Title:
Universal handlebar for exercise equipment
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A universal handlebar is provided for use in conjunction with an exercise machine. The handlebar has a generally U shaped configuration, and is provided with a plurality of potential points of connection to the exercise machine. This configuration presents a user with multiple possible shapes to choose from in order to exercise a plurality of different muscle sets. The handlebar is additionally provided with grips interspersed along the length of the handlebar, and is also provided with stoppers at the terminal ends to prevent the user's hands from sliding off the handlebar.



Inventors:
Williams, Jechonias (Tarzana, CA, US)
Application Number:
11/079979
Publication Date:
09/21/2006
Filing Date:
03/15/2005
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
482/93
International Classes:
A63B21/06; A63B71/00
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
HWANG, VICTOR KENNY
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
FULWIDER PATTON LLP (Long Beach, CA, US)
Claims:
I claim:

1. A handlebar for use with exercise equipment, comprising: a generally U shaped bar having a first extending portion and a second extending portion, each extending portion having two ends, each of the first and second extending portions being connected at one end to a transverse portion; and a plurality of connectors attached to the U shaped bar, the connectors being adapted to receive a fastener for connection to the exercise equipment.

2. The handlebar of claim 1, wherein the length of the transverse portion is between about eighteen inches and thirty six inches.

3. The handlebar of claim 1, wherein the length of the transverse portion is between about twenty four inches and thirty inches.

4. The handlebar of claim 1, wherein the length of the extending portions is between about eighteen inches and thirty six inches.

5. The handlebar of claim 1, wherein the length of the extending portions is between about twenty four inches and thirty inches.

6. The handlebar of claim 1, wherein the transverse portion is substantially linear.

7. The handlebar of claim 1, wherein the transverse portion is generally V shaped.

8. The handlebar of claim 7, wherein the V shaped portion has an apex, a first connector is positioned at the apex, and a second connector is positioned on one of the extending portions.

9. The handlebar of claim 1, wherein the first and second extending portions are substantially parallel to each other.

10. The handlebar of claim 1, further including a plurality of grips attached to the U shaped bar.

11. The handlebar of claim 10, wherein at least two grips are positioned on the transverse portion.

12. The handlebar of claim 10, wherein at least two grips are positioned on at least one extending portion.

13. The handlebar of claim 1, wherein the grips are made of rubber.

14. The handlebar of claim 1, wherein the U shaped bar is a unitary structure.

15. A method of exercising in conjunction with an exercise machine, comprising: providing an exercise machine configured to provide resistance to motion, and having a fastener adapted for attachment to a handlebar; providing a handlebar with a plurality of connectors, each adapted for attachment to the fastener of the exercise machine; connecting the fastener to a first connector on the handlebar; exercising a first muscle set using the handlebar; disconnecting the fastener from the handlebar; connecting the fastener to a second connector on the handlebar; and exercising a second muscle set using the handlebar.

16. The method of claim 15, further including: disconnecting the fastener from the handlebar; connecting the fastener to a third connector on the handlebar; and exercising a third muscle set using the handlebar.

17. The method of claim 15, wherein providing a handlebar includes providing a handlebar with a generally U shaped configuration.

18. The method of claim 17, wherein providing a handlebar with a generally U shaped configuration includes providing a handlebar having a left extending portion and a right extending portion, each extending portion having two ends, and each extending portion being connected at one end to a transverse portion.

19. A handlebar for use with exercise equipment, comprising: a generally U shaped bar having a first extending portion and a second extending portion, each extending portion having two ends, and each extending portion being connected at one end to a transverse portion; and means for connecting a fastener on the exercise equipment to a plurality of different points on the U shaped bar.

20. The handlebar of claim 19, further including means for permitting a user to grasp the U shaped bar with two hands in a plurality of different grasping positions.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to a handlebar for exercise equipment, and, more particularly, to a universal handlebar attachable to and usable with weight and pulley training machines, or other training machines.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Exercising machines employing suspended weights for providing a resistance to body motions are well known in the prior art. These machines generally include a frame supporting weights attached to a tether. The tether is connected, in turn, to levers and similar components that are grasped by a user and manipulated. Manipulation against the resistance of the weights forces muscles to exert great effort, and thus will increase the strength or bulk of the muscles, or both, over time. Typically, the component grasped by the user is in the form of a handle.

