Title:
Curling bar with dynamically rotating grips
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A curling bar with dynamically rotating grips includes a curling bar having a pair of grip assemblies that are positioned evenly between two spaced apart weight receivers. Each grip assembly includes a circular grip receiver sized to receive a grip insert having a grip. The grip insert is equipped with a series of slide bearings which allows the grip insert to rotate within the circular grip receiver. The rotational position of the grip insert within the grip receiver can vary depending on the rotational force exerted by the weightlifter's wrists and forearms. More particularly, the grip insert, and associated grip, will rotate to minimize any stress placed upon the weightlifter's wrists.



Inventors:
Johnson, Bryant Deray (San Diego, CA, US)
Application Number:
11/474078
Publication Date:
07/24/2008
Filing Date:
06/23/2006
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63B21/072
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
20030224909Dual-function treading exerciserDecember, 2003Lo et al.
20080248935Foldable Transportable Multiple Function Pilates Exercise Apparatus and MethodOctober, 2008Solow et al.
20040033867Exercise barFebruary, 2004Katami
20050101451Training machineMay, 2005Ooka
20100035725COMPETITIVE RUNNING MANAGEMENTFebruary, 2010Rickerman
20090305853Randomly multidirectional devise and method for using the deviseDecember, 2009Jordan
20060258511Climbing wall structure and method of constructionNovember, 2006Postma
20090093345Apparatus for the Separating and Stretching of Toes and FingersApril, 2009Findeisen
20050107221ErgometerMay, 2005Vohryzka
20100009814EXERCISE CYCLEJanuary, 2010Schwartz
20090270236Supporting device for a person's back and head areaOctober, 2009Berc



Primary Examiner:
GINSBERG, OREN ISAAC
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Eastman McCartney Dallmann LLP (401 West A Street, Suite 1785, San Diego, CA, 92101, US)
Claims:
I claim:

1. A curling bar, comprising: a center bar having a first end and a second end and defining an axis; a pair of grip assemblies, each said grip assembly attached to said center bar and coplanar; each said grip assembly having a weight receiver extending therefrom and opposite said center bar; each said grip assembly having a grip receiver sized to receive a grip insert formed with a grip wherein said grip insert is rotatable within said grip assembly.

2. The curling bar of claim 1, wherein the grip insert further comprises a grip extending diametrically across the inside of the grip insert.

3. The curling bar of claim 2, wherein the grip insert is formed with a gripping surface.

4. The curling bar of claim 1, wherein said grip assembly further comprises a circular bearing sleeve within said grip assembly and between said grip receiver and said grip insert.

5. The curling bar of claim 4, wherein said circular bearing sleeve is made from a synthetic material.

6. The curling bar of claim 5, wherein said circular bearing sleeve is made from delrin.

7. The curling bar of claim 4, wherein said grip assembly further comprises: said grip receiver formed with a base flange and an interior circumferential groove; and a spring clip sized to be received in said circumferential groove to capture said grip insert in said grip receiver.

8. The curling bar of claim 7, wherein said grip assembly further comprises: A lower slide washer disposed between said base flange and said grip insert; and an upper slide washer bearing washer disposed between said grip insert and said spring clip.

9. The curling bar of claim 4, wherein said grip assembly further comprises: said grip receiver formed with a base flange; and a circular washer sized to be received within said grip receiver to capture said grip insert in said grip receiver.

10. The curling bar of claim 9, wherein said grip assembly further comprises: a lower slide washer disposed between said base flange and said grip insert; and an upper slide washer bearing washer disposed between said grip insert and said circular washer.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention pertains generally to devices used in the field of physical fitness. The present invention is more particularly, though not exclusively, useful as an exercise device, and more specifically, a barbell having rotating grips for use in weight training.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Strengthening the human upper body has long been a popular activity. Long ago, the activity was practiced using a dumbbell which consisted of a short bar equipped with a weight on each end, and formed with a grip portion in the middle of the bar. The weightlifter could grasp the grip portion and focus training on specific muscle groups. For instance, by standing with the dumbbell at his waist, and bending his elbow to “curl” or raise the wrist and forearm upwards, the biceps are strengthened. Also, by standing with the dumbbell being behind the weightlifter's shoulder with his elbow bent, pushing the dumbbell upwards strengthens the triceps. Also, by lying on his back and holding the dumbbell directly above his chest, pushing up towards the sky in what is called a “press” strengthens the triceps, pectoral, and other major muscle groups. Other strengthening exercises are well known in the art which may utilize one dumbbell or a pair of dumbbells—one in each hand.

