This fitness move, the renegade row, could hold the key to a smoking-hot midsection – if you do it right. Allow us to break it down…
Quick, stand up using just one leg. Falling over or wobbling? You might wanna work on your stabilisation – and renegade rows are one of your best bets. “They’re one of the most challenging core exercises,” says muscle physiologist Tayla Faulmann. “This, coupled with the multi-joint movement of the rows, allows for a great upper-body workout that simultaneously engages your core.”
Boxing instructor Sanchia du Preez agrees. “More muscles working to perform an exercise means increasing strength faster,” she explains. In one move, you’re working your abs, biceps, your back and the back of your shoulders. And here’s the trick to nailing it: you’re not allowed to move your torso (the section from your chest to your hips) at all. By holding still, you’re properly firing up your core.
This move is taxing, so don’t aim for a million rows a minute. “Muscle fatigue is not the goal of the exercise and therefore keeping reps low is vital to ensure proper form,” says Faulmann. Concentrate on keeping your body as rigid as possible (no moving hips!) and stick to reps as low as five on each side. To start, do three sets, working your way up to five.
New to exercising? Skip this one for a while. “If you have lower-back problems or a weak core, you should refrain from doing renegade rows until you’ve done strengthening exercises for your core and glutes for a couple of weeks,” says du Preez.
Get yourself some dumbbells – start with five kilos (get them for R200 at MrPrice Sport), and keep things interesting with these pro-approved combos:
1. Push-Up To Row
“By adding a push-up between each rep, you’ll raise the intensity and up the difficulty.” – Tayla Faulmann, muscle physiologist
2. Mountain Climbers To Row
Get that heart rate up to max out your fat burn. – Sanchia du Preez, boxing trainer (pictured here)
3. Reverse Fly To Row
Engage your shoulders by doing five sets of reverse flys (stand holding light weights, with knees and waist slightly bent, arms straight out in front of you; now pull your arms apart to shoulder height), then get down into plank position for the row. – Aneeka Buys, personal trainer
Signs You’re Doing It Wrong
1. You twist your torso. “This is an exercise in stabilisation; keep your body as rigid as possible,” says du Preez.
2. You’re not transferring the weight evenly. “Improper form when transferring weights may result in a shoulder injury,” says Faulmann.
3. You’re lifting with just your arms. “Lead with your elbows and contract your lats (the muscles on the side of your back),” says Faulmann.
Avoid if: You’ve got a lower-back injury, weak shoulders or core or a rotator-cuff injury.