Title:
Exercise Device for at Least Parts of the Back Muscles of a Human Body
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
Exercise device for at least parts of the back musculature of the human body, including a seat area (12) on which a user (9) of the exercise device can sit during the exercise, a back-rest (13) against which the user (9) can rest at least part of his back during the exercise, and holding elements which can sit against the front of the lower leg and/or of the knee of the user (9) during the exercise, the exercise device also including operating elements (7) which the user (9) can hold during the exercise, and wherein the user (9) can move the operating elements (7) against a restoring force in such a way that pelvic straightening and/or pelvic tilting of the user (9) is effected at least in part against the restoring force.



Inventors:
Wolff, Hartmut (Arnsberg, DE)
Application Number:
11/862437
Publication Date:
04/03/2008
Filing Date:
09/27/2007
Assignee:
DR. WOLFF SPORTS & PREVENTION GmbH (Arnsberg, DE)
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63B21/04
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:



Primary Examiner:
TECCO, ANDREW M
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
LERNER GREENBERG STEMER LLP (HOLLYWOOD, FL, US)
Claims:
1. 1-23. (canceled)

24. An exercise device for exercising a back muscle of a human body, comprising: a seat area for seating a user of the exercise device during exercising; a back-rest for resting against at least a portion of a user's back during exercising; holding elements configured to rest against a front of a lower leg and/or a knee of the user during exercising; and operating elements to be held by the user during exercising and moved against a restoring force, wherein at least one of a pelvic straightening and a pelvic pivoting by the user is at least partly effected against the restoring force.

25. The exercise device according to claim 24, wherein said operating elements are configured in the exercise device to cause the restoring force to operate in a direction of the arms of the user outstretched forward at shoulder level or at hip level.

26. The exercise device according to claim 24, which further comprises at least one pulling element with a user end carrying one of said operating elements.

27. The exercise device according to claim 24, which comprises at least one weight element with a weight for generating the restoring force.

28. The exercise device according to claim 24, which comprises a restoring device for generating the restoring force selected from the group consisting of electromotive restoring elements, hydraulic restoring elements, and pneumatic restoring elements.

29. The exercise device according to claim 26, wherein said at least one pulling element is connected to at least one of a weight element for generating the restoring force and a restoring device for generating the restoring force.

30. The exercise device according to claim 29, wherein said pulling element is an elastic pulling element generating an elastic restoring force opposing a movement of said operating elements.

31. The exercise device according to claim 24, which further comprises movement-limiting elements disposed to limit a movement of the user's pelvis during exercising.

32. The exercise device according to claim 31, wherein said movement-limiting elements disposed behind a lumbar spine of the user during exercising.

33. The exercise device according to claim 31, wherein said movement-limiting elements are disposed between said seat area and said back-rest.

34. The exercise device according to claim 31, wherein at least one of a height level of said movement-limiting elements and/or a distance thereof from the lumbar spine area of the user is adjustable.

35. The exercise device according to claim 24, which further comprises measuring elements disposed to register a movement of a lumbar spine of the user.

36. The exercise device according to claim 35, which comprises display elements connected to said measuring elements and configured to display movements registered by said measuring elements.

37. The exercise device according to claim 24, wherein said seat area slants forward relative to a horizontal orientation.

38. The exercise device according to claim 37, wherein said seat area slants forward by an angle of between 5° and 20° relative to the horizontal.

39. The exercise device according to claim 37, wherein said seat area slants forward by an angle of about 10° relative to the horizontal.

40. The exercise device according to claim 24, which further comprises a height-adjustable foot-rest.

41. An exercise device for exercising a back muscle of a human body, comprising: a seat area for seating a user of the exercise device during exercising; a back-rest for resting against at least a portion of a user's back during exercising; holding elements configured to rest against a front of a lower leg and/or a knee of the user during exercising; and measuring elements disposed to register a pelvic straightening and/or a pelvic pivoting of the user.

