Title:
Golf swing muscle strengthener
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A golf swing muscle strengthener apparatus (90) for strengthening the muscles used in the downswing of the golf swing. The apparatus includes a swing plane adjustment element (50) secured at an adjustably elevated position above the ground by a frame element (20) and support arm element (40). The swing plane adjustment element (50) houses a swing arm assembly (70) adjustable to various swing plane positions. The swing arm assembly (70) is operatively coupled to a resistance means, and has a swing arm (63) shaped to circumvent the golfer's upper torso and head. The swing arm (63) exhibits pivotal rotation around a central axis of rotation and has a pad element (80) attached at its distal end for accepting the golfer's forearm. The golfer's forearm presses against the pad element (80) at the peak of the backswing, and rotates the swing arm assembly (70) during the downswing phase of the golf swing.



Inventors:
Berryman, Thomas Joseph (Stroudsburg, PA, US)
Application Number:
11/706085
Publication Date:
07/12/2007
Filing Date:
02/13/2007
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
482/100
International Classes:
A63B21/06
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
20060160664User activated water sprinkler system for trampolines and playground equipmentJuly, 2006Lavabre
20080182728Walk AssistJuly, 2008Glasscock
20030139266Bodybuilding exerciserJuly, 2003Lin et al.
20030092539Multi-function exercise machineMay, 2003Wang
20090312163METHOD AND APPARATUS FOR EXERCISINGDecember, 2009Hern
20070254777Slipproof pad structure of a slide boardNovember, 2007Huang
20100062902Manual Exercising and Electricity Generating MachineMarch, 2010Tian
20070184948Exercising apparatusAugust, 2007Miura
20080015095Multipurpose exercise systemJanuary, 2008Savsek et al.
20080064572Exercising Device with Combined Stepping and Twisting FunctionsMarch, 2008Nardone
20090312160MUSCLE CONDITIONING APPARATUSDecember, 2009Higgins



Primary Examiner:
BAKER, LORI LYNN
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Thomas J. Berryman (East Stroudsburg, PA, US)
Claims:
I claim:

1. A golf swing muscle strengthener apparatus for exercising the most active upper body golf swing muscles of an exercising golfer while providing unrestricted freedom of movement to said exercising golfer's wrists, hands, and golf club, said apparatus comprising: (a) a swing arm assembly comprising a swing arm member and a shaft member for rotation by said exercising golfer; (b) a support arm element; (c) a swing plane adjustment element comprising a body being hinged to said support arm element for providing a plurality of swing plane angle positions of said swing arm assembly, an adjustment lever for adjusting the swing plane angle of said body and said swing arm assembly to accommodate said swing plane angle of said exercising golfer, and a shaft housing extending from said body for supporting rotation of said shaft member; (d) said shaft member comprising a proximal shaft, mid-shaft and distal shaft, said proximal shaft protruding out of said shaft housing, said mid-shaft supported within said shaft housing for rotation about a central axis of rotation, said distal shaft extending from said shaft housing and aligned to said swing arm member; (e) said swing arm member comprising a proximal swing arm segment shaped to circumvent said exercising golfer's upper torso and head, and a distal swing arm segment attached to said proximal swing arm segment for aligning parallel to a leading forearm of said exercising golfer; (g) a pad element comprising an extension bar attached to said distal swing arm segment of said swing arm assembly, and a pad member mounted on said extension bar for accepting said leading forearm of said exercising golfer. (h) a resistance means operatively coupled to said swing arm assembly for providing a resistance force to resist rotation of said swing arm assembly during said downswing by said exercising golfer. (l) a frame element.

2. The golf swing muscle strengthener apparatus according to claim 1, wherein said pad member being rotatable on said extension bar and along said leading arm of said exercising golfer for accommodating any swing path deviations of said exercising golfer from a perfectly circular swing path of said pad element.

3. The golf swing muscle strengthener apparatus according to claim 1, wherein said pad member being slidable on said extension bar for accommodating a ninety degree rotation of said leading arm of said exercising golfer during said downswing.

4. The golf swing muscle strengthener apparatus according to claim 1, wherein said pad member having a cylindrical shape.

5. The golf swing muscle strengthener apparatus according to claim 1, wherein said pad member having a truncated cone shape.

6. The golf swing muscle strengthener apparatus according to claim 1, wherein said pad member having a rectangular shape.

7. The golf swing muscle strengthener apparatus according to claim 1, wherein said pad member having an outer, concave contour for maintaining said exercising golfer's leading forearm position.

8. The golf swing muscle strengthener apparatus according to claim 1, wherein: (a) said swing arm member being rigidly attached to said shaft member; (b) said shaft member further comprising a non-circular shaft extension rigidly attached to said proximal shaft; (c) said swing plane adjustment element further comprising a stabilization rod rigidly attached to said body and aligned parallel to said non-circular shaft extension; (d) said resistance means being a torsion disc operatively coupled to said non-circular shaft extension and said stabilization rod for providing a resistance force to resist rotation of said shaft member and said swing arm member.

9. The golf swing muscle strengthener apparatus according to claim 8, wherein said torsion disc further comprising: (a) a plurality of peripheral holes aligned to fit into said stabilization rod for stabilizing said torsion disc against rotation. (b) a central non-circular aperture that fits said non-circular shaft extension for holding said shaft member and said swing arm assembly in a selected starting position, and for providing a resistance force to resist rotation of said shaft member and said swing arm assembly by said exercising golfer;

10. The golf swing muscle strengthener apparatus according to claim 1, wherein said swing arm assembly further comprising: (a) a wheel member comprising a proximal side and a distal side; (b) said proximal side connecting to said distal shaft member; (c) said distal side connecting to said swing arm member.

11. The golf swing muscle strengthener apparatus according to claim 10, wherein: (a) said shaft member being rigidly, centrally and nonrotatably attached to said proximal side of said wheel member; (b) said swing arm member being rigidly, centrally and nonrotatably attached to said distal side of said wheel member; (c) said wheel member having a plurality of evenly spaced pairs of circumferential apertures; (d) said resistance means operatively coupled to said pair of circumferential apertures of said wheel member.

12. The golf swing muscle strengthener apparatus according to claim 11, wherein said resistance means further comprising: (a) a U-bolt rigidly attached to an anterior surface of said body of said swing plane adjustment element; (b) An elastic band originating from said U-bolt and being attached to the selected pair of said circumferential apertures on said wheel member for holding said swing arm in a selected starting position and for providing a resistance force to resist rotation of said swing arm assembly by said exercising golfer.

13. The golf swing muscle strengthener apparatus according to claim 10, wherein: (a) said wheel member further comprising a central opening and a plurality of mid-radius apertures; (b) said proximal swing arm segment having a selector pin for inserting into one of the said mid-radius apertures on said wheel member for placing said swing arm member into a selected starting position; (c) said distal shaft member passing through said central opening of said wheel member and being rigidly connected to said proximal swing arm segment so that said wheel member being rotatable from said shaft member and said swing arm member; (d) said resistance means operatively coupled to said wheel member.

14. The golf swing muscle strengthener apparatus according to claim 13, wherein said resistance means further comprising: (a) a plurality of weight plates; (b) a plurality of pulley units; (c) a cable originating from said weight plates, guided by said pulley units, and attached onto said wheel member for providing a resistance force to resist rotation of said swing arm assembly by said exercising golfer.

15. The golf swing muscle strengthener apparatus according to claim 10, wherein: (a) said wheel member further comprising a socket extending from said distal side and a plurality of mid-radius apertures; (b) said swing arm member further comprising a truncated shaft and a selector pin on said proximal swing arm segment; (c) said truncated shaft being housed within said socket of said wheel member for rotatably connecting said swing arm member to said wheel member; (d) said selector pin aligned for inserting into one of said mid-radius apertures for locking said swing arm into a selected backswing starting position; (e) said shaft member being rigidly, centrally, and nonrotatably attached to said proximal side of said wheel member; (f) said resistance means being a hydraulic or pneumatic resistance generating unit.

16. The golf swing muscle strengthener apparatus according to claim 15, wherein said hydraulic or pneumatic resistance generating unit further comprising: (a) a body rigidly connected to said swing plane adjustment element; (b) an input operatively coupled to said proximal shaft for providing a resistance force to resist rotation of said shaft member and said swing arm assembly by said exercising golfer.

17. The golf swing muscle strengthener apparatus according to claim 1 wherein said swing arm member having an approximate S-shape for circumventing said exercising golfer's upper torso and head.

18. The golf swing muscle strengthener apparatus according to claim 1, wherein said swing arm member having an approximate L-shape for circumventing said exercising golfer's upper torso and head.

19. The golf swing muscle strengthener apparatus according to claim 1, wherein said swing arm member having an approximate J-shape for circumventing said exercising golfer's upper torso and head.

20. The golf swing muscle strengthener apparatus according to claim 1, wherein said proximal swing arm segment having a slider and knob screw for slidably adjusting and tightening said distal swing arm segment to accommodate for various golfer arm lengths;

21. The golf swing muscle strengthener apparatus according to claim 1, wherein said swing plane adjustment element having a fixation means.

22. The golf swing muscle strengthener apparatus according to claim 21, wherein said swing plane adjustment element fixation means comprising: (a) a semi-circular member rigidly attached to said swing plane adjustment element; (b) a plurality of apertures within said semi-circular member; (c) a swing plane pin rigidly attached to said support arm member for inserting into one of said plurality of apertures for fixating said swing plane adjustment element to said support arm element in a selected swing plane angular position;

23. The golf swing muscle strengthener apparatus according to claim 21, wherein said swing plane adjustment element fixation means comprising: (a) a square tube slider hinged to said swing plane adjustment element; (b) a short apertured square tubing hinged to said support arm member and slidable within said square tube slider; (c) a plurality of apertures within said short apertured square tubing; (d) a swing plane pin rigidly attached to said square tube slider for inserting into one of said plurality of apertures for fixating said square tube slider to said short apertured square tubing and for fixating said swing plane adjustment element to said support arm member in a selected swing plane angular position.

24. The golf swing muscle strengthener apparatus according to claim 21, wherein said swing plane adjustment element fixation means comprising a screw jack originating from said adjustment lever and inserting on said support arm element for changing and fixating said swing plane adjustment element in a selected angular position.

25. The golf swing muscle strengthener apparatus according to claim 1, wherein said support arm element comprising: (a) a support arm member; (b) a hinge for providing elevational and lowering motion of said support arm member; (c) a fixation means for fixating said support arm member in a selected height position for accommodating various golfer heights.

