Title:
WRIST EXERCISE DEVICE AND METHOD OF USE THEREOF
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A wrist exercise device comprising a supporting element including a first portion having an axis, said supporting element configured to be attached to a weight lifting machine; a handle having an axis, the handle coaxial with the first portion of the supporting element, the handle being configured for rotation about the first portion of the supporting element; and at least one resistive element, coupled to at least one of the supporting element and the handle, the resistive element configured to provide an element of resistance to rotation of the handle.



Inventors:
Sela, Ilan (Petach-Tikva, IL)
Application Number:
12/435455
Publication Date:
11/11/2010
Filing Date:
05/05/2009
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63B23/14
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
20090111659Trampoline enclosure netApril, 2009Xiang
20030045406Reorientable pulley systemMarch, 2003Stone
20070015643Exercising elastic pull cordJanuary, 2007Kung
20050221963Dispenser/retraction unitOctober, 2005Prismall et al.
20090221406PRESSURIZED-TRAINING APPARATUS AND CONTROL METHOD FOR THE SAMESeptember, 2009Sato
20030040408Form arm speed trainer (FAST)February, 2003Harley Sr.
20080161168Power generating structure of an exerciserJuly, 2008Hsiao
20060084555Variable resistance flexion and extension exercise machineApril, 2006Garner
20020032106Tummy twisterMarch, 2002Heiniemi et al.
20070197352Barbell set and platesAugust, 2007Charniga et al.
20070082792Method and apparatus for passively exercising abdominal musclesApril, 2007Gebelein



Primary Examiner:
GINSBERG, OREN ISAAC
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
MARTIN D. MOYNIHAN d/b/a PRTSI, INC. (P.O. BOX 16446, ARLINGTON, VA, 22215, US)
Claims:
1. A wrist exercise device comprising: a supporting element including a first portion having an axis, said supporting element configured to be attached to a weight lifting machine; a handle having an axis, said handle coaxial with said first portion of said supporting element, said handle being configured for rotation about said first portion of said supporting element; and at least one resistive element, coupled to at least one of said supporting element and said handle, said resistive element configured to provide an element of resistance to rotation of said handle.

2. A wrist exercise device according to claim 1, wherein said at least one resistive element comprises a first elastic element, said first elastic coupled to at least said handle, said first elastic element configured to be stressed upon rotation of said handle relative to said supporting element, from a starting position to a rotated position.

3. An exercise device comprising: a plurality of weights to be lifted; a selector element configured to mechanically select an amount of weight to be lifted; an exertion element configured to exert force so as to lift a preselected amount of weight; and a wrist exercise device; whereby simultaneous exertion of force on said exertion element and rotation of a portion of said wrist exercise device provides a user with a combination of weight training exercise and resistance exercise.

4. The wrist exercise device according to claim 2, wherein said first elastic element is coupled to said handle and to said supporting element, said first elastic element disposed substantially within said handle and said first portion of said supporting element is disposed substantially within said first elastic element; and wherein said first elastic element includes first and second ends, said first end attached to said supporting element and said second end attached to said handle, whereby rotation of said handle relative to said supporting element results in rotation of said second end relative to said first end, thereby providing said element of resistance to said device.

5. The wrist exercise device according to claim 4, wherein said first elastic element has an axis, said first elastic element coaxial with said handle.

6. The wrist exercise device according to claim 4, wherein said first elastic element is configured to be compressed upon rotation of said handle relative to said supporting element in a first direction.

7. The wrist exercise device according to claim 4, wherein said first elastic element is configured to be stretched upon rotation of said handle relative to said supporting element in a second direction, opposite to said first direction.

8. The wrist exercise device according to claim 4 wherein said first elastic element comprises a spring.

9. The wrist exercise device according to claim 8, wherein said spring is substantially entirely disposed within said handle.

10. The wrist exercise device according to claim 2, wherein said first elastic element has an axis, said first elastic element coaxial with said handle; wherein said first elastic element is disposed substantially within said handle and said first portion of said supporting element is disposed substantially within said first elastic element; and wherein said device includes a spacer element disposed between said first portion of said supporting element and said handle, said spacer element configured to maintain said first portion of said supporting element and said handle in coaxial alignment.

11. The wrist exercise device according to claim 2, further comprising an adjustment mechanism configured for changing the amount of resistance provided by said first elastic element upon rotation of said handle relative to said supporting element.

12. The wrist exercise device according to claim 11, wherein said first elastic element is configured for being decoupled from said device; and wherein said adjustment mechanism includes a second elastic element configured to be coupled to at least said handle, said second elastic element configured to be stressed upon rotation of said handle relative to said supporting element, from a starting position to a rotated position, said second elastic element configured to provide an element of resistance to rotation of said handle, said element of resistance provided by said second elastic element being different from said element of resistance provided by said first elastic element.

13. The wrist exercise device according to claim 11, wherein: said first elastic element and said handle together comprise a first handle-spring assembly; said device includes a second handle-spring assembly comprising a second elastic element and a second handle, said second elastic element having a torsional strength which is different from the torsional strength of said first elastic element; said first handle-spring assembly is configured to be removed from said supporting element; and said second handle-spring assembly is configured to be coupled to said supporting element, thereby providing said wrist exercise device with an element of resistance to rotation of said handle of said second handle-spring assembly which is different from the element of resistance provided by said first elastic element.

14. The wrist exercise device according to claim 11, wherein: said first elastic element and said handle together comprise a first handle-spring assembly; said device includes a second handle-spring assembly comprising a second elastic element and a second handle, said second elastic element having a torsional strength which is different from the torsional strength of said first elastic element; and said second handle-spring assembly is configured to be coupled to said supporting element, thereby providing said wrist exercise device with an element of resistance to rotation of said handle of said second handle-spring assembly which is different from the element of resistance provided by said first elastic element.

15. The wrist exercise device according to claim 11, further comprising at least one additional elastic element, each of said at least one additional elastic element coupled to said supporting element and configured to be engaged within said handle, each of said at least one additional elastic element configured to provide an additional element of resistance to rotation of said handle.

16. The wrist exercise device according to claim 15, wherein said at least one additional elastic element comprises two additional elastic elements.

17. The wrist exercise device according to claim 15, wherein said at least one additional elastic element comprises three additional elastic elements.

18. The wrist exercise device according to claim 16, wherein said two additional elastic elements are of different lengths.

19. The wrist exercise device according to claim 2, wherein said supporting element includes a contact pin; wherein said first elastic element includes a contact portion and an attachment portion, said attachment portion attached to said handle; whereby said contact pin is configured to be brought into contact with said contact portion upon rotation of said handle relative to said supporting element in a first direction, thereby compressing said first elastic element.

