|35||BENCH PRESS SMART HELPER
||Alejandro Del Rosal Carmona
Eduardo Quintana Coronado
|# BENCH PRESS SMART HELPER
## TEAM MEMBERS:
- Alejandro Del Rosal; ad40
- Eduardo Quintana; ehq2
- Carlos Suberviola; carloss5
The bench press is by default the best compound exercise to build the chest, triceps and shoulders. It is also the powerlifting exercise to which more injuries are attributed to. A recent study conducted over sub-elite to elite powerlifters showed that up to 46 % of their injuries were caused by the bench press, which accounts for almost half in some athletes.
In order to avoid damage and be able to work out the chest and shoulders, one tends to either lower the intensity of the bench press, or choose other exercises that are not as prone to causing injuries. However, this is far from ideal, as other practices and movements do not encompass all the benefits of the bench press; and clearly, performing this exercise at half intensity does not optimize growth and strength in any way.
In order to perform the bench press with a good intensity, one ends up relying on external help, which generally comes from other people at the gym, and is generally deficient and very inconsistent. It is also very important to track everything we do during our workouts, and unpredictable and unstable help is impossible to track. Furthermore, even if there are individuals who can provide good and consistent aid, it is not ideal to rely on people to have a good workout at all.
Finally, when performing the bench press with a certain amount of weight, going to failure does not necessarily mean not being able to complete more repetitions with that given weight. A few more repetitions can always be squeezed out with some help, and that extra effort is essential in maximizing muscle use.
Our design aims to solve three issues: the first one, the reliance on another person in order to perform the bench press with good intensity and minimized risk of injury; the second one, the impossibility of controlling and tracking human help (our help will come in a consistent and automated manner); the third one, the inability of going to failure without having to stop performing the exercise, lowering the weight, and going at it again.
We will implement an integrated design which helps the user perform the bench press with smart and customized help.
# SOLUTION COMPONENTS:
The system would draw its power from the grid (through a wall plug) and then convert the AC power to DC through a subsystem, which would in turn regulate the voltage and current delivered to each component via different DC to DC converters.
## SMART CONTROL:
The initial goal is to have an external control device to which the user inputs the desired repetition range and the intensity of the help to be provided. We would also like the machine to detect when the lifter is close to failure and have it pick up the weight entirely.
The control and processing subsystem would be on the PCB located at the bottom of the machine, and would be responsible for reading the signals given by the sensors, processing the instructions of the external control device, and detecting unexpected failure. The control system would be in charge of adjusting the level of the support to closely follow the barbell’s movement with constant weight reduction and detecting if the user is failing in lifting the bar and rapidly activating the system to pick the weight up.
## REPETITION TRACKING SYSTEM:
We would like to track the number of repetitions performed by adding position sensors to our structure and barbell. These sensors would have to be adjusted in order to take into consideration the range of motion of the person doing the exercise. By specifying top and bottom of our range of motion we can track the repetitions performed. We could also add weight sensors on top of the pads to closely follow the barbell’s movement when applying the weight reduction. In order to achieve the goal of detecting when the user is close to failure, we could detect when the barbell’s position has not changed (or barely changed) for a specific amount of time t, and then activate the mechanism.
## MECHANICAL DESIGN:
So far we have thought about implementing a two column structure, joined at the bottom, with pads coming out of each column powered by DC motors. We have also thought of making use of the bench in order to better stabilize the structure.
# CRITERION FOR SUCCESS:
- The machine must be able to reduce a desired percentage of weight on the barbell without affecting the performance of the lifter
- The desired percentage of weight to be reduced should be adjustable via an external control device
- The design must be able to track the repetitions effectively and activate the system when specified
- The machine can detect failure and swiftly activate the lifting mechanism