26. The golf swing muscle strengthener apparatus according to claim 25, wherein said support arm fixation means comprising: (a) an arcuate member; (b) a plurality of apertures on said arcuate member; (c) a height selector pin on said frame for inserting into said arcuate member aperture for fixating said support arm member in said selected height position;

27. The golf swing muscle strengthener apparatus according to claim 25, wherein said support arm fixation means comprising: (a) a square tube attached to said frame element; (b) a long apertured square tubing slidable within said square tube and attached to said support arm member; (c) a plurality, of apertures on said long apertured square tubing; (d) a height selector pin on said square tube for inserting into said aperture of said long apertured square tubing for fixating said support arm in said selected height position.

28. The golf swing muscle strengthener apparatus according to claim 25, wherein said support arm fixation means comprising a screw jack inserting on said support arm member and originating on said frame element for changing and fixating said support arm member in said selected height position.

29. The golf swing muscle strengthener apparatus according to claim 1, wherein said pad element having a multi-plane element comprising: (a) a base attached to said swing arm member; (b) a hinge platform hingedly attached to said base and rigidly attached to said pad element; (c) a fully threaded-bolt hingedly attached to said base and said hinge platform; (d) a knob for rotating said bolt creating various angular positions of said hinge platform and said pad element for accommodating the increasing vertical planar changes of said golfer's leading arm during said downswing.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application is a second continuation in part of Ser. No. 10/286,537 filed Nov. 2, 2002, now abandoned. The first continuation in part application is Ser. No. 11/004,307 filed Dec. 3, 2004. This application is also entitled to the benefit of Provisional Patent Application Ser. No. 60/338,051, filed Nov. 3, 2001.

BACKGROUND

1. Field of Invention

This invention relates to golf, specifically to a resistance exercise apparatus for strengthening the muscles used in the golf swing.

2. Discussion of Prior Art

The golf swing is complex in that it requires strength but also coordinated precision and timing. The larger shoulder, torso, and back muscles initiate the club's acceleration and momentum with the downswing. As the club head approaches the ball, the number of muscles involved in the downswing increases. Specifically, the smaller forearm, wrist, and hand muscles join the larger muscles to continue the club head's acceleration, momentum, and centrifugal force as it approaches ball contact. Additionally, these smaller muscles guide the club head to the ball and square the club face to the intended direction at ball contact. This coordinated procession of increased muscle activity as the club approaches the ball requires exceptional timing and feel that can only be attained by repetitive swinging of the golf club. Repetition brings familiarity with the club's weight, length, construction, response to ball contact, and response to ground contact creating what is known as “feel” for the club. Any minor extrinsic force, pressure, restriction, or positional change can disrupt the coordination and timing of this precise muscular activity resulting in an errant golf shot. This is the reason why hitting good golf shots consistently is so difficult.

Many different golf exercising and strengthening devices can be found in the prior art. Unfortunately, in their efforts to align the golfer's swing path, improve posture and mechanics, or increase strength and swing speed, they apply external pressures, force positional disruptions, and cause movement restrictions that alter the timing and feel of the golf swing. These devices hinder rather than help with the development of learned muscle activity necessary for making good consistent golf swings and ball contact.

Examples of golf swing strengthening apparatus include Moller's U.S. Pat. No. 3,785,657, Master's U.S. Pat. No. 4,229,002, Kiehl's U.S. Pat. No. 4,326,718, La Mothe's U.S. Pat. No. 5,125,882, Hart's U.S. Pat. No. 5,156,402, Otter's U.S. Pat. No. 5,158,299, Hundley's U.S. Pat. No. 5,242,344, Lee's U.S. Pat. No. 5,284,464, and Raynak's U.S. Pat. No. 5,888,146. Each of these apparatus creates it's resistance against the golf club or simulated golf club. The extrinsic force applied to the golf club disturbs the precise muscular activity that occurs when swinging the golf club freely. It places excessive tension across the hands, wrists, and forearms causing premature and excessive activity of these muscles resulting in altered timing and feel. Repetitive practice with these devices makes it more difficult to execute the appropriate and timely procession of muscle activity needed to swing the free golf club correctly.

Moller's device (U.S. Pat. No. 3,785,657), Raynak's device (U.S. Pat. No. 5,888,146) and Hundley's device (U.S. Pat. No. 5,242,344) restrict the natural golf swing in another way. Kinematic analysis of professional golfer's swings reveal that the shape of the golf swing as outlined by the golfer's hands and club head is not truly circular. Instead, it is slightly oblong. The above three apparatus have a swing arm fixed at a certain length that rotates around a central pivot point, and is attached to the simulated golf club at a certain fixed point. This arrangement forces a perfectly circular and unnatural swing. Hundley attempts to solve this problem by offering a second handle structure to his apparatus that allows some sliding of the simulated golf club relative to the swing arm so that there is some independence from the completely circular motion of the swing arm. This second handle structure, however, only allows the club to slide in one direction relative to the swing arm path rather than both directions. Therefore, the club is not totally independent of the swing arm's perfectly circular motion. The result will be an impeded and unnatural golf swing.

Other prior inventions disclosed for golf training and exercise include Dagenais's U.S. Pat. No. 6,174,270, and Wolfs U.S. Pat. No. 6,013,013. These inventions focus on improving axial skeletal rotation and flexibility. Wolfs device includes a resistance means for strengthening the muscles of the axial skeleton used in the golf swing. Neither of these devices, however, allow the golfer to assume a natural golf swing position with respect to the golfer's arms and hands. The golfer cannot hold or swing the golf club using these apparatus because the arms and hands are separated. These devices also limit the movement of the arms at the shoulder joint. They make the arms move with the torso and shoulders but not independent from them. These positional and movement limitations reduce the function of many important upper-body muscles used in the golf swing. The most important muscles affected are the subscapularis, the latissimus dorsi, and the pectoralis major. These three muscles have been found to be the most active upper-body muscles used in the golf swing. Each of these muscles originates in the upper torso, crosses the shoulder joint, and inserts onto the humerus or upper arm bone. Translational and rotational movement of the humerus independent from upper torso and shoulder rotation activates these muscles. These muscles are active in the golf swing because the arms exhibit significant translational and rotational motion separate from upper torso and shoulder rotation. The inactivity of the golfer's arms using Wolfs and Dagenais's apparatus results in compromised resistance training of these important golf swing muscles.

In summary, the apparatus listed above that attach directly to the golf club or simulated golf club create unnatural tension on the hands, wrists and forearms and disrupt the “feel” of the freely swung golf club. Some of these devices also force an unnatural perfectly circular swing path. The other devices listed above that focus on axial skeletal muscle training do not permit the golfer to position the arms in a manner similar to a typical golf set-up position. They also don't permit the arms to swing or even move independent from the shoulders and upper torso. These devices are ineffective in training the upper body's most active golf swing muscles.

A 2005 article entitled “A three dimensional examination of the planar nature of the golf swing” by authors Coleman and Rankin shows that the lead arm in the golf swing steepens or becomes more vertical as the downswing progresses. None of the apparatus discussed above addresses this golf swing characteristic.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention solves the aforementioned problems. The present invention provides resistance strength training for the largest, most active, upper-body muscles used in the golf swing. It does not, however, impede the normal activity of the smaller, forearm, wrist, and hand muscles nor does it disrupt the natural “feel” of the golf club. It accomplishes this by providing resistance without attaching to the golfer's golf club. Instead, it provides resistance against the golfer's leading forearm as shown in FIGS. 2 and 4. It employs a swing arm assembly that exhibits pivotal rotation around a central axis when the swing arm is rotated. The swing arm has an extension bar that extends out toward the golfer and supports a pad member. The pad member is typically cylindrical and has a hyperbolic shape designed to accept the golfer's leading forearm. When the golfer exercises with this apparatus, the golfer begins in a fully extended back swing position with the leading forearm placed against the cylindrical pad. As the golfer initiates the downswing the leading forearm applies pressure to the cylindrical pad, which rotates the swing arm assembly against a means of resistance. When the golfer finishes the downswing and reaches the ball contact position, he or she then relaxes and allows the resistance to push the arms back up to the peak of the back swing. The downswing is then repeated. Since there is no attachment to the golf club, there is no excess tension across the hands, wrists or forearms, and the club feels the same regardless of whether the golfer is using the apparatus or swinging the club freely. Therefore, the natural “feel” of the golf club is not lost when using this apparatus.

The present invention also effectively strengthens the subscapularis, latissimus dorsi, pectoralis major, and other active, upper-body, golf swing muscles. It does so by focusing on translational motion of the arms during the downswing phase of the golf swing, and by providing a means of resistance to the swing arm assembly. Translational motion of the arms in the downswing accelerates the club and requires significant muscular activity. The downswing begins at the peak of the back swing and ends at the ball contact position. At the peak of the back swing the shoulders have rotated 90 degrees, but the arms have rotated back even further. Some golfers can reach 180 degrees with their back swing arm rotation. With the downswing, the arms must travel further and faster than the shoulders to “catch up” to them by the time the club reaches the ball contact position. The arms travel further and faster than the shoulders because of the activity of the subscapularis, latissimus dorsi, and pectoralis major muscles. The resistance applied by the swing arm assembly against the golfer's translational arm motion during the downswing strengthens these important muscles.

In addition to translational motion the arms also exhibit rotational motion with the downswing. At the peak of the back swing the posterior aspect of the leading hand and it's knuckles face in the direction that the golfers feet are pointing. At the ball contact position, however, the posterior aspect of the leading hand and its knuckles face in the direction of where the ball is being hit. This rotation of the leading hand occurs because the arms rotate 90 degrees with the downswing. FIG. 4 demonstrates how the present invention provides a means for accommodating this 90 degree rotation of the arms during the downswing. In the preferred embodiment of the invention, the swing arm's extension bar has the cylindrical pad mounted slidably on its proximal end. The distal end of the extension bar has a spring biasing the cylindrical pad toward the proximal end. When the golfer exercises with this apparatus, the leading forearm is pressed perpendicularly against the cylindrical pad. With the downswing, the leading upper arm rotates at the shoulder joint and the forearm supinates at the elbow joint resulting in this 90 degree arm rotation against the cylindrical pad. The cylindrical pad responds to this arm rotation by sliding distally on the extension bar towards the spring. The cylindrical pad compresses the spring. When the golfer reaches the ball contact position, he or she relaxes and allows the resistance to push the arms back toward the backswing position. As the arms are pushed back into the backswing position, the leading upper arm counter-rotates and the forearm pronates against the cylindrical pad causing the cylindrical pad to slide proximally along the extension bar to its original position and allowing the spring to decompress. The downswing is repeated. In this manner, arm rotation in the downswing is not restricted by the present invention.