20. The wrist exercise device according to claim 2, wherein said handle includes a contact pin; wherein said first elastic element includes a contact portion and an attachment portion, said attachment portion attached to said supporting element; whereby said contact pin is configured to be brought into contact with said contact portion upon rotation of said handle relative to said supporting element in a first direction, thereby compressing said first elastic element.

21. The wrist exerciser according to claim 2, wherein said supporting element is attached to a weight lifting machine.

22. The wrist exerciser according to claim 21, wherein said supporting element is provided with an attachment element for hingedly attaching said supporting element to a portion of the weight lifting machine.

23. The wrist exerciser according to claim 22, wherein said supporting element is rotatable about the portion of the weight lifting machine.

24. The wrist exerciser according to claim 2, wherein said supporting element and said handle are provided with markings configured for indicating the amount of resistance provided by said device upon rotation of said handle to said rotated position.

25. A wrist exercise device configured to be attached to a weight lifting machine, said wrist exercise device comprising: a supporting element having an axis, said supporting element configured to be attached to the weight lifting machine; a handle having an axis, said handle coaxial with a portion of said supporting element; and an elastic element having first and second ends, said first end attached to said supporting element and said second end attached to said handle, said elastic element having an axis, said elastic element coaxial with said handle and said portion of said supporting element; whereby said handle is rotatable relative to said portion of said supporting element and rotation of said handle stresses said elastic element, thereby providing an element of resistance to rotation of said handle; and whereby said element of resistance provides a user's wrist with resistance exercise while lifting weights from the weight lifting machine.

26. The wrist exercise device according to claim 25, wherein said supporting element includes first, second, and third portions, said handle rotatable about said first portion, said third portion hingedly attached to the weight lifting machine, and said second portion attached between said first and third portions; whereby said provision of resistance exercise does not change the direction of force required to lift weights of the weight lifting machine.

27. The wrist exercise device according to claim 26, the weight lifting machine having a cable coupled to weights to be lifted, wherein said first portion is orthogonal to the cable of the weight lifting machine.

28. A wrist exercise device comprising: a supporting element having a generally circular cross-section, said supporting element including a portion having an axis, said supporting element configured to be attached to a weight lifting machine; a handle having a generally circular cross-section, said handle having an axis, said handle having a cylindrical cavity, said portion of said supporting element disposed within and coaxial with said handle, said handle being configured for rotation about said portion of said supporting element; and an elastic element, coupled to at least said handle, said elastic element configured to be stressed upon rotation of said handle relative to said portion of said supporting element, from a starting position to a rotated position, said elastic element configured to provide an element of resistance to rotation of said handle.

29. A method of exercising the wrist comprising: (a) selecting an amount of resistance to be overcome on exertion of a force in a first rotational direction; (b) selecting a first degree of rotation through which the force is to be exerted in the first rotational direction; (c) exerting the force required to overcome the amount of resistance selected; and (d) continuing to exert the force required to overcome the amount of resistance selected, through the first degree of rotation selected.

30. The method according to claim 29, further comprising: (e) selecting an amount of weight to be lifted, said selecting (e) being performed before said exerting (c); and (f) exerting the force required to lift the amount of weight selected, said exerting (f) being performed simultaneously with said exerting (c).

31. The method according to claim 29, further comprising: (e) slowly reducing the amount of force exerted to overcome the amount of resistance selected, through the first degree of rotation selected.

32. The method according to claim 29, further comprising: (e) selecting a second degree of rotation, said second degree of rotation being less than said first degree of rotation; (f) slowly reducing the amount of force exerted to overcome the amount of resistance selected, through the second degree of rotation; (g) exerting the force required to overcome the amount of resistance selected, through the second degree of rotation; (h) repeating said slowly reducing (f) and said exerting (g) a selected number of times; and (i) slowly reducing the amount of force exerted to overcome the amount of resistance selected, through the first degree of rotation.

33. The method according to claim 32, wherein the first and second selected degrees of rotation are selected according to an exercise plan.

34. The method according to claim 29, wherein the amount of resistance to be overcome is selected according to an exercise plan.

35. The method according to claim 29, further comprising, after said continuing (d): (e) selecting a second amount of resistance to be overcome on exertion of a force in the first rotational direction; (f) selecting a second degree of rotation through which the force of said selecting (e) is to be exerted in the first rotational direction; (g) exerting the force required to overcome the amount of resistance selected in said selecting (e); and (h) continuing to exert the force required to overcome the amount of resistance selected in said selecting (e), through the second degree of rotation selected.

36. The method according to claim 1, said supporting element comprising a generally planar element and further including second and third portions each having an axis; wherein said first and second portions form an angle of approximately 90 degrees, said second and third portions form an angle of approximately 135 degrees, and said first and third portions are oriented at approximately 45 degrees relative to each other

Description:

FIELD AND BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

The present invention, in some embodiments thereof, relates to an exercise device and, more particularly, but not exclusively, to a device for exercising the wrist.

Various devices have been developed in order to exercise muscles of the body. One type of exercise device is a weight lifting device, which requires the exertion of force in order to lift a selected amount of weight provided on the device. Another type of exercise device allows at least one muscle to work against resistive forces provided by the device, such that by pulling or pushing on a portion of the device, the muscle(s) are exerted and exercise is performed.

U.S. Pat. No. 6,394,937 to Voris discloses a handle and exercise arm assembly for use with an exercise machine. The device is designed for complete natural joint articulation of the shoulders, elbows, and wrists of the user. The wrists are allowed to turn easily about pivot points, such that there is no resistance felt at the wrists.

U.S. Pat. No. 6,932,749 to Barnes et al. discloses an exercise machine for kinesiologically correct exercise and rehabilitation. In performing assistive exercises, wherein the weight of the user's body is made lighter, the user's body is pushed upon by the guide arm while force is applied to the guide arm through a bidirectional force transferring means. In performing resistive exercises, wherein the weight of the use's body is made heavier, the user is pulling upon or harnessed to the guide arm while force is applied to the guide arm through a bidirectional force transferring means. The device includes a force transferring mechanism which is adjusted to select a desired range of assistive or resistive forces required for a particular exercise. When performing push-ups, the user may hold onto a pair of handles, which may be rotated by his hands as he raises and lowers his body. While the handles are designed to rotate as the user performs his exercise, there is no resistance felt at the wrists.

