Pole vault training exercise apparatus
Kind Code:

An exercise apparatus for pole vault training including a rope, a cross bar and an elastomer of selected properties intervening between said cross bar and said rope and effective when utilized to simulate the athletic maneuvers of pole vaulting.

Rosiles, Luis M. (Grand Prairie, TX, US)
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Filing Date:
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
482/122, 482/129
International Classes:
A63B5/16; A63B69/00; (IPC1-7): A63B21/02; A63B21/04
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I claim:

1. An exercise apparatus for simulating the sequential steps of the sport of pole vaulting comprising: a) a cross bar; b) elastomer means connected to the crossbar for simulating the elastic behavior of a vaulting pole; and c) a dependent rope attached to the elastomer means, and adapted to be secured for arcuate displacement about a suitable support at a site at which said apparatus is to be utilized, and having a length chosen so that a user can take several running steps, simultaneously stretching the elastomer means, prior to the user being lifted off the ground by the apparatus.

2. An exercise apparatus in accordance with claim 1 in which the mount of said cross bar is defined by a triangular formation including said cross bar and a pair of support straps secured at a lower end spaced apart to said cross bar and commonly connected at their upper ends at the under end of said elastomer.

3. An exercise apparatus in accordance with claim 2 in which said elastomer means is formed of an endless elongated loop extending between the upper end of s aid straps and the lower end of said rope.

4. An exercise apparatus in accordance with claim 3 including connecting hardware for securing said cross bar, said straps, said elastomer and said rope to each other.

5. An exercise apparatus in accordance with claim 3 in which said elastomer is characterized as having about a two foot stretch and a dynamic load carrying capacity of near 800 pounds.

6. An exercise apparatus in accordance with claim 5 in which said pair of straps are characterized as having a dynamic load carrying capacity of near 4,000 lbs.

7. An exercise apparatus in accordance with claim 1 which said elastomer extends in the course of said apparatus being utilized by a person running with a hand grip on said cross bar and said elastomer when extended serves to lift said person for simulating catapulting the person upward and inverted.



[0001] This application is a continuation-in-part of U.S. application Ser. No. 09/533,849 filed on Mar. 23, 2000, now abandoned.


[0002] The field of art to which the invention relates comprises exercise apparatus for training persons in the sport of pole vaulting.


[0003] The pole vault is an age-old world-wide athletic event in which the contestant leaps for height, vaulting over a bar with the aid of a long pole. The event relies heavily on developed skills of the participant that includes running with the pole, planting the pole in a vault box, flexing the pole backwards and then relying on the flex recovery of the pole in conjunction with forward motion of the participant to propel the participant over the bar. The bar is typically set at increasing heights above ground level to determine maximum bar height at which the participant can clear the bar. To successfully participate requires an immense amount of training and effort not to mention skill and dexterity that must be contributed.


[0004] Before training on-site in an actual pole vault setting, it has been common to use various suspended type exercise structures from which a user can develop muscle tone and technique. Exemplifying such structures are the disclosures of U.S. Pat. Nos. 3,246,893 and 5,662,555. In a book entitled “Mechanics of the Pole Vault”, 1980 Olympic 9th Edition by Dr. R. V. Ganslen, there is described the use of swinging or vaulting ropes as being beneficial for training. Also mentioned is the use of a latex rubber pole vault trainer developed by Bill Perrin of Madison, Wis. Trampolines have also been found useful for developing muscular conditioning of the back and legs. Such exercise equipment is certainly helpful but is otherwise somewhat deficient in simulating the maneuvers associated with the actual event of pole vaulting.

[0005] Yet despite recognition of the foregoing, it has not previously been known to provide an exercise training apparatus that more nearly simulates various movements and techniques necessary for developing an adequate level of skill in preparation for the event of pole vaulting. An exercise apparatus is needed that achieves a more realistic simulation of the effects experienced, especially from the pole vaulter's initial stance through the point where the pole vaulter leaves the ground. As always, an exercise apparatus that is basically simple to operate and relatively inexpensive to purchase would be desirable.


