Title:
Watersuit for Enhanced Performance in the Water
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An improved watersuit having a stabilization belt, elastic stretch sections and a wetsuit arm positioning system. The watersuit stabilization belt system comprises a watersuit and at least one adjustable belt attached to the watersuit, which provides an adjustable tightness around a user's mid-section. The improved watersuit also comprises an upper-body portion, a stretchable portion, and a lower-body portion, wherein the stretchable portion is more elastic than the upper and lower-body portions of the wetsuit. The improved watersuit further having a wetsuit arm positioning system, wherein the arm portions of the watersuit have extra buoyancy sections that wrap about the arm. These extra buoyancy sections are narrower around the front of the arms and wider around the back of the arms so as not to inhibit movement in the elbow region.



Inventors:
Mitchell, Todd Clayton (US)
Keith, Glen Sheldon (US)
Tyler, Robert Alan (US)
Reeder, Paul Andrew (US)
Application Number:
12/968075
Publication Date:
06/14/2012
Filing Date:
12/14/2010
Assignee:
MITCHELL TODD CLAYTON
KEITH GLEN SHELDON
TYLER ROBERT ALAN
REEDER PAUL ANDREW
Primary Class:
International Classes:
B63C11/04
View Patent Images:
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20110265253APPARATUS, METHOD AND SYSTEM FOR USING INTERCHANGEABLE DECORATIVE ELEMENTS WITH FOOTWEARNovember, 2011Juza et al.
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20030172430Changeable pockets on garmentsSeptember, 2003Jarrett
20030000004Trousers for cyclist and method of making sameJanuary, 2003Maier
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Primary Examiner:
COLLIER, JAMESON D
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
TROUTMAN PEPPER HAMILTON SANDERS LLP (ATLANTA, GA, US)
Claims:
What is claimed:

1. A watersuit stabilization belt system for streamlining a swimmer's body position and stabilizing a swimmer's muscles and lower back and improving watersuit fit, comprising: a watersuit; and at least one adjustable belt attached to the watersuit, wherein the belt provides an adjustable tightness around a user's mid-section.

2. The watersuit stabilization belt system of claim 1, wherein the watersuit is a wetsuit, a dry suit, or a water speed suit.

3. The watersuit stabilization belt system of claim 1, wherein the watersuit is a one-piece watersuit.

4. The watersuit stabilization belt system of claim 1, wherein the watersuit is a two-piece watersuit.

5. The watersuit stabilization belt system of claim 1, wherein the belt is positioned within the watersuit and wraps at least partially around the back of the user.

6. The watersuit stabilization belt system of claim 5, wherein the belt has ends positioned at opposite lateral sides of the interior of the watersuit, and wherein the belt is fastened together at its center with hook and loop fasteners.

7. The watersuit stabilization belt system of claim 6, wherein the ends of the belt are sewn into side seams of the watersuit.

8. The watersuit stabilization belt system of claim 6, wherein the belt is made of a stretchable material.

9. The watersuit stabilization belt system of claim 1, wherein the watersuit is made of neoprene rubber and nylon.

10. The watersuit stabilization belt system of claim 1, wherein the belt is made of a non-buoyant material including but not limited to nylon.

11. The watersuit stabilization belt system of claim 1, wherein the belt is made of a stretchable material.

12. The watersuit stabilization belt system of claim 1, wherein the belt is positioned outside the watersuit.

13. A watersuit comprising: an upper-body portion; a stretchable portion connected to the upper-body portion; and a lower-body portion connected to the stretchable portion, wherein the stretchable portion is more elastic than the upper and lower-body portions and wherein the stretchable portion extends from underarm regions down lateral side regions and across a lower back region of the wetsuit.

14. The watersuit of claim 13, wherein the watersuit is a wetsuit, a dry suit, or a water speed suit.

15. The watersuit of claim 13, wherein the stretchable portion is located on the shoulder and arm areas of the wetsuit.

16. The watersuit of claim 13, wherein the upper-body portion extends down the user's back.

17. The watersuit of claim 16, wherein the upper-body portion extends down the user's back to a position below the user's elbows.

