Technician Workout

Hey everyone, I’m going to try out for technician next season and I was wondering if anyone had any workouts they use to ensure they can lift the robot consistently and reliably.

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I can say I never really worked out in order to lift our robot, but the general “lift with your legs not your back”, applies and helped a different teammate.

I tried to mimick a deadlift most of the time.

It is important to note that lifting positions vary per robot, and may vary drastically. Getting a good handle on each position is more important in my opinion.

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I will second @FinIce on “lift with your legs not your back”

Also, if you don’t already, having a very good understanding of how the robot is wired and how to fix it is a good thing to have.

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Deadlifts are a good exercise, prioritize form, like the others said, lift with you legs, not your back. I would watch some videos on it, just to be safe. Another one are farmer walks, just take some dumbells or kettlebells and start walking, it will help you with walking with the robot. Isometric exercises can also help you with not just the robot, but also like carrying batteries, pit materials, etc. Check out Hybrid Calisthenics (?), he has several videos on isometric movements and also fitness tips
there are probably more, but these are the ones i can think of

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Having handles in an ergonomic and accessible location can help make this much simpler

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These are all great starting points.

Key is - Practice.

I am a mentor and made the unfortunate decision to lift our max weight robot this year from an awkward place with an awkward reach - this goes against all ergonomics recommendations and now 2 months later I am paying the price with a destabilized shoulder.

Lift with your legs. Keep the load as close to your core as you can having it take the shortest strongest path to the ground. And keep your muscles tight and controlled throughout the lift - not following all of these combined likely lead to my injury. The goal is not a quick burst of energy - a lift is more like a marathon where you have a controlled ramp up, hold, hold, hold, and controlled down motion.

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Going to third this, fight hard get handles (removable or not) into the robot design.

Would also recommending getting a good set of mechanics or lifting gloves, helps with grip and not get cut if your team’s filing wasn’t great.

Ditto on the lift with legs…

Something to remember when practicing in your school workspace is that you’ll also need to walk/carry the bot through the field gate. It is a lot narrower than it looks, especially when it’s two people and a bot trying to fit throught that gate. Practice going through an equivalent size space (maybe even put a small ramp on either side) with a consistent partner who will also be carrying the bot.

Decide who will be walking backwards through the gate, or however you choose.
Practice lifting the bot from the floor, to the bot cart, to a work bench/stand, and back to the floor. Basically, simulate the possible scenarios that will require manual movement of the bot.
Practice clear communication with your partner.

Design into the bot a method for (removable) handles or whatever you need to securely hold the bot for carrying.
Consider gloves to help protect your hands.

I vaguely recall some new-ish rule that allows bot carts onto the field. It must fit through the gate, obviously. I’m sure somebody here on CD can recall this rule.

These are incredibly helpful and I highly recommend, especially if you have a clumsier robot to carymry and transport, they make the process quite a bit easier.

I will say that the exit procedure is a bit more awkward depending on if you load onto the small cart and then load from there onto the main cart, but we didn’t have any issues this year. Make sure you get good wheels on the cart, there’s lots of bumps.

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I suggest getting a gym membership and showing up ~3 times a week to start. Ask around or get a friend for motivation and help.

Or get yourself some basic weights. If all else fails just do some pushups at home.

Not a bad or inappropriate exercise, but if building up to lift robots, I would definitely suggest squats, with weights ramping up to more than half a robot weight, and at least light to moderate core exercises. Arm strength just needs to be enough to keep the robot bumpers further out than your knees.

I definitely recommend the small robot cart; walking backwards with a load is a risk even if you’re in great shape. I have a vision of a small robot cart that carries just the robot that drives onto a larger robot cart that may also carry the driver station, batteries, tools, and bumpers like the old Spy Hunter (1984 video game) car drove into the semi van.

Spy Hunter 1984?

