Title:
Method and apparatus for performing stretching exercises
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The invention provides a strap apparatus for stretching and strengthening muscles and connective tissue, and includes a segment of strap (12) material having a first end, a medial portion, and a second end, having a loop (14) formed in the first end, length adjustment means formed in the medial portion, and a connector element (26) attached to the second end. The connector element is adapted for releasable connection to an anchor article, e.g., an extremity cuff member or a clothing article, bearing a receiver adapted for releasable attachment to the connector element.



Inventors:
Flynn, Thomas S. (Larkspur, CA, US)
Application Number:
10/487792
Publication Date:
10/14/2004
Filing Date:
02/23/2004
Assignee:
FLYNN THOMAS S.
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
482/125
International Classes:
A63B21/065; A63B21/055; A63B21/16; A63B23/035; (IPC1-7): A63B21/02
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
DONNELLY, JEROME W
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Johnson & Stainbrook (Sata Rosa, CA, US)
Claims:

What is claimed as invention is:



1. A strap apparatus for stretching and strengthening muscles and connective tissue, said strap apparatus comprising: a segment of strap material, said segment having a first end, a medial portion, and a second end, having a loop formed in said first end, length adjustment means formed in said medial portion, and a connector element attached to said second end; and an anchor article bearing a receiver, said receiver adapted for releasable attachment to said connector element.

2. The strap apparatus of claim 1 wherein said strap material is non-elastic.

3. The strap apparatus of claim 1 wherein said length adjustment means comprises an adjustable buckle.

4. The strap apparatus of claim 1 wherein said length adjustment means comprises a strap retractor member.

5. The strap apparatus of claim 1 wherein said connector element comprises a swivel.

6. The strap apparatus of claim 1 wherein said connector element comprises a carabiner.

7. The strap apparatus of claim 1 wherein said connector element comprises a clip.

8. The strap apparatus of claim 1 wherein said connector element comprises a hook.

9. The strap apparatus of claim 1 wherein said anchor article comprises a shoe.

10. The strap apparatus of claim 1 wherein said anchor article comprises a glove.

11. The strap apparatus of claim 1 wherein said anchor article comprises an extremity cuff.

12. The strap apparatus of claim 11 wherein said extremity cuff member comprises a padded loop.

13. The strap apparatus of claim 11 wherein said extremity cuff member is adjustable in diameter.

14. The strap apparatus of claim 1 wherein said receiver comprises an eyelet.

15. The strap apparatus of claim 1 wherein said receiver comprises a D-ring.

16. The strap apparatus of claim 1 wherein said receiver comprises an O-ring.

17. The strap apparatus of claim 1 wherein said receiver comprises a fabric loop.

18. The strap apparatus of claim 1 wherein said connector element includes means for resistance exercise.

19. The strap apparatus of claim 18 wherein said means for imparting resistance comprises a resistance band.

20. The strap apparatus of claim 1 wherein said segment of strap material bears length indicia.

Description:

TECHNICAL FIELD

[0001] The present invention relates generally to exercise equipment and sports apparatus, and more specifically to an improved method and apparatus for performing stretching and strengthening exercises for the human body.

BACKGROUND ART

[0002] It is widely recognized and generally accepted that proper stretching and strengthening of the muscles is an important aspect to overall fitness and health. However, most known stretching regimens simply provide independent exercises or movements that the individual must perform. Some forms of structural apparatus and exercise accessories have been designed for use in stretching, e.g., to provide a stationary surface or bar against which a user may stretch, but these structures can be large and unwieldy, and therefore of limited utility. Furthermore, no known apparatus enables the combined benefits of stretching and strengthening in a simple, versatile form.

DISCLOSURE OF INVENTION

[0003] The method and apparatus for performing stretching and strengthening exercises of this invention provides a strap apparatus for stretching and strengthening muscles and connective tissue. The inventive apparatus includes a segment of strap material having a first end, a medial portion, and a second end, having a loop formed in the first end, length adjustment means formed in the medial portion, and a connector element attached to the second end. The connector element is adapted for releasable connection to an anchor article, e.g., an extremity cuff member or a clothing article, bearing a receiver adapted for releasable attachment to the connector element. Variations include, but are not limited to, the following: the strap material may be non-stretching (non-elastic); the length adjustment means may consist of an adjustable buckle or strap retractor member; the connector element may consist of a swivel, carabiner, clip, snap, hook, or other releasable fastener; the clothing article may consist of a shoe or glove to which an appropriate receiver has been affixed; the extremity cuff member may consist of a padded loop, and may be adjustable in diameter; the receiver may consist of an eyelet, a D-ring, an O-ring, or a fabric loop; the connector element may include means for imparting resistance such as a resistance band; and the segment of strap material may bear length indicia.

