Title:
Harness apparatus for squatting exercises
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A harness apparatus for a user engaging in freestanding leg exercises with a weightlifting bar is presented. The apparatus has at least two shoulder harness straps shaped for resting on the users shoulders. Front hooks are positioned on the front of the shoulder harness straps and configured for holding the weightlifting bar when the user places the weightlifting bar on a chest position. Back hooks are positioned on the back of the shoulder harness straps and configured for holding the weightlifting bar when the user places the weightlifting bar on a behind the neck position. A vertical spine blade attachable to the shoulder harness straps is provided for assisting the user in maintaining an upright position of the users upper torso during the exercises. A weightlifting belt attachable to the vertical spine blade provides support to the users lower back and waistline during the exercises.



Inventors:
Thomas, Linda P. (Milford, PA, US)
Application Number:
11/698542
Publication Date:
07/31/2008
Filing Date:
01/26/2007
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63B26/00
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
BIDDER, ALLANA LEWIN
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Linda P. Thomas (Milford, PA, US)
Claims:
1. A harness apparatus for a user engaging in freestanding leg exercises with a weightlifting bar, the apparatus comprising: at least two shoulder harness straps shaped for resting on the user's shoulders; front hooks positioned on the front of said shoulder harness straps and configured for holding the weightlifting bar when the user places the weightlifting bar on a chest position; back hooks positioned on the back of said shoulder harness straps and configured for holding the weightlifting bar when the user places the weightlifting bar on a behind the neck position; a vertical spine blade attachable to said shoulder harness straps by a pivotal means for assisting the user in maintaining an upright position of the user's upper torso during the exercises; and a weightlifting belt comprising a pocket for receiving a bottom end portion of said vertical spine blade and attachable to said vertical spine blade for providing support to the user's lower back and waistline during the exercises.

2. (canceled)

3. (canceled)

4. The apparatus as recited in claim 1, in which said vertical spine blade is attached to said weightlifting belt by an adjustable means for height positioning of said vertical spine blade relative to said weightlifting belt.

5. The apparatus as recited in claim 4, in which said front hooks are positioned by an adjustable attachment means.

6. The apparatus as recited in claim 5, in which said shoulder harness straps further comprise a padding attached to an underneath side of said shoulder harness straps.

7. The apparatus as recited in claim 6, in which said padding further comprises indented scoring.

8. The apparatus as recited in claim 5, in which said vertical spine blade further comprises a padding attached to an underneath side of the blade.

9. The apparatus as recited in claim 8, in which said padding further comprises indented scoring.

10. A harness apparatus for a user engaging in freestanding leg exercises with a weightlifting bar, the apparatus comprising: at least two shoulder harness straps shaped for resting on the user's shoulders; front hooks positioned on the front of said shoulder harness straps and configured for holding the weightlifting bar when the user places the weightlifting bar on a chest position; back hooks positioned on the back of said shoulder harness straps and configured for holding the weightlifting bar when the user places the weightlifting bar on a behind the neck position; a back blade attachable to back ends of said shoulder harness straps, said back blade comprising adjustable attachment points for said straps; a vertical spine blade attachable to said back blade for assisting the user in maintaining an upright position of the users upper torso during the exercises; and a weightlifting belt comprising a pocket for receiving a bottom end portion of said vertical spine blade and attachable to said vertical spine blade for providing support to the user's lower back and waistline during the exercises.

11. (canceled)

12. (canceled)

13. The apparatus as recited in claim 10, in which said vertical spine blade is attached to said weightlifting belt by an adjustable attachment means for height positioning of said vertical spine blade relative to said weightlifting belt.

14. The apparatus as recited in claim 13, in which said front hooks are positioned by an adjustable attachment means.

15. The apparatus as recited in claim 14, in which said shoulder harness straps further comprise a padding attached to an underneath side of said straps.

16. The apparatus as recited in claim 15, in which said padding further comprises indented scoring.

17. The apparatus as recited in claim 14, in which said vertical spine blade further comprises a padding attached to an underneath side of the blade.

