Title:
Rolling, multi-directional fitness device
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A multi-directional rolling fitness device is disclosed. The device can be used individually or as a pair with either the hands or the feet. The device comprises a handle assembly, which can also comprise a stirrup for the foot, a base unit and a plurality of ball-transfer units. By using a single or pair of these devices, a person can use their body weight to engage in a nearly unlimited number of upper and lower body exercises. The device's ball transfer contact points allow the unit to move in any direction across the floor during exercise repetitions, engaging complex muscle groups, increasing range of motion, and aiding in the development of muscle mass, strength and endurance.



Inventors:
Brown, Luke F. (Seattle, WA, US)
Application Number:
13/546193
Publication Date:
01/16/2014
Filing Date:
07/11/2012
Assignee:
BROWN LUKE F.
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63B22/20
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
NGUYEN, NYCA T
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Luke F. Brown (115 W. Galer St. #101, Seattle, WA, 98119, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. I) A multi-directional rolling fitness device comprising a handle assembly, said handle assembly further comprising a horizontally oriented, dowel shaped grip section connecting at each end to a vertically oriented vertical support, said vertical supports further attaching to the top surface of a base unit, said base unit oriented horizontally and somewhat parallel to said grip section and said base unit further comprising an upper and lower surface, said lower surface attaching to a plurality of ball transfer units, said ball transfer units comprising a ball transfer housing, a roller ball and at least one friction reducing ball-bearing situated between said roller ball and said ball transfer housing.

2. II) The multi-directional rolling fitness device of claim I wherein said ball transfer units further comprise a removable cap to secure said roller ball and said at least one ball-bearing in place within said ball transfer housing.

3. III) The multi-directional rolling fitness device of claim II wherein said handle assembly further comprises a stirrup, said stirrup comprising a recess to receive the foot of a user.

4. IV) The multi-directional rolling fitness device of claim III wherein said handle assembly is removably attachable to said base unit.

5. V) The multi-directional rolling fitness device of claim IV wherein the device further comprises a user adjustable tension “brake” to allow a user to vary the difficulty of performing exercise repetitions.

6. VI) A multi-directional rolling fitness device comprising a horizontally oriented base unit with an upper and lower surface, said base unit further comprising a recess at least partially penetrating into the upper surface of said base unit, said base unit further attaching to a plurality of ball transfer units, said ball transfer units comprising a ball transfer housing, a roller ball and at least one friction reducing ball-bearing situated between said roller ball and said ball transfer housing.

7. VII) The multi-directional rolling fitness device of claim VI wherein said ball transfer units further comprise a removable cap to secure said roller ball and said at least one ball-bearing in place within said ball transfer housing.

8. VIII) The multi-directional rolling fitness device of claim VII wherein a handle assembly further attaches to said base unit.

9. IX) The multi-directional rolling fitness device of claim VIII wherein said handle assembly is removably attachable to said base unit.

10. X) The multi-directional rolling fitness device of claim VII wherein a grip section attaches directly to said base unit and spans said recess in said base unit.

11. XI) The multi-directional rolling fitness device of claim X wherein said grip section is removably attachable to said base unit.

12. XII) The multi-directional rolling fitness device of claim IX wherein said device further comprises a user adjustable tension “brake” to allow a user to vary the difficulty of performing exercise repetitions.

13. XIII) The multi-directional rolling fitness device of claim XI wherein the device further comprises a user adjustable tension “brake” to allow a user to vary the difficulty of performing exercise repetitions.

14. XIV) The multi-directional rolling fitness device of claim I wherein said handle assembly further comprises a base member oriented parallel to the top surface of said base unit, which further connects to each of said vertical supports and also connects to said base unit at a minimum of one central point of connection allowing the handle assembly to rotate freely on a parallel plane to said base unit around said central point of connection.

Description:

TECHNICAL FIELD

The invention relates to exercise, strength, physical therapy and endurance and offers a multi-functional device to aid in a variety of exercise training programs.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Devices designed to increase muscle mass, strength and endurance are commonplace. Many such devices are technically designed to work a specific muscle or set of muscles and are commonly used in fitness centers and training facilities. Home fitness devices, portable fitness devices and personal fitness devices are also common. Muscle fibers within complex muscle groups relax and contract in a number of different directions depending on their point of connection to the body's skeleton. Devices designed to roll, rotate, rock and spin in conjunction with the physiology of the body's natural movements can dramatically aid in the ability of a user to increase muscle flexion and contraction during body-weight exercise repetitions. Exemplary in this regard are various fitness devices disclosed in the following U.S. patents and patent publications:

U.S. Pat. No. 6,602,170 to Ilic discloses a torso exercising apparatus and system for performing various calisthenics and maneuvers to tone and build the body. Right and left handles of the apparatus are disposed between two respective pairs of spaced-apart, front and rear rollers. Each of the roller pairs is affixed to a base. The handles are each disposed on a diagonal with respect to their respective front and rear roller pairs. The diagonally oriented handles eliminate wrist strain and have a further advantage of facilitating sideways movement.

