Title:
Hand Grip
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A hand grip may include a palm portion for contacting a palm of a hand and a strap portion for extending around and contacting a back of the hand. Ends of the strap portion may be joined to the palm portion at the opposite edges. The palm portion may be contoured to have both concave and convex areas. The contours may also form a cross-sectional plane with an s-shaped configuration. An area of the palm portion may also have a shape of a hyperbolic paraboloid. The palm portion may also have surfaces with a textured configuration that includes indentations extending across the palm portion. The indentations may be on one surface or both surfaces, and a distance between adjacent indentations may be greater in one are than in another area.



Inventors:
Clark, Timothy A. (Durham, OR, US)
Holt, Scott C. (Portland, OR, US)
Application Number:
12/194256
Publication Date:
02/25/2010
Filing Date:
08/19/2008
Assignee:
NIKE, INC. (Beaverton, OR, US)
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A41D13/08
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
HADEN, SALLY CLINE
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Shook Hardy & Bacon LLP (NIKE, Inc.) (Kansas City, MO, US)
Claims:
1. A hand grip comprising a palm portion for contacting a palm of a hand, the palm portion having a first surface and an opposite second surface, each of the first surface and the second surface having a textured configuration, and a cross-sectional plane of the palm portion having an s-shaped configuration.

2. The hand grip recited in claim 1, wherein the textured configuration includes at least one indentation extending from a first edge to a second edge of the palm portion.

3. The hand grip recited in claim 1, wherein the textured configuration includes a plurality of linear indentations extending from a first edge to a second edge of the palm portion.

4. The hand grip recited in claim 3, wherein the linear indentations include a first indentation and a second indentation that are adjacent to each other, a distance between the first indentation and the second indentation being greater at the first edge than at the second edge.

5. The hand grip recited in claim 3, wherein the textured configuration also includes a plurality of additional indentations that are substantially perpendicular to at least a portion of the linear indentations.

6. The hand grip recited in claim 1, further comprising a strap portion for extending around a back of the hand, the palm portion having a first edge and an opposite second edge, and the strap portion being secured to each of the first edge and the second edge.

7. The hand grip recited in claim 6, wherein the palm portion and the strap portion are formed of unitary construction from a polymer material.

8. A hand grip comprising: a palm portion for contacting a palm of a hand, the palm portion having a pre-contoured configuration that defines a concave area and a separate convex area on a surface of the palm portion, and the palm portion having opposite edges; and a strap portion for extending around and contacting a back of the hand, ends of the strap portion being joined to the palm portion at the opposite edges.

9. The hand grip recited in claim 8, wherein a cross-sectional plane of the palm portion that is equally spaced between the opposite edges has an s-shaped configuration.

10. The hand grip recited in claim 8, wherein the surface of the palm portion defines a plurality of indentations that extend between the opposite edges.

11. The hand grip recited in claim 8, wherein the palm portion and the strap portion are formed of unitary construction from a polymer material.

12. A hand grip comprising: a palm portion for contacting a palm of a hand, the palm portion having a first surface and an opposite second surface, and the palm portion having opposite edges; and a strap portion for extending around and contacting a back of the hand, ends of the strap portion being joined to the palm portion at the opposite edges, wherein an area of the palm portion located between the ends of the strap portion has a shape of a hyperbolic paraboloid.

13. The hand grip recited in claim 12, wherein a cross-sectional plane of the palm portion has an s-shaped configuration.

14. The hand grip recited in claim 12, wherein a cross-sectional plane of the palm portion that is equally spaced between the opposite edges has an s-shaped configuration.

15. The hand grip recited in claim 12, wherein the first surface has a convex configuration in an area that is separate from the area of the palm portion located between the ends of the strap portion.

16. The hand grip recited in claim 12, wherein the first surface has a textured configuration that includes a plurality of indentations extending between the opposite edges.

17. The hand grip recited in claim 12, wherein each of the first surface and the second surface has textured configurations that includes a plurality of indentations extending between the opposite edges.

18. The hand grip recited in claim 12, wherein the palm portion and the strap portion are formed of unitary construction from a polymer material.

