Title:
Ab spinner abdominal exerciser
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An exercise device having a seat, a spine, a hoop, a connector, and preferably at least one flexible rod. The spine extends upward from the rear edge of the seat, and the hoop is connected to the spine by way of a connector at a circumferential portion of the hoop. The connector permits the hoop to rotate or pivot relative to the spine. At least one flexible rod extends outward from the hoop proximate the connector and is attached to a tensioning mechanism via a resistance cable at a second end of the flexible rod. The tensioning mechanism provides a tensile force in the resistance cable, permitting the flexible rod to provide a force to oppose the pivoting of the hoop. By sitting on the seat, enclosed by the hoop, and grasping the hoop with both hands, a person may perform a number of exercises, including an oblique twist, an abdominal crunch, a radial abdominal crunch, and an infinity abdominal crunch.



Inventors:
Bradley, Christopher M. (Orinda, CA, US)
Application Number:
11/821434
Publication Date:
04/24/2008
Filing Date:
06/20/2007
Assignee:
Guthy-Renker Corporation
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63B21/04
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
BAKER, LORI LYNN
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Daniel M. Cislo (Cislo & Thomas LLP 12100 Wilshire Blvd. Suite 1700, Los Angeles, CA, 90025, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. An exercise device for exercising the abdominal muscles of a human user, the exercise device comprising: (a) a seat, the seat having a front edge and a rear edge, and the seat having legs to support the seat above a support surface; (b) a spine, the spine extending upward from the rear edge of the seat, the length of the spine being adjustable by telescoping a first portion of the spine within a second portion of the spine; (c) a hoop, the hoop being connected to the spine and being generally parallel to the support surface, the hoop having a diameter of about twenty-eight inches and having a generally circular cross-section; (d) a connector between the hoop and the spine, the connector comprising a dual-axis joint, the dual-axis joint permitting the hoop to pivot about a first axis through the connector that is tangential to the hoop and a second axis through the connector, the second axis being orthogonal to the first axis and being generally vertical; (e) a pair of flexible rods, each flexible rod extending outward from the hoop proximate the connector at a first end of the flexible rod, each flexible rod being attached to a tensioning mechanism via a resistance cable at a second end of the flexible rod, the tensioning mechanism providing a tensile force in each resistance cable, each flexible rod providing a force to oppose the pivoting of the hoop, the force being adjustable between a low level of resistance and a high level of resistance, the adjustment being by way of a resistance selector to increase and decrease the force opposing the pivoting; (f) a slider mechanism on the hoop, the slider mechanism comprising a first portion and a second portion, the first portion and the second portion being shaped and dimensioned to slide around at least a portion of the hoop, each of the first portion and the second portion being able to slide around the hoop independently of the other portion and also being able to slide around together as a single unit; (g) a first resistive band having a first end and a second end, the first end being connected to the first portion of the slider mechanism, and the second end being connected to the spine, the first resistive band residing within the hoop and providing resistance to sliding of the first portion around the hoop; and (h) a second resistive band having a first end and a second end, the first end being connected to the second portion of the slider mechanism, and the second end being connected to the spine, the second resistive band residing within the hoop and providing resistance to sliding of the second portion around the hoop.

2. An exercise device comprising: (a) a seat, the seat having a front edge and a rear edge; (b) a spine, the spine extending upward from the rear edge of the seat; (c) a hoop, the hoop being connected to the spine and being generally parallel to the support surface; and (d) a connector between the hoop and the spine at a circumferential portion of the hoop, the connector permitting the hoop to pivot relative to the spine.

3. The exercise device of claim 2 further comprising at least one flexible rod, the flexible rod extending outward from the hoop at a first end of the flexible rod, the flexible rod being attached to a tensioning mechanism via a resistance cable at a second end of the flexible rod, the tensioning mechanism providing a tensile force in the resistance cable, and the flexible rod providing a force to oppose the pivoting of the hoop.

4. The exercise device of claim 2, the length of the spine being adjustable.

5. The exercise device of claim 2, the hoop having a diameter of between about twenty-four inches and thirty-four inches.

6. The exercise device of claim 2, the hoop having a diameter of about twenty-eight inches.

7. The exercise device of claim 2, the hoop having a generally circular cross-section.

8. The exercise device of claim 2, the connector comprising a dual-axis joint permitting the hoop to pivot about a first axis, the first axis being through the connector and generally tangential to the hoop, and a second axis through the connector, the second axis being generally orthogonal to the first axis.

9. The exercise device of claim 3, the at least one flexible rod being a pair of flexible rods, each being attached to the tensioning mechanism via a resistance cable.

