Kettlebell Moves: Renegade Row

The renegade row is one of the most challenging, strength building exercises. There are only a few other kettlebell moves or exercises that leave you as absolutely exhausted as this one does! More than half of your body’s muscles are used during this exercise.

Works

  • Chest
  • Back
  • Core
  • Shoulders
  • Biceps
  • Triceps
Check out my Kettlebell Moves page for a lot more exercises!

Renegade Row

It is easiest to perform with heavier or competition style kettlebells, as these provide the best base with which to balance on the kettlebell. If you are using any regular kettlebell lighter than 25 lbs, you may find it incredibly difficult to balance. In fact, I would advise against doing this exercise with regular kettlebells under 25 lbs, because you could easily turn your wrist and injure yourself.

Method

  1. To perform this challenging exercise, take a plank position over the kettlebells, with the handles lined up between the chest and shoulder. You’ll want to really widen your feet to provide enough of a base to maintain balance.
  2. Shift your chest over the arm that will be used for the base. Forearm strength will be required to keep the wrist from turning and the weight stable.
  3. With the opposite arm, “row” the kettlebell to the chest or armpit. Work to keep the chest and pelvis squared to the floor during the row. This is important for both core work, and for balance and stability.
  4. Slowly, and with control, lower the kettlebell back to the starting position on the floor.
  5. Repeat on the other side.

Modifications

  1. Add a push-up between rows, or after completing both sides to increase the difficulty of the exercise.
  2. Perform the renegade row from your knees if you are still building up the strength to hold plank.
  3. If you are using light, or small kettlebells to do this exercise, consider substituting dumbbells for balance and stability.

Kettlebell renegade row

  • Jenny

    I just bought my first competition kettlebells (yay!) but they are different weights. I’ve been doing one side completely then switching instead of alternating the way you do. I could try alternating, but I don’t think I can do the same number of reps with the heavier weight. I don’t even know if using two different weights is a good idea for this exercise. Any thoughts?

    As always, great site :-)

    • http://www.johnnyfit.com JohnnyFit

      It’s totally fine to complete the reps on one side before moving to the other, particularly if you don’t have a pair of kettlebells that are the same weight.

      The best thing about alternating the exercise though is that you can ensure both sides fatigue evenly.

      I don’t have any competition bells in my personal collection, but the facility that I train people at has them. They are really great for exercises like the renegade row, that require balancing on the kettlebell. Also, you don’t have to get used to different sized kettlebells as you progress up through weights.

      • Jenny

        Mike Mahler showed this exercise and definitely wanted everyone to use a weight with wide base. It doesn’t take much for the smaller bells to go over!

        The trainer I’ve been working with advised that I buy competition style so when it was time to move up.in weight I did. I like the uniform size, and I think they are easier on my forearms because they are so big. The only downside for me is the handles are a little fatter than I was used to and I am still learning not to squeeze with a death grip!

        • http://www.johnnyfit.com JohnnyFit

          Yeah, balancing on anything smaller than 25lb could be a challenge. I wouldn’t risk turning your wrist and crashing down!