Trying to perfect renegade rows at home without the pointers and constant instruction of a personal trainer is a tough task. Without a full-size mirror, I can't compare my form to what's being shown on a video, either.
So I reached out to Rachel Straub, MS, CSCS, author of Weight Training Without Injury, to learn about the common mistakes to avoid when performing this notoriously difficult move.
Mistake: Arching Your Lower Back
"Allowing your lower back to arch excessively is a common error that can lead to low back injury or pain," Straub notes.
This mistake is usually indicative of poor core stability. If you find that you can't maintain a neutral spine, Straub suggests mastering exercises that specifically target the core, like planks.
Another option is modifying the exercise by performing renegade rows on your knees or even widening the legs, which will boost your base of support.
Mistake: Rotating Your Body
Renegade rows target the shoulders, back, and core, but only if they're done correctly, Straub says. What's worse — incorrect form could also contribute to injuries.
"Allowing your body to rotate is a common error that can injure your low back," Straub explains. "The renegade row is not a rotation exercise, so if you must rotate to perform this exercise, you are shifting the weight to make the exercise easier!"
Again, if you can't avoid rotating, Straub suggests starting with an easier exercise to strengthen your core and back, or making the move easier by widening your leg stance, using lighter weights, or modifying the move by completing it on your knees.
Mistake: Inadequate Range of Motion
If you're using weights to perform your renegade row, be sure to bring the weight all the way back toward your underarm. If you have trouble completing this range of motion, Straub says your back muscles might not be strong enough or the weight could be too heavy.
"Although inadequate range of motion will not injure you, per se, it results in a much less effective exercise. In this case, you would be much better off doing an easier dumbbell row variation to target your back!" she says.
For more instruction on how to master renegade rows, check out this detailed step-by-step guide.