Another advantage of this invention is that it accommodates the golf swing characteristic of the front or leading arm steepening or becoming more vertical as the downswing progresses. It does so by using a multi-plane element that adjustably changes the angle of the extension bar and cylindrical pad from the swing arm shown in fig. Angulating the cylindrical pad downward relative to the elevated swing arm results in the extension bar and cylindrical pad changing its plane as the swing arm is rotated downward by the exercising golfer. This results in the golfer's leading arm remaining perpendicular to the cylindrical pad as the golfer's arm steepens during the downswing.

Another advantage of this invention is that it permits the golfer's slightly oblong swing path to deviate from the unnatural, perfectly circular path of the swing arm and cylindrical pad. The cylindrical pad is designed to rotate on the extension bar and roll on the golfer's leading forearm. As the leading forearm applies pressure against the cylindrical pad, the swing arm and the cylindrical pad exhibit pivotal motion around the central axis of rotation and follow a perfectly circular path. The golfer's arms, hands and golf club deviate from this perfectly circular path and follow a slightly oblong path. This deviation is accommodated by rotation of the cylindrical pad along the leading forearm allowing the golfer's arms, hands and golf club to deviate from the cylindrical pad's circular path and follow their natural swing path.

The present invention utilizes a second mechanism to accommodate the golfer's oblong swing path from the perfectly circular path of the swing arm and cylindrical pad. The previously mentioned multi-plane element connects the cylindrical pad element to the swing arm element shown in FIGS. 19a, 19b, and 20. The multi-plane element has an extension bar base with associated bearings and two parallel shafts. The extension bar base and its bearing can move parallel to the swing arm on these two parallel shafts. Therefore, the extension bar base, the extension bar, and the cylindrical pad move in the same plane as the swing arm so that the golfer's swing can be independent from the swing arm's perfectly circular motion.

Another advantage of this invention is that it promotes a straight leading arm in the golf swing. A straight leading arm is a well-known fundamental of the golf swing. It is essential for consistently returning the club head to the ball to make good ball contact. Since the leading arm is against the cylindrical pad in the present invention, it bears more of the resistance force than the back arm. Also, since the cylindrical pad is against the golfer's forearm, the muscles around the elbow and shoulder joints will bear the stress of the resistance force. Larger muscles can bear more force than smaller muscles, and contracted muscles can bear more force than extended muscles. If the elbow of the leading arm is bent during use of this exercise apparatus, considerable force will be placed on the relatively small, extended triceps muscles of the upper arm. Fully contracting the triceps muscle increases its ability to bear more force, straightens the elbow and reduces stress across this joint. The straightened elbow transmits greater force to the shoulder joint and the larger upper torso muscles that control and support the shoulder joint. Since larger muscles can handle greater force, it feels more comfortable to maintain a straight elbow than a bent elbow when using the present apparatus.

Other features of this invention further define its objects and advantages. The swing arm assembly is elevated to the golfer's upper torso by a vertical frame that is stabilized by a base. A height adjustment means and a swing plane adjustment element permits the golfer to assume a comfortable golf swing position. A support arm, which has the swing arm assembly at its distal end, provides separation between the golfer and the vertical frame so that the golfer can swing the golf club unimpeded. The swing arm assembly is rotatable in both directions accommodating right-handed and left-handed golfers. The swing arm assembly also incorporates a means for adjusting the swing arm to various, backswing, starting position based on the golfer's flexibility. The swing arm has an approximate S-shape, L-shape, or J-shape that places the distal aspect of the swing arm parallel to the golfer's leading forearm while providing headroom for the golfer proximally. An adjustable slider and torque bolt on the proximal aspect of the swing arm allows the distal aspect of the swing arm, the multi-plane element and the cylindrical pad to be adjustable for varying arm lengths.

Other objects and features of the present invention will become apparent by a review of the specifications, claims, and appended figures.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of the golf swing muscle strengthener apparatus constructed in accordance to an embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of the golf swing muscle strengthener apparatus in the starting position for the right-handed golfer.

FIG. 3 is an expanded perspective view of the main components of the golf swing muscle strengthener.

FIG. 4 is a bird's eye view illustrating the golfer's 90 degree arm rotation, as well as the position change of the pad member that accommodates this arm rotation.

FIG. 5 is a bird's eye view of the first support arm element embodiment, the first swing plane adjustment element embodiment in partial section, the third swing arm assembly embodiment in partial section, and the frame element in partial section.

FIG. 6 is a cross section of the first embodiment of the swing arm assembly.

FIG. 7 is a cross section of the fourth embodiment of the swing arm assembly.

FIG. 8 is a cross section of the third and preferred embodiment of the swing arm assembly.

FIG. 9 is a cross section of the second embodiment of the swing arm assembly.

FIG. 10 is a perspective view, in partial section, of the first swing plane adjustment element embodiment, the first swing arm assembly embodiment, and the cable, weights and pulley resistance means.

FIG. 11 is a perspective view, in partial section, of the first swing plane adjustment element embodiment, the first swing arm assembly embodiment, and the elastic band resistance means.

FIG. 12 is a perspective view, in partial section, of the first swing plane adjustment element embodiment, the third and preferred swing arm assembly embodiment, and the cable, weights and pulley resistance means.

FIG. 13a is a perspective view of the first swing plane adjustment element embodiment, the second swing arm assembly embodiment, and the torsion disc resistance means.

FIG. 13b is a side view of the first swing plane adjustment element embodiment, the fourth swing arm assembly embodiment, and the resistance generating unit resistance means.

FIG. 14a is a perspective view of the second embodiment of the swing plane adjustment element, and partial section of the second support arm element embodiment.

FIG. 14b is an expanded, perspective view of the second embodiment of the swing plane adjustment element, and partial section of the second support arm element embodiment.

FIG. 14c is a perspective view of the fourth embodiment of the swing plane adjustment element.

FIG. 14d is a perspective view of the third embodiment of the swing plane adjustment element.

FIG. 14e is a perspective view of the fifth embodiment of the swing plane adjustment element.

FIG. 15a shows a perspective view of the first support arm element embodiment.

FIG. 15b shows a perspective view of the fifth support arm element embodiment.

FIG. 15c shows a perspective view of the third support arm element embodiment.

FIG. 15d shows a perspective view of the fourth support arm element embodiment.

FIG. 16 is a perspective view of the golf swing muscle strengthener apparatus constructed in accordance to an embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 17 is a perspective view of the golf swing muscle strengthener apparatus constructed in accordance to an embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 18a is a view from behind of an elite golfer's swing demonstrating the front arm planar position during the backswing (A) and during the downswing (B).

FIG. 18b is a side view of an embodiment of the invention demonstrating the planar change (from A to B) of the pad member from the backswing peak to the ball contact position.

FIG. 19a is a side view of the multi-plane element in a non-angulated position.

FIG. 19b is a side view of the multi-plane element in an angulated position.

FIG. 20 is a perspective view of the golf swing muscle strengthener apparatus constructed in accordance to an embodiment of the invention.

REFERENCE NUMERALS IN DRAWINGS

  • 10 base element
  • 11 platform
  • 12 platform
  • 13a-b side extensions
  • 14a-b pivot bolts
  • 15 locking pin
  • 16 pin hole
  • 17 weight rack frame
  • 18a-b abutments
  • 19 side aperture
  • 20 frame element
  • 21a-b side members
  • 22 main support frame
  • 23 weight plates
  • 24 selector rod
  • 25 upper weight rack member
  • 26a-b vertical guide bars
  • 27 resistance cord hole
  • 28 connecting beam
  • 29 selector pin
  • 31a-b vertical extensions
  • 32 horizontal frame member
  • 32a-b lateral sides
  • 32c posterior side
  • 34 arcuate member
  • 36 apertures
  • 38 height selector pin
  • 40 support arm element
  • 41 pulley opening
  • 42a-b-c mounting hinge brackets
  • 43 support arm element counterweight
  • 44 height adjustment handle
  • 45 support arm member
  • 45a proximal support arm half
  • 45b distal support arm half
  • 46 swing plane pin
  • 47a-b cross attachments
  • 48 passage
  • 49 slot
  • 50 swing plane adjustment element
  • 51 body
  • 51a dorsal surface
  • 51b anterior surface
  • 51c posterior surface
  • 51d ventral surface
  • 52 swing plane adjustment element counterweight
  • 54 semi-circular member
  • 55 aperture
  • 56 adjustment lever
  • 57 shaft housing suspension members
  • 58 shaft housing
  • 59 slot
  • 61 shaft
  • 61a shaft extension
  • 61b proximal shaft
  • 61c mid shaft
  • 61d distal shaft
  • 62 neck
  • 63 swing arm
  • 63a proximal swing arm segment
  • 63b distal swing arm segment
  • 65 stabilization rod
  • 70 swing arm assembly
  • 71 wheel
  • 72 C-shaped groove
  • 73 pairs of circumferential apertures
  • 74 wheel member proximal side
  • 75 wheel member distal side
  • 77 cylindrical socket
  • 78 mid-radius wheel apertures
  • 79 swing arm selector pin
  • 80 pad element
  • 81 pad member
  • 83 distal pad spring
  • 84 proximal pad spring
  • 85 extension bar
  • 87 bolt
  • 89 slider
  • 90 golf swing muscle strengthener apparatus
  • 91 resistance cord
  • 93 resistance cord hook
  • 94 resistance cord ring
  • 95 hinge
  • 98 anchoring pin
  • 99 elastic band
  • 101 threaded fulcrum bolt
  • 102 nylon thrust washer
  • 103 nylon bushing
  • 105 fulcrum housing
  • 106 nylon thrust washer
  • 107 lock nut
  • 108a-b engagement holes
  • 109 hinge
  • 111 hinge bolt
  • 112 nylon thrust washer
  • 113 distal housing
  • 114 nylon bushing
  • 116 nylon thrust washer
  • 117 lock nut
  • 118a-b engagement holes
  • 131 nylon or metallic clip
  • 133 shaft bearings
  • 135 nylon washer
  • 137 central opening bearings
  • 138 nylon washer
  • 139 socket bearings
  • 138 nylon washer
  • 141 central opening
  • 143 truncated shaft
  • 150 vertical component
  • 160 horizontal component
  • 201 pulley
  • 202a-b brackets
  • 203 cord guide
  • 205 pulley unit
  • 211 pulley
  • 212a-b brackets
  • 213 pulley axis
  • 214 cord guide
  • 215 pulley unit
  • 221 left-handed guide pulley
  • 222 right-handed guide pulley
  • 223 pulley axis
  • 224 pulley axis
  • 225 U-bolt
  • 230 resistance generating unit
  • 231 input
  • 300 torsion disc
  • 301 central aperture
  • 302 square rubber disc
  • 303 metallic central member
  • 305 plastic encasement
  • 306 central hole
  • 307 square compartment
  • 309 peripheral hole
  • 401 hydraulic unit
  • 411 short apertured square tubing
  • 412 square tube slider
  • 413 hinge brackets
  • 417 apertures
  • 421a-b base member extensions
  • 423 central base member
  • 425 hinge brackets
  • 451 axis rod
  • 452a-b hinge brackets
  • 481 L-extension
  • 501 long apertured square tubing
  • 502 apertures
  • 531 square tube
  • 541 hydraulic unit
  • 550 multi-plane element
  • 551 swing plane manual sidewind jack
  • 552 swing plane manual sidewind jack handle
  • 553 height adjustment manual sidewind jack
  • 554 height adjustment manual sidewind jack handle
  • 555 swing arm counterweight
  • 556 proximal swing arm slider
  • 557 slider knob screw
  • 561 pulley plate
  • 562 threaded hinge block
  • 563 unthreaded hinge block
  • 564 multi-plane base
  • 565 multi-plane knob
  • 566 fully threaded bolt
  • 567 multi-plane hinge platform
  • 568 multi-plane hinge platform bolt
  • 569 threaded hinge block bolt
  • 570a distal shaft end
  • 570b proximal shaft end
  • 571 bolt head
  • 572 arm strap
  • 573a proximal O ring
  • 573b distal O ring
  • 574a proximal E ring
  • 574b distal E ring
  • 575 shaft collar
  • 576 parallel shafts
  • 577a proximal pad bearing
  • 577b distal pad bearing
  • 578 unthreaded hinge block bolt
  • 581a distal parallel springs
  • 581b proximal parallel springs
  • 582 bolt E ring

