Title:
Single step resistance training device
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A step resistance training device having a user actuatable step is used to train the muscles of the lower extremities, pelvis, and gluteus maximus. The training device generally comprises a frame with a base upon which a pivot, one or more springs, and a step are mounted. Other elements, such as various guides, extensions, and hand holds may be mounted to the frame as well. In some embodiments, these elements allow the training device to be adjusted for ergonomic or training related reasons. The step is actuatable about the pivot and is attached to one or more springs to provide resistance. Resistance may also be provided by other resistance devices such as elastic bands or tubing. A user may train using the training device by engaging the step with his or her foot and applying a downward force thereto.



Inventors:
Reyes, Gil (Las Vegas, NV, US)
Application Number:
12/218108
Publication Date:
01/14/2010
Filing Date:
07/10/2008
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63B21/04
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
MATHEW, FENN C
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
WEIDE & MILLER, LTD. (LAS VEGAS, NV, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A step resistance training device comprising: a frame having a top end and a bottom end; one or more frame attachments at the top end of the frame; a step having a distal end and a proximal end, the proximal end of the step attached to a pivot at the bottom end of the frame; one or more step attachments attached to the step; and one or more resistance devices attached to the one or more frame attachments and the one or more step attachments; wherein the one or more resistance devices provide resistance when the step is actuated by a user.

2. The training device of claim 1 wherein the one or more resistance devices are removably attached to the one or more frame attachments, the one or more step attachments, or both.

3. The training device of claim 1 further comprising an extension, the extension extending from the top end of the frame wherein the one or more frame attachments are attached to the extension.

4. The training device of claim 3 further comprising: an extension guide extending from the top end of the frame and configured to accept the extension; one or more adjustment holes formed along the length of one or more sides of the extension guide; one or more securing holes formed along the length of one or more sides of the extension; and one or more securing pins; wherein the extension is adjustable within the extension guide and secured by the one or more securing pins.

5. The training device of claim 1 further comprising a step extension, the step extension extending from the bottom end of the frame wherein the pivot of the step is attached to the step extension.

6. The training device of claim 5 further comprising: a step guide extending from the bottom of the frame and configured to accept the step extension; one or more adjustment holes formed along the length of one or more sides of the step guide; one or more securing holes formed along the length of one or more sides of the step extension; and one or more securing pins; wherein the step extension is adjustable within the step guide and secured by the one or more securing pins.

7. The training device of claim 1 wherein the one or more resistance devices are springs.

8. The training device of claim 1 further comprising a pivoting pad at the distal end of the step.

9. The training device of claim 1 further comprising one or more hand holds.

10. A step resistance training device comprising: a frame having a top end and a bottom end; an extension extending downward from the top end of the frame, the extension having one or more frame attachments attached thereto. a step extension extending upward from the bottom of the frame, the step extension having a first end of a pivot attached thereto; a step extending outward from the frame, the step having one or more step attachments and a second end of the pivot attached thereto; and one or more resistance devices attached to the one or more frame attachments and the one or more step attachments; wherein the one or more resistance devices provide resistance when the step is actuated by a user.

11. The training device of claim 10 wherein the extension, the step extension, or both are adjustable.

12. The training device of claim 10 wherein the step further comprises a pad attached to a distal end of the step through a rotating mount.

13. The training device of claim 10 wherein the one or more resistance devices are springs.

14. A method of step resistance training comprising: providing a step having a proximal end and a distal end, the step in an unactuated position and attached to a frame at the proximal end via a pivot at a bottom end of the frame, wherein resistance is provided by one or more resistance devices attached to one or more frame attachments at a top end of the frame and one or more step attachments of the step. resisting a downward force applied to the step by a user; and returning the step to the unactuated position when the downward force applied by the user is less than the resistance provided by the one or more resistance devices.

15. The method of resistance training of claim 14 further comprising adjusting the resistance provided by the one or more resistance devices by adding, removing, or replacing resistance devices to create a desired amount of resistance.

16. The method of resistance training of claim 14 further comprising adjusting the resistance provided by the one or more resistance devices by adjusting the height of an extension, wherein the extension extends downward from an extension guide at the top end of the frame and has the frame attachment attached thereto.