10. The exercise device of claim 3, the force produced by the flexible rod being adjustable between a low level of resistance and a high level of resistance.

11. The exercise device of claim 10, the adjustment being by way of a resistance selector to increase and decrease the force opposing the pivoting.

12. The exercise device of claim 2, the exercise device further comprising a slider mechanism on the hoop, the slider mechanism being shaped and dimensioned to slide around at least a portion of the hoop.

13. The exercise device of claim 12, the exercise device further comprising a resistive band having a first end and a second end, the first end being connected to the slider mechanism, and the second end being connected to the spine, the resistive band providing resistance to sliding of the slider mechanism around the hoop.

14. The exercise device of claim 12, the slider mechanism further comprising a first portion and a second portion, each of the first portion and the second portion being able to slide around the hoop independently of the other portion and also being able to slide around together as a single unit.

15. The exercise device of claim 14, the exercise device further comprising a first resistive band having a first end and a second end, the first end being connected to the first portion of the slider mechanism, and the second end being connected to the spine, the first resistive band providing resistance to sliding of the first portion around the hoop.

16. The exercise device of claim 15, the first resistive band residing within the hoop.

17. The exercise device of claim 15, the exercise device further comprising a second resistive band having a first end and a second end, the first end being connected to the second portion of the slider mechanism, and the second end being connected to the spine, the second resistive band residing within the hoop and providing resistance to sliding of the second portion around the hoop.

18. The exercise device of claim 17, the second resistive band residing within the hoop.

19. A method of exercising the core muscles of a person, the method comprising the steps of: (a) providing an exercise device resting on a generally horizontal surface, the exercise device having a seat, the seat having a front edge and a rear edge; a spine, the spine extending upward from the rear edge of the seat; a hoop, the hoop being connected to the spine and being generally parallel to the support surface; a connector between the hoop and the spine at a circumferential portion of the hoop, the connector permitting the hoop to pivot relative to the spine; and at least one flexible rod, the flexible rod extending outward from the hoop at a first end of the flexible rod, the flexible rod being attached to a tensioning mechanism via a resistance cable at a second end of the flexible rod, the tensioning mechanism providing a tensile force in the resistance cable, and the flexible rod providing a force to oppose the pivoting of the hoop. (b) the person sitting on the-seat, the hoop encircling the upper body of the person; and (c) the person grasping the hoop with both of the person's hands.

20. The method of claim 19, the step of grasping the hoop further comprising the steps of grasping the hoop with the person's left hand on a first portion of the hoop and grasping the hoop with the person's right hand on the second portion of the hoop, the first portion and the second portion each being able to slide around the hoop independently of the other portion and also being able to slide around together as a single unit.

21. The method of claim 19, further comprising the step of performing an oblique twist by the person laterally twisting their upper body about their waist while maintaining their grasp on the hoop.

22. The method of claim 19, further comprising the step of performing an abdominal crunch by the person bending forward about the person's waist while pivoting the hoop about a generally horizontal axis through the connector.

23. The method of claim 19, further comprising the step of performing a radial abdominal crunch to the person's right by: (a) pivoting the hoop about the connector such that the hoop is oblique to the horizontal and a portion of the hoop to the person's left is higher than a portion of the hoop to the person's right; and (b) the person twisting down and to the right about the person's waist while maintaining the grasp on the hoop, the person's hands passing from the person's upper left side to the person's lower right side.

24. The method of claim 19, further comprising the step of performing a radial abdominal crunch to the person's left by: (a) pivoting the hoop about the connector such that the hoop is oblique to the horizontal and a portion of the hoop to the person's right is higher than a portion of the hoop to the person's left; and (b) the person twisting down and to the left about the person's waist while maintaining the grasp on the hoop, the person's hands passing from the person's upper right side to the person's lower left side.

25. The method of claim 19, further comprising the step of performing an infinity abdominal crunch by: (a) pivoting the hoop about the connector such that the hoop is oblique to the horizontal and a portion of the hoop to the person's left is higher than a portion of the hoop to the person's right; (b) the person twisting down and to the right about the person's waist while maintaining the grasp on the hoop, the person's hands passing from the person's upper left side to the person's lower right side; (c) the person unbending from the person's waist while pivoting the hoop about a horizontal axis through the connector such that the person is in a generally upright position; (d) pivoting the hoop about the connector such that the hoop is oblique to the horizontal and a portion of the hoop to the person's right is higher than a portion of the hoop to the person's left; (e) the person twisting down and to the left about the person's waist while maintaining the grasp on the hoop, the person's hands passing from the person's upper right side to the person's lower left side; and (f) the person unbending from the person's waist while pivoting the 0 hoop about a horizontal axis through the connector such that the person is in a generally upright position. whereby the person's hands trace a generally sideways figure-eight pattern.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCES TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This patent application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Patent Application Ser. No. 60/814,996 filed Jun. 20, 2006 for Ab Spinner Abdominal Exerciser, which application is incorporated here by this reference.

