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The present application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Patent Application Ser. No. 60/929,347 entitled “Portable Exercise Unit” filed Jun. 22, 2007.
1. Field of the Invention
The present invention pertains to the art of exercise devices and, more particularly, to a portable Pilates-type exercise unit.
2. Discussion of the Prior Art
Certainly, a large number of portable exercise devices exist in the prior art. Currently available exercise devices span the spectrum of cost and complexity. Many existing exercise devices target a specific area of a body or are geared toward a particular exercise routine or program. Of these routines, the Pilates method or Pilates has been around for quite some time and is once again gaining in popularity. While several Pilates exercises require special equipment such as benches, many Pilates exercises can be readily performed with resistance bands which are available in various lengths and resistance levels. Typically, a band is anchored at one end portion while a user grasps and pulls on another end portion. The band can be anchored to a wall mounted hook, a door knob, or simply held under, for example, the user's foot. Once anchored, the user can perform a number of repetitive tension exercises to strengthen a particular muscle or muscle group. Alternatively, both end portions of the band can be anchored and exercising performed using a central area of the band.
Many exercise units include various adjustable components to accommodate a broad range of users and/or to facilitate additional exercises. That is, portions of the exercise unit can be adjusted to accommodate the physiology of a particular user and/or enable the user to perform exercises that target various body parts. Unfortunately, most exercise units are not both easily adjustable and portable. That is, a trade-off exists between adjustability and portability. If the device is readily portable, the exercises made possible with the device are generally more muscle specific. For example, devices for performing curls, shoulder presses and the like exercises which require movements that are generally along the body's longitudinal axis would not be readily adaptable to, for example, rowing exercises which would require movements that are generally normal to the body's axis. Of course the opposite would also hold true.
Despite the existence of portable exercise devices in the prior art, there is considered to still exist a need for an exercise device that both portable and adjustable. More specifically, there is seen to be a need for a Pilates-type portable exercise device that is not only readily adjustable to accommodate various users but also supports a broad range of exercises.
The present invention is directed to a portable exercise device including a base portion having first and second base members interconnected through a pivot member. The first base member includes a first end which is pivotally attached to the pivot member and extends in a first direction to a second end through an intermediate portion. The second base member includes a first end which is pivotally attached to the pivot member and extends in a second direction to a second end through an intermediate portion. In accordance with the invention, the exercise device also includes a bar having a first end which is selectively connected to the pivot element and extends to a second end through an intermediate portion. A cap member is detachably mounted at the second end of the bar. The exercise device further includes first and second foot pads that are selectively, adjustably positioned relative to corresponding ones of the first and second base members.
In further accordance with the invention, the exercise device includes first and second elastic cables respectively extending between first and second base members and the bar. More specifically, the first cable includes a first end connected at one of the second ends of the first base member and the first foot pad, and a second end detachably mounted to the cap member. The second cable includes a first end connected at one of the second ends of the second base member and the second foot pad, and a second end. It should be generally understood that the first end of each of the first and second cables is positioned adjacent or near the second or outer ends of corresponding ones of the first and second base members.
In accordance with one aspect of the invention, when the portable exercise device is in a first configuration, the second end of the second elastic cable is connected to the cap member. In this configuration, a user selectively pivots the bar about the pivot member to alternatingly stretch and relax the first and second elastic cables respectively to perform a first exercise routine. In accordance with another aspect of the invention, when the portable exercise device is in a second configuration, the second end of the bar is detached from the pivot member and fitted with another cap member to which the second end of the second elastic cable is attached. In this configuration, a user selectively manipulates the bar to simultaneously stretch and relax the first and second elastic cables to perform a second exercise routine. The first and second elastic cables can be exchanged with other cables of varying length and/or resistance to further vary the available exercises.
Additional objects, features and advantages of the present invention will become more readily apparent from the following detailed description of a preferred embodiment when taken in conjunction with the drawings wherein like reference numerals refer to corresponding parts in the several views.
FIG. 1 is an upper left perspective view of a portable exercise device constructed in accordance with the present invention shown in a first configuration;
FIG. 2 is an exploded view of the portable exercise device of FIG. 1;
FIG. 3 is a detail view of a bottom portion of a first base member of the portable exercise device of FIG. 2;
FIG. 4 is perspective view of a universal pivot member of the portable exercise device of FIG. 2;
FIG. 5 is a detail view of a cap member and elastic bands of the portable exercise device of FIG. 2; and
FIG. 6 illustrates the portable exercise device constructed in accordance with the present invention shown in a second configuration.