18. The apparatus as recited in claim 17, in which said padding further comprises indented scoring.

19. (canceled)

20. (canceled)

21. A harness apparatus for a user engaging in freestanding leg exercises with a weightlifting bar, the apparatus comprising: means for providing a shoulder harness for resting on the user's shoulders; means for holding the weightlifting bar on a chest position, said holding means attached to said shoulder harness means; means for holding the weightlifting bar on a behind the neck position, said holding means attached to said shoulder harness means; means for assisting the user in maintaining an upright position of the user's upper torso during the exercises, said assisting means attached to said shoulder harness means; and means for receiving a bottom end portion of said assisting means and attaching to said assisting means to provide support to the user's lower back and waistline during the exercises.

22. The apparatus as recited in claim 21, farther comprising means for providing adjustable attachment of said shoulder harness means to said assisting means.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

The present Utility patent application claims priority benefit of the U.S. provisional application for patent Ser. No. 60/593,666 filed on Feb. 3, 2005 under 35 U.S.C. 119(e). The contents of this related provisional application are incorporated herein by reference for all purposes.

FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH OR DEVELOPMENT

Not applicable.

REFERENCE TO SEQUENCE LISTING, A TABLE, OR A COMPUTER LISTING APPENDIX

Not applicable.

COPYRIGHT NOTICE

A portion of the disclosure of this patent document contains material that is subject to copyright protection. The copyright owner has no objection to the facsimile reproduction by anyone of the patent document or patent disclosure as it appears in the Patent and Trademark Office, patent file or records, but otherwise reserves all copyright rights whatsoever.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates generally to exercise equipment. More particularly, the invention relates to a harness to be used when performing freestanding leg exercises.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

When performing various freestanding leg exercises such as, but not limited to, regular squats, wide legged squats, front squats, stationary lunges, and alternating lunges, it is beneficial for a weightlifter to maintain correct posture and have support for his back and upper torso. This support becomes more crucial as the weightlifter increases the amount of weight he or she is lifting. Maintaining proper posture and support reduces the risk of injury and improves the quality of the exercise. Existing weightlifting accessories are intended strictly for easing the tension of the weight bar along the neckline, and provide no upper body support or assistance in maintaining the proper form when training.

Having an upper body support allows less tension/pressure across the neckline—shoulders trapezoids and collar bones to mention. Less pressure here generally results in a better upright posture to aid in a full squat position while training. Lower back pressure usually stops the body from allowing follow through in movement—spine and waistline support eases the pressure off of these areas for better performance. In view of the foregoing, there is a need for a device that provides upper body support and maintains correct posture for a weightlifter performing freestanding leg exercises.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The present invention is illustrated by way of example, and not by way of limitation, in the figures of the accompanying drawings and in which like reference numerals refer to similar elements and in which:

FIG. 1, FIG. 2, and FIG. 3 illustrate an exemplary training harness to provide support while performing freestanding leg exercises, in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention. FIG. 1 shows a side view of the harness. FIG. 2 shows a three-quarter view of the harness illustrating the placement of stationary back-harness hooks. FIG. 3 shows a three-quarter view of the harness illustrating the secure placement of a spine blade in an outside back pocket on a weightlifting belt and a hook and loop tongue secured to a hook and loop strip on spine blade;

FIG. 4 is a back view of an exemplary male version of a training harness, in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 5A and FIG. 5B illustrate an exemplary front harness hook and an exemplary adjustment system for the front harness hook, in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention. FIG. 5A illustrates a perspective view of an exemplary front harness adjustable strap, and FIG. 5B illustrates a perspective view of the exemplary front harness hook;

FIG. 6 illustrates an exemplary harness, as shown by way of example in FIG. 1, FIG. 2, and FIG. 3, in typical use by a male user, in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention; and

FIG. 7 illustrates an exemplary training harness, as shown by way of example in FIG. 4, in typical use by a male user, in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention.

Unless otherwise indicated illustrations in the figures are not necessarily drawn to scale.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

To achieve the forgoing and other objects and in accordance with the purpose of the invention, a harness apparatus for squatting exercises is presented.

