Title:
SWIM PADDLE TRAINING AID APPARATUS
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A swim training aid apparatus including a relatively thin plate member having a first and second surface separated by a leading edge on one end of the plate member, and a trailing edge on an opposite end. The leading edge is such that when the training aid apparatus is operationally mounted to the swimmer's hand, the swimmer is capable of articulating at least their intermediary phalanges of the hand over the leading edge, to a gripping position. The trailing edge is configured to extend proximally past the wrist joint of the swimmer The plate member includes wrist recess formed and dimensioned for articulating receipt of the swimmer's wrist joint therein. A retaining device cooperates with the plate member and the swimmer's hand to releasably retain the same to the training aid apparatus in the operating position.



Inventors:
Sherstnev, Eduard Y. (El Cerrito, CA, US)
Lee, Gavin B. (El Cerrito, CA, US)
Application Number:
13/275202
Publication Date:
04/19/2012
Filing Date:
10/17/2011
Assignee:
AQUAVOLO LLC (El Cerrito, CA, US)
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63B31/10
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
AVILA, STEPHEN P
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Beyer Law Group LLP (Palo Alto, CA, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A swim training aid apparatus for use on a hand of a swimmer, during a swimming motion, said training aid apparatus comprising: a relatively thin plate member having a first surface and an opposed second surface, the opposed first surface and second surface being separated by a leading edge on one end of the plate member, and by a trailing edge on an opposite end thereof, said plate member being formed and dimensioned to orient said leading edge such that when said training aid apparatus is operationally mounted to the swimmer's hand, in an operating position atop said first surface, said swimmer can articulate at least their intermediary phalanges of said hand over said leading edge, to a gripping position, during said swimming motion, said trailing edge being configured to extend proximally past the wrist joint of the swimmer when in said operating position, said trailing edge further defining a wrist recess formed and dimensioned for articulating receipt of the swimmer's wrist therein; and a retaining device cooperating with the plate member and the swimmer's hand to releasably retain the same to the training aid apparatus in said operating position.

2. The swim training aid apparatus according to claim 1, wherein said plate member is relatively rigid.

3. The swim training aid apparatus according to claim 2, wherein said plate member is composed of plastic.

4. The swim training aid apparatus according to claim 1, wherein the plate member includes a pair of winglets each extending outwardly from opposed sides of the swimmer's hand, when mounted in the operating position.

5. The swim training aid apparatus according to claim 4, wherein each winglet is of generally equal surface area, when mounted in the operating position.

6. The swim training aid apparatus according to claim 5, wherein each winglet includes a curvilinear outside edge extending between respective sides of said leading edge to respective sides of the trailing edge.

7. The swim training aid apparatus according to claim 4, wherein the leading edge is slightly bowed downwardly to generally conform to swimmer's hand when in the gripping position.

8. The swim training aid apparatus according to claim 1, wherein said retaining device includes at least one band member configured to cooperate with the plate member to releasably retain the same to the swimmer's hand.

9. The swim training aid apparatus according to claim 8, wherein said retaining device includes a first and a spaced second band member, each of which is configured to cooperate with the plate member to releasably retain the same to the swimmer's hand.

10. The swim training aid apparatus according to claim 9, wherein said first band member cooperating with the plate member proximate to said leading edge thereof to retain a knuckle portion of the swimmer's hand in abutting engagement with the plate member, in said operating position, and said second band member cooperating with the plate member proximate to said trailing edge thereof to retain a lower palm portion of the swimmer's hand in abutting engagement with the plate member.

11. The swim training aid apparatus according to claim 10, wherein said first and second band members are comprised of resilient, flexible tubing material configured to extend circumferentially around respective portions of the swimmer's hand for retainment thereof.

12. The swim training aid apparatus according to claim 11, wherein each respective end of each first and second tubing material member is sized for snug sliding receipt of a transverse cross-sectional dimension thereof through respective receiving channels in said plate member, in a longitudinally tensioned condition, and for frictional retainment thereof, in a non-longitudinally tensioned condition.

13. The swim training aid apparatus according to claim 1, further including: a weight pad removably mounted to the plate member thereof.

14. The swim training aid apparatus according to claim 13, wherein said weight pad is water absorbent.

15. The swim training aid apparatus according to claim 14, wherein said weight pad is comprised of a wool felt.

16. The swim training aid apparatus according to claim 13, wherein said weight pad is removably mounted to said first surface of the plate member.

