Stewart Athletic Development

Stewart Athletic Development

page for Callum Stewart ACSC (UKSCA), BSc (Hons) Strength & Conditioning coach. Offering;

Operating as usual

Photos from Stewart Athletic Development's post 06/03/2024

What people think happens after 6-8 weeks of hypertrophy training

"Reality is often disappointing" - Thanos

Hypertrophy is a great outcome, but if you're serious about getting jacked - you're in it for the long hall. 6-8 weeks might be enough for "statistical significance" in terms of research, but you don't gonna notice much size difference in that time

So focus on it basically year round, make sure you're 1) eating adequately 2) training appropriately

And you'll get hench like Frank. Though he still has some growing to do

Photos from Stewart Athletic Development's post 19/02/2024

Some free advice - note this is NOT a sales pitch 🫡

Anecdotally speaking, I've found that mid February is when coaches start to get a little busier in the new year. By this point, motivation is starting t taper off, momentum and results are perhaps slowing down....

and people are starting to realise that the full send mentality will only get them so far, and that professionals in this space exist for a reason

Coaches tend to get even busier now if they are the opposite of myself and put some effort into marketing and other sales stuff 😂

But rather than me sell you some idea or tell you thatI have "2 coaching spots available for dedicated individuals"...

I'm giving away some free advice and thoughts on what you, as a consumer, should look for when hiring a coach. What you choose to do with that information, is entirely up to you

The TL:DR bullet points are:

Do your homework, and ensure the coach is relevant to your goals

Pay peanuts, get monkeys

Don't be a dick

All the best for 2024, let's see these goals get achieved this year

And as always

Stay strong


Photos from Stewart Athletic Development's post 27/04/2023

‼️ Hybrid coaching is back ‼️

Very happy to state that I am in a position where I can offer hybrid coaching again, after being unable to for an extended period

Hybrid coaching is simply a mixture of Online and In-person coaching

You receive full online services, as detailed in the post. As well as either 2 or 4 1-1 in peraon sessions P.C.M

In my humble opinion, its the best of both in the coaching world, and can greatly benefit all individuals

Now without being "that guy" - the number of spots for this service are limited to just 4 individuals. So if this is of interest to you, either drop a comment below or hit me up in the DM's!

Photos from Stewart Athletic Development's post 14/04/2023

Carbohydrates - the messiah or the devil depending on who you follow...

Carbohydrates cab get a bad rap. Some say they are the reason for the Obesity endemic and will kill you as they are poison

However there's also rational people in the world who acknowledge them for what they are. That being:

Tasty as f**k

A great source of energy

And If you're an athlete, or care about your performance - they are also your friend.

Looking at powerlifters (whom most of my followers are) you don't actually need as much as you think (relative to other athletes) - sorry to break that to you. So that bag of intraworkout haribo you're having.....

Yeah, you don't need that. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news. If you enjoy them, then eat them. They are enjoyable

But they are not saving your performance the way you think they are. Powerlifting from a performance perspective doesn't use glycolysis as an energy substrate a huge amount. It contributes, but a small amount.

Your recovery though? Different story.

I've also provided information for some athletes who's sports do utilise glycolytic pathways for energy - and you will definitely need more carbs to fuel performance.

Bottom line - carbs are good for you. You *can* technically survive without them....

But it would be a miserable existence

Photos from Stewart Athletic Development's post 13/04/2023

Next up, we have dietary fat

Fat is a food group which has garnered a bit more limelight in recent years, with the surge in popularity with high fat, low carbohydrate diets, including the ketogenic & carnivore diet

Fat has over double the energy per gram (9kcal / 1g) compared to carbohydrates & protein (4kcal / 1g) which makes it very easy to consume a large amount of calories, often accidentally.

The human body also stores a huge amount of energy from fat stores (note - this isn't just adipose or 'body fat' tissue), which is utilised predominantly for day to day functions, and very low intensity movements.

Whilst fat yields a lot of energy, the structure of the molecules means that it takes time to break down for utilisation, and is not best suited for high intensity exercise or performance.

Nonetheless, dietary fat is essential for 1) performance and 2) overall health and wellbeing. Fat isn't just used for energy, but also plays a role in recovery, vitamin absorption & hormone production.

In the post, I have detailed some sources of fats, whilst offering a little insight into saturated vs unsaturated fats.