U.S. Pat. No. 4,743,018 to Eckler discloses a device for lifting weights, the device having a bar for carrying weights and offset rotatable handles which provide rotatable hand grips for weightlifting. The device allows the hands to be rotated while supporting the weightlifting bar, such that the user may change hand positions from pronated to supinated in one movement, without having to drop the bar and regrip it. The handles are mounted in ball bearings, thus providing the user with resistance-free movement of the handles during weight lifting exercise.

U.S. Pat. No. 6,692,416 to Davis discloses a pair of handles for attachment to an exercise machine having at least one cable that provides resistance to a force exerted on the cable. Each handle includes a handgrip, rotatable about a solid steel rod, and a cable coupling. The handles may be oriented in four basic different positions relative to each other for attachment via a coupling member to one or more cables of an exercise machine. As the steel rod of each handgrip is rotatable therewithin, there is no resistance provided during rotation of the handgrip about the steel rod.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention, in some embodiments thereof, is a wrist exercise device and method wherein a user exerts force on a handle which is coupled to a resistive element, such that the force exerted overcomes resistance provided by the device, whereby the user performs resistance exercise of the wrist, for example, independently or in combination with resistance training exercise such as, for example, weight training exercise.

According to an aspect of some embodiments of the present invention there is provided a wrist exercise device comprising: a supporting element including a first portion having an axis, the supporting element configured to be attached to a weight lifting machine; a handle having an axis, the handle coaxial with the first portion of the supporting element, the handle being configured for rotation about the first portion of the supporting element; and at least one resistive element, coupled to at least one of the supporting element and the handle, the resistive element configured to provide an element of resistance to rotation of the handle.

According to some embodiments of the invention there is provided a wrist exercise device wherein the at least one resistive element comprises a first elastic element, the first elastic element coupled to at least the handle, the first elastic element configured to be stressed upon rotation of weight of the handle relative to the supporting element, from a starting position to a rotated position.

According to an aspect of some embodiments of the invention there is provided an exercise device comprising: a plurality of weights to be lifted; a selector element configured to mechanically select an amount of weight to be lifted; an exertion element configured to exert force so as to lift a preselected amount of weight; and a wrist exercise device; whereby simultaneous exertion of force on the exertion element and rotation of a portion of the wrist exercise device provides a user with a combination training exercise and resistance exercise.

According to some embodiments of the invention there is provided a wrist exercise device wherein the first elastic element is coupled to the handle and to the supporting element, the first elastic element disposed substantially within the handle and the first portion of the supporting element is disposed substantially within the first elastic element; and wherein the first elastic element includes first and second ends, the first end attached to the supporting element and the second end attached to the handle, whereby rotation of the handle relative to the supporting element results in rotation of the second end relative to the first end, thereby providing the element of resistance to the device.

According to some embodiments of the invention there is provided a wrist exercise device wherein the first elastic element has an axis, the first elastic element coaxial with the handle.

According to some embodiments of the invention there is provided a wrist exercise device wherein the first elastic element is configured to be compressed upon rotation of the handle relative to the supporting element in a first direction.

According to some embodiments of the invention there is provided a wrist exercise device wherein the first elastic element is configured to be stretched upon rotation of the handle relative to the supporting element in a second direction, opposite to the first direction.

According to some embodiments of the invention there is provided a wrist exercise device wherein the first elastic element comprises a spring.

According to some embodiments of the invention there is provided a wrist exercise device wherein the spring is substantially entirely disposed within the handle.

According to some embodiments of the invention there is provided a wrist exercise device wherein the first elastic element has an axis, the first elastic element coaxial with the handle; wherein the first elastic element is disposed substantially within the handle and the first portion of the supporting element is disposed substantially within the first elastic element; and wherein the device includes a spacer element disposed between the first portion of the supporting element and the handle, the spacer element configured to maintain the first portion of the supporting element and the handle in coaxial alignment.

According to some embodiments of the invention there is provided a wrist exercise device further comprising an adjustment mechanism configured for changing the amount of resistance provided by the first elastic element upon rotation of the handle relative to the supporting element.

According to some embodiments of the invention there is provided a wrist exercise device wherein the first elastic element is configured for being decoupled from the device; and wherein the adjustment mechanism includes a second elastic element configured to be coupled to at least the handle, the second elastic element configured to be stressed upon rotation of the handle relative to the supporting element, from a starting position to a rotated position, the second elastic element configured to provide an element of resistance to rotation of the handle, the element of resistance provided by the second elastic element being different from the element of resistance provided by the first elastic element.

According to some embodiments of the invention there is provided a wrist exercise device wherein: the first elastic element and the handle together comprise a first handle-spring assembly; the device includes a second handle-spring assembly comprising a second elastic element and a second handle, the second elastic element having a torsional strength which is different from the torsional strength of the first elastic element; the first handle-spring assembly is configured to be removed from the supporting element; and the second handle-spring assembly is configured to be coupled to the supporting element, thereby providing the wrist exercise device with an element of resistance to rotation of the handle of the second handle-spring assembly which is different from the element of resistance provided by the first elastic element.

According to some embodiments of the invention there is provided a wrist exercise device wherein: the first elastic element and the handle together comprise a first handle-spring assembly; the device includes a second handle-spring assembly comprising a second elastic element and a second handle, the second elastic element having a torsional strength which is different from the torsional strength of the first elastic element; and the second handle-spring assembly is configured to be coupled to the supporting element, thereby providing the wrist exercise device with an element of resistance to rotation of the handle of the second handle-spring assembly which is different from the element of resistance provided by the first elastic element.

According to some embodiments of the invention there is provided a wrist exercise device, further comprising at least one additional elastic element, each of the at least one additional elastic element coupled to the supporting element and configured to be engaged within the handle, each of the at least one additional elastic element configured to provide an additional element of resistance to rotation of the handle.

According to some embodiments of the invention there is provided a wrist exercise device, wherein the at least one additional elastic element comprises two additional elastic elements.

According to some embodiments of the invention there is provided a wrist exercise device, wherein the at least one additional elastic element comprises three additional elastic elements.

According to some embodiments of the invention there is provided a wrist exercise device, wherein the two additional elastic elements are of different lengths.

According to some embodiments of the invention there is provided a wrist exercise device wherein the supporting element includes a contact pin; wherein the first elastic element includes a contact portion and an attachment portion, the attachment portion attached to the handle; whereby the contact pin is configured to be brought into contact with the contact portion upon rotation of the handle relative to the supporting element in a first direction, thereby compressing the first elastic element.

