Title:
Total Body Exercise Device
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An exercise device having a bar adapted for being grasped intermediate opposed ends thereof, where a portion intermediate the opposed ends defines a longitudinal axis. An elastic member attached to the opposed ends exerts a force thereto during an exercise use of the bar, which force causes the bar to flex by an amount in the range of 2 degrees to 16 degrees. In accordance with another embodiment of the invention, during non-use of the bar, the longitudinal axis of the end segments subtends the longitudinal axes of the intermediate portion by an acute angle of about 2 degrees to 8 degrees.



Inventors:
Ayoub, Victor R. (Fort Lee, NJ, US)
Application Number:
11/577193
Publication Date:
04/24/2008
Filing Date:
10/12/2005
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
482/121
International Classes:
A63B21/06; A63B21/02
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
ROLAND, DANIEL F
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
LAWRENCE EDELMAN, ESQ (3 BUFFALO RUN, EAST BRUNSWICK, NJ, 08816, US)
Claims:
1. An exercise bar comprising five symmetrically disposed and substantially equal length segments; a center segment; angled intermediate segments positioned at opposed ends of the center segment, which angled intermediate segments have a longitudinal axis that deviate from the longitudinal axis of the center segment by an acute angle within a range of about 26 to 46 degrees; end segments positioned at opposed ends of the angled intermediate segments, which end segments have a longitudinal axis that are approximately parallel with the longitudinal axis of the center segment; an elastic member adapted to be secured to the one or both of the end segments; at least two weight members, at least one of each weight member being adapted to be selective positioned at a respective one of the end segments; and a retaining member for selectively retaining the weight member on the end segments.

2. The exercise bar of claim 1, where the retaining member comprises a spring clip forming a circular clamp, and adapted to be selectively secured about a distal end of the end segments, so as to retain a weight member on the end segment of said bar.

3. The exercise bar of claim 1, where the end segments have a longitudinal axis that subtends the longitudinal axis of the center segment at an acute angle within a range of about 0 degrees to plus or minus 8 degrees.

4. The exercise bar of claim 3, where the end segments have a longitudinal axis that subtends the longitudinal axis of the center segment at an acute angle within a range of about minus 2 degrees to minus 4 degrees.

5. The exercise bar of claim 1, wherein a longitudinal axis of the angled segments deviates from the longitudinal axis of the center segment by an acute angle in a range of about 32 degrees to 40 degrees.

6. The exercise bar of claim 5, wherein a longitudinal axis of the angled segments deviate from the longitudinal axis of the center segment by an acute angle of about 36 degrees.

7. The exercise bar of claim 1, wherein each the five segments are between 5 and 12 inches long.

8. The exercise bar of claim 7, wherein each the five segments is about 8 inches long.

9. The exercise bar of claim 1, further including flexible length coupling rings connected to the end segments for securing the elastic members to the end segments.

10. The exercise bar of claim 9, wherein the coupling rings are formed of a resilient material and have a thickness so as to flex in response to force exerted thereon by the elastic members.

11. The exercise bar of claim 1, wherein the segments are formed of a given material adapted to flex as a result of force applied to the end segments during normal use of the exercise bar by a user, said flex being in the range of about 2 degrees to about 16 degrees.

12. The exercise bar of claim 11, wherein the segments comprise a flexible hollow aluminum tube member, having about a one-inch outer diameter and a wall thickness of about 0.125 inches.

13. The exercise bar of claim 11, wherein the segments comprise a flexible hollow steel tube member, having about a one-inch outer diameter and a wall thickness of about 0.065 inches.

14. The exercise bar of claim 11, wherein the given material comprises a plastic or other semi-flexible material.

15. An exercise bar comprising five symmetrically disposed and substantially equal length segments; a center segment; angled intermediate segments positioned at opposed ends of the center segment, which angled intermediate segments have a longitudinal axis that deviate from the longitudinal axis of the center segment by an acute angle within a range of about 26 to 46 degrees; end segments positioned at opposed ends of the angled intermediate segments, which end segments have a longitudinal axis that intersects the longitudinal axis of the center segment at an acute angle between the range of 0 and about 8 degrees; and an elastic member adapted to be secured to the end segments so as to provide a force thereto during use of the exercise bar, said force causing the end segments of said bar to flex during normal use of the exercise bar by a user, said flex being in the range of about 2 degrees to about 16 degrees.

