Title:
Exercise tool for maintaining grip strength
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An exercise tool intended for climbers to exercise the muscles in the forearm used during climbing and maintain this grip strength. The first embodiment is a circular disc with ridges and grooves on its surface that replicate features found on a rock face. The disc can be attached via a cord to a weight. The user exercises muscles by gripping the disc using the various features and lifting the device and weight. All the major grips used in rock climbing are found on the disc. The second embodiment separates each different grip onto individual tools. Each tool is used independently of the other holds to exercise the relevant muscles.



Inventors:
Wells, Alistair (Atlanta, GA, US)
Application Number:
11/235437
Publication Date:
04/13/2006
Filing Date:
09/26/2005
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63B23/16
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
LONG, ROBERT FRANKLIN
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Alistair Wells (Atlanta, GA, US)
Claims:
I claim:

1. A tool for exercising grip muscles comprising a flat approximately circular disc composed of semi-rigid material whose surface is covered with a plurality of gripable ridges and divots and a means to connect said disc to a heavy object.

2. The tool for exercising grip muscles as in claim 1 where in said material is a semi-rigid rubber.

3. The tool for exercising grip muscles as recited in claim 1, wherein said disc in plan view, has a hole penetrating its full depth.

4. The tool for exercising grip muscles as recited in claim 1, wherein a cord can be passed through said hole.

5. The tool for exercising grip muscles as recited in claim 1, wherein both ends of said cord can be attached to a weight.

6. The tool for exercising grip muscles as recited in claim 1, wherein the said ridges and divots on the surface of the said disc mimic specific features on a rock face.

7. The ridges and divots as recited in claim 6 form the following climbing holds on one side of said disc: a. One, two and three-finger rounded pocket holds b. Shallow and very shallow crimp c. Multi-finger pinches

8. The ridges and divots as recited in claim 6 form the following climbing holds on the alternative side of said disc: a. One, two and three-finger sharp pocket holds b. Deep crimp c. 3-finger shallow crimp d. Sloper

9. An exercise implement for strengthening grip muscles comprising a flattened circular object whose parallel opposed major faces are covered with a plurality of indentations and a means to connect said object to a weight.

10. The tool for exercising grip muscles as in claim 9 where in said material is a semi-rigid rubber.

11. The tool for exercising grip muscles as recited in claim 9, wherein said disc in plan view, has a hole penetrating its full depth.

12. The tool for exercising grip muscles as recited in claim 9, wherein a cord can be passed through said hole.

13. The tool for exercising grip muscles as recited in claim 9, wherein both ends of said cord can be attached to a weight.

14. The tool for exercising grip muscles as recited in claim 9, wherein the said ridges and divots on the surface of the said disc mimic specific features on a rock face.

15. The ridges and divots as recited in claim 14 form the following climbing holds on one side of said disc: a. One, two and three-finger rounded pocket holds b. Shallow and very shallow crimp c. Multi-finger pinches

16. The ridges and divots as recited in claim 14 form the following climbing holds on the alternative side of said disc: a. One, two and three-finger sharp pocket holds b. Deep crimp c. 3-finger shallow crimp d. Sloper

17. A method of exercising an individual's grip muscles comprising:

18. providing a tool for exercising grip muscles,

19. providing a weight and attaching said weight to said disc,

20. griping said disc and raising said disc and said weight repeatedly, or;

21. lifting said disc and said weight to a point and maintaining said disc and said weight above the ground for a period of time.

22. to exercise different grip muscles rotate said disc and grip differently repeating 20 and 21 above.

23. 23-33. (canceled)

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application claims the benefit of PPA Ser. No.US60/617,366 filed 2004 Oct. 08 by the present inventor.

FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH: NONE

SEQUENCE LISTING: NONE

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

This invention generally relates to grip exercise tools, specifically to such exercise tools used by climbers to strengthen their forearms.

2. Prior Art

Climbing is a unique sport in many respects. Maintaining performance and strength can currently only really be achieved by consistently climbing, either outside or inside in a gym. Unfortunately, the forearm muscles used to grip the rock rapidly lose strength when they are not used regularly. There are two problems facing climbers trying to maintain their grip strength and fitness:

    • 1. The best exercise for climbing is climbing
    • 2. Current tools only provide isotonic exercises

Climbing is the best exercise for climbers, but is rarely possible to climb regularly and there are always occasions when reaching the rock or gym is difficult. As a consequence, climbers often have to accept loss of strength and often lengthy periods of rebuilding this strength.

