Title:
Aerobic ramp
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A step exercising system for an aerobic step workout is constructed as a portable inclined step ramp. The ramp is sloped towards a user such that the user can step up onto the ramp at various heights, thereby regulating the degree of intensity of the workout without having to suspend the workout to adjust the step height, as is the case when using a conventional aerobic step having a raised level platform.



Inventors:
Gvoich, Ned (Beamsville, CA)
Application Number:
10/166573
Publication Date:
12/11/2003
Filing Date:
06/10/2002
Assignee:
GVOICH NED
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63B23/04; (IPC1-7): A63B22/04
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
NGUYEN, TAM M
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Walter, Duft W. (Suite 10, Clarence, NY, 14031, US)
Claims:

What is claimed is:



1. A step exercising system for an aerobic step workout, comprising: a portable inclined step ramp; a front portion on said step ramp; a back portion on said step ramp; an upper workout surface portion on said step ramp adapted to remain stationary as it supports a person during use; an underside portion on said step ramp adapted to face an external support surface during use; and variable incline means for variably inclining said upper workout surface portion at a selected incline relative to said support surface such that said upper workout surface portion is sloped toward the person at a desired incline angle during use.

2. A step exercising system in accordance with claim 1 wherein said incline is variable between about 10-30 degrees.

3. A step exercising system in accordance with claim 1 wherein said front portion has a leading edge that is adapted to contact said support surface.

4. A step exercising system in accordance with claim 1 wherein said incline means comprises adjustable incline members proximate to said back portion.

5. A step exercising system in accordance with claim 4 wherein said incline members are adjustable legs.

6. A step exercising system in accordance with claim 5 wherein said adjustable legs are telescopically adjustable.

7. A step exercising system in accordance with claim 4 wherein said ramp further comprises means for adjusting a height of said front portion relative to said support surface.

8. A step exercising system in accordance with claim 1 wherein said upper workout surface portion comprises two or more visually distinct workout areas.

9. A step exercising system in accordance with claim 1 wherein said upper workout surface portion comprises a visually distinct central workout area and two visually distinct side workout areas respectively disposed on opposite sides of said central workout area.

10. A step exercising system in accordance with claim 8 wherein said workout areas have different colors for choreographing an exercise program.

11. A step exercising system in accordance with claim 8 further including grooves between said workout areas, said grooves being adapted to channel perspiration and to aide in visually separating said workout areas during a workout routine.

12. A step exercising system in accordance with claim 1 wherein said front portion comprises a central recess to facilitate access to multiple workout areas of said upper workout surface portion.

13. A step exercising system in accordance with claim 1 wherein said front portion has a leading edge configured with a radius for engaging said support surface.

14. A step exercising system in accordance with claim 1 wherein said upper workout surface portion has a non-slip surface configuration.

15. An aerobic ramp having a workout surface and incline support means for positioning said ramp on a support surface with said workout surface at an incline such that a first portion of said workout surface is positioned at a height which is lower than a second portion of said workout surface relative to said support surface, and with said first portion engaging said support surface.

16. An aerobic ramp in accordance with claim 15 wherein said support means comprises adjustable incline means for varying said incline.

17. An aerobic ramp in accordance with claim 16 wherein said incline means comprises adjustable legs.

18. An aerobic ramp in accordance with claim 15 wherein said workout surface comprises anti-slip means for preventing slipping during use.

19. An aerobic ramp in accordance with claim 15 wherein said workout surface comprises means for channeling moisture during use.

20. An aerobic ramp in accordance with claim 15 wherein said workout surface comprises means for providing plural visually distinct workout areas.

21. An aerobic ramp in accordance with claim 15 wherein said first portion comprises central recess means for providing access to lateral side sections of said first portion during use.

22. An aerobic ramp in accordance with claim 15 wherein said first portion comprises radius means for engaging a support surface.

