Title:
Exercise bar
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An exercise bar is used to increase the moment of inertia of the body during twisting and flexing motions, thereby increasing exercise intensity. The bar includes a back portion that is adapted to be received by the mid-portion of the user's back. A pair of arms extends from the back portion and does so at an angle relative to each other. This angle is between 100 and 130 degrees and is optimally 114 degrees. The arms extend anteriorly away from the back of the user, allowing the user to grasp the arms with their shoulders depressed (below horizontal) rotated slightly forward (anteriorly). This proper positioning of the shoulder and upper extremities allows for increased blood supply to the extremities during exercise. In addition, this arm position has been shown to reduce undesirable superfluous nerve stimulation as compared to traditional straight bars or curved bars that are placed behind the neck. The mid-back, anterior positioned arms used by the disclosed invention provide a more comfortable shoulder position for performing trunk exercises.



Inventors:
Katami, Paul T. (Valley Village, CA, US)
Application Number:
10/223570
Publication Date:
02/19/2004
Filing Date:
08/19/2002
Assignee:
KATAMI PAUL T.
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
482/106
International Classes:
A63B23/02; A63B21/072; A63B23/00; (IPC1-7): A63B21/072; A63B15/00; A63B21/075
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
MATHEW, FENN C
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
PAUL KATAMI (BURBANK, CA, US)
Claims:

What is claimed is:



1. An exercise bar comprising: a substantially longitudinal first and; a substantially longitudinal second arm; and a back portion adapted to be supported by the back of a user and connecting said first arm and said second arm positioning said first arm and said second arm at a relative angle between 100 and 130 degrees.

2. An exercise bar as in claim 1, wherein said back portion includes a structure comprising a single bend.

3. An exercise bar as in claim 2, wherein said single bend is a radius between 4 and 12 inches.

4. An exercise bar as in claim 1, wherein said back portion is comprised of a substantially straight portion.

5. An exercise bar as in claim 4, wherein said angle is comprised of a 33-degree angle from a longitudinal axis of said straight portion to each arm.

6. An exercise bar as in claim 4, wherein said straight portion is between 8 and 16 inches long.

7. An exercise bar as in claim 1, wherein said relative angle is an angle between 105 and 125 degrees.

8. An exercise bar as in claim 1, wherein said relative angle is an angle between 109 and 119 degrees.

9. An exercise bar as in claim 1, wherein said relative angle is 114 degrees.

10. An exercise bar as in claim 1, wherein said back portion includes a length adjustment.

11. An exercise bar as in claim 10, wherein said length adjustment is comprised of a pair of tubes that telescope and a locking mechanism.

12. An exercise bar as in claim 11, wherein said locking mechanism includes a lock selected from the group consisting of a shear pin and a detent pin.

13. An exercise bar as in claim 1, wherein said first arm and said second arm include a length adjustment.

14. An exercise bar as in claim 13, wherein said length adjustment is comprised of a pair of handles that are movably mounted each one to a distal end of an arm and including a locking mechanism.

15. An exercise bar as in claim 14, wherein said locking mechanism includes a lock selected from the group consisting of a shear pin and a detent pin.

16. An exercise bar comprising: a substantially longitudinal pair of arms; and a substantially longitudinal back portion connecting said pair of arms such that an angle between said pair of arms falls within the inclusive range of 100 and 130 degrees.

17. An exercise bar as in claim 16, wherein said back portion includes a structure comprising a single bend.

18. An exercise bar as in claim 17, wherein said single bend is a radius between 4 and 12 inches.

19. An exercise bar as in claim 16, wherein said back portion is comprised of a substantially straight portion.

20. An exercise bar as in claim 19, wherein said angle is comprised of a 33-degree angle from a longitudinal axis of said straight portion to each arm.

21. An exercise bar as in claim 19, wherein said straight portion is between 8 and 16 inches long.

22. An exercise bar as in claim 16, wherein said angle is an angle between 105 and 125 degrees.

23. An exercise bar as in claim 16, wherein said angle is an angle between 109 and 119 degrees.

24. An exercise bar as in claim 16, wherein said angle is 114 degrees.

25. An exercise bar as in claim 16, wherein said back portion includes a length adjustment.

26. An exercise bar as in claim 25, wherein said length adjustment is comprised of a pair of tubes that telescope and a locking mechanism.

27. An exercise bar as in claim 26, wherein said locking mechanism includes a lock selected from the group consisting of a shear pin and a detent pin.

28. An exercise bar as in claim 16, wherein said first arm and said second arm include a length adjustment.

29. An exercise bar as in claim 28, wherein said length adjustment is comprised of a pair of handles that are movably mounted each one to a distal end of an arm and including a locking mechanism.

