Title:
Balance trainer
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A balance training device is provided having a body mounted on a flexible pedestal connected to a stable base. The pedestal includes a spring or other similar flexible connection. A user sitting on the body will use muscles of their legs and abdomen to maintain balance on the device.



Inventors:
Welsh, Christopher (Darlington, MD, US)
Application Number:
12/456532
Publication Date:
12/24/2009
Filing Date:
06/18/2009
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63B26/00
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
20080020903Collapsible athletic training ladderJanuary, 2008Dieter
20020119868Pedal lever distance adjusting structure for sport exercise cycleAugust, 2002Chao
20060100067Training bagMay, 2006Washburn et al.
20070293377LAT EXERCISE MACHINE WITH SELF-ALIGNING PIVOTING USER SUPPORTDecember, 2007Webber et al.
20090170673METHODS AND DEVICES FOR EXERCISINGJuly, 2009Barretta
20070015631NEW TrampolineJanuary, 2007Mo
20060229168Shoe for deep-water-running exerciseOctober, 2006Killgore et al.
20060019801Structure of stepperJanuary, 2006Zeng
20090156373Liquid weight system for bench press and stations of home gymJune, 2009Suber III et al.
20090075785BICYCLE TRAINERMarch, 2009Schroeder
20030211921Williams triceps benchNovember, 2003Williams



Primary Examiner:
ROLAND, DANIEL F
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
WHITEFORD, TAYLOR & PRESTON, LLP (ATTN: GREGORY M STONE SEVEN SAINT PAUL STREET, BALTIMORE, MD, 21202-1626, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A balance training device, comprising: a body; a base; and a flexible connection mounted between said body and said base.

2. The balance training device of claim 1 wherein said body is sized and configured to allow a user to ride thereon.

3. The balance training device of claim 2 wherein said body comprises a seat.

4. The balance training device of claim 3 wherein said seat is padded.

5. The balance training device of claim 1, further comprising: a pedestal between said body and said base.

6. The balance training device of claim 5 wherein said flexible connection is connected between said pedestal and said base.

7. The balance training device of claim 5 wherein said pedestal is connected to said body at approximately a central position of said body.

8. The balance training device of claim 5 further comprising foot pegs.

9. The balance training device of claim 8 wherein said foot pegs are adjustable with respect to said pedestal.

10. The balance training device of claim 1 wherein said flexible connection comprises a spring.

11. The balance training device of claim 10 wherein said spring is selected for having specific rigidity.

12. The balance training device of claim 1 in which said flexible connection is fitted in an exchangeable manner.

13. The balance training device of claim 12 wherein said flexible connection can be changed to increase or lessen the rigidity of the connection to the body.

14. The balance training of claim 1, said base further comprising: a mounting platform; and a plurality of legs.

15. The balance training device of claim 1, said flexible connection further comprising: a rigid post having a first end and a second end; and a spring having a first end and a second end, wherein the first end of said rigid post is attached to said body, the second end of said rigid post is attached to the first end of said spring, and the second end of said spring is attached to said base.

16. The balance training device of claim 15 in which said spring is fitted in an exchangeable manner.

17. The balance training device of claim 16 wherein said spring can be changed to increase or lessen the rigidity of the connection to the base.

18. The balance training device of claim 1, said flexible connection further comprising: a first rigid post having a first end and a second end; a second rigid post having a first end and a second end; and a spring having a first end and a second end, wherein the first end of said first rigid post is attached to said body, the second end of said first rigid post is attached to the first end of said spring, the second end of said spring is attached to the first end of said second rigid post, and the second end of said second rigid post is attached said base.

19. The balance training device of claim 18 in which said spring is fitted in an exchangeable manner between said first and second rigid post.

20. The balance training device of claim 19 wherein said spring can be changed to increase or lessen the rigidity of the connection between the first and second rigid post.

Description:

CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION

This application is based upon and claims benefit of copending and co-owned U.S. Provisional Patent Application Ser. No. 61/132,354 entitled “Balance Trainer”, filed with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on Jun. 18, 2008 by the inventor herein, the specification of which is incorporated herein by reference.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention relates to a balance training apparatus having a seat that provides an unstable motion for a user. The invention is preferably used as a balance practicing device for training a body balance function and exercise for strengthening body core muscles.

2. Background

There are currently in use many devices to exercise the various muscles of the body. These exercise devices are commonly found in gymnasiums or weight rooms and are designed to exercise specific muscles of the human body depending on the weights or apparatus being used.

An example of such a device is a fixed position exercise bicycle. Such an exercise bicycle does not have normal bicycle wheels, but has a bicycle frame mounted on a platform. A person sits on the seat as if on a bicycle and uses their legs to peddle the device. Usually the peddles are connected to a weight or friction wheel such that the amount of exercise energy used can be varied. Sometimes the handlebars are connected to a friction mechanism to allow the exerciser to push and pull on the handlebars to give a form of upper body exercise.

Another type of trainer, exerciser, and entertainment device, which is electro-mechanically powered, is the popular mechanical bull. This device provides a shaped body to simulate the body of a bull and allows sitting on the body, such as might be done in a rodeo. The device has a mechanism, which may include hydraulics and mechanical lever devices that are usually electrically powered. The shaped body is caused to rotate and move up and down either under control of an operator or through a sequence programmed into electronic controls for the device.

