Title:
Exercise bar with head-accepting gap
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An exercise bar including an elongated frame having two spaced hand grips with which the bar is grasped by the user during an exercise routine and a U-shaped mid-section which joins the hand grips to one another. Each hand grip accommodates a change in position of the wrists of the grasping hands relative to the frame as the bar is moved with the hands during an exercise routine. Furthermore, the opening of the U of the U-shaped mid-section provides a gap disposed between the hand grips which is sized to accommodate the passage of the mid-section over the head of the user without the need to lift the grips of the bar any higher than the user's head.



Inventors:
Vittone, Larry W. (Hurley, WI, US)
Vittone, Suzanne R. (Hurley, WI, US)
Vittone, William M. (Oak Ridge, TN, US)
Application Number:
10/923932
Publication Date:
02/23/2006
Filing Date:
08/23/2004
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
482/93
International Classes:
A63B21/06; A63B21/072
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
GINSBERG, OREN ISAAC
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
MICHAEL E. MCKEE (Knoxville, TN, US)
Claims:
1. An exercise bar for use during an exercise routine, the exercise bar comprising: an elongated frame having two opposite ends; and two hand grips with which the bar is grasped by the user during an exercise routine performed with the bar and wherein each hand grip is associated with a corresponding end of the bar so that the two grips are spaced from one another and wherein the hand grips permit the user's hands grasped thereabout to be arranged so that the palms of the grasping hands face one another; and wherein the frame includes a mid-section which joins the opposite ends of the bar to one another and which provides a gap disposed between the hand grips which is sized to accommodate the passage of the mid-section over the head of the user without the need to lift the grips of the bar any higher than the user's head.

2. The exercise bar as defined in claim 1 wherein the bar mid-section has a U-shaped form and wherein the U of the U-shaped form includes a base and two legs joined by the base, and each leg has an end disposed opposite the base, and each hand grip is secured to the frame adjacent the end of a corresponding leg of the U of the U-shaped form of the bar mid-section.

3. The exercise bar as defined in claim 2 wherein the hand grips are disposed outboard of the U of the U-shaped form of the bar mid-section.

4. The exercise bar as defined in claim 3 wherein the frame includes end sections disposed outboard of the hand grips which are adapted to accept barbell weights placed thereover.

5. The exercise bar as defined in claim 4 wherein the end sections are linear in form and aligned with one another along an axis which intersects the hand grips.

6. The exercise bar as defined in claim 1 wherein each hand grip is pivotally attached to the frame to accommodate a change in position of the wrists of the grasping hands relative to the frame as the bar is moved with the hands during an exercise routine.

7. The exercise bar as defined in claim 6 wherein each hand grip provides a grip axis and is pivotally secured to the frame for pivotal movement relative thereto about a pivot axis which is disposed substantially perpendicular to the grip axis.

8. The exercise bar as defined in claim 7 wherein the bar mid-section has a U-shaped form and wherein the U of the U-shaped form of the bar mid-section includes a base and two legs joined by the base, and each leg has an end disposed opposite the base, and each hand grip is secured to the frame adjacent the end of a corresponding leg of the U of the U-shaped form of the bar mid-section.

9. The exercise bar as defined in claim 1 wherein the gap disposed between the hand grips is at least about nine inches in width.

10. An exercise bar comprising: an elongated frame having two opposite ends and a U-shaped section disposed between the opposite ends; a pair of hand grips being disposed along the length of the frame so that the opening of the U of the U-shaped section is disposed between the hand grips, each hand grip being pivotally attached to the frame to accommodate a change in position of the wrists of the grasping hands relative to the frame as the bar is moved with the hands during an exercise routine; and the opening of the U of the U-shaped section is sized to permit the passage of the head of the user therethrough as the user holds the bar adjacent his shoulders by the hand grips and subsequently rotates the bar with his wrists between a first position at which a major portion of the bar mid-section is disposed forwardly of the user's head and a second position at which a major portion of the bar mid-section is disposed rearwardly of the user's head.