30. An exercise bar as in claim 29, wherein said locking mechanism includes a lock selected from the group consisting of a shear pin and a detent pin.

31. An exercise method including: providing an exercise bar comprising: a substantially longitudinal first arm; a substantially longitudinal second arm; and a back portion adapted to be supported by the back of a user and connecting said first arm and said second arm positioning said first arm and said second arm at a relative angle between 100 and 130 degrees; positioning said bar with said back portion against the user's back with said first arm and said second arm extending laterally and anteriorly beneath the arms of the user; and moving the torso of the user while holding said bar, thereby exercising the muscles of the user.

32. An exercise method as in claim 31, further including the step of adjusting the length of said back portion.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

[0001] The present invention generally relates to an exercise apparatus. More specifically, the present invention relates to an exercise bar that is used to position the user's arms relative to their body.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0002] Exercise bars have long been used as an aid in the field of exercise and rehabilitation.

[0003] The traditional bar is a longitudinal rod approximately 48 to 72 inches in length. A broomstick is still commonly used. The purpose of the device, in general, is to allow the user to position their hands and arms laterally and usually in a raised position, placing the shoulder in a substantially or even excessively elevated position. The user then performs trunk rotation, flexion and extension movements. The elevation of the arms provides an increased moment of inertia of the upper body about the longitudinal axis of the body. This repositioning of the mass of the body enables a greater stress on the trunk muscles in the starting and ending phases of each movement. Since these movements are typically very low resistance with high repetitions, it is not uncommon for a user to perform one hundred or more repetitions of a side-to-side trunk rotation exercise. Every “start” and every “stop” requires a change in direction of the trunk. The muscular stress from the starting and stopping is greatly increased when the moment of inertia is increased.

[0004] The traditional bars, which are substantially straight, are placed on top of the user's shoulders, behind the neck, on their trapezius muscle. The user then grasps the bar near the distal ends with the user's arms elevated and extended. This arm position causes the scapula to adduct with the shoulders joints (glenohumeral) to be posteriorly rotated. To say the least, this is an uncomfortable position. Consider the extreme condition where this same upper body position is used during crucifixion.

[0005] Some attempts have been made to reduce the adduction. Some bars have been made with alterations to accommodate the neck of the user. This allows the shoulders to be rotated slightly more forward, usually to the point of neutral. No device has been constructed with the intent of using the bar below the shoulders and with the shoulders rotated forward.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0006] In one aspect, the invention features an exercise arm with a substantially longitudinal first arm, a substantially longitudinal second arm and a back portion adapted to be supported by the back of a user. The back portion further connects the first arm and the second arm, positioning the first arm and the second arm at a relative angle between 100 and 130 degrees.

[0007] The back portion of the exercise arm may also include a structure comprising a single bend of a radius between 6 and 12 inches, or the back portion may be comprised of a substantially straight portion between 8 and 16 inches long. The straight portion connects the arms thereby positioned at an optimal angle of 33-degrees from a longitudinal axis of the straight portion to each arm. Functional inclusive angles between the arms are between 105 and 125 degrees, and more specifically between 109 and 119 degrees. The 33-degree angle from the straight portion yields an optimal relative angle between the arms of 114 degrees.

[0008] The back portion of the exercise arm may also include a length adjustment. This length adjustment may be comprised of a pair of tubes that telescope and also include a locking mechanism. The locking mechanism may include a lock selected from the group consisting of a shear pin and a detent pin. The first arm and the second arm may include a length adjustment. This length adjustment may be comprised of a pair of handles that are movably mounted each one to a distal end of an arm and may also include a locking mechanism. The locking mechanism may include a lock selected from the group consisting of a shear pin and a detent pin.

[0009] In another aspect, the invention includes a method of providing a method of exercise. This includes the steps of providing an exercise bar as previously disclosed, positioning the bar with the back portion against the user's back with the first arm and the second arm extending laterally and anteriorly beneath the arms of the user, and moving the torso of the user while holding the bar. The method may also include the step of adjusting the length of the back portion.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0010] The foregoing and other objects of this invention, the various features thereof, as well as the invention itself, may be more fully understood from the following description, when read together with the accompanying drawings, described:

[0011] FIG. 1 is an isometric view of an exercise bar with a set back width, the bar produced in accordance with the present invention.

[0012] FIG. 2a and FIG. 2b are front views of an exercise bar with a single bend and a double bend respectively, each providing a set back width, the bars produced in accordance with the present invention.

[0013] FIG. 3a and FIG. 3b show disassembled and assembled front views of an exercise bar that enables a varied back width, the bar produced in accordance with the present invention.

[0014] FIG. 4 shows an exercise bar, as it would typically be used, resting against the user's back just under the inferior aspect of the scapula, the bar produced in accordance with the present invention.

