(with Devan Grell)
It all started with a text from Sabrina, a friend of mine who came to me with a complaint and a request. Her complaint was about barbell hip thrusts, not the movements themselves, but with how uncomfortable they were under a heavy load. The request, as one would guess, was to create something to make them more comfortable.
Now, when I create a product, I make it a point not to look for existing products on the market. I do this for one reason and one reason only which is to make sure my design is never influenced by someone else’s. When a problem is approached with nothing but pure imagination to go off of, anything is possible.
Fortunately for me my business partner Austin does not share the same strategy. While I was stumbling around with a few prototype variations, Austin had discovered that the perfect product already existed. I was sent a link that I quickly dove into and I saw it—the Hip Thrust Pad. The product was “simple” but in the most positive of ways. The type of simple that took a lot of complex thought to achieve.
After pouting for a little while about not having the idea myself, I decided to reach out to the inventor, Devan Grell, and admit my defeat. Devan is a very like-minded individual who had clearly done his homework when creating the Hip Thrust Pad. He sent me one to try for myself and I was very impressed. After a few more phone calls we found a way to help each other, and we began manufacturing the Hip Thrust Pad right here at the AbMat factory.
~ Dylan Tellam
Director of Product Development
When did you create the Hip Thrust Pad?
I first had the idea for the HTP in October of 2016. We first started selling HTPs in June of 2017.
What problem does the Hip Thrust Pad solve?
Hip thrusting can be painful. You have to have the right padding for the bar. Our pad solves that problem.
How does the Hip Thrust Pad work?
There are two major functions that make our pad unique. The first is the hard layer on top which takes some of the punch out of the narrow barbell and protects the padding for long-term use. The second is our multi-layered well, which works as a shock absorber distributing the load and forces down and out from the middle of the pad.
Was the Hip Thrust Pad ever almost named something else?
Can you describe your main customer? Who does it appeal to?
Our pad is perfect for anyone who loves the hip thrust movement. I know that sounds simple. Our customers discover the exercise, love the movement and results, discover that it’s uncomfortable, and begin looking for padding options. You don’t have to look far to discover we are the best product on the market.
What was the “Aha!” moment that led to the idea of the Hip Thrust Pad?
As a gym owner, it was when we destroyed my second Arex balance pad with trainers and clients using the product for hip thrusting (not what it was designed for). I thought to myself, “There has to be something out there designed for Hip Thrusting. It turns out there wasn’t.
How long after you had the idea did you start to develop the product?
I began to develop the concept almost immediately.
How close is the final design compared to how you originally imagined it?
My original design included a belt! The idea was a pad with a belt at the top that you strapped around your waist to keep it in place.
The internal components weren’t necessarily part of the original idea. But the idea was to create the most comfortable pad possible. That is what I set out to do. I tried dozens of different padding combinations before we found the right formula.
Did you make the product for yourself originally or did you always intend to turn it into a business?
I always intended to sell the product. But I did originally make the product myself. I spent hours at night and on the weekends cutting materials in my garage and I found someone local to sew the bags. It was not time- or cost-effective, but I had to prove the concept and get it into people’s hands before I made a larger investment in manufacturing.
Is this the first product you ever brought to market?
Yes, this is my first product.
How long did it take you to sell your first unit?
Once I had inventory in place and launched our sales page, I sold my first pad within 48 hours. I had to check and make sure it wasn’t a family member or friend. Once I confirmed that it was not, and that it was an independent buyer, I knew that we had found a niche. People were looking for an HTP option and we met that need.
If you were able to go back in time to the day you had the idea (knowing everything you know now), what is the one thing you would tell yourself?
See it through. I love a quote that says, “Much good work is lost for the lack of a little more.” That is often something that keeps me motivated. It means, there will be times where giving up seems like the logical end. I tried, I gave it my best, but what if it’s worth seeing what is just beyond that next ridge? Or the next ridge?
What was the most challenging experience of bringing the Hip Thrust Pad to market?
Finding real manufacturing was very difficult initially. I had no experience or connections within the industry.
What was the greatest experience of bringing the Hip Thrust Pad to market?
One of my greatest moments in this HTP journey was being approached by AbMat to partner with them going forward. It was incredibly honoring to know that someone outside of my immediate circle felt like my product, my idea, had value.
What advice would you give someone who is deciding whether or not to develop a piece of fitness equipment?
I recently had a young gym owner approach me with a product idea. I challenged him to make a prototype (duct tape, pipe, wood, foam etc.), use it, find out if people want it . . . Unfortunately, that idea died as just that, an idea. Be bold and take a step, then take the next logical step. If you stop stepping that’s the end of the road. It would be unfortunate if just one more step had made all the difference.