[0006] An apparatus achieving the desired features and advantages comprises a swing that includes a crossbar adapted to be positioned overhead of the user and secured at opposite ends via spaced nylon straps centrally supported to the under end of an elongated length of a selected elastomer. The elastomer is preferably made from an elastic rubber capable of stretching at least two feet from its unstressed length during use and having a load factor of about 800 lbs. for handling the expected dynamic loads. A rope attaches at one end to the upper end of the elastomer and at the other end to a suitable overhead connection at the site of use so that the crossbar rests in a position above the user's head. The rope preferably has a 4,000 lb. test strength and is of sufficient length to permit the user to run several steps before the apparatus lifts the user off the ground.

[0007] The crossbar and elastomer elements of the apparatus are similar to those disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 5,766,118 issued to Conner. However, the Conner device is designed for exercising abdominal muscles and therefore uses a short adjustable strap instead of the present invention's rope, which would be both unnecessary and undesirable the Conner device's intended purpose. Also, the elastomer is designed for much less demanding service, since the device is not expected to lift the user off the ground during the act of running.

[0008] A particular advantage of the present invention is that it affords the user convenient training of the last few steps prior to takeoff, during which the elastomer stretches and retracts to simulate the elastic behavior of the pole. The apparatus enables the user to drive the knee leaving the trail leg straight to enable bending of the pole (fiberglass) while the swing of the trail leg enables the user's body to invert upside-down. As the user leaves the ground, the elastomer extends and retracts during the rope's arcuate movement so that the user is lifted and catapulting upward and inverted so as to simulate a pole that would normally be utilized for that step. The displacement of the crossbar is designed to allow the user to practice the sequence of steps normally performed during pole vaulting up to and including the step of inverting the user's body when approaching the bar. The apparatus then begins its return swing, and the drill can be repeated in the opposite direction from the running stage. The apparatus thus avoids and eliminates previous drills such as chin-ups, pole pulleys, pit jumping, etc.

[0009] The above noted features and advantages of the invention as well as other features and advantages will be further appreciated by those skilled in the art upon reading the detailed description which follows in conjunction with the drawings.


[0010] FIGS. 1(a)-(g) illustrate caricatures performing the various steps of pole vaulting;

[0011] FIG. 2 is an isometric view of the exercise training apparatus in accordance with the invention;

[0012] FIG. 3 illustrates a person using the exercise apparatus of FIG. 2, and

[0013] FIGS. 4(a)-(g), illustrate caricatures utilizing the training apparatus of FIG. 2.


[0014] In the description which follows, like parts are marked throughout the specification and drawings with the same reference numerals respectively. The drawing figures are not necessarily to scale and in certain views, proportions may have been exaggerated for purposes of clarity.

[0015] Referring now to the caricature representations in FIG. 1 there is shown in FIG. 1(a) a person 10 carrying a pole 12, with eyes on the box (not shown) and posture-erect. In FIG. 1(b), at the point when the person is planting the distal end of the pole in the box, the person is standing tall and straight with a bent and locked left arm, the right knee coming through fast and the right arm erect and straight. In FIG. 1(c), the pole has been planted and the lower torso and legs of the person's body swing forward while the right arm now extends behind the body. In FIG. 1(d) the person is in a early rock back stage with knees coming in, eyes on the feet without pull with the left arm collapsing. FIG. 1(e) illustrates a later point during rock back, with knees back and up, eyes on the feet or pole tip and the right arm still stretched and the left arm collapsing. In addition, the body is partially pivoted as the person twists in an effort to achieve an inverted position. In FIG. 1(f) represents the extension position with the pole substantially straight and vertical and the person's body in an inverted position, in preparation for clearing the bar 14 in FIG. 1(g). FIG. 1(g), illustrates the sequence in which person 10 is catapulted over the bar 14.

