Title:
Abdominal Exercise Device
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An abdominal exercise device and a method of operation allow for isolation of particular muscle groups. The exercise device has a main housing with an interior and exterior, a spherical ball is encapsulated within the interior of the main housing and grips are attached to the exterior of the main housing. The grips are configured to allow usage of the user's lower and upper extremities individually or concurrently.



Inventors:
Taylor, Brett (Chesterfield, MO, US)
Application Number:
14/610695
Publication Date:
08/06/2015
Filing Date:
01/30/2015
Assignee:
TAYLOR BRETT
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63B23/02
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
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20020155928Stationary bicycle with messager meansOctober, 2002Hsu
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20020098959Apparatus for assisting with push-upsJuly, 2002Florek
20090176620SYSTEMS FOR DETERMINING THE POSITION OF A PUNCHING BAGJuly, 2009Reynolds
20100048357EXERCISE ASSISTING METHOD, EXERCISE APPLIANCE, AND INFORMATION PROCESSORFebruary, 2010Nakagawa et al.
20090253560WEIGHTED EXERCISE DEVICE AND SECURING SYSTEMOctober, 2009Cook
20100099540PHYSICAL THERAPY AND EXERCISE SYSTEMApril, 2010Himmer
20090017996STRETCH AND PRESS PORTABLE GYMJanuary, 2009Chic
20100041524Exercise grip for exercising pectoral musclesFebruary, 2010Mcvan
20080161163Supplemental resistance assembly for resisting motion of an exercise deviceJuly, 2008Stewart et al.



Primary Examiner:
WINTER, GREGORY J
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
LEWIS RICE LLC (ATTN: BOX IP DEPT. 600 WASHINGTON AVE. SUITE 2500, ST LOUIS, MO, 63101, US)
Claims:
1. An exercise device, comprising: a generally spherical shaped ball partially surrounded by a casing; said casing having an interior surface and an exterior surface; and said exterior surface has one or more handles attached thereto.

2. The exercise device of claim 1, wherein the casing is generally hemispherical in shape.

3. The exercise device of claim 1, wherein the handles are removable.

4. The exercise device of claim 1, wherein the handles are hand grips.

5. The exercise device of claim 1, wherein the handles are foot rests.

6. The exercise device of claim 1, wherein the casing further comprises: one or more bearings in contact with the spherical ball and interior surface of the casing.

7. An abdominal exercise device, comprising: a rigid generally spherical shaped roller; a generally domed shaped housing moderately surrounding said roller; and protrusions extending away from said housing.

8. The abdominal exercise device of claim 7, wherein said roller is a metal alloy.

9. The abdominal exercise device of claim 7, wherein said roller is plastic.

10. The abdominal exercise device of claim 7, wherein said protrusions are handlebars.

11. The abdominal exercise device of claim 7, wherein said spherical shaped roller is removable and interchangeable.

Description:

CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION(S)

This application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Patent Application Ser. No. 61/934,477, filed Jan. 31, 2014, the entire disclosure of which is herein incorporated by reference.

BACKGROUND

1. Field of the Invention

This disclosure is related to the field of physical exercise. More specifically, to a rotating personal abdominal exercise device and related methods of using the device.

2. Description of the Related Art

There is a current worldwide emphasis on living a healthy lifestyle and a large segment of the population is participating in activities that support such a lifestyle. There is also a growing emphasis on physical appearance. Regular exercise and physical activity are well-known paths to living a healthy lifestyle and improving one's physical appearance. Exercise helps an individual burn fat, build muscle, lower cholesterol, ease stress and anxiety, and enable better sleep. Enrollments at health clubs and fitness gyms are increasing on a daily basis. However, people are often intimidated by such facilities and would prefer to exercise in their home. This might be due to physiological factors such as perceived body image. Social pressures can also be a motivation for improved physical appearance. The desire to have a flat stomach and “six-pack abs” is almost universal, especially around swim-suit season. The appearance of “six-pack abs” is the external result of bands of connective tissue (tendinous intersections) which traverse the rectus abdominus. This usually results from an exercise routine focused on the abdominal muscles. Exercise can assist a person in obtaining the desired abdominal muscles, especially when an exercise device is used.

Back problems currently plague a large portion of the US population. Back pain has become commonplace in today's society. Back surgery also is becoming increasingly common. A person who suffers from back pain or is recovering from surgery often receives a prescribed exercise regimen from a medical professional such as a physician or a physical therapist. These exercises are usually problematic for the patient due to pain. Exercises which allow the user to variably adjust the intensity of the workout are often preferred by the patient and the professional. In addition, exercises which can be performed at a patient's home lead to a speedier recovery due to the increased frequency at which the patient is able to perform the exercises, as opposed to the limited time they might have at a gym or professional's facility.