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED AND ALTERNATIVE EMBODIMENTS

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a golf swing muscle strengthener apparatus 90 constructed in accordance to an embodiment of the invention. The apparatus 90 has a vertical component 150 comprising a base element 10 and a frame element 20, and a horizontal component 160 comprising a support arm element 40, a swing plane adjustment element 50, a swing arm assembly 70 and a pad element 80. The orientation of the horizontal component 160 structures are described in the specifications, claims and appended figures using the terms “proximal” for elements or portions of elements that are closer to the vertical component 150 and “distal” for elements or portions of elements that are further from the vertical component 150 (and closer to the exercising golfer).

The Base Element

FIG. 1 shows a base element 10 that supports the apparatus 90 and the exercising golfer. The exercising golfer's weight on base element 10 helps stabilize the apparatus 90. The base element 10, in the preferred embodiment, comprises two platforms, 11 and 12, connected together in a horizontal plane on the floor. Platform 11 supports apparatus 90, and platform 12 provides an area for the golfer to stand. Together, they provide space for the exercising golfer to swing the golf club unimpeded. Platform 12 has two side extensions 13a-b that extend along each side of platform 11. Side extensions 13a-b are attached to each side of platform 11 by pivot bolts 14a-b. Platform 12 can pivotally rotate around pivot bolts 14a-b so that it can be folded up from platform 11 for purposes of storage or shipping. When the apparatus 90 is to be used by the golfer, platform 12 is folded down. A locking pin 15 is attached to side extension 13b on platform 12 approximately one foot from pivot bolt 14. Platform 11 has an pin hole 16 that opposes locking pin 15 when platform 12 is folded down to lie in the horizontal plane with platform 11. Locking pin 15 on platform 12 inserts into pin hole 16 on platform 11 to rigidly stabilize the two platforms together. The two points of fixation between platforms 11 and 12 (pivot bolt 14 and locking pin 15) rigidly fixate platform 12 to platform 11. This rigid fixation between platforms allows the golfer's weight on platform 12 to stabilize platform 11 and the attached apparatus 90.

Alternatively, the base element 10 can be comprised of one solid platform or many platforms that can be reduced in size for storage by fragmentation, folding, or telescopically sliding. Ideally, the base element is covered with an artificial golf turf for protecting the golf club when the golf club is swung.

Another alternative has the base element 10 simply comprised of multiple flat bars or square tubing as shown in FIG. 17. Base element 10, in this embodiment, has a central base member 423 positioned under a frame element 20 and has two base member extensions 421 and 422. The golfer stands on the floor in this embodiment.

The Frame Element

FIGS. 1 and 3 show the frame element 20 that is rigidly attached to platform 11 and elevates the horizontal component 160 to the level of the golfer's upper torso. The approximate height of frame element 20 ranges from 4-6 feet. In one embodiment, frame element 20 is comprised of three main members: a weight rack frame 17, a main support frame 22, and a horizontal frame member 32. Weight rack frame 17, which has side members 21a-b and an upper weight rack member 25, provides a rectangular framework in which a stack of weight plates 23 is located. Weight plates 23 have two peripheral apertures and one central aperture. The two peripheral apertures accommodate vertical guide bars 26a-b (26b not shown in FIG. 1). Vertical guide bars 26a-b extend within weight rack frame 17 and through weight plates 23 from platform 11 to the upper weight rack member 25. Vertical guide bars 26a-b extend through weight plates 23 such that weight plates 23 are vertically slidable and movable along the length of vertical guide bars 26a-b. A selector rod 24 extends through the central apertures of weight plates 23. While not shown in detail in the figures, selector rod 24 comprises a cylindrically shaped rod having a plurality of apertures therein along its length. Each aperture corresponds with a weight plate 23. Each weight plate 23 has a side aperture 19. A selector pin 29 (not shown in FIG. 1) is inserted through a selected weight plate side aperture 19 and the corresponding aperture of selector rod 24 to select the desired amount of resistance weight.

Main support frame 22 is the second main member of the frame element 20 and the longest vertical member of the vertical component 150. Main support frame 22 is rigidly attached to platform 11 in an upright position in close proximity to weight rack frame 17. As main support frame 22 extends upward, it receives a connecting beam 28 from upper weight rack member 25. At its uppermost point, main support frame 22 forks into two vertical extensions 31a-b. Between vertical extensions 31a-b is a pulley unit 205 consisting of a pulley 201, two brackets 202a-b (best seen in FIG. 5), and a cord guide 203. Pulley unit 205 guides and redirects a resistance cord 91 from a vertical to a horizontal direction.

Lateral to pulley unit 205, vertical extensions 31a-b each form a T junction with a horizontal frame member 32. The horizontal frame member 32, best seen in FIG. 5, is an elongated, U-shaped, horizontal structure that has two lateral sides 32a-b and a posterior side 32c. The lateral sides 32a-b of horizontal frame member 32 form the tops of the T junctions with vertical extensions 31a-b. Posterior side 32c has a height selector pin 38. Horizontal frame member 32 is positioned with a U-opening facing toward the golfer. The U-opening has engagement holes 108a-b on each lateral side 32a-b. A threaded fulcrum bolt 101 runs across the U-opening and connects the two lateral sides 32a-b of horizontal frame member 32. Another embodiment has pulley unit 205 positioned so that threaded fulcrum bolt 101 runs through the axis of pulley unit 205 (FIG. 16).

An alternative embodiment for frame element 20, when the cable, weights, and pulley resistance means is not used and the weight rack frame 17 is absent, comprises a plurality of abutments 18 attached to main support frame 22. Another embodiment has a plurality of main support frames 22.

Another embodiment has the main support frame 22 leaning towards the golfer to deliver the horizontal component 160 closer to the exercising golfer while maintaining space for the golfer to swing the golf club (FIG. 16). This embodiment does not have the horizontal frame member 32. Instead, it has an upright frame member 33 that is supported on weight rack frame 17. Height selector pin 38 is attached to upright frame member 33.

Another embodiment, shown in FIG. 17, also lacks the horizontal frame member 32. This embodiment has an elongated weight rack frame 17, and a main support frame 22 made up of long apertured square tubing 501 that is slidably positioned within a square tube 531. Square tube 531 is attached to central base member 423 with hinge brackets 425 and has the height selector pin 38 attached at its uppermost aspect. The long apertured square tubing 501 is slidable within square tube 531 for adjusting the height of the swing arm assembly 70. Height selector pin 38 inserts into a selected aperture 502 of long apertured square tubing 501 and fixates long apertured square tubing 501 within square tube 531. A hydraulic unit 541 runs parallel to long apertured square tubing 501 and square tube 531 and supports slidable motion between them. A pneumatic unit can also be used in place of hydraulic unit 541.

The Support Arm Element

A support arm element 40 creates separation between the golfer and the frame element 20 so that the golfer can swing the golf club unimpeded. Additionally, the support arm element 40 provides a means for adjusting the height of a swing arm assembly 70 to accommodate varying golfers' heights.

In the first embodiment, the support arm element 40, best seen in FIGS. 1,3,5 and 15, has an elongated support arm member 45 that is positioned within and extends out from the horizontal frame member 32. The approximate length of support arm member 45 is 2.5 to 4.5 feet. In FIG. 5, a threaded fulcrum bolt 101 crosses the U-opening and connects the engagement holes 108a-b on the two lateral sides 32a-b of horizontal frame member 32. The threaded fulcrum bolt 101 passes through the engagement hole 108a, a nylon thrust washer 102, a fulcrum housing 105 located at the approximate midpoint of the support arm member 45, a nylon thrust washer 106, and through the engagement hole 108b. A lock nut 107 is attached to threaded fulcrum bolt 101 to hold it in position. These components create a hinge 95 that divides support arm member 45 into a proximal support arm half 45a and a distal support arm half 45b. A nylon bushing 103 lines fulcrum housing 105 to assure smooth movement of support arm member 45 on horizontal frame member 32 at hinge 95. Threaded fulcrum bolt 101 supports and suspends the support arm member 45 such that the support arm member 45 exhibits teetering motion on threaded fulcrum bolt 101 in the sagittal plane. Downward movement of the proximal support arm half 45a causes upward movement of the distal support arm half 45b, and upward movement of the proximal support arm half 45a causes downward movement of the distal support arm half 45b. The proximal support arm half 45a moves between the lateral sides 32a-b of horizontal frame member 32 when the support arm member 45 teeters on threaded fulcrum bolt 101. At its most proximal aspect, proximal support arm half 45a has an arcuate member 34 that has a plurality of apertures 36. Arcuate member 34 is used to adjust and stabilize the height of the distal support arm half 45b. As support arm member 45 is moved on threaded fulcrum bolt 101, arcuate member 34 passes in close proximity to the posterior side 32c of horizontal frame member 32. The posterior side 32c has a height selector pin 38 that inserts into a selected aperture 36 of arcuate member 34. By inserting into the selected aperture 36 on arcuate member 34, height selector pin 38 stabilizes support arm member 45 and fixates the distal support arm half 45b and the more distal apparatus 90 structures at the selected golfer height position.