18. The watersuit of claim 13, wherein the stretchable portion is V-shaped or U-shaped across the user's back.

19. The watersuit of claim 13, wherein the upper-body portion, stretchable portion and lower-body portion are all made of the same material, and wherein the upper and lower-body portions are thicker than the stretchable portion.

20. The watersuit of claim 13, wherein stretching of the stretchable portion facilitates rotation of the user's hips as the user's arm extends forward during a swimming stroke.

21. A watersuit arm positioning system, comprising: a watersuit; and an extra buoyancy arm portion positionable above the elbow of the watersuit.

22. The watersuit arm positioning system of claim 21, wherein the extra buoyancy section wraps fully around the arm.

23. The watersuit arm positioning system of claim 21, wherein the extra buoyancy section wraps partially around the arm.

24. The watersuit arm positioning system of claim 21, wherein the extra buoyancy section is integrally formed into the watersuit.

25. The watersuit arm positioning system of claim 21, wherein the extra buoyancy section is separately removable from the watersuit.

26. The watersuit arm positioning system of claim 21, wherein the extra buoyancy section is narrower around the front of the arms and wider around the back of the arms.

27. The watersuit arm positioning system of claim 21, wherein the extra buoyancy section of the arm portions are made of the same material as the remainder of the arm portions.

28. The watersuit arm positioning system of claim 21, wherein the extra buoyancy section of the arm portions are made of a different material as the remainder of the arm portions.

29. The watersuit arm positioning system of claim 21, wherein the extra buoyancy sections are thicker than the remainder of the arm portions.

30. The watersuit arm positioning system of claim 21, wherein the extra buoyancy sections are colored differently from the remainder of the arm portions.

31. The watersuit arm positioning system of claim 20, wherein the extra buoyancy sections are colored for high visibility.

32. An improved watersuit, comprising: an upper-body portion; a stretchable portion connected to the upper-body portion; a lower-body portion connected to the stretchable portion, wherein the stretchable portion is more elastic than the upper or lower-body portions; and at least one adjustable belt disposed on the wetsuit and positioned to wrap at least partially around the user.

33. The improved watersuit of claim 32, wherein the watersuit is a wetsuit, a dry suit, or a water speed suit.

34. The improved watersuit of claim 32, wherein the upper-body portion extends down the user's back to a position below the user's elbows, and wherein the stretchable portion is V-shaped or U-shaped across the user's back and extends from underarm regions down lateral side regions and across a lower back region of the wetsuit.

35. The improved watersuit of claim 32, wherein the belt has ends positioned at opposite lateral sides of the interior of the wetsuit, and wherein the belt is fastened together at its center with hook and loop fasteners.

36. The improved watersuit of claim 23, wherein arm portions of the watersuit have an extra buoyancy section above the elbow, wherein the extra buoyancy section wraps around the arm, and wherein the extra buoyancy section is narrower around the front of the arms and wider around the back of the arms.

Description:

TECHNICAL FIELD

The present invention relates generally to watersuits (i.e.: wetsuits, dry suits or water speed suits), and specifically to an improved watersuit designed to improve a swimmer's performance in the water.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

A wetsuit (or dry suit or water speed suit) is an article of clothing generally worn by divers, swimmers, and others engaged in water sports or water activities, when the temperature of the water is less than ideal. Wetsuits provide insulation, abrasion resistance, and buoyancy. However, as will be explained below, a need exists to improve the design of a wetsuit for swimming activities.

Good posture, a strong and stabilized core (i.e. abdomen and back), high elbows, and an extended range of motion are some of the attributes that a swimmer needs to be successful in the competitive arena. Good posture enhances a swimmer's range of motion, increases the swimmer's arm extension, and decreases the amount of resistance that the swimmer will face in the water. Good posture also helps the swimmer's core muscles obtain a powerful hip rotation, which results in increased propulsion in the water. If a swimmer does not have good posture, he or she will expend energy to engage his or her core muscles to correct the poor body position and posture. A strong and stabilized core reduces water resistance and allows the swimmer to use the whole of his or her body (including his or her shoulders, torso, and hips) to drive the swimming stroke, rather than just his or her shoulder muscles. Proper hip rotation also results in more power per stroke and is similar to the swinging of a golf club or baseball bat, wherein you lead with the hips, which generates the power. High elbows are also important during swimming because this allows a swimmer to obtain maximum propulsion during the pull stage of a swimmer's stroke. An extended range of motion is also necessary to ensure that a swimmer achieves maximum forward propulsion in the water. These necessary qualities however, are limited by the normal function of a wetsuit, as follows.

