Title:
Finger exerciser
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A finger exerciser has a frame with a thumb receiving portion that includes a thumb receiving aperture. Four stretchable elements are mounted in a spaced relationship to a portion of the frame substantially opposed to the thumb receiving portion and extend toward the thumb receiving portion. A finger receiving element is attached to the distal end of each stretchable element. The stretchable elements are preferably springs.



Inventors:
Crout, Gene (Arvada, CO, US)
Application Number:
11/809741
Publication Date:
12/04/2008
Filing Date:
06/01/2007
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63B23/16
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
BIDDER, ALLANA LEWIN
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Paul R. Martin (Fairfield, CA, US)
Claims:
1. A finger exerciser, comprising: a peripheral frame defining an open interior space, said frame having a thumb receiving portion thereof defining a thumb receiving aperture therein: four stretchable elements mounted in a spaced relationship to a portion of the frame substantially opposed to the thumb receiving portion projecting into said interior space and extending toward the thumb receiving portion; and four finger elements, one attached to the distal end of each stretchable element.

2. The finger exerciser of claim 1 wherein the frame is substantially polygonal in shape.

3. The finger exerciser of claim 1 wherein the frame is substantially round in shape.

4. The finger exerciser of claim 1 wherein the stretchable elements are springs.

5. The finger exerciser of claim 1 wherein the finger receiving elements are open loops.

6. The finger exerciser of claim 1 wherein the finger receiving elements are closed finger caps.

7. The finger exerciser of claim 1 wherein the frame is made of a substantially rigid material.

8. The finger exerciser of claim 1 wherein the frame is made of plastic, metal or wood.

9. The finger exerciser of claim 1 wherein the frame has a size selected for a user's hand size.

10. The finger exerciser of claim 1 wherein the four stretchable elements are of varying length.

11. The finger exerciser of claim 10 wherein the four stretchable elements are selected for the lengths of the corresponding fingers to be inserted in the attached finger receiving elements.

12. The finger exerciser of claim 4 wherein the four springs are of varying length.

13. The finger exerciser of claim 12 wherein the lengths of the four springs are selected for the lengths of the corresponding fingers to be inserted into the attached finger receiving elements.

14. A finger exerciser, comprising: a substantially rigid peripheral frame defining an open interior space, said frame having a thumb receiving portion thereof defining a thumb receiving aperture therein; four springs mounted in a spaced relationship to a portion of the frame, and extending into said interior space, said springs being substantially opposed to the thumb receiving portion and extending toward the thumb receiving portion; and four finger receiving elements, one attached to the distal end of each spring.

15. The finger exerciser of claim 14 wherein the finger receiving elements are open loops or closed finger caps.

16. The finger exerciser of claim 14 wherein the four springs are not all of the same length.

17. The finger exerciser of claim 16 wherein the lengths of the four springs are selected for the lengths of the corresponding fingers to be inserted into the attached finger receiving elements.

18. The finger exerciser of claim 14 wherein the frame has a size selected for a user's hand size.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The invention relates generally to exercise devices, more particularly to devices for exercising the fingers, and most particularly to finger exercisers for guitar players.

2. Description of the Prior Art

While strumming a guitar with one hand, a guitar player grips the neck of the guitar with the other hand, placing the thumb directly behind the neck and pressing down on the guitar strings with the fingers to make contact with the guitar frets, thereby changing the sound of the vibrating strings. Similar finger action is required for playing other stringed instruments, such as violins, cellos, and the like. This repetitive motion requires a lot of finger strength. Therefore it would be advantageous to provide a device for exercising and strengthening the fingers of a guitar player or other stringed instrument player.

Many devices are found in the prior art of finger exercisers. U.S. Pat. No. 4,455,019 to Harris shows an exerciser for fingers that relies on a series of weights attached to pulleys which provide a resistive force to fingers inserted into loops. U.S. Pat. No. D 352,764, also shows a design for a finger exerciser, wherein the fingers press down a plurality of plungers that have springs supplying opposing force. Other design patents include U.S. Pat. Nos. D 419,210, D 418,560, D 418,160, and D 416,299. U.S. Pat. Nos. 6,911,011; 6,406,406; 5,820,522; and 6,951,529 show other prior art. None of the aforementioned utility or design patents show an exerciser where the user has his or her thumb in full opposition to the hand, as is required in the use of stringed instruments, and as provided for in the device of the present invention.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

In one aspect of the invention, a finger exerciser has a frame with a thumb receiving portion that defines a thumb receiving aperture therein. Four stretchable elements are mounted in a spaced relationship to a portion of the frame substantially opposed to the thumb receiving portion and extend toward the thumb receiving portion. A finger receiving element is attached to the distal end of each stretchable element.

In another aspect of the invention, a finger exerciser has a substantially rigid frame with a thumb receiving portion that defines a thumb receiving aperture therein. Four springs are mounted in a spaced relationship to a portion of the frame substantially opposed to the thumb receiving portion and extend toward the thumb receiving portion. At the distal ends of the springs, four finger receiving elements are attached.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

In the accompanying drawings:

FIG. 1 is a side view of one embodiment of the finger exerciser of the invention.

FIG. 2 is a side view of an alternate embodiment of the finger exerciser of the invention.

FIG. 3 is a perspective view of a finger exerciser of the invention with fingers and thumb inserted therein.