11. The exercise bar as defined in claim 10 wherein the U of the U-shaped section includes a base and two legs joined by the base, and each leg has an end disposed opposite the base, and each hand grip is secured to the frame adjacent the end of a corresponding leg of the U of the U-shaped section.

12. The exercise bar as defined in claim 11 wherein the hand grips are disposed outboard of the U of the U-shaped section.

13. The exercise bar as defined in claim 10 wherein the frame includes linear end sections disposed outboard of the hand grips which are adapted to accept barbell weights placed thereover.

14. The exercise bar as defined in claim 10 wherein each hand grip provides a grip axis and is pivotally secured to the frame for pivotal movement relative thereto about a pivot axis which is disposed substantially perpendicular to the grip axis.

15. The exercise bar as described in claim 10 wherein the U of the U-shaped section includes a base and two legs joined by the base, and each leg has an end disposed opposite the base, and each hand grip is secured to the frame adjacent the end of a corresponding leg of the U of the U-shaped section.

16. An exercise bar which is held by the hands of the user during the performance of an exercise routine, the exercise bar comprising: an elongated frame; a pair of ring members which are pivotally mounted within the frame at spaced locations therealong to accommodate the pivotal movement of each ring member about a corresponding pivot axis relative to the frame; a pair of elongated grips wherein each grip extends across and is fixedly secured to a corresponding ring member, and each grip is oriented along a grip axis which is substantially perpendicular to the pivot axis of the corresponding ring member so that as the user grasps the elongated grips and moves the exercise bar during an exercise routine, each ring member is permitted to pivot about its corresponding pivot axis; and the elongated frame includes a U-shaped section having a U which is disposed between the pair of ring members and wherein the U of the U-shaped section provides a gap which accommodates the passage of the U-shaped section over the head of the user without the need to lift the grips of the bar any higher than the user's head.

17. The exercise bar as defined in claim 16 wherein the pivot axes about which the ring members are permitted to pivot are coplanar.

18. The exercise bar as defined in claim 17 wherein the frame includes linear end sections disposed outboard of the hand grips which are adapted to accept barbell weights placed thereover and which are aligned with one another along an axis which intersects the hand grips, and the fixed pivot axes about which the ring members are permitted to pivot are substantially co-planar with said axis which intersects the hand grips.

19. The exercise bar as defined in claim 18 wherein the pivot axes about which the ring members are permitted to pivot are each oriented in an angular relationship with said axis which intersects the hand grips.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

This invention relates generally to exercise equipment and relates, more particularly, to exercise equipment intended to be grasped by the hands of a user and moved between two positions during an exercise routine.

To perform a common curling exercise with a conventional, straight barbell bar, an individual stands on his feet and moves the bar between raised and lowered positions in front of the individual as the individual's hands remain grasped about the bar. When the bar is in the lowered position, the arms of the individual are straight and the bar (as well as the individual's hands) are positioned slightly below the individual's waist. By comparison, when the bar is in the raised position, the arms of the individual are bent at the elbows and the bar (as well as the individual's hands) are positioned adjacent (or slightly below) the individual's chin.

While the aforedescribed curling exercise is known to work the individual's biceps, the exercise does not work many more of the individual's muscles than the biceps. Consequently, such a curling exercise can be viewed as inefficient. It would be desirable to provide a bar for a curling exercise which works many more muscles of an individual than does a curling exercise performed with a conventional, straight bar.

Accordingly, it is an object of the present invention to provide a new and improved exercise bar for use during a curling exercise routine.

Another object of the present invention is to provide such a bar which enables a user to perform a full body curl as the user moves the bar from a lowered position in front of the user's torso to a position located behind the user's head.

Still another object of the present invention to provide such a bar which does not have to be lifted entirely above the head in order to move the bar between a position disposed in front of the user's torso and a position situated behind the user's neck.

Yet another object of the present invention is to provide such a bar which can be readily maneuvered between a position disposed in front of the user's torso and a position located behind the user's neck and which reduces any likelihood that the user's head will be struck by the bar during such a maneuvering of the bar.