With initial reference to FIGS. 1 and 2, a portable exercise device constructed in accordance with the present invention is generally indicated at 2. Exercise device 2 includes a base portion 4 having first and second base members 6 and 7 interconnected through a pivot member 9 having first and second opposing internally threaded cap members 10a and 10b. As shown, first base member 6 includes a first end portion 11 secured to first cap member 10a through a hinge (not shown). First end portion 11 extends to a second end portion 14 through an intermediate section 16 which defines an arcuate channel 18. In a similar manner, second base member 7 includes a first end portion 21 connected to second cap member 10b through a hinge 23. First end portion 21 extends to a second end portion 24 through an intermediate section 26 which defines an arcuate channel 28. As best shown in FIG. 3, base member 6 includes an elongated slot 31. Slot 31 is formed on an underside or bottom surface (not separately labeled) of base member 6. As shown, a wheel member 32 having a stud 33 is slidingly received within slot 31. As will be discussed more fully below, wheel member 32 serves as an easily adjustable attachment point for a first foot pad 34. Of course, it should be understood that base member 7 includes a corresponding slot and wheel member (not shown) that provide an easily adjustable attachment point for a second foot pad 35.
As further shown in FIG. 3, slot 31 includes a first end 45 that extends to a second end (not shown) through an elongated intermediate section 47. First end 45 is provided with a rounded opening 49 that is configured to receive a head portion 52 of wheel member 32. With this arrangement, head portion 52 is inserted through rounded opening 49 to enable stud 33 to easily slide within an interior channel 53 of slot 31. As further shown in the drawings such as FIGS. 1 and 2, each foot pad 34 and 35 includes a corresponding longitudinally extending slot 55 and 56 adapted to receive, for example, stud 33. In addition, each foot pad 34, 35 is provided with a corresponding strap 68, 69 for receiving a user's foot thereunder in order to provide a support point to aid users in maintaining proper body position. Straps 68 and 69 are secured to an upper surface of respective foot pads 34 and 35 by a tab lock mechanism, one of which is indicated at 70 in FIG. 2 in connection with foot pad 34. Each foot pad 34, 35 is also preferably provided with a non-skid surface (not separately labeled) to provide traction for users of exercise device 2. Each foot pad 34, 35 is provided with a respective plurality of cable receiving members 73, 74 and 75, 76, the details of which will become more fully evident below.
Referring to FIG. 4, pivot member 9 includes a first or stationary portion 83 and a pivot portion 84. Stationary portion 83 includes a first section 87 that is fixedly connected to cap members 10a and 10b, as well as a second or collar section 88 having a central opening 89. Pivot portion 84 includes a ball 92 connected to a stem 93 which extends to a connector 94. As shown, connector 94 includes internal threads 95. With this construction, ball 92 nests within stationary portion 83 and projects through central opening 89 of collar section 88 to establish a ball and socket arrangement. Collar section 88 is secured to first section 87 in such a manner to allow ball 92 to universally, freely rotate and/or pivot within stationary portion 83 to facilitate one or more exercises that are performed using exercise device 2 in a manner that will be described more fully below. In addition, pivot member 9 includes a spring portion 97 having upper and lower bands 98 and 99 interconnected through a plurality of spring elements 100. As will be discussed more fully below, spring member 97 provides additional resistance during various exercises performed on exercise device 2.
Referring back to FIGS. 1 and 2, exercise device 2 also includes a multi-sectional bar 105. More specifically, bar 105 includes a first end section 107 which connects to a first intermediate section 108. First intermediate section 108 connects with a second intermediate section 109 which then terminates in a second end section 110. As shown, first end section 107 actually constitutes a handle having a first end 113 provided with a plurality of threads (not separately labeled) adapted to engage with threads 95 on connector 94. First end section 113 extends to a second end 114 through an intermediate or handle portion 115. Preferably, second end 114 is externally threaded and handle portion 115 is provided with a cushioned, e.g., neoprene, grip 116 that provides comfort for the user. As discussed above, first intermediate section 108 is connected to first end section 107. Towards that end, first intermediate section 108 includes a first end 121 having a plurality of internal threads that are adapted to receive second end 114. First end 121 extends to a second end 122 through an intermediate portion 123. As will be discussed more fully below, first intermediate section 108 includes an opening 125 arranged approximate to second end 122.