According to some embodiments of the invention there is provided a wrist exercise device wherein the handle includes a contact pin; wherein the first elastic element includes a contact portion and an attachment portion, the attachment portion attached to the supporting element; whereby the contact pin is configured to be brought into contact with the contact portion upon rotation of the handle relative to the supporting element in a first direction, thereby compressing the first elastic element.

According to some embodiments of the invention there is provided a wrist exercise device wherein the supporting element is attached to a weight lifting machine.

According to some embodiments of the invention there is provided a wrist exercise device wherein the supporting element is provided with an attachment element for hingedly attaching the supporting element to a portion of the weight lifting machine.

According to some embodiments of the invention there is provided a wrist exercise device wherein the supporting element is rotatable about the portion of the weight lifting machine.

According to some embodiments of the invention there is provided a wrist exercise device wherein the supporting element and the handle are provided with markings configured for indicating the amount of resistance provided by the device upon rotation of the handle to the rotated position.

According to an aspect of some embodiments of the present invention there is provided a wrist exercise device configured to be attached to a weight lifting machine, the wrist exercise device comprising: a supporting element having an axis, the supporting element configured to be attached to the weight lifting machine; a handle having an axis, the handle coaxial with a portion of the supporting element; and an elastic element having first and second ends, the first end attached to the supporting element and the second end attached to the handle, the elastic element having an axis, the elastic element coaxial with the handle and the portion of the supporting element; whereby the handle is rotatable relative to the portion of the supporting element and rotation of the handle stresses the elastic element, thereby providing an element of resistance to rotation of the handle; and whereby the element of resistance provides a user's wrist with resistance exercise while lifting weights from the weight lifting machine.

According to some embodiments of the invention there is provided a wrist exercise device wherein the supporting element includes first, second, and third portions, the handle rotatable about the first portion, the third portion hingedly attached to the weight lifting machine, and the second portion attached between the first and third portions; whereby the provision of resistance exercise does not change the direction of force required to lift weights of the weight lifting machine.

According to some embodiments of the invention there is provided a wrist exercise device, the weight lifting machine having a cable coupled to weights to be lifted, wherein the first portion is orthogonal to the cable of the weight lifting machine.

According to an aspect of some embodiments of the present invention there is provided a wrist exercise device comprising: a supporting element having a generally circular cross-section, the supporting element including a portion having an axis, the supporting element configured to be attached to a weight lifting machine; a handle having a generally circular cross-section, the handle having an axis, the handle having a cylindrical cavity, the portion of the supporting element disposed within and coaxial with the handle, the handle being configured for rotation about the portion of the supporting element; and an elastic element, coupled to at least the handle, the elastic element configured to be stressed upon rotation of the handle relative to the portion of the supporting element, from a starting position to a rotated position, the elastic element configured to provide an element of resistance to rotation of the handle.

According to an aspect of some embodiments of the present invention there is provided a method of exercising the wrist comprising: (a) selecting an amount of resistance to be overcome on exertion of a force in a first rotational direction; (b) selecting a first degree of rotation through which the force is to be exerted in the first rotational direction; (c) exerting the force required to overcome the amount of resistance selected; and (d) continuing to exert the force required to overcome the amount of resistance selected, through the first degree of rotation selected.

According to some embodiments of the invention there is provided a method of exercising the wrist further comprising: (e) selecting an amount of weight to be lifted, the selecting (e) being performed before the exerting (c); and (f) exerting the force required to lift the amount of weight selected, the exerting (f) being performed simultaneously with the exerting (c).

According to some embodiments of the invention there is provided a method of exercising the wrist, further comprising: (e) slowly reducing the amount of force exerted to overcome the amount of resistance selected, through the first degree of rotation selected.

According to some embodiments of the invention there is provided a method of exercising the wrist further comprising: (e) selecting a second degree of rotation, the second degree of rotation being less than the first degree of rotation; (f) slowly reducing the amount of force exerted to overcome the amount of resistance selected, through the second degree of rotation; (g) exerting the force required to overcome the amount of resistance selected, through the second degree of rotation; (h) repeating the slowly reducing (f) and the exerting (g) a selected number of times; and (i) slowly reducing the amount of force exerted to overcome the amount of resistance selected, through the first degree of rotation.

According to some embodiments of the invention there is provided a method of exercising the wrist wherein the first and second selected degrees of rotation are selected according to an exercise plan.

According to some embodiments of the invention there is provided a method of exercising the wrist wherein the amount of resistance to be overcome is selected according to an exercise plan.

According to some embodiments of the invention there is provided a method, further comprising, after the continuing (d): (e) selecting a second amount of resistance to be overcome on exertion of a force in the first rotational direction; (f) selecting a second degree of rotation through which the force of the selecting (e) is to be exerted in the first rotational direction; (g) exerting the force required to overcome the amount of resistance selected in the selecting (e); and (h) continuing to exert the force required to overcome the amount of resistance selected in the selecting (e), through the second degree of rotation selected.

Unless otherwise defined, all technical and/or scientific terms used herein have the same meaning as commonly understood by one of ordinary skill in the art to which the invention pertains. Although methods and materials similar or equivalent to those described herein can be used in the practice or testing of embodiments of the invention, exemplary methods and/or materials are described below. In case of conflict, the patent specification, including definitions, will control. In addition, the s materials, methods, and examples are illustrative only and are not intended to be necessarily limiting.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Some embodiments of the invention are herein described, by way of example only, with reference to the accompanying drawings. With specific reference now to the drawings in detail, it is stressed that the particulars shown are by way of example and for purposes of illustrative discussion of embodiments of the invention. In this regard, the description taken with the drawings makes apparent to those skilled in the art how embodiments of the invention may be practiced.

In the drawings:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a wrist exercise device in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 2 is an exploded view of the device of FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is a cross-sectional view of the device of FIG. 1, taken in the direction of arrows III-III therein;

FIGS. 4a-c are perspective views of the device of FIG. 1, shown fastened to a cable of a conventional weight lifting machine;

FIGS. 5a-b are side views of devices in accordance with alternative embodiments of the present invention;

FIGS. 6a-c are end views of a wrist exercise device, in accordance with an alternative embodiment of the present invention; and

FIG. 7 is a side-sectional view of a wrist exercise device, in accordance with yet another embodiment of the present invention, taken in the direction of arrows VII-VII in FIG. 1.