With the importance of body image and exercise in today's world, people are incorporating regular exercise into their daily lives more frequently. People are purchasing exercise devices for use in their homes now more than ever. These home exercise devices range from treadmills to free weights. As consumer expectations and competition rise, manufacturers of exercise devices are selling identical products to health clubs and home users. Currently, there is a need in the market for an exercise device which allows the user to fully exercise all abdominal muscles in physiologic movements with multi-plane movements to improve performance, improve aspiration function, improve speech, improve voice, decrease risk of back pain, and increase muscular endurance and balance.

SUMMARY

The following is a summary of the invention in order to provide a basic understanding of some aspects of the invention. This summary is not intended to identify key or critical elements of the invention or to delineate the scope of the invention. The sole purpose of this section is to present some concepts of the invention in a simplified form as a prelude to the more detailed description that is presented later.

Because of these and other problems in the art, described herein is a rotating personal abdominal exercise device.

In one embodiment, the device includes, but is not limited to, a spherical ball capable of tolerating multidimensional forces and freely rotating in a user desired direction, a main housing that contains a generally domed shaped portion having an interior surface and an exterior surface, the ball is encapsulated into the interior of a main housing, and handles/grips which are attached to the exterior of the main housing. The main housing, the encapsulated ball, and the grips are all capable of withstanding forces provided by the user, while also concurrently allowing near free rotation of the encapsulated ball. The direction of the force will not affect the performance of the device. The encapsulated ball can articulate and allow for multiple paths of motion.

In one embodiment, the handles/grips are removable from the main housing and are adjustable and interchangeable with other grip configurations or foot rests. These include but are not limited to: straps, rigid bars, knobs, twist handles, finger grips, pull handles, etc.

In one embodiment, a strap is utilized in lieu of, or in addition to, handles/grips. The strap can be of a fixed length or adjustable. The strap can be produced from near infinite types of materials such as, but not limited to, synthetic rubber, cloth, nylon, natural rubber, carbon fiber, etc.

In one embodiment a strap connects to the main housing at the same attachment points as those which could also be used for handles/grips.

In one embodiment, the encapsulated ball is produced from a metal or metal alloy and is press-fit into the interior of the main housing, similar to that of a spherical roller ball bearing. The main housing acts as a retainer for the encapsulated sphere.

In one embodiment, the spherical ball is secured into the housing via the housing itself. In this embodiment the housing is designed to extend below the latitudinal equator of the spherical ball. The interior of the housing is generally hemispherical or similar to a dome in shape.

In one embodiment, the encapsulated ball is produced from a synthetic material such as plastic. The type of plastic used could be comprised of thermoplastics or thermoset plastics. Further classifications such as: nano composite material, nylon, polyvinyl chloride (PVC), rubber, synthetic rubber, acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS), polystyrene, or polyethylene are intended to provide examples and not to limit the composition of the encapsulated ball.

In one embodiment, the handles are interchangeable with foot rests which thereby allow the users to utilize the same main casing assembly and exchange the foot rests for the handles. The foot rests would connect to the main casing using the same attachment mechanisms as the handles. This attachment mechanism could include, but is not limited to, magnets, threaded fasteners, or any attachment that allows the handles to withstand forces and remain attached to the main housing during operation of the device.

In one embodiment, multiple spherical balls are encapsulated in the main housing instead of a single spherical ball.

In one embodiment the device is modular in nature. For instance in an embodiment where individual spheres/housings are utilized on multiple extremities, the components would be constructed in such a way to fit together for combined use as one unit.

In one embodiment, the spherical ball is comprised of its own independent retainer, which attaches to the lower portion of the interior of the main housing and is removable. In this embodiment, the user has the ability to exchange the spherical ball with other configurations which are capable of withstanding a load and allow for rotation of the device.

In one embodiment, the main casing contains mounting points for the handles/grips/foot rests, these mounting points could be simple in nature, such as a reinforced hole extending to the interior wall of the housing. The attachment portion of the handles/grips/foot axle could contain a wedge anchor, or similar, which allows the user to secure the desired attachment, but also enable the removal if desired. For this embodiment, the shaft attaching to the main casing would contain the attachment portion on one end and a user tightening means on the other end, such as a screw head.