FIGS. 5 and 15a shows that the support arm element 40 also includes a pulley opening 41, a counterweight 43, a distal housing 113, a swing plane pin 46, and a passage 48. Pulley opening 41 is located on proximal support arm half 45a and provides an opening for pulley unit 205 and resistance cord 91 (FIG. 1). Counterweight 43 is an optional member located on the proximal support arm half 45a. It is a safety feature that equalizes the weight of the lighter proximal support arm half 45a with the heavier distal support arm half 45b so that the center of balance is located on threaded fulcrum bolt 101. This results in a slow, balanced, teetering motion of support arm member 45 around fulcrum bolt 101 allowing the golfer to change height positions of the distal support arm half 45b with minimal effort. Counterweight 43 can be located on the dorsal or ventral aspect of the proximal support arm half 43a. Continuing with FIG. 5, the distal housing 113 is found at the end of distal support arm half 45b. The distal housing 113 is a hollow, cylindrical space that runs perpendicular to the long axis of the support arm member 45 and holds a threaded hinge bolt 111. A nylon bushing 114 lines distal housing 113. The threaded hinge bolt 111 connects the support arm element 40 to a swing plane adjustment element 50 via a hinge 109. The swing plane adjustment element 50 has engagement holes 118a and 118b through which threaded hinge bolt 111 passes. Threaded hinge bolt 111 passes through the engagement hole 118a, a nylon thrust washer 112, the distal housing 113, a nylon thrust washer 116, and the engagement hole 118b. A lock nut 117 is attached to threaded hinge bolt 111 to hold it in position. Just proximal to hinge 109 is a passage 48 within distal support arm member 45b. Passage 48 runs parallel to hinge 109 and holds the swing plane pin 46. Swing plane pin 46 extends out from passage 48 and inserts into an aperture 55 on a semi-circular member 54 of swing plane adjustment element 50.

A second embodiment of support arm element 40 has semi-circular member 54 attached to support arm member 45, and passage 48 and swing plane pin 46 attached to swing plane adjustment element 50 (FIG. 14a and FIG. 14b). This second embodiment has a slot 49 at the distal aspect of support arm member 45 so that a pulley unit 215 is positioned within hinge 109.

A third embodiment for support arm element 40 has the distal support arm half 45b angulated downward on proximal support arm half 45a, shown in FIGS. 15c and 16. This downward, angulation positions hinge 95 above the proximal and distal support arm halves 45a-b and makes it easier to balance support arm member 45 on fulcrum bolt 101. This enhanced balance of support arm member 45 on frame element 20 makes the apparatus 90 safer. Also note that in this embodiment, support arm member 45 is composed of two parallel beams that have one or more cross attachments (47a and 47b). The space between the parallel beams of support arm member 45 and cross attachments 47a and 47b makes up pulley opening 41. The placement of pulley unit 205 in this embodiment is in alignment with fulcrum bolt 101 (FIG. 16). Fulcrum bolt 101 acts as the axis of pulley unit 205. Also seen in FIGS. 15c and 16 is the swing plane pin 46 attached to an L-extension 481 extending laterally from the distal support arm half 45b instead of being positioned within passage 48. Also, a height adjustment handle 44 is shown in this embodiment (FIG. 15c).

A fourth support arm element 40 embodiment shown in FIGS. 15d and 17 has fulcrum housing 105 and hinge 95 positioned at the most proximal aspect of support arm member 45. An axis rod 451 runs through fulcrum housing 105 and is attached to the weight stack frame 17 via mounting hinge brackets 452a-b. The support arm member 45 exhibits pivotal motion around axis rod 451. There is no teetering motion or balancing of support arm element 40 on vertical frame element 20 because a hydraulic unit 541 supports the weight of the distal apparatus 90 structures. The hydraulic unit 541 is an alternative to balancing support arm member 45 on frame element 20 and using counterweight 43. FIG. 17 shows the hydraulic unit 541 originating from square tube 531 of frame element 20 and inserting onto the underside of support arm member 45. Mounting hinge brackets 42a and 42b are positioned on the underside of cross attachments 47a and 47b (not shown) for accepting hydraulic unit 541 and long apertured square tubing 501, respectively. Hydraulic unit 541 helps overcome the weight of support arm member 45 and the distal apparatus 90 structures when the golfer adjusts the height of the swing arm assembly 70. Other alternatives for hydraulic unit 541 are pneumatic or elastic units that originate from frame element 20 and insert onto support arm element 40. Also shown in FIGS. 15d and 17 is the height adjustment handle 44.

The preferred support arm element 40 embodiment is shown in FIG. 15b and FIG. 20. This embodiment employs a height adjustment, manual, sidewind jack 553 and a swing plane, manual, sidewind jack 551 (FIG. 20). Manual sidewind jack 551 attaches to proximal support arm half 45a at mounting hinge bracket 42c, and manual sidewind jack 553 attaches to proximal support arm half 45a at mounting hinge bracket 42b (FIG. 15b). Fulcrum housing 105 and hinge 95 are positioned in the center of support arm member 45. Pulley unit 205 is positioned in alignment with fulcrum housing 105. Support arm element 40 connects to swing plane adjustment element 50 via hinge 109 (FIG. 20). Manual sidewind jack 551 also attaches to swing plane adjustment element 50. Rotation of manual sidewind jack handle 552 effectively lengthens or shortens manual sidewind jack 551 causing angular changes to the swing plane adjustment element 50 on support arm element 40 at hinge 109. Use of the manual sidewind jack 551 eliminates the need for passage 48 and swing plane pin 46 since manual sidewind jack 551 holds the swing plane adjustment element 50 in a stationary position when manual sidewind jack handle 552 is not being rotated. Manual sidewind jack 553 attaches to main support frame 22. Rotation of manual sidewind jack handle 554 lengthens or shortens manual sidewind jack 553 causing angular changes of support arm element 40 on main support frame 22 at hinge 95 to adjust for variable golfer height positions. Use of manual sidewind jack 553 eliminates the need for arcuate member 34, height adjustment handle 44 and counterweight 43.

The Swing Plane Adjustment Element

FIG. 3 shows the swing plane adjustment element 50 distally connected to the support arm element 40. The swing plane adjustment element 50 provides a means for changing the sagittal plane angle of the more distal apparatus 90 structures for accommodating various golfer swing plane angles.

The first, swing plane adjustment element embodiment 50 is shown in FIGS. 1,3,6 and 10. It has a body 51 (FIG. 6), an adjustment lever 56 (FIG. 1), a swing plane fixation means in the form of a semi-circular member 54 (FIGS. 1 and 10), a shaft housing 58 and shaft housing suspension members 57 (FIGS. 6 and 10). The body 51 is hinged to the distal support arm half 45b as described above. Referring specifically to FIG. 10, the first embodiment has the body 51 shaped like a sideward L having a dorsal surface 51a, an anterior surface 51b, a posterior surface 51c (see FIG. 6), and ventral surface 51d. The ventral surface 51d has shaft housing suspension members 57 that extend down from body 51. Attached to the bottom of shaft housing suspension members 57 is the shaft housing 58. The shaft housing 58 rotatably accepts a shaft 61 from a swing arm assembly 70 and provides a central axis of rotation for the swing arm assembly 70. Shaft housing 58 contains shaft housing bearing 133 for allowing frictionless rotation of shaft 61 and the swing arm assembly 70 (see FIG. 6). The adjustment lever 56, which rigidly connects to body 51, branches proximally parallel and in close proximity to the distal support arm half 45b, best seen in FIG. 1. The adjustment lever 56 has a counterweight 52 and the semi-circular member 54. Counterweight 52 is an optional safety feature that counterbalances the heavier structures distal to hinge 109 so that the center of balance is located on hinge 109. The counterweight 52 allows the exercising golfer to change the sagittal plane, angle position of swing plane adjustment element 50 with minimal effort. Other alternatives for counterweight 52 are hydraulic, pneumatic, or elastic units that originate from the support arm element 40 or vertical frame element 20 and insert onto the swing plane adjustment element 50 to control the movement of the heavier distal structures. The semi-circular member 54 on adjustment lever 56 has a plurality of apertures 55 arcuately aligned to hinge 109 and hinge bolt 111, best seen in FIG. 10. Sagittal plane movement of the swing plane adjustment element 50 around hinge 109 passes each aperture 55 adjacent to swing plane pin 46. Fixation of the swing plane adjustment element 50 into a particular sagittal plane angular position requires placing swing plane pin 46 on distal support arm half 45b into the selected aperture 55 on semi-circular member 54.

FIG. 10 shows that the dorsal surface 51a of swing plane adjustment element 51 has a pulley unit 215 consisting of two brackets 212a-b, a pulley 211, a cord guide 214 (not shown) and a pulley axis 213. The anterior surface 51b has a left-handed guide pulley 221 with pulley axis 223 and a right-handed guide pulley 222 with pulley axis 224 side by side. Pulley unit 215 guides and redirects the horizontal resistance cord 91 downward between left-handed guide pulley 221 and right-handed guide pulley 222. Resistance cord 91 runs between left-handed guide pulley 221 and right-handed guide pulley 222 before inserting onto a wheel 71 of the swing arm assembly 70.

