Title:
Leg stretching and kick exercise device
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A device for performing exercises that employs an anchoring structure, a support beam, and a suspended target. The anchoring structure may be, but is not limited to, a base or clamp. If a clamp is used, the height of the target is varied by attaching the clamp at different heights along a vertical edge. If a base is used, then the height is varied by inserting the support beam into openings vertically disposed upon a pole that is inserted into the base.



Inventors:
Pemjean, Louis (Hilliard, OH, US)
Application Number:
09/962837
Publication Date:
04/11/2002
Filing Date:
09/25/2001
Assignee:
PEMJEAN LOUIS
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63B1/00; A63B69/00; A63B69/20; A63B23/00; (IPC1-7): A63B1/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
BAKER, LORI LYNN
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
EPSTEIN, EDELL, SHAPIRO, FINNAN & LYTLE, LLC (Rockville, MD, US)
Claims:

I claim:



1. An exercise device, comprising: a post, having a lower portion and an upper portion, said lower portion configured for insertion into said base aperture, said upper portion having a series of vertically spaced apertures defined therein; a support rod, having proximal and distal ends, said proximal end having a segment configured to be inserted and retained in a said vertically spaced aperture such that said rod extends generally horizontally from said structure; a suspension cord with an upper end and a lower end, said upper end connected to said distal end of said support rod; and a target, connected to said lower end so as to be vertically suspended from said support rod at a location horizontally spaced from said structure.

2. The exercise device of claim 1 wherein said vertically spaced apertures are sequentially labeled to provide a basis for measurement of progress.

3. The exercise device of claim 2 wherein the post is attached directly to a wall.

4. The exercise device of claim 12 wherein the post also contains a support bracket, said support bracket having an L-shape with a vertical element and a horizontal element, said horizontal element being attached to the topmost edge of said post, and said horizontal element defining a gap between said post and said vertical element such that the device may rest upon an edge of a door

5. An exercise device, comprising: a clamp adapted for attachment to an edge of a structure such as a door, said clamp having a mounting portion with mounting aperture defined therein; a support rod having proximal and distal ends, said proximal end having a segment configured to be inserted and retained in said mounting aperture such that said rod extends generally horizontally from said structure; a suspension cord having an upper end and a lower end, said upper end connected to said distal end of said support rod; and a target connected to said lower end so as to be vertically suspended from said support rod at a location horizontally spaced from said structure.

6. The exercise device of claim 5 wherein the support rod includes a spring section to absorb transverse forces applied to the rod.

7. The exercise device of claim 6 wherein the support rod includes a connector sleeve to provide an interface between the spring section and the rod.

8. The exercise device of claim 7 wherein the support rod includes a connector block for shielding the interface of said rod and said suspension cord.

9. The exercise device of claim 8 wherein the clamp includes a mounting block for distributing shear forces at the proximal end of the support rod.

10. An exercise device, comprising: a base, with an aperture defined therein; a post, having a lower portion and an upper portion, said lower portion configured for insertion into said base aperture, said upper portion having a series of vertically spaced apertures defined therein; a support rod, having proximal and distal ends, said proximal end having a segment configured to be inserted and retained in a said vertically spaced aperture such that said rod extends generally horizontally from said structure; a suspension cord with an upper end and a lower end, said upper end connected to said distal end of said support rod; and a target, connected to said lower end so as to be vertically suspended from said support rod at a location horizontally spaced from said structure.

11. The exercise device of claim 10 wherein the base is hollow such that a weighting material may be deposited therein.

12. The exercise device of claim 11 wherein the base is semi-spherical.

13. The exercise device of claim 11 wherein the base is rectangular.

14. A method of performing leg stretching exercises, which comprises: a) suspending a kicking target from a door such that the target is horizontally separated from a door panel, and at a selected height; b) kicking the target.

Description:

CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

[0001] This application claims priority from U.S. Provisional Patent Application Ser. No. No. 60/235,266, entitled “Leg Stretching and Kick Exercise Device,” filed Sep. 25, 2000. The disclosure in that provisional patent application is incorporated herein by reference in its entirety.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0002] 1. Field of the Invention

[0003] The invention relates to exercise devices. More particularly, the invention pertains to kicking exercise devices and methods for exercising and stretching leg muscles.

[0004] 2. Discussion of Related Art

[0005] Fitness training has become a fixture in today's society. The health benefits and enjoyment that fitness training provides make it a priority for many people. Martial arts training in particular is the activity of choice for a significant segment of the exercising public, and is steadily growing in popularity. Martial arts training often involves kicking, and muscle training for kicking movements is typically performed on structures that support that tend to be large, immobile and relatively expensive. In addition, the structures generally do not provide a convenient way to vary the height of the target, or to measure fitness progress over time.