As noted above, second intermediate section 109 is secured to first intermediate section 108. Towards that end, second intermediate section 109 includes a first end 127 having a reduced diameter portion (not separately labeled) configured to be received by second end 122 of first intermediate section 108. First end 127 extends to a second end 128 through an intermediate portion 129. Second intermediate section 109 is provided with a spring lock 131 provided in the reduced diameter portion of first end 127. Spring lock 131 is designed to engage into opening 125 of first intermediate section 108. With this configuration, first and second intermediate sections 108 and 109 can be joined and readily disconnected as necessary. Finally, second end section 110 is connected to second end 128 of second intermediate section 109. Towards that end, second end section 110 includes a first end 136 that extends to a second end 137 through an intermediate or handle portion 138. Preferably, both first and second ends 136 and 137 are externally threaded, with the external threading on first end 136 facilitating the attachment to second end 128 of second intermediate section 109. In addition, handle portion 138 is provided with a cushioned grip 140, e.g., neoprene, to provide comfort for the user. As will be discussed more fully below, a cap member 147 is threadably attached to second end 137 of second end section 110.
As best shown in FIG. 5, cap member 147 includes an outer, cylindrical wall portion 153 and a top wall portion 154 that collectively define a hollow interior portion 157 having a plurality of threads 160. Threads 160 are configured to matingly engage with second end 137 of second end section 110. As will be discussed more fully below, cap member 147 includes a first key hole opening 165 arranged on outer, cylindrical wall portion 153 and a second key hole opening 166 arranged on top wall portion 154.
Again referring back to FIGS. 1-3, in accordance with the invention, exercise device 2 includes first and second resistance band members 182 and 183. Actually, each resistance band member 182, 183 includes corresponding first and second elastomeric bands or cables 186, 187 and 189, 190. As shown, first and second elastomeric cables 186 and 187 include corresponding first ends 191a, 191b and second ends 192a, 192b. Likewise, elastomeric cables 189 and 190 include corresponding first ends 193a, 193b and second ends 194a, 194b. In accordance with the invention, first ends 191a and 191b are provided with end caps 196a and 196b, while second ends 192a and 192b are shown joined to a cable block 198. Likewise, first ends 193a, 193b of cables 189 and 190 are provided with corresponding end caps 199a and 199b and second ends 194a, 194b are shown joined to a cable block 200.
In accordance with the invention, end caps 196a and 196b are adapted to be secured to a cable block 209 that is pivotally mounted at second end portion 14 of base member 6. Likewise, end caps 199a and 199b are secured to a cable block 210 pivotally connected at second end 24 of base member 7. As each cable block 209, 210 is identical, a detailed description will follow referencing cable block 209, with an understanding that cable block 210 is similarly formed and mounted.
As best shown in FIG. 3, cable block 209 includes a main body portion 220 having a first or upper planar surface 222 and a second or lower planar surface 223. Cable block 209 also includes a latch member 230 that extends from main body portion 209. Latch member 230 includes a latch pin 233 that is adapted to engage with a latch pin receiver 236 provided on the underside (not separately labeled) of base member 6. Once received by latch pin receiver 236, latch pin 233 is configured to be rotated and locked into position by inserting a tool into a locking port 238. Latch member 230 is preferably formed from a flexible material such as canvas or the like but can also be constructed from various more robust materials such as metal. In any case, cable block 209 is secured to second end 14 of base member 6 through a hinge 240.
Depending on which exercise is chosen, cable block 209 is rotated and locked into position allowing cables 186, 187 to be attached thereto by connecting end caps 196a and 196b to corresponding cable receiving members 250 and 251 provided on upper surface 222. Of course, end caps 196a and 196b could also be connected to, for example, cable receiving member 73 provided on foot pad 34 depending upon the exercise to be performed. Generally speaking, the first end(s) of each of first and second resistance bands 182 and 183 are connected adjacent second ends 14 and 24 of first and second base members 6 and 7 respectively. Cable blocks 197-200 are configured to provide robust attachment points for first and second resistance bands 182, 183 and may include various locking structure such as external threads, grooves for receiving detent balls, openings for receiving pins and the like.
