Title:
Abdominal Exercising Device
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An exercising device includes flexible main body comprising a leg engaging portion and a torso engaging portion. A flexible gas filled bladder is attached to the flexible main body wherein when an exerciser flexes the main body and compresses the gas within the bladder, the targeted muscles are exercised.



Inventors:
Abdo, John S. (Marina Del Rey, CA, US)
Application Number:
12/195744
Publication Date:
02/26/2009
Filing Date:
08/21/2008
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
482/148, 482/126
International Classes:
A63B21/008; A63B21/02
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
20020123416Body building rollerSeptember, 2002Huang
20060258516Portable knee exerciser and method of operationNovember, 2006Nolte
20070167297Exercise training apparatusJuly, 2007Stevenson
20070010376Medical therapeutic treadmill capable of automatically adjusting its rail heightJanuary, 2007Wu et al.
20090247377Penis exercise machineOctober, 2009Ono
20020155928Stationary bicycle with messager meansOctober, 2002Hsu
20070010379Adjustable linear friction deviceJanuary, 2007Christensen
20060014614Abdominal muscle exercise apparatusJanuary, 2006Szabo et al.
20050096184Balance beam assemblyMay, 2005Shane
20090305827SPORTS THROWING TRAINING DEVICEDecember, 2009Webb et al.
20080176725ABDOMINAL SIZE REDUCER ASSEMBLYJuly, 2008Mehendale



Primary Examiner:
JALALZADEH ABYANE, SHILA
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
WESTMAN CHAMPLIN & KOEHLER, P.A. (MINNEAPOLIS, MN, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. An exercising device comprising: a flexible main body comprising a leg engaging portion and a torso engaging portion; and a flexible gas filled bladder attached to the flexible main body wherein when an exerciser flexes the main body and compresses the gas within the bladder, the targeted muscles are exercised.

2. The exercising device of claim 1 and wherein the flexible a leg engaging portion comprises left and right leg platforms that are partially separated with a cut out portion wherein the left and right leg platforms are positioned on an exerciser's upper thighs wherein the left and right platforms can be flexed independently from each other.

3. The exercise device of claim 2 and further comprising left and right channels extending across a width of the left and right leg platforms from the cutout portion to an outer edge wherein the channels provide flexure lines which aid the left and right leg platforms to move independently from each other.

4. The exercise device of claim 1 and wherein the flexible main body further comprising an arcuate middle portion that joins the leg engaging portion and the torso engaging portion.

5. The exercise device of claim 1 and wherein the torso engaging portion further comprising at least one channel along the length of the torso engaging portion which increases the rigidity of the torso engaging portion.

6. The exercise device of claim 1 and wherein the bladder comprises: a first pop out mechanism being extendable from a surface of the bladder when an exerciser begins to perform a repetition of the exercise; and at least one second pop out mechanism positioned a distance from the first pop out mechanism, the second pop out mechanism being extendable from the surface of the bladder when an exerciser completes a repetition of the exercise such that the exerciser can visually ascertain when a repetition has been started and completed.

7. The exercise device of claim 6 and wherein the first pop out mechanism and the at least one second pop out mechanism make audible sounds when extended such that the exerciser can audibly ascertain when a repetition has been started and completed.

8. The exercise device of claim 1 and further comprising a handle attached to a top end of the torso engaging portion.

9. An abdominal exercising device comprising: a flexible main body; and a flexible gas filled bladder attached to the flexible main body wherein when an exerciser flexes the main body and compresses the gas within the bladder, the targeted muscles are exercised.

10. The abdominal exercising device of claim 9 and wherein the flexible main body comprise a leg engaging portion and a torso engaging portion joined together with an arcuate middle portion.

11. The abdominal exercising device of claim 10 and wherein the leg engaging portion comprises left and right leg platforms that are partially separated with a cut out portion wherein the left and fight leg platforms are positioned on an exerciser's upper thighs wherein the left and fight platforms can be flexed independently from each other.

12. The abdominal exercising device of claim 11 and further comprising left and right channels extending across a width of the left and right leg platforms from the cutout portion to an outer edge wherein the channels provide flexure lines which aid the left and right leg platforms to move independently from each other.