17. The method of resistance training of claim 14 further comprising adjusting the resistance provided by the one or more resistance devices by adjusting the position of one or more step attachments along the length of the step.

18. The method of resistance training of claim 14 further comprising adjusting the position of the step by adjusting the position of a step extension, wherein the step extension is attached to the pivot of the step and extends upward from a step guide at the bottom end of the frame.

19. The method of resistance training of claim 14 wherein the step further comprises a rotating pad at the distal end of the step.

20. The training device of claim 14 wherein the one or more resistance devices are springs.

21. A method of step resistance training comprising: engaging a step having a proximal end and a distal end, the step in an unactuated position and attached to a frame at the proximal end via a pivot at a bottom end of the frame, wherein resistance is provided by one or more resistance devices attached to one or more frame attachments at a top end of the frame and one or more step attachments of the step. applying a downward force to the step to move the step downward; and reducing the downward force applied to the step to allow the step to move upward towards the unactuated position.

22. The method of resistance training of claim 21 further comprising adjusting the resistance provided by the one or more resistance devices by adding, removing, or replacing resistance devices to create a desired amount of resistance.

23. The method of resistance training of claim 21 further comprising adjusting the resistance provided by the one or more resistance devices by adjusting the height of an extension, wherein the extension extends downward from an extension guide at the top end of the frame and has the frame attachment attached thereto.

24. The method of resistance training of claim 21 further comprising adjusting the resistance provided by the one or more resistance devices by adjusting the position of one or more step attachments along the length of the step.

25. The method of resistance training of claim 21 further comprising adjusting the position of the step by adjusting the position of a step extension, wherein the step extension is attached to the pivot of the step and extends upward from a step guide at the bottom end of the frame.

26. The method of resistance training of claim 21 wherein the step further comprises a rotating pad at the distal end of the step.

27. The training device of claim 21 wherein the one or more resistance devices are springs.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The invention relates to a resistance training device focusing on muscles of the pelvis and lower extremities.

2. Related Art

Resistance training can generally be thought of as a form of training where physical resistance against muscle movement is used to strengthen and build muscle. Resistance training benefits to overall heath, and is the basis of many forms of rehabilitation and athletic training.

The benefits of resistance training in overall health include increased strength, muscle tone, and bone density. This increase in strength, muscle tone, and bone density often translates into improved athletic performance such as improved speed and endurance. In addition, regular training has been shown to reduce the occurrence of cancer, diabetes, and cardiovascular diseases as well as improve immune system function, lower blood pressure, and alleviate symptoms of depression.

Resistance training is used in rehabilitation as well. For example, resistance training is often used to rebuild atrophied muscles and restore functionality of strained or injured joints. In some cases resistance training is even used as a part of cardiac rehabilitation as it is known that resistance training can improve cardiovascular health over time.

The muscles of the pelvis and lower extremities include the quadriceps and gluteus maximus, as well as numerous other thigh, leg, ankle, and foot muscles, and are used in walking, running, and almost every athletic activity. Traditional devices focused on these muscles include the leg press or other fixed-weight devices. These devices typically operate on both legs at the same time and thus are unsuitable in situations where training of one leg is desired such as in rehabilitation. In addition, fixed-weight devices provide fixed resistance and thus are incapable of maximizing resistance across the range of motion of a user's legs.

Other traditional devices offer focused training for a single leg and may provide variable resistance, however, these devices have limited or no resistance adjustability. For example, a traditional device may allow resistance to be adjusted to a slightly higher or slightly lower amount but does not allow resistance to be changed by an order of magnitude.

Thus, what is desired and disclosed herein is a resistance training device for muscles of the pelvis and lower extremities that provides variable and adjustable resistance.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

A step resistance training device generally configured to provide variable resistance training to the muscles of the lower extremities, the pelvis, and gluteus maximus is disclosed herein. In one or more embodiments of the training device, a user trains his or her muscles by actuating a step attached to one or more resistance devices.

In one embodiment, the training device comprises a frame having a top end and a bottom end, one or more frame attachments at the top end of the frame, a step having a distal end and a proximal end attached to a pivot at the bottom end of the frame, one or more step attachments attached to the step, and one or more resistance devices attached to the one or more frame attachments and the one or more step attachments. The one or more resistance devices generally provide resistance when the step is actuated by a user. The one or more resistance devices may be one or more springs, elastic bands, elastic tubing, weights or a combination thereof.

The step may have a fixed or rotating pad to allow a user to more easily engage the step with the user's foot. In addition, it is contemplated that one or more hand holds may be provided in one or more embodiments which a user may grasp during training.

The frame attachment and the step attachment allow a resistance device to be attached to the frame and step of the step resistance training device, respectively. In some embodiments, a resistance device may be removably attached to the frame attachment, the step attachments, or both. The frame attachment or attachments may be attached to an extension extending from the top end of the frame rather than directly to the frame in some embodiments.

The step resistance training device may have adjustable elements and adjustable resistance as well. For example, the training device may comprise an extension guide extending from the bottom of the frame and configured to accept an extension. A series of adjustment holes may be formed along the length of one or more sides of the extension guide, and a series of securing holes may be formed along the length of one or more sides of the extension. The extension may be moved or adjusted within the extension guide and, when positioned as desired, be secured in place by one or more securing pins.

The step resistance training device may also comprise a step extension extending from the bottom end of the frame. In this embodiment, the step is attached to the step extension through the pivot. The step of this embodiment may be configured to be adjustable. For example, the training device may comprise a step guide extending from the bottom end of the frame and configured to accept the step extension. A series of adjustment holes may be formed along the length of one or more sides of the step guide, and a series of securing holes may be formed along the length of one or more sides of the step extension. The step extension may be moved or adjusted within the step guide and, when positioned as desired, be secured in place by one or more securing pins.

In one embodiment, the step resistance training device comprises a frame having a top end and a bottom end, an extension extending downward from the top end of the frame, a step extension extending upward from the bottom of the frame, the step extension having the first end of a pivot attached thereto, a step extending outward from the frame, and one or more resistance devices attached to the one or more frame attachments and the one or more step attachments. The extension may have one or more frame attachments attached thereto, and the step may have one or more step attachments and the second end of the pivot attached thereto. As stated, the step and frame attachments allow one or more resistance devices to be attached while the pivot allows the step to actuate in response to user movement.

In this embodiment, the extension, the step extension, or both may be adjustable. For example, the position of the extension and step extension may be adjusted. In addition, the step may further comprise a pad attached to the step through a fixed or rotating mount.

A method of step resistance training is also disclosed herein. Generally the method comprises providing a step in an unactuated position, resisting a downward force applied to the step by a user, and returning the step to its unactuated position when the downward force is less than the resistance provided by the one or more resistance devices. Another embodiment of the method comprises engaging a step in an unactuated position, applying a downward force to the step to move the step downward, and reducing the downward force applied to the step to allow the step to move upward towards its unactuated position.

According to various embodiments of the method, the step may have a proximal end and a distal end and may be attached to a frame at its proximal end via a pivot at a bottom end of the frame. In one or more embodiments a fixed or rotating pad may be attached to the step. A resistance may then be provided by one or more resistance devices attached to one or more frame attachments at a top end of the frame and one or more step attachments on the step.

The method of resistance training may also comprise adjusting the resistance provided by the one or more resistance devices by adding, removing, or replacing resistance devices to create a desired amount of resistance. In addition, the resistance may be adjusted by adjusting the height of an extension, which may extend downward from an extension guide at the top end of the frame and has the frame attachment attached thereto in one or more embodiments. Further, the resistance may be adjusted by adjusting the position of one or more step attachments along the length of the step.

It is contemplated that other adjustments may be made according to the invention herein. For example, the position of the step may be adjusted by adjusting the position of a step extension. In one embodiment, the step extension may be attached to the pivot of the step and extend upward from a step guide at the bottom end of the frame. Thus, adjusting the position of the step extension changes the position of the step.

Other systems, methods, features and advantages of the invention will be or will become apparent to one with skill in the art upon examination of the following figures and detailed description. It is intended that all such additional systems, methods, features and advantages be included within this description, be within the scope of the invention, and be protected by the accompanying claims.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The components in the figures are not necessarily to scale, emphasis instead being placed upon illustrating the principles of the invention. In the figures, like reference numerals designate corresponding parts throughout the different views.

FIG. 1 illustrates a perspective view of an embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 2 illustrates a perspective view of an adjustable embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 3 illustrates a perspective view of an embodiment of the invention having a hand hold.

FIGS. 4-5 illustrate a user training on an embodiment of the invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

In the following description, numerous specific details are set forth in order to provide a more thorough description of the present invention. It will be apparent, however, to one skilled in the art, that the present invention may be practiced without these specific details. In other instances, well-known features have not been described in detail so as not to obscure the invention.

Generally, the single step resistance training device is configured to provide resistance training to the muscles and body structures of the pelvis and lower extremities. These muscles include but are not limited to the gluteus maximus and quadriceps as well as thigh, leg, ankle, and foot muscles. In addition, training of these areas of the body has the beneficial effect of training other areas of the body as well. For example, abdominal and arm muscles used to stabilize a user during training also undergo training.

The single step resistance training device, in one or more embodiments, is configured to provide resistance training to one leg or side of the user's body. Thus, the device is well suited for rehabilitation as well as training because a user may selectively train each or both sides of his or her body.

Referring to FIG. 1, the single step resistance training device in one or more embodiments includes a frame 104 with a base 120. Generally, the frame 104 provides a structure upon which the base 120 and other elements of the training device may be attached. The frame 104 has a top end 136 and a bottom end 124. As illustrated, the training device comprises a plurality of tubes or bars having square, round, or rectangular cross sections. However, it is noted that in one or more embodiments, elements of the training device's underlying structure may have cross sections of different shapes and it is contemplated that these cross sections are not required to be closed shapes. For example, the cross sections may be circular, hexagonal, or other closed shape. In addition, the cross sections may be I shaped (similar to an I-beam), C shaped, or another open shape.

Of course, various configurations are possible, and thus it is contemplated than any frame 104 capable of supporting the elements of the training device such that they operate according to the description herein may be used. For example, the frame 104 may be square, round, or rounded in shape. In addition, the frame 104 may have fewer or additional horizontal members extending from various points along its vertical length, or the frame may include diagonal members in one or more embodiments. It is contemplated that the frame is formed from rigid materials such as but not limited to steel, aluminum, carbon fiber, or one or more alloys.

The base 120 in one or more embodiments is a generally planar rigid structure that may be formed from similar materials as the frame. The base 120 ensures that the frame 104 remains stationary and stable when the single step resistance training device is both in use and not in use. In some embodiments, the base 120 may be secured to the floor so as to provide additional support such as to resist tipping. In other embodiments, the base 120 may be sufficiently large such that the training device remains stationary and stable without being secured to the floor. It is contemplated that a base 120 may not be necessary in all embodiments, as the training device may be secured to one or more walls. The training device may be secured with various mechanical fasteners such as screws, brackets, nuts and bolts, or a combination thereof. In some embodiments, the frame 104 may be configured such that it is stationary and stable without a base 120. For example, the frame 104 may be configured with a large or wide bottom end 124.

Attached to the frame 104 is a step 116, a step extension 144, and a spring 108 in one or more embodiments. Generally, the step 116 and the spring 108 provide resistance to a user that is utilizing the training device as will be described further below.

The step 116 has a proximal end and a distal end and may be configured as a bar or tube in one or more embodiments. It is contemplated that any elongated structure may be used to form the step 116. Generally, the proximal end is the end which attaches to a pivot 132 while the distal end may be engaged by a user. A pad 112 may be located at the distal end of the step 116; however, a pad is not required in all embodiments. The pad 112 provides a surface which contacts or engages the user's foot when the single step resistance training device is in use. In one or more embodiments, the pad 112 has a width which is larger than the width of the step 116 to allow the pad to be easily engaged by the user.

The pad 112 may tilt or rotate as the step 116 is actuated in one or more embodiments. In these embodiments, the pad 112 may be mounted on rotating mount 152. Generally, the rotating mount 152 allows the pad 112 to rotate or move along an axis. In one embodiment, the rotating mount 152 fits over a portion of the step 116 at the step's distal end and is attached to the step by an axel which goes through the rotating mount and the step. The rotating mount 152 then rotates around the axel. Of course other rotating mounts 152 may be used, such as but not limited to hinges and other pivoting structures.

A rotating or tilting pad 112 is advantageous because it allows the user's foot to remain in full contact with the pad even if the user's foot is oriented at various angles. It is contemplated that the pad 112 may include various straps or retention mechanisms, or be shaped to accept a user's shoe to better support or hold the user's foot if desired.

A pivot 132 at the proximal end of the step 116 allows the step to actuate or swing along a vertical axis. The pivot 132 may be a hinge or similar structure where either end of the structure is free to rotate along an axis. For example, the pivot 132 may comprise a first end and a second end, the proximal end of each having a hole to accept a rod, pin, or axel therethrough. In this manner, the first and second ends of the pivot 132 rotate around the pin along an axis. In one or more embodiments, one end of the pivot 132 is attached to the proximal end of the step 116 while the other end of the pivot is attached to a step extension 144. It is contemplated that any structure which, when attached to the step 112, allows the step to actuate along a vertical axis may be used with the invention herein.

It is noted that the pivot may be integrally formed into the step 116 and the step extension 144 in one or more embodiments. For example, the proximal ends of the step 116 and the step extension 144 may include an opening to accept a rod, pin, or axel therethrough. In this embodiment, the first end or second end of the pivot 132 may be considered to be the portion of the step 116 or the step extension 144 configured to accept the rod, pin, or axel therethrough.

A step extension 144 may be provided in one or more embodiments to allow the pivot 132 to be connected to the frame 104. Note however, that in some embodiments, a step extension 144 may not be required as the pivot 132 may be directly attached to the frame 104. One advantage of the step extension 144 is that it raises the step 112 so that it is more easily accessible. Another advantage of the step extension 144 is that it may be adjustable, in one or more embodiments, to accommodate various users or different resistance devices and springs 108 as will be described further below.

In one embodiment, the step extension 144 is attached to the bottom end 164 of the frame 104. For example, the step extension 144 may extend from the bottommost horizontal member of the frame 104 such as illustrated in FIG. 1. The step extension 144 may extend upward, be offset, or both such as by extending horizontally as well as upwardly, if desired. It is noted that the step extension 144 may be a rigid tubular or elongated structure such as described above with regard to elements of the frame 104.

Thus, the step 116 may be connected to the frame 104 through the pivot 132 and the step extension 144, or just through a pivot 132 directly attached to the frame 104. In one or more embodiments, the step 116 generally extends outward from the frame 104 so as to be easily accessible by a user, such as illustrated in FIG. 1. In this manner, the pivot 132 allows the step 116 and its pad 112 to move along an arc as it is actuated.

As stated, the single step resistance training device provides training through resisting the movement of its user through one or more resistance devices. Generally, a resistance device is a resilient spring or band which resists being stretched. In one or more embodiments, one or more springs 108 may be used as resistance. Note that though the resistance herein is generally described as being provided by a spring 108, it is contemplated that other resistance devices, such as elastic bands, elastic tubing, or weights may be used alone or in combination with the springs 108 to provide resistance. For example, one or more elastic bands or elastic tubing may be used alone in combination with the springs 108 in some embodiments. The elastic bands may be configured to attach to the training device in a similar manner to the springs 108 and may provide variable or fixed resistance. [PLEASE PROVIDE ADDITIONAL EXAMPLES OF RESISTANCE DEVICES IF DESIRED]

A spring 108 is advantageous because it may provide variable resistance in one or more embodiments. Generally, a variable resistance is one that may increase or decrease as it is moved or stretched. For example, as the spring 108 is stretched, the amount of resistance it provides may increase. In contrast, a fixed resistance, such as a weight, remains constant as it is moved.

It is known that an individual muscle's strength is not constant but rather varies along a strength curve. For example, the strength of a muscle may increase as it contracts. It is also known that a resistance may be more or less easily moved by a fulcrum and lever depending on its position with respect the lever's fulcrum or pivot point, and that the body's skeletal structure contains many such fulcrum and lever structures. For example, a person's arms and legs pivot at their joints. Thus, resistance training with a fixed resistance is less effective than training with variable resistance because the resistance does not increase with the body's strength curve.

In contrast, a variable resistance, in one or more embodiments, may increase with the body's strength curve. In this manner, training is more effective because a muscle must work against a resistance that increases as the muscle moves from its weakest to strongest position. A fixed resistance is limited, in that, the amount of resistance is generally the amount the body can move at its weakest points. Therefore, it can be seen that training with a fixed resistance becomes increasingly less effective as a muscle moves from its weakest to strongest position.

The spring 108 may be adjusted or replaced to correspond to the strength curve of the muscles of a particular user. For example, the size and number of coils, or the thickness, rigidity, or both of the materials used to form a spring 108 may be varied across the length of the spring. In this manner the spring 108 may be configured to provide more or less resistance as it is stretched. It is contemplated, that one or more fixed resistance devices, such as weights, may be used in addition to one or more variable resistance devices to increase resistance, if desired.

Generally, each end of the spring 108 will attach to the single step resistance device at each end of the spring. For example, one end of the spring 108 may attach to the extension 140 while the other end attaches to the step 116. The spring 108 then provides resistance to the motion of the step 116 when it is being actuated by a user as will be discussed further below. Generally, the extension 140 in one or more embodiments, is a rigid structure which allows one or more springs 108 to be attached thereto. In one embodiment, as illustrated in FIG. 1, the extension 140 is a rigid tubular structure extending downward from the frame 104.

In one or more embodiments, the extension 140 is attached to or near the top end 136 of the frame 104. It is contemplated that an extension 140 will not be required in every embodiment because the one or more springs 108 may be directly attached to the frame 104.

In one or more embodiments, the spring 108 may be removably attached to the single step resistance training device. Of course, a spring 108 may be permanently attached such as by welds, if desired. The point at which a spring 108 attaches to the frame or extension 140, regardless of whether the attachment is permanent or removable, will be known as the frame attachment 148. Similarly, the point at which a spring 108 attaches to the step, regardless of whether the attachment is permanent or removable, will be known as the step attachment 128.

In some embodiments, the spring 108 may be removably attached. This allows a spring 108 to be removed and replaced for maintenance or to insert a different spring which adjusts the resistance provided by the single step resistance training device. Removable attachment may be accomplished in various ways. For example, one or more screws, nuts, bolts, pins, clips, clamps, hooks, loops, or a combination thereof may be used. In one embodiment, both ends of the spring 108 have a hook which engages a frame attachment 148 and a step attachment 128 comprising an eyelet or a loop. In one or more embodiments, either or both ends of the spring 108 may have a hole, hook, or eyelet, or loop to allow a screw, bolt, pin, or other removable fastener to be inserted therethrough and into a frame attachment 148, step attachment 128, or both. In other embodiments, the spring's 108 hole or loop may engage a frame attachment 148 or a step attachment 128 comprising a hook to allow the spring 108 to be removably attached. It is contemplated that any one or more fasteners or structures capable of removably securing the spring 108 to the training device may be used.

The step attachment 128 and the frame attachment 148 may be formed into the step 116 or extension 156 respectively, rather than being separate elements attached to the step or extension. In addition, in some embodiments, the step attachment 128 and the frame attachment 148 may themselves be removed and replaced to accommodate different springs 108. Lastly, an adapter may be provided to allow more than one spring 108 to be attached, or there may be a plurality of step attachments 128 and the frame attachments 148 to allow the same.

As stated above, the single step resistance training device may be configured to be adjustable in one or more embodiments. In these embodiments, various elements of the training device may be adjusted such as by moving them in or out, or up or down. This adjustability allows the training device to be adjusted for ergonomic or training related reasons.

FIG. 2 illustrates an embodiment of the single step resistance training device having adjustable elements. As illustrated, the training device has an adjustable extension 140, step attachment 128, and step extension 144. Adjusting the training device for ergonomic reasons generally means raising or lowering the step 116 to accommodate users of various heights or sizes. As can be seen in FIG. 2, raising or lowering the step extension 144 correspondingly raises or lowers the step 116. Of course, this changes the amount of tension on the spring 108 and thus the extension 140, to which the other end of the spring 108 is attached, may be correspondingly raised or lowered to maintain the same amount of tension.

The variability and amount of resistance may be adjusted as well. For example, raising the extension 140 places more tension on the spring 108 and thus increases the amount of resistance. As stated, the amount of resistance may also be adjusted by replacing the spring 108 or springs with one or more springs having less or more resistance as desired.

The variability of the resistance may be adjusted by adjusting the step attachment 128 along the length of the step. The variability of the resistance is changed by adjustment of the step attachment 128 because the angle at which the spring 108 meets the step 116 is changed. At different angles, the amount of resistance the user experiences varies as the step 116 is actuated. For example, at one angle, the resistance may increase more quickly as the step 116 is actuated than if the spring 108 is at another angle. This is another advantage of the single step resistance training device.

Elements of the single step resistance training device may be made adjustable through various structures. In one embodiment, the single step resistance training device comprises an extension guide 220, a step guide 208, or both. Generally, these guides are hollow structures having one or more securing holes 204 along their lengths. The securing holes 204 may be threaded or unthreaded. In this embodiment, the step extension 144 and the extension 140 are configured to fit within the opening formed by the hollow structure of the step guide 208 and extension guide 220. In this manner, the extension 140 or the step extension 144 may by moved within the extension guide 220 and step guide 208, respectively.

For example, referring to FIG. 2, the step extension 144 may be moved up or down within the step guide 208 until the desired position of the step 116 is achieved. In addition, the extension 140 may be moved up or down within the extension guide 220 to create the desired amount of resistance. Once the extension 140 or the step extension has been positioned as desired, they may be secured in place.

The step extension 144, extension 140, or other adjustable element may be secured as desired in different ways. For example, in embodiments where the securing holes 204 are threaded, one or more securing pins 212 may be screwed into one or more of the securing holes 204 of the step guide 208. As a securing pin 212 is tightened, the securing pin's tip clamps the step extension 144 within the step guide 208 at its current position.

In some embodiments, the step extension 144, the extension 140, or both may have one or more adjustment holes 216 along their length. In a threaded embodiment, a step extension 144 is secured by lining up one or more adjustment holes 216 with one or more securing holes 204 and then screwing one or more securing pins 212 into the adjustment holes until the step extension is secured. It is noted that the securing holes 204 may be threaded or may simply provide an opening for a securing pin 212 to reach an adjustment hole 216.

Of course, both the adjustment holes 216 and the securing holes 204 may be unthreaded. In these embodiments, a securing pin 212 may simply be inserted into the securing holes 204 and adjustment holes 216 to secure a step extension. It is contemplated that more than adjustment holes 216 and securing holes 204 may be formed on more than one side of the step guide 208 and step extension 144. In these embodiments, the securing pin 212 may extend into one side of the step guide 208 and step extension 144, and out another side of the same.

In addition, a securing pin 212 may be spring loaded in one or more embodiments. In these embodiments, the securing pin 212 may be slidably held within a hollow structure attached to the step guide 208. In this manner the securing pin 212 may be pulled out of an adjustment hole 216 while remaining held within the hollow structure. When the user releases the securing pin 212 one or more springs in or around the hollow structure may force the pin into the same or a different adjustment hole 216.

The extension 140 may be secured as described above with regard to the step extension 144. The extension 140 or other adjustable element may include one or more threaded or unthreaded adjustment holes 216 on one or more sides. Similarly, the extension guide 220 or other guide may include one or more threaded or unthreaded securing holes 204 on one or more sides. One or more threaded, unthreaded, or spring loaded securing pins 212 may be used, as appropriate, to secure the extension 140 in one or more embodiments.

Any other adjustable elements may be secured as described above with regard to the step extension 144 and the extension 140. One such adjustable element may be the step 116 in one or more embodiments. It is contemplated that the length of the step 116, in one or more embodiments, may be adjustable. For example, the proximal end of the step 116 may be a hollow structure configured to form a guide as described above. The distal end of the step 116 may then be adjusted within this guide and secured when the length of the step is as desired. Securing the step 116 at its desired length may occur with a securing pin 212 as described above. In addition, it is contemplated that in some embodiments a plurality of steps 116 having different lengths may be provided. In these embodiments, a step 116 may be disconnected from the pivot 132 and another step of the desired length may be connected.

Another adjustable element may be the step attachment 128 in one or more embodiments. For example, the step attachment 128 may comprise a hollow structure having one or more securing holes 204, and be configured to fit completely around the step 116. The step attachment 128 may also comprise an open structure configured to fit over or around a portion of the step 116. The step attachment 128 may then be moved or placed along the length of the step 116 and secured such as with a threaded or unthreaded securing pin 212 as described above.