16. The exercise bar of claim 15, where the end segments have a longitudinal axis that intersect the longitudinal axis of the center segment at an acute angle within a range of about 2 degrees to 4 degrees, said acute angle being opposite in direction to the angular direction of the flex of said end segments when in use.

17. The exercise bar of claim 15, wherein each the five segments are between 5 and 12 inches long.

18. The exercise bar of claim 17, wherein each the five segments is about 8 inches long.

19. The exercise bar of claim 1, wherein a longitudinal axis of the angled segments deviates from the longitudinal axis of the center segment by an acute angle in a range of about 26 degrees to 36 degrees.

20. The exercise bar of claim 1, further including at least two weight members, at least one of each weight member being adapted to be selective positioned at a respective one of the end segments; and a retaining member for selectively retaining the weight member on the end segments.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application claims priority under 35 USC 120 of prior U.S. Provisional Patent Application U.S. Ser. No. 60/617,832, filed Oct. 12, 2004. The entire disclosure of this patent application is incorporated herein by reference in its entirety.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention relates generally to exercise devices, and more particularly to a portable and versatile total body exercise device that is useful for an extremely wide range of workouts, for example, for power pump, cardio, aerobic, marshal arts, youth, senior, rehabilitation, etc.

2. Description of the Prior Art

Devices to aid in the exercise of various muscle groups have been manufactured for many years. Portable exercise devices have become more popular over the years because they are generally less expensive to purchase and can be readily transported by their owner so that a regular program of physical fitness can be more easily be maintained. One type of portable exercise device comprises a bar with an elastic cord which simulates weight lifting, such as described in U.S. Pat. No. 1,019,861. More recent attempts employing a bar and/or an elastic cord member, either separately or together, to facilitate various exercises are described in U.S. Pat. Nos. 4,059,265; 4,618,142; 4,733,862; 5,480,369; 5,549,532; and 5,746,687.

Among the drawbacks with existing portable bar type exercise devices is that generally they are not shaped so as to allow a maximum range of motion when used adjacent various body parts, such as around or near the neck, head and/or shoulders, as well as up close to the chest, especially for woman. Furthermore, the stiffness of such bars can, over time, contribute to injury of the joints of the wrist, elbow and shoulders. Accordingly, improvements in such devices are still desirable.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

In a first embodiment of the present invention, the exercise device includes an ergonomically shaped support bar adapted to be supported by a part of the body of a user, such as one or both of the hands or feet, or the neck and clavicle or even the chest of the user, during an exercise workout. The support bar can be used in conjunction with one or more elastic members attached near opposed ends of the support bar, alone, or in conjunction with one or more weight members, which can also be attached near the opposed ends of the support bar. When the user performs repetitive movements with the bar, a workout is provided due to the dynamic resistance to the movement generated by the elastic members and a static resistance to the movement generated by the weight members.

The support bar is particularly unique as compared with prior bars in at least several respects, most notable being its shape, its ability to flex, its use of attachable dynamic and static resistive members, as well as the use of members near the ends of the bar for attaching the dynamic resistive members. The unique support bar allows the user to perform existing exercise movements in a safer manner, and with a greater range of motion. New exercise movements are also disclosed. With the new versatile total body exercise device of the invention, it is now possible for a user to quickly and efficiently perform a vast array of isometric, isotonic and isokinetic exercise movements.