In addition to the dumbbells which have been used for many years, so too has the barbell. A barbell consists of an elongated bar formed with a pair of grip portions in roughly the middle portion for grasping with the weightlifter's two hands, and equipped with a weight receiver on each end of the bar. By placing weights of different sizes on the weight receivers, a barbell of different weights could be constructed.

In use, a weightlifter grasps the barbell at two sides of the middle portion, and lifts the barbell. Similar exercises to those completed with the dumbbells discussed above are also performed with a barbell. For instance, by standing up with the barbell at the weightlifter's waist and bending his elbows to raise the barbells upwards, a “curl” is performed strengthening the forearms and biceps. Similarly, with the weightlifter lying down and pushing the barbell upwards from his chest, a “press” or “bench press” is performed thereby strengthening the triceps and pectorals.

Because the weights placed on a barbell can be very heavy, it is important to have a proper grip on the grip portion of the barbell. During exercise routines, it is also important that the weightlifter's grip be consistent with the exercise being performed. For instance, the grip in a curl exercise may be very different from an exercise in a press exercise.

However, the grip portion of the barbell is fixed as part of a rigid steel bar, and often perfectly linear. As a result, even though the grip portion may be in a proper position for a weightlifter at the start of the exercise, it is likely that the fixed grip portion of the barbell will be in a non-optimal position during at least a portion of the exercise. For instance, when performing a curl exercise with a barbell having a linear bar and fixed grip portion, the weight lifter's hands are in an acceptable position at the start of the exercise. However, as the barbell is raised upwards, the wrist has a tendency to rotate as the elbow bends upwards. Because the grip portion of the barbell is fixed, there is a significant amount of strain placed on the weightlifter's wrist and forearm.

When lifting weights using a typical straight-bar barbell, there is a noticeable inability to adjust position of the grips for wrist rotation. This shortcoming results in injury caused by excessive torsion on the wrist and forearm, including pulled muscles, strained ligaments, and other injuries requiring orthopedic treatment.

There have been several attempts to overcome the shortcomings of a straight-bar barbell. One such attempt was disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 4,8676,444 which issued to Castillo for a “Crip Apparatus For Weightlifting Bar.” This device included a pair of conical grip elements sized to be positioned over the barbell grip. As the weight lifter raised the barbell, the conical grip elements would rotate about the barbell grip to minimize strain on the weightlifter's wrists and forearms. The Castillo device, however, did nothing to address the torsion strains placed on the weightlifter's wrists during the exercise, but rather focused only on the bone alignment instead of the musculature strains.

Another device is disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 5,334,113 which issued to Roepke for a “Multi-Position Grip System for Barbells.” This device included a pair of circular rings, rotatably intercoupled by a bar and axially coupled with a pair of weight-supporting bars fitted with weights, with each ring being concentrically and rotatably coupled with a par of arcuate members to provide multiple axes of rotation of a handgrip. While the Roepke product addresses the need for providing a multi-positional grip, it is cumbersome and difficult to control during weight lifting exercises because of its complicated linkage. Specifically, the intercoupled circular rings can result in the pinching of the weightlifter's wrists by the grips themselves, and is very difficult to control the position of the weights. Moreover, the metal-on-metal design of this device will result in a high level of friction being created. This is particularly so in cases where the work-out equipment is used outdoors where moisture may increase the formation of rust on metal components.

A significant problem associated with increased friction and rust includes the inability to operate the weight bars correctly. The rust will cause the hand grip to “freeze” or “stick” in place, and could present a significant risk of injury to the weight lifter.