19. A hand grip comprising: a palm portion having a palm surface for contacting a palm of a hand and an opposite grip surface for gripping an object, at least one of the palm surface and the grip surface having a textured configuration, and the palm portion having a first edge and an opposite second edge, a cross-sectional plane of the palm portion that is equally spaced between the first edge and the second edge having an s-shaped configuration; and a strap portion for extending around and contacting a back of the hand, the strap portion being formed of unitary construction with the palm portion and joined to the palm portion at each of the first edge and the second edge.

20. The hand grip recited in claim 19, wherein an area of the palm portion has a shape of a hyperbolic paraboloid.

21. The hand grip recited in claim 19, wherein the palm portion has: a first area located between ends of the strap portion, the first area having a shape of a hyperbolic paraboloid; and a second area separate from the first area, the grip surface having a convex shape in the second area.

22. The hand grip recited in claim 19, wherein the textured configuration includes at least one indentation extending from the first edge to the second edge of the palm portion.

23. The hand grip recited in claim 19, wherein the textured configuration includes a plurality of linear indentations extending from the first edge to the second edge of the palm portion.

24. The hand grip recited in claim 23, wherein the linear indentations include a first indentation and a second indentation that are adjacent to each other, a distance between the first indentation and the second indentation being greater at the first edge than at the second edge.

25. The hand grip recited in claim 23, wherein the textured configuration also includes a plurality of additional indentations that are substantially perpendicular to at least a portion of the linear indentations.

Description:

BACKGROUND

Professional, amateur, and recreational athletes commonly incorporate strength-building exercises into training regimens. Although the strength-building exercises may vary significantly, many involve the use of athletic equipment (e.g., weight machines, barbells, dumbbells) that the athlete grips with his or her hands while performing the exercises. When gripping the athletic equipment and performing the exercises, the hands may experience relatively significant compressive and shear forces, particularly in palms of the hands. Moreover, the forces may induce calluses to form on surfaces of the palms and may place undue stresses upon the various bones, joints, muscles, and tendons of the hands.

An example of a common strength-building exercise is the bench press, which is utilized to build strength in the arms and chest of the athlete, particularly in the pectoral muscles. In general, the bench press involves laying in a face-up position, with arms extending in a generally upward direction, and with the hands gripping and supporting a bar laden with disc weights (also referred to as plates). The athlete then repeatedly (a) permits the bar and disc weights to move downward toward the chest and (b) presses upward to extend the arms and move the bar and disc weights away from the chest.

An Olympic bar, which is commonly used for the bench press, weighs 20.0 kilograms (44.1 pounds). The portion of the bar that is gripped by the athlete has a diameter of 2.80 centimeters (1.10 inches) and is commonly engraved with a knurled crosshatch pattern to provide enhanced grip. Depending upon the strength of the athlete, the purpose of the training regimen, and various other factors, the combined weight of the bar and disc weights may range from 20.0 kilograms (44.1 pounds) to over 113 kilograms (250 pounds). A relatively small area of the palm of each hand supports, therefore, from 10.0 kilograms (22.0 pounds) to over 56.7 kilograms (125 pounds). Given these forces supported by the hands, many athletes wear weight-lifting gloves or utilize other devices that distribute the compressive forces over a greater area of the palm and reduce the shear forces.

SUMMARY

Various configurations of a hand grip are disclosed below. In general, the hand grip includes a palm portion for contacting a palm of a hand and may also include a strap portion for extending around and contacting a back of the hand. Ends of the strap portion may be joined to the palm portion at the opposite edges. The palm portion may be contoured to have both concave and convex areas. The contours may also form a cross-sectional plane with an s-shaped configuration. An area of the palm portion may also have a shape of a hyperbolic paraboloid. The palm portion may also have surfaces with a textured configuration that includes indentations extending across the palm portion. The indentations may be on one surface or both surfaces, and a distance between adjacent indentations may be greater in one are than in another area.

The advantages and features of novelty characterizing aspects of the invention are pointed out with particularity in the appended claims. To gain an improved understanding of the advantages and features of novelty, however, reference may be made to the following descriptive matter and accompanying figures that describe and illustrate various configurations and concepts related to the invention.