42. The exercise device according to claim 41, which further comprises operating elements to be held by the user during exercising and moved against a restoring force, wherein at least one of a pelvic straightening and a pelvic pivoting by the user is at least partly effected against the restoring force.

43. An exercise device for exercising a back muscle of a human body, comprising: a seat area for seating a user of the exercise device during exercising; a back-rest for resting against at least a portion of a user's back during exercising; holding elements configured to rest against a front of a lower leg and/or a knee of the user during exercising; and movement-limiting elements disposed to limit an amplitude of a movement of a lumbar spine area of the user.

44. The exercise device according to claim 43, which further comprises operating elements to be held by the user during exercising and moved against a restoring force, wherein at least one of a pelvic straightening and a pelvic pivoting by the user is at least partly effected against the restoring force.

45. The exercise device according to claim 43, which further comprises measuring elements disposed to register the pelvic straightening and/or the pelvic pivoting of the user.

46. An exercise device for exercising a back muscle of the human body, wherein the user exercises in a standing position, the exercise device comprising: a back-rest for resting against at least a portion of a user's back during exercising; measuring elements disposed in a vertical direction below or in an area of said back-rest and configured to register at least one of a pelvic straightening and a pelvic tilting of the user.

47. The exercise device according to claim 46, which further comprises operating elements to be held by the user during exercising and moved against a restoring force, wherein at least one of a pelvic straightening and a pelvic pivoting by the user is at least partly effected against the restoring force.

48. The exercise device according to claim 46, which further comprises buttock supports for supporting a part of the user's buttocks during exercising.

Description:

The present invention relates to an exercise device for at least parts of the back musculature of the human body, including a back-rest against which the user can rest at least part of his back during the exercise.

An exercise device of the aforementioned type is known from the German laid-open specification DE 40 03 537 A1. In the exercise device described therein, the back-rest is immediately above the seat area and, in an area a little way above the seat area, has a portion that extends convexly forward. Above this convex portion there is a bar against which the upper part of the user's back can be rested. This bar can be moved backward against the weight of a number of weight elements. On top of the thigh and in front of the lower leg there is an L-shaped holding element which can hold the user's pelvis in place in the space between the seat area and the convex portion of the back-rest. When the user's upper back moves backward against the weight, the spine is strengthened in the lumbar area. The disadvantage of this is that the holding of the pelvis in place prevents active straightening of the user's pelvis. As a result there can, in particular, be no segmental movement in the kyphosis of the lumbar spine, which is considered important for the treatment of backpain patients.

The object of the present invention is to create an exercise device of the kind mentioned at the start which can be used more effectively in the treatment of backpain patients.

According to the invention, this is achieved by an exercise device of the kind mentioned at the start with the characterizing features of claim 1 or of claim 16 or of claim 18 or of claim 21. The subordinate claims relate to preferred embodiments of the invention.

Claim 1 provides that the exercise device also has operating elements which the user can hold during the exercise, wherein the user can move or hold the operating elements against a restoring force in such a way that pelvic straightening and/or pelvic tilting of the user is effected at least in part against the restoring force. In the exercise device according to the invention, unlike in the described prior art, the pelvis is not held in place, but can rather be straightened and/or tilted against the restoring force, allowing exercise of the pelvic musculature and the postural musculature (multifidus muscle) of the lumbar spine. Backpain patients can be treated effectively in this manner. This involves, in particular, the activation of the multifidus muscle and the transverse muscle, which should be activated in co-contraction.

It is possible for the operating elements to be designed and/or arranged in the exercise device in such a way that the restoring force can operate in the direction of the arms of the user outstretched forward at shoulder or hip level. During the exercise the user can hold the operating elements in a front horizontal position, which generates considerable innervation of the extensor muscles of the back, in particular the postural musculature in the vicinity of the areas moved, i.e. in the vicinity of the motion segments of the lumbar spine.

It may be provided that the exercise device includes at least one pulling element which has one of the operating elements at its user end. A pulling element can transfer the restoring force by simple means.