In one embodiment, a harness apparatus for a user engaging in freestanding leg exercises with a weightlifting bar is provided. The apparatus comprises at least two shoulder harness straps shaped for resting on the users shoulders, front hooks positioned on the front of the shoulder harness straps and configured for holding the weightlifting bar when the user places the weightlifting bar on a chest position, back hooks positioned on the back of the shoulder harness straps and configured for holding the weightlifting bar when the user places the weightlifting bar on a behind the neck position, a vertical spine blade attachable to the shoulder harness straps for assisting the user in maintaining an upright position of the users upper torso during the exercises, and a weightlifting belt attachable to the vertical spine blade for providing support to the users lower back and waistline during the exercises. In another embodiment, the shoulder harness straps are attachable to the vertical spine blade by a pivotal means. In another embodiment, the weightlifting belt further comprises a pocket for receiving a bottom end portion of the vertical spine blade. In a further embodiment, the vertical spine blade is attached to the weightlifting belt by an adjustable means for height positioning of the vertical spine blade relative to the weightlifting belt. In another embodiment, the front hooks are positioned by an adjustable attachment means. In yet another embodiment, the shoulder harness straps further comprise a padding attached to an underneath side of the shoulder harness straps. The padding, in another embodiment, further comprises indented scoring. The vertical spine blade, in another embodiment, further comprises a padding attached to an underneath side of the blade. In another embodiment, the padding further comprises indented scoring.

In another embodiment, a harness apparatus for a user engaging in freestanding leg exercises with a weightlifting bar is presented. The apparatus comprises at least two shoulder harness straps shaped for resting on the users shoulders, front hooks positioned on the front of the shoulder harness straps and configured for holding the weightlifting bar when the user places the weightlifting bar on a chest position, back hooks positioned on the back of the shoulder harness straps and configured for holding the weightlifting bar when the user places the weightlifting bar on a behind the neck position, a back blade attachable to back ends of the shoulder harness straps, a vertical spine blade attachable to the back blade for assisting the user in maintaining an upright position of the users upper torso during the exercises, and a weightlifting belt attachable to the vertical spine blade for providing support to the users lower back and waistline during the exercises. In another embodiment, the back blade comprises adjustable attachment points for the straps. In yet another embodiment, the weightlifting belt further comprises a pocket for receiving a bottom end portion of the vertical spine blade. In another embodiment, the vertical spine blade is attached to the weightlifting belt by an adjustable attachment means for height positioning of the vertical spine blade relative to the weightlifting belt. The front hooks, in another embodiment, are positioned by an adjustable attachment means. In still another embodiment, the shoulder harness straps further comprise a padding attached to an underneath side of the straps. The padding, in another embodiment, further comprises indented scoring. In another embodiment, the vertical spine blade further comprises a padding attached to an underneath side of the blade. In still another embodiment, the padding further comprises indented scoring.

In another embodiment, a harness apparatus for a user engaging in freestanding leg exercises with a weightlifting bar is presented. The apparatus comprises a shoulder harness means for supporting the weightlifting bar during the exercises, a spine blade means attachable to the shoulder harness means for supporting the users back, and a belt means attachable to the spine blade means for supporting the users lower back and waistline during the exercises. In another embodiment, the apparatus further comprises a back blade means or providing adjustable attachment of the shoulder harness means to the spine blade means.

Other features, advantages, and object of the present invention will become more apparent and be more readily understood from the following detailed description, which should be read in conjunction with the accompanying drawings.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

The present invention is best understood by reference to the detailed figures and description set forth herein.

Embodiments of the invention are discussed below with reference to the Figures. However, those skilled in the art will readily appreciate that the detailed description given herein with respect to these figures is for explanatory purposes as the invention extends beyond these limited embodiments. For example, it should be appreciated that those skilled in the art will, in light of the teachings of the present invention, recognized a multiplicity of alternate and suitable approaches, depending upon the needs of the particular application, to implement the functionality of any given detail description herein, beyond the particular implementation choices in the following embodiments described and shown. That is, there are numerous modifications and variations of the invention that are too numerous to be listed but that all fit within the scope of the invention. Also, singular words should be read as plural and vice versa and masculine as feminine and vice versa, where appropriate, and alternatives embodiments do not necessarily imply that the two are mutually exclusive.