FIGURE DESCRIPTIONS

The foregoing Summary and the following Detailed Description will be better understood when read in conjunction with the accompanying figures.

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a hand grip and a hand.

FIG. 2 is a side elevational view of the hand grip and the hand.

FIG. 3 is a side elevational view of the hand grip and the hand gripping an object.

FIG. 4 is a perspective view of the hand grip.

FIG. 5 is a front elevational view of the hand grip.

FIG. 6 is a side elevational view of the hand grip.

FIG. 7 is another side elevational view of the hand grip.

FIG. 8 is a top plan view of the hand grip.

FIG. 9 is a rear elevational view of the hand grip.

FIG. 10 is a cross-sectional view of the hand grip, as defined by section line 10-10 in FIG. 8.

FIG. 11 is a front elevational view of another configuration of the hand grip.

FIG. 12 is a rear elevational view of the configuration of the hand grip depicted in FIG. 11.

FIG. 13 is a front elevational view of yet another configuration of the hand grip.

FIG. 14 is a side elevational view of the configuration of the hand grip depicted in FIG. 13.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

The following discussion and accompanying figures disclose various configurations of a hand grip 10. Although hand grip 10 is discussed below as being utilized in connection with athletic equipment (e.g., weight machines, barbells, dumbbells) that an athlete grips with his or her hands while performing strength-building exercises, hand grip 10 may also be utilized to protect the hands or impart grip during a variety of other athletic activities that involve gripping an object (e.g., bicycling, pole vaulting, water skiing, field hockey, polo, automobile racing). Hand grip 10 or devices incorporating concepts associated with hand grip 10 may also be utilized during a variety of non-athletic activities to, for example, assist with opening jars or other containers, moving equipment, or handling other objects. Accordingly, hand grip 10 or devices incorporating concepts associated with hand grip 10 may be utilized for a variety of athletic or non-athletic activities.

Hand grip 10 is depicted in combination with a hand 100 (i.e., a right hand) of an individual in FIGS. 1 and 2. Although hand grip 10 is depicted as having a configuration that is suitable for a right hand, a substantially identical and mirror-image version of hand grip 10 may also be utilized for a left hand of the individual. The primary elements of hand grip 10 are a palm portion 20 and a strap portion 30. In general, palm portion 20 lies adjacent to a palm of hand 100 and covers a substantial portion of the palm. Strap portion 30 extends around a back of hand 100 and assists with securing hand grip 10 to hand 100. Given this configuration, hand 100 may be located between palm portion 20 and strap portion 30 to place hand grip 10 upon hand 100. Similarly, hand 100 may be extracted from the area between palm portion 20 and strap portion 30 to remove hand grip 10 from hand 100.

As discussed in the Background section above, a hand (such as hand 100) may experience relatively significant compressive and shear forces, particularly in the palm, when gripping athletic equipment and performing exercises. These forces may induce calluses to form and may place undue stresses upon the various bones, joints, muscles, and tendons of hand 100. Hand grip 10 may be utilized to distribute the compressive forces over a greater area of the palm and reduce the shear forces. Referring to FIG. 3, hand 100 is utilizing hand grip 10 to grip a generally cylindrical object 200, which may be a portion of a weight machine, barbell, dumbbell, or any other object. More particularly, palm portion 20 generally extends between hand 100 and object 200, and hand 100 induces palm portion 20 to wrap around object 200. Given that hand grip 10 may be formed from a flexible polymer material, as discussed in greater detail below, forces between hand 100 and object 200 may be distributed, moderated, or attenuated to impart protection and comfort to hand 100.