13. The abdominal exercising device of claim 10 and wherein the torso engaging portion further comprising at least one channel along the length of the torso engaging portion which increases the rigidity of the torso engaging portion.

14. The abdominal exercising device of claim 10 and wherein the bladder comprises: a first pop out mechanism being extendable from a surface of the bladder when an exerciser begins to perform a repetition of the exercise; and at least one second pop out mechanism positioned a distance from the first pop out mechanism, the second pop out mechanism being extendable from the surface of the bladder when an exerciser completes a repetition of the exercise such that the exerciser can visually ascertain when a repetition has been started and completed.

15. The abdominal exercising device of claim 14 and wherein the first pop out mechanism and the at least one second pop out mechanism make audible sounds when extended such that the exerciser can audibly ascertain when a repetition has been started and completed.

16. The abdominal exercising device of claim 10 and further comprising a handle attached to a top end of the torso engaging portion.

17. The abdominal exercising device of claim 10 and further comprising a resistance increasing device removably attachable to the torso engaging portion.

18. A method of exercising abdominal muscles comprising providing an exercise device comprising: a flexible main body comprising: a leg engaging portion and a torso engaging portion; and a flexible gas filled bladder attached to the leg engaging portion and the torso engaging portion; positioning the leg engaging portion on an exerciser's lap while in a seated position; and moving the exerciser's torso in a downward arcing movement such that the torso engages the torso engaging portion and causes the main body to flex and the gas in the bladder to compress which engages and exercises the abdominal muscles.

19. The method of claim 18 and further comprising twisting the exerciser's waist while moving the torso in the downward arced movement to exercise the oblique muscles.

Description:

CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION(S)

The present invention claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Application Ser. No. 60/957,519 entitled ABDOMINAL EXERCISING DEVICE which was filed on Aug. 23, 2007, the contents of which are incorporated by reference in its entirety.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to an exercising device for a human being. More particularly, the present invention relates to a device that is utilized to exercise and tone the abdominal muscles of the human being.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

There are numerous abdominal exercising devices on the market. Some abdominal exercising devices are designed for a person to sit on a platform and move a machine having resistance, such as a stack of weights, either in a rotational motion or in a vertical motion. However, while these devices are beneficial in exercising the abdominal muscles and the obliques, the devices are typically bulky and are expensive. Typically these types of devices are utilized at a fitness center such as a gym, and are not utilized at an exerciser's house.

More compact abdominal exercising devices have been developed for use in a person's home. However, many of the devices are rather bulky and take up space which may prevent a potential purchaser from purchasing the device.

Abdominal exercising devices that are positioned on a person's lap have been developed. However, the lap supported device only moves in a linear direction which causes stress and strain on the back and does not allow the back to move in a natural arced motion. Therefore, utilization of devices having only linear motion have a tendency of injuring an exerciser's back with use over time.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention includes a device for exercising the abdominal muscles of an individual. The device includes a bi-lateral flexible leg engaging portion that is supported by the exerciser's upper thighs and a flexible upper portion extending upwardly from the leg engaging portion. The device also includes a bladder that is attached to the leg engaging portion and the upper portion. A handle is attached to a top end of the upper portion and includes gripping surfaces to be gripped by the exerciser.

As the exerciser performs abdominal exercises, the exerciser moves in a downward arced motion that forces the leg engaging portion and the upper portion to flex which in turn compresses the air within the bladder. As the air within the bladder compresses, the resistance of the device increases which causes the exerciser to exert greater effort to complete a repetition that exercises the abdominal muscles.

The exercise device typically includes a mechanism for alerting an exerciser that a full range of motion has been completed for a repetition of the abdominal exercise. The exercise device may optionally include a counting mechanism such that the exerciser need not maintain a mental count of the number of exercise repetitions that are performed.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of the abdominal exerciser of the present invention.

FIG. 2 is a partial side view of the abdominal exerciser of the present invention.

FIG. 3 is a perspective view of the bladder of the present invention.

FIG. 4A is a sectional view along the section line 4-4 in FIG. 3 with a pop up mechanism retracted.

FIG. 4B is a sectional view along section line 4-4 in FIG. 3 with a pop up mechanism extended.