U.S. patent application Ser. No. 12/493,320 to Peddar discloses an exercising device, and a method of use, configured to perform upper body and abdominal type exercise. The exercise device includes a pad member configured to support a forearm of a user. The exercise device also includes a handle extending from a tip surface of the pad member about a front end of the pad member and configured to provide a grip for a hand. In addition, the exercise device includes a selectably coupleable attachment member that includes a plurality of wheels. The exercise device further includes a tongue and groove attachment member configured to selectably couple the attachment member to the pad member.

U.S. Pat. No. 6,773,379 to Bing discloses an exercise device for the upper torso of a user that includes a base, a plurality of wheel assemblies, and a handle assembly. The base is equilateral triangular-shaped and has an uppermost surface and a lowermost surface. The handle assembly is swively positioned in the uppermost surface of the base so as to allow the handle assembly to achieve a desired hand position relative to the plurality of wheel assemblies. The plurality of wheel assemblies are three and in combination with the base being equilateral triangular-shaped, prevent rocking. Each wheel assembly is rotatably mounted in the lowermost surface of the base.

U.S. Pat. No. 6,575,883 to Hinds discloses a wheel and axle exercising assembly with which the operator is positioned horizontally, either face up or face down and moves the assembly forward and backward either feet first, having the feet at the assembly, by thrusting the legs forward and then retracting them; or hands first, having the hands at the assembly, by thrusting the arms forward and then retracting them. Adjustment means are present to position the foot emplacement assemblies either closer to or farther from the wheel.

U.S. Pat. No. 7,563,216 to Kest discloses an exercise device wherein various embodiments of this invention disclose a push up exercise device with a rocker, a balance indicator and a hinged balance roller.

U.S. Pat. No. 3,809,393 to Jones discloses an exercising device in the form of a handle supported by at least three swivel casters and adapted to be moved about a floor while supporting the upper body of a person in use. The handle defines a longitudinal axis around which the swivel casters are symmetrically and fixedly disposed. Additionally, the handle has a girth, which enables circumferential gripping by an adult hand.

U.S. Pat. No. 7,621,858 to Sherron discloses an invention that provides an exercise apparatus with a hemispherical support frame and a rigid ball mounted to the support frame with a low-friction bearing system in between the ball and the support frame so that the ball is freely rotatable in any direction. In one embodiment, the bearing system comprises a plurality of ball bearings and a retainer. The present invention also provides for an exercise system with two omnidirectional rolling apparatuses and a band that tethers the pair of apparatuses. The present invention also provides for methods of using the apparatus and system to perform isotonic exercises.

U.S. Pat. No. 7,481,753 to James and Hegge discloses a rotatable push-up exercise device for aiding a user in performing push-up type exercises. The device has a platform rotatably mounted on a base. The platform may selectively be held stationary or may be free to rotate when performing push-up exercises. The device includes a gripping bar mounted on the platform. The base is adapted to rest on a support surface, such as the floor. A pair of exercise devices are normally utilized together. In use, the user grasps the gripping bar of each device with one hand and performs push-up exercises. Due to the rotation of the support surface with respect to the base, the user is forced to exercise the shoulders and other muscle groups in the user's body, in addition to the arm and chest muscles, in order to maintain a stable position.

U.S. Pat. No. 7,468,025 to Hauser, Friedman and Mills discloses a push-up exercise unit which may enable a user to move with his/her body's natural rotation to engage additional muscle groups with reduced stress on joints. The device can include a handle support structure having a pair of columns between a lower base and a separate end cap such that the handle intersects a corresponding end cap and upper portion of a corresponding column of the handle support structure. The device includes a fixed base support attached to the handle support structure, and a bearing assembly to permit rotation of the contiguous handle, end caps and handle support structure by a user with the base support resting on a planar surface. In another example, the handle assembly is detachable from a first surface on the handle support structure and inserted into a second surface to facilitate stowage for travel.

Although a vast array of fitness devices have been invented and introduced to the market, there is still need in the art for a new and improved device that is simple to use, is small and portable in size and offers increased functionality and effectiveness over other devices or fitness systems. This invention meets those needs.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

In brief, the multi-directional rolling fitness device is a small and portable exercise system that allows for a full-body workout nearly anywhere. Used as a pair, or individually, a preferred embodiment of the invention comprises a handle assembly (or stirrup for the feet), a base unit and a plurality of ball-transfer units. The invention allows a user to perform a nearly unlimited number of exercise movements to strengthen muscles and increase endurance.