Hand grip 10 is depicted individually in FIGS. 4-10. As discussed above, palm portion 20 is intended to lie adjacent to the palm of hand 100 and covers a substantial portion of the palm, whereas strap portion 30 is intended to extend around a back of hand 100 and assists with securing hand grip 10 to hand 100. In combination, therefore, palm portion 20 and strap portion 30 form a structure that (a) imparts protection and comfort to hand 100 and (b) secures hand grip 10 to hand 100. For reference purposes, hand grip 10 may be divided into an upper region 11 and a lower region 12. Upper region 11 generally includes portions of hand grip 10 (i.e., either or both of palm portion 20 and strap portion 30) corresponding with the phalanges, upper areas of the metacarpals, and the joints between the phalanges and the metacarpals of hand 100. Lower region 12 generally includes portions of hand grip 10 corresponding with lower areas of the metacarpals and the bones of the wrist. Regions 11-12 are not intended to demarcate precise areas of hand grip 10. Rather, regions 11-12 are intended to represent general areas of hand grip 10 to aid in the following discussion.

Palm portion 20 has a configuration that is intended to lie adjacent to the palm of hand 100 and covers a substantial portion of the palm. When utilized during strength-building exercises, palm portion generally covers areas of hand 100 corresponding with the proximal phalanges and at least a portion of the metacarpals. When hand 100 is gripping object 200 (e.g., an Olympic bar) in the manner depicted in FIG. 3, the weight of object 200 generally rests at the interface between regions 11 and 12 (i.e., across a central area of the metacarpals), with upper region 11 wrapping around one side of object 200 and lower region 12 wrapping around an opposite side of object 200. Depending the intended use of hand grip 10 and various other factors, the area of hand 100 covered by palm portion 20 may vary significantly.

Palm portion 20 has a palm surface 21 and an opposite grip surface 22. In general, palm surface 21 faces and contacts the palm of hand 100, and grip surface 22 faces away from the palm and is utilized to contact an object (e.g., object 200). Palm portion 20 also includes a medial edge 23 and an opposite lateral edge 24 that form a boundary for surfaces 21 and 22. Each of surfaces 21 and 22 have a curved or otherwise contoured configuration that conforms with the surface characteristics of the palm of hand 100. Referring to FIGS. 6 and 7, for example, palm surface 21 appears to have a generally convex configuration in upper region 11, whereas palm surface 21 appears to have a generally concave configuration in lower region 12. Similarly, grip surface 22 appears to have a generally concave configuration in upper region 11, whereas grip surface 22 appears to have a generally convex configuration in lower region 12. These convex and concave configurations impart a generally s-shaped cross-section in palm portion 20, as depicted in FIG. 10. More particularly, a cross-sectional plane of palm portion 20 that is equally spaced between edges 23 and 24 exhibits an s-shaped configuration.

Along the cross-sectional plane depicted in FIG. 10, palm surface 21 appears to have a generally convex configuration in upper region 11. As palm surface 21 approaches edges 23 and 24, however, palm surface 21 curves rearward to define a generally concave configuration. Similarly, along the cross-sectional plane depicted in FIG. 10, grip surface 22 appears to have a generally concave configuration in upper region 11. As grip surface 22 approaches edges 23 and 24, however, grip surface 22 curves rearward to define a generally convex configuration. In upper region 11, therefore, palm portion 20 may be generally described as having a shape of a hyperbolic paraboloid. In general, a hyperbolic paraboloid is shaped like a saddle. In more mathematical terms, and in combination with a three-dimensional Cartesian coordinate system having x, y, and z axes, a hyperbolic paraboloid can be represented by the equation z=(x2/a2)−(y2/b2), thereby forming a surface that opens upward (i.e., in a direction of the positive z-axis) along the x-axis and downward (i.e., in a direction of the negative z-axis) along the y-axis. In general, the hyperbolic paraboloid shape of palm portion 20 is located in the area between ends of strap portion 30.

Surfaces 21 and 22 each have a textured configuration. Referring to FIG. 9, the texture associated with palm surface 21 is depicted as having a plurality of indentations 25 that generally extend between edges 23 and 24. Indentations 25 have a straight and substantially parallel configuration in upper region 11, but are somewhat curved in lower region 12. The curvature imparts a configuration wherein a distance between adjacent indentations 25 is greater at lateral edge 24 than at medial edge 23. Referring to FIG. 5, the texture associated with grip surface 22 is depicted as having a plurality of indentations 26. Some of indentations 26 generally extend between edges 23 and 24, whereas other indentations 26 extend in a perpendicular or vertical direction. Indentations 26 also have a straight and substantially parallel configuration in upper region 11, but are somewhat curved in lower region 12. The curvature imparts a configuration wherein a distance between adjacent indentations 25 is greater at lateral edge 24 than at medial edge 23. In addition to indentations 26, the texture associated with grip surface 22 may include further indentations, protrusions, or textures in areas between indentations 26.

The textured configuration of surfaces 21 and 22 discussed above assists with both the flexibility and grip of palm portion 20. Indentations 25 and 26 form flexion lines in palm portion 20 that assist with extending around a cylindrical object, such as object 200. In configurations of hand grip 10 that are intended to assist with gripping other types or shapes of objects, different indentation configurations may be utilized to facilitate bending hand grip 10 around the objects. The further indentations, protrusions, or textures in areas between indentations 26 may also be utilized to enhance the friction (i.e., grip) characteristics between palm portion 20 and object 200.

Strap portion 30 is joined with each of edges 23 and 24 and extends across palm surface 21 (i.e., faces palm surface 21) to form an area for receiving hand 100. The width of strap portion 30 may vary significantly, but is depicted as having a width that securely and comfortably receives hand 100. In some configurations of hand grip 10, strap portion 30 may be adjustable to fit hands with different proportions than hand 100. As an alternative, different versions of hand grip 10 may be made to accommodate hands with different proportions. In some configurations of hand grip 10, strap portion 30 may be absent such that pressure between hand 100 and object 200 is sufficient to retain a position of hand grip 10. In further configurations, strap portion 30 may be formed from a stretch textile or other material that is stitched or bonded to palm portion 20 at each of edges 23 and 24.

A variety of manufacturing processes may be utilized to form hand grip 10, including molding, milling, and thermoforming. Although hand grip 10 may be formed from various elements that are manufactured separately and subsequently joined, palm portion 20 and strap portion 30 are depicted as being formed of unitary (i.e., one-piece) construction. That is, palm portion 20 and strap portion 30 may be formed (e.g., through a molding operation) as a single, seamless element. An advantage of the unitary construction of hand grip 10 is that seams or other discontinuities that may cause pressure points in hand 100 are absent from hand grip 10.

In addition to manufacturing processes, a variety of materials may be utilized to form hand grip 10. In general, hand grip 10 may be formed form a polymer material, including both foamed and non-foamed polymers. More specifically, the materials utilized for hand grip 10 may include, for example, various rubber formulations (latex, thermoplastic rubber, chloroprene, polychloroprene), polyurethane, and ethylvinylacetate. In some configurations, surfaces 21 and 22 may be formed from different materials. More particularly, palm surface 21 may be formed from a softer material that imparts comfort to hand 100, and grip surface 22 may be formed from a harder, more durable material that resists abrasion against object 200. In other configurations, plates, textile elements, stitching, or other elements may be incorporated into hand grip 100 to reinforce or strengthen specific areas.

The overall configuration of hand grip 10 may vary considerably. As discussed above, the overall structure of hand grip 10 may be modified to accommodate different types of activities, the texture of palm portion 20 may be modified for different objects, and strap portion 30 may be formed to have an adjustable configuration. Referring to FIGS. 11 and 12, hand grip 10 may also incorporate a wrist strap 40 that assists with securing hand grip 10 to hand 100. A wrist strap 40 is also incorporated into the configuration of hand grip 10 in FIGS. 13 and 14. In contrast with other configurations, strap portion 30 and wrist strap 40 in FIGS. 13 and 14 are depicted as separate elements that are subsequently joined to palm portion 20. That is, strap portion 30 and wrist strap 40 may not be formed of unitary construction with palm portion 20 in some configurations of hand grip 10.

The invention is disclosed above and in the accompanying figures with reference to a variety of configurations. The purpose served by the disclosure, however, is to provide an example of the various features and concepts related to the invention, not to limit the scope of the invention. One skilled in the relevant art will recognize that numerous variations and modifications may be made to the configurations described above without departing from the scope of the present invention, as defined by the appended claims.





 
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