[0006] Various prior art devices have addressed the issue of martial arts training. U.S. Pat. No. 5,476,433 to Bruner discloses a universal martial arts training apparatus that provides multiple training stations. U.S. Pat. No. 5,897,465 to Hautamaki discloses a device for mounting striking pads on a vertical standard. These devices are relatively large, and are primarily suited for gyms or other public exercise facilities.

[0007] The growing need for martial arts training devices is not limited to large machines used at commercial gyms, but extends to devices that can be used safely by individuals in their homes or in motels while traveling. The demands of modern life are such that time, travel and family constraints often prohibit or severely limit the ability of the individual to participate in an fitness regimen on a regular basis. Therefore, a need exists for an exercise device that is inexpensive, reliable, mobile and suitable for individual use in a wide range of environments. A further need exists for an exercise device that can be used by a participant in the martial arts to perform leg-stretching exercises and to measure improvements and flexibility over time.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0008] It is an object of the invention to provide a kicking exercise apparatus and method which can be used substantially anywhere rather than being limited to use in a gym or other public exercise facility.

[0009] It is another object of the invention to provide a kicking exercise apparatus and method that readily permit the progress of the user to be monitored.

[0010] The aforesaid objects are achieved individually and in combination, and it is not intended that the present invention be construed as requiring two or more of the objects to be combined unless expressly required by the claims attached hereto.

[0011] According to a preferred embodiment of the present invention, a portable device for permitting leg stretching exercises includes a clamp or other anchoring device adapted to be secured to the top or side edge of a conventional open door. A support rod is adapted to have one end secured to the clamp and have a cord, string or other similar element suspended from its other end. A target, such as a ball or other object is secured the cord and positioned at a height that is adjustable. Height adjustability is preferably achieved by selecting an appropriate clamp position along the side edge of the open door. Progress is monitored by noting the height on the door to which the clamp can be raised while permitting the user of the device to still reach the target with his/her foot using a martial arts kicking motion. In a floor mounted model of the invention a weighted anchoring structure has a post inserted therein in a vertical orientation. The post is provided with a vertically oriented series of apertures, each adapted to receive one end of a support rod to project horizontally from the post. The other end of the rod is secured to a cord, or the like, which suspends a kicking target at a height determined by the aperture in which the rod is secured. Progress is monitored by noting the aperture to which the rod is secured. Alternative embodiments include anchoring the post to the top edge of a door by using support tabs, or by bolting the post into the wall.

[0012] The above and still further objects, features and advantages of the present invention will become apparent upon consideration of the following definitions, descriptions and descriptive figures of specific embodiments thereof wherein like reference numerals in the various figures are utilized to designate like components. While these descriptions go into specific details of the invention, it should be understood that variations may and do exist and would be apparent to those skilled in the art based on the descriptions herein.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0013] FIG. 1 is a perspective view of an exemplary embodiment of the invention;

[0014] FIG. 2 is a perspective view of an alternative embodiment of the invention;

[0015] FIG. 3 is a perspective view of a third alternative embodiment of the invention;

[0016] FIG. 4 is a perspective view of a fourth alternative embodiment of the invention;

[0017] FIG. 5 is an elevation view of an embodiment of a support beam, suspension cord and target.

[0018] FIG. 6 is an elevation view of an embodiment of an anchoring structure.

DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

[0019] Referring specifically to FIG. 1, in a preferred embodiment of the invention a clamp 12 is mounted on vertical free edge a door or other similar panel-like structure. The clamp is conventional and may be constructed of metal, rubber, plastic, wood, or any other material capable of providing sufficient gripping force. The illustrated clamp 12, as best seen in FIG. 6, has a pair of pivotally engaged handles movable between open and closed pivot positions and resiliently biased in the closed position by a spring in a conventional manner. As shown, clamp 12 is adapted to grip an edge of the door to anchor the exercise device securely in place relative to the door. A mounting block 13 is secured to one of the clamp arms and is provided with a mounting aperture 15 adapted to receive one end of a support beam or rod 14 oriented to project horizontally from the door. The mounting aperture may have a depth of approximately 1 to 2 inches, and the mounting block distributes shear forces at the proximate end of the support rod. Alternatively, the mounting block may be eliminated and the aperture formed in one of the clamp handles. Support rod 14 may be of constant cross-sectional area throughout its length or have different cross-section, as desired, and is secured in aperture 15 by a force fit, snap fit, threaded engagement, attachment pins or any other suitable means. The support may be formed as a single piece or in sections, and may be constructed from any combination of materials. For example, the rod is best seen in FIG. 5 wherein the attachment end 32 of the rod may be formed from a rubber material, and may be connected to a springy metal section 33 which interfaces with a rubber connector sleeve 35 which in turn interfaces with plastic section 34. A connector block 37 is disposed at the distal end of rod 14, and is preferably constructed of rubber and molded to fit around the rod end to provide shielding for the interface of the support rod and the suspension cord.

