Title:
Hand grip for exercise yoke
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
Exercise equipment is provided with a hand gripping assembly having a solid bar or yoke having a longitudinal axis. Extending radially from the longitudinal axis of the solid bar or yoke is a gripping assembly. The structure of the gripping assembly is a connecting bar that has one end of an axis of the connecting bar that engages the solid bar or yoke through a rotating joint, and the connecting bar having a second end on the axis of the connecting bar, the second end rotating along the axis of the connecting bar through the rotating joint.



Inventors:
Zeien, David (Burnsville, MN, US)
Application Number:
11/405284
Publication Date:
10/18/2007
Filing Date:
04/17/2006
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
482/138
International Classes:
A63B21/072; A63B21/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
MATHEW, FENN C
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Mark A. Litman & Associates, P.A. (Edina, MN, US)
Claims:
What is claimed:

1. A gripping assembly for use with exercise equipment comprising a solid bar or yoke having a longitudinal axis and extending radially from the longitudinal axis of the solid bar or yoke is a gripping assembly, the gripping assembly comprising: a connecting bar that has one end of an axis of the connecting bar that engages the solid bar or yoke through a rotating joint, and the connecting bar having a second end on the axis of the connecting bar, the second end rotating along the axis of the connecting bar through the rotating joint.

2. The assembly of claim 1 wherein the connecting joint is a cylinder that only rotates within the confines of a receiving sleeve that forms part of the rotating joint structure on the yoke.

3. The assembly of claim 1 wherein the rotating joint comprises a ball and socket joint.

4. The assembly of claim 1 wherein the bar or yoke comprises a yoke having at least two distinct symmetrical bends therein.

5. The assembly of claim 1 wherein the bar or yoke comprises a yoke having at least four distinct symmetrical bends therein.

6. The assembly of claim 1 wherein the bar or yoke comprises a bar having essentially no bends therein.

7. The assembly of claim 2 wherein a central portion of the bar or yoke has a rotating hinge connector that rotates about the longitudinal axis of the bar or yoke.

8. The assembly of claim 3 wherein a central portion of the bar or yoke has a rotating hinge connector that rotates about the longitudinal axis of the bar or

9. The assembly of claim 7 wherein the rotating hinge has a connecting element thereon for engaging a cable in an exercise system.

10. The assembly of claim 8 wherein the rotating hinge has a connecting element thereon for engaging a cable in an exercise system.

11. The assembly of claim 9 wherein the connecting element is connected with a cable that engages weights that are lifted.

12. The assembly of claim 10 wherein the connecting element is connected with a cable that engages weights that are lifted.

13. The assembly of claim 4 wherein the yoke or bar has a longitudinal axis and that axis extends through two hand gripping elements on the gripping assembly.

Description:

RELATED APPLICATION DATA

The present application has no claim for priority under 35 U.S.C. 119 or 35 U.S.C. 120.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention relates to the filed of exercise equipment, exercise equipment using contact with the hands or feet, and especially exercise equipment that is pushed or pulled by limbs acting in symmetry.

2. Background of the Art

Exercise has become an essential part of a regimen for health and mental well-being. It is part of this regimen to assure that there is a proper balance in the format of the exercise. Even though swimming may be a nearly ideal form of exercise, it does not fully and equally exercise opposing muscles or provide enough resistance for bulk muscles. To assist in complete muscle development, exercise equipment has been developed to enhance the different patterns of muscle use.

Although equipment may be used for specific muscle training and development, it is not always ergonomically effective or safe. Various structures have been taught to facilitate hand, wrist, ankle and leg movements in exercise equipment. Among these structures are U.S. Pat. Nos. 5,399,133; 5,062,633; 5,080,349; 5,273,509; and 4,690,400.