[0016] Referring now to FIGS. 2 and 3, the training exercise apparatus 20 includes a cross bar 22 formed of aluminum tubing about thirty-five inches (eighty-nine cm) in length and about two inches (five cm) in diameter. The cross bar is secured to support straps 34 and 36 via a pair of spaced eye bolts 24 and 26 that are either threaded or extended through apertures defined in the cross bar 22 and secured in place via nuts 28. The eye bolts 24 and 26 in turn attach to the support straps 34 and 36 by means of a pair of quick links 30 and 32. Each of the straps are about three foot in length and one and one half inches wide and formed of a strong composition such as nylon affording about a 4,000 lb. load capacity. The upper end of the straps are looped to commonly receive a ⅜ inch ring 38. The ring is mounted on a ⅝ inch shackle 40 which receives the lower end of a looped elastomer 42. The elastomer is characterized as having 800 lb. load capacity, a two foot stretch during use and when unstretched is about three feet (91 cm) long and 1¼ inch (3.2 cm) wide. An exterior sheath surrounds the elastomer so as to minimize wear from shackle screw 44. Another shackle 46 closed off by screw 48 is located at the upper end of the elastomer. A safety strap 52 of nylon composition has an effective length exceeding the maximum stretch length of elastomer 42 is attached between the shackles 40 and 46. A rope 50 connects to the shackle 46 and has a top end (not shown) that can be connected to any suitable overhead structure at which the apparatus hereof is to be utilized. The length of the rope 50 should be sufficient so that the arcuate movement of the rope about the upper connection allows a user to take several running steps while holding the cross bar 20 before the apparatus will lift the user from the ground. Also, the apparatus 20 should be mounted so that the crossbar 22 is at a height above the user's head, roughly at the height at which the pole is held at the beginning of the pole vaulting sequence.

[0017] A person 10 utilizing the training exercise apparatus 20 normally has his arms extending upward with hands gripping the cross bar 22 so as to simulate the maneuver of FIG. 1(b). The correct handgrip should be approximately shoulder width wide.

[0018] While the user is running, the elastomer rubber 42 stretches, enabling the person to drive the knee while leaving the trail leg straight to simulate the resistance felt in bending the pole. On leaving the ground, the elastomer 42 will contract back toward the unstretched length, so that the rubber further assists in lifting the person 10 to simulate the pole lifting action of FIG. 1(c) until catapulting the body upwards in the manner of FIG. 1(d). As the swing begins its return, the drill is repeated in the opposite direction in a running stage.

[0019] The correlation between the use of apparatus 20 and the maneuvers to be performed during pole vaulting can be best understood with reference to FIG. 4.

[0020] As shown in FIG. 4(a), person 10 has his arms straight up and running tall as in FIG. 1(a). In FIG. 4(b) person 10 practices the takeoff of FIG. 1(b) while in FIG. 4(c) there is performed the drive with the knee and trail leg straight causing an initial stretching of elastomer 42, similar to the action in FIG. 1(c). In FIG. 4(d) elastomer 42 is stretched to the maximum and begins to retract, beginning lift of the body. In FIG. 4(e) the lift begins to invert the body while in FIG. 4(f) the body is inverted and begins to crossover the drive knee.

[0021] In the above manner, the apparatus affords virtues not previously provided in that the rubber elastomer 42 not only participates in the swing effect but also serves to assist in lifting the person and catapulting the person upwards into an inverted relation as best seen in FIGS. 1(e) and 1(f). In addition, the apparatus permits a user to practice the running steps immediately preceding the planting of the pole in the box, thereby better preparing the user for the transition between ground travel and the initial lift by the pole. At the same time, the apparatus is relatively simple, economical to construct and serves a long-standing need offering simulated training for the pole vaulter in a manner unlike apparatus previously available. The virtues thereof can be readily appreciated by those skilled in the art. While certain dimensions and capacities have been stated, they obviously could be changed to more readily accommodate persons of different age groups, gender, or physical strength. Stiffness and stretch length of the elastomer 42, the diameter of cross bar 22, as well as the amount of pole flex, can be similarly selected and correlated to individual requirements.

[0022] Since many changes could be made in the above construction and many apparently widely different embodiments of this invention could be made without departing from the scope thereof, it is intended that all matter contained in the drawings and specification shall be interpreted as illustrative and not in a limiting sense.