Normal watersuits restrict a swimmer's range of motion. Generally constructed out of neoprene, wetsuits and drysuits are rigid and inflexible. This prevents a swimmer from obtaining high elbows or an extended reach during a swimming stroke. Normal watersuits also lack varying areas of thickness or buoyancy at key locations. This decreases a swimmer's range of motion and does not enhance or promote high elbows. Additionally, normal watersuits lack core muscle stabilization features or features to enhance a swimmer's posture, such that swimmers are forced to engage their core muscles to ensure proper body position and posture in the water.

Thus, a need exists to improve the design of a watersuit for swimming, specifically to increase a suits' range of motion, to optimize the levels of buoyancy and/or flexibility at various areas of the suit, to enable the suit to assist in the stabilization and strengthening of swimmer's core muscles, and to enable the wetsuit to assist in promoting good posture.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention provides an improved watersuit designed to improve a swimmer's performance in the water. This improved wetsuit has at least three novel features: a stabilization belt, elastic stretch sections and an arm positioning system. It is to be understood that the present invention is suitable for wetsuits, dry suits and water speed suits. Moreover, features of the present invention can be used with wetsuits, dry suits and water speed suits. A “water speed suit” as described herein is understood to refer to non-buoyant suits that may be made of Lycra® (or any other suitable material as based on the rules and regulations of swimming and triathlon governing bodies) and may not extend down the full length of the arms or legs. Additionally, features of the present invention can be used with both one-piece and two-piece wetsuits.

The watersuit stabilization belt system is used to streamline a swimmer's body position in the water. This belt system is comprised of a watersuit and at least one adjustable belt attached to the watersuit, which provides an adjustable tightness around a user's mid-section.

The improved watersuit also has elastic stretch sections, specifically, an upper-body portion, a stretchable portion, and a lower-body portion, wherein the stretchable portion is more elastic than the upper and lower-body portions of the watersuit. The stretchable portion extends downwardly from underarm regions of the wetsuit to the lateral side regions of the watersuit and across a lower back region of the wetsuit. Preferably, the stretchable portion also covers the shoulders and arms of the watersuit. The stretchable portion connects to both the upper-body and lower-body portions of the watersuit.

The improved watersuit further comprises a watersuit arm positioning system, wherein the arm portions of the wetsuit have extra buoyancy sections that wrap (fully or partially) about the arm. These extra buoyancy sections are preferably narrower around the front of the arms and wider around the back of the arms so as not to inhibit movement in the elbow region.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The novel features believed characteristic of the invention are set forth in the appended claims. The invention itself, as well as a preferred mode of use, further objectives, and advantages thereof, will be understood best by reference to the following detailed description of an illustrative embodiment when read in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, wherein:

FIG. 1a depicts a front view of the improved watersuit;

FIG. 1b depicts a back view of the improved watersuit; an

FIG. 2 depicts a detailed back view of the improved watersuit, with the back opened to show the stabilization belt.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Referring to FIGS. 1a, 1b, and 2, wherein like numerals throughout the figures represent like elements, an improved wetsuit 100 is disclosed. (Keeping within the scope of the present invention, suit 100 may alternately be a wetsuit, dry suit or water speed suit). FIG. 1a depicts a front view of the improved wetsuit 100, FIG. 1b depicts a back view of the improved wetsuit 100, and FIG. 2 depicts a detailed view of the improved wetsuit 100 with a focus on the wetsuit stabilization belt system 200. Three important features of the present invention are depicted in these figures: the wetsuit stabilization belt system 200, the elastic stretch sections 320 and 321, and the wetsuit arm positioning system 400. In preferred embodiments, wetsuit 100 may be constructed of neoprene rubber and nylon, or like materials, and Yamamoto™ rubber may be used.