One of the problems with conventional exercise machines is that they often have fixed hand grips or pedals. These hand grips have several shortcomings. Because the spatial orientation of the hand grip is fixed relative to the machine, the muscle groups used are often flexed in only a single plane. This tends to overuse certain muscles and under use other muscles because of the restricted nature of the movement. Another problem which has arisen is the incidence of injury to the user, including carpal tunnel syndrome. It is believed that this occurs because the fixed grip units cause the hand and forearm to often be misaligned since the machine is not specially fitted to each individual user. Even if a fixed grip were fitted to a particular user, many, if not most, exercises can cause the hand and forearm to become misaligned over much of the exercise movement. It is believed that this misalignment of the hand and forearm can cause various problems, including carpal tunnel syndrome. Similar problems can arise from foot pedals which are fixed or pivot about only a single axis.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention is directed to appendage interface assemblies, typically a hand grip assembly, used with an exercise machine to reduce some of the angular misalignment problems of conventional hand grips while increasing the benefits of the exercise. The hand grip assembly is particularly effective in an exercise yoke system where the hands and arms move in tandem and symmetry, with the hand grips positioned in symmetry with a connecting yoke or bar.

The hand grip assembly on each hand grip independently rotates in one dimension to enable the hands and wrist to pronate about an axis translated along a connecting bar between the grips and the yoke or bar. The connecting bar may be rigidly connected to the yoke or provided with a 360 degree rotating connection (e.g., ball bearing, arm and socket). By 360 connection it is meant that from a single perpendicular alignment of the connecting bar and the yoke, the connecting bar may be moved along any angle about the connection, even though the range of movement is limited by the physical constraints of the yoke or bar.

The yoke or bar may be straight or curved or angular, but the hand grips should be approximately symmetrical with respect to the application of force through the hand grips. By symmetrical is does not mean that the grips are visually symmetrical with respect to the entire yoke or bar structure, but rather that the grips are symmetrical with respect to the application of the hands and arms to the grips.

The yoke or bar may be connected in turn to a cable, cords, cables, pulleys, chains, gears or other resistance or inertial systems.

The hand grip assembly includes an assembly support securable to the exercise machine. An intermediate support is pivotally mounted to the assembly support, a hand grip support is pivotally mounted to the intermediate support, and a hand grip is pivotally mounted to the hand grip support by first, second and third pivots for movement about first, second and third axes respectively. This arrangement provides a gyroscopic-type hand grip assembly to permit the user to grasp the hand grip and orient the hand grip in virtually any desired spatial orientation; doing can minimize or eliminate any angular misalignment between the hand and forearm. The hand grip assembly preferably provides a hand grip in which the pivots are permitted to pivot freely or to pivot with a drag or retarding force hindering the pivotal motion. The drag or retarding force applied at the pivots preferably can be made sufficiently large to enable the user to selectively lock, for example, the first and second pivots, so to fix the angular orientation of the hand grip when desired.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE FIGURES

FIG. 1 shows a top view of an angular yoke or bar assembly according to the present teachings.

FIG. 2 shows an exploded view of the grip attachment of the present teachings.

FIG. 3 shows a section of the yoke used in a preferred structure for the present teachings.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

The system of the present invention may work with foot grips or hand grips, but because of the nature of most exercise equipment focusing on upper body strength and arm strength, and the motions performed in exercising for these particular efforts, the system is most applicable for hand grips.

The hand grip assembly on each hand grip is attached to a yoke or bar for assurance of symmetry in hand and arm action. The grips may be used on separate and independent hand/arm movement elements (e.g., individual pulleys), but the natural flexibility of the pulley cable or cord itself acts as an ergonomic facilitator for flexibility in the exercise activity, so the benefits of the present technology are still evident, but not as significant. Each hand grip independently rotates in at least one one dimension to enable the hands and wrist to pronate about an axis translated along a connecting bar between the grips and the yoke or bar. The connecting bar may be rigidly connected or rotationally connected to the yoke or provided with a 360 degree rotating connection (e.g., ball bearing, arm, spring-lock engagement, ball and socket, etc.). By a 360 connection it is meant that from a single perpendicular alignment of the connecting bar and the yoke, the connecting bar may be moved, rotated, pronated, and adjusted along any angle (e.g., 0 to 360°) about the connection. Even though the range of movement is limited in some directions by the physical constraints of the yoke or bar, the initial movement of the connecting bar may be directed in any of 360 degrees around the connecting point.

The yoke or bar may be straight or curved or angular, but the hand grips should be approximately symmetrical with respect to the application of force through the hand grips. By symmetrical is does not mean that the grips are visually symmetrical with respect to the entire yoke or bar structure, but rather that the grips are symmetrical with respect to the application of the hands and arms to the grips.

The yoke or bar may be connected in turn to a cable, cords, cables, pulleys, chains, gears or other resistance or inertial systems.