[0020] The connector block 37 at the distal end of support beam 14 is attached to an end of a suspension cord 36 from which a kick target 38 is suspended. Suspension cord 36 and target 38 may be constructed from a variety of materials suitable for the purposes described herein, with suspension cord 36 being capable of returning to its quiescent vertical orientation after target 38 is kicked and the cord and target are displaced transiently displaced from the quiescent position. Target 38 may be a spherical object as shown, but any suitable kick target shape will suffice.

[0021] In operation, support rod 14 is inserted into aperture 15 so that target 38 is suspended by suspension cord 36. Clamp 12 is secured to a door edge or any other suitable structure to place the suspended target 38 at a desired height. The user may then kick target 38 in any desired manner in performing a martial arts exercise. In doing so the user stretches the involved leg muscles to gain greater flexibility. As increased flexibility is achieved, the clamp may be raised along the door edge to place the target 38 at successively higher locations, and the user can judge progress by noting the vertical location of the clamp on the door edge. In this regard, a strip with graduated markings thereon can be attached to extend vertically on the door to provide a visual measure of such progress.

[0022] The springy metal section of support rod 14 provides some resilience for the rod to minimize the possibility of the rod breaking due to the forces applied thereto when target 38 is kicked.

[0023] It should be noted that the device as described above may be used for other than kicking exercises. For example, the target may be suspended to permit a user to jump or leap to hit the target with his/her extended hand, thereby serving as a jumping trainer, particularly for children.

[0024] It is also to be noted that the preferred embodiment of FIG. 1 can be readily mounted on virtually any door in a manner permitting the target to be projected horizontally away from the door and door frame, thereby providing spatial clearance for the user to kick the suspended target without contacting the door or frame. As a result, the device can be used almost anywhere.

[0025] In an alternative embodiment, the device may be supported on the floor or ground as shown in FIG. 2. Such a device is anchored by a base 22, which is shown having a semi-spherical shape but may be formed in any desired configuration. The base is filled with weighted material that may be solid or liquid. If preferred, the base itself may be made of a suitably heavy material to provide the desired stability. A lower portion of a post 24 is inserted into an aperture 25 in base 22 and secured by threaded engagement, snap fit, friction fit, etc. in a vertical orientation. Post 26 has a series of vertically spaced apertures 28 defined therein and configured to receive and engage the proximal end of a support beam or rod 29. The apertures may have any shape required to engage the support rod and are preferably marked with respective indicia that typically represent the height of each aperture above the base or the floor. If desired, the post apertures may be lined with a plasticized material to assure proper frictional engagement of the support rod. Support rod 29, a suspension cord 23 and a target 21 are similar in construction to the like components described in relation to FIG. 1. In operation, the device is used as described above in relation to FIG. 1 except that the height of the target is controlled by selecting a particular aperture 28 along the length of post 26 to set target 21 at the desired height. The user may refer to the sequential indicia along the post to measure progress over a period of time.

[0026] In the embodiment shown in FIG. 3, the device is attached to a wall by bolts inserted through mounting cross-arms 51. Alternatively, nails, screws, pins, staples, adhesives or any other reliable method of attachment may be employed to secure the post to the wall. In another embodiment, shown in FIG. 4, the device is mounted on the horizontal top edge of a door by support bracket 41. In this embodiment, the support bracket is an L-shaped member with a vertical element 43, and a horizontal element 45. Horizontal element 45 is attached to the topmost edge of post 47, defining a gap 49 between vertical element 43 and post 47. The device is mounted on a door such that a horizontal edge of the door slides into gap 49, thereby securing the device in an elevated position.

[0027] Thus, the invention is an exercise device which is versatile, inexpensive and effective. The device can be used at home, and is compact enough for travel and use in a hotel if desired.

[0028] Having described preferred embodiments of new and improved exercise method and apparatus, it is believed that other modifications, variations and changes will be suggested to those skilled in the art in view of the teachings set forth herein. It is therefore to be understood that all such variations, modifications and changes are believed to fall within the scope of the present invention as defined by the appended claims. Although specific terms are employed herein, they are used in a generic and descriptive sense only and not for purposes of limitation.