It is also possible for the exercise device to include at least one weight element whose weight can produce the restoring force. As an alternative or in addition, it is possible for the exercise device to include electromotor, hydraulic, or pneumatic restoring elements which can produce the restoring force. The at least one pulling element may be connected to the at least one weight element and/or to the restoring elements. Such arrangements have proved their worth in exercise devices.

As an alternative or in addition, it is possible for the at least one pulling element to be an elastic pulling element against whose elastic restoring force the operating elements can be moved. In such an embodiment, the provision of one or more weight elements and/or of electromotor, hydraulic, or pneumatic restoring elements may be dispensed with if need be. It is possible, for example, to provide a number of elastic bands of differing strengths, which may be selected according to the strength of the restoring force required.

It is also possible for the exercise device to include movement-limiting elements which can limit the movement of the pelvis of the user during the exercise. By this limiting of the movement of the pelvis, particularly during straightening of the pelvis, it is possible to ensure that in backpain patients exercise to strengthen the muscles is carried out gradually and without risk.

The movement-limiting elements can be arranged behind the lumbar spine of the user during the exercise. The movement-limiting elements can, for example, be arranged at the level of the third or fourth lumbar vertebra and in this way limit the amplitude of the movement of the lumbar spine.

It may be provided that the movement-limiting elements are arranged between the seat area and the back-rest.

In particular, it is possible for the height of the movement-limiting elements and/or their distance from the lumbar spine area of the user to be able to be adjusted. This adjustability allows the exercise device to be adapted to different users.

It may also be provided that the exercise device includes measuring elements which can register the movement of the lumbar spine. The exercise device can include display elements which can show movements registered by the measuring elements. The movement of the lumbar spine of the user can be monitored very well in this way. The integration of a display unit allows kinesthetic perception of the exercise sequences. The user thus gets continuous feedback on the current position of the spine.

It is also possible for the seat area to slant forward, in particular at an angle of between 5° and 20°, preferably at an angle of about 10°, to the horizontal. Such a seat position takes the weight off the lumbar area, allowing more effective exercise of the postural musculature of the lumbar spine.

It is also possible for the exercise device to include a foot-rest which, in particular, is height-adjustable.

In claim 16, it is provided that the exercise device includes measuring elements which can register pelvic straightening and/or pelvic tilting of the user.

In claim 18, it is provided that the exercise device includes movement-limiting elements which can limit the amplitude of a movement of the lumbar spine area of the user.

In the case of the embodiments in claim 16 and claim 18, it is also possible to place the exercise device near an exercise station that allows cables to be pulled out against a restoring force. Here, too, the pelvis can be straightened and/or tilted against such a restoring force.

In the embodiment in claim 21, it is provided that the user performs pelvic straightening in a standing position. Thanks to the measuring elements, the user gets continuous feedback on the current position of the spine, allowing particularly effective exercise.

Other features and advantages of the present invention are made clear with the aid of the following description of preferred embodiments, reference being made to the enclosed figures, in which

FIG. 1 shows a lateral view of a first embodiment of an exercise device according to the invention, including a user, whose lumbar spine is in a first position;

FIG. 2 shows a view which corresponds to that in FIG. 1, but in which the lumbar spine of the user is in a second position;

FIG. 3 shows a perspective view of a second embodiment of an exercise device according to the invention;

FIG. 4 shows another perspective view of the embodiment of the exercise device shown in FIG. 3;

FIG. 5 shows a perspective view of a detail of the embodiment of the exercise device shown in FIG. 3;

FIG. 6 shows a sectional view of the detail shown in FIG. 5.

It can be seen from FIG. 1 and FIG. 2 that the depicted embodiment of an exercise device according to the invention includes a base plate 1, attached to which are a seat unit 2, a holding unit 3, and a weight tower 4.

