Title:
Aerobic abdominal flexion exercise apparatus
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A device and method for employing it for conducting aerobic abdominal flexion exercise. A resistance is applied to the thigh portion of the legs of the user such that as the user's legs are drawn to the user's torso, the user experiences resistance using such motion that user's legs move away from the user's torso, no resistance is applied to said movement.



Inventors:
Arad, Yadon (Glen Head, NY, US)
Application Number:
10/027492
Publication Date:
09/04/2003
Filing Date:
03/04/2002
Assignee:
ARAD YADON
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63B23/04; A63B21/00; (IPC1-7): A63B22/06; A63B69/16
View Patent Images:
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20090111656NETWORKED EXERCISE MACHINEApril, 2009Sullivan et al.



Primary Examiner:
NGUYEN, TAM M
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Malcolm B. Wittenberg (Dergosits & Noah LLP Suite 1150 Four Embarcadero Center, San Francisco, CA, 94111, US)
Claims:

I claim:



1. A method of conducting aerobic abdominal flexion exercise by a user comprising applying a resistance to the thigh portion of the legs of the user such that as the user's legs are drawn to the user's torso, the user experiences resistance opposing such motion but as the user's legs move away from the user's torso, substantially no resistance is applied to said movement.

2. The method of claim 1 wherein said resistance is applied proximate to and above the knees of the user.

3. The method of claim 1 wherein said resistance is applied by draping a strap of material over each leg of the user, said straps being connected to said resistance.

4. The method of claim 1 wherein said user is supported by a bicycle-style seat while engaging in said method.

5. The method of claim 4 wherein said user is provided with a bar for grasping for support and balance while engaging in said method.

6. A device for enabling a user to engage in aerobic abdominal flexion exercise comprising applying a resistance means and connection means for connecting said resistance means to the thigh portions of the legs of said user such that said resistance means opposes the user's motion in drawing the user's legs to the user's torso but does not oppose movement of the user's legs as they move away from the user's torso.

7. The device of claim 6 wherein said connection means comprises a strap of material draped over the thighs of the user proximate to the user's knees.

8. The device of claim 6 wherein a bicycle-style seat is provided for supporting said user.

9. The device of claim 6 wherein a bar is provided for grasping for support and balance while the user operates said device.

10. The device of claim 6 wherein said resistance means comprises a wheel that applies resistance through said connection means when rotated in a first direction.

11. The device of claim 10 wherein movement of said wheel in said first direction is carried out only when a leg of the user is drawn to the user's torso.

12. The device of claim 10 wherein said wheel is provided with teeth along its circumference and said connection means is further provided with teeth along a portion thereof whereby as said connection means is pulled toward said user, said teeth engage causing said wheel to rotate providing resistance to said user but as said connection means is moved away from said user, said teeth disengage causing said connection means to slip along the circumference of said wheel without encouraging rotation thereof.

Description:

TECHNICAL FIELD OF THE INVENTION

[0001] The present invention is involved with a device and method for employing it for conducting aerobic abdominal flexion exercise. The device is unique in its ability to concentrate the user's aerobic function almost entirely through the abdominal muscles to the exclusion of other muscle groups traditionally employed in such diverse exercises as biking and running.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0002] There are a number of aerobic activities engaged in by not only health enthusiasts but also the general public which can result in abdominal flexion exercise. For example, as noted in U.S. Pat. No. 4,909,526, various pedal-powered structures such as bicycles employ toe lifts which enable a user to exert force upon a bicycle crank not only during the power stroke or downward motion of the user's foot but during the upstroke by physically coupling the pedal to the underside of the user's shoe. Although the purpose for employing toe clips on bicycles is to improve its efficiency by enabling the operator to take full advantage of the pedal upstroke, such motion does, in fact, result in some degree of abdominal flexion. However, because the vast majority of power exerted by the cyclist is in the downstroke of pedal motion, the amount of aerobic abdominal flexion is minimal.