FIG. 5 is a perspective view of an optional resistance attachment secured to a flexible back plate of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF ILLUSTRATIVE EMBODIMENTS

An abdominal exercising device is generally illustrated in FIG. 1 at 10. The abdominal exercising device 10 is typically positioned on an exerciser's lap where the exerciser flexes a main body 12 and contracts a bladder 22 that is attached to the main body 12. Besides being utilized in a seated position, the abdominal exercising device 10 can also be utilized by the exerciser in a reclined position, a laying position and a standing position.

Referring to FIGS. 1, 2 and 5, the main body 12 is constructed from a flexible and resilient material having spring-like characteristics that includes a bottom portion 14 that engages the upper thighs of the exerciser, an arcuate middle portion 21 and an upper portion 20 that engages the torso of the exerciser. The main body 12 which includes the bottom portion 14, the arcuate middle portion 21 and the upper portion 20 is typically of a unitary or monolithic construction. However a main body 12 constructed of separated components that are joined together is also contemplated.

The bottom portion 14 includes left and right leg platforms 16 and 18, respectively, that are partially separated by a substantially “V” shaped cut out 24. The substantially “V” shaped cut out 24 provides sufficient separation of the left and right leg platforms 16 and 18 such that the left and right leg platforms 16 and 18 can be moved independent of each other as well as in unison with each other during an exercise.

The main body 12 also includes left and right channels 28 and 30 that extend across a width of both the left and right leg platforms 16 and 18. The left and right bottom channels 28 and 30 intersect the substantially “V” shaped cut out 24 proximate a distal end 26. The left and right bottom channels 28 and 30 provide flexure lines that provide greater flexibility of the left and right leg platforms 16 and 18 with respect to the arcuate middle portion 21 such that the leg platforms 16 and 18 can be moved independent of each other as well as in unison with each other during an exercise. While the left and right bottom channels 28 and 30 are typical, the left and right bottom channels 28 and 30 are not necessary to utilize the device 10.

The upper portion 20 extends upwardly from to the bottom portion 14 in a substantially “L” shaped configuration. The upper portion 20 also provides resistance during the flexing motion when the exercise device 10 is utilized. Left, middle and right channels 32, 34 and 36 extend substantially vertically from the arcuate middle portion 21 to a top end 38 of the upper portion 20. The left, middle and right channels 32, 34 and 36 provide additional rigidity to the main body 12 and prevent excessive twisting of the top portion 20 with respect to bottom portion 14 while also reducing the weight of the device.

The main body 12 is typically constructed of a rigid polymer that is flexible and resilient such that the main body 12 retains the same configuration over time with use. However, the main body 12 can also be constructed of other flexible and resilient materials, including metals.

A handle 40 is attached to a top end 38 of the upper portion 20 where the top end 38 is angled toward an exerciser's torso and is positioned proximate the exerciser's torso when in use. Typically, the handle 40 is removably attached to the upper portion 20 by inserting the top end 38 of the upper portion 20 within a cavity 42 in the handle 40. As the top end 38 of the upper portion 20 is positioned within the cavity 42, locking members 44 and 46, which are biased in a lateral direction away from the upper portion 20, extend into apertures 48 and 50 in the handle 40 to removable retain the handle 40 in a selected position on the upper portion 20. Alternatively, the handle 40 can be fixedly attached to the upper portion 20.

The handle 40 has a generally “V” shaped configuration and having left and right gripping portions 52 and 54 for the user to grip the handle 40. Typically, the gripping portions 52 and 54 have roughened surfaces 56 secured thereto to increase the exerciser's grip on the gripping portions 52 and 54. Other configurations besides a “V” shaped handle 40 are also contemplated such as, but not limited to, a “T” shaped handle.

Referring to FIGS. 2 and 5, the bladder 22 can be directly attached to the bottom portion 14 and the upper portion 20 by positioning flexible discs 54 extending from a bottom surface 56 and a back surface 58 of the bladder 22 through apertures 23 in both the bottom portion 14 and the upper portion 20. A diameter of the discs 54 is greater than the diameter of the apertures such that the bladder 22 is removably retained to the main body 12. The bottom surface 56 and the back surface 58 of the bladder 22 are molded to conform to the adjacent surfaces of the bottom portion 14 and the upper portion 20 of the main body 12, respectively. The bladder 22 also includes a channel 57 that aligns with the cut out 24 which aids in the independent movement of the left and right lap platforms 18.