DESCRIPTION OF EMBODIMENTS OF THE INVENTION

The present invention, in some embodiments thereof, relates to an exercise device and method and, more particularly, but not exclusively, to a device and method for exercising the wrist. By exerting a selectable force on a handle which is coupled to a resistive element of the device, the force exerted overcomes resistance provided by the device, such that the user performs resistance exercise of the wrist, for example, either independently or in combination with weight training exercise, such as in a setting such as a health club or fitness center. The device provides for safe resistance exercise of the wrist by avoiding possible injury thereto, as the resistive element prevents sudden free motion and overstressing of the muscles, thereby allowing a user to achieve efficient and/or effective exercise by, for example, correcting wrong movements of the arms and upper body.

Before explaining at least one embodiment of the invention in detail, it is to be understood that the invention is not necessarily limited in its application to the details of construction and the arrangement of the components and/or methods set forth in the following description and/or illustrated in the drawings and/or the Examples. The invention is capable of other embodiments or of being practiced or carried out in various ways.

Referring now to the drawings, FIG. 1 illustrates a device 10 for exercising the wrist in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention. FIG. 2 shows an exploded view of device 10. As shown in the drawings, device 10 includes a supporting element 12, a handle 30, and a resistive element in the form of an elastic element 40, the structure and interaction of which will be discussed in detail below. A user exerts force on handle 30, which is coupled to an elastic element 40, such that the force exerted overcomes resistance provided by the elastic element 40, whereby the user performs resistance exercise of the wrist, for example, either independently or in combination with weight training exercise.

In the embodiment shown, supporting element 12 is a generally planar C-shaped rod having a circular cross section. Supporting element 12 includes first, second, and third portions, 14, 16, 18, first portion 14 having an axis 20. As shown in the exemplary embodiment of FIG. 1, first portion 14 and second portion 16 form an angle of approximately 90 degrees. Second portion 16 and third portion 18 form an angle of approximately 135 degrees, such that first portion 14 and third portion 18 are oriented at approximately 45 degrees relative to each other. First portion 14 is provided with a threaded bore 11, the purpose of which will be discussed below. While supporting element 12 is shown as being generally planar, as noted above, if desired, supporting element 12 may be non-planar.

It may be noted that the particular configuration of supporting element 12, shown in FIG. 1, has been chosen in order that a user may easily grip the handle 30. Additionally, it may be noted that this particular configuration has been chosen as it is similar to that of one type of handle of a conventional weight lifting machine, whereby handle 30 provides the user with a comfortable grip and orientation of the wrist relative to the hand and forearm. Further, by employing this particular configuration device 10 may be easily attached to a cable of a weight lifting machine, as will be discussed below with reference to FIGS. 4a-c and 5a-b. Optionally, if desired, any alternative configuration may be selected such as, for example, the configurations discussed below with regard to FIGS. 5a-b. Handle 30 is configured such that a user may grip device 10 and may exert a force thereon, such that the force exerted overcomes resistance provided by the device, whereby the user performs resistance exercise of the wrist.

Handle 30 is formed as a tubular element having a generally circular cross-section, such that it may be easily grasped by a user, handle 30 being coaxial with first portion 14 of supporting element 12. Handle 30 has a circular cross section and has a cylindrical cavity 32. At a first end 31 of handle 30 there is provided a projection 34 extending outwardly from the outer surface 35 thereof. Projection 34 has an aperture 36 formed therein, and a ring 38 is positioned within aperture 36. If desired, instead of projection 34 and ring 38, there may be provided, for example, a ring which is welded or otherwise attached to outer surface 35 of handle 30.

In the embodiment shown, elastic element 40 is configured as a spring 42 which is coaxial with first portion 14 of supporting element 12. Optionally, however, any desired elastic element may be employed in the device of the present invention, so as to provide device 10 with an element of resistance which may be employed for resistance exercise of the wrist. Spring 42 includes a series of circular loops 44 of identical size. A first end 46 of spring 42 is provided with a hooklike portion 48 and a second end 50 of spring 42 is provided with a portion 52 which is substantially perpendicular to axis 14 and a portion 53 which is substantially perpendicular to axis 14.

Optionally, device 10 includes a ringlike spacer element 64 disposed between first portion 14 of supporting element 12 and handle 30, the spacer element provided in order to maintain first portion 14 and handle 30 in coaxial alignment. Spacer element 64 is provided with an aperture 67. As shown in FIGS. 1-2, spring 42 is disposed substantially about first portion 14 of supporting element 12, and both spring 42 and first portion 14 are disposed substantially within handle 30. First end 46 of spring 42 extends out of first end 31 of handle 30 and hooklike portion 48 is hooked through aperture 36, such that first end 46 is fastened to handle 30. Portion 53 of spring 42 extends past end 15 of supporting element 12 and is maintained between spacer element 64 and supporting element 12 by means of a screw 13 inserted through aperture 67 in spacer element and into bore 11 of supporting element 12. Alternatively, if desired, at least one of ends 46 and 50 of spring 42 may be fastened to handle 30 and supporting element 12 by any desired means such as, for example, welding.

Since ends 46 and 50 of spring 42 are fastened to supporting element 12 and handle 30, respectively, rotation of handle 30 relative to first portion 14 of supporting element 12 results in rotation of second end 50 relative to first end 46, thereby causing spring 42 to be stressed. In particular, rotation of handle 30 in the direction of arrow 60 causes spring 42 to be compressed, while rotation of handle 30 in the direction of arrow 62 (opposite to the direction of arrow 60) causes spring 42 be stretched. In this manner, spring 42 provides an element of resistance to rotation of handle 30 in either direction in device 10. The amount of resistance provided by spring 42 will depend on various factors including the particular properties of the spring such as, for example, length, number of loops, and material of the spring, which determine its torsional strength. Other factors which will determine the amount of resistance provided by spring 42 include the diameter of the handle 30 and pretension of the spring, if any. Spring 42 may be chosen so as to provide any amount of resistance desired such as, for example, 20 kg, 30 kg, 50 kg, or 70 kg, depending on the amount of resistance exercise desired.

Optionally, if desired, device 10 may be rotational asymmetric, such that the resistance provided by rotation of handle 30 in a first direction is different from that provided by rotation of the handle in a second, opposite, direction. While, in the embodiment shown in FIGS. 1-2, the present invention is shown as having a resistive element in the form of an elastic element 40 comprising a spring, optionally, if desired, any element which provides device 10 with an element of resistance may, alternatively, be employed. Alternatively, if desired, the device may include any type of resistance element such as, for example, a frictional resistance element.