The handle assembly allows a user to grip the device for use. The handle assembly in a preferred embodiment comprises a grip section for the hands and a pair of vertical supports that attach the grip section to the base unit. In a further embodiment, the handle assembly comprises a stirrup that accepts the foot, or offers an interchangeable grip section and a foot stirrup for dual functionality between the hands and feet.

The base unit is a structural member designed to connect a plurality of ball transfer units and further allows for the attachment of the handle assembly. The shape of the base unit in a preferred embodiment is similar to an X, with somewhat parallel surfaces on top and bottom when viewed on profile.

A plurality of ball transfer units is attached to the base unit allowing the device to roll in multiple directions across a floor or other surface during exercise repetitions. In a preferred embodiment, four ball-transfer units with bearings are utilized to maximize stability during exercises. In a further embodiment one or more of the ball-transfer units is engineered with a “brake” mechanism that contacts the roller-ball with user-adjusted variable pressure, thereby increasing the difficulty of exercise repetitions

These and other aspects of the present invention will become more evident upon reference to the following detailed description and attached drawings. It is to be understood, however, that various changes, alterations, and substitutions may be made to the specific embodiments disclosed herein without departing from their essential spirit and scope.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The drawings are intended to be illustrative and symbolic representations of certain exemplary embodiments of the present invention and as such they are not necessarily drawn to scale.

FIG. 1 illustrates an isometric view of a preferred embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 2 illustrates a side view of the preferred embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 2a illustrates a cross section of a single ball transfer unit including bearings.

FIG. 3 illustrates an exploded view and individual components of a single ball transfer unit.

FIG. 3a illustrates a further embodiment of the invention comprising a base unit with a recess designed for use with the feet.

FIG. 4 illustrates a further embodiment of the invention comprising a base unit with a recess, and a removable handle assembly shown in the removed position.

FIG. 4a illustrates a further embodiment of the invention comprising a base unit with a recess and a removable handle assembly shown in the attached position.

FIG. 5 illustrates a further embodiment of the grip section comprising a foot stirrup.

FIG. 5a illustrates a further embodiment of the invention wherein the invention further comprises a removable foot stirrup, shown removed.

FIG. 6 illustrates a further embodiment of the invention wherein the invention further comprises a removable foot stirrup, shown attached.

FIG. 6a illustrates a further embodiment of the invention wherein a brake unit knob is shown on the surface of the base unit.

FIG. 7 illustrates a cut-away view of the components of a cam mechanism brake option that allows for user adjustable variability in repetition difficulty.

FIG. 7a illustrates an alternative embodiment of a brake option that can be applied to one or more of the device's ball transfer units.

FIG. 8 shows an exploded view of an alternative embodiment wherein the handle assembly is designed to spin around a single point relative to the base unit.

FIG. 8a shows an alternative embodiment wherein the handle assembly is designed to spin around a single point relative to the base unit

FIG. 9 illustrates a user with a pair of the devices in a preferred embodiment in the starting position for a typical push-up movement.

FIG. 9a illustrates a user with a pair of the devices in a preferred embodiment in the lowered position of a typical push-up and chest fly movement, highlighting the ability of the user to allow the devices to travel away from each other to a wide position during the exercise movement.

FIGS. 10 and 10a illustrate a user utilizing a pair of the devices embodied with a recess to receive the foot. In this embodiment, the user is able to exercise many muscles in the lower body, abs and core by alternating the movement of the feet forward and backward with the hands stably supporting the upper body on the floor.

These examples are a small variety of the types of movements that the invention allows a person to perform, and is in no way intended to be an exhaustive list of possible exercise variations.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

As best shown in FIG. 1, the invention comprises a handle assembly 1, a base unit 2 and a plurality of ball-transfer units 3.