The bladder 22 includes an internal cavity that is typically is filled with air. However, other gasses are also contemplated, as well as compressible materials such as foam. The bladder 22 may also optionally contain a valve (not shown) for inserting a needle into the cavity, which can be utilized to increase or decrease the pressure within the bladder 22.

Referring to FIGS. 1-3, the bladder 22 includes a top pop out mechanism 60 and left and right bottom pop out mechanisms 62 and 64. As best illustrated in FIGS. 4A and 4B, the left pop out mechanisms 62 includes a fold 65 of bladder material about a circumference of the pop out mechanism 64 where the fold 65 attaches the mechanism 64 to the bladder 22. The pop out mechanisms 62 and 60 are also attached to the bladder 22 with a continuous internally folded portion of the bladder material about the perimeter of the mechanisms 60 and 62. Three pop out mechanisms are illustrated however, it is contemplated to have no pop out mechanisms or one or more pop out mechanisms within the bladder 22.

The bladder is typically constructed of a flexible polymeric material that resists leakage of the gas contained within the bladder. Typical materials that can be utilized to construct the bladder include polyurethane and rubber. However, other flexible and air tight materials are also contemplated.

When the exerciser begins utilizing the device 10, the bladder 22 is in a relaxed state and all three pop out mechanisms 60, 62 and 64 are in a retracted position. As the exerciser begins an exercise, for example a seated crunch, the main member 12 is flexed and the air in the bladder 22 begins to compress. As the air in the bladder 22 compresses the top pop out mechanism 60 extends from an angled front surface 59 of the bladder and makes an audible sound indicating that a repetition has begun. As the exerciser continues with the exemplary seated crunch and further compresses the air in the bladder 22, the bottom left and right pop out mechanisms 62 and 64 extend from the front surface 59 and also make audible sounds which indicate to the exerciser that a full range of motion of the crunch exercise has been completed.

As the exerciser returns to a relaxed position, the air in the bladder 22 decompresses and retracts the pop out mechanisms 60, 62 and 64 back into the bladder 22. As the mechanisms 60, 62 and 64 are retracted into the bladder 40 audible sound are also made indicating that the exerciser is in a position to perform another repetition utilizing a full range of motion. The configuration of the bladder 22 allows the exerciser to visually ascertain when the pop out mechanisms 60, 62 and 64 are drawn back into the bladder 22. With all three mechanisms 60, 62 and 64 retracted into the bladder 22, the exerciser then begins another repetition.

The pop out mechanisms 60, 62 and 64 ensure that the exerciser is using the exercise device 10 to provide the greatest benefit. For instance, if the user does not utilize the device in the entire range of motion, as indicated by the pop up mechanisms 60, 62 and 64, the user is not maximizing the effect of each repetition.

In one exercise utilizing the exercise device 10, the left and right leg platforms 16 and 18 positioned on the exerciser's thighs, and the exerciser grips the handle portions 52 and 54. The exerciser forces the handle 40 toward the exerciser's lap in an arced motion which causes the main body 12 including the top portion 20, the arcuate middle portion 21 and the bottom portion 14 to flex and also compresses the air within the bladder 22. The compression of the air within the bladder 22 along with the resistance provided by the main body 12 engages the exerciser's abdominal muscles in an arced motion such that the exerciser's back moves in a natural motion.

As the air is compressed within the bladder 22, the top pop out mechanism 60 is forced outwardly and extends from the slanted front surface 59 of the bladder 22. As the folded material is forced out of the bladder 22, an audible sound is made which indicates that the exerciser has begun a repetition of the abdominal exercise. When the exerciser completes a repetition through the full range of motion of the device, the left and right bottom pop out mechanisms 62, 64 also protrude from the slanted front surface 59 of the bladder 40 by unfolding the material. As the material is unfolded, an audible sound is made indicating that the exerciser has completed the repetition. If the exerciser does not hear sound that is typically generated by the pop out mechanisms 62 and 64 or see the protruding mechanisms 62 and 64, the exerciser understands that the exerciser has to continue the arced downward movement to complete the range of motion. As the exerciser moves to an upright position, the air in the bladder 22 decompresses and the pop up mechanisms 60, 62 and 64 are retracted back into the bladder 22 providing both an audible sound as well as a visual indication that another repetition can be completed.