23. An aerobic ramp comprising: an inclined work surface; grooves adapted to channel moisture from said work surface and to aide in visually separating said workout area into a center workout area and two or more lateral workout areas; said center workout area having a recess relative to said lateral workout areas proximate to a lower front portion of said aerobic ramp; height adjustable legs proximate to a higher back portion of said ramp; a non-slip configuration on said work surface; said workout area comprising different colors; and a radius on a leading edge of said lower front portion of said ramp for engaging said support surface.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

[0001] Not Applicable

STATEMENT REGARDING FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH OR DEVELOPMENT

[0002] Not Applicable

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0003] 1. Field of the Invention

[0004] This invention relates to step systems for aerobic and cardiovascular activities.

[0005] 2. Description of the Prior Art

[0006] By way of background, a popular form of cardiovascular training is aerobic stepping. An aerobic step workout is performed by stepping on and off a raised, level step platform. The steps are choreographed, usually performed to music, and leader-driven by an instructor in a class setting or on videotape for home exercise. Workout intensity is largely dependent on the step platform height. Presently, step platforms require a user to suspend the workout while an adjustment to height is made. This is disruptive. Additionally, a user who is becoming fatigued and who should probably lower the step height will not do so, and instead will continue the workout, allowing for the possibility of over fatigue and potential miss-step. Another drawback of existing level step platforms is the great amount of load placed on the knee joint while performing the step up to the level platform. To step up on a level platform, the leg is moved forward by hip flexion. At the same time, the foot is brought up to a position above the level platform by knee flexion. Once the foot is on the platform it has a surface from which to push off. The hip and knee joints go into extension to move the body up against gravity. This places the knee joint under a substantial compression load. Further, most aerobic or cardiovascular activity such as stepping will cause the participants to perspire. This perspiration has a tendency to pool on the level step platform, creating the potential for injury by slipping on the surface.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0007] The foregoing problems are solved and an advance in the art is obtained by a novel step exercising system for an aerobic step workout comprising a portable inclined step ramp. The ramp is sloped towards a user such that the user can step onto the ramp at various height levels, thereby easily regulating the degree of intensity of the workout. There is no need to suspend the workout to perform a height adjustment, as is the case when using a level aerobic step platform. There is also reduced stress on the knee joint.

[0008] In exemplary embodiments of the invention, the ramp is configured to define a front portion, a back portion, an upper workout surface portion, and an underside portion. The incline of the ramp can be provided in various ways, with adjustable legs or other incline members being preferred so that the incline of the ramp can be altered. The legs can be permanently or removably attached to the underside portion of the ramp proximate to the back portion thereof. In addition, adjustable legs can also be mounted to the front portion of the ramp so as to allow the overall height of the ramp to be varied. The ramp can also have one or more additional features, such as a radiussed leading edge on the ramp's front portion for contacting an independent support surface. Further, the ramp can be formed with grooves that channel perspiration from the upper work surface portion of the ramp and serve to visually divide the ramp into multiple workout areas, such as a central workout area and two lateral workout areas. Each workout area can be color-coded so as to allow a user to follow a choreographed routine. The front of the center workout area may be recessed relative to the lateral workout areas so as to facilitate easier access to all workout areas by the user. The upper workout surface portion is preferably configured with a non-slip surface.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0009] The foregoing and other features and advantages of the invention will be apparent from the following more particular description of preferred embodiments of the invention, as illustrated in the accompanying Drawings, in which:

[0010] FIG. 1 is a front perspective view showing a step exercising system constructed in accordance with the invention;

[0011] FIG. 2 is a rear perspective view of the step exercising system of FIG. 1;

[0012] FIG. 3 is a side elevational view of the step exercising system of FIG. 1;

[0013] FIG. 4 is a detailed perspective view of an exemplary height adjustable incline member for the step exercising system of FIG. 1;

[0014] FIG. 5 is a front perspective view showing a modification of the step exercising system of FIG. 1;

[0015] FIG. 6 is a side elevational view showing the modified step exercising system of FIG. 5;

[0016] FIG. 7 is a front perspective view of the step exercising system of FIG. 1 as it is intended to be used during an aerobic step workout;

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

[0017] A step exercising system for an aerobic workout will now be described by way of exemplary embodiments shown by the drawing figures, in which like reference numerals indicate like elements in all of the several views.