Yet still another object of the present invention is to provide such a bar which is capable of supporting barbell weights added thereto for altering the total weight of the bar.

A further object of the present invention to provide such a bar which incorporates hand grips which reduce any likelihood that the wrists of the user will be exposed to undue strain during the performance of an exercise routine.

A still further object of the present invention is to provide such a bar whose hand grips accommodate a degree of adjustment in position of the user's hands as the exercise bar is moved between two positions.

A yet further object of the present invention is to provide such a bar whose hand grips accommodate an adjustment in position of the user's hands and forearms by enabling rotation of the user's hands and forearms as they are pivoted about the elbow joint during the performance of an exercise routine, such as a curling exercise routine, performed with the bar.

One more object of the present invention is to provide such a bar whose hand grips enable rotation of the hands and arms in a new and improved manner which reduces the imposing of undue or undesirable body stresses during an exercise routine.

Still one more object of the present invention is to provide such a bar which is uncomplicated in structure, yet effective in operation.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

This invention resides in an exercise bar for use during an exercise routine.

The exercise bar includes an elongated frame having two opposite ends and two hand grips with which the bar is grasped by the user during an exercise routine performed with the bar. Furthermore, each hand grip is associated with a corresponding end of the bar so that the two grips are spaced from one another, and the hand grips permit the user's hands grasped thereabout to be arranged so that the palms of the grasping hands face one another. In addition, the frame includes a mid-section which joins the opposite ends of the bar to one another and which provides a gap disposed between the hand grips which is sized to accommodate the passage of the mid-section over the head of the user without the need to lift the grips of the bar any higher than the user's head.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of an exercise bar within which features of the invention are embodied.

FIG. 2 is a plan view of the FIG. 1 bar as seen generally from above in FIG. 1.

FIG. 3 is an elevational view of the FIG. 1 bar as seen from below in FIG. 2.

FIG. 4 is a cross-sectional view taken along line 4-4 of FIG. 2.

FIG. 5 is a perspective view of a user preparing to perform a fully body curl with the FIG. 1 bar.

FIGS. 6-8 are side views of the FIG. 5 user illustrating the various positions of the bar of FIG. 1 when performing a full body curl with the bar.

FIGS. 9 and 10 are perspective views of a user performing a behind-the-neck press with the bar of FIG. 1.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF AN ILLUSTRATIVE EMBODIMENT

Turning now to the drawings in greater detail and considering first FIGS. 1 and 2, there is illustrated an embodiment, generally indicated 20, of an exercise bar within which features of the present invention are embodied. The bar 20 includes an elongated frame 22 having two opposite ends 24, 26 and a pair of hand grip assemblies 28, 30 pivotally mounted along the length of the frame 22. During the course of an exercise routine performed with the bar 20, the grip assemblies 28, 30 are grasped by the user's hands and are free to rotate, or pivot, relative to the frame 22 about corresponding axes of pivot to accommodate an adjustment in position of the wrists of the grasping hands. Because the hand grip assemblies 28, 30 are permitted to pivot in the manner described herein, the likelihood that the wrists of the grasping hands will be exposed to undue strain is substantially reduced.

Furthermore, the elongated frame 22 includes a U-shaped section 32 disposed midway along the length of the frame 22. The U of the U-shaped section 32 is positioned inboard of the hand grip assemblies 28, 30 and is sized to accommodate the passage therethrough of the user's head when the bar 20 is moved between first and second positions by the user. In particular and as is described in greater detail herein in conjunction with the use of the bar, the U of the U-shaped section 32 is sized to accommodate the passage therethrough of the user's head when the frame 22 is held by the hand grip assemblies 28, 30 adjacent the shoulders and is subsequently rotated with the wrists between a first position at which a major portion of the U-shaped section 32 is disposed forwardly of the user's head and a second position at which a major portion of the U-shaped section is disposed rearwardly of the user's head.

