Title:
REBOUNDER
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A rebounder comprising an encompassing frame supported by plural legs has a substantially rigid platform suspended on the frame. The platform has a substantially rigid base and a pad of resilient material is secured on the base. A vertical handhold frame may have a directly attached handhold or a rotating handhold, which may be attached by elastic connections.



Inventors:
Publicover, Mark W. (Saratoga, CA, US)
Application Number:
11/860447
Publication Date:
03/27/2008
Filing Date:
09/24/2007
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63B5/11
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
MATHEW, FENN C
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
KLARQUIST SPARKMAN, LLP (121 SW SALMON STREET SUITE 1600, PORTLAND, OR, 97204, US)
Claims:
1. A portable exercise system comprising: a frame; a plurality of legs supporting the frame; a substantially rigid jumping bed; and a plurality of elastic members connected between the jumping bed and the frame.

2. The portable exercise system of claim 1, wherein the jumping bed is a platform which comprises: a substantially rigid base having an upper surface; and a resilient pad on the upper surface of the base.

3. The portable exercise system of claim 2, wherein the pad comprises flexible elastomeric foam material.

4. The portable exercise system of claim 2 further comprising a cover over the pad.

5. The portable exercise system of claim 2, wherein the pad includes at least one pneumatic chamber.

6. A portable exercise system comprising: a bed support frame; a plurality of legs supporting the bed support frame; a jumping bed; a plurality of elastic members connected between the jumping bed and the bed support frame; and a handhold frame that extends upwardly from the bed support frame and that has an upper end or ends of adjustable height.

7. The portable exercise system of claim 6 further comprising a handhold supported by the upwardly extending frame.

8. A portable exercise system comprising: a bed support frame; a plurality of legs supporting the bed support frame; a jumping bed; a plurality of elastic members connected between the jumping bed and the bed support frame; a handhold frame that extends upwardly from the bed support frame; a support member supported by the handhold frame; a handhold member; and one or more bearings that are slidably mounted between the support member and the handhold member such that the handhold member can rotate about a generally vertical axis and is supported by the support member.

Description:

CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION

This claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Application No. 60/846,526, filed Sep. 22, 2006, which is incorporated herein by reference.

BACKGROUND AND SUMMARY

This invention relates trampoline-type devices for physical exercise. Such devices commonly referred to as “rebounders,” typically are circular and have a relatively small diameter of about forty inches with a surface area available for jumping of about thirty inches or less. An example of one such device is shown in U.S. Pat. No. 7,094,181.

Like larger trampolines, such devices have a bed that is made of flexible fabric attached to an encompassing frame by springs. Although the bed of such a rebounder is quite resilient, it subjects the jumper's feet to severe pronation because the bed does not descend uniformly upon impact. Instead, the periphery of the bed remains near its original elevation upon impact from a jumper's foot while the center region of the bed descends a relatively much greater distance. The effect is similar to running on a severely banked roadway where a runner's foot is subject to unnatural stresses because it never lands on flat ground.

Jumping on full-sized trampolines is far less stressful because, due to its larger diameter, the bed of a full-sized trampoline typically is never at as steep an angle and because full-sized trampolines are used differently. With rebounders, the user is typically exercising in a way that produces numerous rapid footfalls, whereas use of a full-sized trampoline typically involves fewer and less frequent impacts.

Currently available rebounder-type devices do not fully allow the user to develop their spatial awareness, balance and coordination because of their restrictiveness. It is generally known in the art that bouncing exercise is excellent for developing spatial awareness, balance and coordination, especially for the elderly individuals with mild disability. However, because of the dynamic nature of the rebounding surface, many individuals require a handhold for stability. Rebounders with fixed handholds attached to the rebounder frame are known, but do not allow the user freedom of rotation while performing rebounding exercise.

Described herein is a rebounder having an encompassing frame supported by plural legs and a substantially rigid platform suspended on the frame. A pad of resilient material is secured above the platform. Also described is a vertical frame which may have a directly attached handhold and a rotating handhold attached by elastic connections.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

In the drawings:

FIG. 1 is a partial vertical cross-sectional view of components of a rebounder having a substantially rigid platform.

FIG. 2 is a bottom plan view of a base of a platform which is a component of the rebounder of FIG. 1.

FIG. 3 is an exploded perspective view of the rebounder of FIG. 1.

FIG. 4 is a perspective view of a rebounder having a vertical frame with a rotating handhold assembly.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

FIGS. 1-3 show a rebounder having an encompassing frame 10 supported by plural legs 12. The rebounder has a jumping bed which is a platform suspended on the frame. The platform may be suspended by connection to the frame by elastic members such as spring elements 22. Springs may be attached in any conventional manner. Most conveniently, multiple attachment points, such holes defined by walls of the frame and platform are provided. The ends of the springs may be hooked into such holes. Unlike the fabric of a conventional trampoline bed, which is quite flexible and must be stretched to hold its shape, the platform is sufficiently rigid to support its own weight even when not attached to a frame. For example, if such a self-supporting bed were lifted from a single point at its center, it could flex downward significantly at its perimeter but it would not collapse like a piece of fabric. It also could be made from a material that would not deflect when lifted from a point at its center. The upper surface of the platform should be of sufficient size to extend across the entire area for jumping to support the user across the entire horizontal area where footfalls are intended to occur.