As best shown in FIGS. 2 and 5, cable blocks 198 and 200 include twist lock members 260 and 261 respectively. Each twist lock member 260, 261 includes a pair of outwardly projecting ear portions (not separately labeled) when properly attached to cap member 147, ensure that cable blocks 198 and 200 will not inadvertently become disengaged from exercise device 2.
In accordance with the invention, exercise device 2 is designed to be arranged in a first configuration, such as shown in FIGS. 1 and 2, with first ends 191a, 191b of cables 186, 187 being secured to cable block 209 and cable block 198 is secured to cap member 147. Likewise, first ends 193a and 193b of cables 189, 190 are attached to cable block 210 and cable block 200 is secured to cap member 197. In this configuration, a user performs various pivoting or rotating exercises as will be detailed more fully below.
In the first configuration, a user, after properly adjusting foot pads 34 and 35, grasps handle member 110 and shifts bar 105 side-to-side about an axis defined by pivot member 9. The action of pivoting bar 105 causes resistance bands 182 and 183 to alternatingly load and unload. The amount of energy required to alternatingly load and unload resistance bands 82 and 83 depends upon the length and resistance of the resistance bands and the added resistance provided by spring portion 97. For this reason, resistance bands 182 and 183 can come in a variety of lengths and resistance levels in a manner that will be discussed more fully below.
Exercise device 2 can also be employed in a second configuration as shown in FIG. 6. In order to transform exercise device 2 from the first configuration to the second configuration, bar 105 is disconnected from pivot member 9. More specifically, first end 107 is disconnected from connector 94 of pivot member 9. At this point, a second cap member 210, configured in a manner identical to that described above with respect to cap 147, is threadably secured to first end 113 of first end section 107. Cap member 210 includes an opening 215 formed on the side wall and another opening (not shown) formed on the top wall. In this configuration, cables 186 and 187 remain secured to cable block 209. However, cable block 198 is disconnected from side wall 153 of cap 147 and reattached to top wall 154 at opening 166. Similarly, cables 189 and 190 remain attached to cable block 210, while cable block 200 is disconnected from cap member 147 and reattached to a top wall (not separately labeled) of cap member 210 as shown.
When in the second configuration, a user grasps first and second end sections 107 and 110 to perform various exercises, such as bicep curls, standing presses and the like, while also being able to replace the particular resistance band members 182 and 183. That is, shorter bands allow a user to perform bicep curls, while longer bands enable a user to perform military-style or standing shoulder press exercises. In any case, it should be readily understood that the length, number of cables and resistance of resistance band members 182 and 183 can vary in accordance with the invention depending upon the particular exercise desired and particular fitness level of the user. As a user progressively becomes stronger, more and/or higher resistance bands are used.
At this point, it should be understood that the portable exercise device constructed in accordance with the present invention provides for a readily assembled mechanism for performing Pilates-type exercises that can be employed in various configurations to enable multiple, distinct exercises. Exercise device 2 is also readily disassembled and placed into a compact configuration for storage. In order to store exercise device 2, a user may simply disconnect bar 105 from pivot member 9, then separate bar 105 into two sections at first and second intermediate sections 108 and 109, with first end section 113 being stored in cap member 10a and second end section 137 being stored in cap member 106. At this point, first and second base members 6 and 7 are folded upward such that bar 105 nests within channels 18 and 28 respectively, while foot pads 34 and 35 can also be rotated and compactly aligned. In this configuration, exercise device 2 can be readily stored under a bed, in a closet or elsewhere and does not provide a large foot print to take up space unnecessarily.
Although described with reference to a preferred embodiment of the invention, it should be readily understood that various changes and/or modifications can be made to the invention without departing from the spirit thereof. For instance, the particular threaded connections employed in the construction of the bar could be replaced with various other mechanisms for joining tubular components. In addition, the elastomeric cables can be attached using various other connecting structures such as clips, hooks, etc. and connected in a number of configurations using cable blocks 209, 210, cable receiving members 73-76 and/or cap members 147, 210. In general, the invention is only intended to be limited by the scope of the following claims.