[0018] Turning to FIGS. 1-3, a step exercising system 2 in accordance with a first exemplary embodiment of the invention is shown at rest on a support surface S (see FIG. 3), such as a floor. The step exercising system 2 includes a portable inclined aerobic step ramp 10, whose overall configuration is best shown in FIGS. 1 and 2. It will be appreciated that the ramp 10 can be made of any suitable material capable of supporting a person stepping thereon. Examples include but are not limited to plastics such as ABS (acetyl butyl stylrene), polyethylene or the like. The ramp 10 can be formed with such materials using a blow mold technique, pressure forming, or injection molding. As an alternative to plastic, other material such as metal (e.g. aluminum) could be used to form the ramp 10.

[0019] Although shown as being semi-circular in shape, the ramp 10 may be constructed in various configurations, depending on design preferences. Such shape variations notwithstanding, the ramp will generally define a front portion 12 adapted to face a user and a back portion 14 that lies away from the user. The ramp 10 will further define an upper workout surface portion 20 and an underside portion 22. As can been seen in FIG. 3, the back portion 14 is positioned at a height which is above the front portion 12 relative to the support surface S, such that the upper workout surface portion 20 is inclined toward the person at a constant angle during use. Moreover, the leading edge 24 of the front portion 12 preferably rests on the support surface S, so as to facilitate easy stepping onto the ramp 10. The ramp 10 will preferably be constructed such that the incline of the upper workout surface portion 20 has about a 10-30 degree angle relative to the support surface S. An angle of incline less than about 10 degrees will be too small to facilitate an adequate workout, and an angle greater than about 30 degrees will be too large to enable the user to step securely up onto the ramp 10 and will tend to hyper extend the achilles tendon. It will be appreciated that the inclined configuration of the ramp can be provided in various ways. In FIGS. 1-3, the incline is provided by mounting incline members in the form of adjustable legs 26 to the underside portion 22, proximate to the back portion 14. Other types of incline members could also be used, such as non-adjustable legs, frames, blocks, or otherwise. Another alternative would be to form the ramp 10 as a wedge-shaped structure in which the back portion 14 is thicker than the front portion 12.

[0020] The legs 26 in the ramp embodiment of FIGS. 1-3 can be made of any suitable material capable of supporting a person, including plastics as described above, and metals. The legs 26 can be attached to the underside portion 22 in any suitable fashion. For example, if the ramp 10 is molded, the legs 26, or a portion thereof, could be integrally formed with the ramp 10 during the molding process so as to be built-in to the ramp 10. Other alternatives include attachment by welding, bolting, threading or the like, depending on whether the legs are to be permanently or removably attached to the ramp 10.

[0021] The legs 26 are constructed with a height adjustable feature so that the incline angle of the ramp 10 can be altered. FIG. 4 illustrates one example of a leg 26 having height adjustment capability. As shown in FIG. 4, the leg 26 comprises an inner tubular member 31 that is slidably disposed within, and surrounded by, an independent outer tubular member 33 that is attached to the ramp 10. The inner tubular member 31 is thus capable of telescoping from the outer structure 33, allowing for a change in length of the leg 26. The inner tubular member 31 may be secured in position relative to the outer tubular member 33 in various ways.

[0022] In FIG. 4, the outer tubular member 33 is constructed with a slotted opening 35 and the inner tubular member 31 is constructed with a protruding pin member 37 that is received in the slotted opening 35. The slotted opening 35 includes two horizontal channels 41 connected by a vertical channel 43. To adjust the length of the leg 26 (thereby adjusting the height and incline of the ramp 10), the inner tubular member 31 is rotated so that the pin member 37 can be slid from a fixed point 45 in one of the horizontal channels 41, then through the vertical channel 43 of the slotted opening 35, and to another fixed position 47 in the other horizontal channel 41. Note that additional horizontal channels 41 can be provided depending on the number of height adjustments desired. Other adjustment arrangements could also be used, including pins inserted through holes in the inner tubular member 31 and outer tubular member 33.

