This 5-Minute Renegade and Row Workout Will Torch Calories and Build Your Back

LOOKING FOR A brutal finisher to cap off your workout? You’ve come to the right place to get your heart pounding and brow sweating.

In our “5 Minutes of Hell” video series, Men's Health fitness editor Brett Williams, NASM-CPT takes on challenges designed by master trainers to push you to your physical limits in a five-minute window. So take a big gulp of water, and tackle this session with Ian Creighton of Honeycomb.

On today’s agenda? An EMOM (or “every minute on the minute”)-style workout that will push you to your cardio limits in a short period. “We're going to hit three renegade rows at the top of every minute, straight into a calorie target every minute on the rower,” explains Creighton. This setup creates a push-pull dynamic to the session, so your all-out effort will be more balanced. Just make sure that your rowing form stays on point, even when the going gets tough.

You can watch the video above to see if you have what it takes to make it through these few brutal minutes and read on for an overview of the routine below. FYI: You’ll need a rowing machine to take on this challenge, but if you don’t have one, check out our top picks here.

The 5-Minute Renegade & Row EMOM Workout

Minute 1

Do three renegade rows followed by rowing on a machine until you hit eight calories.

Get into a pushup position on the floor, with your hands gripping a weight each hand. Squeeze your back to row the weight up to your chest using your right hand, place it back on the floor, then row to your left. Follow these reps with a pushup. Complete three times. Then hit the rower you go until you reach eight calories. “Drive with the legs. Pull with the back,” says Creighton. Each row stroke targets your glutes, mid-back, and abs, so you’ll really be feeling this the next day. Once you’re done with the rows and expending eight calories on the rower, you can rest until the top of the next minute.

Minute 2

Do three renegade rows followed by rowing on a machine until you hit nine calories.

Be sure to squeeze your glutes and abs to stabilize your hips during the renegade rows, as the temptation is to get sloppy here as you get increasingly tired. “Keep those hips squared to the floor,” says Creighton.

Minute 3

Do three renegade rows followed by rowing on a machine until you hit 10 calories.

And, you guessed it. This round gets even harder. If Williams can fight fatigue to keep up with this five-minute sequence, so can you. On the rower, Creighton notes Williams should drive at the legs and keep that chest out as you go.

Minute 4

Do three renegade rows followed by rowing on a machine until you hit 11 calories.

“Let's keep that chest and hips square to the floor,” says Creighton. Be sure to maintain a tight core, too. One more round to go after this so stay with the course even if you’re tired. Lest we forget, since this is an EMOM workout, the sooner you check these two moves off your to-do list, the quicker you’re done and can simply enjoy extra rest time.

Minute 5

Do three renegade rows followed by rowing on a machine until you hit 12 calories.

This round will be especially difficult to keep your hips level while you do the renegade rows—but just remind yourself that keeping your core balanced is key and it will all be over soon. Again, on the rower, be conscientious of driving your legs and bending your back while you breathe deeply.

You’re done. Phew. Worth noting: “If this calorie target is too challenging, you can always bring down the calories a little bit. Or you want to make it more challenging, you can increase the number of calories per minute,” says Creighton.

“I was really fighting as hard as I could, rowing all out to earn my rest,” says Williams once he catches his breath. “But the thing that I really loved about that is as hard as I was working, I immediately had to dial in on form when I went to those renegade rows,”

As Creighton points out, it’s a lot of pulling in this workout between the rower and the renegade row, so throwing in the pushup adds a nice chest workout to the mix too.

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