In summary, the exercise device of the invention includes one or more of the following features, alone or in combination with other ones of these features:

    • A support bar being formed of five substantially equal length segments,
    • The support bar being formed of a material and having dimensions and a shape which aid its flexibility,
    • The support bar having a shape which conforms to the human body,
    • The support bar being adaptable for having one or more elastic members attached thereto near opposed ends thereof for providing a dynamic resistance feature to the bar,
    • Attachment of the elastic members being made with flexible length couplings,
    • The support bar being adaptable for having one or more static weights attached near opposed ends thereof for providing a static resistance feature to the bar, and
    • Spring clips which provide a dual use, a) for retaining the static weights on the opposed ends of the support bar and b) for use independently of the support bar as a hand/grip exercise device.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The accompanying drawings, which are incorporated herein and constitute part of this specification, illustrate embodiments and details of the invention, and, together with the general description given above and the detailed description given below, serve to explain the features of the invention.

FIG. 1 illustrates an exercise bar in accordance with one embodiment of the invention;

FIG. 2 illustrates a detail view of one aspect of a portion of the exercise bar of FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 illustrates a detail view of another aspect of a portion of the exercise bar of FIG. 1;

FIG. 4 illustrates a detail view of a spring clip adapted for use with the exercise bar of FIG. 1 in accordance with a further aspect of the invention;

FIGS. 5a and 5b illustrate two different ways the elastic member of FIG. 3 can be used in accordance with further embodiments of the invention of the exercise bar of FIG. 1;

FIGS. 6-14 illustrate various exercise routines using the exercise bar constructed in accordance with the principles of the invention;

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

In accordance with one aspect of the invention, the exercise device is a unit comprised of at least one shaped support bar, such as shown in FIG. 1. In a preferred embodiment of the support bar 10, it has a configured shape that is more anatomically comfortable and conforming to the users body than prior art support bars. More specifically, the support bar 10 has a contour that more closely matches the shape of a typical user (i.e., the neck and clavicle or the chest of the user), thereby allowing a greater range of movement of the support bar with relation to the body of the user during the performance of exercise routines. This results in a “glove-like fit” to the users body enhances a workout of what is known as the “core” muscle group, as well as enabling the performance of various exercise movements in a safer and more efficient manner as compared to the use of a support bar that is not as anatomically conforming.

As such, in one embodiment of the invention, such as shown by the Figures, support bar 10 comprises five symmetrically disposed equal or nearly equal (that is, within + or −20% of equal) length segments. A center segment 12 has at its opposed ends angled intermediate segments 14 which have a longitudinal axis that deviates from the longitudinal axis of the center section 12 by an acute angle within a range of about 26 to 46 degrees, and in a preferred embodiment by an acute angle in a narrower range of about 32 to 40 degrees, or more specifically of about 36 degrees.

The angled intermediate segments 14 have at their opposed ends, end segments 16. In a preferred embodiment of the invention as shown in the Figures, support bar 10 is encased with a soft foam material which serves as a cushion for the user, while the end segments 16 are bare of foam, as shown, so that additional weights can be added to ends 16 of the bar 10, as will be described later.

The longitudinal axis of end segments 16 may be approximately parallel with the longitudinal axis of the center segment 12, but in accordance with another aspect of the invention, the end segments 16 have a longitudinal axis that subtends the longitudinal axis of the center segment 12 at an acute angle within a range of about 0 to minus 8 degrees, and in a preferred embodiment at an acute angle of about minus 2 to minus 4 degrees. FIG. 2 shows an exaggerated view of the acute angle of about minus 2 to minus 4 degrees between the axis's of segments 12 and segments 16, and in dashed lines illustrates one embodiment of a range of flex motion of end segment 16 of about 2 to 16 degrees during use of the exercise device, such flex being in accordance with a further aspect of the invention.

It is to be noted that although in the illustrated embodiment the range of flex is shown to be in the minus direction, in an alternative embodiment, the orientation of the bar 10 could be inverted, so that even though one could still say the range of flex is minus, it would actually be in an opposite direction with respect to the shape of bar 10 from what is shown in FIG. 2. Such an “opposite” flexible angle could also be advantageous, depending on the specific use of bar 10.