In light of the above, it would be advantageous to provide a barbell having a grip that can adjust to accommodate the weightlifter's grip style and physiological positioning to minimize the strain placed on the weightlifter's forearms and wrists. It would also be advantageous to provide a dynamically positioned grip which adjusts throughout a weight lifting exercise to minimize strain placed on the weightlifter's wrists and forearms. It would further be advantageous to provide a barbell having a grip which, though moveable, still provides a high degree of control of the barbell. It would also be advantageous to provide a barbell having a resistance to moisture damage and a high degree of reliability to avoid the risks of injury to the weightlifter.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The curling bar with dynamically rotating grips includes a curling bar having a pair of grip assemblies that are positioned evenly between two spaced apart weight receivers. Each grip assembly includes a circular grip receiver sized to receive a grip insert having a grip. The grip insert is equipped with a series of slide bearings, preferably made of delrin material, which allows the grip insert to rotate within the circular grip receiver.

The rotational position of the grip insert within the grip receiver can vary depending on the rotational force exerted by the weightlifter's wrists and forearms. More particularly, the grip insert, and associated grip, will rotate to minimize any stress placed upon the weightlifter's wrists.

In use, a weightlifter can grasp the grip within each grip insert and rotate the grip to a position most comfortable for the exercise being performed. As the weightlifter proceeds through the exercise and his wrist and forearm rotate, the grip and associated grip insert rotate within the grip receiver to maintain a proper rotational orientation corresponding to the wrist and forearm position thereby minimizing the stresses placed on the weightlifter's arms.

DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING

The nature, objects, and advantages of the present invention will become more apparent to those skilled in the art after considering the following detailed description in connection with the accompanying drawings, in which like reference numerals designate like parts throughout, and wherein:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of the curling bar with dynamically rotating grips of the present invention showing a curling bar formed with a pair of grip receivers each having a grip insert formed with a grip;

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of the curling bar with dynamically rotating grips with a grip assembly shown in an exploded view to identify the cooperation of the grip receiver, grip insert, associated bearing materials, and spring retaining clip;

FIG. 3 is a cross-sectional view of the curling bar with dynamically rotating grips of the present invention taken along line FIG. 3-3 of FIG. 2, showing the placement of upper, lower, and circular bearing materials, and detailing how the assembly is retained together with the spring retaining clip;

FIG. 4 is a cross-sectional view of an alternative embodiment of the curling bar with dynamically rotating grips of the present invention showing the placement of upper, lower, and circular bearing materials, and detailing how the assembly is retained together with the retaining band rigidly fastened to the grip receiver;

FIGS. 5, 6, and 7, depict a weightlifter performing a “curl” exercise using the curling bar with dynamically rotating grips of the present invention and demonstrating the rotation of the grips as the exercise is performed in order to minimize the stress placed on the weightlifter's wrists and forearms.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF A PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

Referring initially to FIG. 1, the curling bar with dynamically rotating grips of the present invention is shown and generally designated with reference numeral 100. Curling bar 100 includes a linear bar 102 defining an axis 103 and having a pair of spaced apart rotating grip assemblies 104 and 106, having grips 108 and 110, respectively. On each end, bar 102 is formed with a weight receivers 112 and 116, and position stops 114 and 118. As shown, weight receivers 112 and 116 are shown to be what is known as “Olympic” weight receivers, however, other styles known in the art, including the “standard” weight receivers and collars, are fully contemplated herein.

Referring to FIG. 2, a perspective view of the curling bar with dynamically rotating grips 100 is shown, with grip assembly 106 shown in an exploded view to identify the cooperation of the component parts. More specifically, grip assembly 106 includes a grip receiver 150 formed with a base flange 151 and an interior circumferential groove 152. A lower slide washer 153 which serves as a rotational bearing, is seated against base flange 151, and a circular band bearing 154 is positioned within the grip receiver 150.

A grip insert 156 having a circular ring 158 and formed with a grip 110 is inserted within grip receiver 150 such that circular bearing band 154 is between grip insert 156 and grip receiver 150. Once in position, an upper slide washer is positioned within grip receiver 150 over grip insert 156, with a retaining washer 162 held within grip receiver 150 with a spring clip 164 which seats firmly in circumferential groove 152.