FIG. 4 is a perspective view of a finger exerciser of the invention with fingers and thumb inserted therein and pointed toward a simulated neck portion or frets of a guitar.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

FIG. 1 shows a finger exerciser 10 of the invention formed of a frame 12 having a thumb receiving portion 14 thereof. The frame 12 has an open interior. Thumb receiving portion 14 defines therein a thumb receiving aperture 16. Mounted to a portion 18 of frame 12 that is substantially opposed to thumb receiving portion 14 are four stretchable elements 20. The stretchable elements 20 are mounted in a spaced relationship and extend inwardly into the open interior of frame 12 from portion 18 toward portion 14. Connected to the distal ends from the frame 12 of each stretchable element 20 is a finger receiving element 22.

FIG. 2 shows an alternate embodiment of the invention incorporating the same elements but having a circular frame shape. Finger exerciser 30 is formed of a circular frame 32 with a thumb receiving portion 34 having a thumb receiving aperture 36. If desired, the thumb receiving aperature 36 can have a cap (not shown) in it for limiting the extent of penetration of the thumb into the aperature. Four stretchable elements 40 are mounted to a portion 38 of frame 32 that is substantially opposed to thumb receiving portion 34. The stretchable elements 40 are spaced and extend toward portion 34. A finger receiving element 42 is connected to the distal end from the frame 32 of each stretchable element 40.

Frame 12, 32 is made of a substantially rigid material, e.g. plastic, metal or wood. The frames may be of practically any shape that allows for proper positioning of the fingers of the hand. Frame 12 is substantially rectangular or slightly trapezoidal but could also be square or other polygonal shape. If the shape is substantially that of some type of parallelogram or polygon, the corners will generally be rounded, as in FIG. 1, so there are no sharp corners. Frame 32 is substantially circular but could also be more oval or other rounded form. More elaborate shapes can be used for appearance but they do not change the operation of the invention. Thumb receiving portions 14, 34 and stretchable element attachment portions 18, 38 will typically be somewhat wider than the rest of frames 12, 32.

The stretchable elements 20, 40 are preferably springs but may be any other element that stretches under tension and retracts when tension is released. For example, rubber straps or bands could be used. Finger receiving elements 22, 42 may be simple open loops into which the fingers extend or may be closed finger caps into which the tips of the fingers are inserted.

FIG. 3 illustrates the operation of the invention, using a finger exerciser 30 as shown in FIG. 2. A hand 50 grips the exerciser 30 with thumb 52 extending into aperture 36 in portion 34 of flame 32. Fingers 54 extend into finger caps 56 (finger receiving elements 42) which are attached to portion 38 of frame 32 by springs 58 (stretchable elements 40). Springs 58 are initially in an unstretched position. Each finger 54 can then be contracted or squeezed toward the thumb 52, pulling against the force of the spring 58, and then relaxed, letting the spring 58 return to its unstretched position. By repeating this process over and over, with all of the fingers, the finger muscles can be exercised and strengthened.

FIG. 4 illustrates the operation of the invention in combination with a simulated guitar neck. A finger exerciser 30, as shown in FIG. 2, has a simulated guitar neck 60 with frets positioned on the inside surface of portion 34 of the frame 30. The thumb 52 extends through aperture 36 in frame 32 and contacts the undersurface of simulated neck 60. The fingers 54 extend into finger caps 56 which are attached to the frame 32 by springs 58. The fingers 54 can then pull against springs 58 until finger caps 56 touch the fingerboard between the frets of neck 60, as is the case with an actual guitar.

The finger exercisers of the invention may come in one or more standard sizes but they can also be customized for an individual user. An illustrative size of frame 12 of FIG. 1 is about 7 inches wide and 7 inches high with a frame width of about ½ to ¾ inches. An illustrative size of frame 32 of FIG. 2 is about 8 inches in diameter with a frame width of about ¾ to 1 inch. The size should allow for the proper orientation of a hand gripping the exerciser. Thus the size of the exerciser can be different for different size hands. The frame could be smaller for smaller hands, e.g. for children.

The lengths of the springs or other stretchable elements is preferably not uniform but varied to account for the different lengths of a person's four fingers. For example, in FIGS. 1, 2 the four finger receiving elements are from left to right for the pinkie, ring, middle and index fingers respectively. The two end ones have longer springs and are thus closer to the thumb aperture than the two center ones to accommodate the hand shape and finger length of a user. One exerciser can be used with either the left or right hand, either by gripping the exerciser with each hand from the same side, or else from opposite sides of the exerciser.

The spring lengths are chosen so that in their unstretched position, the finger receiving elements are positioned to receive the fingers of a relaxed hand. The springs are then stretched by finger motion toward the thumb and relaxed by finger motion back to the starting position. The spring force or tension is chosen to provide a reasonable level of exercise. Thus, again, there can be more than one model, with different spring tensions for different users. Stronger users may need higher spring tension while weaker users may desire lower spring force. The spring tensions for individual fingers may also be different.

Accordingly the invention provides a simple exercise device that is designed to provide suitable finger exercise for guitar players and other stringed instrument players. The exerciser can also be used for other purposes, e.g. for physical therapy or therapeutic purposes. Devices for general use or customized devices for individual users may be provided.

Changes and modifications in the specifically described embodiments can be carried out without departing from the scope of the invention which is intended to be limited only by the scope of the appended claims.