In one embodiment of the invention, each of the segments 12, 14, and 16 are between 5 and 12 inches long, and in the illustrated embodiment the segments are each about 8 inches long. As noted above, this combination of lengths and angles forms a shape that more closely matches the shape of a typical user, thereby allowing a greater range of movement of the support bar during performance of the exercise movements, as well as performance of the exercise movements in a safer manner. For example, the offset center segment 12 will align with the chest of a female user, thereby allowing a greater range of motion during, for example, a bicep curl. Additionally, in the event that the bar is lifted overhead to support the bar on the back of the neck of the user, the offset segment 12 allows the user to rotate the bar when it is as low as near the shoulders of the user, so as to cause the segment 12 to become positioned behind the head of the user (see FIG. 6). This reduces the required height that the user must raise the bar to get it over his/her head, and allows the users hands to be positioned even with or slightly forward of the body, instead of parallel with the plane of the back of the users body. This positioning helps reduce the possibility of impingement injury.

This arrangement also provides a particularly well-balanced piece of exercise equipment, where the support bar 10 can be grasped at its center segment 12 with one hand just as well as it can with two hands. A padding material can also be provided around the circumference of bar 10 so as to provide some cushioning for the users, such padding material being shown in FIGS. 5a and 5b

As noted above, the end segments 16 allow for the attachment of one or both of dynamic and static resistances. In one embodiment, elastic band/cord members 17, shown in FIG. 3, provide the dynamic resistance, one such elastic member being conventionally formed using a material the same as or similar to surgical tubing. The members 17 typically have a range of stretch in their length from about one-half the length of support bar 10 to two or three times the length of support bar 10.

Standard free weights 21 having a hole can be slid onto the opposed ends 22 of bar 10, for provide the static resistance to the exercise routines performed using bar 10.

FIG. 3 illustrates a further aspect of the invention where, for example, a hole 18 is formed in segments 18 so as to leave an area 22 (of about 2 inches in length) at the outer ends of the support bar 10, and an area 24 that is adjacent angled segments 14 that is sufficient to be grasped by the hand of the user. Hole 18 can serve as a convenient way to attach the elastic members thereto, using, for example an “O” ring 20 that is coupled near the ends of bar 10. In one embodiment, ring 20 may be similar in construction and operation to the type of ring conventionally used to hold a plurality of keys, and comprise, for example, two closely-spaced turns of spring steel, the turns having a diameter of 1 to 4 inches, and preferably, about 2 to 3 inches. By separating the end of one turn from its adjacent turn, the open end can be threaded into hole 18 and rotated until ring 20 is centered and freely rotates in the hole 18. Once so installed, clips 19 at the opposed ends of elastic member 17 shown in FIG. 3 can be easily attached to the opposed ends of bar 10 using the rings 20. Other suitable alternative choices can be made for the material to be used to form rings 20.

In accordance with a further aspect of the present invention, the rings 20 are formed of a resilient material and have a thickness so as to flex, and thereby temporarily change their length, in response to the increased force exerted thereon by the elastic members 17. Such a temporary change in length is particularly advantageous in that it allows for a “smooth” or more gradual increase in the resistance to which the user is subjected to by the use of the elastic members. Such elastic members typically provide a rapid increase in forces that are applied to the user as the limits of the range of motion are approached. This gradual but temporary elongation of the rings 20 helps lessen the forces provided to the user at these extremes of the range of motion, thereby making the exercise apparatus more joint and connective tissue friendly, as well as more forgiving in the case of improper performance of a specific exercise.

Rings 20 allow a wide range of commercially available members 17 to be affixed thereto. However, although rings 20 are shown, other ways for attaching the opposed ends of members 17 to bar 10 are possible, such as by attaching clips 19 directly to the holes 18.

In accordance with a further aspect of the present invention, in order to provide benefits which are similar to the benefits provided by the elongation/flexibility of the rings 20, but possibly with an even greater range of “stretch or elongation” support bar 10 is formed so as to also provide some “give” or flex” in response to the increases in force applied to its opposed ends 22 by elastic members 17. Such flex qualities of bar 10 are achieved by, for example, a combination of one or more of the configured shape and the choice of materials and thickness for the bar 10.

