energized, return the weight to the ground and repeat the movement on your left side. Do 8-10 reps per arm, and repeat for three sets.

Notes: Try this exercise first without dumbbells, and focus on your torso staying level as you alternate your arms in the reverse row. Then choose appropriate weight for your strength level, between five and 15 pounds.

Exercise Table

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Note: Don’t wait until the end of your workout to do the Dumbbell Renegade Row. It places a high demand on your core, and you won’t be able to perform this move with good form if your body is tired. To avoid lower back injuries, add this exercise when your core muscles are still fresh and are able hold the plank position throughout the movements.

How to do Kneeling Renegade Dumbbell Rows

  1. Place a pair of dumbbells about shoulder-width apart on the floor. Grab the handles and position yourself in a pushup position with knees on the floor.
  2. While engaging your abs, pull up the dumbbell in your left hand toward the side of your chest until your upper arm is slightly higher than your torso. Pause for 1 second at the top, and then slowly return the dumbbell back to the starting position. Repeat with your right hand for a count of 1 rep. Continue to alternate arms for a total of 10-12 reps per side.


  • Keep your torso from rotating each time you row the dumbbell.
  • Once you’re able to do 3 sets of 12 reps on each side. You can gradually increase the weight of dumbbells to keep the exercise challenging.
Misato Alexandre


After making healthy living a priority, Misato lost over 20 lbs in less than 90 days. Instead of weight loss being a dreading experience, living the lifestyle of health and fitness granted her more happiness and joy than ever before. She co-founded Fitwirr to make health and fitness simple for everyone and share her tips through writing evidence-based articles on nutrition, weight loss, and exercise.

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