In accordance with the present invention, if desired, device 10 may be provided with a mechanism for adjusting the amount of resistance provided by spring 42. For example, device 10 may be provided with a mechanism (not shown) for tightening or loosening spring 42, thereby increasing or decreasing the amount of resistance provided by spring 42 to device 10. Spring 42 may be tightened or loosened by any means known in the art such as, for example, by using a wind-up key.

Alternatively, handle 30 of device 10 may be removable and device 10 may be provided with at least one additional spring (not shown) which may replace spring 42, each additional spring providing device 10 with a different component of resistance than that of spring 42. For example, each of handles 30 (see FIG. 5a) may be removable and its spring may be replaced, as described above, so as to provide a weight lifting machine (not shown) with a different component of resistance than that provided by handle 30. Optionally, if desired, a user may remove handle 30, disconnect spring 42 from supporting element 12 and connect another spring to supporting element 12, thereby changing the effective resistance of device 10. If desired, the additional springs may be color-coded, the color-coding representative of different resistance levels, so as to facilitate choosing of an appropriate spring, depending on the resistance level of exercise desired.

Alternatively, device 10 may include at least two interchangeable handle-spring assemblies (not shown), whereby a first handle 30 and spring 42 are coupled together to form a first handle-spring assembly and a second handle and spring are coupled together to form a second handle-spring assembly, the second spring having a different torsional strength than that of the first handle-spring assembly. As discussed above, the amount of resistance provided by each spring will be determined by the torsional spring strength. The first handle-spring assembly may be easily mounted onto a supporting element 12. Optionally, if a user desires to change the amount of resistance of the device 10, he may easily remove the first handle-spring assembly from the supporting element 12 and replace it with the second handle-spring assembly.

For example, each of the first and second handle-spring assemblies may include a spring of which a first end thereof is attached, such as by welding, onto the inside of the handle and of which a second end thereof includes a hooked end, similar to end 48 shown in FIG. 2, which may be hooked onto a projection (not shown) on supporting element 12. When it is desired to change the resistance level of the device, a user unhooks spring end 48 of the first handle-spring assembly from the supporting element and slides the first handle-spring assembly off the supporting element. Then he slides the second handle-spring assembly onto the supporting element and hooks spring end 48 of the second handle-spring assembly onto the supporting element, thereby coupling the second handle-spring assembly thereto.

Such a device facilitates changing the resistance level of device 10, depending on the amount of resistance exercise desired. Each handle-spring assembly may be color-coded, as discussed above, thereby facilitating choosing of an appropriate assembly, depending on the resistance level desired such as, for example, suggested by an exercise plan.

If desired, device 10 may be provided with at least two handle-spring assemblies which are nestable, whereby the second handle-spring assembly has a larger inner cross-sectional diameter than the outer cross-sectional diameter of the first handle-spring assembly. Optionally, for example, when it is desired to increase the amount of resistance provided by device 10 wherein the first handle-spring assembly has been mounted, the second handle-spring assembly may be mounted on top of the first handle-spring assembly, thereby changing the resistance level of device 10. As noted above, each handle-spring assembly may be color coded, as discussed above.

FIG. 3 shows an embodiment of device 10 including an optional adjustment mechanism 100, by which a user may optionally change the torsional strength of spring 42, thereby adjusting the resistance level provided by the device. As shown in FIG. 3, handle 30 is provided with at least one aperture 102, and at least one loop 44 of spring 42 is provided with a corresponding aperture 104. Device 10 is further provided with at least one adjustment element 106 which, in the embodiment shown, includes a pin 108 configured to be inserted via aperture 102, into aperture 104. Pin 108 may include a pin head 110 which limits the degree of insertion of pin 108 into aperture 102. Once pin 108 has been inserted in apertures 102 and 104, the effective portion of spring 42 is shortened, thereby providing increased resistance to device 10. If desired, each of apertures 102 may be provided with a marking (not shown) to indicate the effective resistance of device 10 when pin 108 is inserted thereinto. Optionally, device 10 may be provided with at least one additional pin (not shown) such that, if desired, a user may insert at least one additional pin into corresponding apertures 102 and 104, thereby providing additional increased resistance to device 10.

While, in the embodiment shown, each of pin 108 and apertures 102 and 104 is configured as being circular in cross-section, optionally, if desired, the configuration of pin 108 and apertures 102 and 104 may be of any shape desired such as, for example, square. Additionally, while pin 108 and apertures 102 and 104 are shown as having identical diameters, if desired, pin 108 may have a tapering cross-sectional diameter, with the end configured to enter aperture 102 and then aperture 104 being of smaller cross-sectional dimension than that of the end of pin proximal to pin head 110. In this configuration, the cross-sectional diameter of aperture 102 would be larger than that of aperture 104, thereby providing pin 108 with a snug fit within apertures 102 and 104.

In a conventional weight lifting machine (not shown), a user grips, for example, a bar, which is fastened to a cable coupled to weights. The user must exert force on the bar, thereby transferring force via the cable, in order to lift weights of the weight lifting machine, as is known in the art. In some embodiments of the present invention, third portion 18 of device 10 is provided with a bore 65, in which a connector 66 is disposed. Connector 66 may be, for example, a ring, or any other type of connector. Connector 66 may be utilized to bingedly fasten device 10 to a cable 68 of a conventional weight lifting machine, as shown in FIGS. 4a-c, the cable to be pulled in the direction of arrow 92 in order for a user to lift weights of the weight lifting machine. In accordance with the present invention, supporting element 12 is rotatable, in the directions of arrows 90 about the portion of the weight lifting machine, such that a user gripping handle 30 may position handle 30 at any angle relative to cable 68, while exerting force in the direction of arrow 92. Thus, while in FIGS. 4a-c, supporting element 12 is shown such that first portion 14 thereof is disposed directly below cable 68 and is oriented at approximately 90 degrees relative thereto, due to the provision of connector 66, a user may rotate device 10 about bore 65, thereby changing the orientation of supporting element relative to cable 68, while maintaining the direction 92 in which force must be exerted in order to lift weights of the weight lifting machine.

With reference to FIGS. 5a-b, there are shown additional embodiments of the present invention, which may be utilized in conjunction with, for example, conventional weight lifting machines.

In FIG. 5a there is shown a device 120, including a lat bar 14a, of the type known in the art, connected to a cable 68 of a conventional weight lifting machine (not shown), wherein the conventional handles have been replaced with devices 122 and 124, each having a handle 30. Disposed inside each handle 30 is a spring (not shown), coupled to bar 14a, so as to provide an element of resistance to each of devices 122 and 124, similar to the element of resistance discussed above with regard to device 10 (FIGS. 1-2 and 4a-c). While using the weight lifting machine, a user may rotate handles 30, as discussed above, thereby adding resistance exercise to his weight lifting session. If desired, handles 30 may be rotated in opposite directions, such that devices 122 and 124 may be used to simultaneously exercise a different set of muscles of each of the user's wrists. Optionally, the springs (not shown) inside handles 30 may have different torsional strengths, thereby providing devices 122 and 124 with different elements of resistance.