In particular, for motorcycle training, U.S. Pat. No. 5,533,899 describes a trainer in the general shape of a motorcycle for sitting and gripping of the handlebars as well as placement of the feet. The trainer frame is pivotally mounted such that an attached powered device causes vertical motion of the trainer frame and allows the user of the trainer to lean to the left or right side as if shifting the center of gravity to account for shifts in the rider's weight due to centrifugal force when riding a motorcycle.

There remains a need, however, for a simple balance training device that does not require external power, yet provides a means to train or exercise a user's muscles.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

Accordingly, it is an object of the present invention to provide a balance trainer that avoids the disadvantages of the prior art.

Another object of the present invention is to provide a balance trainer that is effective and easy to use.

Yet another object of the present invention is to provide a balance trainer that does not require a power supply.

A primary objective of the present invention is to provide a balance training device for training a body balance function and exercise for strengthening body core muscles. Another object is to provide such exercise on a fixed location device that allows the exercise user to sit in an upright position. A related object is to provide a balance training device that allows use of other training apparatus, such as free weights, while seated on the device.

Another object of the present invention is to provide a balance training device that can be easily used in training facilities and in average homes.

These and other objects of the present invention are attained by the provision of a balance training device having a body mounted on a flexible pedestal connected to a stable base. The pedestal includes a spring or other similarly flexible connection. A user sitting on the body will use muscles of their legs and abdomen to maintain balance on the device.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The above and other features, aspects, and advantages of the present invention are considered in more detail, in relation to the following description of embodiments thereof shown in the accompanying drawings, in which:

FIG. 1 is a side perspective view of a balance training device according to a first embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 2 is a front perspective view of a balance training device according to a first embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 3 is a side elevational view of a balance training device according to a first embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 4 is a top view of a balance training device according to a first embodiment of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

The invention summarized above and defined by the enumerated claims may be better understood by referring to the following description, which should be read in conjunction with the accompanying drawings in which like reference symbols are used for like parts. This description of an embodiment, set out below to enable one to build and use an implementation of the invention, is not intended to limit the invention, but to serve as a particular example thereof. Those skilled in the art should appreciate that they may readily use the conception and specific embodiments disclosed as a basis for modifying or designing other methods and systems for carrying out the same purposes of the present invention. Those skilled in the art should also realize that such equivalent assemblies do not depart from the spirit and scope of the invention in its broadest form.

Referring to the drawings, FIG. 1 shows a balance trainer, indicated generally as 10, according to the present invention. The balance trainer 10 has a body 13 mounted on a base 16 through a flexible connection, such as spring 19. In a preferred embodiment, spring 19 is selected for having a specific rigidity so that a user sitting on the body 13 causes the body 13 to move. It is also preferred that the spring 19 may be optionally changed to increase or lessen the rigidity of the connection to the body 13.

The body 13 has a long, slender seat 22, which may be padded for comfort. In a preferred embodiment, the body 13 may be sized and configured to allow a user to ride thereon. The seat 22 may be approximately symmetrical along its long axis. In a preferred embodiment, the body 13 and seat 22 may substantially resemble a motorcycle seat. In some embodiments, the body 13 may also include side panels 25, 26, which may be substantially orthogonal to the base 16 or may be flared outwardly at at least one end of the side panels 25, 26.

The body 13 is mounted on a pedestal 28 at approximately the middle of the body 13. The pedestal 28 extends toward and is connected to the base 16. An upper portion of the pedestal 28 includes a rigid post portion 31, which may be hollow or solid depending on the necessary strength requirements as determined by one skilled in the relevant art. In some embodiments, foot pegs 33, 34 may be provided at or near the lower end 38 of the post portion 31. The foot pegs 33, 34 may be adjustable vertically on the post portion 31 to fit the size of a user.

The spring 19 is connected at its top end 41 to the lower end 38 of post portion 31. Spring 19 is connected at its bottom end 42 to the base 16. The base 16 may include a mounting platform 45 and a plurality of legs, such as 48, 49. In some embodiments, the spring 19 may be installed between two rigid post portions, such that a second rigid post (not shown) is connected to the base 16.

In use, the balance trainer 10 increases core balance and improves coordination skills. A user sits on the seat 22 and places their feet on the foot pegs 33, 34. The spring 19 enables the body 13 to be unstable and therefore move in any direction, requiring the user to shift his or her body to maintain balance on the trainer 10. Once a user has substantially mastered maintaining balance on the trainer 10 having a certain spring 19 with a given rigidity, the spring 19 can be changed to a different spring 19 that is less rigid, in order to continue to exercise the muscles of the user's legs and abdomen. Alternatively, or in addition, the user can perform exercises while sitting on the trainer 10. Such exercises my include hand weights or other training devices.

The invention has been described with references to a preferred embodiment. While specific values, relationships, materials and steps have been set forth for purposes of describing concepts of the invention, it will be appreciated by persons skilled in the art that numerous variations and/or modifications may be made to the invention as shown in the specific embodiments without departing from the spirit or scope of the basic concepts and operating principles of the invention as broadly described. It should be recognized that, in the light of the above teachings, those skilled in the art can modify those specifics without departing from the invention taught herein. Having now fully set forth the preferred embodiments and certain modifications of the concept underlying the present invention, various other embodiments as well as certain variations and modifications of the embodiments herein shown and described will obviously occur to those skilled in the art upon becoming familiar with such underlying concept. It is intended to include all such modifications, alternatives and other embodiments insofar as they come within the scope of the appended claims or equivalents thereof. It should be understood, therefore, that the invention might be practiced otherwise than as specifically set forth herein. Consequently, the present embodiments are to be considered in all respects as illustrative and not restrictive.