Description:

RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application claims priority under 35 U.S.C. §119(e) from co-pending U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 61/393,993, filed Oct. 18, 2010, entitled “SWIM PADDLE,” naming Eduard Sherstenev as the inventor, and which is incorporated herein by reference in its entirety and for all purposes.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to athletic training devices, and more particularly, relates to competitive swimmers' training apparatus.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

In the field of competitive swimming, it has been recognized that the development of strength and endurance of one's swimming muscles is one of the keys for success and speed, when training. While weight lifting is still an important training technique, this lifting exercise alone will not adequately develop all the muscles utilized in a swimming stroke, let alone increasing one's endurance.

As a consequence, various swim training aids have been developed that increase the water resistance experienced by a swimmer's limb during a swim stroke. Such increased water resistance proportionately develops all the swimming muscles, as well as their endurance.

Swim paddles for a swimmer's hands, for example, have been developed as a means of improving upper body strength and endurance. These hand paddle training aids are typically designed to support the swimmer's hand, including the fingers when at least generally extended. Although these current swim paddle designs do increase water resistance, and thus improve upper body strength and endurance, they have significant drawbacks. For example, when these conventional paddles act as an extension of the hand, extending to the entire surface of the human hand, in a fully opened position where the fingers are generally opened and extended, the swimmer is required to slightly modify his or her swim stroke in order to compensate for the increase in surface area. In particular, while swimming with conventional paddles, a swimmer is forced to press on the paddle not only with his or her palm but also with fingers in order to support the paddle. This forced pressure on the paddle with swimmer's fingers hinders the swimmer's technique and adds more pressure to swimmer's shoulder, which is a leading source of injury (e.g., rotator cuff) for swimmers.

Accordingly, there is a need to provide a swim paddle training aid that proportionately builds strength and endurance while swimming without adversely altering their swim technique.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention provides a swim training aid for use on a hand of a swimmer, during a swimming motion. The training aid apparatus includes a relatively thin plate member having a first surface and an opposed second surface. The opposed first and second surfaces are separated by a leading edge on one end of the plate member, and by a trailing edge on an opposite end thereof. The plate member is further formed and dimensioned to orient the leading edge such that when the training aid apparatus is operationally mounted to the swimmer's hand, in an operating position atop the first surface, the swimmer can articulate at least their intermediary phalanges of their hand over the leading edge, to a gripping position, during the swimming motion. The trailing edge is configured to extend proximally past the wrist joint of the swimmer's hand when in the operating position. The trailing edge, however, defines a wrist recess formed and dimensioned for articulating receipt of the swimmer's wrist portion therein. The training aid further includes a retaining device that cooperates with the plate member and the swimmer's hand to releasably retain the same to the training aid apparatus in the operating position.

Accordingly, the swimmer's fingers are cupped or creased around the leading edge of the plate member, during their swim stroke. This hand configuration places their arms and shoulders in a more natural position, facilitating their swim technique as well as reducing potential injury.

In one specific embodiment, the plate member comprised of a relatively rigid plastic material.

In another specific arrangement, the plate member includes a pair of winglets each extending outwardly from opposed sides of the swimmer's hand, when mounted in the operating position. Each winglet is of generally equal surface area, when mounted in the operating position.

In still another configuration, the leading edge is slightly bowed downwardly to generally conform to swimmer's hand when in the gripping position.

In yet another specific embodiment, the retaining device includes a first and a spaced second band member, each of which is configured to cooperate with the plate member to releasably retain the same to the swimmer's hand. The first band member cooperates with the plate member, proximate to the leading edge thereof, to retain a knuckle portion of the swimmer's hand in abutting engagement with the plate member, in the operating position. The second band member cooperates with the plate member proximate to the trailing edge thereof to retain a lower palm portion of the swimmer's hand in abutting engagement with the plate member.

Another arrangement includes the first and second band members which are comprised of resilient, flexible tubing material configured to extend circumferentially around respective portions of the swimmer's hand for retainment thereof. Each respective end of each first and second tubing material member is sized for snug sliding receipt of a transverse cross-sectional dimension thereof through respective receiving channels in the plate member, in a longitudinally tensioned condition, and for frictional retainment thereof, in a non-longitudinally tensioned condition.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The assembly of the present invention has other objects and features of advantage which will be more readily apparent from the following description of the best mode of carrying out the invention and the appended claims, when taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, in which:

FIG. 1 is a top perspective view of a swim paddle training aid apparatus constructed in accordance with the present invention.