In one embodiment, the foot rests are similar to platform type foot rests. These foot rests are able to be placed on the external casing (exterior of the main housing) in varying positions. The axis of the foot rests is secured to the main casing so as to make the foot rests rotatable about the fixed axis. This is similar to a bike pedal; it allows the foot rest to freely rotate 360°, while remaining secured to the main housing. The axis can be attached to the main housing using an attachment mechanism which is removable or permanent. The foot rests can be designed to secure a shoe or a bare foot through various configurations, including, but not limited to, straps, buckles, buttons, loops, two-way zip ties, hook and loop fasteners, specific shoes, and similar attachment mechanisms.

In one embodiment, the axis attached for the foot rests is fixed to the housing, the foot rests are removable from the axis, and the axis is designed to provide an attachment mechanism for the hand grips.

In one embodiment, the interior (inner wall) of the main casing is a generally hemispherical surface similar to the interior of a dome, is situated above and around the spherical ball and houses numerous encapsulated roller ball bearings. The bearings are situated to be between the spherical ball and the interior wall of the main casing. The portion of the bearing that is round and exposed, is in contact with the encapsulated ball. The casings of the bearings are fixed to the interior dome of the main casing and are arranged to not come in contact with the spherical ball. In this embodiment, the main casing is produced from, or coated with, a smooth material. A bearing, which has two exposed round surfaces, has bearing encapsulation supports (retainers) fixed to the interior of the dome and the retainers do not come in contact with the interior of the housing or the spherical ball. The spherical ball can be made out of a material that is able to allow the bearings to rotate freely and withstand the forces of the user's weight. There is a sufficient quantity of roller ball bearings utilized, which allow the spherical ball to rotate in the direction and angle desired by the user.

In one embodiment, the casing is manufactured by injection molding. In this embodiment, the casing is injection molded around the spherical ball in such a way to be a one piece construction. The mold is made up of multiple pieces and, when the mold is assembled, it surrounds about half of the ball to below the equator of the ball, thereby encapsulating the ball. Because of the multi-piece mold design, once injection occurs, there is adequate tolerance to allow the molds to be removed, but still encapsulating the ball. When the molds are removed post injection, the casing is one piece and the ball is encapsulated.

In one embodiment, the casing is injection molded to be a multi-piece design. When assembly occurs, the pieces are attached to each other so as to not come apart during operation. The molds (tooling) for injection molding could be complimentary and generally hemispherical shaped so as to partially surround the spherical ball and generally engulf it when assembled. In some embodiments the casing could be removable and able to be used with other spheres, retainers or collar arrangements.

In one embodiment, an articulating generally spherical shaped object is surrounded by a collar. The articulating sphere is captured with a cap. The cap connects to the collar and is not in direct contact with the articulating sphere. The cap also has handles attached. The collar is comprised of adjustable sections which allow for the user to adjust the amount of resistance experienced while the device is in use. The collar is constructed to allow movement of the sphere. In some instances the surface of the collar which is in contact with the sphere is constructed to mimic the contours of the sphere so as to allow movement of the sphere but still provide attachment of the cap. In some embodiments, the adjustable portion of the collar will modify or tighten the shape of the surface which makes contact with the sphere. In some embodiments, the cap connection to the collar allows for a limited amount of rotation of the cap on the collar, which thereby allows the device to rest in a position parallel to the ground when not in use and also provide an increased range of motion for the user when in use. The cap is constructed from a material which prevents bending or flexing to the extent of preventing contact with the articulating sphere when body weight is applied thereto. In some embodiments, there are handles attached to the cap. In other embodiments, straps or other user interaction elements are used.

In another embodiment, the cap which encloses a sphere is removable from the collar and interchangeable with alternative caps. The alternative caps differ in the human extremity interfaces, such as a cap with holes for fingers similar to that of a bowling ball, a cap with a pocket to partially enclose the hand of the user, or a rigid bar.

In some embodiments, the point of contact between the user and device contains additional material to increase the comfort of the user. This includes the use of padding, gel or similar materials.

One method of using the device includes a user starting in a kneeling position and placing both hands on the handles while the device is on the ground, so the user is now in a static crawling (“all-fours”) position. The user then shifts the weight of their body to thereby provide a force onto the device which allows it to move away from the body as desired by the user. The user moves with the device until a near push up position is achieved. The user then rotates back up to a static crawling position. The user has the ability to vary the angle at which they rotate down so as to provide a force laterally as well as vertically, in order to isolate different abdominal and related muscles.

In one method of using the device, an embodiment of the device is operated by the user in a prone position.

In one method of using the device, an embodiment of the device which can attach independently to each upper extremity and each lower extremity is used from both the supine and prone positions.

