THE MOVE: Push-up Plank Kettlebell Row
MOVEMENT PATTERN AND MUSCLES WORKED: Horizontal pull, core: upper back, abs, obliques, and core stability.
WHY DO IT: What happens when you combine two good things? In the case of, let’s say, peanut butter and nutella, the end result might be better than either of those individually. In the case of planking and rowing, the end result might also be better than its individual parts.
Today’s move aims to do exactly that. Planks are great for the core, and rows train proper shoulder function while also building the upper back. When we combine the two, we end up with something called the Push-up Plank Kettlebell Row.
The idea is to proficiently maintain a rock-solid plank while rowing with the free arm. I stress proficiency here, because it is easy to cheat this exercise. Throughout this exercise, you want to make sure that your torso is facing the floor at all times and that your hips don’t sag downward, hike up, or drift off to one side. You also want to maintain an active push into the bench with your support arm so that your upper back doesn’t sag, either. In other words, you want to keep your body in line and square to the floor.
The weight of the kettlebell introduces a rotational component that your core must resist, which adds an additional challenge to the plank as it is. Think of it this way: the only moving part in the Push-up Plank Kettlebell Row is the shoulder blade moving on the torso to produce a rowing motion of the working arm.
Thus, today’s move is another way to work on your rows in the gym while also building core strength, especially in anti-rotation.
HOW TO DO IT: To do this move, place your hand on the edge of a bench, and grab a kettlebell with your other hand. Establish your plank position by actively pushing away from the bench with your hand. Think about squeezing your glutes as well to tuck your pelvis in and brace your abs. This makes it easier to keep your body in line and square to the floor.
Now, you’re simply going to row with the free arm. Initiate the row from the shoulder blade, and emphasize a full range of motion from full protraction to retraction. The only moving part in this exercise is the shoulder blade moving on the rib cage to produce the rowing motion.
Again, make sure that your torso is facing the floor at all times and that your hips don’t sag downward, hike up, or drift off to one side. This ensures that we’re training anti-rotation of the core.
The Push-up Plank Kettlebell Row works well in the latter half of a training session. where I’d recommend it for 3-4 sets of 8-10 reps/side. Definitely try this combination rowing plus anti-rotation exercise if you need something new. Let us know what you think on Twitter or Instagram @halevylife !
by Jeremy Lau
Jeremy Lau is a Senior Staff Coach at Halevy Life.
Jeremy graduated cum laude from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute with a BSc. in Biomedical Engineering and received his Master’s in Exercise Physiology at Columbia University. In addition to his academic accolades, Jeremy is a Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist (CSCS).
Prior to joining the team at Halevy Life, Jeremy completed a coaching internship at Cressey Sports Performance, where he coached both amateur and professional athletes, among whom were many professional MLB baseball players.
As an athlete, Jeremy has played baseball competitively for most of his life.