Alternative embodiments of the swing plane adjustment element 50, are shown in FIGS. 14a, 14b, 14c, 14d and 14e. The second embodiment of swing plane adjustment element 50 is shown in FIGS. 14a and 14b. This embodiment has body 51 being a vertical, planar shape as opposed to being L-shaped and there is minimal surface area on dorsal surface 51a. Pulley unit 215 is, therefore, incorporated within the hinge 109 members instead of sitting on dorsal surface 51a. Hinge 109 is unchanged from the preferred embodiment except for pulley unit 215 positioned in the middle. Hinge bolt 111 is positioned through engagement holes 118a and 118b and passes through the center of pulley 211, suspending pulley 211 within hinge 109. A slot 49 on the distal aspect of distal support arm half 45b and a slot 59 on the dorsal half of body 51 provides room for pulley 211 within hinge 109. This second embodiment also has a different adjustment lever 56. In this embodiment, the swing plane pin 46 and the semi-circular member 54 are reversed. The swing plane pin 46 is located on adjustment lever 56, and the semi-circular member 54 is connected to the distal support arm half 45b. Swing plane pin 46 inserts into aperture 55 on semi-circular member 54 to stabilize the swing plane adjustment element 50 on the support arm member 45.

A third embodiment for swing plane adjustment element 50 is shown in FIGS. 14d and 16. In this embodiment, the adjustment lever 56 is placed in an upward position from body 51: This position provides the best balance for swing plane adjustment element 50 and the swing arm assembly 70 structures on hinge 109. The approximate angular position of adjustment lever 56 compared with body 51 is approximately 30 degrees. The counterweight 52 is located at the top of adjustment lever 56. The exact length of adjustment lever 56, the exact weight of counterweight 52, and the exact angular position of adjustment lever 56 to body 51 is based on the weight of the swing arm assembly 70 structures. In this embodiment, the semi-circular member 54 is an arcuate shape that has attachments to the adjustment lever 56 and body 51. The semi-circular member 54 is positioned between the L-extension 481 and the distal support arm half 45b. The swing plane pin 46, which is rigidly connected to L-extension 481, is inserted into one of a plurality of apertures 55 on semi-circular member 54. The apertures 55 on semi-circular member 54 are aligned to swing plane pin 46 as swing plane adjustment element 50 is moved into different swing plane positions. Placing swing plane pin 46 through a selected aperture 55 on semi-circular member 54 fixates swing plane adjustment element 50 into a selected swing plane position.

A fourth embodiment for swing plane adjustment element 50 (shown in FIGS. 14c and 17) has a hydraulic unit 401 originating from the distal support arm half 45b and attaching to the uppermost aspect of adjustment lever 56. This hydraulic unit 401 replaces counterweight 52 and makes it easy for the golfer to adjust the swing plane adjustment element 50 into a different swing plane angular position. This embodiment also uses a different swing plane fixation means. Instead of having the semi-circular member 54, there is a short apertured square tubing 411 and a square tube slider 412. Short apertured square tubing 411 is slidable within square tube slider 412. Short apertured square tubing 411 is attached to hinged brackets 42c on the underside of support arm member 45, and square tube slider 412 is attached to hinged brackets 413 that project down from shaft housing 58. Repositioning of swing plane adjustment element 50 by the exercising golfer causes short apertured square tubing 411 to slide within square tube slider 412. Square tube slider 412 has the swing plane pin 46 that inserts into one of a plurality of apertures 417 on short apertured square tubing 411 to fixate swing plane adjustment element 50 into the selected swing plane position.

A fifth swing plane adjustment element 50 embodiment is the preferred embodiment and is shown in FIG. 14e and FIG. 20. This embodiment has the shaft housing 58 positioned on top of body 51 and the adjustment lever 56 positioned near the bottom of body 51. Engagement holes 118a and 118b are positioned in the middle of body 51 at hinge 109. A pulley plate 561 is rigidly attached to body 51 just above engagement holes 118a and 118b. Pulleys 221 and 222 rotatably attach to pulley plate 561 as shown in FIG. 20. Screw jack 551 attaches to adjustment lever 56 on swing plane adjustment element 50, and attaches to hinge bracket 42c on proximal support arm half 45a. Rotation of handle 552 of screw jack 551 lengthens or shortens screw jack 551 which changes the angular position of swing plane adjustment element 50 relative to support arm element 40 via hinge 109.

The Swing Arm Assembly and Resistance Means

Referring to FIG. 3, the swing arm assembly 70 is located distal to the swing plane adjustment element 50, and is rotated by the exercising golfer. The golfer rotates this structure against a connected resistance means so that the golfer exercises and strengthens the muscles used in executing the downswing phase of the golf swing. The swing arm assembly 70 accommodates left-handed and right-handed golfers, provides a means of adjusting a swing arm 63 to various backswing starting positions, is shaped to allow the golfer to swing naturally, and supports a pad element 80.

Referring to FIGS. 1 and 6, the swing arm assembly 70 has a shaft 61, a wheel 71 and a swing arm 63. The first swing arm assembly 70 embodiment has shaft 61, wheel 71, and swing arm 63 rigidly attached together and rotatable as a single unit best illustrated in FIG. 6. Shaft 61 has three locational segments: a proximal shaft 61b, a mid-shaft 61c, and a distal shaft 61d. Proximal shaft 61b protrudes out of shaft housing 58 and has an attached nylon or metallic clip 131 that prevents shaft 61 from sliding distally out of shaft housing 58. Mid-shaft 61c is rotatably supported within shaft housing 58 so that the swing arm assembly 70 rotates about a central axis of rotation. Distal shaft 61d extends out from shaft housing 58 to rigidly connect to the center of proximal side 74 of wheel 71. Wheel 71 has a distal side 75 that has a swing arm 63 rigidly and centrally attached. Swing arm 63 extends out towards the exercising golfer. Rotation of swing arm 63 by the exercising golfer rotates wheel 71 and the centrally attached shaft 61 within shaft housing 58 of swing plane adjustment element 50. Shaft housing 58 has shaft bearings 133 that provide for smooth rotation of shaft 61 within shaft housing 58.

The first swing arm assembly 70 embodiment can employ two types of resistance means: weight plates 23 and elastic bands 99. As shown in FIG. 1, the resistance means are weight plates 23 connected to the wheel 71 via a resistance cord 91 guided by pulley units 205, 215, 221, and 222. Resistance cord 91 originates from selector rod 24 and extends vertically until it reaches pulley unit 205. Pulley unit 205 then re-directs resistance cord 91 distally and horizontally. Resistance cord 91 travels horizontally until it reaches pulley unit 215 located on the dorsal surface 51a of the body 51 (see FIG. 10). Pulley unit 215 re-directs resistance cord 91 downward toward wheel 71. Resistance cord 91 passes between left-handed guide pulley 221 and right-handed guide pulley 222 before attaching to wheel 71. Resistance cord 91 anchors to a pair of opposing circumferential apertures 73 on wheel 71 via a resistance cord hook 93. An alternative attachment mechanism for resistance cord 91 is the use of a resistance cord ring 94 instead of the resistance cord hook 93 as shown in FIG. 12. The resistance cord ring 94 is continuous with the end of resistance cord 91 and is attached by an anchoring pin 98 on wheel 71. Referring back to FIG. 10, resistance cord 91 exhibits varying degrees of tautness at its insertion onto the wheel 71 because apparatus 90 is adjustable for various heights and swing planes. Adjusting the height and swing plane places wheel 71 and the swing arm assembly 70 into multiple potential positions. The length of cord 91 is not adjustable to the multiple positions of wheel 71 and, therefore, will have varying degrees of tautness based on the position of wheel 71 and the swing arm assembly 70. An excessively slack resistance cord 91 would fail in moving weight plates 23 and render this resistance means ineffective. This potential problem is resolved in two ways. Firstly, the apparatus 90 has two pulley units 205 and 215 that offset each other when the height and/or the swing plane are adjusted. When the distal support arm half 45b is brought down, it lowers the height, increases a predetermined swing plane angle and tightens the resistance cord 91 at pulley 205. Placing the swing plane angle back to the original position loosens the resistance cord 91 at pulley unit 215 and neutralizes any change in resistance cord 91 tautness. When the distal support arm half 45b is raised, it increases the height, reduces a predetermined swing plane angle, and loosens the resistance cord 91 at pulley unit 205. Placing the swing plane angle back to the original position tightens the resistance cord 91 at pulley unit 215 and neutralizes any change in resistance cord tautness. Secondly, the wheel 71 has a plurality of opposing pairs of circumferential apertures 73 onto which resistance cord 91 can attach. The resistance cord 91 is pulled taut by the exercising golfer and attached to the appropriate pair of circumferential apertures 73 which maintains the tautness. The selected pair of circumferential apertures 73 on wheel 71 can be positioned close to the taut resistance cord 91 by simply rotating wheel 71 so that the selected pair of circumferential apertures 73 is moved to an upper position on wheel 71 closest to the resistance cord hook 93. Resistance cord hook 93 is anchored to the pair of circumferential apertures 73 to maintain the position of wheel 71. Since the swing arm 63 is rigidly and non-rotatably attached to wheel 71, rotation of the wheel 71 moves and positions swing arm 63. When the selected pair of circumferential apertures 73 is moved to an upper position of wheel 71 and anchored by the resistance cord hook 93, the swing arm 63 moves and is placed in a certain starting position. Each anchored pair of opposing circumferential apertures 73 corresponds to a different swing arm 63 starting position. Therefore, the exercising golfer places the swing arm 63 to a comfortable backswing starting position, pulls cord 91 taut, and attaches resistance cord hook 93 to the appropriate pair of circumferential apertures 73. This series of tasks holds swing arm 63 into the selected starting position. If the golfer is right-handed and facing the wheel 71, he sets the swing arm 63 at approximately the 2 O'clock position, pulls cord 91 taut against the right-handed guide pulley 222, and attaches resistance cord hook 93 to the appropriate pair of circumferential apertures 73. When he exercises with the apparatus 90, he moves the swing arm assembly 70 in a clockwise direction. The anchored resistance cord 91 is pulled with the rotating wheel 71 to the right, and against the right-handed guide pulley 222. If the exercising golfer is left-handed, he sets the swing arm 63 at approximately the 10 O'clock position, pulls cord 91 taut against the left-handed guide pulley 221, and attaches resistance cord hook 93 to the appropriate pair of circumferential apertures 73. When he exercises with the apparatus, he moves the swing arm assembly 70 in a counter clockwise direction. The anchored resistance cord 91 is pulled with the rotating wheel 71 to the left, and against the left-handed guide pulley 221. Since the exercising golfer's downswing rotates the swing arm assembly 70 approximately 150 to 180 degrees, the resistance cord 91 will be pulled around the periphery of wheel 71. Wheel 71 has a C-shaped groove 72 on its outer periphery that maintains resistance cord 91 as wheel 71 is rotated. As the resistance cord 91 is pulled around the wheel 71, the selected number of weight plates 23 attached to resistance cord 91 are elevated and provide resistance to the golfer. In the described manner, the weight plates 23 resistance means attached to the swing arm assembly 70 provides resistance to the exercising golfer, accommodates right-handed or left-handed golfers, and provides various backswing starting positions for swing arm 63.

