Title:
Total body conditioning system
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A total body conditioning system has been developed for conditioning the muscles of a user's body and improving balance. The system includes a bench, a skid-resistant mat, a physio ball, a weight rack assembly supporting muscle conditioning equipment such as hand-held weights, medicine balls, ankle bungees, and bungee rods, and an instructional video (e.g. DVD) for instructing a user how to use the system.



Inventors:
Black, John T. (Palm City, FL, US)
Application Number:
11/234472
Publication Date:
01/11/2007
Filing Date:
09/23/2005
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
482/129, 482/142
International Classes:
A63B21/04; A63B26/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
BIDDER, ALLANA LEWIN
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Johnson & Martin, P.A. (500 West Cypress Creek Road Suite 430, Fort Lauderdale, FL, 33309, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A body conditioning system comprising a bench, an elastic band assembly operably attached to the bench, a skid-resistant mat, at least a first ball having a diameter in the range of about 18 inches to about 50 inches, a weight rack assembly comprising a plurality of hand-held weights, and at least one instructional video for instructing a user how to use the system.

2. The body conditioning system of claim 1, wherein the bench comprises: (a) a rigid frame adapted to be disposed upon a supporting surface, the rigid frame having a first end and a second end; (b) a rigid shaft having a first end and a second end, the first and second ends each having a rigid projecting member projecting towards the supporting surface at a 90 degree angle from the shaft, the projecting member of the first end movably mounted to the first end of the rigid frame and the second end movably mounted to the second end of the rigid frame by a mounting means; (c) a body support having a first portion that is rigidly mounted to the shaft and a second portion that is movably attached to the shaft by an attachment means, the second portion of the body support movable between a horizontal position which is planar relative to the first portion of the body support, and a vertical position which is at a 90 degree angle from the first portion of the body support, wherein the rigid shaft and body support can be simultaneously moved in a vertical orientation to increase or decrease the height of the body support from the supporting surface; (d) a board removably attached to either the first end or the second end of the rigid frame by an attachment means; and (e) an elastic band assembly comprising an elastic band holder removably mounted to the first end of the shaft and an elastic band partially disposed within the band holder and having two ends, each of the two ends connected to a handle for grasping and pulling the elastic band.

3. The conditioning system of claim 1, wherein the skid-resistant mat provides a pliable surface for a user's body disposed thereupon and is adapted to be disposed upon a supporting surface.

4. The conditioning system of claim 1, further comprising at least a second ball having a diameter in the range of about 5 inches to about 18 inches.

5. The conditioning system of claim 4, wherein the at least second ball having a diameter in the range of about 5 inches to about 18 inches is a medicine ball.

6. The conditioning system of claim 1, wherein the plurality of hand-held weights each weigh in the range of about 3 pounds to about 25 pounds.

7. The conditioning system of claim 1, wherein the at least one instructional video is a DVD.

8. A method for conditioning muscles and improving balance, the method comprising the steps of: a) providing a body conditioning system comprising a bench, an elastic band assembly operably attached to the bench, a skid-resistant mat, at least a first ball having a diameter in the range of about 18 inches to about 50 inches, a weight rack assembly comprising a plurality of hand-held weights, and DVD's; and (b) using the body conditioning system.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION

The present application claims the priority of U.S. provisional application No. 60/696,883 filed Jul. 6, 2005.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The invention relates generally to the fields of physical fitness and weight training. More particularly, the invention relates to a system for conditioning the muscles of a user's body, and improving overall balance.

BACKGROUND

A system for conditioning muscles and improving balance that provides greater safety while conditioning muscles more effectively and expeditiously than currently available systems is highly desirable.

SUMMARY

The invention relates to a system for conditioning the muscles of a user's body and improving balance. The system includes a bench, a skid-resistant mat, a physio ball, a weight rack assembly supporting muscle conditioning equipment such as hand-held weights, medicine balls, ankle bungees, bungee rods, and an instructional video (e.g., DVD) for instructing the user how to use the system. The instructional video includes on-screen graphics that show the muscle groups being used for each exercise and when to inhale and exhale, a rating system for degree of difficulty, as well as demonstrations of correct and incorrect form.