The strength required by the fingers in climbing is known as isometric strength. Isometric contractions in a muscle produce no muscle shortening and result in no movement of the muscle. Essentially, the muscles and tendons hold their appropriate joints and levers in a locked position. Without maintaining a consistent isometric training program the muscles in the forearm, which are used to grip, rapidly loose strength. Normally, this training is achieved by climbing, but when this is not possible strength losses are common and can be rapid.

For many years climbers have had to accept this or have attempted to exercise the muscles using various devices. Many such devices exist are described by many patents.

For example, there are many devices similar to U.S. Pat. No. 6,672,995. They comprise a pair of handles, pivotally secured to each, that provide resistance when squeezed and hence exercise the muscles of the hand and forearm. These patens include U.S. Pat. No. 5,308,299, No. 5,833,580, No. 4,623,141 and No. 5,599,256.

Using a different approach, the apparatus defined by U.S. Pat. No. 5,125,878 uses the tension between two parallel rods within a frame to strengthen the muscles of the hand and forearm.

A much more recent tool used to exercise the muscles of the forearm is described by U.S. Pat. No. 5,890,999. This describes a malleable ball body having a resilient cover and putty filler. The user repeatedly squeezes and deforms the ball which serves to exercise the muscles of the forearm. Though this patent describes and apparatus that is well used and can be used almost anywhere, as with all the fore mentioned patents, it only promotes isotonic strength or moving strength. This type of repetitious muscle contraction results in shortening of the muscle, giving movement. Isometric strength is vital in climbing and should be developed, but few devices are available that specifically target isometric strength and the climbers need to develop and maintain constant grip strength.

In contrast, U.S. Pat. No. 4,645,203 does promote the development of some isometric strength. A weight is raised by using the muscles of the forearm to twist a handle. A rope attached to the center of the handle is tied to the weight. The twisting and rotation of the handle wraps the rope around the handle so raising the weight. The resistance provided by the weight and the necessary grip provides the exercise. This apparatus does develop both isometric and isotonic strength, but the motions used are in no way similar to the motions used whilst climbing.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The object of this invention is to provide climbers with a unique new exercise tool. It allows climbers to:

    • 1. Maintain forearm strength when actual climbing is not possible.
    • 2. Exercise using grips and holds similar to those found in reality.
    • 3. Develop forearm training programs that emulate actual climbing.

The advantages of this exercise tool are:

    • It is compact and can be used anywhere
    • It specifically builds isometric strength used in climbing
    • Many types of grip exercised using one tool

It solves the following problems:

    • Forearm muscles can be exercised even when away from the cliff or gym
    • There are no training tools currently available that provide an isometric workout for the forearm muscles

The first embodiment of the current invention is a piece of semi-rigid rubber formed into disc shape, at the center of which is a hole that penetrates the full depth of the disc. A cord is passed through this center hole, once at the midpoint of the cord, the ends of the cords are brought together. A weight is attached to the ends of the cord.

The edges and surfaces of the disc are formed into features that once gripped, recreate all the major grips used in climbing. By griping the disc using one of the various “holds” and lifting the weight (or simply preventing the weight from hitting the ground), the gripping muscles perform an isometric exercise. To change the type of grip used the disc is simply rotated so that a different hold and grip has to be used to lift the weight.

The second embodiment of the current invention is defined by a series of individual objects. The surface of each object has one feature that recreates a particular climbing hold. Each individual object is triangular in shape. At its apex is a hole through which a cord or clip can be attached, which in turn can be attached to a weight. By griping the object using the particular hold and lifting the weight (or simply preventing the weight from hitting the ground), the gripping muscles perform an isometric exercise. To change the type of grip used one of the different object is attached to the weight so that a different hold and grip has to be used to lift the weight.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE SEVERAL VIEWS OF THE DRAWING

The accompanying drawings form part of the specification. They illustrate aspects of the present invention and, together with the description, explain the principles of the invention.

In the drawings:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of side A of the first embodiment of the current invention.

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of side B of the first embodiment of the current invention.

FIG. 3 is a plan View of side A showing specific holds of the first embodiment of the current invention.

FIG. 4 is a plan View of side B showing specific holds of the first embodiment of current invention.

FIG. 5 shows a profile through the first embodiment of the current invention.

FIG. 6 shows a profile through the first embodiment of the current invention.

FIG. 7 is a sketch of the first embodiment of the current invention in use.

FIG. 8 shows a plan view of the training device with a pocket hold.

FIG. 9 shows a cross-section view of the training device with a pocket hold.