With reference still to FIGS. 1 and 2, the frame 22 includes two opposite end sections 34 and 36 which are each disposed adjacent a corresponding end 24 or 26, respectively, of the bar 20. Each end section 34 or 36 is linear in form and is substantially aligned with the other end section 36 or 34 along an axis, indicated 39 in FIGS. 1 and 2. Each of the end sections 34 and 36 is substantially square in cross section and comprised, for example, of hollow steel tubing.

Each end section 34 or 36 is adapted to accept barbell weights placed thereupon to permit the user to alter the total weight of the bar 20 for an exercise routine. To this end, each end section 34 or 36 is sized to accept the central opening 38 of olympic-style barbell weights 40 (illustrated in phantom in FIG. 1) positioned over the free ends of the sections 34, 36. Therefore, the total weight of the bar 20 can be altered, as desired, by adding or removing barbell weights from the end sections 34, 36. For securement of the weights upon the end sections 34, 36, each end section 34 or 36 includes a series of through-openings 42 (FIG. 1) disposed along the length thereof for accepting the shank of a retainer pin 44. In other words, after positioning a desired number of weights 40 along the length of a corresponding end sections 34 or 36, a retainer pin 44 can be releasably positioned within a selected one of the through-openings 42 provided along the length of the section 34 or 36 to releasably secure the weights 40 upon the end section 34 or 36.

If desired, a through-opening 43 can be formed in the end of each end section 34 or 36 opposite the frame end 24 or 26 for accepting the threaded shank of a headed pin 45 (only one shown in FIG. 1) which, in turn, is releasably securable to the end section 34 or 36 with a nut 47. When secured to the end sections 34, 36 through the through-openings 43, the headed pins 45 provide an (inside) abutment surface along the length of the end sections 34, 36 against which the barbell weights 40 can be positioned. Therefore, when the barbell weights 40 are secured upon the end sections 34, 36, the weights 40 are captured between the retainer pins 44 and the headed pins 45.

With reference again to FIGS. 1 and 2, the frame 22 further includes a pair of arcuate sections 46, 48 which are each attached to a corresponding end section 34 or 36 at the end thereof opposite the corresponding end 24 or 26 of the frame 22. In the depicted bar 20, each arcuate section 46 or 48 is in the form of a C having one leg which is joined to the end section 34 or 36. Moreover, the distance that each arcuate section 46 or 48 is spaced from its corresponding frame end 24 or 26 is equal to the distance that the other arcuate section 48 or 46 is spaced from its corresponding frame end 26 or 24, and the arcuate sections 46, 48 so that the Cs of the sections 46 and 48 open to the same side of the frame 22 and are coplanar with one another. Preferably, the arcuate sections 46, 48 are constructed of steel and attached to the end sections 34 or 36, for example, with welds. As will be apparent herein, the hand grip assemblies 28 and 30 provide a means by which the hand grip assemblies 28 and 30 are joined to the frame 22.

With reference to FIGS. 1-4, each hand grip assembly 28 or 30 includes an elongated, substantially straight grip 50 having two opposite ends 52, 54 and a ring 56. The grip 50 extends generally across the center of the ring 56, and its ends 52, 54 are fixedly joined, as with welds, at diametrically opposed locations on the ring 56. The grip 50 is cylindrical in form, sized to be comfortably grasped by the hand of the user and, as is the case with the ring 56, is preferably constructed of steel. As the hand of a user grips a grip 50 so that the fingers extend therearound, the axis of the grip extends through the palm of the hand toward each side thereof. Therefore and in the interests of the present invention, each grip 50 provides a grip axis, indicated 55 in FIG. 2, for the user which corresponds with the longitudinal axis of the grip 50. Furthermore, each grip 50 is arranged in such a relation to the bar frame 22 so as to be intersected by the axis 39 along which the end sections 34 and 36 are aligned.