FIG. 2 is a top plan view of the swim training aid apparatus of FIG. 1, shown mounted to a swimmer's hand.

FIG. 3 is a bottom perspective view of the swim training aid apparatus of FIG. 2, with the hand in an operating position.

FIG. 4 is a side perspective view of the swim training aid apparatus of FIG. 3.

FIG. 5 is a side perspective view of a plate member of the training aid apparatus of FIG. 1.

FIG. 6 is a top plan view of the plate member of FIG. 1.

FIGS. 7 and 8 are top plan views of an alternative embodiment plate members.

FIG. 9 is an exploded side perspective view of the swim training aid apparatus of FIG. 1, incorporating a water absorbent weight pad.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

While the present invention will be described with reference to a few specific embodiments, the description is illustrative of the invention and is not to be construed as limiting the invention. Various modifications to the present invention can be made to the preferred embodiments by those skilled in the art without departing from the true spirit and scope of the invention as defined by the appended claims. It will be noted here that for a better understanding, like components are designated by like reference numerals throughout the various figures.

Referring now to FIGS. 1-4, a swim training aid apparatus, generally designated 20, is illustrated for use on a hand 21 of a swimmer, during a swimming motion. The training aid apparatus includes a relatively thin plate member 22 having a first surface 23 and an opposed second surface 25, the opposed first and second surfaces are separated by a leading edge 26 on one end thereof, and by a trailing edge 27 on an opposite end thereof. The plate member 22 is formed and dimensioned to orient the leading edge 26 such that when the training aid apparatus is operationally mounted to the swimmer's hand, in an operating position atop the first surface 23 (FIGS. 2-4), the swimmer can articulate at least their intermediary phalanges 28 of the hand 21 over the leading edge, to a gripping position (FIGS. 3 and 4), during the swimming motion. The trailing edge 27 is further formed to extend proximally past the wrist joint 30 of the swimmer when in the operating position. The trailing edge 27 further defines a wrist recess 31 formed and dimensioned for articulating receipt of the swimmer's wrist joint therein. The swim training aid apparatus 20 further includes a retaining device, generally designated 32, that cooperates with the plate member and the swimmer's hand to releasably retain the same to the training aid apparatus in the operating position.

Accordingly, during the swimming motion, unlike the current swim paddle training gear, the swimmer's fingers 33 are cupped or creased around the leading edge 26 of the plate member 22. This is highly desirable in that, during a swimming motion, this hand configuration places one's arms and shoulders to be placed in a more natural position. Moreover, most power, during one's arm swimming stroke, is generated by the palm. By placing the leading edge 26 of the paddle training aid below the fingers 33, the concentration or center of force generated during the arm stroke is shifted toward the middle of the swimmer's palm portion. This rather minute displacement or shift in the force concentration from the center of the hand (as in conventional paddles) to the center of the palm, significantly reduces shoulder stress and strain by engaging the latimus dorsi muscles.

In accordance with the present invention, the plate member 22 is relatively thin, and relatively rigid. Both the first surface 23 and the opposed second surface 25 are preferably substantially planar and substantially parallel to one another. It will be appreciated, however, that the plate member may be semi-flexible, as well as the opposed surfaces being neither parallel nor substantially planar. In some instances, for example, the surfaces flexibility may be designed and altered in a manner providing customized water resistance, during the swimming stroke.

In one example, the plate member 22 is composed of a polymer based material, such as a polycarbonate, for weight and cost considerations, having thickness in the range of about ⅛″ in. to about ½″ in. Other suitable materials, however, include metallic materials such as steel or titanium or a flexible, water absorbent materials such as wool felt.

As above-indicated, the swim training aid apparatus 20 is formed and dimensioned such that, when mounted in the operating position (FIGS. 2-4), the plate member leading edge 26 is oriented so that the swimmer can articulate at least their intermediary phalanges 28 of their hand 21 thereover, to a gripping position (FIGS. 3 and 4), orienting the leading edge 26 into the proximal interphalangeal joints 35. Alternatively, the trailing edge 27 is oriented slightly lower were proximal phlanges 36 of the swimmer's hand 21 extend thereover, positioning the leading edge into the swimmer's metacarpophalangeal joints 37 thereof.