[0023] The legs 26 can further be mounted with a slip-resistant tip 49 at the end, which rests on the support surface S. The tip 49 may be made of any suitable slip-resistant material, including but not limited to silicone rubber, high friction plastic, or otherwise.

[0024] As best shown in FIG. 4, the front portion 12 of the ramp 10 may be constructed with a radius on the leading edge 24. The radius enables the leading edge 24 to contact the support surface S without damaging it, as might be the case from a squared edge. The radius also facilitates ramp angle changes by allowing the leading edge 24 to contact the support surface at various locations. In addition, the radius provides a friendlier contact surface with a user.

[0025] Turning now to FIGS. 5 and 6, an alternative construction of the ramp 10 is shown wherein the underside 22 mounts adjustable legs 52 proximate to the front portion 12 of the ramp 10. The adjustable legs 52 directly contact the support surface S and enable the leading edge 24 to be positioned above the support surface rather than resting directly thereon. This allows a user to intensify the workout by having a higher initial starting point for the workout.

[0026] As can be seen in any of FIGS. 1-2 and 5, and as further illustrated in FIG. 7, the upper workout surface portion 20 of the ramp 10 comprises grooves 54 that divide the surface into visually distinct workout areas. The grooves 54 can be formed in a variety of ways. If the ramp 10 is formed as a single unit, the grooves 54 can be formed therein during the fabrication process or thereafter in subsequent processing. Alternatively, the grooves 54 could be defined by fabricating the ramp 10 as separate sections that are suitably fastened together such that a space is formed between adjacent sections to define the grooves 54.

[0027] In the embodiments of FIGS. 1-3 and 5, the grooves 54 divide the upper workout surface portion 20 into three visually distinct workout areas, namely, a center workout area 55 and two distinct side workout areas 56 adjacent to the center workout area 55. Other configurations in which the number and arrangement of workout areas is different could also be used. To further visually differentiate the workout areas 55 and 56, and to enable a user to follow a step workout choreographed to different workout areas, the workout areas 55 and 56 can be color-coded.

[0028] The workout areas 55 and 56 are also preferably constructed with a non-slip surface configuration. The non-slip configuration could be provided by suitably texturing the upper workout surface portion 20 in its initial construction. Alternatively, the non-slip configuration can be provided by a separate material that is directly applied to the workout areas 55 and 56 after initial construction, as by spraying, brushing, or adhering. Examples include, but are not limited to, textured paints, rubber coatings, or various inserts or stickers made of rubber, sand paper, or other materials.

[0029] Note that the center workout area 55 is constructed with a recess 59 at the front portion 12 of the ramp 10. The recess 59 is adapted to enable a user easier access to the two side workout areas 56 such that the user may contact a side workout area 56 without stepping over the center workout area 55, as will now be described.

[0030] FIG. 7 shows the ramp 10 as it would be used during a typical workout. It is assumed that the ramp 10 includes plural workout areas as described above. First, a user 70 can predetermine the overall incline of the ramp 10 by adjusting the length of the legs 26 (when included in the ramp's construction). Next, the ramp is placed on the support surface S with the leading edge 24 in direct contact with the support surface S (or above the support surface S if the ramp 10 is so constructed and the user desires such a setup). The ramp 10 remains in this constant position throughout the workout. The user 70 stands facing the ramp 10 proximate to the leading edge 24 of the front portion 12. The user 70 steps on and off the various workout areas 58 of the upper work surface portion 20 of the ramp 10 as dictated by a choreographed workout. Throughout the workout, the user 70 can vary the height of each step by choosing a point (e.g. 81, 82, or 83) of contact on the ramp 10 and thereby modifying the intensity of the workout.

[0031] Accordingly, a system for an aerobic step workout has been disclosed. While various embodiments of the invention have been shown and described, it should be apparent that many variations and alternative embodiments could be implemented in accordance with the teachings herein. It is understood, therefore, that the invention is not to be in any way limited except in accordance with the spirit of the appended claims and their equivalents.