The first novel feature of the improved wetsuit 100 is the wetsuit stabilization belt system 200. The wetsuit stabilization belt system 200 is comprised of a wetsuit 100 and at least one adjustable belt 250 attached to the wetsuit 100. More than one adjustable belt 250 may be utilized. The adjustable belt 250 provides an adjustable tightness around a user's mid-section or core. In one embodiment, as shown in FIG. 2, the adjustable belt 250 is positioned within the wetsuit and wraps around the back of the user. In another embodiment, the adjustable belt 250 is positioned on the outside of the wetsuit. It should be noted that there may be more than one adjustable belt 250 attached to the inside or outside of the wetsuit.

When the adjustable belt 250 is positioned on the inside of the wetsuit, the ends of the adjustable belt 250 may be sewn or otherwise affixed to the opposite lateral sides of the interior of the wetsuit 100. The adjustable belt 250 may then be fastened together at the center 275 of the adjustable belt 250 with hook and loop fasteners, such as Velcro™. One or more tabs may be used at the ends of belt 250 to secure the belt together.

The adjustable belt 250 may optionally be stretchy or constructed of a stretchable, elastic or pliant material. In one preferred embodiment, the adjustable belt may be made out of nylon. This adjustable belt stabilization system 200 offers many advantages for a swimmer. For one, the adjustable belt 250 may optionally be stretchable and can be fastened easily around the waist of a swimmer without resulting in unnecessary bunching. This allows the user to pull the belt 250 around his or her waist and fasten the ends together for a secure hold.

The positioning of the belt 250 around the user's stomach and back compresses and stabilizes the user's core or stomach muscles, and provides support for the user's stomach and back. This helps facilitate a strong and stabilized core, which improves posture and streamlines the swimmer's body position in the water. As discussed in the background, good posture and a strong and stabilized core confers many benefits on a swimmer Good posture enhances a swimmer's range of motion, increases the swimmer's arm extension, and decreases the amount of resistance that the swimmer will face in the water. Good posture also helps the user to focus his or her core muscles on obtaining a powerful hip rotation, which results in increased propulsion in the water. A strong and stabilized core allows the swimmer to use the whole of his or her body (including his or her shoulders, torso, and hips) to drive the swimming stroke, rather than just his or her shoulder muscles, which results in more power per swimming stroke. In addition, the present invention also offers improved body fit by preventing the gap that is normally created between the swimmer's lower back and the material of the swimsuit. These are some of the many benefits of the adjustable belt stabilization system 200.

In embodiments where watersuit 100 is a one-piece suit, the belt is positioned as shown. In embodiments where watersuit 100 is a two-piece suit, the belt is preferably positioned in the top portion of the suit.

Another novel aspect of the present invention are the elastic stretch sections 320/321. The present invention discloses a wetsuit 100 with an upper-body portion 300, a stretchable portion 320, and a lower-body portion 360. The upper-body portion 300 is connected to the stretchable portion 320, and the stretchable portion 320 is connected to the lower-body portion 360.

The stretchable portion 320 extends downwardly from underarm regions 330 of the wetsuit 100 to the lateral side regions 340 of the wetsuit 100 and across a lower back region 350 of the wetsuit 100. The stretchable portion may also optionally comprise the shoulder and upper arm areas 321 of the wetsuit. In one embodiment, the stretchable portion 320 is V-shaped or U-shaped across the user's back. The stretchable portion 320 is more elastic than the upper 300 and lower-body portions 360 of the wetsuit 100.

In one embodiment, the upper-body portion 300 extends down the user's back to a position below the user's elbows.

In one embodiment, the upper-body portions 300, stretchable portion 320 and lower-body portions 360 may all be made out of the same material, wherein the upper and lower-body portions (300/360) are thicker than the stretchable portion 320. In one particular embodiment, the thickness of the upper and lower-body portions (300/360) ranges from 3 mm to 5 mm and the thickness of the stretchable portion 320 ranges from 1 mm to 3 mm More generally, the present invention encompasses all designs in which upper and lower-body portions (300/360) are thicker than the stretchable portion 320. In addition, however, the present invention encompasses all design thicknesses as governed by present and future sporting rules and regulations. Simply put, in most embodiments, the upper and lower-body portions (300/360) are thicker than the stretchable portion 320. However, aspects of the present invention are directed to all embodiments where stretchable portion 320 is more stretchable than upper and lower-body portions (300/360). Typically, this is achieved by having the stretchable portion 320 being thinner than upper and lower-body portions (300/360). However, differences in stretchability may also be achieved by using different materials (as opposed to using the same material with sections having different thicknesses). It is to be understood that the present invention encompasses all of these different embodiments.

The stretching of the stretchable portion 320 facilitates the rotation of the user's hips as the user's arm extends upwardly during a swimming stroke. The same is true of when the shoulder and arm areas 321 of the wetsuit are made to be elastic and stretchable. The stretchable nature of the stretchable portion 320 decreases the restriction of the wetsuit 100 around the swimmer's arms and shoulders and increases the wetsuit's 100 flexibility. This allows a swimmer to reach farther when engaged in his or her swimming stroke. This also helps the swimmer to obtain a deeper and stronger hip rotation to facilitate a stronger propulsion in the water. In addition, this feature also conserves energy by eliminating shoulder and arm resistance.

The third novel aspect of the present invention is the wetsuit arm positioning system 400. The present invention discloses a wetsuit 100, wherein the arm portions 420 of the wetsuit 100 have an extra buoyancy section 440 above the elbow. These extra buoyancy sections 440 wrap fully or partially around the arm of the wetsuit 100, and are preferably narrower around the front of the arms and wider around the back of the arms. The narrowness of the extra buoyancy sections 440 at the front of the arms prevents any creasing into the elbow when the arm is bent. In various embodiments, extra buoyancy sections 440 are integrally formed into the wetsuit. Alternatively, extra buoyancy sections 440 may be removable from wetsuit 100. In various embodiments, extra buoyancy sections 440 may either be toroidal (i.e.: “donut”) shaped when wrapping fully around the arm, or crescent shaped when wrapping only partially around the arm.

In one embodiment, the extra buoyancy sections 440 are made out of the same material as the arm portions 420. In another embodiment, the extra buoyancy sections 440 are made out of a thicker material than the arm portions 420. It is to be understood, however, that the present invention is not limited to any particular material design thicknesses. Rather, the present invention is simply directed to sections 440 being more buoyant than arm portions 420. It is to be understood that this can be achieved by using different thicknesses of materials, different types of materials, or both. In one exemplary embodiment, extra buoyancy sections 440 are made out of a laminated foam. It is to be understood, however, that other suitable materials could be used as well.

In some cases, the extra buoyancy sections 440 may be colored differently from the arm portions 420. This allows for high visibility of the extra buoyancy sections 440 by the user while in the water. As a result, this auto-positioning sleeve also helps the swimmer be conscious of their high elbows by utilizing the visual cue on the forearm.

The wetsuit arm position system, namely the extra buoyancy sections 440 of the arm portions 420 help the swimmer to obtain high elbows during the during the “pull” phase of a swimming stroke. These sections 440 provide increased buoyancy in the elbow region, thus facilitating and promoting high elbows. This then allows the swimmer to improve catch and obtain maximum power and propulsion with each pull or swimming stroke. The coloring of these sections 440 also serves as a visual cue to the user to remind him or her to utilize and obtain proper hand and arm rotation and high elbows while swimming.

With respect to the above description, it is to be realized that the optimum dimensional relationships for the parts of the invention, to include variations in size, materials, shape, form, function and manner of operation, assembly and use, are deemed readily apparent and obvious to one skilled in the art, and all equivalent relationships to those illustrated in the drawings and described in the specification are intended to be encompassed by the present invention. The novel spirit of the present invention is still embodied by reordering or deleting some of the steps contained in this disclosure. The spirit of the invention is not meant to be limited in any way expect by proper construction of the following claims.