The weight tower 4 includes, in the usual manner, a number of weight elements (not shown) whose weight, individually or in combination, can operate as a restoring force. The weight tower 4 has a pulling unit 5 which allows the weight elements to be raised by means of two cables that serve as pulling elements 6. At the user ends of the cables there are handles which respectively serve as operating elements 7. The pulling unit 5 also includes guide pulleys 8 which are height-adjustably mounted on the weight tower 4 such that the height of the cable ends which can be held by the schematically depicted user 9 can be adjusted. It is thus perfectly possible to move the guide pulleys 8 upward such that the user 9 can hold the handles at shoulder level. Preferably, however, the guide pulleys 8 may be moved to a height that allows the operating elements 7 to be held by the user at the hip level of the user.

It is possible for there to be mounts (not shown) starting at the guide pulleys 8 and extending in the direction of the user. These make it easier for the user to get hold of the operating elements 7. One of these mounts can be formed in such a manner that it can be swung up or down out of the way to make it easier for the user to get into the exercise position.

The holding unit 3 includes a horizontally adjustable and lockable pad 10 which serves as a holding element. This pad 10 can sit against the front of the lower leg and/or of the knee of the user during the exercise. There is a height-adjustable foot-rest 11 which is mounted either on the holding unit 3 or on the seat unit 2.

The seat unit 2 includes a seat area 12 which slants forward at an angle of about 10° to the horizontal. The seat unit 2 also includes a height-adjustable back-rest 13 against which the upper part of the back of the user 9 rests during the exercise. The seat area 12 and the back-rest 13 are connected to each other by a support element 14. In an alternative embodiment, the back-rest 13 is not height-adjustable.

The seat unit 2 also includes measuring elements which can register the movement of the lumbar spine. These measuring elements include a vertically and horizontally adjustable pad 15 which can be placed against the lumbar spine area 16 of the user 9. The pad 15 is mounted on a pivotable carrying element 17. The carrying element 17 is mounted on the support element 14 such that it can pivot about a pin 18. Since the pad 15 lies against the lumbar spine area 16, the movement of the pelvis of the user 9 from the first position (FIG. 1), in which the pelvis is straight upright, to the second position (FIG. 2), in which the pelvis is tilted, thus causes the carrying element 17 to pivot backward, i.e. leftward in FIG. 2. This movement of the carrying element 17 is registered by a sensor 19, which is part of the measuring elements, is attached to the support element 14, and is connected to the carrying element 17 by means of a cable 20.

The movement of the lumbar spine 16 of the user 9 registered by the measuring elements, i.e. the sensor 19, can be shown by display elements 21 which are attached to the weight tower 4. By means of these display elements 21, it is also possible, for example, to present the user 9 with a movement—in the form of a spot that moves over the screen or suchlike—which he should as far as possible imitate with his lumbar spine area 16. It is also perfectly possible for the display elements to be formed as a mechanical display. For example, an arrow-shaped display element may be moved over a scale by a cable which may be directly connected to the sensor 19 or to the carrying element 17.

It is also possible for the pad 15 to serve as a movement-limiting element. The pivoting movement of the carrying element 17 can be prevented for this purpose, for example. If the pad 15 is then locked in place at a preselectable distance from the lumbar spine area 16 of the user 9 in the first position of the pelvis, the pelvis, during tilting, can only be moved as far as the point at which the lumbar spine area 16 is in contact with the pad 15.

For this, the pad can be arranged at the user end of a rod 22 which can be moved within a casing 23. The rod 22 can be locked in place in the casing 23 by means of a turning knob 24. A scale 25 enabling the therapist for example to set the starting position for the exercise can be provided on the top of the casing 23.

In the embodiment of an exercise device in FIG. 3 to FIG. 6, parts that are the same as in FIG. 1 and FIG. 2 are given the same reference numbers.

Extending upward from a base plate 1 is a vertical bearer 26. The vertical bearer 26, on its side which faces the middle of the base plate 1, has two elongate pads 27 and 28, which extend vertically over a considerable distance, e.g. about a meter. The pads 27, 28 are some distance apart from each other transversally. During an exercise in a standing position, a user can rest parts of his back, in particular parts of the upper back, and also the buttocks against the pads 27, 28. The pads 27, 28 thus serve both as a back-rest and as rests for part of the user's buttocks.