Accordingly, the invention features a body conditioning system including a bench, an elastic band assembly operably attached to the bench, a skid-resistant mat, at least a first ball having a diameter in the range of about 18 inches to about 50 inches, a weight rack assembly including a plurality of hand-held weights, and at least one instructional video for instructing a user how to use the system. In this system, the bench includes a rigid frame adapted to be disposed upon a supporting surface, the rigid frame having a first end and a second end; a rigid shaft having a first end and a second end, the first and second ends each having a rigid projecting member projecting towards the supporting surface at a 90 degree angle from the shaft, the projecting member of the first end movably mounted to the first end of the rigid frame and the second end movably mounted to the second end of the rigid frame by a mounting means; a body support having a first portion that is rigidly mounted to the shaft and a second portion that is movably attached to the shaft by an attachment means, the second portion of the body support movable between a horizontal position which is planar relative to the first portion of the body support, and a vertical position which is at a 90 degree angle from the first portion of the body support, the rigid shaft and body support able to be simultaneously moved in a vertical orientation to increase or decrease the height of the body support from the supporting surface; a board removably attached to either the first end or the second end of the rigid frame by an attachment means; and an elastic band assembly including an elastic band holder removably mounted to the first end of the shaft and an elastic band partially disposed within the band holder and having two ends, each of the two ends connected to a handle for grasping and pulling the elastic band.

The body conditioning system can further include at least a second ball (e.g., a medicine ball) having a diameter in the range of about 5 inches to about 18 inches. The plurality of hand-held weights can each weigh in the range of about 3 pounds to about 25 pounds. The at least one instructional video can be a DVD. A skid-resistant mat provides a pliable surface for a user's body disposed thereupon and is adapted to be disposed upon a supporting surface.

The invention also includes a method for conditioning muscles and improving balance. This method includes the steps of: providing a body conditioning system including a bench, an elastic band assembly operably attached to the bench, a skid-resistant mat, at least a first ball having a diameter in the range of about 18 inches to about 50 inches, a weight rack assembly including a plurality of hand-held weights, and DVD's; and using the body conditioning system.

Unless otherwise defined, all technical and legal terms used herein have the same meaning as commonly understood by one of ordinary skill in the art to which this invention belongs. Although systems, methods and materials similar or equivalent to those described herein can be used in the practice of or testing of the present invention, suitable methods and materials are described below. In case of conflict, the present specification, including definitions, will control. In addition, the materials, methods, and examples are illustrative only and not intended to be limiting. Other features and advantages of the invention will be apparent from the following detailed description, and from the claims.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is an image of a system for conditioning the muscles of a user's body and improving balance.

FIG. 2 is an image of two rigid frames disposed in opposing directions.

FIG. 3 is an image of a bench in an inclined position.

FIG. 4 is an image of a bench in a flat and raised position.

FIG. 5 is an image of a bench in an upright position.

FIG. 6 is an image of a bungee rod assembly.

FIG. 7 is an image of balance board and footplate attachment points on a bench.

FIG. 8 is an image of a balance board disposed on a flat surface next to a bench.

FIG. 9 is an image of a balance board disposed in an inverted position on a flat surface next to a bench.

FIG. 10 is an image of a bench in a flat position.

FIG. 11 is an image of a bungee rod attachment point on a bench.

FIG. 12 is an image of a calf raise platform on a bench.

FIG. 13 is an image of a weight rack supporting weights, medicine balls, ankle bungees, and bungee rods.

FIG. 14 is an image of a weight rack.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