Photos from Stewart Athletic Development's post 23/03/2023

Nutrition is a piece of the performance puzzle that is often overlooked. It can also be severely overcomplicated by people trying to position themselves in a position of authority but in reality they don't help anyone (*insert signature look of superiority meme here*)

Conversely, we now have 19 year old influencers using meal prep inspo... on how to prep f**king sandwiches. I wish I was joking here...

The average Joe (i.e not nutrition researchers, nutritionists, S&C coaches etc - who most of you are) don't give a s**t about GLUT 4 transporters, nor the intricacies of the Krebs cycle

Nor do you want a 3 minute video from someone who left school yesterday telling you how to make boiled Eggs.

You want some simple, practical advice on how you can help improve your nutritional habits to aid with performance, recovery and if its a goal, your body composition.

So where to begin?

The world of Nutrition (especially if you don't know where to look) can be a toxic minefield. Cant eat anything these days according to some 'influencers', and if you really wanna be a jacked primal then you need to follow these ancestral tenants...

(I'd personally rather have a pint of Tennents thanks 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿🍻)

But, there is also some really good information out there, for some really good people in the nutrition & fitness world. If you know where to look,

So over the coming weeks I am going to try and fall within the latter camp, and provide some information around Nutrition. This will cover:

- different food groups and how they affect performance and recovery

- practical recommendations on how to determine your calorie needs

- some information on managing the social aspect of food & nutrition

And more. Or maybe not, we will see how we go

Photos from Stewart Athletic Development's post 23/10/2022

📢 Stewart Athletic Development is changing things up a little bit ‼️

I briefly touched on some changes that are occurring soon with Stewart Athletic Development. I've decided to formalise the changes into a post, for people to refer back to & clear up any confusion

The TL:DR is as follows

- New & improved service

- reduction in overall capacity

- a price change occurring in 2023

However, those that sign up prior to my intake cut off date (12/12/2023) will remain on a "price fix"

But once the current price is gone, its gone. In 2023 & beyond, I will categorically not be running any discounts or offers on coaching prices. So... you have fair warning that this is the cheapest my coaching services will ever be again 😂

And, there will be the possibility for some 1-1 in-person coaching, but this will be on a case by case basis. If that interests you, just contact me directly


Movement Monday - the conventional block pull

The block pull can be used to work on specific portions of the lift. The blocks can vary in height, depending on the desired outcome. For example, they can be used to replicate the transition / mid point in a deadlift

They can also be used to work around a lower back injury. Starting from blocks puts less pressure on the lower back, compared to a deadlift from the floor

Block pulls can be used in any block of training, so they are quite a useful exercise overall!


With the repetitive nature in the double contact, we are now starting to get into 'true' plyometric territory

The double contact is useful for teaching ankle stiffness, but limiting the intensity of a drill. With the contact, you want to attack the floor. To do so, when in the air, keep your toes pulled up and as you make contact with the floor, attack it (imagine squishing a bug)

Despite the term 'ankle stiffness' being used, the movement should be relatively springy and reflexive.

These are a good starting point for introducing plyos

Photos from Stewart Athletic Development's post 21/09/2022

Wisdom Wednesday - 🍪 cutter programmes

They get a lot of hate from coaches & PT's. Some of it is justified, because there are some available which are f**king woeful. Coupled with poor application by lazy PT's looking to make a quick buck and voila. You have a disasterpiece

But there are some good cookie cutter programmes out there. Which have been created by some good coaches. All they want to do is sell a scalable product to the masses. Which there is literally nothing wrong with.

And, some of these programmes work pretty well. They have yielded good results for a lot of people.

Coaches hate this because they are a conflict of interest to the services in which they offer. And I get it, I am one of these coaches.

But whether we like it or not, the programmes can and do work. Up to a point

The key part is to a point. Some are sustainable for one or two blocks, some a little more. But after a point, the programme will stop working. Something will need to change

I have gone into more detail on the post itself. My own view is that 1-1 coaching is superior (not just because I have a vested interest in running a business, but because it is a superior product) but not all of these programmes are bad

And, I'd rather see someone start out their journey on one of these programmes, than not start at all because some di****ad keeps s**tting on something that's not InDiViDuAlIsEd


This variation is a lateral jump progression, and is a useful movement for developing power, coordination & stability in the frontal plane

As usual, the normal landing mechanics apply. The height of the hurdle can also be altered to progress / regress the movement accordingly

Mix things up a bit in your plyometric training or a primer for a session, they are tougher than they look!