In one embodiment bar 10 is formed of hollow aluminum tubing having a one-inch outer diameter, and a thickness of about 0.125 inches. If thinner, it may bend past its elasticity can permit, and result in a permanent deformation of its shape. If bar 10 is formed from a hollow steel tube member, the wall thickness should be approximately 0.065 inches. In an alternative embodiment, bar 10 could be formed using a plastic or other semi-flexible material. The amount of flex may vary depending on where the user grasps the bar 10, with a maximum flex at the end of segments 16 occurring when the user grasps the bar at the center segment 12.

It is noted that the acute angle the longitudinal axis of segment 16 makes with the longitudinal axis of segment 12 (i.e., within a range of about 0 to plus or minus 8 degrees when the bar is un-flexed), is also intended to increase the flexibility and/or amount of flex, of bar 10 during its normal use as an exercise device.

In accordance with a further aspect of the present invention, standard free weights 21 can be easily coupled to support bar 10, so as to augment the resistance provided by the elastic members 17, by slipping the weights 21 over the ends 22 of the bar. The bar 10 can have a one-inch outer diameter, and weights 21 have a hole in the center thereof designed to accommodate a one-inch bar. The rings 20 will keep the weights 21 from impinging on the area 24 reserved for the grip of a user, and standard “spring-coil” clamps 26 shown in FIG. 4, well known to those in the field of exercise equipment, can be used to secure the outer ends of segments 16, thereby locking weights 21 on segments 16. For added safety, the outermost portion of ends 22 could be provided with an addition hole therethrough, in which a linchpin 27 could be selectively inserted therein, to even further secure the static weights 21 on the bar 10.

Although only one elastic member 17 and weight 21 are shown in the above Figures, multiple dynamic flexible members 17 and static weights 21 can be used, as well as various combinations thereof. For example, two or more members 17 can be attached in parallel between the opposed ends of bar 10. Additionally, one end of a single member 17 could be attached to the ring 20 at one end of bar 12, and the other end of member 17 can be looped through the ring 20 at the other end of bar 12, and then brought back to the first ring 20 where it is attached using the clip 19, such as shown by FIG. 5b, while FIG. 5a shows the use of a single elastic member 17 that is not doubled back on itself. Note that a plurality of various types of elastic members 17 are conventionally available so as to provide a given resistance at a given amount of stretch, such as 10 lbs, 20 lbs, 30 lbs, or even 60 lbs or more at 100% stretch. One or more of such members can be provided for use with each support bar 10.

FIGS. 7 and 8 show a user performing squat movements with the invention. Note how the shape of the bar 10 conforms to the neck and clavicle region of the user, and allows the hands to remain in a safe and correct position. Note also that the user can control/adjust to a great extent the amount of resistance provided by the elastic member, by, e.g., where/how he steps on the elastic member

FIG. 9 shows how instead of the feet of the user holding the elastic member in place, the elastic member can be secured/anchored to an object, such as by looping it around a pole, or some other fixed object. Note also in FIG. 9 how the shape of the support bar conforms to the chest of the user.

FIGS. 10 to FIG. 13 are self-explanatory, and show various other one and two hand movements that are particularly effective when using the inventive exercise device, as compared with the prior art devices. For example, in the movements shown in these figures, the flex characteristics of the bar 10 are significant, and offer real comfort and safety to the user, especially at the extremes of the ranges of motion shown.

FIG. 14 illustrates the use of a different body part for grasping bar 10, specifically the feet.

While this invention has been particularly shown and described with references to preferred embodiments thereof, it will be understood by those skilled in the art that various changes in form and details may be made therein without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention. In fact, many such changes are already noted in this description, but it should be realized that the above-noted changes were not exhaustive, and merely exemplary. Those skilled in the art will recognize, or be able to ascertain using no more than routine experimentation, many equivalents to the specific embodiments of the invention described herein. For example, a support bar having 5 segments, where the center segment has a length of about 8 inches, the angles segments have a length of about 7 inches, and end segments have a length of about 12 inches, is still considered to constructed in accordance with the principles of the invention. All such changes and modifications are considered to be within the spirit and scope of the invention.