As described herein, slide washers are contemplated to be a low friction materials, such as Teflon, polypropylene, nylon, delrin, or similarly functioning materials. It is to be appreciated, however, that in an alternative embodiment, in place of the slide washers, a friction reducing material, such as bearing grease. This alternative, however, is not optimal because of the risk that grease would escape from the grip receiver creating a slippery grip and possibly result in injury to the weightlifter.

FIG. 3 is a cross-sectional view of the curling bar with dynamically rotating grips of the present invention taken along line FIG. 3-3 of FIG. 2, showing the placement of upper, lower, and circular bearing materials, and detailing how the assembly is retained together with the spring retaining clip. More specifically, grip assembly 106 includes a grip receiver 150 formed with a base flange 151 and an interior circumferential groove 152. A lower slide washer 153 which serves as a rotational bearing, is seated against base flange 151, and a circular band bearing 154 is positioned within the grip receiver 150. The grip insert 156 having a circular ring 158 and formed with a grip 110 is captured within grip receiver 150 such that circular bearing band 154 is between grip insert 156 and grip receiver 150. An upper slide washer is positioned within grip receiver 150 over grip insert 156, with a retaining washer 162 held within grip receiver 150 with a spring clip 164 which seats firmly in circumferential groove 152.

Referring now to FIG. 4, a cross-sectional view of an alternative embodiment of the curling bar with dynamically rotating grips of the present invention is shown. This embodiment partially resembles device 100, and includes a grip receiver 150 formed with a base flange 151. A lower slide washer 153 which serves as a rotational bearing, is seated against base flange 151, and a circular band bearing 154 is positioned within the grip receiver 150. Grip insert 156 having a circular ring 158 and formed with a grip 110 is inserted within grip receiver 150 such that circular bearing band 154 is between grip insert 156 and grip receiver 150. Once in position, an upper slide washer is positioned within grip receiver 150 over grip insert 156, with a retaining washer 162 held within grip receiver 150 with a circular washer 172 held in place with fasteners 174, such as screws or other fasteners known in the art.

FIGS. 5, 6, and 7, depict a weightlifter performing a “curl” exercise using the curling bar with dynamically rotating grips of the present invention and demonstrating the rotation of the grips as the exercise is performed in order to minimize the stress placed on the weightlifter's wrists and forearms. Specifically, the present invention, as used by the weightlifter 200, minimizes the stress on elbows 202 because as the weightlifter proceeds through his exercises, grips rotate through an angle 204 to minimize stresses on his wrists and forearms.

A particular advantage of the curling bar with dynamically rotating grips of the present invention is that a weightlifter can perform many different exercises using the device, and without the need to set the device down or re-position his hands. For example, a common practice for weightlifters is to perform “super sets.” These super sets include a group of exercise sets performed sequentially with no delay between them. For instance, a super set may include the following: a set of 10 curls which focus on the central biceps and pectoralis; a set of 10 “hammer” curls performed with the grips in vertical orientation which focus on the lateral portions of the biceps, the coraco-brachialis and the brachialis anticus; and 10 back-arm extensions focusing on the triceps.

The ability of the weightlifter to rotate the grips 360 degrees freely within the grip receiver facilitates the performance of super sets, and any other combination of exercises without repeatedly having to stop and re-position the hands. Moreover, because the grips in the grip receivers may be positioned in any angle within the plane of rotation, the weightlifter can utilize the curling bar with dynamically rotating grips of the present invention to focus development of specific muscle groups. This is a particular advantage over any previously available curl bars as the ability to dynamically rotate the grip position with a grip receiver provides the weightlifter with an unlimited number of muscle-specific exercises. Further, the rotation of the grip allows the weightlifter to rotate his wrist to a specific position for an exercise, however, since the rotation is dynamic, the grip will rotate prior to an overstraining of the muscle or ligament occurs thereby minimizing the risk of injury to the weightlifter.

While there have been shown what are presently considered to be preferred embodiments of the present invention, it will be apparent to those skilled in the art that various changes and modifications can be made herein without departing from the scope and spirit of the invention