Photos from Stewart Athletic Development's post 14/09/2022

Wisdom Wednesday - using constraints in programming & coaching

Coaches use constraints to drive 1) learning & proficiency in a given task (s) or 2) drive specific adaptations. They may not be consciously aware of constraint led approach being a well researched teaching method - but they are generally implementing it within their programmes.

For clients (especially if they are not coaches themselves) they may see their new programme with some weird & wonderful exercises on it & think "yup, coach finally cracked" (And this may be the case)..

But more often than not, there is some (or should be) rationale to your coaches decision go apply specific exercises or drills.

They are deliberately applying constraints to your training, to help you develop proficiency in specific drills & tasks.

Constraints allow more complex drills & exercises to be broken down & simplified. This allows you to focus on the key aspects of the task & really drill them until the movements become more automatic.

It also helps to develop your 'kinaesthetic awareness' during a movement. Over time, you will become competent at 'self organising' yourself during movements.

Other variations can be used to target the 'neglected' part of the exerise (think whole - part - whole) here. Once competency has been developed in the sub parts, you can begin linking the pieces together.

The beauty with constraint based learning, is it can be utilised regardless of your coaching approach. Whether you prefer a 'bottoms up' or 'top down' approach, you can apply constraints to achieve the desired outcome.


Many people struggle off the floor in the deadlift. To help with this, you can use a deficit deadlift

To set up the deficit, use either a plate or a small block. When creating the deficit I would aim for somewhere between 0.5 - 1.5 inches. Beyond that, mechanics can be altered & it defeats the purpose of what you're trying to do

They can be used as either a main movement or an accessory movement. They are better used for strength development, and targeting the pull off the floor. They aren't ideal for higher volume work as they are quite fatiguing.

Deficits can also be done in the sumo stance, which I'll do in a separate post.

Photos from Stewart Athletic Development's post 07/09/2022

The G.A.S theory originates in clinical psychology, however it has been theorised as a plausible mechanism for adaptation to training within the world of sports science - so what's the link?

Good ol fashioned Stress. When most people hear the word stress they immediately assume it to be a negative thing, but this isn't necessarily true. We need stress to grow (in life, not just the gym). With stress, like many things, the devil is in the dosage.

Now, the body (specifically the endocrine system) can't really distinguish between stressors. It doesn't really care if its because you've overdone it for too long in the gym or you've just been fired from work. There will be an upregulation of stress hormones & catecholamines to try & combat the stressor & regain homeostasis.

(yes, training also induces other things such as muscle damage, metabolite accumulation etc that being fired would not induce, but that's a separate post).

The body's response to stress is broken down into 3 separate stages (1 - Alarm, 2 -, 3 -)

But these stages have been used as a plausible mechanism to explain adaptation to training. The difference being, that there can almost be seen as a 'bonus' stage 4, where supercompensation can occur.

In theory (& practise), this is where the athlete will be in peak performance or 'better shape' than their starting point of training, once fatigue has dissipated via a taper or deload. Ideally, this will happen prior to a big competition or event (assuming your training & build up has been done well). There may be some argument for this being linked to the phase potentiation theory (again, this will be another post).

Understanding how stress is related to training (& life) can be really useful for long term planning of training. Not all stress can be accounted for (Hello new work project that's been dumped on you overnight), but training is one area that can be controlled. If you know you have a very busy, stressful period coming up (e.g exams) you can manipulate training intensity accordingly to account for 'life'.

Now, this is not saying you 'have' to do this. You can still train as normal in this time, it's just useful to be aware of the impact that external stress can have on your body & mind

So there you have it. A little summary on stress & gainz!


Movement Monday - The pin squat

The pin squat is something that some of my clients will be quite familiar with. As exercises go, it provides a lot of bang for your buck, & when implemented properly, it is incredibly useful

Pin squats have a few uses

1) they can be used for building strength out of the hole. As you are starting from a dead stop, you have to apply a greater inertia to overcome the weight, or youll get pinned. The movement reduces (or negates entirely, depending on pause length) the stretch reflex, so elastic energy cannot be utilised.

