The weights room in the gym can be a scary place.
With so much gratuitous grunting and testosterone-fuelled competitive energy – it’s not hard to understand why so many women are put off from weight training altogether.
But we want to demystify the weights room and empower more women to feel confident walking in and picking up a pair of dumbbells.
A great move for beginners is the renegade row. It might look complicated – but it’s a really simple way of incorporating weights in your fitness regime and building strength in your back, shoulders and arms.
The renegade row is also known as a plank row – and it essentially uses the basic plank position combined with a press up and weights to target both the core and the upper back.
We know, we know, planks are hard enough without adding weights to the equation. But believe us, the long-term benefits outweigh the fleeting pain.
The renegade row is a really functional exercise that will help improve stability, balance and posture – but you need strong core control in order to do it properly and not risk injuring yourself.
Luckily – our fitness expert Melissa Weldon, master trainer at Sweat It London, is on hand to show us exactly how to do them.
Simply start in a high plank position, with straight arms – with each hand resting on a dumbbell.
The weight you choose is up to you, but we suggest starting low (around a 4 or 5 kg) before building up to heavier weights.
Draw in the right dumbbell up towards your ribcage before dropping it back to the floor.
Do the same with the left dumbbell. Make sure you are maintaining a solid plank position throughout – not rocking from side-to-side, twisting your hips or sticking your bum in the air.
Immediately after the two dumbbell reps, perform a full press-up – with your hands balanced on either dumbbell – bend your arms and bring your chest towards the floor, before pushing up to a finish in a high plank position.
The repeat the whole process. Aim for ten full reps, rest for 30 seconds and then do ten more.
If a full press-up is too difficult, you can do the entire move on your knees as an alternative. Just make sure you keep your hips tilted forward and your spine in a straight line.
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