[0003] Aerobic abdominal flexion exercise is defined as the process of preferentially using the abdominal wall and thigh flexors in aerobic exercise. As previously noted, currently, there are no sport or exercise instruments or machines that can fulfill such a function. Available exercise machines allow the user to engage in either aerobic exercise while using posterior muscles, such as bicycle or rowing machines or which involve anaerobic exercise of the anterior wall musculature such as by bending against a force while sitting.

[0004] It is the object of the present invention to provide a device which maximizes the effect of the exercise activity on the abdominal wall and thigh flexors to provide aerobic abdominal flexion. These and farther objects will be readily apparent when considering the following disclosure and appended claims.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0005] The present invention is directed to a method of conducting aerobic abdominal flexion exercise and devices for use in carrying out this method. The method comprises applying a resistance to the thigh portion of the legs of a user such that as the user's legs are drawn to the user's torso, the user experiences resistance opposing such motion, but as the user's legs move away from the user's torso, no resistance is applied to said movement. Ideally, the resistance experienced by the user is applied proximate to and above the knees of the user and can be applied by draping a band of material over each leg which are connected to the resistance imposed by the exercise apparatus. In its preferred configuration, the apparatus can include a bicycle-style seat for supporting the user and a bar for grasping for support and balance while engaging in the subject method.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0006] FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a first illustrative embodiment of the device used for carrying the method of the present invention.

[0007] FIG. 2 is a partial side plan view illustrating how, in one embodiment, the device of FIG. 1 operates to accomplish its intended purpose.

[0008] FIG. 3 is yet another perspective view of the device useful in carrying out the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

[0009] As noted previously, FIG. 1 illustrates one embodiment of the present invention although there are many various configurations which could be proposed and described herein for carrying out the present method. By viewing the embodiments such as those shown in FIGS. 1 and 3, it will be quite apparent that other variations could be employed while remaining within the spirit and scope of the present invention.

[0010] Turning again to FIG. 1, user 10 is shown being supported on bicycle-style seat 29. For purposes of support and balance, hands 31 can embrace bar 30 as shown. In this particular configuration, user 10 sits somewhat upright, akin to the position one would assume while riding a bicycle. User's feet 26 can be supported by framework 27, which is pivotable at 28. The entire structure remains stationary by virtue of support 35.

[0011] In operation, bands or straps 24 appended to framework 27 are draped over a user's leg along the side portion thereof. Ideally, band 24 is placed proximate to knee 25 in order to achieve a maximum benefit from this device.

[0012] In operation, as user 10 presses down upon framework 27 the user's leg moves away from the user's torso. During this stroke, little or no resistance is experienced by user 10. However, as knee 25 of user 10 is drawn toward the user's torso, the user's leg pulls upon band 24, turning wheel 21 which applies resistance to such movement. In that user 10 is incapable of moving wheel 21 by any downward stroke akin to the placement of force on a bicycle crank, all movement of wheel 21 is performed by movement of the user's legs towards the user's torso resulting in virtually all exercise involving abdominal wall and thigh flexors.

[0013] As previously noted, there are a myriad of geometries which could be configured to achieve the method of the present invention as described above. FIG. 2 depicts one such geometry.