In one method of using the device, the user concurrently operates both a lower extremity embodiment (foot rest) and the upper extremity embodiment (hand grips). In this method the user starts on the ground in a near push up position, placing each foot on individual foot rests and each hand on individual hand grips. The user brings their legs towards the middle of their body by bending their knees and keeping his body weight on the foot rests and hand grips. The user also extends and retracts his arms while holding the hand grips. The user can operate the lower portion independently of, or concurrently with, the upper portion.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a front view of an embodiment of the device.

FIG. 2 is a front view of an embodiment of the device.

FIG. 3 is a front view of an embodiment of the device.

FIG. 4 is a cross sectional view of an embodiment of the device.

FIGS. 5A-5F are views of various embodiments of the device.

FIGS. 6A-6F are views of various embodiments of the device.

FIGS. 7A and 7B are the top and side view of an embodiment of the device.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT(S)

FIG. 1 shows a front view of an embodiment of the upper extremity portion of the device. The handles of the device, 102, are attached to the main casing, 100. The main casing is generally hemispherical in shape and extends below the equator of the articulating ball, 104.

FIG. 2 shows a front view of an embodiment of the upper extremity portion of the device. 200 shows the position handles which are able to be adjusted to different positions relative to the main casing, 100.

FIG. 3 shows a front view of an embodiment of the lower extremity portion of the device. The platform foot rests, 302, are attachable to the main casing, 100, in a variety of different attachment points, 304. The foot rests are able to rotate about an axis, 300, which is attached to the main casing.

FIG. 4 shows a cross section view of an embodiment, which utilizes ball bearings to assist in the movement of the articulating ball. The spherical ball, 104, is encapsulated in the main housing, 100, and between the interior of the main housing and the spherical ball are encapsulated ball bearings, 400, which adequately span the interior volume of the main housing in contact with the spherical ball, 104.

FIGS. 5A-5F shows embodiments of the device which includes a cap and adjustable collar. In FIG. 5A the articulating sphere, 504, is shown. FIGS. 5B and 5C shows the adjustable collar, 502. FIG. 5D shows the articulating sphere, 504, connected to the articulating sphere, 502. FIG. 5E shows the adjustable cap, 500, with handles, 520, attached thereto. The handles, 520, can be attached to the cap, 500, at an angle.

FIG. 6A shows the cap, 600, prior to attachment to the collar, 610. In FIG. 6B the adjustable collar, 612, shows the adjustment clasps, 610, prior to tightening to engulf the articulating ball, 504. The spacing of the adjustable collars, 612 and 614, correlates with the resistance which the collar places on the articulating sphere. FIG. 6C shows the adjustment clasps, 614, in a tightened configuration. FIG. 6D shows an assembled configuration of FIGS. 6A- 6C with the articulating cap, 600, with handles, 620, connected thereto. FIG. 6E shows an illustration of an embodiment when a clockwise force is placed on the embodiment, the articulating cap, 600, is shown to rotate but is limited to the constraints of the collar. FIG. 6F shows an illustration of an embodiment when a counterclockwise force is placed on the embodiment, the articulating cap, 600, is shown to rotate but is limited to the constraints of the collar.

FIGS. 7A and 7B shows multiple views of an embodiment. FIG. 7A shows the users hand surrounding the main body, 706, with the hand secured to such by a hand strap, 708. In FIG. 7B the users arms and legs are secured to individual articulating spheres by a foot strap, 712, or a hand strap, 708. In this embodiment the user's extremities are secured to the articulating caps, 706, and the articulating spheres, 710, are allowed to move in accordance with the force or resistance inputted by the user.

While the above disclosed embodiments generally contemplate a device where both the upper extremities move together and both the lower extremities move together, this is by no means required and in an alternative embodiment. The device may be made to be used by a single hand, single foot, or a single hand and foot together. In such an embodiment, the articulating ball will generally be smaller than the embodiments depicted above and foot rests and handles may or may not be provided on each device. In an embodiment, the user would simply grasp the main casing in their hand or foot. Alternatively, the main casing may simply have a strap or related device attached thereto for holding it to the foot or hand of the user. In a still further embodiment, the handles may be positioned to better accommodate a single hand or foot. For example, they may be positioned generally on the top of the housing, or toward the front or back as the user faces the device. This device could be used to perform any of the same exercises as the two handed/footed device, but could also be used to perform different exercises including sideways motions.

While the inventions have been disclosed in connection with certain preferred embodiments, this should not be taken as a limitation to all of the provided details of any invention. Modifications and variations of the described embodiments may be made without departing from the spirit and scope of any invention herein disclosed, and other embodiments should be understood to be encompassed in the present disclosure as would be understood by those of ordinary skill in the art.





 
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