2) it can be used for reinforcing a desired depth. In the context of powerlifters, the pins would be set so that each squat was to depth. If looking for partials, you can set them higher and load them really heavily, but safely. Partials can also be implemented for working around injury.

3) For positional / technique work. This variation helps to reinforce the good position & technique. Simply, because if you get it wrong, it becomes damn tough

The pins also add a great constraint. If the pins are set properly, you know you've hit target depth. If the bar hasn't hit the pins, you ain't deep enough 🤝🏼

A pause squat you can cheat & cut high, a pin squat is much harder. This isn't saying that one is better than the other, they just have different utilities for different reasons

Generally I utilise these for strength work & positional / technique work. They can be used in volume blocks though


Continuing our theme of jump / plyo training using hurdles, we have the lateral jump.

Sports involving changes of direction are often chaotic & unpredictable in nature. Meaning you could be doing weird & wonderful movements in all directions. How can you prepare for this?

Move in different directions. Move heavier things in different directions. Move fast in different directions. Jump & land in different directions.

The lateral jump is great for getting out of the sagittal plane, & introducing a little more "chaos" into your training. Often, people find it harder to land & stabilise moving laterally than they do linear. So, starting with a simple jump & landing over the hurdle is a great starting point.

As always, the basic landing mechanics are required for landing

Give these a shot and let me know how you get on!

Photos from Stewart Athletic Development's post 31/08/2022

A little later than planned... but we are back with the 2nd installment of my specificity posts 👨🏻‍🏫

Specificity as a concept is grasped a little better by strength sports coaches / athletes.👀 Low to high specificity work has been successfully used within strength athletes training programmes since the dawn of time, and in that regard there are some learning points for those whom have less understanding of these concepts🔥

Generally, blocks further away from competition will have a lower specificity & focus on some GPP or "bodybuilding" work🏋🏼‍♀️ Often with opposite stances, or variations where you can push the reps a bit. There will still be technical focus, but building your base is the primary focus

The closer you get, the higher the level of specificity is involved. Be it competition lifts, or assistance work designed to address specific weak points for an individual.

When using specific assistance exercises, the technical classification of things can muddy the waters a little - however, it doesn't need to be ultra precise in its definition, it just needs to be understood to be implemented

For most beginners and even intermediates, a baseline understanding is important. However, it is important to remember that an understanding will only take you so far, and that you need to focus about training with the appropriate intent, and not get too burdened with the details. That's for the worry of your coach 😉

Ultimately, knowledge helps, but it doesn't roll up your sleeves & apply elbow grease to do the work


Movement Monday - 2ct paused bench press

When done properly, the 2ct paused bench is a fantastic movement for developing strength off the chest, and for teaching position in the bottom. It's also good practise for competition, where you may be given a 'long pause' from the referee

With this movement, the 2ct should be just that. 2s of the bar being stationary on your chest before pressing. If you're cutting it short (counting 1,2) you're cheating yourself. Do it properly to get the full benefits

This movement can be used in any block, but it is more favourable for strength & peaking blocks. Generally, I will use these within the 1-6 rep range.

It can be used in volume blocks - but I can speak from personal experience here.. its hell on earth

Give this a shot in your training!

Photos from Stewart Athletic Development's post 10/08/2022

"How does online coaching work?" 🤔

No, I'm not "opening up spaces for 3 driven individuals who are looking to get shredded in 8 weeks".

What I am doing with this post, is highlighting how I personally deliver my online coaching 💻🏋🏻‍♂️ The information you can use & disregard as you see fit

The post itself highlights how I operate. It is quite "wordy, but it is fairly thorough, so I'm not going to regurgitate the same information here. The TL: DR is that I

- book you in for a free consultation

- make up your custom made programme tailored to you (no cookie cutter programme downloaded from google)

- I share it with you, you communicate with me & send me training footage

- I critique, analyse & feedback on footage (I.e I coach you), you then take the advice on board, apply it and get moar better.

- rinse & repeat for months & years. I Make adjustments as necessary where life happens, to ensure you keep progressing appropriately.

You get strong, swole, develop for your sport, more betterrer. Win win!🔥

Whilst my caption here may be dripping with sarcasm, I take my job as a coach seriously. If you are looking to take your training to the next level. Whether thats:

- Strength & Conditioning for your sport (if you're an athlete & not doing S&C, why the f*ck not?

