Title:
Floor level balance training strip
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The floor level balance training strip of this invention relates to a gymnastics balance beam. More particularly, the invention relates to a balance training device that will attach to a flat horizontal carpeted or correlating surface thus providing a non-skid linear surface upon which a person may stand, walk or tumble.

The invention is comprised of an elongated material strip having opposite ends, an upper surface and a correlating base composed of an adhesive hook fastening element. The hook fastening element located on the underside or base of the floor level balance training strip is used to attach the floor level balance training strip to a carpeted or otherwise compatible flat surface to sufficiently maintain it in a horizontal position. The invention uses a thin strip of loop fastening element to one end so the strip will remain coiled when rolled for stowage.




Inventors:
Dick, Kimberly Renee (Columbus, OH, US)
Application Number:
11/655792
Publication Date:
07/24/2008
Filing Date:
01/22/2007
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63B4/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
MATHEW, FENN C
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Kimberly Dick (164 S. STANWOOD ROAD, COLUMBUS, OH, 43209, US)
Claims:
1. A floor level balance training device comprising: (a) an elongate, generally rectangular horizontal flat body of flexible material having a predetermined width of 4 inches so as to have reference to a standard gymnastics balance beam apparatus. (b) said device utilizing a base hook fastening element merged with a flexible surface material along the predetermined length, being adapted to lie flat along a flat, horizontal carpet like surface to thus maintain said device in a stable position.

2. A method of using the floor level balance training strip in claim 1 comprising the steps of: (a) Rolling said device onto a surface sufficiently flat and having sufficient means and surface area to maintain the floor level balance training strip in a stable position and practicing balance motor skills such as standing, walking or tumbling along said surface. (b) Rolling said elongate body and attaching corresponding loop fastening element to maintain said device in the coiled self-attached position.

Description:

BACKGROUND—PRIOR ART

Although balance beams are well known in the field of gymnastics, such beams are of a square or rectangular cross section, and are in typical use, positioned several feet above the ground and have had no known useful application for therapeutic medicine. U.S. Pat. No. 5,885,189 to Lane/Squibb (1999) discloses a raised gymnastics balance beam apparatus commonly associated to the sport of gymnastics.

The disadvantage to a standard gymnastics balance beam is the weight and large size of the apparatus. At 16′5″ in length the regulation gymnastics balance beam is not conducive for home use nor is it portable. It is commonly known that one may utilize a 4″×4″ wood beam cut to shorter lengths to use in the home. While this is useful, it does pose the dilemma of how to stow the long wooden device when not in use. Again this wooden device is not truly a convenient and portable tool for the user. Both of the mentioned prior art are composed of non-flexible materials such as wood or steel. It is believed that a lightweight and flexible device as described and claimed herein has not been known prior to the present invention.

SUMMARY

In accordance with the present invention a floor level balance training strip comprises a flat, flexible, elongate body having a fastening element base and a corresponding surface material and is of predetermined length and width being adapted to lie flat along a flat horizontal surface. Said device also includes a strip of loop fastening material at one surface end to provide a self attaching mechanism when stowing said device.

OBJECTS AND ADVANTAGES

Accordingly, several objects and advantages of the present invention are:

    • (a) to provide a floor level balance training strip for conditioning, training and enhancing balancing skills.
    • (b) to provide an amusement device for young toddlers and beginner gymnasts as they practice motor skill development.
    • (c) to provide a lightweight, portable training balance strip for use at home, gym, school or office environments.
    • (d) to assist the user with building confidence while reducing the risk of injury as the floor level surface reduces the fear of falling.
    • (e) to provide a flexible, floor level balance training strip that allows for easy storage and transport.
    • (f) to provide gymnasts, gym owners and additional users a cost effective option to purchasing a raised balance beam apparatus.
    • (g) to provide a floor level balance training strip that could be useful in the fields of motor skill development and therapeutic medicine.
    • (h) to provide a floor level balance training strip that will fasten to a surface and remain stationary and not slide or scoot when walked upon.
    • (i) to provide a floor level balance training strip in various lengths and widths to correlate with the experience of the user and the space requirement of the area it will be used.
      These and other objects will be apparent to those skilled in the art.

DRAWINGS

Brief Description of the Several Views of the Drawing

FIG. 1 is a top perspective view of a floor level balance training strip according to the invention.

FIG. 2 is a partial view illustrating the assembly of corresponding top material (i.e. PVC Suede) and lower pressure sensitive/self adhesive hook prior to sewing.

FIG. 3 is a partial cross-section view of the non-loop end of the strip showing both top and lower surfaces with stitching.

FIG. 4 is a partial view of the loop end showing the ¼ inch wide loop material across one end of the floor level balance training strip.

FIG. 5 is a stowed view thereof; with the loop attached to the hook base after rolling the invention into a coiled position.

REFERENCE NUMERALS IN DRAWINGS

    • 10. Top surface material
    • 11. Representative Stitching (thread)
    • 12. Loop strip
    • 13. Representative of Hook base surface
    • 14. Representative of Adhesive material surface

DESCRIPTION—PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

A preferred embodiment of the floor level balance training strip is illustrated in FIG. 1 (top view), FIG. 2 (application of correlating layers), FIG. 3 (Partial view of the device showing the non-loop end), FIG. 4 (Partial view of the device showing the loop end) and FIG. 5 (a stowed view thereof, illustrating loop attached to hook fastener).

