Old Launch Pad

Why The Launch Pad

Muscle Building is simple. It’s not about what you do, but how you do it. Every exercise begins with set up and stabilization. Setup is the key to ensure the muscle you’re trying to work is in fact the prime mover. Stability is the key to efficient movements and hard contractions. The human body will allow other body parts to assist and take over if it senses any instability. Your ability to set up and stabilize correctly dictates whether or not the muscle you’re targeting is the muscle that initiates the movement. Exercise benches aren’t currently designed with these things in mind. Equipment manufacturers have put their focus on perfecting the design of equipment around movement patterns, yet fail to address the most important pieces - proper set up and stabilization. They have taken on the assumption that the end user is exercise savvy and is aware of all the necessary cues to proper set up and stabilization, however, most folks are not, and even the most savvy, if they don’t make a conscious effort to remind themselves, may simply forget. Proper set up and stabilization directly correlate with the use of proper form, efficient biomechanics, and injury prevention. Thus, the production of safe and efficient movements. The Launch Pad solves all of those problems; it creates a platform for safe, more biomechanically efficient movements, where the use of proper form is instinctual and the common injuries less frequent.


Overview

The Launch Pad is a custom, multipurpose, exercise bench "retrofit" pad. It is purpose built to fit securely on a bench and position the user in a biomechanically advantageous position, regardless of whether the user is on their back or their stomach, to engage a barbell or set of dumbbells. The Launch Pad serves as an accessory to exercise benches and machines to promote the use of proper form, efficient biomechanics, and injury prevention during exercise. It is extremely versatile and was designed work on a variety of original equipment benches and exercise machines.


The Science/Rationale Behind the Design

The Launch Pad features a custom design that includes an upper torso section, a lower torso section, and a lumbar section. Each section is uniquely contoured so the features of each combine to create an overall effect which automatically sets a user up so that he or she is in most optimal position to produce power, execute proper form, and prevent injury. As a result, the Launch Pad reduces or eliminates the need for a user to use mental cues to remember to create the necessary points of contact with the bench for proper stability, force generation, and the production of efficient movements. Accordingly, The Launch Pad provides a platform that automatically incorporates efficient movements so the use of proper form (e.g., in weightlifting) is instinctual and common injuries (e.g., rotator cuff injury, scapular injury, shoulder strain, lower back injury, and tendonitis) less frequent.

When the launch pad is affixed onto the bench, it creates a three-dimensional (3D) contoured surface. The 3D surface is configured so that when a user lays on it (e.g., on their back), and engages the weight (e.g., a barbell, dumbbells), the 3D surface causes the user’s head, back, buttocks, shoulders, hips, and/or legs to align in a biomechanically advantageous configuration. The overall convex transverse contour supports the user’s back and causes a user’s shoulders to rotate rearwards (relative to a frontal plane of the user). Thus, when force is applied on a user’s arms (e.g., by lifting a weight) the user’s shoulders will a rotate rearwards until they are pressed against the transverse convex surface of the Launch Pad. The user’s head will rest on downward sloping surface with their buttocks positioned (at least partially) on or just distal to the downward sloping surface (e.g., such that their lower back is supported by the lumbar section). Accordingly, the 3D surface supports the natural curvature of the spine, positioning of the head, positioning of the legs, position and/or motion of the scapulae placing a user in optimal position to execute a multitude of efficient movement patterns. Furthermore, energy leaks, injury, and/or discomfort caused by gaps between the user’s body and points of contact with the bench are significantly reduced or eliminated.


Teaching & Safety

The 3D contoured shape of The Launch Pad provides a unique advantage in the teaching and enforcement of proper mechanics for a variety of movements. It forces the user to assume proper form, removing the need for one to use mental cues and make a conscious effort to do so. Therefore, it simplifies the teaching process and removes the need for constant supervision.

The curvature (e.g., a transverse convex profile) induces instinctual locking of the scapulae in retraction and/or depression to initiate pressing movements. As a result, pressure on the user’s shoulder joints and the rate of injury are significantly reduced. Furthermore, a user’s arms are able to move more freely, which simultaneously isolates the working muscle. Thus, creating an advantage for maximum muscle fiber recruitment.

Similarly, the shape of The Launch Pad increases the user’s range of motion and offers better isolation to the muscles of the back (e.g., of the lats and traps) when the user performs pulling movements, such as chest supported row movements with dumbbells, seal rows, barbell chest supported rows, or some combination thereof as described in more detail later.


Versatility of The Launch Pad

The Launch Pad is extremely versatile and may be configured as an accessory to one or more existing benches and/or machines (plate loaded and weight stack). It may be deployed on machines and/or benches (stationary and adjustable); Olympic incline, decline, and/or flat benches, or on the floor; in commercial gyms, private gyms, and home gyms.

The Launch Pad can be used for pushing, pulling, glute movements, the execution of select lower body exercises, and used by itself, in isolation, (not fastened to a bench or machine) for the execution of floor presses and various abdominal exercises as described in more detail below.. The Launch Pad features an adjustable sliding lumbar section to accommodate users of varying torso sizes. In addition, it folds in half to make transportation easy.


Push Movements

The Launch Pad is designed to improve scapular stabilization and movement during pushing exercises. The combination of unique geometric features opens up the user’s chest and offers support to the user’s shoulders. Accordingly, it will advantageously provide a user with superior range of motion and superior feel to the exercise.

The Launch Pad’s multi-directional 3D curvature will increase the user’s range of motion, pin the shoulder shoulders back, and support user’s spine and lumbar region. The combination of the increased range of motion, proper position of the torso, increased support (e.g., trunk, spine, and scapular stabilization) reduces unnecessary stress caused by improper form and range of motion restriction often experienced with existing equipment (e.g., bench) designs. As a result, it reduces the occurrence of common shoulder other joint injuries associated with push movements.


Pull Movements

The Launch Pad may also be configured for pulling motions. The various 3D curvatures of The Launch Pad, for example, exaggerate a row movement. The curvature permits a user’s arms and shoulders to move freely in protraction and retraction. Accordingly, a user may automatically learn, by use of The Launch Pad, to initiate a pull movement with the working muscle / by first protracting (to create tension on the target muscle) and then retracting their scapula. The increased range of motion encourages maximum muscle fiber recruitment and creates very deliberate stretches to the muscle in its lengthened state. Accordingly, a user will automatically learn proper form and proper execution through training with The Launch Pad. The Launch pad may also be configured for shoulder work. For example, the 3D contouring, as previously described, automatically locks a user’s shoulders in place, which stabilizes the shoulder complex, to take extraneous movement out of exercises. The increased stability of the trunk and shoulder complex ensures tension is in the right place.


Glute Movements

The Launch Pad can be used for lower body movements as well, especially movements to train the gluteal musculature. The 3D curvatures of The Launch Pad, for example, increase the range of motion for the glute bridge and hip thrust movements. The curvature permits a user to isolate their hips and move them into deeper extension while maintaining a flat back with only his or her shoulders and upper trapezius in direct contact with the bench through the full range of motion, which is not possible on a flat bench. The increased range of motion allows maximum muscle fiber recruitment, harder more effective contractions to the muscle in its shortened state, and/or extremely deliberate and effective stretches to the muscle in its lengthened state. Your ability to build your glutes is directly related to your ability to create hard contractions. Hard contractions are 100% dependent on stability. Stability, in this case, is defined as your ability to not move your knees and spine, and just move the hip joint, which The Launch Pad allows the user to do.