Title:
Handgrips for gym equipment
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
Handle covers for gym equipment are provided. These covers increase the security of the grip, provide a cushion for the hands, and prevent exposure of body fluids between various users of the equipment. The device provided allows the user to reversibly encircle the handle of the gym equipment and the device is adjustable for varying handles of varying diameters. There is also a pad which can be reversibly placed within a pouch on the device to provide additional cushioning.



Inventors:
Boehm Jr., Frank Harrison (Utica, NY, US)
Melnick, Benedetta Delorenzo (Rome, NY, US)
Application Number:
11/262725
Publication Date:
05/03/2007
Filing Date:
11/01/2005
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
482/23
International Classes:
A63B26/00; A63B23/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
RICHMAN, GLENN E
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
FRANK H. BOEHM, JR., MD (2408 GENESEE STREET, UTICA, NY, 13502, US)
Claims:
We claim:

1. A method for using a device that provides a covering for gym equipment in use, consisting of: identifying the gym equipment to be used; applying the inner side of the device against the handle of the gym equipment to be used; encircling the handle of the gym equipment to be used by wrapping the device around the handle; securing the device to the gym equipment to be used; after use, removing the device from the gym equipment, and re-applying the device to another piece of gym equipment.

2. The device in claim 1, which is a generally flattened structure that is square, rectangular, or of any geometric shape consisting of: a plurality sheets of any geometric form and of any fabric acceptable for long-term exposure to the skin, these sheets being generally aligned and partly secured together; the creation of two sides or faces, representing opposite sides of the same structure, which are created by the alignment and partial securing together of the sheets; at least one pouch created by the alignment and partial securing together of the sheets of the device, this pouch being found lying between the two sides of the device; one side, or face, of the device, which is designed to be placed against the exercise equipment; the opposite side, or face, of the device, which is designed to accommodate the hands of the user; a piece of cushioning foam which can be reversibly housed within the pouch; a means of securing the device in place, allowing it to encircle the handle of the gym equipment in a reversible fashion.

3. The device in claims 1 and 2 which has one side that is fashioned to be placed against the handle or piece of gym equipment.

4. The side of the device designed to be placed against the handle, as discussed in claim 3, which is composed of a fabric that is fashioned to maximize friction and reduce slippage in handling the equipment.

5. The device in claims 1 and 2, which has one side that is fashioned to accommodate the hands of the user.

6. The side of the device in claim 5, which is composed of a soft fabric fashioned to maximize comfort in cushioning the grip.

7. The device in claims 1 and 2, in which there is found a pouch that can reversibly house a cushioning foam.

8. A means of securing the device in claims 1 and 2 to the gym equipment, such as Velcro, buttons, snaps or any other means.

Description:

FIELD OF INVENTION

The invention relates to the general field of recreational and fitness equipment and, specifically, serves as an adjunct to utilizing exercise equipment. The invention provides a person using the invention a safer and more secure grip upon exercise equipment, including free weights. Additionally, the invention prevents an individual from leaving residue of body fluid such as sweat, other fluids, and even, theoretically, blood on the exercise equipment. Therefore the invention logically reduces transfer of body fluids amongst different individuals using the gym equipment.

REFERENCE

  • U.S. Pat. No. 6,220,997 April 2001 Kohl

HISTORY AND RELATED ART

Since time immemorial, it has been appreciated that exercise can result in the amplification of the body's musculature, with reduction of fat and increase in the overall physical stamina. From the beginning of recorded time, generals have recognized that the fittest troops were the most likely to carry the day and the armies of the ancient world always boasted elite squadrons and legions, members of which were in superb physical condition. The gladiators of ancient Rome were also provided with routine workouts in facilities that would really be representative of rudimentary prototypes of modern gymnasia. Similar scenarios relating to all of the armies throughout history can be recounted.

In yet another example of man's recognition of the value of physical fitness, the ancient Greek's engaged in a prescribed series of sporting events at the base of Mount Olympus—thought to be the home of the ancient Greek gods. This of course gave rise to the concept of the modern “Olympics.”