[0015] FIG. 5 is a plan view of a user with the bar positioned against the back of the user, as it would typically be used, the bar produced in accordance with the present invention.

[0016] FIG. 6 is an isometric view of an exercise bar with variable position handles and a set back width, the bar produced in accordance with the present invention.

[0017] FIG. 7a and FIG. 7b are retracted and extended handle positions, respectively, using a pin assembly with the telescoping members of an exercise bar, the bar produced in accordance with the present invention.

[0018] FIG. 8a and FIG. 8b are retracted and extended handle positions, respectively, using a detent pin within the telescoping members of an exercise bar, the bar produced in accordance with the present invention.

[0019] For the most part, and as will be apparent when referring to the figures, when an item is used unchanged in more than one figure, it is identified by the same alphanumeric reference indicator in all figures.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

[0020] The present invention is an exercise bar that provides a more comfortable arm position for the user, thereby allowing individuals with shoulder or neck injuries or limited range of motion to perform exercises otherwise compromised in form or completely impossible to perform. Referring to the drawings, FIG. 1 shows an isometric view of an exercise bar 10 with a back portion 12, a first arm 14 and a second arm 16. The back portion 12 includes a substantially straight portion 18. The length of this straight portion is noted by the dimension (x) and in this embodiment, must be long enough to be comfortably received by the back of the user. The position of the back portion can vary, but optimally this portion of the bar 10 is positioned against the user's back just under (inferior) the scapula or approximately at the 10th thoracic vertebrae. The optimal length of the straight (x) has been determined by the inventor to be between 8 and 16 inches, depending upon the population and specific individuals. The length of the arms (14 &16) are greater than the back portion straight (x), but the specifics are in many cases less critical. The arms (14 &16) can be longer than the user's arms while the bar 10 is in use, relatively speaking, in that the arms (14 &16) can extend beyond the greatest possible arm length hand position. In this case, the user can grasp the arms (14 &16) at any point prior to the ends of the arms (14 &16). For a normative population, the inventor has determined the optimal arm length to be greater than 27 inches.

[0021] Another critical aspect of the invention 10 relates to the angle (a) of the arms (14 &16) relative to the longitudinal axis of the straight portion 18. The purpose of this angle (a) allows the user's shoulders to rotate slightly anteriorly, placing the shoulder in a more relaxed position and reducing scapular adduction. The bar 10 is held under the user's arms with the back portion 12 against the back of the user. This lower elevation of the upper arm reduces the potential interference to blood flow through the axillary artery. This vessel becomes the brachial artery at the upper arm. The axillary artery feeds the upper extremities and is used to measure blood pressure. The axillary portion (superior) of the artery runs just under (inferior) to the head of the humerus, the humerus positioned within the glenoid cavity of the scapula. Yet closer to the heart, this vessel is called the subclavian artery in that it is positioned under the clavicle. This portion of the vessel is anatomically higher than the head of the humerus. By elevating the humerus (upper arm bone) the artery can be partially compromised, thereby causing a restriction to blood flow. Also, if the arm is elevated, the blood must be pumped up to the extremities. This combination can cause the upper extremities to tire prematurely or even to “fall asleep” during exercise. Exercise is when the muscles' need for nutrients, especially oxygen, is critically elevated. To reduce access to these nutrients by diminished blood flow is detrimental to exercise performance. In addition, the radial and ulnar nerves follow a similar anatomical placement to this blood vessel, thereby providing a potential for unwanted neurological feedback through tactile stimulation of the more vulnerably positioned nerve.

[0022] Another version of the bar 10 is illustrated in FIGS. 2a and 2b. Here a front view is shown, which is a top view if it were being used. The radiused single curve 20 in FIG. 2a can be used, but the radius must be great enough to allow the user's back to fit within the arms (14 &16). The inventor has determined the minimum radius to be 6 inches. The optimal range is between 6 and 12 inches. FIG. 2b shows the preferred shape of the bar 10, using a longitudinal straight portion 18. The length of the longitudinal straight portion 18, as denoted by the dimension (x) is further shown here. The optimal angle (a) the arms (14 &16) make with back portion 12 has been previously noted as 33 degrees. If this is symmetrical, the optimal relative angle (b) is 114 degrees. It should be further noted that the angle (a) to the back portion 12 is less critical than the relative angle (b). This is because if one bend angle (a) is 30 degrees and the other bend angle (a′) is 36 degrees, the bar 10 would still function with a 114 degree relative angle (b). The back portion 12 would not rest flat against the user's back, but the relative angle (b) would remain. Though not optimal, this would still be functional.