TECHNICAL FIELD

This invention relates to devices for aiding exercise of the abdominal muscles of a user.

BACKGROUND ART

In today's fitness conscious society, people are often interested in exercising their abdominal muscles. Currently, there are many ways this can be performed, some requiring equipment and some requiring the resistance of the exerciser's own body. Popular abdominal exercises include the sit-up, the crunch, reverse crunch, stability ball pull-ins, and the bicycle abdominal exercise. However, such exercises are often difficult to do with proper form. Additionally, these exercises are generally performed on the floor or by using complex gym equipment. As such the exercises can be uncomfortable or inconvenient for some persons. Furthermore, many existing devices for the abdominal muscles focus on a single primary exercise, such as the crunch.

Therefore, there exists a need for an exercise device upon which a person can perform multiple abdominal exercises and to further ensure the exercises are done with the proper form. There exists a further need for an exercise device to allow the user to perform abdominal exercises off of the floor, in a comfortable position, and without the need for complex gym equipment.

DISCLOSURE OF INVENTION

The invention is directed to an exercise device having a seat, a spine, a hoop, a connector, and preferably at least one flexible rod. The spine extends upward from the rear edge of the seat, and the length of the spine may be adjustable. The hoop is connected to the spine by way of a connector, such as a dual-axis joint, at a circumferential portion of the hoop. The connector permits the hoop to rotate or pivot relative to the spine. The flexible rod extends outward from the hoop proximate the connector and is attached to a tensioning mechanism via a resistance cable at a second end of the flexible rod. The tensioning mechanism provides a tensile force in the resistance cable, permitting the flexible rod to provide a force to oppose the pivoting of the hoop.

By sitting on the seat, enclosed by the hoop, and grasping the hoop with both hands, a person may perform a number of exercises, including an oblique twist, an abdominal crunch, a radial abdominal crunch, and an infinity abdominal crunch. The exercise device helps to ensure proper form and may provide resistance to the person's motions in order to provide a more strenuous exercise of the person's abdominal muscles.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a front perspective view of an embodiment of an exercise device of the invention.

FIG. 2 is a rear perspective view of an embodiment of an exercise device of the invention.

FIG. 3 is a side plan view of an embodiment of an exercise device of the invention.

FIG. 4 is a front plan view of an embodiment of an exercise device of the invention.

FIG. 5 is a rear plan view of an embodiment of an exercise device of the invention.

FIG. 6 is a top plan view of an embodiment of an exercise device of the invention.

FIG. 7 is a view of an embodiment of an ab spinner in a folded position.

FIG. 8 is a front perspective view of an embodiment of an exercise device of the invention.

FIG. 9 is a side plan view of a user utilizing an embodiment of an exercise device of the invention.

FIG. 10 is a side plan view of a user utilizing an embodiment of an exercise device of the invention.

FIGS. 11A-11C are front plan views of a user utilizing an embodiment of an exercise device of the invention.

FIGS. 12A-B are top plan views of a user utilizing an embodiment of an exercise device of the invention.

FIG. 13 is a side plan view of a user utilizing an embodiment of an exercise device of the invention.

FIG. 14 is a front plan view of a user utilizing an embodiment of an exercise device of the invention.

FIG. 15 is a front plan view of a user utilizing an embodiment of an exercise device of the invention.

FIG. 16 is a front plan view of a user utilizing an embodiment of an exercise device of the invention.

FIG. 17 is a front perspective view of another embodiment of an exercise device of the invention.

FIG. 18 is a rear perspective view of the embodiment of FIG. 17.

FIG. 19 is a side plan view of the embodiment of FIG. 17.

BEST MODE FOR CARRYING OUT THE INVENTION

The detailed description set forth below in connection with the appended drawings is intended as a description of presently-preferred embodiments of the invention and is not intended to represent the only forms in which the present invention may be constructed or utilized. The description sets forth the functions and the sequence of steps for constructing and operating the invention in connection with the illustrated embodiments. However, it is to be understood that the same or equivalent functions and sequences may be accomplished by different embodiments that are also intended to be encompassed within the spirit and scope of the invention.