FIG. 5b shows a device 130, including a conventional stirrup-type bar 14b, of the type known in the art, connected to a cable 68 of a conventional weight lifting machine (not shown), wherein the conventional handle has been replaced with a handle 30. Inside handle 30 there is disposed a spring (not shown), coupled to bar 14b, so as to provide an element of resistance to device 130, similar to the element of resistance discussed above with regard to device 10 (FIGS. 1-2 and 4a-c). In this manner, device 10 provides a weight lifting machine with an element of resistance, such that a user's wrist is provided with resistance exercise while lifting weights of the weight lifting machine.

Additionally, it should be noted that, prior known acceptable exercise practice had often dictated that use of a conventional weight lifting machine or other resistance device required a user to maintain his wrist in a locked position and to avoid flexing his wrist, thereby avoiding possible injury thereto. In contrast, the present invention not only allows, but specifically advocates flexing of the wrist while exercising, as such additional exercise allows the rotator cuff muscles to stabilize the shoulder during flexion and extension of the shoulder muscles used while lifting weight. As a result, due to this stabilizing effect, a user is able to lift more weight than he would otherwise be able to lift, using any prior known exercise device. Additionally, the elastic element prevents sudden free motion and overstressing of the muscles. The present invention may allow a user to achieve more efficient or effective exercise than was possible using prior known exercise devices such as, for example, correcting wrong movements of the arms and upper body. Additionally, as noted above, by flexing of the wrist in accordance with the present invention, a user may achieve an added component of exercise which was unachievable with prior known exercises devices. For example, when the wrist exercise device is combined with a conventional bicep-curl weight lifting machine, a user may lift 70 kg with his bicep and rotate the handle 90 degrees to overcome a resistance element of 5 kg, such that the ratio of weight lifted by the bicep weight training to resistance overcome by the wrist resistance exercise is 14 to 1.

As used herein, the term “weight lifting machine” refers to any of a variety of exercise machines wherein a user must exert a force in a particular direction in order to lift a selected amount of weight. It will, however, be appreciated that the present invention may be utilized in conjunction with any device wherein a user is required to grip a portion of the device such as, for example, a handle.

If desired, first portion 14 of supporting element 12 and handle 30 may be provided with sets of markings 17 and 19, respectively, as shown in FIG. 2. Marking sets 17 and 19 may be utilized for indicating the degree of rotation of handle 30 about first portion 14, thereby indicating the amount of resistance exercise provided by device 10 upon rotation of handle 30. In this manner, before rotation of handle 30 relative to first portion 14 of supporting element 12, marking no. 1 on supporting element 12 may be disposed, for example, adjacent marking A on handle 30. Rotation of handle 30 relative to first portion 14 will move marking A on handle 30 relative to marking no. 1 on first portion 14, such that marking A will be disposed adjacent to, for example, marking no. 3 on first portion 14. If desired, markings on at least first portion 14 may include resistance amounts, so as to indicate to a user the amount of resistance exercise being performed while utilizing the wrist exerciser in accordance with the present invention. Alternatively, if desired, markings on at least first portion 14 may include color coded markings to indicate resistance amounts. Optionally, there may be provided a printout or table indicating color codings with corresponding resistance amounts, in combination with an exercise plan.

In accordance with the present invention, a user may utilize wrist exercise device 10, preferably in accordance with an exercise plan, as will be discussed here in detail. The may select a first degree of rotation of handle 30 relative to first portion 14 of supporting element 12, the first degree of rotation corresponding to an amount of resistance exercise the user wishes to perform, the selected amount of resistance corresponding to one of the markings of marking set 17 on first portion 14 of supporting element 12. The user then rotates handle 30 relative to first portion 14, until the relative positions of markings of sets 17 and 19 indicate that he has exerted enough force required to overcome the amount of resistance selected. The user may continue to exert this amount of force for a selected amount of time, in accordance with the exercise plan.

If desired, a user utilizing wrist exercise device 10, as noted above, may exercise in conjunction with a weight lifting machine, as discussed above with regard to FIGS. 4a-c. Specifically, before rotating handle 30 relative to first portion 14 of supporting element 12, the user may select an amount of weight to be lifted. Then, while rotating handle 30 relative to first portion 14, the user exerts an amount of force required to lift the amount of weight selected.

If desired, after rotation of handle 30 relative to first portion 14 of supporting element 12, the user may slowly release the handle, thereby slowly reducing the amount of force exerted to overcome the amount of resistance selected, through the first degree of rotation selected.

If desired, after rotation of handle 30 relative to first portion 14 of supporting element 12, the user may selecting a second degree of rotation, the second degree of rotation being less than the first degree of rotation. The user may then slowly release the handle, thereby slowly reducing the amount of force exerted to overcome the amount of resistance selected, through the second degree of rotation. The user may then exert the force required to overcome the amount of resistance selected, through the second degree of rotation. These last two steps may be repeated a selected number of times, as desired. Finally, the user may slowly release the handle, thereby reducing the amount of force exerted to overcome the amount of resistance selected, through the first degree of rotation. It should be noted that the first and second selected degrees of rotation are preferably selected according to an exercise plan.

As noted above, a user may choose both an amount of weight to be lifted and an amount of resistance exercise he wishes to perform. In accordance with an embodiment of the present invention, the amount of resistance exercise may be chosen to be a particular percentage of the amount of weight chosen. In this manner, the relationship between the chosen amount of resistance exercise and the chosen amount of weight may be represented by a particular ratio, as noted above. As a result, the exact choices of amount of resistance exercise and weight to be lifted may be interdependent. For example, a user may choose the amount of resistance exercise as a percentage of the weight to be lifted, the percentage depending, for example, on an exercise plan or comfort level of exercise.

Additionally, it is known that the degree of rotation of the wrist, while holding a handle of the invention, is typically between 70 and 110 degrees, and is on average 80 degrees. Optionally, the user may choose to achieve any degree of rotation within this angular range while performing the resistance exercise. Alternatively, if desired, the percentage and/or the degree of rotation may depend on the preferred type of exercise, for example, muscle building or muscle definition.