[0023] As a method of adjusting the length of the back portion 12, an adjustable version of the bar 10 is disclosed in FIGS. 3a and 3b. FIG. 3a shows the bar 10 disassembled. The back portion 12 includes a male portion 20 and a female portion 22. The male portion 20 is inserted into the female portion 22 at a variety of positions and locked in place. This lock can take a number of forms, from a straight pin that is placed through holes in the tubes, or any other form of lock that is known in the art. By varying the length of the back portion 12, the width of the arms (14 &16) are altered, thereby allowing a size adjustment of the arms (14 &16).

[0024] In FIG. 3b, the assembled version of the bar 10 is shown. The male portion 20 of the back portion 12 is inserted into the female portion 22 with a set of holes 24 aligned throughout both parts. A pin 26 is then inserted through the holes 24 to lock the parts together.

[0025] A typical use of the bar 10 is shown in FIG. 4. The bar is placed under the arms of the user 28 with the back portion 12 resting against the back of the user 28. The back portion 12 is positioned approximately at the middle of the back just below the lower portion of the scapula. The bar 10 can be adjusted to alter the length (x) of the back portion 12. The user grasps the first arm 14 and the second arm 16 with a right and left hands of the user. The arms of the user are now elevated slightly above the waist, but allowing the shoulders to be rotated forward and the upper arms below horizontal. The user may now perform a variety of exercises including spinal rotation (as depicted by the arrow 30), right and left flexion within the frontal plane (as depicted by the arrows 32) or any combination thereof.

[0026] In order to further illustrate the purpose of the forward angle of the arms (14 &16), a top view of a user 28 with the bar 10, as it is being used, is shown in FIG. 5. Here it can be seen that the back portion 12 rests against the back of the user 28. The user's hands grasp the first arm 14 and the second arm 16 near the distal ends thereof. From this view it is easily seen that the shoulders are rotated slightly forward (anteriorly) due to the angle of the arms (14 &16).

[0027] Another variation is shown in FIG. 6. Here the bar 10 includes a pair of handles 34, one at each end of the first arm 14 and the second arm 16. These handles 34 can be adjustable in length relative to the free end of the arms (14 &16). The purpose of the adjustable length is in the event that the user desires to grasp the bar at the end of the handle 34, and not on the arm itself, the length can be adjusted to accommodate different torso and arm lengths.

[0028] If various handle lengths are desired, the handles must not only be able to be adjusted, but they must also be locked in place. FIGS. 7a and 7b show one method of adjusting and locking. Here the distal end of the first arm 14 is shown, the arm 14 being a round tube, as in the preferred embodiment. The tube includes a hollow center, thus being a female arm portion 36. This receives a male arm portion 38 that is attached to a handle 34. A pin 40 is used to lock the arm 14 and the handle 34 to one another by securing through the holes 42 in both parts. By placing several holes 42 in the male portion 38, the length that the handle 34 extends from the free end of the arm 14 can be easily adjusted and locked into place. FIG. 7a shows the handle 34 in a substantially retracted state and FIG. 7b shows the handle 34 in a substantially extended state. The pin 40 can include a detent ball toward the end of the pin to offer resistance, thereby making it unlikely to fall out during use.

[0029] Similar to the previous is shown in FIGS. 8a and 8b. Here a method is used by which multiple holes 42 are placed in the female arm portion 36 and a single handle hole 50 is placed in the male arm portion 38 with the handle 34 attached thereto. A detent pin 44 is used to releasably lock the parts together. The detent pin 44 is comprised of a pin 46 and a spring 48. The detent pin 44 is placed within the male arm portion 38 (also preferably a hollow tube) with the pin 46 being received by the handle hole 50. The spring 48 pushes against the inside walls of the tube 38 to bias the pin 46 through the hole 50. The pin 46 is long enough to extend through the handle hole 50 and the holes 42 in the arm 14 when the male arm portion 38 is received by the female arm portion 36. FIG. 8a shows the parts disassembled and FIG. 8b shows the parts assembled.

[0030] In FIG. 8b, the pin 46 can be seen showing through the hole 42. To adjust the position of the handle 34 the user's finger or, if preferred a punch tool, is used to depress the pin 46, further flexing the spring 48. The pin 46 is depressed far enough to pass through the female arm portion 36 but yet be maintained by the handle hole 50 in the male arm portion 38. The male arm portion 38 can then be moved relative to the female arm portion 36 until the desired position can be reached. The pin 46 is released by the user, allowing the spring 48 to bias the pin 46 through the newly positioned hole 42 in the female arm portion 36 and lock it into place. This allows quick and easy variation of the handle 34 and therefore overall arm length.

[0031] The detent pin 44 assembly as previously disclosed, can also be used in the adjustment of the back portion 12 adjustment as shown in FIGS. 3a and 3b, along with any other adjusting and locking mechanism known in the art. Thereby the method of adjusting and locking of both the handle 35 and the back portion 12 are not intended to be limiting to the scope of the invention.