Use This Exercise to Improve Back and Core Functional Strength

Bird Dog Renegade Plank Row


Renegade rows are an excellent exercise because of the combination of upper back and core training. Unfortunately, many individuals perform them with excessive momentum, rotation, twisting, and shifting of their torso. There are several ways to eliminate this problem, and one of them is with the single leg bird dog. This position is creating additional rotational forces on the torso and rowing arm. Not only will this force your core to be even more engaged, but if you use too much momentum, you will lose balance. Essentially this will make it more impossible to cheat.


Another benefit of adding the single leg is that we're activating the posterior chain. The harder the glute of the elevated leg fires, the greater the activation of the lat of the working arm (due to the nature of posterior oblique sling), which conclusively increases the effectiveness of this movement for targeting the upper back and lats. So, this exercise can provide functional strength and hypertrophy, granted your core is strong enough to handle heavy loads.


However, if the elevated leg is not fully extended and the hip extensors/glutes aren't fully engaged, then the hips won't be properly aligned. This creates a negative chain reaction throughout the kinetic chain, which compromises activation throughout the core, thereby decreasing spinal rigidity. Simply put, poor leg positioning can impact the entire movement.


Performing these with a band on the back leg requires the lifter to maximally engage the hip extensors of the elevated leg. Due to the contralateral hip activation effect associated with the oblique slings, the harder one leg/hip fires into extension the more this causes the other hip to fire into flexion and vice versa until incredibly high levels of full body tension are produced as these forces must be transmitted across the core and pelvis.


Try it out and let me know what you think!

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