FIGS. 6a-c illustrate a device 70 for exercising the wrist, in accordance with an alternative embodiment of the present invention. Device 70 includes a supporting element 12 and a handle 30, which are generally similar in structure and function to supporting element 12 shown in FIGS. 1-2 and will, therefore, not be discussed here in detail. In this embodiment, however, first portion 14 of supporting element 12 is provided with a contact pin 72 which extends out first portion 14 and is sized so as not to contact handle 30.

Device 70 includes an elastic element 74, attached to an inner surface 76 of handle 30 at a contact point 78. Elastic element 74 may be formed of any desired material such as, for example, plastic. Elastic element 74 may be attached to handle 30 by any means such as, for example, adhesive bonding. Ends 80 of elastic element 74 are formed as c-shaped contact portions 80 disposed on either side of contact pin 72. While, in the embodiment shown, elastic element 74 is configured as a generally omega-shaped element, any desired configured may be employed so as to provide a device 70 with contact portions 80.

Rotation of handle 30 relative to first portion 14 of supporting element 12 causes contact pin 72 to be brought into contact with an end 80 of elastic element 74, thereby compressing elastic element 74. In particular, FIG. 6a shows the relative positions of contact pin 72 and elastic element 74 after rotation of handle 30 in the direction of arrow 82. Similarly, FIG. 6c shows the relative positions of contact pin 72 and elastic element 74 after rotation of handle 30 in the direction of arrow 84. In this manner, elastic element 74 provides an element of resistance to rotation of handle 30 in device 70. Elastic element 74 may provide any amount of resistance desired such as, for example, 20 kg, 30 kg, 50 kg, or 70 kg, depending on the amount of resistance exercise desired.

If desired, the embodiment of the present invention shown in FIGS. 6a-c may be modified by, alternatively, providing an elastic element attached to first portion 14 of supporting element 12 and a contact pin attached to inner surface 76 of handle 30. In this manner, as described above, rotation of handle 30 relative to first portion 14 of supporting element 12 causes contact pin to be brought into contact with elastic element 74, thereby compressing elastic element 74. As above, elastic element 74 provides an element of resistance to rotation of handle 30 relative to first portion 14 of supporting element 12.

In accordance with yet another embodiment of the present invention, FIG. 7 shows a device 140 for exercising the wrist, wherein there are multiple elastic elements for optionally providing the device with different resistance levels. As shown in the drawing, two springs 42a and 42b are provided on first portion 14 of supporting element 12. Spring 42a has respective first and second ends 46a and 50a, each of which may be fastened to respective supporting element 12 and handle 30 by any desired means such as, for example, by welding. As discussed above, spring 42a provides device 140 with an element of resistance. Spring 42b has a first end 46b which may be fastened to the side of supporting element 12 by any known means such as, for example, by welding. Second end 50b of spring 42b extends past one of apertures 102 in handle 30 and spring 42b is provided with at least one aperture 104 (not shown), similar to those shown in spring 42 of FIG. 3. As discussed above, if desired, a pin (not shown) may be inserted into an aperture 102 in handle 30 and into a corresponding aperture (not shown) in spring 42b, thereby engaging spring 42b within device 140, so as to effectively increase the resistance level of device 140. The resulting resistance level will then be determined by a combination of the resistance levels of springs 42a and 42b.

If desired, instead of fastening first end 46a of spring 42a to the side of supporting element 12 as shown in FIG. 7, first end 46a may be fastened to end 15 of supporting element 12 by any known means such as, for example, by inserting a screw into end 15, as discussed above with regard to FIG. 2.

Optionally, if desired, device 140 may be provided with additional springs, for a total of, for example, three or four springs, wherein the total number of springs provided will determine the number of optional resistance levels of the device. Additionally, it should be noted that, with the provision of additional springs, the total amount of resistance provided to a user of the device will be determined by the number of springs engaged within the device and by their respective resistance levels.

It is expected that during the life of a patent maturing from this application many relevant resistance exercise devices will be developed and the scope of the term resistance exercise device is intended to include all such new technologies a priori.

As used herein the term “about” refers to ±10%.

The terms “comprises,” “comprising,” “includes,” “including,” “having,” and their conjugates mean “including but not limited to.” This term encompasses the terms “consisting of” and “consisting essentially of.”

The phrase “consisting essentially of” means that the composition or method may include additional ingredients and/or steps, but only if the additional ingredients and/or steps do not materially alter the basic and novel characteristics of the claimed composition or method.

As used herein, the singular form “a,” “an,” and “the” include plural references unless the context clearly dictates otherwise. For example, the term “a compound” or “at least one compound” may include a plurality of compounds, including mixtures thereof.

Throughout this application, various embodiments of this invention may be presented in a range format. It should be understood that the description in range format is merely for convenience and brevity and should not be construed as an inflexible limitation on the scope of the invention. Accordingly, the description of a range should be considered to have specifically disclosed all the possible subranges as well as individual numerical values within that range. For example, description of a range such as from 1 to 6 should be considered to have specifically disclosed subranges such as from 1 to 3, from 1 to 4, from 1 to 5, from 2 to 4, from 2 to 6, from 3 to 6 etc., as well as individual numbers within that range, for example, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6. This applies regardless of the breadth of the range.

Whenever a numerical range is indicated herein, it is meant to include any cited numeral (fractional or integral) within the indicated range. The phrases “ranging/ranges between” a first indicated number and a second indicated number and “ranging/ranges from” a first indicated number “to” a second indicated number are used herein interchangeably and are meant to include the first and second indicated numbers and all the fractional and integral numerals therebetween.

It is appreciated that certain features of the invention, which are, for clarity, described in the context of separate embodiments, may also be provided in combination in a single embodiment. Conversely, various features of the invention, which are, for brevity, described in the context of a single embodiment, may also be provided separately or in any suitable subcombination or as suitable in any other described embodiment of the invention. Certain features described in the context of various embodiments are not to be considered essential features of those embodiments, unless the embodiment is inoperative without those elements.

Although the invention has been described in conjunction with specific embodiments thereof, it is evident that many alternatives, modifications and variations will be apparent to those skilled in the art. Accordingly, it is intended to embrace all such alternatives, modifications and variations that fall within the spirit and broad scope of the appended claims,

All publications, patents, and patent applications mentioned in this specification are herein incorporated in their entirety by reference into the specification, to the same extent as if each individual publication, patent, or patent application was specifically and individually indicated to be incorporated herein by reference. In addition, citation or identification of any reference in this application shall not be construed as an admission that such reference is available as prior art to the present invention. To the extent that section headings are used, they should not be construed as necessarily limiting.