In more modern times, the gymnasium was typically the domain of the elite athlete. At the dawn of the 20th century, when sporting events began the transformation from rivalries based on tradition, economic, and geographic boundaries to an economic-based enterprise, the study of physical fitness became an essential component of this enterprise. Concordantly, as the result of the economics of the situation, the study of exercise and physical fitness was undertaken from a truly scientific approach, giving rise to the evolution of modern gymnastic and physical fitness equipment.

This underwent an even broader transformation beginning in the 1970's. At that time, a new general awareness of physical fitness was popularized in America, as well as many other technologically advanced countries. It is currently estimated that between 30 and 50 million Americans alone participate in some form of routine, regular exercise. Many such individuals find themselves engaged in these activities in a local gymnasium and the physical fitness industry has undergone a logarithmic growth over the past quarter century. Gymnasia become immensely popular among the general public.

It is interesting to note that simultaneous to the rise of popularity of physical fitness centers has been, as a completely unrelated phenomenon, a rise in the incidence of certain viral diseases that are particularly prone towards transmission through body fluids. Hepatitis B, an uncommon disease in prior times and seen almost exclusively in hemophiliacs throughout the 20th century has become widespread since 1976 forward. Since the first description of a symptom complex secondary to the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) appeared in the early 1980's, there has been astronomic rise in the incidence of this dreaded and ultimately fatal disease. Yet another viral disease which is born in body fluids is the much rarer, but much more aggressive and uniformly fatal Ebola virus. Still, other threats such as Hantavirus are thought to be born by body fluids. While there has never been a single, clear and unambiguously proven case of transmission of these diseases via fomites such as public toilet facilities or gym equipment, the theoretic basis has been postulated and concern is consequently harbored. What these diseases have done is raised a substantial level of awareness of the potential damage that can be caused from fomites such as gym equipment, this has had an important, “trickle-down” effect. Such horrific disease such as Ebola have probably never been passed in such a way. However very real, everyday pathologies such as common bacterial infections like Staph probably can be passed in this fashion. For these reasons, it has become desirable to develop methods by which the amount of exposure to the bodily fluids of others can be limited.

Many exercise enthusiasts utilize gloves to provide a better grip of the handles of the exercise equipment, as well as to protect their hands from excessive callousing with excessive use. However, these gloves are usually of the “open” finger variety, so that the tips of the fingers are still exposed to the gym equipment. The reason for this is that wearing completely encasing gloves will lead to excessive sweating of the hands which could in turn reduce the ability of the gloves to provide a grip to the device. Therefore, most styles of gym gloves that are in use today principally provide protection to the palm and to the base of the fingers. Hence, these do not truly afford a significant level of protection against transfer of microbial organisms such as fungi, bacterial or viruses.

In the art provided by Kohl, a device for gripping the handles of gym equipment in order to prevent exposure to the body fluids of previous users is disclosed. However, this device does not have any material that increases the friction between the device and the handle of the gym equipment. Furthermore, it does not make any provisions to maximize the security of the grip; in fact, the device could create slippage while the equipment is in use. Furthermore, this device is secured by a zipper and thus maintains a constant radius when closed. Therefore, there is no opportunity for variability of the size of the handle of the equipment being used.

Therefore, a need exists for a device which would provide the hands a secure grip upon gym equipment, at the same time not encasing the hands. Furthermore, it would be desirable that this device afford complete protection from contaminating the gym equipment with ones own body secretions, as well as afford protection against unwitting exposure to the secretions of others. Such a device would be useful, novel, nonobvious and unique.

SUMMARY OF THE DEVICE

It is therefore the object of the invention to provide a device that can be reversibly secured to the handles of gym equipment, as well as provide the user of the gym equipment with a firm grip upon the handles; additionally the device will prevent the fluids such as sweat and/or other body fluids of the user from becoming exposed to the handle of the gym equipment. Finally, the device will prevent the user from being exposed to any contamination of the gym equipment that has previously occurred by other users.

In a principal aspect of this device, it is envisioned that this invention is a device that, in the preferred embodiment, is composed of a fabric such as terrycloth, cotton, polyester, nylon, silk, or any fabric which is flexible, nonabrasive, and compatible with long-term exposure to the skin. In the preferred embodiment, it is envisioned that this invention, as seen in the frontal plane, is a flattened device that is square or rectangular in shape. It is further envisioned that this device can be reversibly secured to the handle of any type of gym equipment, specifically being secured by being wrapped around or reversibly secured to the outer surface of the handle. In cross-section, in the deployed position, it can be envisioned that this invention would be in close proximity and immediately outside the perimeter of the handle, or “encircling” the handle.

