Title:
U shaped spring for strengthening the pubococeygeus muscle
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A U shaped spring designed to accommodate a long resistance path, designed to provide for a large leg squeezing area so that large squeezing resistance may be applied without excessive inner leg pressure, designed to facilitate incremental and great increases of resistance and, designed to employ an arm restraint so that initial movement through the first half of the range of movement will be against substantial and beneficial resistance. The U shaped spring for strengthening the pubococeygeus muscle when squeezed between the upper legs comprises: a resilient strip bent into and held in a U shape, said U shape having spaced opposite arms extending in a same direction, and a central portion connecting the opposite arms; and, an arm restraint extending between the spaced opposite arms holding and preventing the arms from resiliently springing apart beyond their spaced configuration. The arm restraint is generally under a substantial tension load, and is unloaded only when the arms of the U shaped spring are squeezed together between the upper legs thereby strengthening the pubococeygeus muscle. In a preferred aspect of this invention the strip comprises sheet steel and the arm restraint comprises a wire rope extending between and through holes in the opposite arms.



Inventors:
Harding-randle, Andreaa (Colorado Springs, CO, US)
Application Number:
09/828089
Publication Date:
10/10/2002
Filing Date:
04/09/2001
Assignee:
HARDING-RANDLE ANDREAA
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63B23/20; A63B21/02; (IPC1-7): A63B21/05
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
DONNELLY, JEROME W
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Glen F. Gallinger (Colorado Springs, CO, US)
Claims:

I claim:



1. A spring apparatus for strengthening the pubococeygeus muscle when squeezed between the upper legs comprising: two spaced resilient arms extending in a same direction; a central portion connecting corresponding ends of the opposite arms; an arm restraint extending between the spaced opposite arms holding and preventing the arms from resiliently springing apart beyond their spaced configuration; said arm restraint generally being under a substantial tension load, and being unloaded only when the arms of the spring are squeezed together between the upper legs thereby strengthening the pubococeygeus muscle.

2. A generally U shaped spring for strengthening the pubococeygeus muscle when squeezed between the upper legs comprising: a resilient strip bent into and held generally into a U shape, said U shape having spaced opposite arms extending in a same direction, and a central portion connecting the opposite arms; and, an arm restraint extending between the spaced opposite arms holding and preventing the arms from resiliently springing apart beyond their spaced configuration; said arm restraint generally being under a substantial tension load, and being unloaded only when the arms of the U shaped spring are squeezed together between the upper legs thereby strengthening the pubococeygeus muscle.

3. A U shaped spring as in claim 2 wherein the strip comprises sheet steel having opposite generally parallel long edge portions.

4. A U shaped spring as in claim 2 wherein the arm restraint comprises a cord extending between the opposite arms.

5. A U shaped spring as in claim 4 wherein the opposite arms have a hole therethrough and wherein the cord comprises a wire rope extending through and between the holes and having enlarged opposite end portions too large to pull through the holes in the opposite arms.

6. A U shaped spring as in claim 2 wherein the unconnected end portions of the opposite arms flare radially apart from each other so that they will partially extend around a front portion of the upper legs thereby assuring and maintaining proper position of the U shaped spring with respect to the legs when squeezed together thereby.

7. A U shaped spring as in claim 5 further comprising a rubber material coating an outer side of the arms and the opposite, generally parallel long edge portions of the strip.

8. A U shaped spring as in claim 7 wherein the rubber coating comprises a dip generally covering the entire strip.

9. A U shaped spring as in claim 3 wherein an upper long edge portion of the arm portions of the U shaped spring are contoured to better fit against and follow the body contour when positioned against the body above and between the upper legs.

10. A U shaped spring as in claim 8 further comprising a compressible insert configured to be positioned between the opposite arms to increase the force required to squeeze the opposite arms together so that the required squeezing force to deflect the arms may be increased as muscles strengthen.

11. A U shaped spring as in claim 10 wherein the compressible insert comprises foam rubber and wherein the insert is dimensioned to fit closely between opposite arms, the central portion, and the wire rope to thereby increase the squeezing force required to deflect the arms together as the muscle strengthens.

12. A U shaped spring as in claim 11 wherein the compressible insert is provided having differing and increasing resistances to compression so that the squeezing force required to deflect the arms together can be incrementally increased as the muscle strengthens thereby allowing maximum muscle growth from exercise.

13. A U shaped spring as in claim 3 wherein the arms have a height exceeding 2 inches to ensure substantial contact area and a comfortably low pressure when squeezed between the upper legs.

14. A U shaped spring as in claim 13 wherein the arms have a height which is generally 2 and one half inches.

15. A U shaped spring as in claim 3 wherein the strip of sheet steel has a thickness of less than one eighth inches so that the arms may be squeezed over a maximum range of motion before they collide.