Yes, I’m old enough that I remember when rocks emulating thinking was a totally new thing. Heck, doing math - I took quite a few college tests with a slide rule because a four-banger calculator [+ - * /] cost more than a semester’s tuition at a state university. In the last month, my mother told @PereBear and Veronica [my children; her grandchildren] the story of how I counted steps on a family walk and measured my step size so I would have an excuse to use my Grandfather’s calculator. Totally honest - I didn’t care a moldy fig how long that road was, it was an excuse, and I could have done it with paper and pencil if I did in a few minutes. Grampa K totally knew that, but he loaned me the calculator for a while. I only got to spend a week or two a year with him because we lived so far away, but he was an awesome mentor for the time I got to spend with him.

Just for reference, our technician can:

Bench 525lbs
Squat 610lbs
Deadlift 710lbs

I believe this is about on par with the rest of the technicians. Human player can do a bit more

image

/s

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Jogging/marching to build up endurance for the long walk from pits to the field. Ideally while pushing a top heavy cart. /S

I recommend doing 1 rep of Sisyphus


(You can stop when you reach the top)

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The technician role is certainly not just a person who carries the robot onto the field. Ideally it’s a person who’s technically knowledgeable to help if anything needs doing to get the robot ready for the match.

We would never disqualify a drive team candidate due to physical stature, and certainly not on the team member’s ability to pick up the robot. Your mileage may vary, and your team may be different, but the idea that a student would need to do deadlifts to be considered for a drive team slot is mind-boggling to me.

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Same here. On my team the technician is the person with the most technical knowledge about the robot on our team regardless of how much they lift. We have never put lifting 125 lbs as a requirement to be technician/drive team nor would we ever. My team is pretty inclusive. Thankfully every student on our drive team can lift the robot anyway.

I would hate disqualifying someone who is the most capable in that task because they can’t carry the robot (again thankfully we never ran into that issue). I also think the most qualified technician should be technician even if they were to be physically disabled.

The reason I responded with fitness tips was because the OP specifically asked for

My comment about getting a gym membership is just what I recommend to be able to “lift the robot consistently and reliably.”

Sorry if you misunderstood my comment, but we are in agreeance. To me it sounds like the OP’s team makes lifting a requirement so I am just trying to help them fit that requirement.

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I think your technician might actually be the robot here…

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It is all about technique, with a side of design for a grip location.

The form is basically a deadlift, and most teenagers of any gender can do 75 lb (half a robot) with a good grip handle/location.

Walking with it takes a little practice, but I recommend setting up procedures so that humans only lift up and down and adjustment is done by cart. Failing that, a barbell with maybe 10 lb on each side is a good solo practice option, but it’s really about coordinating how you step with your partner more than the physical load. That’s all practice with a real thing.

You do want decent grip locations on the robot, either clip-on or inherent to the robot. 841 doesn’t have great general solutions for swerves yet, I miss our WestCoastDrive bumper rails - nice wide side rail with good access to get a full hand on both ends, and required by other parts of the design already.

We have younger, smaller, female students lifting the robot all the time. The problem I get is inexperience in keeping tailbones tucked - especially the large men that are used to being able to “power through” and have never actually thought about how they are doing the thing. Girls tend to be more inexperienced at first, then listen and get it right by the second time, the boys with 50 lb and 3in on me sometimes need more persuading (AKA - feeling their bad choices in their body before they believe me).

We have never considered ‘ability to lift the robot’ as an inherent requirement to a Technician role. There are four students and one student/adult on Driveteam, between the five of y’all at least two can be trained for that specific task…

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As a field staff for many years, I’ve learned to practice getting your robot down from a hanging position at the end of the match. Not that next year will have something, but it’s likely. Some games have had lift from a high location. It’s easier to get the robot down to the floor then adjust your grips to carry it off.

Also, read the rules as there may be field staff directing which robot comes off first. Its for all our safety!

Being able to lift the robot is important, but an often overlooked aspect of being technician is that you shsould be able to fill in any gaps in knowlage for your drive team. Someone on the drive team needs to be able to watch for auto failures, someone needs to be able to watch for mechanical failures, and last seconds repairs are not rare so a high level of knowlage in the robots electrical can also be very useful. If the drivers themselves can’t do all this then a technician can fill that role.

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