In another aspect of the invention, it is envisioned as being somewhat rectangular of square in shape, although any geometric configuration can be conceived. In the preferred embodiment, it is envisioned that this invention is fairly thin as seen on end, with a broad face defined by the width and the length of the invention.

The invention is created by a plurality of sheets of similar size, and generally aligned with each other. Furthermore the invention is unique insofar that it has an “outer” face which is hereinafter defined as that face which is directly gripped by the hands of the user once the device has been reversibly secured to the handle of the gym equipment; it is this outer face that would be observed by the user and others nearby. There is also a face on the reverse side of the device which is herein after referred to the “inner” face and is defined as that face which is found lying directly against the outer surface of the handle of the gym equipment; this face is not directly contacted by the user of the gym equipment, nor would it be observed by others nearly. In furtherance of this concept, it is therefore implied that this device is applied by being wrapped around or encircling the handle of the equipment; in doing so, it can be recognized that when such an action is applied to a sheet-like structure, one of the faces will be brought in final position so that it is concealed, while the other face will be brought into a final position such that it appears to be the face observed.

In another aspect of the invention, the inner face, again being that face which comes in direct contact with the outer surface of the gym handle is, in the preferred embodiment, composed of a roughened surface or any surface which would provide maximum friction and therefore maximum gripping of the gym handle by the user.

In another aspect of the invention, it is conceived that in the preferred embodiment, there is a pouch. This pouch is created between the plurality of sheets that is lying between the two faces as described above. This pouch can house a foam, or flexible pad which is inserted to provide additional cushioning to the hands of the user. It is envisioned that this pad can be removed so that the device can be cleaned or laundered.

In yet another aspect of the invention, there is a strip of Velcro found at the end of one of the faces, with a corresponding strip of Velcro being found at the other end of the other face. The Velcro is used to secure the device once wrapped around the handle of the equipment; in the preferred embodiment, the use of Velcro in this position allows to adjust to variability in the radius of the handle of the gym equipment to which the device is being applied. Although Velcro is considered the preferred embodiment, any means of fastening the device to the handle is acceptable, including buttons, snaps or any other attachment mechanism.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF ILLUSTRATIONS

FIG. 1 demonstrates one side or “face” of the opened device

FIG. 2 demonstrates the other side or “face” of the opened device

FIG. 3 demonstrates one of a pair of devices secured to gym equipment

FIG. 4 demonstrates a pair of devices secured to gym equipment

FIG. 5 demonstrates the process by which the device is secured to gym equipment

FIG. 6 demonstrates the user placing the foam within the pouch

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF ILLUSTRATIONS

In FIG. 1, the outer face 4 of the device 1 is seen. In this illustration, the device 1 is not deployed, but rather laid completely open as seen in this elevational view. Hence, the outer face 4 is seen. Again, the outer face is the face that is designed to accommodate the hands of the user is also seen is one side of the Velcro securing mechanism 3.

In FIG. 2 is shown an elevational view of the inner face 2 which is designed to be placed directly against the handle of the gym equipment. The inner face 2 is fashioned to maximize friction and thus increase grip. The other component of the Velcro securing mechanism 3 is also seen.

In FIG. 3 the device 1 is now deployed and encircling a handle of the gym equipment. The Velcro strip (not shown) has been deployed.

In FIG. 4 both members of a pair of devices 1 have been secured to a piece of gym equipment 6.

FIG. 5 demonstrates the process by which the device 1 is secured to the gym equipment 6. As such, the inner face 2 can be seen as it is brought securable against the handle of the gym equipment 6. The user is preparing to secure the Velcro straps 3 after encircling the handle with the device.

In FIG. 6, an elevational view demonstrates the user placing the foam cushion pad 7 into the pouch 8. The foam pad may be removed so that the device can then be laundered. It is imagined that in certain instances, some users may choose to remove the foam during use of specific gym equipment.

While the invention has been shown and described with reference to certain preferred embodiments, it will be understood by those skilled in the arts that various changes and modifications in form and detail may be made therein without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention as defined herein.