16. A U shaped spring as in claim 15 wherein the arms are spaced apart a distance exceeding 4 inches thereby ensuring a long resistance path to better facilitate muscle development.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

[0001] This invention relates to the problem of incontinence and improving sexual function in both men and women. More particularly this invention relates to strengthening the pelvic floor comprising the pubococeygeus muscle, a figure eight shaped muscle wrapping around the urethra and anus.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0002] U.S. Pat. No. 4,749,186 issued to A. Harding-Randle is for a gynaecology exercise device for women. Squeezable wings extend outwardly only from a rear portion of this device. The problem of limited outward extension of the sqeezable wings and the problem of limited inward proximity of the wings when squeezed together are both inherent to this design. The length of the resistance path is thereby excessively short. This short resistance path not only provides less than optimal muscle strengthening, but additionally prevents thin women from holding the device between their legs and large women from squeezing the wings on a rear portion of the device. Another problem with this device is its minimal leg contact squeezing area. Only the wings on a rear portion of the device are squeezed together. To maintain a comfortable squeezing pressure on the inner legs the squeezing pressure must be limited. Yet another problem with this device is that the resistance encountered through the first half of the range of motion is too small to be beneficial for muscle strengthening.

[0003] What is needed is a design which utilizes a much greater leg squeezing area. A design which will allow substantially more squeezing resistance without excessive inner leg pressure so that the pubococeygeus muscle can be strengthened a maximal amount at a maximal rate. What also is needed is a design which accommodates a longer resistance path. A longer resistance path better facilitates muscle development. Wings which extend further apart would allow a very thin woman to hold the device and wings which could be forced closer together would allow a large women to better use the device. Yet a further object of this invention is to disclose a design which offers substantial resistance through the first half of the range of motion as well as through the last half of the range of motion. In the application of strengthening the pubococeygeus muscle the range of motion is limited to a few inches. Optimum strengthening cannot occur if substantial resistance is not encountered in the first half of the range of motion. Finally what is needed is a design facilitating not only a greater resistance path, but a design in which the resistance can be incrementally and greatly increased. Maximum muscle development occurs when more than 80% of a muscle's maximum force is exerted. An optimal design should facilitate increasing maximum force as much as maximal lifting force can be increased by adding plates to a barbell.

OBJECTS OF THE INVENTION

[0004] It is an object of this invention to disclose a design for a pelvic floor strengthening device which accommodates a longer resistance path. A resistance path which begins with arms further apart and end ends with arms closer together. A design which will thereby allow thin women to better hold the device between their legs and large women squeeze the legs closer together. It is yet a further object of this invention to disclose a pelvic floor strengthening device which inherently provides a larger leg contact area so that greater squeezing force can be comfortably applied to its arm without excessive pressure. It is yet a further object of this invention to disclose a design for a pelvic floor strengthening device which provides substantial resistance across the initial and first half of the range of motion. In an application where the range of motion is limited to a few inches it is important to increase and utilize all of the range of motion to maximize muscle strengthening. It is a final object of this invention to disclose a design for a pelvic floor strengthening device which not only accommodates greater squeezing resistance, but additionally facilitates greater incremental variability so that the device can better facilitate maximum muscle development and a maximum rate of muscle growth.

[0005] One aspect of this invention provides for a U shaped spring for strengthening the pubococeygeus muscle when squeezed between the upper legs comprising: a resilient strip bent into and held in a U shape, said U shape having spaced opposite arms extending in a same direction, and a central portion connecting the opposite arms; and, an arm restraint extending between the spaced opposite arms holding and preventing the arms from resiliently springing apart beyond their spaced configuration. The arm restraint is generally under a substantial tension load, and is unloaded only when the arms of the U shaped spring are squeezed together between the upper legs thereby strengthening the pubococeygeus muscle.

[0006] In a preferred aspect of this invention the strip comprises sheet steel and the arm restraint comprises a wire rope extending between and through holes in the opposite arms.

[0007] Various other objects, advantages and features of this invention will become apparent to those skilled in the art from the following description in conjunction with the accompanying drawings.

FIGURES OF THE INVENTION

[0008] FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a U shaped spring for strengthening the pubococeygeus muscle.

[0009] FIG. 2 is a plan view of the U shaped spring as viewed along line 2-2 in FIG. 1.

[0010] FIG. 3 is an elevation of the U shaped spring shown in FIG. 1 as viewed along line 3-3 in FIG. 1.

[0011] The following is a discussion and description of the preferred specific embodiments of this invention, such being made with reference to the drawings, wherein the same reference numerals are used to indicate the same or similar parts and/or structure. It should be noted that such discussion and description is not meant to unduly limit the scope of the invention.

DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

[0012] Turning now to the drawings and more particularly to FIG. 1 we have a perspective view of a U shaped spring 20 for strengthening the pubococeygeus muscle (not shown). FIG. 2 is a plan view of the U shaped spring 20 as viewed along line 2-2 in FIG. 1. A spring apparatus 21 for strengthening the pubococeygeus muscle (not shown) comprises: two spaced resilient arms 24 extending in a same direction; a central portion 26 connecting corresponding ends of the opposite arms 24; and, an arm restraint 28 extending between the spaced opposite arms 24, holding and preventing the arms 24 from resiliently springing apart beyond their spaced configuration. The arm restraint 24 is generally under a substantial tension load 32, and is unloaded only when the arms 24 of spring 20 are squeezed together between the upper legs (not shown) thereby strengthening the pubococeygeus muscle.

[0013] In a preferred aspect of this invention the spring apparatus 21 comprises a U shaped spring 20 which comprises: a resilient strip 22 bent into and held in a U shape, said U shape having spaced opposite arms 24 extending in a same direction, and a central portion 26 connecting the opposite arms 24; and an arm restraint 28 extending between the spaced opposite arms 24 holding and preventing the arms 24 from resiliently springing apart beyond their spaced configuration. As above, the arm restraint is generally under a substantial tension load 32, and is unloaded only when the arms 24 of the U shaped spring 20 are squeezed together between the upper legs (not shown) thereby strengthening the pubococeygeus muscle.

[0014] The arm restraint 28 enables initial small movement of the arms 24 together to require substantial force. In an unrestrained spring compressive force F is generally directly proportional to deflection D. ( F=k.D ) In a restrained (and compressed spring) compressive force F is equal to the restraining force RF, and a component which is directly proportional to deflection D. ( F=RF+k.D ) The restraining force can be substantial. Accordingly, the use of a restrained spring for strengthening the pubococeygeus muscle allows all compressive movement of the spring to be against substantial and beneficial resistance. In contrast using an execise device comprising an unrestrained spring (not shown) requires less than half of the maximum force required for full compression across the first half of the range of movement. When the range of movement is limited to a few inches, by the position of use, the initial and first half of the movement is against too little resistance to be of substantial benefit.

[0015] Most preferably the strip 22 comprises sheet steel having opposite generally parallel long edge portions 34. Most preferably the arm restraint 28 comprises a cord 30 extending between the opposite arms 24. In the most preferred embodiment of the invention the opposite arms 24 have a hole 36 therethrough and the cord 30 comprises a wire rope 36 extending through and between the holes 36 and has enlarged opposite end portions 40 too large to pull through the holes 36 in the opposite arms 24.

[0016] Most preferably the unconnected end portions 42 of the opposite arms 24 flare radially apart from each other so that they will partially extend around a front portion of the upper legs (not shown) thereby assuring and maintaining proper position of the U shaped spring thereto when squeezed together thereby.

[0017] In the most preferred embodiment of the invention a rubber material comprising a dip coats the entire strip 22 including an outer and inner sides of the arms 24 and the opposite, generally parallel long edge portions 34 of the strip 22.

[0018] FIG. 3 best shows an upper long edge portion 34 of the arm portions 24 are contoured to better fit against and follow the body contour when positioned against the body above and between the upper legs (not shown). It should be noted that the central portion's 26 height does not generally exceed the height of the arms 24 thereby facilitating use of a single size of U shaped spring by both large and small persons.

[0019] Looking back at FIG. 1, we see a compressible insert 44 in the top portion of the figure. The insert 44 is preferably made of foam rubber and is configured to be positioned between the opposite arms 24, the central portion 26, and the wire rope 38 to increase the force required to squeeze the opposite arms 24 together so that squeezing force F may be increased as the muscle strengthens thereby maximizing increase in muscle strength. To maximally increase muscle strength a muscle should be exerted at 80% of its maximum strength. The compressible insert 44 is provided having differing and increasing resistances to compression so that the squeezing force F required to deflect the arms 24 together can be incrementally increased as the muscle strengthens thereby allowing maximum muscle growth from exercise.

[0020] In the most preferred embodiment of the invention the U shaped spring has a height which is generally 2 and one half inches. The U shaped strip 22 sheet steel has a thickness of less than one eighth inches so that the arms 24 may be squeezed over a maximum range of motion before they collide. The arms 24 are spaced apart a distance exceeding 4 inches thereby ensuring a long resistance path to better facilitate muscle development.

[0021] While the invention has been described with preferred specific embodiments thereof, it will be understood that this description is intended to illustrate and not to limit the scope of the invention, which is defined by the following claims.