- Powerlifting

- General strength training to move & feel better in the gym & day to day life

Or pretty much anything else...

I'd be more than happy to take you on board. At the very least, we can have a chat (for free, no commitments) about how I can help you out

So, if this is something you'd be interested in, hit me up in the DM's!🤝🏼


‼️Testimonial Tuesday ‼️

Murray was referred on to me as he had been having issues with back pain from work. I have been working with him in person on a weekly basis.

Frustrated with the pain & his situation, he had decided to make a change. Here's what Murray has had to say about his experience

"Have been seeing Callum regularly now for a few months as I'd been having work related back issues which was due to a lack of strength. Having very little proper gym experience I was slightly nervous but Callum listened to exactly why I was there and has been guiding me carefully ever since. His knowledge as a coach is first class and he has a knack of being able to teach so that everything makes perfect sense. Feeling huge benefits and really glad I've started up with Callum. I'd highly recommend."

Murray has been making strides & will continue to do so. Strength & Conditioning isn't just about athletic performance, and there isn't a single person or archetype whom wouldn't benefit from it


Heavier weight & better depth than the previous week for

Some say it's voodoo magic...

Others will realise its following some recommended tweaks to set up and movement. The programme hasn't changed, but the ex*****on has

One of the biggest mistakes People who programme for themselves or lack accountability to someone, is the complete overhaul or reversal on training when the going gets tough. 1 bad session does not mean you...

- change all assistance work

- Change the programme completely

- stop what you're doing

What it does mean is that... you had a bad session. That's it. One bad session doesn't break a programme, nor does one good session make it. Understanding trends without training data & ensuring that it's generally trending in the right direction, and using appropriate KPI's & proxy's throughout is how you do this.

Unsure how to do this? - hire a professional


Captain biceps making these warm up squats look like an RPE 2. Jared also has some Big numbers coming to fruition! Returning well after his bought of the Rona


working through floor deadlifts in her easier variation of the week

Bekka also has something big cooking up in her squats this block, which I'll share in due time....

PB central at the moment for my guys & girls!


Uni-lateral vs bi-lateral exercise: redundant arguments in the S&C world

Anyone who's been involved in S&C for approximately 4.8 nanoseconds will have seen the (flogged to death) argument of uni-lateral (1 limbed exercise) vs bi-lateral (2 limbed) exercise which has been raging since the dawn of time

Team uni-lateral argue that sport is played on one leg, therefore its more sport specific to trai one legged (or armed) or that it has a lower orthopedic cost (don't even get me started on this)

Team bi-lateral argue you can produce more total force with two limbs, so that should be what you do

My take? The argument is f**king stupid. Limiting ourselves to binary camps or options is reductionist and entirely fixed minded.

Both uni-lateral and bi-lateral exercises have their pros and cons

And both have their place within a training programme. And should be incorporated. Whether you're an athlete or gen pop

Both have their place. Contrary to what some will have you believe


working through a double at 80kg

It's a little higher than we are aiming for, however....

She has never touched this weight in her life on squats. And here she is doubling it

It's more of a confidence issue thana strength issue for Ash. This block will have some assistance work directed on reinforcing depth & confidence in the hole.

2 plate squat is loading

Photos from Stewart Athletic Development's post 25/05/2022

Wisdom Wednesday - Specificity: Pt 1

Specificity = the level of relatedness a task is toward a specific outcome 👨🏻‍🏫. Or, in this instance... how Specific training or exercises are in relation to a given sport or activity.

Specificity is something that can be a bit of a trap in which many sports / skills coaches & athletes fall into. Any S&C coach who's been told that "what they do in the gym has to look more like what they do on the field" 🙄 will testify to this

Now, before anyone gets their knickers in a twist 👀 - this isn't a dig at coaches per say. But as an S&C coach, it is an often encountered (& damn frustrating) problem which is regularly encountered

So - the aim of this post is to highlight & create some education around Specificity, & how it relates to an individuals / teams sport, & how you can work better with your S&C coach to make training & practise better for all parties. 🤟🏻

Ultimately, we as coaches all have (or shield have) the same common goal - Training our athletes to do better in their performance. 🔥

Cross education & some understanding & common ground of our roles within a team, will help to deliver this ‼️

So if you're an athlete or sports coach, or an up & coming S&C coach, be sure to save and share this post with others.