In these and other handle operated exercise machines, the handle portion is often an elongate rigid bar with grips on its opposite ends, and a connector (usually in the form of a lug with a hole) midway along its length for attachment to the free end of a cable. The user stands or sits with his hands on the grips at the opposite ends of the handle and pulls it up or down against the force of the weights along a path of movement. Typically, a user will wish to sequentially use a number of differently shaped handles, each handle having a shape adapted to provide exercise for a different set of muscles, thereby to increase the tone, strength, or bulk of that set of muscles. An array of typically shaped handles 20, 22, 24, 26, 28 known to the prior art are shown in FIGS. 1A-1E. Each handle is seen to have two hand grips and a connector between the grips for attaching to the free end of a cable extending from the exercise machine.

It is therefore typical to find, in a gymnasium setting, that the gymnasium will provide at least one full set of the preferred differently shaped handles for its patrons to use with the exercise machine provided. However, it is also commonly found that the gymnasium may provide a plurality of weight exercise machines, and further that, in order to economize, there may be provided fewer full sets of differently shaped handles than the number of exercise machines, in the anticipation that not each user will require the same type of handle at the same time.

This way of providing handles in a commercial gymnasium has a number of disadvantages. First, it may frequently occur that a user on one exercise machine cannot obtain the particularly shaped handle that he wishes to use because all of that type of handle are being used on other weight machines. Second, it is expensive to provide a plurality of differently shaped handles of which some will always be lying unused while a few are being used. Third, it may frequently occur that, because of the number of handles present in the gymnasium, some become lost or misplaced, and some are not replaced in their storage space so they lie around obstructing proper use of the gymnasium and create the risk of injury.

Others have attempted to address the described problems. Some have provided handles that include elongate bars with grips on opposite ends, and a connector midway along its length for attachment to the free end of the cable, but whose shape may be mechanically adjusted. These devices have the disadvantage that they permit a limited number of possible shapes, they require complex and therefore expensive mechanisms to permit adjustment of the shape, and the resulting configuration is bulky and difficult to connect to the free end of the cable.

Thus, there is need in the art for a more comprehensive solution to problems, such as these, experienced in the art. The present invention addresses these and other needs.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention includes a universal handlebar configured for use with an exercise machine. The handlebar is configured to permit a user to exercise a plurality of muscle sets using only the single universal handlebar, as compared with having to use a plurality of different handlebars to achieve a similar result. The universal handlebar of the present invention includes a generally U shaped bar having a left extending portion and, parallel to the left extending portion, a right extending portion, the left and right extending portions being connected to each other at their respective ends by a transverse portion. In one aspect of the invention, the transverse portion may be substantially linear, and in another aspect the transverse portion may be generally V shaped. A plurality of connectors are attached to the U shaped bar, the connectors being adapted to receive a fastener, such as a hook, of the exercise machine for attachment thereto. By successively connecting the bar to the exercise machine at different connectors, the bar presents the user with a variety of shapes, allowing the user to successively exercise a different muscle set with each shape. Most of the bar shapes found in the prior art can be found in the universal handlebar, and additional shapes not found in the prior art may also be found. Another aspect of the universal handlebar is that it has grips, that may be formed of rubber or similar resilient material, interspersed along the length of the handlebar, to provide the user with a convenient point of gripping the handlebar, depending on which connector has been attached to the exercise machine.

In another aspect, the invention includes a method for exercising in conjunction with an exercise machine. In one embodiment, an exercise machine is provided, the exercise machine being configured to provide resistance to motion, and having a loose cable with a free end for attachment to a handlebar. A handlebar is provided having a plurality of potential points for attachment to the free end of the loose cable. The cable is connected to a first point of attachment on the handlebar. The user then exercises a first muscle set using the handlebar. Upon completion, the user disconnects the handlebar from the cable, and connects the cable to a second point of attachment on the handlebar, whereupon he exercises a second muscle set using the handlebar. In further aspects, third, fourth, fifth, etc. muscle sets are exercised by an extension of the same procedure.

These and other aspects of the invention will become more apparent from the following detailed description thereof and the accompanying exemplary drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIGS. 1A-1E show a collection of prior art bars for use in conjunction with an exercise machine.

FIG. 2 depicts a universal handlebar incorporating features of the present invention.

FIG. 3 depicts an alternative embodiment of a universal handlebar incorporating features of the invention

FIG. 4 depicts a person exercising a particular muscle set using the handlebar of FIG. 1A.