[0004] Applications for the inventive apparatus include use in gyms, health clubs, physical therapist offices, orthopedic offices, sports medicine centers, homes, professional sports teams, hospitals, schools, senior citizen homes, massage and bodywork centers, chiropractors offices, recreation centers, handicap centers, dance centers, and yoga centers.

[0005] The apparatus can be used to stretch every major muscle group of the body. The commercial version of the apparatus may include explanatory materials such as charts, names and diagrams for specific stretch positions, either on the packaging for the apparatus or in a written manual and/or videotape demo.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0006] FIG. 1 is a top plan view of an apparatus for performing stretching and strengthening exercises of this invention;

[0007] FIG. 2A is a top plan view of the inventive apparatus as affixed to a user's shoe by a cuff or strap member; and

[0008] FIG. 2B is a top plan view of the inventive apparatus as affixed to a user's shoe by a ring element integral to the shoe.

BEST MODE FOR CARRYING OUT THE INVENTION

[0009] FIG. 1 is a top plan view of an apparatus for performing stretching and strengthening exercises of this invention. The inventive apparatus 10 includes a segment of strap material 12 having a first end 14, a medial portion 16, and a second end 18, having a loop 20 formed in the first end 14, length adjustment means 22 formed in the medial portion 16, and a connector element 24 attached to the second end 18. The connector element 24 is adapted for releasable connection to an anchor article, e.g., an extremity cuff member 26, bearing a receiver 28 adapted for releasable attachment to the connector element 24. Here, the connector element includes a resistance band 30.

[0010] FIG. 2A is a top plan view of the inventive apparatus as affixed to a user's shoe 40 by a cuff or strap member 42 (bearing hook and loop material. The shoe can also have hook and loop material on it, which may help maintain position and security of the strap.

[0011] FIG. 2B is a top plan view of the inventive apparatus as affixed to a user's modified shoe 50 by a ring element 52 integral to the shoe. Such a ring or means of attachment can be also temporarily secured by being held at the base of the shoelaces or other means.

[0012] The present invention thus provides an innovative design and versatile system for stretching and strengthening exercises for the human body. The apparatus itself preferably includes:

[0013] a means of attachment to the body (e.g., a cuff or clothing article with the appropriate receiver);

[0014] a means to provide some degree of resistance (e.g., tubing, resistance bands, spring, or strap) for strengthening. This resistance feature also provides some “give” during stretching exercises, thereby making those exercises safer (the “give” helps prevent over-stretching, especially important for people who have not been stretching); and

[0015] a means for length adjustment (e.g., a strap) which preferably includes:

[0016] a loop or handle to manually hold on to, or to close in a door frame, or to attach around a fixed object Attachment can be accomplished, for example, by taking the other end (e.g., the cuff around a fixed object and then threading it through the loop. Being connected to an adjustable strap makes it possible to adjust the length of the strap and thereby the amount of resistance or stretch. This loop or handle can be fixed to the means for adjustment (e.g., strap), or it can be removable and can be adjustable in size; or

[0017] a means to attach to a fixed frame with means such as a pulley and a cam cleat (or other means to secure) which allows the user to adjust the amount of stretch or resistance.

[0018] All of the above components can be attached to each other by various connections and can be in different forms. For example:

[0019] The means of attachment to the body can be a padded cuff, a strap or loop secured in different ways, a glove, a shoe, or a strap around a shoe or glove. The attachment can be made with a ring or other feature, made of metal, nylon, or other material.

[0020] The resistance material can be, among other things, resistance tubing, elastic bands, or a spring, and can be of various lengths and/or thickness to yield varying amounts of resistance.

[0021] The adjustable means can be made of a variety of materials and be connected to the resistance material or to the means of attachment to the body in a variety of ways. An important feature of the adjustable means is that it can either be connected to the resistance material, which is then connected to the means of attachment to the body, or it can be connected directly to the means of attachment to the body (i.e., without the resistance material).

[0022] While this invention has been described in connection with preferred embodiments, it is obvious that various modifications, changes or substitutions therein may be made by those skilled in the art to which it pertains, without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention. Accordingly, the scope of the present invention is to be limited only by the appended claims and their legal equivalents.