The first swing arm assembly 70 embodiment can also employ an elastic band 99 as a resistance means instead of the weight plates 23 resistance means, as shown in FIG. 11. The elastic band 99 originates from a U-bolt 225 on anterior surface 51b of the swing plane adjustment element 50 and inserts into the selected pair of circumferential apertures 73 via a hook 93 to position swing arm 63 into the selected backswing starting position. The elastic band 99 is rotated around wheel 71 within C-shaped groove 72, providing increasing resistance to the exercising golfer as it stretches. As with the weight plates 23 resistance means, the elastic band 99 resistance means attached to the swing arm assembly 70 positions the swing arm 63 into various, backswing, starting positions, provides resistance to the exercising golfer, and accommodates left-handed and right-handed golfers.

A second swing arm assembly 70 embodiment has the shaft 61 rigidly attached to the swing arm 63 without the wheel 71, shown in FIGS. 9 and 13. The resistance means, in this embodiment, employs one or more torsion discs 300 that attach to shaft 61 via a shaft extension 61a. Like the weight plates 23 resistance means, the torsion discs 300 are used to position swing arm 63 to various, backswing, starting positions, provide rotational resistance to the swing arm assembly 70, and accommodate left-handed and right-handed golfers. With this resistance means, the swing arm assembly 70 has no resistance cord 91 attachments and no wheel 71. Instead, the swing arm assembly 70 has an elongated shaft extension 61a rigidly added to the proximal shaft 61b. The shaft extension 61a has a hexagonal shape. Aligned parallel to the shaft extension 61a is a stabilization rod 65 that originates from the posterior side 51d of body 51 of the swing plane adjustment element 50. The proximal ends of shaft extension 61a and stabilization rod 65 are exposed for placement of one or more torsion discs 300. The torsion disc 300 is made up of two main components: a square rubber disc 302 and an outer, circular, plastic encasement 305. The square rubber disc 302 has a strongly adhered metallic central member 303 that has a hexagonally-shaped, central aperture 301. The plastic encasement 305 has a square compartment 307, a central hole 306, and a plurality of peripheral stabilization holes 309 equidistant from the central hole 306. The plastic encasement 305 houses the square rubber disc 302 in its square compartment 307. The central hole 306 provides exposure for the internal metallic central member 303 of the square rubber disc 302, and its hexagonally-shaped central aperture 301. The torsion disc 300 is placed onto the exposed proximal ends of shaft extension 61a and stabilization rod 65 with the hexagonally-shaped central aperture 301 fitting over the shaft extension 61a and the selected peripheral stabilization hole 309 fitting over stabilization rod 65. The stabilization rod prevents the torsion disc 300 from rotating when the swing arm assembly 70 is rotated. The fit between the hexagonally-shaped central aperture 301 and the hexagonally-shaped shaft extension 61a locks the swing arm 63 in the selected starting position. The shaft extension 61a and the central aperture 301 can be any matching shape other than circular, since shaft extension 61a would not be rotatably locked if it were circular. Each selected peripheral hole 309 placed onto stabilization rod 65 places the swing arm 63 into a different starting position.

When using the apparatus with the torsion disc 300 resistance means, the golfer positions swing arm 63 to a comfortable backswing starting position and places the torsion disc 300 onto the shaft extension 61a and the stabilization rod 65. Placement of the torsion disc 300 holds the swing arm 63 into the selected, backswing, starting position. The downswing motion of the golfer rotates the swing arm 63, the shaft 61, and shaft extension 61a creating a rotational force to the central aperture 301 of torsion disc 300. Torsion disc 300 does not rotate in response to shaft extension 61a rotation since the selected peripheral hole 309 is placed onto stabilization rod 65. Instead, the rotating shaft extension 61a rotates the metallic hexagonal central member 303, which deforms the surrounding square rubber disc 302 within the plastic housing 305. Resistance is generated by the rubber deformation. Increased rotation causes increased rubber deformation producing greater rotational resistance to the swing arm assembly 63 and the exercising golfer. More than one torsion disc 300 can be used to create greater rotational resistance. The torsion disc 300 produces rotational resistance regardless of the direction of rotation. Therefore, this means of resistance accommodates left-handed and right-handed golf swings. In the described manner, torsion disc 300 positions swing arm 63 into the selected, backswing, starting position, provides rotational resistance to the exercising golfer, and accommodates left-handed and right-handed golf swings.

In a third swing arm assembly 70 embodiment of the invention shown in FIG. 8, the wheel 71 is separate and rotatable from swing arm 63 and shaft 61. This is the preferred swing arm assembly 70 embodiment. It utilizes weight plates 23 as its resistance means. In this embodiment, swing arm 63 is rigidly attached to shaft 61 as in the first swing arm assembly 70 embodiment. Wheel 71, however, is separately rotatable from swing arm 63 and shaft 61 and connected to the weight plates 23 resistance means. Wheel 71 is situated between swing arm 63 and shaft housing 58, and is mounted and stabilized on distal shaft 61d. Distal shaft 61d extends from shaft housing 58 and passes through a central opening 141 in wheel 71 before rigidly attaching to swing arm 63. Shaft housing 58 has bearings 133 that allow for frictionless rotation of shaft 61. Wheel 71 has central opening bearings 137 within the central opening 141 that allow frictionless rotation of shaft 61 within the wheel 71.

With this third swing arm assembly 70 embodiment, the golfer slowly rotates the swing arm 63 and its shaft 61 against the stationary wheel 71 to place the swing arm 63 into a selected, backswing, starting position, best shown in FIG. 12. Wheel 71 is held stationary by the resistance cord 91, which connects to its uppermost aspect. Once swing arm 63 is placed into the desired position, a swing arm selector pin 79 located on the proximal swing arm segment 63a inserts into one of a plurality of mid-radius wheel apertures 78 on wheel 71. The swing arm selector pin 79 stabilizes the position of swing arm 63 on wheel 71. Each selected mid-radius wheel aperture 78 represents a different swing arm 63 starting position. This swing arm assembly 70 embodiment is preferred because cord 91 does not have to be detached and reattached to change swing arm 63 positions. When the selector pin 79 has been inserted into one of the mid-radius wheel apertures 78, golf swing rotation of swing arm 63 by the exercising golfer rotates the connected wheel 71. Rotation of wheel 71 pulls weight plates 23 via the resistance cord 91, providing rotational resistance to the exercising golfer. In the described manner, this third swing arm assembly 70 embodiment provides resistance to the exercising golfer via weight plates 23 and is adjustable to various swing arm 63 starting positions. It also accommodates left-handed and right-handed golfers since resistance cord 91 can be pulled around the wheel 71 in either direction.

A fourth embodiment of the swing arm assembly 70 is shown in FIG. 7. This embodiment has the shaft 61 rigidly connected to the center of wheel 71 on its proximal side 74. A resistance means in the form of a resistance generating unit 230 is directly attached to proximal shaft 61b and holds shaft 61 and wheel 71 stationary as shown in FIG. 14. The unit 230 is most commonly a fluid charged cylinder assembly containing a suitable hydraulic/liquid or pneumatic/gaseous fluid that resists rotation of an input 231. Unit 230 is firmly attached to the ventral side 51d of body 51 of the swing plane adjustment element 50. Direct attachment of shaft 61 to the input 231 provides rotational resistance to swing arm 63.

Returning to FIG. 7, the swing arm 63 is independently rotatable from shaft 61 and wheel 71. Wheel 71 has a cylindrical socket 77 that originates from the central aspect of distal side 75 and extends outward approximately 3-4 inches. The socket 77 houses a truncated shaft 143 rigidly connected to proximal swing arm segment 63a via a neck 62. The neck 62 has a nylon washer 138 around it. The socket 77 has socket bearings 139 that provide frictionless rotation of truncated shaft 143 and the attached swing arm 63. Swing arm 63 is slowly rotated on the distal side 75 of wheel 71 to a selected starting position by the exercising golfer. The swing arm selector pin 79 attached to proximal swing arm segment 63a is inserted into the selected, mid-radius wheel aperture 78 to stabilize the swing arm 63 in the selected starting position. Golf swing rotation of swing arm 63 by the exercising golfer rotates wheel 71 and shaft 61 against resistance provided by the resistance generating unit 230. The resistance generating unit 230 can resist clockwise and counter-clockwise rotation, thus providing resistance to right-handed and left-handed golfers. In the described manner, this fourth swing assembly 70 embodiment provides resistance to the exercising golfer, accommodates right-handed and left-handed golfers, and is adjustable to various, swing arm 63, backswing, starting positions

The swing arm 63 is located and designed to allow a natural golf stance and accommodate the golfer's natural golf swing. Because the golfer's forearm rotates the swing arm 63, the golfer stands in close proximity to the swing arm assembly 70. A typical golf stance has the golfer's head leaning forward and down, thus intersecting with the swing plane (FIG. 2). Therefore, the design and location of the swing arm 63 is important for providing headroom for the exercising golfer and allowing the golfer to assume a natural golf stance. One swing arm 63 embodiment has the swing arm 63 located in the center of the distal side 75 of wheel 71. Referring to FIGS. 1,2, and 4 as is necessary for a complete view, the proximal swing arm segment 63a originates centrally on the wheel 71 and is immediately directed peripherally to avoid the forward position of the golfer's head. After being peripherally directed away from the golfer's head, the proximal swing arm segment 63a makes a 90 degree turn toward the exercising golfer. The proximal swing arm segment 63a continues past the golfer's head creating room for the forwardly leaning head. The proximal swing arm segment 63a then meets a distal swing arm segment 63b at a second 90 degree turn. The distal swing arm segment 63b extends away from the golfer and is radially aligned to the center of wheel 71. The distal swing arm segment 63b parallels the exercising golfer's leading arm when the swing plane adjustment element 50 is adjusted to the golfer's swing plane. This swing arm 63 is approximately S-shaped. An alternative embodiment has swing arm 63 originating on the distal side 75 of wheel 71 from a peripheral placement. With a peripheral placement, the proximal swing arm segment 63a originates from wheel 71 lateral to the golfer's forwardly leaning head, and extends directly past the golfer's head. The proximal swing arm segment 63a then meets the distal swing arm segment 63b at a 90 degree turn. The distal swing arm segment 63b extends away from the golfer and is radially aligned to the center of wheel 71 similar to the centrally placed swing arm 63. The design of this swing arm 63 is approximately L-shaped.