Referring to the figures, the invention is directed to an exercise device 10 having a seat 12, an upright support or spine 14, a hoop 16, a connector 18, and preferably at least one flexible rod 20.

The seat 12 may further have legs 22 to support the seat 12 off of a floor or other support surface. The seat has a front edge and a rear edge, where preferably the seat 12 is tilted downward toward the rear edge of the seat 12 at an angle of about twelve degrees. In some embodiments, at least one of the legs may jut from the front edge of the seat in a forward direction, thereby providing additional stability for the exercise device 10.

The spine 14 extends upward from the rear edge of the seat 12, and the spine 14 may further be an extension of one of the legs 22. The spine 14 may be relatively straight, or it might be bent concavely or convexly. Preferably, the spine 14 is slightly convex, bending in toward the seat at the lower end of the spine 14 and away from the seat at its upper end.

In some embodiments, the length of the spine 14 is adjustable. In some versions of the invention, this adjustment may be accomplished by a telescoping feature, where a portion of the spine 14 is extendable within another portion of the spine 14 or within an extension of one of the legs 22.

The spine 14 may also be bendable, flexible, or elastically deformable about an axis perpendicular to its major axis. An example of this flexion is depicted in FIG. 10. Preferably, though, the spine 14 is rigid and the motion of the hoop 16 is transmitted to a connector 18 between the hoop 16 and the spine 14, as further defined below.

The hoop 16 is connected to the spine 14. In its neutral position, where no external forces are being applied to the hoop other than gravity, the hoop is generally parallel to the floor or support surface. The hoop 16 preferably has a diameter of between about twenty-four inches and thirty-four inches, and more preferably has a diameter of about twenty-eight inches. This range of diameters has been found to be particularly beneficial for the performance of the exercises described below. Preferably, the hoop 16 has a generally circular cross-section, although additional cross-sections may be utilized. In some versions, the hoop 16 may resemble a bicycle hoop or a plastic toy hoop commonly known as a hula hoop.

The connector 18 is between the hoop 16 and the spine 14 at a circumferential portion of the hoop 16, and it may be a multidirectional hinge. The connector 18 permits the hoop 16 to rotate or pivot relative to the spine 14 in a direction oblique to the plane of the floor or support surface. For example, refer to FIG. 10 and FIGS. 13-16. In some embodiments, the connector 18 may be resistive such that there is opposition to the rotation or pivoting, and this resistance may be continuously adjustable between a relatively low level of resistance and a relatively high level of resistance.

In a version of the invention, the connector 18 also permits the hoop 16 to slide through the connector 18, allowing the hoop 16 to spin about an axis through the center of the hoop 16. An example of this is shown in FIG. 9, FIGS. 11A through 11C, and FIGS. 12A through 12B. Preferably, though, this relative motion is accomplished instead by way of a slider mechanism 24 as described below.

The connector 18 preferably comprises a dual-axis joint such as shown in FIGS. 17-19. The dual-axis joint permits the hoop 16 to pivot relative to the spine 14 in a first direction oblique to a plane of the support surface (such as shown in FIG. 13) as well as a second direction oblique to a plane of the support surface. For the preferred range of motion of the hoop, the first direction and the second direction are orthogonal, the first direction having an axis parallel to the support surface and the second direction having an axis that is generally vertical.

In some embodiments, the connector 18 may be resistive such that there is opposition to the pivoting. In further embodiments, the connector 18 may be continuously adjustable between a relatively low level of resistance and a relatively high level of resistance, permitting the user to adjust the difficulty level of performing an exercise.

The resistive force in the connector 18 may be created by, for example, a spring or frictional device. Preferably, the resistive force is provided by one or more bows or flexible rods 20. Each flexible rod 20 extends outward from the hoop 16, preferably proximate the connector 18, and each flexible rod 20 is attached to a tensioning mechanism 26 via a resistance cable 28. The tensioning mechanism 26 provides a tensile force in each resistance cable 28, typically causing each flexible rod 20 to flex or bow such that the flexible rod 20 takes on an arc shape. In such embodiments, the tensile force provided by the tensioning mechanism 26 may be adjustable, and preferably is continuously adjustable between a relatively low level of resistance and a relatively high level of resistance to movement of the hoop 16.