The preferred embodiment of this device is 4 inches wide, to simulate the same width of a regulation gymnastics balance beam. However, the floor level balance training strip can be manufactured anywhere from 1 inch to 12 inches in width depending on user preference. For instance, the device could be made 6 inches wide for toddlers and young gymnasts. In addition, the length could vary from 6 ft. to 20 ft. in length. However, in the best design the length is 16′5″ as that is the length of a standard competition gymnastics balance beam.

The process of making the floor level balance training strip consists of the following:

    • (a) Cut with scissors an elongated piece of the pressure sensitive/adhesive hook fastening element to the predetermined length. This is the base material. (13)
      Different widths of hook fastener can be used, however in the preferred design it is 4 inches wide and is available at Excel Sewing Supply L.L.C. of Passaic, N.J.
    • (b) Cut correlating surface material to the same predetermined measurements.

The surface material in the preferred embodiment of the floor level balance training device consists of Beluga PVC Suede available at Sommers Plastics Products Co. Inc. of Clifton, N.J.

The preferred design uses PVC suede due to its texture and durability. Additionally, the appearance and feel of the fabric is most similar to that of a standard regulation gymnastics balance beam apparatus.

Other surface materials could be used for manufacture such as cloth, leather, suede, plastic, rubber and vinyl of various weights. For instance, an additional choice of surface medium is 29 oz. vinyl available at Spradling International, Inc. of Pelham, Ala.

    • (c) Remove the layer of paper on the hook fastening element base to expose the pressure sensitive/adhesive material. (14).
      The balance training strip can be manufactured without using a pressure sensitive/adhesive fastening element. However, the adhesive is preferred as this allows the surface material to remain fastened to the base material and prevents the surface material from lifting when walked upon.
    • (d) Apply the underside of the PVC suede to the base adhesive (14) working down the length of the adhesive strip to the end. (FIG. 2) At this point, the floor level balance training strip consists of a single merged hook fastening element base with a PVC suede top.
    • (e) Trim the opposite short ends to create a clean, straight edge.
    • (f) Using a sewing machine straight stitch a perimeter around the strip at ¼ inch from the edge using 16 oz bonded nylon thread commercially available from Excel Sewing Supply LLC. (11)

The perimeter stitching is done at ¼ inch from the edge; however, stitching could be at any predetermined distance from the perimeter edge. The best working and thus preferred design is at ¼ inch. The thread can be of any color to match or contrast the color or material of the surface strip. Again, color has no bearing on the function of the device. Other thread weights can be used, however, the best design of this device uses the 16 oz bonded nylon thread because of its durability.

Other design of stitching methods could be used such as zig-zag . . . However, this is a design preference much like color and has no bearing on the function or operation of the overall invention.

    • (g) FIG. 4 Shows the application of the ¼″ wide and 4″ long strip of pressure sensitive loop fastening element to one end of the floor level balance strip. (12).
      • Peel paper from the pressure sensitive loop fastening element to reveal the adhesive. Press strip to the end of the beam. Sew the loop strip to the floor level balance training strip for further adherence. This pressure sensitive 4 inch wide loop fastener is available at Excel Sewing Supply LLC. Again color is based on preference and has no bearing on the operation or function of the invention.

Any predetermined width of loop strip can be used, however, the preferred design and best embodiment uses ¼ inch wide loop cut to the predetermined width of the floor level balance training strip. Additionally, a circle or other shape of loop material could be substituted; however, the best working design is the ¼ inch wide strip of loop fastening element.

Operation

This floor-level balance strip operates by unrolling the device onto a flat carpeted or otherwise similar material horizontal surface. (FIG. 1) The hook material will grip the carpet, or other floor material substance and provide a flat non-skid elongate surface on which the user can practice balance while standing, walking or tumbling.

To stow the beam, the user simply “jelly-rolls” the floor level balance training strip by rolling lengthwise, beginning at the non-loop end and attaching the loop fastening end to the hook base when completely rolled. (FIG. 5)

CONCLUSION, RAMIFICATIONS AND SCOPE

Accordingly, the reader will see that the floor level balance training strip can be a versatile balance training device for all ages. By applying it to a carpeted, or otherwise material surface it provides a temporary, portable means for the user to practice balance by walking, standing and tumbling. Furthermore, it provides the following advantages in that

    • It assists to build confidence while reducing the risk of injury due to its low profile.
    • It is lightweight.
    • It has a self contained method of closure.
    • It is a cost effective solution for home, gym, school or office.
    • It can have possible applications to developing motor skills and therapeutic medicine.
    • It provides amusement for toddlers while allowing them to develop balance.

Although the description above contains much specificity, this should not be construed as limiting the scope of the invention but as merely providing illustrations of some of the presently preferred embodiments of this invention.

For example, the floor level balance training strip surface could be slightly elevated from the floor due to the thickness of the fastening base and surface material used. In addition, the length, width, color and shape of the invention can vary depending on the preference of the user.

For instance, the competitive gymnast might prefer the embodiment of the invention in the PVC suede at 4 inches width and 16′5″ length. A preschool might prefer the embodiment of the invention using 29 oz vinyl, and 6 inches wide by 8 feet in length in the color Red.

Thus the scope of the invention should be determined by the appended claims and their legal equivalents, rather than by the examples given.