The ring 56 of each hand grip assembly 28 or 30 is pivotally connected to the frame 22 in a manner which permits the wrists of the user to be adjusted in position, such as by either rotating the wrists or bending of the hands at the wrists, during an exercise routine to lessen the likelihood of wrist strain. In the depicted bar 20, each ring 56 is positioned within a corresponding C of an arcuate section 46 or 48 and is pivotally joined thereto by means of headed bolts 58 having shanks that loosely extend through openings provided at diametrically opposed locations on the sides of the ring 56. The bolts 58, in turn, are fixed, as by welding, to the arcuate sections 46, 48. A spacer 62 is positioned about the shank of each bolt 58 between the outer surface of the ring 56 and the inner surface of the corresponding arcuate section 46 or 48 to maintain the rings 56 centrally of the arcuate sections 46, 48.

As best shown in FIG. 2, the bolts 58 join the rings 56 to the arcuate sections 36 so that the axis of pivot, indicated 66, of each ring 56 is generally orthogonal to its corresponding grip 50 so as to intersect the grip 50 at a location substantially midway between the grip ends 52, 54 and is oriented at a fixed angle with respect to the longitudinal axis 39 of the frame 22. In the depicted embodiment 20, each pivot axis 66 forms with the longitudinal axis 40 an angle 68 of about seventy degrees so that the ring pivot axes 66 and 66 intersect at a location remote of the frame 22 at an angle of about forty degrees. Such an angular disposition of the pivot axes 66 relative to the frame axis 39 has been found to be desirable when performing curling and other two-handed exercises with the bar 20. It also follows that pivot axes 66 are coplanar with one another and the axis 39 along which the end sections 34 and 36 are aligned.

The ring pivot axes 66 are fixed in position relative to the frame 22. For present purposes, the term “fixed pivot axis” should therefore be understood as referring to a pivot axis which is fixed in position relative to the frame 22 of the bar 20.

As best shown in FIG. 2, the U-shaped section 32 of the frame 22 includes two elongated strips of steel which have each been bent at two corners to form a U disposed midway along the length of the frame 22. In particular, one such steel strip, indicated 76 in FIG. 2, is bent at two right-angle corners 80, 82 to form a first U, indicated 83 in FIG. 2, having two legs 84, 86 and a base 88 extending between the legs 84, 86, and the second such steel strip, indicated 90, is bent at two obtusely-angled corners 92, 94 to form a second U, indicated 95 in FIG. 2, having two legs 96, 98 and a base 100 extending between the legs 96, 98. The Us 83, 95 formed by the steel strips 76, 90 are arranged in substantially a coplanar relationship with one another (and the axis 39 along which the end sections 34 and 36 are aligned) and so that the Us 83, 95 open in the same direction. The bases 88 and 100 of the formed Us are fixedly joined to one another with struts 102, 104 whose opposite ends are welded to the steel strips 76, 90.

With reference still to FIG. 2, the Us 83, 95 formed by the steel strips 76, 90 are arranged within the frame 22 so that the end of the legs 84 and 96 opposite the bases 88 and 100 of the Us 83, 95 are positioned against surfaces disposed on opposite sides of the arcuate section 46 and so that the end of the legs 88 and 98 opposite the bases 88 and 100 of the Us 83, 95 are positioned against surfaces disposed on opposite sides of the arcuate section 48. With the legs of the Us 83, 95 arranged against the arcuate sections 46, 48 in such a manner, each leg 84, 96, 86 or 98 is fixedly joined, as with welds, to the corresponding surface of the arcuate section 46 or 48 which the leg is positioned to thereby secure the U-shaped section 32 to the remainder of the bar frame 22.

It follows that with the U-shaped section 32 fixedly joined to the remainder of the bar frame 22 as aforedescribed, a sizable U (i.e. the formed U 83) is provided between the two ends 24, 26 of the bar frame 22 or, more particularly, between the two hand grip assemblies 28. As will be apparent herein, the formed U 83 provides a gap which permits the passage of the user's head as the bar 20 is moved from a position disposed in front of the user's torso to a position disposed behind the user's neck. The U 83 of the depicted bar 20 has a width (as measured between the hand grip assemblies 28) of at least nine inches (e.g. about ten inches) and a depth (as measured along the legs 84, 86 of the U 83) of about eleven inches, but alternative dimensions can be had.