In some versions of the invention, the exercise device 10 also includes a slider mechanism 24 on the hoop 16. The slider mechanism 24 permits the user to pivot their upper body about an axis through the center of the hoop 16. Preferably, the slider mechanism 24 has a first portion 30 and a second portion 32, where the first portion 30 and the second portion 32 are each shaped and dimensioned to slide around at least a portion of the hoop 16. In some versions of the invention, each of the first portion 30 and the second portion 32 of the slider mechanism 24 are able to slide around the hoop independently of the other portion, while also being able to slide around together as a single unit, as desired. This is described more fully below.

In versions having a slider mechanism 24, the exercise device 10 may also have a first resistive band being connected to the first portion 30 of the slider mechanism 24 at a first end of the first resistive band, while a second end of the first resistive band is connected to the spine 14. The exercise device 10 may further have a second resistive band that is connected to the second portion 32 of the slider mechanism 24 at a first end of the second resistive band, while a second end of the second resistive band is connected to the spine 14. Preferably, the first resistive band and the second resistive band each comprise an elastic band. Sliding the first portion 30 or the second portion 32 creates additional tension in the first resistive band or the second resistive band, respectively. Preferably, each of the first portion 30 or the second portion 32 may be moved separately or in unison, as desired for a particular exercise. Each of the first resistive band and the second resistive band preferably resides inside of the hoop 16.

In versions having adjustable resistance (including of the first resistive band and the second resistive band of the slider mechanism 24 as well as the tensioning mechanism 26), the adjustment may be by way of a dial or resistance selector 38 to increase and decrease the force opposing the motion. The dial or resistance selector 38 may have gradations, numbers, letters, or other markings to indicate the relative level of resistance. In some versions, changing the dial or resistance selector 38 from one resistance level to another is accompanied by a click or another audible indicator to provide feedback to the user that the change was accomplished. Preferably, a first dial or resistance selector 38 controls the first resistive band and the second resistive band, while a second dial or resistance selector 38 controls the tensioning mechanism 26.

In some embodiments, the exercise device 10 may be foldable for storage. An example of such an embodiment is depicted in FIG. 7. In versions having one or more flexible rods 20, each flexible rod 20 may pivot, such as on a hinge, to permit neat folding for storage.

To use the exercise device 10, the person sits on the seat 12 in a generally upright position and grasps the hoop 16, preferably with both of the person's hands and more preferably with their left hand on the first portion 30 of the hoop 16 and their right hand on the second portion 32 of the hoop 16. This defines a starting position, an example of which is depicted in FIG. 11B and FIG. 12A. The person may furthermore rest their feet on a portion of one of the legs 22, thereby improving the stability of the exercise device 10 in relation to the floor or support surface. Alternatively the person may rest their feet directly on the floor or support surface, particularly for embodiments like the one depicted in FIGS. 17-19.

From the starting position, a person may perform an oblique twist by the person twisting about their upper body to the right about their waist while maintaining their grasp on the hoop 16. The twist may also be performed to the person's left side. During the twist, in some versions of the invention the hoop 16 slides through the connector 18. Examples of these twists are given by FIG. 9, FIGS. 11A-C, and FIGS. 12A-B. In some embodiments, the connector 18 may provide resistance to the person's motion. In some embodiments, flexion of the spine 14 may provide resistance to the person's motion. In versions of the invention having a slider mechanism 24, rather than the hoop 16 sliding through the connector 18, the sliding motion is achieved via the slider mechanism 24 as described above.

From the starting position, a person may perform an abdominal crunch by the person bending about the person's waist while pivoting the hoop 16 about the horizontal axis of the connector 18. An example of this motion is shown in FIG. 10, and FIGS. 13-16.

From the starting position, a person may perform a radial abdominal crunch by first pivoting the hoop 16 about the connector 18 such that the hoop 16 is oblique to the floor or support surface and the portion of a hoop 16 to the person's left is higher than a portion to the person's right. The person then twists downward to the right about the person's waist while maintaining the grasp on the hoop 16. An example of this motion is shown in FIG. 14. The motion may also be performed to the person's left side, and an example of this is depicted in FIG. 15. In versions of the invention having a slider mechanism 24, rather than the hoop 16 sliding through the connector 18, the sliding motion is achieved via the slider mechanism 24 as described above.

A person may perform an infinity abdominal crunch by combining the motions for the abdominal crunch and the radial abdominal crunch, such that the person's hands trace a generally sideways figure-eight pattern similar to the symbol for infinity (∞). An example of this is depicted in FIG. 16.

While the present invention has been described with regards to particular embodiments, it is recognized that additional variations of the present invention may be devised without departing from the inventive concept.

INDUSTRIAL APPLICABILITY

This invention may be industrially applied to the development, manufacture, and use of devices for aiding exercise of the abdominal muscles of a user.