Got any questions or wanna chat about this post? Drop your comments below ⬇️


Movement Monday - Chest supported Dumbbell row

The chest supported dumbbell row is one of my go to horizontal pulling movements (my clients will testify to this). Its a nice alternative to a bench row, especially when many gyms don't have one.

There are a few reasons to why it is such a good movement:

1) The chest support prevents (or at least heavily reduces) you from cheating & using body English to get the dumbbells moving. Meaning, you're getting the targeted muscles (lats, rhombus, lower traps & scaps & more)

2) reduces axial loading. Some of the weight / load is been taken by the bench. And the bench supports you. As a result it reduces loading on the spine which in some instances, can be useful.

To perform the chest supported Dumbbell row:

- set a bench up between 30 - 45° of an incline & life face down on it, with head over the top. Arms hanging straight down and holding onto the dumbbells

- initiate the movement by pulling your arms back. When doing so, imagine pulling your elbow towards your hip. When rowing, you don't want the pulling angle to be too sharp / steep. It puts unnecessary pressure on the shoulder & doesn't elicit the desired effect

- pull until dumbbells are level with bench or chest, then slowly lower back down. If you want a bit extra challenge, add in a pause at the top

Control down, and then repeat for prescribed reps & sets!


The linear hurdle jump can be used to progress your jump training using an object as a constraint

Set the hurdles in a straight line, with enough room in between them for you to land, but also jump over the next. This exercise teaches you to jump both up, and over

This can be progressed / regressed using higher / lower hurdles, or progressed onto 'double contact' jumps - which then becomes a true plyometric exercise (these will be covered in later weeks)

Photos from Stewart Athletic Development's post 11/05/2022

The SAID principle has been bandied around a lot recently. Anyone who's been keeping up the the ever going debates of the "Nocebros" posting ... let's be diplomatic and call it fearmongering misinformation 👀 , vs the meme pages correcting them whilst simultaneously taking shots (which are both hilarious & informative) at them, will have seen mention of the SAID principle.. but what is it?

Well to start with, it's a very clever acronym. SAID = specific S) adaptations (A) to the imposed (I) demands (D) and its to do with how the body adapts to the demands its placed under (a bit different from the G.A.S theory which will be covered at a later date)👨🏻‍🏫

The theory is that by progressively & sensibly applying a stressor to the body, it will structurally (as in body structures) adapt to it. If applied incorrectly, it could result in maladaptation or even injury in some instances.

Logically, this does makes sense. The key part is sensible. If you haven't run in 6 years, a half marathon in 2 weeks time is almost guaranteed to be a recipe for disaster... 😬🥲. Similar issues with lifting as shown in the slides.

That being SAID (see what i did there? 👀), the principle can be taken too far, with people clinging to it for dear life. Its important when designing training & rehabilitation, make no mistake there - but there is more to play here. Hyper specificity isn't always a good thing, and it can be an easy trap to fall into

More on specificity in the coming weeks.. 🤫

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Videos (show all)

Movement Monday - the conventional block pullThe block pull can be used to work on specific portions of the lift. The bl...
With the repetitive nature in the double contact, we are now starting to get into 'true' plyometric territoryThe double ...
This variation is a lateral jump progression, and is a useful movement for developing power, coordination & stability in...
Continuing our theme of jump / plyo training using hurdles, we have the lateral jump.Sports involving changes of directi...
Movement Monday - 2ct paused bench pressWhen done properly, the 2ct paused bench is a fantastic movement for developing ...
Heavier weight & better depth than the previous week for @kyniskasportstherapy Some say it's voodoo magic...Others will ...
Captain biceps @jaredlove_ making these warm up squats look like an RPE 2. Jared also has some Big numbers coming to fru...
@bekka__c working through floor deadlifts in her easier variation of the weekBekka also has something big coo...
Uni-lateral vs bi-lateral exercise: redundant arguments in the S&C worldAnyone who's been involved in S&C for approximat...
@kyniskasportstherapy working through a double at 80kg It's a little higher than we are aiming for, however....She has n...
Movement Monday - Chest supported Dumbbell rowThe chest supported dumbbell row is one of my go to horizontal pulling mov...