The platform may comprise several parts, including a base 20 that is substantially rigid and has a surface of minimal flexibility. The base should be of sufficient strength to support a user and, upon impact by a user's footfall, should not deflect or should deflect and bend less than the bend of conventional stretched trampoline fabric of comparable surface area and shape.

One embodiment of the base 20 is illustrated in FIG. 2 where surface features of the underside are visible. In this embodiment, ribs protrude downwardly from the underside of the base, increasing the stiffness and strength of that component. Such a construction is appropriate if the base is formed from a material with some inherent flexibility, such as a thermoplastic resin.

To avoid injury, a pad 24 of resilient material is positioned above the base 20 to absorb impact from a user's footfalls. The pad may be made of any sufficiently resilient and durable material, such as rubber foam, flexible polyurethane foam, or other flexible polymeric foams, such as a microcellular elastomeric foam of the type disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 5,343,639, thermoplastic elastomer (TPE) foam such as flexible thermoplastic urethane foam, and the like. The pad may consist of a single layer or multiple layers of foam material, with or without a backing or surface skin. Different regions of the pad may have different densities and/or compositions as appropriate for a particular application. The pad may incorporate one or more pneumatic chambers or air pockets to add to the cushioning effect, or may include one or more chambers containing a gel material. The pad is best of substantially the same diameter as the base 20. The top surface of the base 20 conveniently is substantially planar and continuous. But in some embodiments the top surface of the base 20 may be textured, somewhat curved, or define openings to enhance support or inhibit the pad from shifting. The springs 22 and the pad 24 act together to absorb impact shock.

A cover 30 is provided over the illustrated pad 24 to hold the pad in place. The illustrated cover is sheet of flexible fabric shaped to fit over the pad 24 and at least a portion of the base 20. Snap sockets 28 at spaced locations along the periphery of the cover 30 mate with snap studs 26 on the base 20. With this arrangement, the cover can easily be removed for cleaning and for periodic replacement of the pad 24 if necessary. Pads 24 of different density and/or resiliency easily can be exchanged, by removing the cover 30, to tune the system for users of different weight.

The cover 30 can be omitted in some instances and the pad 24 secured in another manner. In particular, the pad 24 could be adhesively bonded to the upper surface of the base 20, secured by Velcro® hook and loop fastening material or through a variety of other types of mechanical fasteners, or could be secured to the base only along its perimeter as opposed to being entirely covered by a fabric cover or secured at its underside.

The base 20 and pad 24, with or without a cover 30, conveniently can be provided as a kit to retrofit existing rebounder frames from which the mat is removed.

Retrofitting of existing rebounders is also possible without removing the mat, which is more convenient if a user wants to switch back and forth between a standard rebounder surface and a harder deck surface. In such an arrangement (not shown), a substantially rigid base is secured on top of an existing rebounder mat such that the base rests on the mat and is directly or indirectly supported by the existing rebounder springs. A pad is located above the base and may be secured by any appropriate mechanism, for example by a flexible fabric cover of the type shown in the drawings. When a user jumps on the retrofitted rebounder, the mat, base, and pad all move up and down together with the extension and contraction of the springs, while the user's contact surface is always substantially horizontal. The added platform may be secured by straps that extend across the bottom of the mat, by fasteners at the perimeter of the platform that connect to the springs, by an encompassing drawstring or cinch mechanism that extends around the perimeter of the bottom of the mat and can be tightened like a belt, by adding a second layer of fabric or mat material on top of the platform and secured to the springs in a fashion similar to that of the lower mat, or by other forms of attachment.

Alternatively, a substantially rigid base can be secured below the existing mat of a standard rebounder. Here again the platform is directly or indirectly supported by the existing rebounder springs. A pad is located above the base, either above or below the mat. The elements are arranged such that when a user jumps on such a retrofitted rebounder, the mat, base, and pad all move up and down together with the extension and contraction of the springs, while the user's contact surface is always substantially horizontal. The platform may be secured by flat straps that extend across the top of the mat and below the pad, by fasteners at the perimeter of the platform that connect to the springs, or by other forms of attachment that position the platform to inhibit deformation of the mat.

It should be understood that a rebounder need not be circular, but could be oval, rectangular, or some other shape. In such cases the base and pad can be shaped appropriately to conform to the shape of the rebounder frame.

FIG. 4 shows a rectangular shaped rebounder with substantially rigid jumping bed or platform and a handhold frame 32 extending upwardly. In the illustrated embodiment, the frame 32 is composed of multiple telescoping elements, so that its height may be adjusted to the needs and height of the user. An upper portion of frame 32 may be used as a handhold itself, as a direct mount for a handhold structure, or as an attachment point for an elastically suspended handhold structure as shown in FIG. 3. In the illustration, springs or other elastic members 34 are attached to the frame 32 at a minimum of three locations. These elastic members 34 are then attached to a handhold structure. As also shown in FIG. 3, this handhold structure may consist of a support member 36, which in the illustrated embodiment is circular, to which one or more bearings 38 are slidably connected. A handhold member 40 is directly attached to the bearing 38 so that as the bearing moves, the handhold rotates freely about a generally vertical axis aligned with the center of the rebounding surface 30. This arrangement provides adequate stability for a wide range of users and allows a user to grasp handhold member 40 as firmly as desired and still have freedom to rotate while simultaneously rebounding. The illustrated handhold arrangement can be used with a rebounder that does not have a substantially rigid platform, only without the benefits provided by such a platform.

It should be appreciated that numerous variations are possible and the invention is not limited to the specific arrangements shown in the drawings.