Referring to FIG. 2, the device also typically includes a counter gauge 80 that is attached to one of the lap plates 16 or 18 that records the number of repetitions of a particular exercise. The counter 48 senses movement and registers this movement as a repetition. The counter 48 can also be located at any secure position on the exercise device 10 such as the handle 40.

Referring to FIGS. 2 and 5, the exercise device 10 may optionally include an additional resistance attachment 70 that is removably secured to the back portion 20 thereby increasing the resistance of the device 10. The resistance attachment 70 typically includes outer channels that are positioned about the outer walls of the upper portion 20. The resistance attachment 70 is typically a plastic material where several devices 70, having an increased or decreased length or thickness, may be included with the device 10 to provide a desired amount of additional resistance. The additional resistance attachment 70 that can be attached to the exercise device also can include, but are not limited to, flexible rods, discs and increasing the pressure of the air within the bladder 22.

The exercise device 10 provides the exerciser with a device that is compact and easily stored, thereby eliminating many of the obstacles encountered when purchasing larger abdominal machines. Because the motion is in an arced movement, the exercise device 10 prevents unnecessary stress and strain of potential back injuries to the user.

Further, because of the flexible nature of the device 10, the device 10 can be utilized for numerous exercises including a seated crunch. During a seated crunch, the exerciser is in a seated position and positions the leg engaging platforms 16, 18 on the upper thighs. The downwardly arced out portions of the leg engaging platforms 16, 18 retain the device on the exerciser's lap during use by engaging the outer surfaces of the thighs. The exerciser grips the gripping portions 52 and 54, and moves in an arced motion generally downward without twisting. During this arced motion, the upper abdominal and middle abdominal muscles are engaged.

The user can also utilize the exercise device 10 of the present invention to exercise the abdominal muscles and the oblique muscles by positioning the leg engaging platforms 16 and 18 on the user's thighs and gripping the gripping portions 52 and 54 of the handle 40. While pushing downward, the exerciser also rotates the exerciser's waist to the left or to the right. During this twisting motion, the abdominal muscles as well as the side oblique muscles are exercised. Further, during this exercise, because more pressure is applied to one side of the bladder 22, only one pop out mechanism 62 or 64 will be extended and contracted, depending upon the rotation of the waist. The movement of the one pop out mechanism 62 or 64 will signal to the exerciser that a full range of motion has been completed.

The exerciser can also utilize the present device for the lower abdominal muscles by laying on the user's back and position the upper portion 20 on the exerciser's chest while gripping the gripping portions 52 and 54 of the handle 40. The exerciser then raises one or both of the thighs and engages one or both of the leg engaging platforms 16, 18 which then causes the main body 12 to flex and also compress the air within the bladder 22. Utilizing the device in this manner exercises the lower abdominal muscles, hips and quadriceps in a manner similar to that of a knee raise exercise.

Alternatively, the exerciser can hold the device while standing by gripping the gripping portions 52 and 54 of the handle 40 with the back plate 20 against the user's chest and raise one leg to engage either the left or right leg engaging platform 16 or 18. As the thigh engages either the leg engaging platform 16 or 18, the individual leg engaging platform 16 or 18 moves upwardly and the main body 12 begins to flex which also cause the air in the bladder 22 compresses which creates resistance upon the thigh. With the resistance, the lower abdominal muscles are exercised.

The device is useful in exercising each of the main muscle groups of the abdominal including the upper abdominals, the lower abdominals, the left and right obliques, hips and quadriceps. The exercising device 10 of the present invention provides the flexibility of numerous machines that can be found at the gym in a compact device which can be utilized by a wide variety of people within their own homes.

Although the present invention has been described with reference to preferred embodiments, workers skilled in the art will recognize that changes may be made in form and detail without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention.