Title:
Biomechanical stimulation training method and apparatus
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A method for implementing biomechanical stimulation training includes application of a preselected dynamic force concurrent with a local proprioceptive stimulus at an engagement member and performing at least one dynamic training activity. The method also includes applying a preselected isometric training force concurrent with another local proprioceptive stimulus at the engagement member, and performing an isometric training activity. An apparatus to facilitate performance of dynamic and isometric training activities includes an engagement member structured to facilitate operative engagement with a portion of a person's body, a force generation assembly structured to generate dynamic and isometric training forces at the engagement member, and a vibration generation assembly structured to generate local proprioceptive stimuli at the engagement member.



Inventors:
Hauk, Frauke (Esens, DE)
Schmidt, Joachim (Bisingen, DE)
Schiebl, Frank (Sindelfingen, DE)
Application Number:
11/899131
Publication Date:
09/03/2009
Filing Date:
09/04/2007
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
482/92
International Classes:
A63B21/002
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:



Primary Examiner:
BAKER, LORI LYNN
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
MALLOY & MALLOY, P.A. (Miami, FL, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A biomechanical stimulation training method for implementation by a person during a training session, the method comprising: applying a preselected dynamic training force at an engagement member during the training session, applying a local proprioceptive stimulus at the engagement member corresponding to and concurrent with the preselected dynamic training force, performing at least one dynamic training activity utilizing the engagement member, applying a preselected isometric training force at the engagement member during the training session, applying a local proprioceptive stimulus at the engagement member corresponding to and concurrent with the preselected isometric training force, and performing at least one isometric training activity utilizing the engagement member.

2. The method as recited in claim 1 further comprising performing a plurality of dynamic training activities utilizing the engagement member during the training session.

3. The method as recited in claim 2 further comprising applying one of a plurality of preselected dynamic training forces and a corresponding one of a plurality of local proprioceptive stimuli at the engagement member corresponding to each of the plurality of dynamic training activities during the training session.

4. The method as recited in claim 1 further comprising performing a plurality of isometric training activities utilizing the engagement member during the training.

5. The method as recited in claim 4 further comprising applying one of a plurality of preselected isometric training forces and a corresponding one of a plurality of local proprioceptive stimuli at the engagement member corresponding to each of the plurality of isometric training activities during the training session.

6. A biomechanical stimulation training method for implementation by a person during a training session, the method comprising: initiating a predetermined training regimen, applying each of a plurality of preselected dynamic training forces at an engagement member during the training session, wherein the engagement member is structured to engage at least one portion of the person's body during the training session, applying one of a plurality of local proprioceptive stimuli at the engagement member corresponding to and concurrent with a different one of each of the plurality of preselected dynamic training forces, performing a plurality of dynamic training activities utilizing the engagement member in accordance with the predetermined training regimen, applying each of a plurality of preselected isometric training forces at the engagement member during the training session, applying one of the plurality of local proprioceptive stimulus at the engagement member corresponding to and concurrent with a different one of each of the plurality of preselected isometric training forces, and performing a plurality of isometric training activities utilizing the engagement member in accordance with the predetermined training regimen.

7. The method as recited in claim 6 further comprising orienting a support assembly structured to support the person in an operative position during the training session.

8. The method as recited in claim 6 further comprising orienting an engagement assembly comprising the engagement member in accordance with the training regimen.

9. The method as recited in claim 6 further comprising applying the plurality of local proprioceptive stimuli wherein the plurality of local proprioceptive stimuli comprise a predetermined amplitude in a range of about 0.003 to 0.20 inches.

10. The method as recited in claim 6 further comprising applying the plurality of local proprioceptive stimuli wherein the plurality of local proprioceptive stimuli comprise a predetermined frequency in a range of about 5 to 400 cycles per second.

11. The method as recited in claim 6 wherein the engagement member is structured to engage the person's hands.

12. The method as recited in claim 6 wherein the engagement member is structured to engage the person's feet.

13. A biomechanical stimulation training method for implementation by a person during a training session, the method comprising: initiating a predetermined training regimen, orienting a support assembly to support the person in an operative position during the training session, orienting an engagement assembly comprising an engagement member, wherein at least one portion of the person's body is structured to operatively engage the engagement member during the training session, applying each of a plurality of preselected dynamic training forces at the engagement member during the training session, applying one of a plurality of local proprioceptive stimuli at the engagement member corresponding to and concurrent with a different one of each of the plurality of preselected dynamic training forces, wherein each of the plurality of local proprioceptive stimuli comprise a predetermined amplitude in a range of about 0.003 to 0.20 inches and a predetermined frequency in a range of about 5 to 400 cycles per second, performing a plurality of dynamic training activities utilizing the engagement member in accordance with the predetermined training regimen, applying each of a plurality of preselected isometric training forces at an engagement member during the training session, applying one of the plurality of local proprioceptive stimulus at the engagement member corresponding to and concurrent with a different one of each of the plurality of preselected isometric training forces, wherein each of the plurality of local proprioceptive stimuli comprise a predetermined amplitude in a range of about 0.003 to 0.20 inches and a predetermined frequency in a range of about 5 to 400 cycles per second, performing a plurality of isometric training activities utilizing the engagement member in accordance with the predetermined training regimen, and analyzing the person's performance during the training session.

14. The method as recited in claim 13 further comprising modifying the predetermined training regimen based upon the analysis of the person's performance.

15. A biomechanical stimulation training apparatus comprising: an engagement assembly comprising an engagement member structured to facilitate operative engagement with at least one portion of a person's body, a force generation assembly structured to generate at least one dynamic training force at said engagement member, a vibration generation assembly structured to generate at least one local proprioceptive stimulus at said engagement member corresponding to and concurrent with said at least one dynamic training force, wherein said at least one local proprioceptive stimulus comprises a predetermined amplitude and a predetermined frequency, said engagement member structured to facilitate application of said at least one dynamic training force and said at least one local proprioceptive stimulus to the at least one portion of the person's body during the training session, said force generation assembly further structured to generate at least one isometric training force at said engagement member, said vibration generation assembly further structured to generate at least one other local proprioceptive stimulus at said engagement member corresponding to and concurrent with said at least one isometric training force, wherein said at least one other local proprioceptive stimulus comprises a predetermined amplitude and a predetermined frequency, and said engagement member structured to facilitate application of said at least one isometric training force and said at least one other local proprioceptive stimulus to the at least one portion of the person's body during the training session.

16. The apparatus as recited in claim 15 wherein said vibration generation assembly is further structured to generate said at least one local proprioceptive stimulus having said predetermined amplitude in a range of about 0.003 to 0.20 inches.

17. The apparatus as recited in claim 15 wherein said vibration generation assembly is further structured to generate said at least one local proprioceptive stimulus having said predetermined frequency in a range of about 5 to 400 cycles per second.

18. The apparatus as recited in claim 15 wherein said engagement member is further structured to facilitate operative engagement with the person's hands.

19. The apparatus as recited in claim 15 wherein said engagement member is further structured to facilitate operative engagement with the person's feet.

20. The apparatus as recited in claim 15 wherein said force generation assembly is further structured to generate each of a plurality of dynamic training forces at said engagement member during the training session.

21. The apparatus as recited in claim 15 wherein said force generation assembly is further structured to generate each of a plurality of isometric training forces at said engagement member during the training session.

22. The apparatus as recited in claim 15 wherein said vibration generation assembly is further structured to generate a plurality of local proprioceptive stimuli at said engagement member during the training session, wherein each of said plurality of local proprioceptive stimuli comprises a predetermined amplitude and a predetermined frequency.

23. The apparatus as recited in claim 15 further comprising a control assembly structured to facilitate operation of said force generation assembly and said vibration generation assembly.

24. The apparatus as recited in claim 23 wherein said control assembly comprises a programmable memory module structured to store a plurality of predetermined training regimens corresponding to each of a plurality of personal training sessions for each of a plurality of persons.

25. A biomechanical stimulation training apparatus comprising: a control assembly structured to facilitate implementation of a predetermined training regimen, a support assembly comprising a support sensor and a support actuator, said support assembly further comprising a personal adjustment member structured to facilitate support of a person in an operative position in accordance with said predetermined training regimen, an engagement assembly structured to facilitate operative engagement with at least one portion of a person's body, said engagement assembly comprising an engagement member and an engagement orientation actuator structured to position said engagement member in accordance with said predetermined training regimen, a force generation assembly structured to generate a plurality of dynamic training forces at said engagement member during the training session, a vibration generation assembly structured to generate a plurality of local proprioceptive stimuli at said engagement member, at least one of said plurality of local proprioceptive stimuli corresponding to and concurrent with a different one of each of the plurality of dynamic training forces, said engagement member structured to facilitate application of each of said plurality of dynamic training forces and a corresponding one of said plurality of local proprioceptive stimuli to the at least one portion of the person's body during the training session, said force generation assembly further structured to generate a plurality of isometric training forces at said engagement member during the training session, said vibration generation assembly further structured to generate a plurality of local proprioceptive stimuli at said engagement member during the training session, at least one of said plurality of local proprioceptive stimuli corresponding to and concurrent with a different one of each of the plurality of isometric training forces, said engagement member structured to facilitate application of each of said plurality of isometric training forces and a corresponding one of said plurality of local proprioceptive stimuli to the at least one portion of the person's body during the training session, said control assembly structured to analyze the person's performance during the predetermined regimen, and said control assembly further structured to modify said predetermined training regimen based upon said analysis of the person's performance.

26. The apparatus as recited in claim 25 wherein said control assembly comprising a display device structured to allow the person to visually monitor their performance during the training session.

27. The apparatus as recited in claim 25 wherein said control assembly comprises an input device structured to permit modification of at least one parameter of said predetermined training regimen.

28. The apparatus as recited in claim 25 wherein said control assembly comprises an output device structured to generate a performance report based upon the person's performance during the training session.

29. The assembly as recited in claim 25 wherein said force generation assembly further comprises a force sensor structured to measure an applied force.

30. The assembly as recited in claim 25 wherein said vibration generation assembly further comprises a vibration sensor structured to measure an applied local proprioceptive stimulus.

31. The assembly as recited in claim 25 wherein said engagement assembly further comprises an engagement orientation sensor structured to detect a present orientation of said engagement member.

32. The assembly as recited in claim 25 wherein said control assembly is programmed to provide position-feedback-control.

33. The assembly as recited in claim 25 wherein said control assembly is programmed to provide force-feedback-control.

Description:

BACKGROUND

The present application is directed to a biomechanical stimulation training method having dynamic, isometric, and proprioceptive components, and apparatus structured to facilitate implementation of the methodology.

DESCRIPTION OF THE RELATED ART

In today's health conscious society, numerous gyms and other training facilities have spread across the United States and the globe. Many of these facilities provide access to specialized training equipment, for example, dynamic weight training equipment. Such dynamic training devices are structured to isolate different muscles, which are then exposed to repetitive motion of weight movement, causing the muscle to flex back and forth between and expanded and contracted state, and subsequent lengthening and shortening of the muscle. Some facilities also offer equipment for isometric training, a characteristic of which is that there is no externally visible muscle shortening, rather, a fixed force is applied against which a person maintains a fixed counter-force. Thus, the muscle contracts, but is not shortened.

While these traditional dynamic and isometric training activities have proven effective, when actually implemented, there are a number reasons why people fail to take advantage of the benefits, a major reason being the time commitment required to initially realize results, as well as the ongoing time commitment required to continue to realize the benefits of such training. Thus, various training regimens have been developed in attempts to shorten the time period required to achieve visible results, as well as to minimize the ongoing time commitment to person's implementing such programs. These attempts include combinations of dynamic and isometric training activities, as well as exposing a person to some from of external mechanical stimulation, such as, vibration, while the person is implementing a dynamic or isometric activity. More in particular, devices have been developed which incorporate a source of mechanical vibration with a training device to facilitate exposing the person to vibration while the person while performs a training activity. Such devices as are known today, however, provide a source of overall mechanical stimulation, thereby vibrating whole portions of the person body, which do not necessarily include the muscles being impacted by the corresponding training activity.

As such, it would be highly beneficial for a training method to produce visible results in significantly less time than previously known training methodologies. In addition, it would be helpful for a training method to significantly reduce the time commitment required of a person to continue to realize the beneficial results from implementation of such a method. An additional benefit is realized from a training method which effectively permits a reduction in the dynamic and isometric forces applied to a person implementing the method. A training apparatus structured to train complete muscle chains, rather than individual muscles, is beneficial in facilitating the desired reductions in time required to implement a training method. A training apparatus further structured to train complete muscle groups further facilitates the desired reductions in time required to implement a training method. A desired training method provide the combined benefits of strength training and flexibility training to a person implementing the method.

SUMMARY

As noted above, the present disclosure is directed to a biomechanical stimulation training method for implementation by a person during a training session. In one embodiment, the present method comprises applying a preselected dynamic training force at an engagement member during the training session, wherein the engagement member is structured to facilitate operative engagement with at least one portion of a person's body during the training session. The method also includes applying a local proprioceptive stimulus at the engagement member, for example, a vibration of a predetermined amplitude and frequency, corresponding to and concurrent with the preselected dynamic training force. The method further comprises having the person perform at least one dynamic training activity utilizing the engagement member.

The present method also includes applying a preselected isometric training force at the engagement member during the training session. As in the case of the preselected dynamic training force, the method also includes applying a local proprioceptive stimulus at the engagement member corresponding to and concurrent with the preselected isometric training force, and having the person perform at least one isometric training activity utilizing the engagement member. In at least one embodiment, the method provides for a plurality of dynamic and/or isometric training activities to be performed.

In addition, the present application discloses a biomechanical stimulation training apparatus structured to facilitate the implementation of one or more of the biomechanical stimulation training methods disclosed herein. In one embodiment, the apparatus comprises an engagement assembly comprising an engagement member structured to facilitate operative engagement with at least one portion of a person's body. A force generation assembly is structured to generate at least one dynamic training force and at least one isometric training force at the engagement member, and a vibration generation assembly is structured to generate at least one local proprioceptive stimulus at the engagement member corresponding to and concurrent with each of the dynamic and isometric training forces. One further embodiment comprises generating a plurality of dynamic and isometric training forces, and local proprioceptive stimuli corresponding to each.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a schematic representation of one embodiment of a biomechanical stimulation training method.

FIG. 2 is a schematic representation of one other embodiment of a biomechanical stimulation training method.

FIG. 3 is an elevation of one embodiment of a biomechanical stimulation training apparatus.

FIG. 4 is a diagrammatic representation of a control assembly of a biomechanical stimulation training apparatus disposed in a communicative relation with additional components of the apparatus.

FIGS. 5A-5C are illustrative of an engagement assembly and engagement member of the biomechanical stimulation training apparatus of FIG. 3 disposed in various operative orientations.

Like reference numerals refer to like parts throughout the several views of the drawings.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

As stated above, the present application is directed to a biomechanical stimulation training method for implementation by a person during a training session. This biomechanical training method combines the benefits of dynamic training with isometric training in the presence of an additional component in the form of a local proprioceptive stimulus. More in particular, the present method combines dynamic and isometric training activities with a local proprioceptive stimulus, for example, a localized and directed vibration having an amplitude as well as a frequency within specific predetermined ranges. The terms “proprioceptive stimuli” and “proprioceptive stimulus” as used throughout the present specification, including the claims appended hereto, shall include, but are not intended to be limited to, a vibration stimuli, a tactile stimuli, a haptic stimuli, as well as any combination of these stimuli. Of course, it is within the scope and intent of the present application to apply other forms of “proprioceptive stimuli” to a person, such as, by way of example only, electrical stimuli, electro-mechanical stimuli, etc., in combination with dynamic and/or isometric training activities.

FIG. 1 is illustrative of one embodiment of a biomechanical stimulation training method, generally as shown at 10, to be implemented by a person during a training session. As may be seen in FIG. 1, the method includes applying a preselected dynamic training force 24 at an engagement member during the training session. As will be discussed more fully below, the engagement member is structured to facilitate application of a dynamic, as well as an isometric, training force to a portion of a person's body during a training session. Also as discussed below, the engagement member is further structured to facilitate the application of a local proprioceptive stimulus to the person in conjunction with the dynamic and isometric training forces during said training session.

The embodiment of FIG. 1 further includes applying a local proprioceptive stimulus 26 at the engagement member corresponding to the preselected dynamic training force which is applied during the training session. This embodiment of the method further includes the person performing at least one dynamic training activity 29 utilizing the engagement member wherein both the preselected dynamic training force and the corresponding local proprioceptive stimulus are applied to the engagement member, concurrently, while the person is performing the at least one dynamic training activity 29.

Looking further to FIG. 1, it is seen that at least one embodiment of the biomechanical stimulation training method 10 also includes applying a preselected isometric training force 34 at the engagement member during the training session. In addition, this embodiment of the biomechanical stimulation training method 10 includes applying a local proprioceptive stimulus 36 at the engagement member corresponding to the preselected isometric training force 34 during the training session. As above, with respect to the dynamic training force, the present method 10 further comprises having the person perform at least one isometric training activity 39 utilizing the engagement member. Also as above with respect to the dynamic training activity, the method 10 comprises applying the preselected isometric training force 34 and applying a corresponding local proprioceptive stimulus 36 at the engagement member concurrently, while the person performs the isometric training activity utilizing the engagement member.

FIG. 2 is illustrative of one further embodiment of a biomechanical stimulation training method 10 for implementation by a person during a training session. More in particular, the method 10 comprises initiating a predetermined training regimen 14. In at least one embodiment, initiating a predetermined training regimen 14 further comprises applying dynamic training regimen parameters 20, as well as applying isometric training regimen parameters 30.

More in particular, and as FIG. 2 further illustrates a number of dynamic training regimen parameters of the present method 10. For example, the method 10 comprises orienting a support assembly 21, wherein the support assembly comprises a support member which is structured to support the person in an operative position during the training session in accordance with the predetermined training regimen 14. The method 10 of the present embodiment also includes orienting an engagement assembly 22, having an engagement member, in accordance with the predetermined training regimen 14. More in particular, the present method 10 includes orienting the engagement assembly 22 such that the engagement member is structured to engage at least one portion of the person's body during the training session. The proper orientation of the support and engagement assemblies facilitates muscle chain training, and the resultant reduction in training time, by assuring that a target muscle chain is properly aligned with the engagement member during a training activity. The support and engagement assemblies are discussed in some detail below with regard to the biomechanical stimulation training apparatus 100.

The present method 10 as illustrated in FIG. 2 further comprises applying each of a plurality of preselected dynamic training forces 24 at the engagement member during the training session, in accordance with the predetermined training regimen 14. In at least one embodiment, the plurality of preselected dynamic training forces are designated amongst other dynamic training regimen parameters. In one embodiment, the preselected dynamic force is designated having a substantially constant magnitude over the duration of the training session. Alternatively, the preselected dynamic force may be designated having a variable magnitude in time over the duration of the training session, wherein the variable force may increase, decrease, or cycle. Other dynamic training regimen parameters may include, but in no manner are limited to, the duration of each applied dynamic training force, the direction or directions of each applied dynamic training force, the amplitude and frequency of a local proprioceptive stimulus corresponding to each dynamic training force, as well as the orientation of a support assembly and engagement member, just to name a few.

As noted above, the present embodiment of the biomechanical stimulation training method 10 includes applying one of a plurality of local proprioceptive stimuli 26 at the engagement member, wherein the local proprioceptive stimulus corresponds to one of the plurality of preselected dynamic training forces in accordance with the predetermined training regimen 14. In at least one embodiment, the biomechanical stimulation training method 10 includes applying the plurality of local proprioceptive stimuli 26 wherein each of the plurality of local proprioceptive stimuli comprise a predetermined amplitude in a range of about 0.003 to 0.20 inches. In one further embodiment, the present method 10 further includes applying the plurality of local proprioceptive stimuli 26 wherein the local proprioceptive stimuli comprise a predetermined frequency in a range of about 5 to 400 cycles per second. The embodiment of the present method 10 illustrated in FIG. 2 further comprises performing a plurality of dynamic training activities 29 utilizing the engagement member, in accordance with the predetermined training regimen 14.

In the illustrative embodiment of FIG. 2, the present method 10 further comprises applying isometric training regimen parameters 30. As above, a number of isometric training regimen parameters of the present method 10 are illustrated in FIG. 2. For example, the isometric training regimen parameters include orienting a support assembly 31, to support the person in an operative position during the isometric portion of the training session in accordance with the predetermined training regimen 14. The method 10 of the present embodiment also includes orienting an engagement assembly 32, once again, for performance of isometric training activities in accordance with the predetermined training regimen 14. As previously stated, the proper orientation of the support and engagement assemblies provided by the present method 10 facilitates muscle chain training, and the resultant reduction in training time, by assuring that the targeted muscle chain is properly aligned with the engagement member during the training activity.

The present method 10 further comprises applying each of a plurality of preselected isometric training forces 34 at the engagement member during the training session. In at least one embodiment, each of the plurality of preselected isometric training forces are designated amongst the other isometric training regimen parameters. As with the preselected dynamic forces, in one embodiment, the preselected isometric force are designated having a substantially constant magnitude over the duration of the training session, or, alternatively, the preselected isometric force may be designated having a variable magnitude in time, wherein the force increases, decreases, or cycles over the duration of the training session. Also as in the case of the dynamic training regimen parameters, the isometric training parameters may include, but are also not limited to, the duration of each applied isometric training force, the direction or directions of each applied isometric training force, the amplitude and frequency of corresponding local proprioceptive stimuli, etc.

As noted above, the present embodiment of the biomechanical stimulation training method 10 includes applying one of a plurality of local proprioceptive stimuli 36 at the engagement member, wherein the local proprioceptive stimulus corresponds to one of the plurality of preselected isometric training forces in accordance with the predetermined training regimen 14. As before, in at least one embodiment, the biomechanical stimulation training method 10 includes applying the plurality of local proprioceptive stimuli 36 wherein each of the plurality of local proprioceptive stimuli comprise a predetermined amplitude in a range of about 0.003 to 0.20 inches. In one further embodiment, the present method 10 further includes applying the plurality of local proprioceptive stimuli wherein the local proprioceptive stimuli comprise a predetermined frequency in a range of about 5 to 400 cycles per second. The embodiment of the method 10 illustrated in FIG. 2 further comprises performing a plurality of isometric training activities 39 utilizing the engagement member, in accordance with the predetermined training regimen 14.

At least one embodiment of the present method 10 further comprises analyzing the performance 40 of a person implementing the present training method. This analysis may be performed by way of a control processor, such as is discussed below, however, it is understood to be within the scope and intent of the present for the performance analysis to be performed with such a processor.

As illustrated in FIG. 2, the present method 10 provides for modifying a predetermined training regimen 50. More in particular, as a person participates in any training regimen for a period of time, certain parameters should be periodically adjusted to assure the maximum benefit to the person for the time and effort invested in training. This may include increasing or decreasing the number of repetitions of a particular training activity, the amount of operative weight on a training device, or the magnitude and or direction of applied force, the rest period between different activities, etc., just to name a few. Thus, the present method 10 takes into account modifying a predetermined training regimen 50, at least in part, based upon the results of analyzing the performance of a person implementing the present method 10. The present method 10 further contemplates that in modifying a predetermined training regimen 50, one or more dynamic training parameters may require modification and, further, that one or more isometric training parameters will also likely require modification. Because modifying a predetermined training regimen 50 is based on individual performance, any combination of dynamic and/or isometric parameters may be modified, individually or together, and the degree of modification of each will, again, be dictated in part on the analysis of an individual implementing the present method 10.

The method 10, in at least one embodiment, also includes generating a performance report 60. More in particular, the control assembly comprises an output device which is structured to permit a physical report to be generated, for example, an attached printer, as discussed further below. Thus, a person implementing the present method 10 can maintain a record of their performance while utilizing the method 10 and, perhaps more importantly, allows the person to quickly and easily monitor their progress as a result of implementing the biomechanical stimulation training method 10 as disclosed in the present application.

The present application is further directed to at least one embodiment of a biomechanical stimulation training apparatus, generally as shown at 100, in FIG. 3. It should be noted that FIG. 3 is illustrative of only one embodiment of a biomechanical stimulation training apparatus 100 encompassed in the scope and intent of the present application. More in particular, the embodiment of the biomechanical stimulation training apparatus 100 illustrated in FIG. 3 is structured to support a person in a seated and generally upright position on the apparatus 100. However, it is understood that the present application encompasses biomechanical stimulation training apparatus 100 wherein the user may be supported in a generally reclining orientation, face up or face down, a standing orientation, as well as any of a variety of orientations therebetween.

Looking now in particular at the embodiment of the biomechanical stimulation training apparatus 100 as illustrated in FIG. 3, the apparatus 100 comprises a support assembly 110 which is structured to support a person in an operative position on the apparatus 100. As shown, the support assembly 110 includes a base 112 having a support member 114 interconnected thereto. The support assembly 110 further comprises at least one support sensor 116 which is structured to facilitate orientation of the support assembly 110 into an operative orientation for a particular person utilizing the apparatus 100. The support assembly 110 further comprises at least one support actuator 118 such as may be utilized to position the support member 114 in a horizontal and/or vertical arrangement relative to the base 112, as illustrated by the horizontal and vertical directional arrows in FIG. 3, respectively. The support assembly 112 of the biomechanical stimulation training apparatus 100 further comprises a personal adjustment member 119. More in particular, the personal adjustment member 119 is actuable and movable in accordance with the directional arrow shown therewith, so as to assure what a person is in a specific and predetermined operative position relative to an engagement assembly 120, as discussed in more detail below.

The biomechanical stimulation training apparatus 100 in accordance with the present application comprises a control assembly 150 which is structured to actuate support actuator 118 and personal adjustment member 119 in accordance with a predetermined training regimen input thereto. In at least one embodiment, the control assembly 150 is structured to actuate support actuator 118 and personal adjustment member 119 in accordance with one or more dynamic training regimen parameters and/or one or more isometric training regimen parameters.

As previously stated, the biomechanical stimulation training apparatus 100 of the present application further includes an engagement assembly, as shown at 120 throughout the figures. In at least one embodiment, the engagement assembly 120 comprises an engagement member 122. In one further embodiment, the engagement assembly 120 comprises a plurality of engagement members 122. By way of example, as illustrated in FIG. 3, the engagement member 122 comprises a handle structured to facilitate operative engagement in a hand of a person utilizing the biomechanical stimulation training apparatus 100. As such, although, omitted from FIG. 3 for purposes of clarity, it is noted that the engagement assembly 120 of this embodiment comprises a pair of engagement members 122, each being structured to facilitate operative engagement of a different hand of the person utilizing the apparatus 100. At least one further embodiment, the present apparatus 100 is structured to be operative with a person's feet, wherein the engagement assembly 120 comprises a plurality of engagement members 122 structured and disposed for operative engagement with one or both of the person's feet. Additional alternate embodiments may comprise an engagement assembly 120 structured to be operative with other portions of the person's body such as, by way of example only, the person's knees, elbows, chest, back, etc. As discussed with respect to the present method 10, the proper orientation of the support assembly 110 and the engagement assembly 120 facilitates complete muscle chain training, and the resultant reduction in training time.

The engagement assembly 120 further comprises an engagement orientation actuator 126 structured to facilitate positioning of the engagement assembly 120, as well as one or more engagement member 122, into various operative positions relative to a user, such as the various operative orientations illustrated in FIGS. 5A-5C. An engagement orientation sensor 124 may be incorporated into the biomechanical stimulation training apparatus 100 to permit a present orientation of an engagement member 122 to be monitored and positioned as required, in accordance with a predetermined training regimen.

Orientation of the support member 114, personal adjustment member 119, and the engagement member(s) 122, in accordance with a person's personal data parameters input into the control processor 152 as discussed below, assures that a target muscle chain of the person is properly and accurately aligned with the engagement member(s) 122 during a training activity, and that the desired dynamic and/or isometric training force(s), as well as the corresponding proprioceptive stimuli, are applied to the target muscle chain in accordance with the predetermined training regimen.

Of course, FIGS. 5A-5C are illustrative of just a few of the possible orientations of the engagement assembly 120 and engagement member 122 of the present apparatus 100. As shown in FIG. 5A, the engagement assembly 120 is oriented towards the person's body, and the engagement member 122 is extending in a slightly upward directed orientation. In FIG. 5B, the engagement assembly 120 is oriented further from the person, such as about pivot member 121, and the engagement member 122 remains in the same orientation, while FIG. 5C illustrates the engagement member 122 being disposed in a more downwardly directed orientation.

As such, the control assembly 150 in at least one embodiment is programmed to provide position-feedback-control. More in particular, the control processor 152 is structured to monitor support sensor 116, engagement orientation sensor 124, and in at least one embodiment, a force sensor 134, and to adjust the orientation of the support member 114, personal adjustment member 119, and/or engagement member(s) 122, in accordance with the predetermined training program parameters, as well as the individual personal data parameter's. The position-feedback-control may be programmed as an open loop, primarily based upon force measurements at engagement member 122, or a closed loop which is further based upon kinematic orientation measurements at the engagement member(s) 122.

The biomechanical stimulation training apparatus 100 further comprises a force generation assembly 130, as in FIG. 3. More in particular, the force generation assembly 130 comprises a force generator 132. In at least one embodiment, the force generator 132 comprises a computer controlled servodrive which is structured to apply at least one preselected force at an engagement member 122. The force generator 132 is structured to generate both uniform and non-uniform forces for application at the engagement member 122 and further, the force generator 132 is structured such that the applied forces may be directional to facilitate a particular predetermined training regimen as discussed further below.

One embodiment of the control assembly 150 is programmed to provide force-feedback-control. More in particular, the control processor 152 is structured to monitor support sensor 116, engagement orientation sensor 124, and in at least one embodiment, a force sensor 134, and to adjust the preselected force applied at engagement member 122, in accordance with the predetermined training program parameters, as well as the individual personal data parameter's. As previously noted, the preselected force may comprise a substantially constant magnitude over the duration of the training session, or the preselected force may comprise a variable magnitude which increases, decreases, or cycles over the duration of the training session. Similar to the position-feedback-control, the force-feedback-control may be programmed as an open loop, primarily based upon kinematic orientation measurements at engagement member 122, or a closed loop, which is further based upon force measurements at the engagement member(s) 122.

The biomechanical stimulation training apparatus 100 of the present invention further comprises a vibration generation assembly 140. More in particular, the apparatus 100 comprises a vibration generating assembly 140 structured to generate at least one local proprioceptive stimulus at an engagement member 122. In one embodiment, the vibration generating assembly 140 is structured to generate and apply a plurality of local proprioceptive stimuli to one or more engagement members 122 during a training session. The vibration generating assembly 140 comprises a vibration generator 142 which, in at least one embodiment, is integral with engagement member 122. More in particular, in the embodiment illustrated in FIG. 3, the vibration generator 142 comprises a vibratode which is constructed integral with engagement member 122 which comprise handle-like members structured to be operatively engaged by the hands of a user during a training session.

The vibration generator 142 is structured to generate local proprioceptive stimuli having an amplitude and a frequency within respective predetermined ranges. For example, in one embodiment, the vibration generator 142 is structured to generate a local proprioceptive stimulus at engagement member 122 with an amplitude in the range of 0.003 to 0.20 inches. Further, the vibration generator 142 of this embodiment is structured to generate local proprioceptive stimuli at the engagement member 122 at a frequency in the range of between 5 to 400 cycles per second. It has been determined that local proprioceptive stimuli having an amplitude and frequency within the above-referenced predetermined ranges provides optimum results to a person implementing a biomechanical stimulation training program, in combination with predetermined dynamic and isometric training activities.

As previously stated, the biomechanical stimulation training apparatus 100 of the present application comprises a control assembly 150. In at least one embodiment, the control assembly 150 comprises a control processor 152 having a programmable memory module 153, a data storage module 154, and a data analysis module 155, as represented schematically in FIG. 4. Further, the control assembly 150 comprises an input device 156 which is structured to permit the addition, deletion and/or modification of predetermined training regimen parameters such as are required to implement the biomechanical stimulation training method 10 disclosed above. In one embodiment, the input device is utilized to input personal data parameters for a user, which may include identification data, physical parameters, such as height, weight, age, physical limitations, prior training experience, etc. These personal data parameters are the utilized to develop a predetermined training regimen for each individual to utilize the present apparatus 100. This personal predetermined training regimen may include, by way of example only, to establish optimal and personal orientation parameters, specific dynamic and isometric training activities, incorporating corresponding proprioceptive stimuli.

The input device 156 may also be utilized to input training data parameters, such as specific training regimen activity cycles, such as may be utilized for overall training program monitoring and management. As one example, the training data parameter include data for the orientation of the engagement assembly 120 and engagement members 122 in a variety of operative orientations during a training session, such as are illustrated in FIGS. 5A-5C. Also, the training data parameters may be utilized to designate the magnitude and direction of a force to be applied at an engagement member 122 during the training session, as well as the corresponding proprioceptive stimulus to be applied by the vibration generator 142 during a training activity.

For example, for a dynamic training activity, the training data parameters will direct the orientation of the engagement assembly 120 and engagement member 122, the dynamic training force applied at the engagement member 122, and the direction in which the dynamic training force is applied, which may be a uniform dynamic force or a non-uniform dynamic force, thereby dictating whether the user must push or pull against the force during the dynamic training activity. The user may monitor the force applied at the engagement member 122 via a display device 158, presented below, so that the person can adjust the force with which they are pushing or pulling, to assure it is in accordance with the predetermined training program parameters.

In the case of an isometric training activity, the force generator 130 will be directed to maintain the orientation of the engagement assembly 120 and engagement member 122 during the isometric training activity, against the force applied by the user, which may be a uniform or non-uniform force. In this case, the user can monitor the magnitude of the force he or she is applying at the engagement member 122 via the display device 158, and can make appropriate adjustments to assure that the isometric training force in accordance with the predetermined training parameters. The training data parameters will also be utilized to sequence the order and duration of each dynamic and isometric training activity to be performed by the person during a training session.

The control assembly 150 also includes an output device 157 structured to permit a user of the apparatus 100 to generate a hard or electronic copy of a performance report. The performance report is based in part upon an analysis of a user's performance during one or more training session utilizing the biomechanical stimulation training apparatus 100. As illustrated in FIG. 3, the control assembly 150 further comprises a display device 158 which, as noted above, is structured to allow a person to monitor their performance during a training session utilizing the biomechanical stimulation training apparatus 100. The display device 158 permits a person to make adjustments during their performance of a training session utilizing the present apparatus 100.

As shown in the illustrative embodiment of FIG. 4, the control assembly 150 is disposed in a communicative relation with support assembly 110, engagement assembly 120, force generation assembly 130 and vibration generation assembly 140 of the biomechanical stimulation training apparatus 100. More in particular, the control processor 152 is structured to affect orientation of the support assembly 110 in accordance with a predetermined training regimen which is initiated from the programmable memory module 153 of control processor 152. As previously discussed, support assembly 110 comprises a support sensor 116, support actuator 118, and adjustment member 119, which are utilized by control processor 152 to affect orientation of the support assembly 110 into an operative position. Further, personal adjustment member 119 is actuated by control processor 152 in accordance with specific personal parameters for an individual utilizing the present apparatus 100 and in accordance with operative parameters in the person's specific predetermined training regimen.

Control assembly 150 is further structured to actuate engagement orientation actuator 126 to position engagement member 122 into an operative orientation relative to a user, in accordance with the parameters of the person's predetermined training regimen. As shown in FIG. 4, the engagement assembly 120 comprises an engagement sensor 124 which is structured to permit the control assembly 150 to monitor and adjust the orientation of an engagement member 122 during a training session utilizing the present apparatus 100. The control processor 152 may be programmed to employ position-feedback-control and/or force-feedback-control to regulate the orientation of the engagement member 122, as well as the orientation of the support member 114 and personal adjustment member 119, to assure that the applied force at engagement member 122 is applied to the person in accordance with the parameters of the predetermined treatment regimen.

FIG. 4 further illustrates control assembly 150 disposed in a communicative relation with force generator 132 and force sensor 134. More in particular, control processor 152 is structured to monitor an applied force at engagement member 122 via force sensor 134, and to regulate actuation of the force generator 132 to assure that the applied force at engagement member 122 is maintained and applied in accordance with the parameters of the predetermined treatment regimen, and in particular, the dynamic training regimen parameters and the isometric training regimen parameters. As stated above, the control processor 152 may be programmed, in at least one embodiment, to employ position-feedback-control and/or force-feedback-control, to provide a further basis to regulate actuation of the force generator 132 to assure that the applied force at engagement member 122 is maintained and applied in accordance with the parameters of the predetermined treatment regimen.

Similarly, control assembly 150 is disposed in a communicative relation with vibration generation assembly 140 including vibration generator 142 and vibration sensor 144. As noted above, with regard to the force generation assembly 130, the control processor 152 is structured to monitor local proprioceptive stimulus applied at engagement member 122 via vibration sensor 144. In addition, control processor 152 is structured to actuate vibration generator 142 to assure that the local proprioceptive stimulus applied to the engagement member 122 are in accordance with the predetermined amplitude and the predetermined frequency per the predetermined treatment regimen, during a training session. Once again, the control processor 152, in combination with the vibration generation assembly 140, is structured to assure that the proprioceptive stimulus applied at an engagement member 122 comprises a predetermined amplitude and a predetermined frequency, and corresponds to a dynamic training force or an isometric training force, in accordance with a predetermined training regimen.

As such, the present biomechanical stimulation training apparatus 100 permits application, monitoring, analysis, and control of dynamic and isometric training forces applied to an engagement assembly 120, concurrent with local proprioceptive stimulus are applied at an engagement member 122, as required by a predetermined training regimen specifically designed for a person implementing a biomechanical stimulation training method 10, in accordance with the present application.

Since many modifications, variations and changes in detail can be made to the described embodiments of the invention, it is intended that all matters in the foregoing description and shown in the accompanying drawings be interpreted as illustrative and not in a limiting sense. Thus, the scope of the invention should be determined by the appended claims and their legal equivalents.

Now that the invention has been described,