Landmine Renegade Rows For Full Body Strength

AHP Muscle Morsels Logo - Dr Seedman (Advanced Human Performance).png

Landmine Renegade Rows For Full Body Strength

Dr. Joel Seedman Ph.D.

Renegade rows and variations thereof are some of the most effective exercises not only for targeting the upper back and lats but also for absolutely annihilating the entire musculature of the core.  In fact, when performed properly and without placing the weight back down on the floor each repetition (i.e. the constant tension method), the level of recruitment of the core and abdominals is difficult to replicate with any movement. 

Besides providing significant extension forces that the lifter must resist by firing their deep transverse and rectus abdominals, there are also significant anti-rotational forces involved.  As a result the lifter also has to activate the deeper core muscles including the internal and external obliques as well as the quadratus lumborum, serratus muscles, and deep pelvic floor muscles.  

Although the renegade row is typically performed with dumbbells and kettlebells, the landmine provides a unique way for performing a number of different variations each of which provides it’s own specific attributes. Here are 4 of my awesome clients including NFL athlete Jarius Wynn, Leslie Petch, Ben Lai, and Todd Weiland showing how it’s done. 

Jarius is performing what I would consider the go-to variation.  This particular variation involves significant instability from a medial-lateral component as the landmine wants to rotate to the left or right of the rowing arm thereby forcing the lifter to maintain efficient mechanics.  You’ll also notice he’s griping another landmine station on the support arm.  Because his hand is on the collar which is essentially a fat grip This helps reduce stress and pressure to the palms (i.e. pinched nerve in the palms) which is a common complaint about renegade rows. 

Using a fat grip on the rowing arm also provides it’s own benefits as it teaches the lifter to grip the bar tight which creates greater shoulder stability and packing of the glenohumeral joint through concurrent activation potentiation.  This helps insure that the lifter does not over-row which is another very common problem on renegade rows or any row for that matter.  The over-rowing effect is also remedied by using large 45-pound plates or bumper plates as the plate tends to run into the torso at the optimal stopping point thereby limiting any tendency to use excessive range of motion in the contracted position.

The second variation performed by Leslie involves more anteroposterior instability as the landmine or barbell will have tendency to drift from front to back unless the lifter locks their shoulders in by packing the shoulder and scapular into a very stable position.  The pronated grip also is semi-unique as most renegade rows involve a neutral grip.  By performing the row with a pronated grip this provides even greater carryover and transfer to barbell exercises including barbell rows and presses. 

In addition there’s slightly greater tension to the upper lats as well as the higher regions of the upper back including the rear delts.  In essence these areas respond slightly more so to a pronated grip in contrast to a neutral or supinated grip, which tends to target lower down on the lats and upper back.

The third variation performed by Ben involves the use of a bench to elevate the feet.  The main benefit of this is the increased anti-extension forces that the lifter must resist as well as the slightly greater range of motion when performing the row all of which greatly increase the difficulty. 

The final variation performed by Todd involves gripping the plate of the landmine station the support arm is anchored to.  This produces heightened levels of instability and rotational forces against the anchored arm and shoulder.  Just be prepared to grip the daylights out of the weight plate in order to keep the bar from drifting or rotating from side to side.

Try performing several sets of 5-8 reps of any of these variations during your next back workout.  However they also fall nicely into a core-emphasized workout due to the intensity of recruitment of the entire abdominal and core musculature.    For more information on programming unique exercises such as these into your routine check out my Complete Templates.