As best viewed in FIGS. 2 and 6-8, the leading edge 26 is slightly angle downward from the horizontal when in the operating position. This facilitates positioning in the swimmer's hand, conforming generally to natural slope of the adjacent inter- or metacarpo-phalangeal joints 35, 37 when the hand is cupped for gripping. By way of example, the slope of the leading edge is in the range of about 3 degrees to about 40 degrees downward from the horizontal.

The opposite end trailing edge 27, as mentioned, is configured to extend proximally past the wrist joint 30 of the swimmer when in the operating position. In one example, the lowest portions of the trailing edge 27 are positioned 1-4 inches below the swimmer's wrist joint 30. As also indicated above, the trailing edge 27 further defines the wrist recess 31, enabling receipt of the swimmer's wrist therein, and thus articulation of the palm portion about the wrist despite mounting of the paddle training aid. Preferably, the wrist recess 31 is configured such that when the plate member 22 is in the operating position, the recess trailing edge 27 is positioned right in the wrist joint 30, allowing full contact of the palm with plate member 22 during all phases of the swimming stroke cycle.

It will be appreciated that orientation of, and distance between, the leading edge and the trailing edge is not be precisely designed to accommodate the anatomical positioning of every swimmer's inter- or metacarpo-phalangeal joints and wrist joints. Different sized and shaped plate members, however, may be provided that enable functional use thereof in most instances.

Extending laterally outward from the swimmer's hand and palm portions are the opposed side winglets 40, 41 that facilitate creation of the water resistance during the swimmer's stroke. Each winglet 40, 41 is defined by a respective outside edge 42, 43 that interconnects with the opposed sides of the leading edge 26 on respective upper ends thereof, and with the opposed sides of the trailing edge 27 on respective lower ends thereof. These opposed outside edges 42, 43 are preferably curvilinear or bowed, forming a semi-butterfly wing shape. These outside edges, of course, can also be linear and angular as well.

Preferably, the surface area of the opposed winglets 40, 41 is generally equal to one another so that water resistance generated by each winglet will be roughly the same. As long as the winglet surface areas are generally equal, thus, the overall perimetric shapes need not be symmetrical to one another. For the purposes of this training aid, the water resistance generated by each winglet 40, 41 will still roughly be the same.

FIGS. 6-8, by way of example, illustrate a few acceptable plate member shapes. It will be appreciated, however, that some winglet shapes may be design in a manner enable the same to cut or knife through the water, reducing its water resistance.

Referring now to FIGS. 1-4 and 6, the retaining device 32 will now be described in detail. As mentioned, the retaining device 32 cooperates with the plate member 22 and the swimmer's hand 21 to releasably retain the same to the training aid apparatus, in the operating position. The retaining device 32 is preferably provided by a pair of spaced, flexible first and second band members 45, 46 that releasably retain the hand against the plate member first surface 23. The first band member 45 cooperates with the plate member 22 proximal to the leading edge 26 thereof to retain a knuckle portion 47 of the swimmer's hand 21 in abutting engagement with the plate member, in the operating position. Similarly, the spaced second band member 46 cooperates the plate member 22 proximate to the trailing edge 27 thereof to retain a lower palm portion 48 of the swimmer's hand in abutting engagement with the plate member.

Each band member is preferably resilient so that once the band members are sized for a particular swimmer, as will be described, the user can than can easily stretch the respective band member for positioning their hand in and out from under the strap. The flexible band members 45, 46 are also preferably provided by a resilient rubber or silicon material. While each band member can be solid rubber or other elastic material, as well as that comprised of multiple strands, conventional rubber tubing is preferable. A larger diameter band member can then be utilized for operational comfort, while at the same time reducing its weight and easing its ability to stretch when being fitted over the hand 21 (as compared to a similar diameter solid band material). In one specific embodiment, a suitable rubber tubing may be applied having a diameter in the range of about ⅛ in. to about ½ in., such as conventional rubber surgical tubing.

Other conventional resilient bands can be substituted such as bungee-style cords or rubber bands. Moreover, non-resilient band member can also be utilized such as conventional ropes, cords, etc. However, such an application may increase the difficulty of fitting of the training aid.