The present invention will now be described in detail with reference to embodiments thereof as illustrated in the accompanying drawings.

Embodiments of the present invention provide a harness to be used by a person performing freestanding leg exercises in order to support the upper torso of the user. The harness aids the user in performing the following freestanding leg exercises, without limitation; regular squats, wide legged squats, stationary lunges, alternating lunges and front squats. In the preferred embodiment, this harness is used to hold in place an Olympic weightlifting bar with or without additional weight attached. The preferred embodiment comprises a shoulder harness, a spine blade, and a weightlifting belt. The shoulder harness helps to evenly distribute and balance the Olympic bar across the shoulders of the user. The spine blade helps the user maintain an upright position of the upper torso when doing freestanding leg exercises. The detachable contour weightlifting belt is added support to the lower back and waistline.

FIG. 1, FIG. 2, and FIG. 3 illustrate an exemplary training harness to provide support while performing freestanding leg exercises, in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention. FIG. 1 shows a side view of the harness. FIG. 2 shows a three-quarter view of the harness illustrating the placement of stationary back harness hooks 41. FIG. 3 shows a three-quarter view of the harness illustrating the secure placement of a spine blade 30 in an outside back pocket 20A on a weightlifting belt 15 and a hook and loop (e.g., Velcro™) tongue 20 secured to a hook and loop strip 25 on spine blade 30. The present embodiment comprises detachable contour fabric/woven weightlifting belt 15, intended to provide support to the lower back and waistline of the user. In the present embodiment, weightlifting belt 15 is constructed of neoprene; however, in alternate embodiments, weightlifting belt 15 may be made of various other materials such as, but not limited to, nylon. In most applications, a nylon belt works best due to the contour waistline structure in shape of the belt itself. Leather belts are generally thick and cut/bite into the waistline—they have limited appeal to a universal usage. In the present embodiment, the harness has dual density foam padding 10 with an anti-bacterial fabric coating throughout. Alternate embodiments may have no anti-bacterial coating and may have other types of padding such as, but not limited to, single density foam, and foam padding materials such a Microban™ made by Microban International, Ltd./Huntersville, N.C. The Microban antimicrobial product protection fights the growth of odor causing bacterial keeps sports gear cleaner and fresher. The harness comprises two shoulder strap fittings with front adjustable hooks 40 and non-adjustable back hooks 41, and vertical spine blade 30 with hook and loop strip 25. In alternate embodiments back hooks 41 may also be adjustable.

In the present embodiment, weightlifting belt 15 has an easy adjustable hook and loop (e.g., Velcro™) strap 15A for varied waistline size giving the user a more secure fit. In alternate embodiments, weightlifting belt 15 may be adjustable by various other means such as, but not limited to, one or more buckles, snaps, hooks, etc. Outside pocket 20A is sewn to the back center area of weightlifting belt 15. Outside pocket 20A is top stitched and functions as a placeholder for spine blade 30 to securely fit into when the harness is in use. Outside pocket 20A is constructed of stiffened material so that spine blade 30 can easily slide into outside pocket 20A. Hook and loop tongue 20 on outside pocket 20A may vary in length and adjusts the height of spine blade 30 with respect to weightlifting belt 15. When in use, hook and loop tongue 20 is placed through a loop 25A and adhered to hook and loop strip 25 for setting the position of spine blade 30. Loop 25A adds to the security of hook and loop tongue 20 when set in place.