[0014] FIG. 2A depicts pie-shaped unidirectional locking apparatus 23. FIG. 2A illustrates the state of the apparatus during the upstroke of the leg of user 10 whereby strap 24 is shown schematically as is foot support brace 27. Foot brace 27 engages pie-shaped unidirectional locking apparatus 23 at rotatable pivots 45. Pie-shaped unidirectional locking apparatus 23 is actually composed of two pie-shaped segments 33 and 25 which are urged towards one another through the use of elasticized bands 41 and 42. On the inner circumferential wall of outer pie-shaped segment 33 is configured a series of serrations or teeth 49 which engage and lock upon complimentary serrations or teeth 22 configured within the circumference of wheel 21. As noted, elasticized bands 41 and 42 urge engagement of teeth 49 with teeth 22 during the upstroke of the user's leg and consequential upward movement of band 24 shown schematically in FIG. 2 appended to foot brace 27, the latter functionally appended to rotatable shaft 45. As user 10 moves the user's leg away from the user's torso, strap 24 moves downwardly stretching bands 41 and 42 and moving pie-shaped segments 25 and 33 away from each other (FIG. 2B) creating gap 43 therebetween and separating the teeth 22 found on the circumference of wheel 21 away from the complementary teeth 49 found on pie-shaped outer segment 33. As a consequence, the pie-shaped segment 23 moves past the arc of wheel 21 without encountering significant resistance.

[0015] Any suitable resistance means can be configured within or surrounding shaft 60. Springs or friction-creating contact points can be established in order to provide suitable resistance to the user as strap 24 is pulled towards the user's torso. As such, the proposed resistance can be such as to operate only in a single direction although, in light of the structure shown in FIGS. 2A and 2B, the one-way nature of such resistance is not mandatory. In this regard, it should also be noted that the pie-shaped/toothed, one-way slip mechanism shown in FIGS. 2A and 2B are simply illustrative of one of a myriad of ways in which a one-way resistance device could be configured. Anyone skilled in this art area could easily propose numerous alternatives to accomplish the results of practicing the invention as embodied in FIGS. 2A and 2B. The only aspect of the present invention that is truly mandatory is to provide a device which imposes a resistance when a user draws the user's leg towards the user's torso, but not when the user's leg is moved away from the user's torso.

[0016] In addition, it is also noted that a bicycle-style seat and bar support mechanism such as that shown in FIG. 1 need not be the only configuration capable of carrying out the present invention. In this regard, reference is made to FIG. 3 as being illustrative of one on many alternative embodiments. In this instance, user 10 is supported by mat-like seat 75 which is fixed in its illustrated location. Strap 70 is applied over the user's leg and the thigh portion just above knee 72 which is, in turn, fixed to sliding-toothed ratchet 73 (right leg) while band 71 is shown fixed to sliding-toothed ratchet 82 (left leg). Each ratchet is provided with teeth 76 and 77 respectively which engage complimentary teeth on the circumferences of wheels 78 and 79. Sliding-toothed ratchets 73 and 82 move along fixed supports 80 and 81 respectively. A one-way frictional gear (not shown) is contained within or proximate to shaft 80. Any suitable one-way clutch or similar friction-creating device can be employed, the alternatives of which would be well appreciated by anyone skilled in this art.

[0017] In operation, as user 10 pulls the user's leg towards the user's body, straps 70 and 71, alternatively, cause sliding-toothed ratchets 73 and 82 to cause wheels 78 and 79 to move in a clockwise fashion whereupon friction is imposed upon such movement resulting in the requisite aerobic abdominal flexion exercise sought herein. As the user's legs are moved away from the user's torso, wheels 78 and 79 move in the opposite direction imposing no resistance upon said movement.

[0018] As is quite apparent, the principle behind the present invention is to impose preferential aerobic exercise of the anterior and lateral abdominal wall musculature. Although the invention is shown, for illustrative purposes, to consist of some form of knee brace linked to a forced-transfer mechanism so that the user can preferentially engage the abdominal muscle in aerobic exercise, the actual physical structure of such a mechanism may take many different forms such as a chain or rod linking various braces to paddles or paddle arms or a separate connection between a knee brace and wheels. In addition, the braces may be allowed to move medially and laterally, or be attached to the frame of a bicycle-like structure. The bands or braces may also be closed, that is, completely surrounding a knee or partially open to allow the knee to move in and out of the brace. Devices used to carry out the present method could be designed to be employed either indoors or outdoors and use any resistance mechanism useful in engaging the abdominal muscles in aerobic function.