Another embodiment of the swing arm 63 is J-shaped and is shown in FIGS. 16 and 17. This embodiment has the proximal swing arm segment 63a originating centrally from the distal surface 75 of wheel 71, and being immediately directed peripherally to avoid the golfer's head. The proximal swing arm segment 63a continues in a radial direction for approximately two feet. This is further than the previous swing arm 63 embodiments. The proximal swing arm segment 63a then makes a 90 degree turn towards the exercising golfer providing room for the forwardly leaning golfer's head. The proximal swing arm segment 63a then meets the distal swing arm segment 63b at another 90 degree turn. The distal swing arm segment 63b is directed toward the golfer for approximatly 12 to 17 inches. The distal swing arm segment 63b in this embodiment also runs parallel to the golfer's leading arm.

The preferred swing arm 63 embodiment is shown in FIG. 20. This swing arm 63 embodiment is also J-shaped. With this embodiment, the proximal swing arm segment 63a and the distal swing arm segment 63b are not continuous. The distal swing arm segment 63b is slidably attached to the proximal swing arm segment 63a. At the end of proximal swing arm segment 63a is a slider 556. The distal swing arm segment 63b slides within slider 556 to accommodate variable arm lengths. The distal swing arm segment 63b is tightened within slider 556 with slider knob screw 557.

The Pad Element

Referring to FIG. 1, the distal swing arm segment 63b supports a perpendicularly attached pad element 80 that extends out towards the golfer and connects the golfer to the swing arm 63. Pad element 80 accepts the golfer's leading forearm, adjusts for various arm lengths, accommodates for swing path deviations from a perfectly circular swing path, and provides a means for accommodating the 90 degree rotation of the golfer's leading arm. In the preferred embodiment, it consists of an adjustable slider 89, a torque bolt 87, an extension bar 85, a pad member 81 having a cylindrical shape, and a distal pad spring 83. The adjustable slider 89 is a hollow, rectangular member that fits on the rectangular, distal swing arm segment 63b. It is slidable on the distal swing arm segment 63b to accommodate various golfer arm lengths. It is tightened with torque bolt 87 to firmly attach pad element 80 to the distal swing arm segment 63b. This adjustable slider 89 is unnecessary when the preferred swing arm assembly 63 embodiment is used which provides the slider 556 on the end of proximal swing arm member 63a that allows the distal swing arm member 63b to slidably adjust for variable arm lengths (FIG. 20).

Extension bar 85 is rigidly attached to adjustable slider 89 and extends out perpendicularly towards the golfer. Mounted around the extension bar 85 is the pad member 81, proximally, and a distal pad spring 83, distally. The pad member 81 is a cushioned pad that has a central, hollowed, cylindrical core containing proximal bearings 577a and distal bearings 577b (FIGS. 19a and 19b) that are enclosed around extension bar 85. The pad member 81 is rotatable and slidable on extension bar 85. The pad member 81, in the preferred embodiment, has a cylindrical shape. An optional feature of this preferred embodiment is an outer concave shape that helps hold the golfer's leading arm in the middle of pad member 81 so that it will not slip off and result in injury (FIGS. 1, 4, and 20). Another embodiment of the pad member 81 has a truncated cone shape with an outer concave contour (FIGS. 16 and 17). In this embodiment the distal half of pad member 81 is wider than the proximal half. A third embodiment of pad member 81 has a rectangular shape having a concave contour on one side (not shown). The distal pad spring 83 is mounted on the distal end of extension bar 85 and biases the pad member 81 proximally. External rotation of the golfer's leading upper arm and supination of the forearm during the downswing results in a 90 degree rotation of the hands and golf club (FIG. 4). This rotation forces the proximally positioned pad member 81 to slide distally along extension bar 85 towards the golfer and compresses the distal pad spring 83. If the pad member 81 was stationary and could not slide on extension bar 85, the leading arm rotation would cause the arm to roll on the pad member 81 and away from the golfer. The result would be the golfer's arms and club moving away from the golfer's body during the downswing and deviating from the golfer's natural swing plane.

The preferred embodiment of the pad element 80 (FIGS. 19a and 19b) has a proximal pad spring 84 as well as a distal pad spring 83 to provide maximum freedom of arm motion from the swing arm element 63. The pad element 80 embodiment also has bearings 577a-b within its central core that protrude out proximally and distally, respectively. A proximal O ring 573a is positioned over proximal bearing 577a and held in place by a proximal E ring 574a. A distal O ring 573b is positioned over distal bearing 577b and held in place by a distal E ring 574b. An arm strap 572 on pad member 81 is attached to the proximal O ring 573a and the distal O ring 573b. A shaft collar 575 holds the pad element 80 on extension bar 85.

A multi-plane element 550 is employed in the preferred golf swing muscle strengthener apparatus 90. The multi-plane element 550 (FIGS. 19a and 19b) is positioned between the distal swing arm segment 63b and the pad element 80. It provides a means to angulate the pad element 80 on the distal swing arm segment 45b to accommodate the increasing vertical plane change of the golfer's leading arm as the downswing progresses (FIG. 18). It also accommodates the golfer's slightly oblong swing path from the perfectly circular swing path of the swing arm element 63. The multi-plane element 550 has two shaft ends, 570a and 570b, rigidly attached to the distal swing arm segment 63b. Shaft ends 570a and 570b hold a pair of shafts 576 parallel to each other and parallel to the distal swing arm segment 63b. A multi-plane base 564 having parallel passages with bearings (not shown) is positioned on the parallel shafts 576. The bearings allow the multi-plane base 564 to glide on the pair of parallel shafts 576. Two proximal parallel springs 581b and two distal parallel springs 581a are positioned adjacent to the shaft ends 570a and 570b to maintain multi-plane base 564 in the center of the parallel shafts 576. Movement of the multi-plane base 564 on the parallel shafts 576 allows the golfer's slightly oblong swing path to be free from the perfectly circular swing path of the swing arm 63.

The multi-plane base 564 has a groove cut out centrally on the side that faces the golfer to accommodate a multi-plane hinge platform 567 (FIGS. 19a and 19b). The multi-plane hinge platform 567 is hingedly attached to the multi-plane base 564 at the most distal aspects with bolt 568. The proximal aspects of multi-plane base 564 and the multi-plane hinge platform 567 have cut out slots to accommodate unthreaded hinge block 563 and threaded hinge block 562, respectively. Unthreaded hinge block 563 is hingedly attached to multi-plane base 564 with bolt 578. Threaded hinge block 562 is hingedly attached to multi-plane hinge platform 567 with bolt 569. A fully threaded bolt 566 is positioned through a non-threaded hole in unthreaded hinge block 563, and through a threaded hole in threaded hinge block 562. The head 571 of fully threaded bolt 566 abuts unthreaded hinge block 563 on one side, and an E ring 582, positioned approximately three quarter inches from head 571 abuts unthreaded hinge block 563 on the other side. These two abutments maintain the position of unthreaded hinge block 563 on the rotatable fully threaded bolt 566. The end of fully threaded bolt 566 is positioned beyond threaded hinge block 562, and extends towards the exercising golfer. A knob 565 is non-rotatably attached to the end of fully threaded bolt 566. Extension bar 85 is rigidly and perpendicularly attached to multi-plane hinge platform 567. Rotation of knob 565 by the exercising golfer rotates fully threaded bolt 566. Rotation of fully-threaded bolt 566 within unthreaded hinge block 563 creates no relative movement between these two parts since unthreaded hinge block 563 is non-threaded and is abutted on each side by bolt head 571 and E ring 582. However, rotation of fully threaded knob 566 within threaded hinge block 562 causes upward or downward movement of threaded hinge block 562 and the proximal aspect of multi-plane hinge platform 567. Therefore, rotation of knob 565 by the exercising golfer creates different angular positions for the multi-plane hinge platform 567 and the pad element 80.

In the embodiments listed above, the pad element 80 is adjustable for various swing arm lengths, accepts the golfer's leading forearm, accommodates for the 90 degree rotation of the golfer's leading arm, and accommodates for swing path deviations from a perfectly circular swing. The multi-plane element 550 adjustably angulates the pad element 80 on swing arm element 63 to accommodate the increasing angle of the golfer's leading arm during the downswing (FIG. 18).

Operation

Prior to operating the golf swing muscle strengthener apparatus 90 (FIG. 20), the golfer moves support arm 45 (at hinge 95) and the distally attached swing arm assembly 70 to a comfortable height (approximately at chin level) by rotating screw jack handle 554 and lengthening or shortening screw jack 553. Next, the golfer adjusts the swing plane angle (at hinge 109) by rotating screw jack handle 552 and lengthening or shortening screw jack 551. Screw jack handle 552 rotation moves the swing arm assembly 70 and the swing plane adjustment element 50 as a single unit at hinge 109 until the distal swing arm segment 63b is parallel to the golfer's leading arm. Next, the swing arm 63 is placed into a comfortable right-handed or left-handed backswing position and fixated with swing arm selection pin 79. Next, the golfer moves the distal swing arm segment 63b along slider 556 of the proximal swing arm segment 63a to an appropriate length as to place pad member 81 on the golfer's leading forearm. Distal swing arm segment 63b is fixated in slider 556 with knob screw 557. Next, the pad member 81 is angulated downward on multi-plane element 550 using multi-plane knob 565 to accommodate the increasing vertical position of the golfer's leading arm during the down swing. The last preparation requirement involves inserting selector pin 29 (not shown in FIG. 20) into a selected side aperture 19 on a weight plate 23 to choose the number of weight plates 23 needed for applying appropriate resistance to the golfer's golf swing muscles.

The golfer assumes a golf swing position with his arms and golf club placed in a full backswing position, and his leading forearm placed against the pad member 81. The golfer executes the downswing motion and moves the swing arm assembly 70 against the resistance of the weight plates 23. The golfer finishes his downswing at or after the ball contact position. The golfer then relaxes and allows the resistance to return him or her to the starting position. The motion is repeated.