The hand grip assembly includes an assembly support securable to the exercise machine. An intermediate support is pivotally mounted to the assembly support, a hand grip support is pivotally mounted to the intermediate support, and a hand grip is pivotally mounted to the hand grip support by first, second and third pivots for movement about first, second and third axes respectively. This arrangement provides a gyroscopic-type hand grip assembly to permit the user to grasp the hand grip and orient the hand grip in virtually any desired spatial orientation; doing can minimize or eliminate any angular misalignment between the hand and forearm. The hand grip assembly preferably provides a hand grip in which the pivots are permitted to pivot freely or to pivot with a drag or retarding force hindering the pivotal motion. The drag or retarding force applied at the pivots preferably can be made sufficiently large to enable the user to selectively lock, for example, the first and second pivots, so to fix the angular orientation of the hand grip when desired.

Reference to the figures may be of assistance in better appreciating the practice and scope of this technology.

FIG. 1 shows a hand grip and yoke assembly 2 that may be attached to an exercise system, particularly a resistance or weight lifting exercise system with a cable connection. The assembly 2 is shown with two separate hand grip assemblies 4 and 6 that are attached to a yoke 8. The separate hand grip assemblies 4 and 6 have hand grasping elements 10 and 12 and connecting bars 14 and 16, respectively. As can be envisioned easily, twisting the hand grasping elements 10 and 12 should enable the connecting bars 14 and 16 to rotate within the engaging elements 28 and 30 on the ends of the arms 24 and 26 of the yoke 8. For purposes of illustration, two distinct types of engagement between the connecting bars 14 and 16 are shown. On connecting bar 14, a ball and socket engagement 18 is shown, which allows the 360 degree initial rotation discussed above. On connecting bar 16, a simple tube and cylinder rotating socket 32 is formed that allows the connecting bar 16 to rotate about its longest axis, but does not allow any other significant movement with respect to the yoke 8. It is desirable, but not essential that the grasping elements 10 and 12 be in alignment with each other and have their centers aligned in an axis A-A′ through the bar or yoke 8 as shown in FIG. 1. This adds to the ergonomic feel of the equipment. Similarly, the spacing between the grasping elements 10 and 12 and the rotating hinge should be equal and symmetrical and the distance between 10 and 12 may vary to accommodate various exercises and or exercisers.

Also shown on the yoke 8 is a rotating connecting hinge 20. This hinge may rotate freely (or be locked in position) about the yoke 8. On the rotating hinge 20 is shown a connecting element (that rotates with the rotating hinge 20) to which the exercise equipment (not shown) may attach. As the hand grip yoke assembly 2 is pulled towards the exerciser or allowed to be withdrawn from the exerciser (by the tension in a cable, for example), it is natural for the wrists and hands to slightly rotate or pronate. This normal hand and wrist action is accommodated by the hand grip assemblies so that unnecessary or unnatural tension or stress is not placed on the wrist or hands. This can assist in making the exercise experience more enjoyable and reducing the possibility of some forms of injury, such as Carpel tunnel syndrome and repetitive stress syndrome.

FIG. 2 shows an exploded view of the hand grip assembly 6 with similar numbers identifying similar elements disclosed in FIG. 1. The connecting bar 16 is connected through a rotating joint 50 to insertion column 52 which has a locking or engaging end 54. The locking or engaging end 54 is inserted through hole 58 into receptor column 56 in the engaging element 30.

FIG. 3 shows the yoke 8 with the connecting hinge 20. The connecting hinge 20 rotates relative to the yoke 8 by rotating over a central engaging bar 72 which passes through the center 70 of the hinge 20 and engages with th yoke 8 through inderted bar 72 having locking elements 74 The materials used in the construction of the system are important only with regard to the structural and physical performance properties of the systems. For example, the yoke may be made of metal, composites or polymeric materials, with the hand grips having similar compositions and ergonomic gripping covers (fabric, rubber, elastomer, leather, etc.) to affords greater comfort. The hinges may be metal, polymeric (e.g., polysolixane, polyurethane, polytetrafluoroethylene, polyamide, etc.) or combinations of the two.

Although specific examples of the structures and materials have been provided, variations obvious to those skilled in the art can be used as alternatives or variations on the specific disclosure.