I’ve been doing push-ups with dumbbell rows for a couple of months.  They are not what I would call fun but they really do a job of bringing your core into play.  This morning, SixGz from the 52DC referred to them as Renegade Rows.  I went on-line and did some exploring.  Surprise – this is a highly regarded exercise.  I got it out of the Men’s Health Big Book of Exercises (page 43).  “THE ALL-IN-ONE UPPER BODY EXERCISE.  The pushup and row works your middle and upper back as hard as it does your chest.”

There are a number of variations on the theme.  All start in the up push-up position with your hands on either dumbbells or Kettlebells.  The basic one is “merely”  lifting the weight (row) while holding the Up or Planked position alternating between your arms.  Others include a push-up in between the rows.  Here is one YouTube video that is particularly informative.

I have been doing the Four Count using 12 pound hex dumbbells.  Those are the heaviest hex DBs in my gym all the rest are round.  I do not want to use the round dumbbells since I might lose control and break a wrist.  As it is, I have to sneak the hex ones out of the “classroom,” passed the sign that says “Do Not Remove Equipment From This Room.”

I will try incorporating the Kettlebells but if they are not sufficiently stable for this guy, I will merely increase my reps per set.  Now – I am doing 4 sets of 10 push-ups with alternating rows – or 5 rows per side per set.

Edit: I tried using Kettlebells.  The small ones – the ones I would start with from a weight perspective – are just not stable enough.  In the video, you can see the guy almost lose control on a much larger one.  Hex dumbbells are the proper base.  Ah Well.  

Every article I’ve read on these touts the fact that they really work the core stability muscles.  Yep they do – otherwise you will fall flat on your nose.  They are also a lot more interesting than just doing Planks and I end up getting those “stares” from others who wonder “what the hell is that old guy doing and why can’t I do that?”

Learn something new every day.