As stated above, adjusting the step attachment 128 may change the angle at which the spring 108 meets the step 116. This is advantageous in that the variability of the resistance as the step 116 is actuated may be adjusted. For example, moving the step attachment 128 such that the spring 108 is perpendicular to the step 116 may cause the resistance to be increased at the beginning of each downward actuation of the step.

Those knowledgeable in the art will note that the adjustable elements of the single step resistance training device, including but not limited to the step extension 144, the extension 140, the step attachment 128, and the step 116, may be secured in various ways include those now known and later developed. For example, adjustable elements may be secured by a quick release clamping system such as the quick release clamping systems often found on bicycles. Generally, such systems operate by providing a hollow guide having an opening to accept an adjustable element. When the adjustable element is in the desired position, the opening of the hollow guide is tightened which clamps the adjustable element in place.

FIG. 3 illustrates an embodiment of the single step resistance training device having a hand hold 304. The hand hold 304 may be used to stabilize a user as he or she exercises. The hand hold 304 is also advantageous where the training device is used for rehabilitation. Users undergoing rehabilitation may have difficulty standing and thus a hand hold 304 may be provided to allow these users to utilize the training device.

The hand hold 304 may also be employed to enhance training, if desired. For example, some manner of upper extremity training is realized when a user is using upper body strength to stabilize his or her body during training. In addition, a user may use a hand hold 304 to resist upward movement of the user's body as the user applies downward force to actuate the training device. It is contemplated that multiple hand holds 304 may be present in one or more embodiments, and that any handle or grip may be used with the invention as a hand hold. For example, hand holds 304 corresponding to a user's right and left hands may be provided.

FIGS. 4-5 illustrate a method of resistance training utilizing an embodiment of the single step resistance training device. In FIG. 4, the step 116 is in an unactuated position and is engaged by a user's foot. As the user applies downward force through his or her foot, the step 116 moves about its pivot 132 while distorting or stretching the spring 108. The spring's 108 resistance against this stretching provides resistance training to the user.

As stated the downward motion stretches the spring 108 in one or more embodiments. Once the step 116 has moved downward from its unactuated position, as shown in FIG. 5, the user may reduce the downward force applied by his or her foot allowing the step to return towards its unactuated position. The step 116 will return towards its unactuated position because the spring 108 pulls the step upward as the spring returns to its unstretched configuration.

Training on the single step resistance training device generally comprises actuating the step 116 in a downward motion. However, as a part of the user's training, the user may also resist the step's 116 upward motion as the step returns towards its unactuated position. Thus, both the downward and upward motion of the step 116 may provide training to the user. This may be repeated as desired. It is contemplated that the user may apply downward force to the step 116 whenever the user so desires. Thus, for example, the user does not have to allow the step 116 to completely return to its unactuated position before the user begins his or her next actuation of the step by applying a downward force.

The downward motion may utilize a different set of muscles than resisting the upward motion and thus different muscles are trained as the user actuates the step 116. For example, the downward motion may utilize posterior leg and thigh muscles while resisting the upward motion utilizes anterior leg and thigh muscles. Of course, some muscles, such as calf muscles, the gluteus maximus, and pelvic muscles are used during the downward motion and in resisting the upward motion.

In addition, the body's core muscles, such as the abdominal muscles, are also used to stabilize the body as the step 116 is actuated. Other muscles of the torso, and muscles of the upper extremities may also be used to stabilize and balance the body as the step 116 is actuated. This is especially so, if the user grasps one or more hand holds 304 while training as shown in FIGS. 4-5. Though the single step resistance training device is focused on training muscles of the lower extremities (e.g. leg and thigh muscles, the gluteus maximus), the use of the body's other muscles during actuation of the step 116 benefits these muscles as well.

To adjust the amount or variability of the resistance the user may replace one or more springs 108 with one or more other springs having differing amounts of resistance or differing variability of resistance. In addition, the extension 140 may be moved up or down to increase or decrease resistance, respectively. Further, the step attachment 128 may be moved along the length of the step 116 to change the angle at which the spring 108 meets the step, and consequently change the variability of the resistance experienced by the user, as described above.

While various embodiments of the invention have been described, it will be apparent to those of ordinary skill in the art that many more embodiments and implementations are possible that are within the scope of this invention. In addition, the various features, elements, and embodiments described herein may be claimed or combined in any combination or arrangement.