An advantage provided by the bar 20 relates to its capacity to be readily moved between a position disposed forwardly of the user's torso (e.g. a position adjacent the user's chest) and a position at which a major portion of the U-shaped section 32 is disposed rearwardly of the user's head as the bar 20 is pivoted at the wrists and the grips 50 are positioned adjacent the user's shoulders. In order to move, for example, the bar 20 from a position as illustrated in FIG. 7 at which the grips 50 of the hand grip assemblies 28, 30 are grasped by the hands of the user and the bar 20 is held in front of the user's chest and torso to a position at which the major portion of the U-shaped section 32 is disposed rearwardly of the user's head, the user pivots the bar 20 rearwardly about his shoulders (i.e. in a counter-clockwise direction as viewed in FIG. 7) with his wrists about an axis oriented substantially parallel to the user's shoulders so that the U-shaped section 32 passes over the head of the user to the position, as illustrated in FIG. 8, at which a major portion of the U-shaped section 32 of the bar 20 is disposed rearwardly of the user's head. It follows that as the U-shaped section 32 passes over the user's head during this front-to-back maneuver, the gap provided between the legs 84, 86 of the U 83 of the U-shaped section 32 enables the head to be cleared by the U-shaped section 32 without the need to lift the grips 50 of the bar 20 any higher than the user's head.

By comparison and in order to return the bar 20 from its FIG. 8 position to its FIG. 7 position, the user pivots the bar 20 forwardly about the shoulders from its FIG. 8 position (i.e. in a clockwise direction as viewed in FIG. 8) with his wrists about an axis oriented substantially parallel to the user's shoulders so that the U-shaped section 32 passes over the head of the user to the FIG. 7 position. Again, it follows that as the U-shaped section 32 passes over the user's head during this back-to-front maneuver, the gap provided between the legs 84, 86 of the U 83 of the U-shaped section 32 enables the head to be cleared by the U-shaped section 32 without the need to lift the grips 50 of the bar 20 any higher than the user's head.

The bar 20 is especially advantageous in that it permits a user to perform a full body curl exercise—which exercise cannot be performed with a conventional, straight barbell bar. More specifically and with reference to FIGS. 5-8, the bar 20 can be moved between a lowered position as illustrated in FIGS. 5 and 6 and a raised, behind-the-neck position as illustrated in FIG. 8 to exercise a large number of muscles in the user's arms through a broad range of movement. To begin such an exercise, the user stands and holds the bar 20 in a lowered position as illustrated in FIGS. 5 and 6 at which the user's arms are straight and the grips 50 of the bar 20 are held slightly below the user's waist. The bar 20 is then raised from the lowered position of FIGS. 5 and 6 as the user simultaneously pivots his forearms upwardly about his elbows and pivots his biceps about his shoulders through, for example, the position depicted in FIG. 7 until the bar 20 is positioned behind the user's neck as is illustrated in FIG. 8.

It follows that as the bar 20 is moved from the FIG. 7 position toward the FIG. 8 position, the U-shaped section 32 passes across the user's head while the hand grips 50 are lifted no higher than the user's head. When the bar 20 has been moved to the behind-the-neck position of FIG. 8, the user's elbows are directed upwardly and forwardly of the user. It is noteworthy that when the bar 20 and hands of the user are arranged in the FIG. 8 behind-the-neck orientation, the heads of the biceps of the user's arms are shortened to the maximum extent and the heads of the triceps of the user's arms are lengthened to a maximum extent—which effect cannot be achieved by performing a common curling exercise with a conventional, straight barbell bar. A repetition of the full body curl movement is completed upon return of the bar 20 from the FIG. 8 behind-the-neck position to the lowered position of FIGS. 5 and 6.