FIG. 10 shows a plan view of the training device with a crimp hold.

FIG. 11 shows a cross-section view of the training device with a crimp hold.

FIG. 12 shows a plan view of the training device with a sloper hold.

FIG. 13 shows a cross-section view of the training device with a sloper hold.

FIG. 14 shows a plan view of the training device with a pinch hold.

FIG. 15 shows a cross-section view of the training device with a pinch hold.

FIG. 16 shows a second cross-section view of the training device with a pinch hold.

Reference will now be made in detail to the presently preferred embodiments of the invention, examples of which are illustrated in the accompanying drawings.

DESCRIPTION AND OPERATION OF THE INVENTION

The first preferred embodiment of the current invention comprises a disc approximately 8 inches in diameter and approximately 1 inch deep. The disc is formed from a single, solid piece of rubber or resin combined with sand. The sand provides the necessary texture to replicate a rock surface and provide a degree of friction to the user.

The disc is constructed using a molding process. The mold consists of an upper and a lower half. The upper mold half is brought into an aligned relationship with the lower mold half, following which liquid resin is pored into the aligned mold halves. A cavity created by the two mold halves is filled by the resin. This cavity forms the shape of the disc. Once the resin is cooled the halves are separated and the disc released.

In plan view (FIGS. 3 & 4), the disc is penetrated through its full depth by a hole 14 approximately ¼ of an inch in diameter. Through this hole is passed a length of cord. The ends of the cord are brought together and a weight is attached. The mass of the weight can be varied. Exercise is performed by lifting both device and the attached weight.

The surface of each side of the disc (side A and side B) is shaped into features that reproduce specific rock features. These features are formed during the molding process. The features can be gripped using specific climbing holds and grips. Using the device with each specific hold develops the muscles associated with that hold.

Side A (FIG. 3) contains the following holds referenced in the Figures by specific numerals:

A series of pocket holds intended for use with one finger 3, two fingers 2 or three fingers 1. These holds are essentially holes through the depth of the disc that are sized so that only a given number of fingers can be used to lift the disc. There are three single finger pockets 3 which permit the user to lift the device using an individual finger. Alternatively, the single finger pockets 3 can be used in combination and the device picked up using two or three fingers simultaneously. On this side A of the disc the edges of these holes 3, 2 &1 and the surface of the disc are rounded and convex (FIG. 5). These rounded pockets 3, 2 &1 provide less friction and purchase and consequently, are hard to grip and require greater finger strength to use.

Around one edge of side A (FIG. 3) runs a shallow groove 4, approximately ¼ of an inch deep and approximately 5 inches long. The inner edge of this groove 4 tapers gradually to the surface of the disc (FIG. 6) while the outer edge is sharp and well defined. This edge exactly mimics a narrow ledge on a rock face. Lifting the device using this hold with fingers bent at the knuckles and locked provides the user with an exercise identical to gripping a ledge on a rock face. Shallow crimp hold 4 is similar in profile to hold 5, but hold 5 is shallower and narrower. It provides a similar but more difficult hold to the user.

On the opposite edge of side A are three rows of small concave depressions 6. In plan view they are approximately ½ inch wide and approximately ¼ inch deep. These features provide small indentations for the finger tips. The user lifts the weight and device by placing the finger tips in these indentations and the thumb on the opposite side (B) of the device.

On the opposite side of the disc (B) (FIG. 4) the holes for the finger pockets are also present. Single finger 10, two fingers 9 or three fingers 8, however, on this side of the disc their edges are more defined and sharp (FIG. 5). Consequently, these finger pockets provide more friction and the device can be lifted with less effort than the pockets on side A (1, 2 &3). As with side A these pockets can be used individually or in combination. Around the edge of this side (FIG. 4) runs another groove 11, approximately 5 inches long and ½ inch deep. Its profile is similar to groove 4 (FIG. 6) except it is deeper and therefore, easier to grip and lift the device. This feature again replicates a narrow ledge on a rock face and provides the user with exactly the correct finger position to exercise the muscles used in this hold (FIG. 7). To exercise two or three fingers in a similar manner, a shallow, short indentation 12 in side B (FIG. 5) provides another narrow ledge type feature. In this instance, however, it only measures 2 inches in length (FIG. 4) so the users is restricted to using two or three fingers to raise the device and weight.