Those skilled in the art in light of the present teachings will recognize that there are various different means for setting spine blade 30 in place. Spine blade 30 is extended upward vertically from weightlifting belt 15 as support to the entire back of the user. In the present embodiment, spine blade 30 is constructed of semi-rigid aluminum and is lined with padding 10 that is ⅜ to ½ inch non-porous neoprene adhesively attached to the underneath side of spine blade 30. In alternate embodiments, spine blade 30 may be made of various different materials such as, but not limited to, other flexible metals, composite materials, or various plastics. An example of another suitable material for the spine blade material is a carbon fiber made of a strong, stiff thin fiber of nearly pure carbon combined with synthetic resins to produce a strong resin, lightweight material that is commonly used in construction of aircraft, autos, racing bikes and spacecrafts. The contour fit of padding 10 to spine blade 30 is noted with indented scoring 10A along padding 10. Scoring 10A enables padding 10 to flex to contour to the back of the user. Alternate embodiments may not include scoring in padding 10. In the present embodiment, spine blade 30 connects to shoulder harness straps 50 by an adjoining pivotal rivet 35. Pivotal rivet 35 enables the harness to be compacted for packing and storage by rotating shoulder harness straps 50 downward.

In the present embodiment, shoulder harness straps 50 are also lined with padding 10 that is adhesively attached to the underneath side of shoulder harness straps 50. In the present embodiment, shoulder harness straps 50 comprise a rigid aluminum insert to spread the weight across the shoulders of the user. Shoulder harness straps 50 have contoured and indented scoring 10A in padding 10. Each shoulder harness strap 50 extends forward comfortably fitting over each shoulder of the user. In the present embodiment, the harness is cosmetically covered with a webbed woven fabric 50B. Shoulder harness straps 50 provide front harness hooks 40 and stationary back harness hooks 41. Font harness hooks 40 hold the Olympic bar when the user places the bar on the chest, and back harness hooks 41 serve as the resting pad for the Olympic bar when the user places the Olympic bar behind the neck. Back harness hooks 41 are secured in place by a reinforced steel loop 45. In alternate embodiments, back harness hooks 41 may be secured in place through various means, for example, without limitation, the back hooks may be held on with adjustable or non-adjustable straps or the hooks may be molded from the same pieces of metal as the inserts of the shoulder harness straps. Though not shown in FIG. 1, FIG. 2, or FIG. 3, front harness hooks 40 are engaged in adjustable straps, shown by way of example in FIG. 5A.

FIG. 4 is a back view of an exemplary male version of a training harness, in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention. The present view illustrates the secure placement of harness spine blade 30 being placed in outside back pocket 20A on weightlifting belt 15, and hook and loop tongue 20 in the act of adherence to hook and loop strip 25 on spine blade 30. In the present embodiment, the harness is designed with an adjustable back blade 60. Some embodiments, designed for women, have non-adjustable attachments, which comprise non-adjustable suspender fittings. A reason for designing such embodiments for women is that research in measuring the upper chest cavity of a novice, athletic and elite female weight trainer proved to not varied in size therefore did not warrant an adjustable attachment. One notable exception is in the case of a female power lifter or a female athletic of same physique who would likely opt to use the male adjustable harness. The embodiment shown by way of example in FIGS. 1 through 3 are for the female version. It should be noted that the main difference between the male and female version is the adjustable attachment which needs to be shown in with the overall harness. However, everything else about the male/female versions of the harness is generally the same. Due to the difference in anatomic structural size of typical males' individual upper torsos, it is preferable to allow an adjustment feature for shoulder harness straps 55. Said feature is adjustable back blade 60 added to a pivotal rivet 35. Within adjustable back blade 60 is a sliding slot 65 with indented groove like sockets for shoulder harness straps 55 to click lock in from left to right.

The present embodiment also comprises features illustrated by way of example in FIG. 1, FIG. 2, and FIG. 3 such as, but not limited to, back harness hooks 41, padding 10, scoring 10A, loop 25A, and hook and loop strap 15A. Also, as previously described, various alternate means may be used for adjustment of spine blade 30 and weightlifting belt 15 such as, but not limited to, buckles, snaps, hooks, etc.

