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Getting Better Core Training From THIS Famous Plank

sandbag exercise equipment

Jessica Bento, Physical Therapist (Creator DVRT Restoration Certification, Knees Over Toes Course, DVRT Rx Shoulder, Knees, Pelvic Control, & Gait Courses)

If we had to look at two forms of strength that most people lack, it is hard to argue, it would be lateral or frontal plane strength and anti-rotational core strength. Even in 2022, most fitness and performance programs are dominated with few exercises that take training outside of the sagittal plane.

core stability

Those movements that do try to broaden our movement strength often get misused because of the lack of understanding what makes them great.

Such an example of such core strength is the classic Renegade Row, we see Renegade Rows in pretty much any and all fitness magazines along with many mainstream fitness magazines. Sadly though, seeing it done correctly is something far more rare than the exercise itself. That means people aren’t getting the core strength that they THINK they are building.

Yes, the Renegade Row is a perfect example of the type of strength training so many people are missing. What makes it so great? It fulfills all these qualities…

Requires Lateral Hip Strength
Ties in the Posterior and Anterior Myofascial Slings
Teaches Proper Ground Engagement
Becomes A More Dynamic Plank
Shoulder and Hip Stability

In other words, it is a HUGE bang for your buck core strength exercise! The tough part is that it is a VERY demanding exercise to teach and requires a really strong foundation to do well. That is why it is rare to see the Renegade Row done well. That is until we provide you some great progressions to the Renegade Row!

Ultimate Sandbag Bird Dog

Holding one’s body weight is a feat for many people, doing so and knowing how to RESIST movement is a whole different level of core strength. That is why introducing clients to ideas of resisting movement should start in a much more stable environment.

core exercise

The Bird Dog is an often overlooked starting point for many coaches that want to take clients to more successful planks, crawls, and drills like the Renegade Row. The more stable environment allows us to build such specific strength as well as using the Ultimate Sandbag offers progressions that allow people to learn how to use their body more efficiently in these patterns.

TRX Archer Push-up

The TRX is a very useful tool because it allows us to teach concepts of movement in a more unloaded position. Compared to being just on the ground, the TRX allows us to change angle over time to increase intensity and make sure we are appropriately challenging the client.

The Archer Push-up is a way to teach the concepts of the Renegade Row in a more progressive environment. While most people focus on the rowing of the weight, the key to the Renegade Row is the ability to develop the force of the stance arm and the feet into the ground. This creates stability through the whole body and a platform for the rowing arm to move.

The movement of the Archer Push-up is perfect for teaching these concepts for just about any fitness level. Understanding that both arms are active and you must create tension from the ground up is key in moving to more complex environments.

Ultimate Sandbag Pallof Press

When we think of strong anti-rotational exercises, there are few that seem as popular and productive as the Pallof Press. Not only does this drill give us a great opportunity to build anti-rotational core strength, but a key connection where most versions of this exercise miss out….GRIP!

As renowned physical therapist, Gray Cook, says, “If the feet are sloppy and the grip is off, not only will the person not activate the right muscles, but he or she is not even up taking the right sensory information. Let me say that again. If there are any mobility or stability compromises between the foot and the brain, it’s like standing on two garden hoses wondering where all the water is. The information pathway is broken two ways… up and down.”

Yes, not only is our grip correlated to rotator cuff health, but actively gripping something allows us to use our lat/core connection better and you can instantly feel the difference in core strength. In most versions of the Pallof Press, one arm is unable to create tension and we usually see changes in the shoulder, core, or hip positioning. However, by deliberating engaging our hands we actually get BETTER core activation and can use these strategies to build more complex patterns as you will see.

Kettlebell Off-Set Lunge

How does a lunge off-set kettlebell lunge have ANYTHING to do with Renegade Rows? One of the big issues in performing Renegade Rows well is the connection of the hip and core. Most people focus on just the upper body, but to perform these drills well you need to know how to integrate the ENTIRE body more effectively and efficiently.

Lunging itself builds lateral and anti-rotational strength, but often adding load with something like kettlebells offers more stability to the movement. Yes, we are adding load, but using that load with deliberate tension helps people understand how to use their whole body as one unit rather than just upper or lower body.


The off-set position of the kettlebells gives us a chance to teach both how to resist extension by pushing into the ground as well as lateral forces that are created by both the pressing and the off-set position. This can be a great means of building mobility and stability that will carry over to being in a more demanding body position that the Renegade Row requires!

As you can see, sometimes the BEST way to build qualities of an exercise isn’t by doing the exercise itself at all! Instead by realizing what makes up the movement so we can use other drills to help bring up those weak links that often keep us from being successful. This means we can keep training hard, but also bring smart training to the table for our clients.

Don’t miss the final hours of our Cyber sale we have 40% off all our DVRT Online Certifications & DVRT Rx courses with code “monday” HERE. We also have 30% all throughout the rest of our site (excludes live events) and when you invest in any of our Ultimate Sandbags/Water Bags you will get our Metabolic Resistance Training 80 workout program for FREE! Juse use code “cyber” HERE