To releasably mount the band members 45, 46, as best shown in FIGS. 1, 2 and 6, a respective lock device 50, 51 cooperates between the respective, opposed distal end portions of the first and second band members and the strategic regions of the plate member.

In one specific embodiment, for example, the respective lock device 50, 51 includes strategically positioned and sized receiving channels 52, 52′ and 53, 53′ that enable the respective distal end portions of the band members 45, 46 to press-fit through in a manner preventing slippage therefrom.

For instance, when the training aid apparatus 20 is to be initially attached to the swimmer's hand, as mentioned above, the initial respective receiving diameter of each band member is sufficient large to enable positioning the wider portions of their hand comfortably therethrough. The respective distal end portions of the first and second band members 45, 46 can be easily adjusted by pulling upon them. By longitudinally stretching the resilient tubing, its diameter is decreased by an amount sufficient to allow sliding receipt thereof through the respective receiving channel until any band slack is removed.

The adjusted opening through the first band member 45, for example, is sized such that the respective band member fits snugly, yet comfortably, around the knuckle portion of the swimmer's hand, but small enough to prevent slippage thereof forward and rearward of the knuckle portion. Similarly, the adjusted opening through the second band member 46 is also sized such that the respective band member fits snugly, yet comfortably, around the swimmer's wrist portion, but small enough to prevent slippage thereof forward and rearward thereof. In one example, as best viewed in FIGS. 1 and 2, when the band member openings are initially opened, the swimmer's entire hand 21 (the left hand, for instance, as shown FIG. 2) is through the second band member 46, while only the four fingers are inserted through the first band member 45. The mounting position of the receiving channel 52 is generally such the first band member 45 is positioned between the thumb 55 and forefinger 56 when the mounted in the operating position.

Once properly adjusted, the respective lock device 50, 51 is configured to retain the distal end portions of the respective first and second band member 45, 46 at the selected diametric size suitable. In the above-mentioned locking device embodiment, this is performed merely by releasing the respective distal end to its natural state. The respective band member 45, 46 will expand by a sufficient amount to prevent easily slippage through the respective channel.

Each receiving channel 52, 52′ and 53, 53′ is therefore diametrically sized for snug sliding receipt of a transverse cross-sectional dimension of the respective tubular band member 45, 46, in a radially stretched or tensioned condition, and for selective frictional retainment thereof, in a non-longitudinally tensioned condition. By way of example, for a rubber tubing band member, having an outer diameter in the range of about ⅜ in. and an inner diameter in the range of about ¼ in., a polymeric plate member 22 may be provided, having a thickness in the range about ⅛ in. to about ½ in. The diameter of each respective receiving channel 52, 52′ and 53, 53′ is to be substantially smaller than the selected rubber tubing, in its natural state, having a diameter in the range of about 3/16 in. to about ¼ in.

Accordingly, the respective distal end portions of the first and second band members 45, 46 are is essentially friction fit within the respective receiving channel until (or unless) at least one side of the retained band members are selectively pulled, stretching the retained portion of the resilient band member until its diametric size thereof is sufficiently contracted to enable sliding receipt through the channel Upon release of the band member toward the non-tensioned condition, the retained portion thereof expands into frictional retaining contact with the walls of the respective receiving channel.

Turning now to FIG. 9, a weight pad 57 may be incorporated to increase the overall training weight of the swim paddle training aid 20 during use thereof. In one embodiment, the pad 57 may circumferentially shaped similar to that of the first or second surface 23, 25, depending upon which surface the pad is mounted to. In the example in FIG. 9, the weight pad 57 is mounted to the first surface 23, and incorporates a hole pattern aligned and matching the band receiving channels of the plate member 22.

Preferably, the pad 57 is water absorbent thereby utilizing the water absorbed as the means for adding weight. The pad, for instance, may be comprised of wool felt or an open cell foam rubber that can be removably mounted to the first surface via conventional mounting means such as VELCRO®, snaps, adhesive, etc.

Although the present invention has been described in connection with the preferred form of practicing it and modifications thereto, those of ordinary skill in the art will understand that many other modifications can be made thereto within the scope of the claims that follow. Accordingly, it is not intended that the scope of the invention in any way be limited by the above description, but instead be determined entirely by reference to the claims that follow.