FIG. 5 depicts a person exercising the same muscle set as the person in FIG. 4, using the universal handlebar.

FIG. 6 depicts a person exercising a particular muscle set using the handlebar of FIG. 1B.

FIG. 7 depicts a person exercising the same muscle set as the person in FIG. 6, using the universal handlebar.

FIG. 8 depicts a person exercising a particular muscle set using the handlebar of FIG. 1C.

FIG. 9 depicts a person exercising the same muscle set as the person in FIG. 8, using the universal handlebar.

FIG. 10 depicts a person exercising a particular muscle set using the handlebar of FIG. 1D.

FIG. 11 depicts a person exercising the same muscle set as the person in FIG. 10, using the universal handlebar.

FIG. 12 depicts a person exercising a particular muscle set using the handlebar of FIG. 1E.

FIG. 13 depicts a person exercising the same muscle set as the person in FIG. 12, using the universal handlebar.

FIG. 14 depicts a person exercising a muscle set that is not provided for by bars commonly found in the prior art.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

With reference to the Figures, aspects according to preferred embodiments of the present invention are described, with similar identification numerals generally indicating similar structure. Specifically, there are set forth below a number of examples of the invention.

With reference to FIG. 2, there is shown an embodiment of a universal handlebar 40 configured for use with an exercise machine providing resistance to motion, showing features of the invention. The handlebar 40 has a generally ā€œUā€ shaped configuration, made up of a series of elongated portions connected end to end. Specifically, the handlebar 40 includes a left extending portion 42 and, preferably substantially parallel thereto, a right extending portion 44. The respective ends 47, 49 of extending portions 42, 44 are attached to each opposite end of an intermediate transverse portion 46, preferably configured perpendicular to extending portions 42, 44. In one embodiment, the transverse portion 46 may be linear. The distance between the left extending portion 42 and the right extending portion 44 is configured to allow a person to fit between the two portions. The distance is between 18 and 36 inches (45 and 90 cm), and more preferably, between 24 and 30 inches (60 and 75 cm). In the preferred embodiment, the length of the left and right extending portions is between 18 and 36 inches (45 and 90 cm), more preferably between 24 and 30 inches (60 and 75 cm).

The generally U shaped handlebar 40 may be bent from a single hollow bar of steel, although cutting and welding may also be used to form its shape. Alternatively, materials such as plastic, rubber, polymer, or other metal alloys may be used. Thus, in a preferred embodiment, the U shaped handlebar may be a unitary structure, that is, a single continuous structure in its finished form. In a commercial embodiment, the handlebar may be painted or chrome-plated to protect it from rust where metals are used.

The handlebar 40 includes a plurality of hand grips 48 positioned to allow the user to benefit from the number of different shapes presented by the handlebar, as described more fully below. Each grip may be made to be slid onto or inserted over the handlebar as a cylinder of rubber, or polymer, or other resilient material suitable for providing a non-slip contact between the user's hand and the handlebar. Between some (but not necessarily all) of the grips there are positioned connectors 50 for removably securing the handlebar at different points to the free end of a cable or other fastener extending from a weight machine. In a preferred embodiment, the connectors 50 may be metal lugs welded, or otherwise formed or secured, to the handlebar, each with one or more holes suitable for receiving a fastener, such as a hooked end of a cable, or may be made of a strong synthetic fabric connected to the handlebar to provide a loop capable of receiving such a fastener (not shown).

Additionally, the handlebar 40 may include stoppers 52 at each free end of the left and right extending portions. The stoppers are configured to provide extra resistance to sliding when the user is pulling his hands towards the free ends of the extending portions, such as may be seen, for example, in FIG. 7. The stoppers may be formed of any suitable fairly hard material such as wood, rubber, or plastic. Preferably, a portion of each stopper may be inserted into a bore of the free end of the extending portion, and may be attached thereto by drilling a bolt through the handlebar and through the inserted portion of the stopper, thereafter filing off any protruding portions of the bolt to leave a smooth surface to the extending portion.