The invention encompasses systems and devices for conditioning the muscles of a user's body and improving balance. In brief overview, referring to FIG. 1, an exemplary conditioning system 10 of the invention features several components. These components include a bench 20, a skid-resistant mat 80, a physio ball 90, and a weight rack assembly 110 supporting weights, medicine balls, ankle bungees, and bungee rods. The bench 20 includes several components, including the rigid frame 22 shown in FIG. 2. The rigid frame 24 is disposed upon a supporting surface 22 (e.g., floor) when in use and has a first end 26 and a second end 28. The rigid frame 24 is made of a rigid material such as steel, but can be made of any suitably rigid material. Operably mounted to the rigid frame 24 is a rigid shaft 30 having a first end 32 and a second end 34 (FIG. 3). The first end 32 and the second end 34 each have a rigid projecting member 36 (FIG. 4) projecting towards the supporting surface 22 at approximately a 90 degree angle from the shaft 30. The projecting member 36 of the first end 32 of the shaft 30 is movably mounted to the first end 26 of the rigid frame 24 and the projecting member 36 of the second end 34 of the shaft 30 is movably mounted to the second end 28 of the frame 24 by a mounting means 38. The mounting means 38 also serves as a calf raise platform which will be described in greater detail below.

FIG. 4 shows another component of the bench 20, a body support 40 having a first portion 42 that is rigidly mounted to the shaft 30 and a second portion 44 that is movably attached to the shaft 30 by an attachment means 46 (FIG. 3) that allows the second portion 44 to move. In the embodiment shown in FIG. 3, the attachment means 46 is a metal rod, however, any suitable attachment means can be used. The second portion 44 of the body support 40 is movable between a horizontal position (FIG. 4) which is planar relative to the first portion 42 of the body support 40 and an upright position (FIG. 5) which is at approximately a 90 degree angle from the first portion 42 of the body support 40. Between these two positions is an inclined position shown in FIG. 3. Because the rigid shaft 30 and the body support 40 are movably connected to the rigid frame 24 by the projecting members 36, the rigid shaft 30 and body support 40 can be moved vertically from a resting position, to increase the height of the body support relative to the supporting surface 22, to a raised position (FIG. 4). The body support 40 is typically made of composite foam, but can be made of any suitable material that provides comfortable support to a body disposed thereon.

A further component of the bench 20 is an elastic band assembly 64 (FIG. 6) which is composed of an elastic band holder 66, an elastic band 68, a means 70 for locking the elastic band 68 within the elastic band holder 66 while exercises are being performed, and at least one handle 72 (e.g., two) attached to an end of the elastic band 68 for grasping and pulling the elastic band 68. Typically, the elastic band 68 has two ends and therefore two handles 72. The left-most structure shown in FIG. 6 is an elastic band holder 66 holding an elastic band 68 in a locked position. To the right of this structure is an empty elastic band holder 66 in a locked position and to the right of this holder is an empty elastic band holder 66 in an open position. The means 70 for locking the elastic band 68 within the elastic band 66 holder shown in FIG. 6 is a pin, however, any suitable locking means can be used. An example of an elastic band for use in the system of the invention is a bungee. However, any elastic band that provides resistance to the user and that can be operably connected to the bench 20 can be used. The system 10 of the invention provides a plurality of elastic bands 68 (e.g., bungees) that have different levels of resistance. By providing elastic bands 68 having five different levels of resistance, the system can be used by users having different strength levels. For example, a user whose muscles are not very developed might begin using the system with an elastic band having a low level of resistance. A user having more developed, stronger muscles might use an elastic band having a higher level of resistance. The elastic band holder and handles are made from hardened plastic, but can be made of any suitable material.

Still another feature of the bench 20 is the foot plate 52 shown in FIG. 7 which is for use in any exercises that involve the elastic band 68. Typically, the user places their feet on the foot plate 52 to ensure the bench 20 remains in place and does not move during the standing exercises (e.g., standing bungee bicep curls, bungee chest flyes, and bungee upright rows). The footplate 52 is secured to the first end 26 of the rigid frame 24 by a securing means (e.g., screws, bolts).