The embodiment in FIG. 3 to FIG. 6 likewise includes measuring elements which can register the movement of the lumbar spine. These measuring elements likewise include a vertically and horizontally adjustable pad 15 which can be placed against the lumbar spine area of the user (not shown in FIG. 3 to FIG. 6). The pad 15 is part of a movement-registering unit 29, which is shown in detail in FIG. 5 and FIG. 6.

It can be seen from FIG. 6 in particular that the pad 15 is mounted on a horizontal rod 30 which can be moved in the direction of the arrow 31. The movement-registering unit 29 also includes a sliding carriage 32 which can be moved on a rail 33 in a casing 34 in the direction of the arrow 35. The rod 30 can be locked in position in the sliding carriage 32 by means of a locking element 36 which can engage with the sliding carriage 32 via a slotted hole 37 in the casing 34. The sliding carriage 32 is connected to a cable 38.

Since the pad 15 lies against the lumbar spine area, the movement of the pelvis of the user, e.g. from the first position, in which the pelvis is straight upright, to the second position, in which the pelvis is tilted, thus causes the rod 30 and hence the sliding carriage 32 to move leftward in FIG. 6. This movement of the sliding carriage 32 is transferred to the cable 38.

The movement-registering unit 29 also includes a vertical rod 39 which is vertically adjustable in a casing 40 that is connected in a stationary manner to the vertical bearer 26. For this, a locking element 41 which can engage with openings 42 formed in the vertical rod 39 is provided on the casing 40, for example. The casing 40 is arranged on the vertical bearer 26 in such a way that the rod 30 carrying the pad 15 projects between the two elongate pads 27, 28 toward the user. The top of the rod 39 is attached to the casing 34.

The exercise device in FIG. 3 to FIG. 6 also includes a display column 43 with display elements 44. The cable 38 ends in these display elements 44. For example, an arrow-shaped display element may be moved over a scale by the cable 38. The cable 38 may be connected to a spring, e.g. attached to a torsion spring (not shown), in the display elements 44 such that the sliding carriage 32 can be moved leftward in FIG. 6 against the force of the spring. The effect of this is that, after a movement of the lumbar spine area of the user toward the right in FIG. 6, the sliding carriage 32 and thus the pad 15 is automatically moved back toward the right.

The integration of the display elements 44 allows kinesthetic perception of the exercise sequences. The user thus gets continuous feedback on the current position of the spine.

In the embodiment in FIG. 3 to FIG. 6 too it is possible to have a sensor that is connected to display elements formed as a screen for example.

In the area of the vertical bearer 26 there may be a dumb-bell rack. From this the user can take dumb-bells, which he can hold during the exercise with the result that straightening and/or tilting of the pelvis can be effected at least in part against the weight of the dumb-bells.

It is also possible for the display column 43 to have attached to it one or two elastic pulling elements the ends of which can be held by means of suitable operating elements for example. Straightening and/or tilting of the pelvis can then be effected against the elastic restoring force of the pulling element or elements.

It is also possible for there to be a weight tower 4 as in the first embodiment shown in FIG. 1 and FIG. 2 instead of or in addition to the display column 43. This allows users exercising in a standing position to pull the cables out against the restoring force of the weight elements of the weight tower 4. The pelvis can thus be straightened and/or tilted against such a restoring force when exercising in a standing position also.

Alternatively, it is possible for the embodiment of the exercise device in FIG. 3 to FIG. 6 to be placed near an exercise station that allows cables to be pulled out against a restoring force. Here, too, the pelvis can be straightened and/or tilted against such a restoring force.

It is also possible for the embodiment of an exercise device in FIG. 1 and FIG. 2 to be provided with a movement-registering unit 29 as per FIG. 5 and FIG. 6. The weight tower 4 can then also be provided with mechanical display elements 44, for example.