With reference to FIG. 3, there is shown an alternative embodiment of a universal handlebar 140 showing aspects of the invention. In this embodiment, two substantially parallel extending portions 42, 44 are connected to each other not by a linear transverse portion as in the previous embodiment, but by a transverse portion 146 comprising two angled diagonal portions 154, 156 meeting at an apex, and having the general shape of a ā€œV.ā€ As with the handlebar 40 shown in FIG. 2, the handlebar 140 shown in FIG. 3 includes a plurality of grips 48, a plurality of connectors 50 for attaching the handlebar 140 to a fastener such as the free end of a cable of the exercise machine, and stoppers 52 at the ends of the extending portions. Connectors may be positioned at the apex of the V shaped transverse portion, and substantially midway between one of the extending portions. Alternatively, a connector may be positioned at a point of connection between an extending portion 42, 44 and the transverse portion 146.

In use, the novel configuration of each of the preferred embodiments of the handlebar 40, 140 of the present invention provides a variety of possible shapes, all combined in one single handlebar, for the user to benefit from when used in conjunction with an exercise machine. By successively connecting the fastener of the exercise machine to different points on the handlebar, the user may successively exercise a plurality of different muscle sets using only the single handlebar. While some of these possible shapes may be found in the separate handlebars known in the prior art, the handlebar also presents further possible shapes not commonly found in the prior art. Therefore, the universal handlebar of the present invention has the advantage of providing a simple, lightweight, and thus inexpensive combination of known shapes, as well as potentially novel shapes, in a single handlebar for use in conjunction with an exercise machine.

With reference to FIGS. 4-14, there is exemplified a set of comparative illustrations of a number of exercises that a user may perform using the universal handlebar of the present invention in conjunction with an exercise machine, where the same exercises could have been performed only by using a plurality of separate handlebars, or possibly, that could not have been performed using single handlebars known in the art. Similar figures have not been provided to exemplify use of the alternate embodiment of the handlebar 40, but the same principles will be understood to apply.

FIG. 4 compared with FIG. 5 exemplifies how the universal handlebar 140 may be used to provide exercise for the same muscle set as could be obtained by using prior art bar 20. In particular, FIG. 4 shows a person exercising a particular muscle set using prior art bar 20 in conjunction with a weight and pulley exercise machine. FIG. 5 shows how the same muscle set may be exercised using the universal handlebar 140.

FIG. 6 compared with FIG. 7 exemplifies how the universal handlebar 140 may be used to provide exercise for the same muscle set as could be obtained by using prior art bar 22. In particular, FIG. 6 shows a person exercising a particular muscle set using prior art bar 22 in conjunction with a weight and pulley exercise machine. FIG. 7 shows how the same muscle set may be exercised using the universal handlebar 140.

FIG. 8 compared with FIG. 9 exemplifies how the universal handlebar 140 may be used to provide exercise for the same muscle set as could be obtained by using prior art bar 24. In particular, FIG. 8 shows a person exercising a particular muscle set using prior art bar 24 in conjunction with a weight and pulley exercise machine. FIG. 9 shows how the same muscle set may be exercised using the universal handlebar 140.

FIG. 10 compared with FIG. 11 exemplifies how the universal handlebar 140 may be used to provide exercise for the same muscle set as could be obtained by using prior art bar 26. In particular, FIG. 10 shows a person exercising a particular muscle set using prior art bar 26 in conjunction with a weight and pulley exercise machine. FIG. 11 shows how the same muscle set may be exercised using the universal handlebar 140.

FIG. 12 compared with FIG. 13 exemplifies how the universal handlebar 140 may be used to provide exercise for the same muscle set as could be obtained by using prior art bar 28. In particular, FIG. 12 shows a person exercising a particular muscle set using prior art bar 28 in conjunction with a weight and pulley exercise machine. FIG. 13 shows how the same muscle set may be exercised using the universal handlebar 140.

FIG. 14 shows how muscle sets of a person that cannot be exercised using any of the bars 20, 22, 24, 26, 28 of the prior art may be exercised by using universal handlebar 140.

Thus it will be appreciated that the universal handlebar of the present invention has the capability of combining a plurality of single handlebars found in the prior art into a single handlebar, thereby creating a simple and thus inexpensive solution to the problem faced by a user having to rely on multiple handlebars to exercise a number of different muscle sets. Furthermore, the universal handlebar enables a user to exercise a number of muscle sets that cannot be exercised by handlebars found in the prior art.

While a particular form of the invention has been illustrated and described, it will also be apparent to those skilled in the art that various modifications can be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention. Accordingly, it is not intended that the invention be limited except by the appended claims.