Side B has a rounded bulge 13 that is defined by a ½ inch deep groove that in plan form (FIG. 2 and 4) is approximately circular in plan. The region within the groove (FIG. 6) forms this rounded bulge 13. Its smooth, rounded surface provides the user with a difficult sloping hold. To lift the device and weight, this hold must be gripped carefully using all fingers to provide as much friction as possible. In the discipline of climbing, such a hold is known as a sloper.

Finally, the edge of the entire disc 7 can be used as an exercise (FIG. 7). Using the finger and thumb of one hand the edge of the disc can be pinched and the device raised. Any location along the disc edge can be used in this way. However, the edge 15 of the disc varies in thickness. At this location the width of the device tapers from one inch to ¼ inch. This variation in thickness permits the user to vary the nature of the pinch used to lift the device.

DESCRIPTION AND OPERATION OF ALTERNATIVE EMBODIMENTS

The second embodiment of the current invention is shown in FIG. 8-FIG. 16. This embodiment consists of a series of four individual devices each of which is used to replicate one of the four major grips used in climbing. Each device is essentially triangular in shape. Being approximately five inches long and approximately four inches broad at its widest point. The depth of the devices vary but are on average approximately one inch deep.

Each device is formed from a single, solid piece of rubber or resin combined with sand. The sand provides the necessary texture to replicate a rock surface and provide a degree of friction to the user. Each device is constructed using a molding process. The mold consists of an upper and a lower half. The upper mold half is brought into an aligned relationship with the lower mold half, following which liquid resin is pored into the aligned mold halves. A cavity created by the two mold halves is filled by the resin. This cavity forms the shape of the device. Once the resin is cooled the halves are separated and the device released.

Each device is essentially triangular in plan. At one apex of each device is a hole that penetrates the depth of the device. Through this hole is passed a length of cord. The ends of the cord are brought together and a weight is attached. The mass of the weight can be varied. Exercise is performed by lifting both device and the attached weight.

FIG. 8 details the device designed to develop the grip associated with pocket holds. One, two or three fingers can be used to lift the weight and device. The fingers are placed within the central hole 2 and the finger tips used to lift the device. The inside edges of the hole are shaped differently. In cross section (FIG. 9), edge 3 has a larger radius than the other edge 4. The sharper, more defined edge 4 is easier to grip and hence, requires less effort to raise the weight and device. In contrast, edge 3 is less defined and requires more grip to raise the device and weight.

FIG. 10 details the device designed to develop the grip associated with crimp holds. On one side of the device, along the upper edge, runs a ridge 1 (FIG. 11) approximately ½ of an inch deep. The upper edge of this ridge is rounded whilst the inner edge is flat and forms the surface 2 that is gripped by the finger tips. The crimp hold is used in climbing to grip a narrow ledge on a rock face. Lifting the device using this hold with fingers bent at the knuckles and locked provides the user with an exercise identical to gripping a ledge on a rock face.

FIG. 12 details the device designed to develop the grip associated with sloper holds. In the center of this device is a rounded feature 1 that is essentially convex. The exercise is performed by placing an open hand over this feature and it is gripped. The small amount of friction it provides is used to lift the weight. This type of hold is very common on rock faces.

FIG. 14 details the device designed to develop the grip associated with pinch holds. In this instance the device is gripped between thumb and any number of fingers and the device and weight lifted. The depth of upper edge 1 of the device varies from approximately ¾ inch to approximately ¼ inch along its length (FIG. 16). When gripped at different points along this edge, the amount the fingers pinch varies. This allows the user to vary the exercise.

It is apparent that there has been provided, in accordance with the invention, an exercise tool that satisfies the aims and advantages described above. While the invention has been described in conjunction with specific embodiments thereof, it is evident that many alternatives, modifications and variations will be apparent to those skilled in the art and in light of the foregoing description. Accordingly, it is intended to embrace all such alternatives, modifications and variations as fall within the spirit of the appended claims. It is clear that this device could provide benefits to many other athletes. Any sport requiring a degree of grip strength, golf, martial arts, weigh lifting, and baseball could integrate this device into an exercise program.

CONCLUSIONS, RAMIFICATIONS, AND SCOPE OF INVENTION

Thus the reader will see that the tool for exercising grip muscles of the invention provides an effective, portable and easy to use tool for exercising and maintaining grip strength. While my above description contains many specifities, these should not be construed as limitations on the scope of the invention, but rather as an exemplification of preferred embodiments thereof. Many other variations are possible. For example, the device could be formed in various shapes to improve the nature of the grip.

Accordingly, the scope of the invention should be determined not by the embodiments illustrated, but by the appended claims and their legal equivalents.