FIG. 5A and FIG. 5B illustrate an exemplary front harness hook 40 and an exemplary adjustment system for front harness hook 40, in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention. FIG. 5A illustrates a perspective view of an exemplary front harness adjustable strap 85, and FIG. 5B illustrates a perspective view of exemplary front harness hook 40. In the present embodiment, front harness hook 40 is adjustable to enable customization of the bar position for various exercises. For added strength to adjustable strap 85 in the present invention, fabric content is of webbed woven stitching with a hook and loop strip inset 85A. Both front harness adjustable straps 85 are clearly marked on inset 85A with stitch-like horizontal lines 85B as placements for evening adjusting straps when securing front harness hooks 40. Alternate embodiments may not include horizontal lines. In the present embodiment, front harness hook 40 is secured to front harness adjustable strap 85 with a tongue-like flap 85D inserted through an eye 70 of front harness hook 40. Tongue-like flap 85D is secured to front harness adjustable strap 85 having an inset surface cover 85C of hook and loop material. In alternate embodiments, the adjustment of adjustable strap 85 may be accomplished by different means such as, but not limited to, buckles or snaps.

A close-up of front harness hook 40 is provided to show thickness and width. In the present embodiment, front harness hook 40 is made of galvanized steel that should substantially hold the weight of a weighted Olympic bar. Note, galvanized steel enables ease in release of the steel weighted Olympic bar from front adjustable hooks 40 and back adjustable hooks 41. Other suitable materials for front harness hooks 40 include, without limitation, aluminum, and the carbon fiber as described above for the spine material. An opening 75 of front harness hook 40 is where the weighted Olympic bar rests when in use. In the present embodiment, hook section 90 is the lip portion of hook opening 75 that the weighted Olympic bar rests against. Eye 70 of front harness hook 40 and the stem of tongue-like flap 85D accommodate each other in shape, thickness, and size for a uniform fit.

FIG. 6 illustrates an exemplary harness, as shown by way of example in FIG. 1, FIG. 2, and FIG. 3, in typical use by a male user, in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention. FIG. 6 shows a front view of the user in a standing position for a front squat exercise. In the present example, the user has placed the Olympic bar in the front harness hooks so that the Olympic bar is resting on his chest. For this situation, the harness works as follows: in the conventional manner, the individual places all of the focus on maintaining the bar high up over the chest collar. Pressing against the collar bone is also a distracting feeling while trying to focus on maximize training. There too is the concern of correct holding of the Olympic bar evenly. With the Olympic bar placed even across the front hooks—even pressure/balance while holding the bar still allows the focus to be mainly on training with correct weight distribution of the bar with weights now solely on the harness and not the individuals body.

FIG. 7 illustrates an exemplary training harness, as shown by way of example in FIG. 4, in typical use by a male user, in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention. FIG. 7 shows a rear view of the user holding an Olympic bar with weights in standing position. In the present example, the user is preparing to perform a rear squat or lunge exercise so the Olympic bar is in back the back harness hooks and the weight of the Olympic bar is distributed evenly across the shoulders and upper back of the user. The preferred embodiment can hold a maximum weight of 400 lbs including the weight of the Olympic bar. The harness provides support to the upper torso when the Olympic bar is in place across the shoulders with or without additional weight. When the weight is in the harness, the harness flexes inward, allowing the back of the user to maintain an upright position while exercising. The weightlifting belt allows for additional support. This support enables fuller squat position in movement of the exercises. Enhanced quality of leg development is noted due to less stress of the upper torso when the weighted Olympic bar is across the shoulders. Embodiments of the present invention enable the user to focus more on the quality of the leg training rather than the need for upper body support.

Those skilled in the art, in light of the foregoing, will recognize a multiplicity of alternative and suitable ways to configure a harness that helps avoid injury while training. While the use of steel has been described above, it is contemplated that other suitable materials may be used that enhance safety and will sustain the weight and tolerance while using the harness.

Having fully described at least one embodiment of the present invention, other equivalent or alternative means for implementing a training harness for freestanding leg exercises according to the present invention will be apparent to those skilled in the art. For example, without limitation, some non-collapsing embodiments may not include a pivotal rivet. Also, some embodiments may not include a weightlifting belt where the spine blade extends downward from the shoulder harness straps. The invention has been described above by way of illustration, and the specific embodiments disclosed are not intended to limit the invention to the particular forms disclosed. The invention is thus to cover all modifications, equivalents, and alternatives falling within the spirit and scope of the following claims.