The handle assembly 1 is the point at which a user engages the device with the hands or feet for use. In a preferred embodiment, and as best shown in FIG. 1, a grip section 4 attaches at each end to a vertical support 5 that further attach to the base unit 2. The grip section 4 may be solidly affixed to said vertical supports 5, or may spin freely, with a tubular grip 4 slidably engaged over a dowel further attached at each end to the vertical supports 5. Or, in further embodiments, the grip section 4 can be dowel shaped and spin within a circular recess in each vertical support 5, or by way of a bearing at the attachment point between the grip section 4 and the vertical supports 5. In a further embodiment, FIGS. 8, 8a the entire handle assembly 1 can rotate freely around a central point of connection 18 on the base unit 2. In a further embodiment, and as best shown in FIGS. 5, 5a and 6, the handle assembly grip comprises a stirrup 6 that accepts the foot or is interchangeable with a removably attachable stirrup 7 that accepts the foot allowing a user to switch between exercises while using the device with the hands or the feet. The entire handle assembly 1,6,7 can be designed to be removable for storage. Any of the components of the handle assembly 1 can most easily be manufactured by way of plastic injection molding, however construction from wood, metal or any other machinable or moldable solid material would be suitable. Fabric or webbing material would also be suitable for constructing the foot stirrup 6,7.

As best shown in FIG. 1, the base unit 2 is a structural member of the invention designed to connect two or more of the ball transfer units 3 to each other, and further allows for integration or attachment of the handle assembly 1 or grip section 4. In a preferred embodiment, and as best shown in FIG. 1, the shape of the base unit 2 is similar to the letter “X” with somewhat parallel surfaces top and bottom when viewed in profile, however the exterior form and shape of the base unit can vary greatly in alternative embodiments without changing the device's functionality, and can be embodied to be circular FIG. 8, 8a, square, frame-like, round, oval, triangular or diamond shaped, and could be further embodied as shown in FIG. 3a to comprise a hole or recess 17 to receive the foot of a user. The base unit 2 is most easily manufactured by way of plastic injection molding, however construction from wood, metal or any other machinable or moldable solid material would be suitable.

As best shown in FIG. 1, a plurality of ball transfer units 3 are attached to the base unit 2, allowing the device to roll across the floor or other surface during exercise repetitions. The preferred embodiment integrates four ball-transfer units 3 to maximize stability during exercises, though fewer than four, or more than four would also work effectively. In a preferred embodiment, and as best shown in FIGS. 2a, 3 the ball transfer units 3 comprise a firm rubber roller ball 8, in an effort to select a material that can be safely used on nearly any floor or other surface, a ball transfer housing 9 and a screw cap 10 that secures the roller ball 8 in place. The screw cap can be integrated into the design of the ball transfer unit as well, as long as the shape sufficiently secures the roller ball 8 in place. In a preferred embodiment, and as best shown in FIGS. 2a and 3, the ball transfer units 3 include at least one friction reducing ball bearing 11 arranged between the ball transfer housing 9 and the roller ball 8.

In another embodiment, and as best shown in FIGS. 6a, 7 and 7a, the device comprises a user adjustable brake to increase or decrease the difficulty of repetitions. In a potential brake embodiment, and as shown in FIGS. 6a and 7, the brake is constructed as a simple cam mechanism, which allows a user to turn a knob 12 on the base unit 2, which connects to a variably shaped cam profile 13 that in turn pushes the cam following arm(s) 14 through the ball transfer housing 9, and against the roller ball(s) 8 with variable pressure at a number of different settings. A neutral starting point offers no contact and no resistance, while further settings allow incrementally increasing levels of pressure and corresponding resistance during exercise repetitions. In another brake embodiment, and as shown in FIG. 7a the brake unit may further comprise a hand-knob 12 attached to a through-bolt 15 that penetrates the ball-transfer housing 9 by way of threaded grooves 16. Turning the hand knob 12 allows the end of the through-bolt to contact the roller ball 8 adding user-adjusted variable pressure. In another embodiment, (not shown) pressure on the roller ball 8 can be variably adjusted by turning the screw cap 10 on one or more of the ball transfer units 3. In this embodiment, the screw cap 10 comprises an interior shape that tapers to contact the roller ball 8 when the screw cap 10 is threaded more tightly to the ball transfer housing 9. Components of the ball transfer units 3 as well as components of the brake are most easily manufactured by way of injection-molded plastic. However, wood, metal, rubber or any other machinable or moldable solid material would be suitable.

Exemplary of the preferred embodiment and as best shown in FIG. 1 the invention's base unit 2 is about 10 inches long and about 9 inches wide with a handle assembly grip section 4 that measures about 6 inches long and is about 1.5 inches in diameter. The ball transfer units' 3 roller ball(s) 8 measure about 2.5 inches in diameter.

While the present invention has been described in the context of the embodiments illustrated and described herein, the invention may be embodied in other specific ways or in other specific forms without departing form its spirit or essential characteristics. Therefore, the described embodiments are to be considered in all respects as illustrative and not restrictive. The scope of the invention is, therefore indicated by the appended claims rather than by the foregoing descriptions, and all changes that come within the meaning and range of equivalency of the claims are to be embraced within their scope.