It also follows that the capacity of the grips 50 (and associated rings 56) to pivot about the axes 66 permits the hands of the user to pivot at the wrists throughout the performance of, or at least a portion of, a full body curl exercise. For example and as depicted in FIGS. 5 and 6, the palms of the user's hands are directed generally rearwardly (i.e. toward the user's thighs) when the bar 20 is held in the lowered position of FIGS. 5 and 6, and the hands begin to supinate (e.g. turn toward a palm-upward condition) as the bar 20 is raised toward the intermediate position illustrated in FIG. 7. When the bar 20 reaches the intermediate position illustrated in FIG. 7, the user's hands are arranged so that the palms thereof generally face one another (i.e. so as to simulate an orientation at which a hammer handle is commonly held). Such a “hammer-holding” orientation can be maintained as the user moves the bar 20 from the FIG. 7 position to the FIG. 8 position or, in the alternative, the user can chose to rotate the hands about the wrist from the “hammer-holding” orientation so that when the bar 20 reaches the behind-the-neck position of FIG. 8, the user's hands are arranged so that the palms are directed generally downwardly.

The aforedescribed permitted rotation of the user's hands at the wrists throughout the performance of a full body curl routine reduces the likelihood of wrist strain as the bar 20 is moved between the FIG. 5 and FIG. 8 positions and is believed to be partly responsible for the relatively broad range of movement of the many muscles (e.g. biceps, triceps and shoulders) of the user's arms worked throughout the exercise routine. Moreover, such a broad range of movement of the user's arms is not possible with a conventional, straight barbell bar which prevents rotation of the hands from a fixed stationary position (from, for example, a palm-up or a palm-down orientation) with respect to the bar during a common curling exercise routine nor can such a conventional, straight barbell bar be passed over the user's head without raising the hands above the user's head.

In addition to its use to perform a full body curl exercise routine as has been described above, the bar 20 can be used to perform behind-the-head presses as illustrated in FIGS. 9 and 10. To perform a behind-the-neck press, the bar 20 is grasped with the user's hands by the grips 50, and the bar 20 is moved between a lowered position adjacent the user's shoulders as depicted in FIG. 9 and a raised position above the user's head as depicted in FIG. 10. When in its lowered FIG. 9 position, the bar 20 is arranged so that the user's head is positioned within the gap, or opening, provided by the U of the U-shaped section 32. With the head disposed within the opening of the U of the U-shaped section 32 in such a manner, the bar 20 can be held so that the center of gravity of the bar is substantially vertically aligned with the center of gravity of the user's torso, and the bar 20 provides an advantage in this respect. In contrast, a conventional, straight bar which is held behind the neck for behind-the-head presses is difficult to maintain in vertical alignment with the center of gravity of the user's torso because of the impediment posed by the user's head.

Although the bar 20 has not been depicted in FIGS. 7-10 as supporting any additional barbell weights (such as the weights 40 of FIG. 1) thereon, it will be understood that the weight of the bar 20 can be altered, as necessary, through the addition of weights (such as the weights 40 of FIG. 1) to the end sections 34, 36 of the bar 20.

It will be understood that numerous modifications and substitutions can be had to the aforedescribed embodiment without departing from the spirit of the invention. For example, although the aforedescribed bar 20 has been shown and described as including hand grips 50 which are capable of pivoting at the wrists during the performance of a full body curl (depicted in FIGS. 5-8), it is believed that a full body curl can also be performed by fixing the hand grips 50 in a stationary position relative to the remainder of the bar as long as the grips are arranged so that the palms of the hands grasped thereabout generally face one another (as in the manner of the user's hands depicted in FIG. 7). By fixing the hand grips in such a position, the several muscles (e.g. biceps, triceps and shoulders) of the user's arms are not worked through as great a range of motion as is the case when the grips 50 are free to pivot about the axes 66, but in the broader interests of the present invention, a free body curl can be performed with a bar, like that of the bar 20, whose grips permit the grasping hands to be oriented so that the palms thereof generally face one another.

Accordingly, the aforedescribed embodiment 20 is intended for the purpose of illustration and not as limitation.





 
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