Shown in FIG. 3 and FIG. 4 is a board 48 that is removably attached to either the first end 26 or the second end 24 of the rigid frame 24 by an attachment means 50 (FIG. 7). In the embodiments shown in the figures herein, the board 48 is attached to the first end 26 of the rigid frame 24. The board 48 is useful for balancing and stabilizing the user's entire body. While the board is attached to the bench, the user can place their feet against the diamond-plated side to brace themselves for exercises such as bungee rows. In another example, the board 48 is used for balance when the user is performing standing exercises, particularly exercises involving elastic bands (e.g., bungee rods). Additionally, the user can stand on the board 48 to improve his or her balance and perform exercises such as squats to increase the level of difficulty. FIG. 8 shows the board 48 detached from the bench 20 and disposed on the support surface 22. The board 48 shown in this figure has diamond plating on its top surface 54 to ensure the user's feet stay on the board. The board 48 also has side edges that each has hand compartments 56 and padding 58 disposed above the hand compartments 56 for providing comfort during exercises such as push-ups. FIG. 9 shows a board 48 detached from the bench 20 and disposed in an inverted position on the supporting surface 22. Shown in FIG. 9 is a balance curve structure 60 on the bottom side 62 of the board 48. The balance curve structure makes the board 48 unstable when being stood upon or grasped by a user, thereby forcing the user to improve his or her balance.

In FIGS. 5, 10, and 11, the elastic band assembly 64 is shown removably mounted to the first end 32 of the rigid shaft 30 such that the handles 72 are disposed in front of the board 48. In this configuration, the user can grasp the handles 72, place both feet on the foot plate 52 (FIG. 7), and perform exercises that involve pulling the elastic band 68, such as standing bungee bicep curls, bungee chest flyes, and bungee upright rows. FIG. 11 shows the point of attachment for the elastic band assembly 64, where the user can remove the elastic band 68 in place and replace it with an elastic band of greater resistance.

Referring to FIG. 12, the bench includes a mounting means 38 that can also be used as a calf raise platform. The calf raise platform is useful for performing exercises such as calf raises, single leg calf raises, and single leg calf raises with weights. The calf raise platform is preferably diamond-plated to ensure maximum grip for the user's feet. Typically, the bench is in an inclined position while the user is using the calf raise platform in order to provide the user with a handhold as well as to provide ample room for the user's legs.

The system 10 also includes a skid-resistant mat 80 and a physio ball 90 or similar type ball (FIG. 1). The skid-resistant mat 80 is preferably rubberized and can be used for stretching, abdominal exercises, and can be sat on by a user performing seated row exercises. The physio ball 90 is particularly useful for performing exercises such as wall squats, push-ups, and core exercises.

Another component of the body conditioning system 10 of the invention is a weight rack assembly 110 shown in FIG. 13. The weight rack assembly 110 includes a weight rack 120 (FIG. 14) made of steel or a sufficiently strong and sufficiently rigid material for supporting a plurality of hand-held weights 130 (e.g., dumbbells). The base of the weight rack 120 is suitably wide to provide maximum stability while supporting a large amount of weight. The weight rack 120 is also adapted for supporting other muscle conditioning devices such as medicine balls 140, ankle elastic bands 150 (e.g., ankle bungees), and elastic band assemblies 64 that are not in use. The ankle bungees can be placed around the user's ankles and used to perform exercises such as side shuffles and knee lifts. In some embodiments, the weight rack assembly 110 may contain fewer or more components than those shown in FIG. 13.

An exemplary system of the invention also includes at least one instructional video (e.g., DVD) for instructing the user how to use the system. In some embodiments, the system includes a plurality of instructional videos for instructing a plurality of users having different levels of muscle strength. In one embodiment, the instructional video is a DVD that includes a front, side, and rear view of the human body. The muscles being used in each exercise will light up on the model in color to show the user which muscles to focus on. Preferably, a pair of lungs are also included that turn from Red(Exhale text) to Blue(Inhale text) to let the user know the proper times to breath during the exercise. A one to five difficulty rating system can also be included in the graphics to let the user know how difficult the exercise is. Another function of the DVD is that it will demonstrate correct and incorrect form. This informs the user how to properly perform the exercise, and also common mistakes to beware of that cause injury.

While the above description contains many specifics, these should not be construed as limitations on the scope of the invention, but rather as examples of preferred embodiments thereof. Many other variations are possible. The components and devices of the conditioning system can be made from a variety of materials. The design of the system components can be altered somewhat and still allow for performance of the system as described above. The components can vary in size from what is shown in the figures herein and can come in a variety of colors. Accordingly, the scope of the invention should be determined not by the embodiments illustrated, but by the appended claims and their legal equivalents.