Title:
Apparatus for Multi-purpose Exercise
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The apparatus according to this invention involves connection of a tubular bar (7, 9) with gripping features for the hands and behind the neck, to a tension resistant elastic rope for performing various aerobic exercises. The tension resistant rope is guided through to an opening in the tubular bar (60) which then joins to a newly designed retainer (30). The retainer includes a hole (40) for the elastic rope to feed through. As part of the retainer assembly, a fastener (32) is used to couple the elastic rope to the retainer. The improvement of the retainer features an extruded rectangular cut (41) allowing a lightweight and more robust mechanical linkage between the elastic rope and the tubular handle.



Inventors:
Vial, Frederic (Redwood City, CA, US)
Application Number:
14/485267
Publication Date:
03/17/2016
Filing Date:
09/12/2014
Assignee:
WAYS OF WELLNESS, INC. (Redwood City, CA, US)
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63B21/00; A63B21/055
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
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20030054923Hand rehabilitation gloveMarch, 2003Brassil et al.
20030029369Floating playgroundFebruary, 2003Broderick et al.
20050020418Device for aerobic exerciseJanuary, 2005Lin
20020068663Gyroscopic wrist exerciserJune, 2002Smith
20110177918TREADMILL WITH LATERAL SHIFT EFFECTJuly, 2011Liang
20050107229Partially stabilized exercise deviceMay, 2005Wickens
20070213178Mobile communication terminalSeptember, 2007Lemmela
20040038783Device for exercising pelvic floor musclesFebruary, 2004Hunter
20030153442Foot-holding assembly of body inversion exercise equipmentAugust, 2003Kuo



Primary Examiner:
FISCHER, RAE
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Leon Jew (Brentwood, CA, US)
Claims:
1. An apparatus for multi-purpose exercise comprising: a rigid bar with a half arc at the center defining an open end and an inner lumen in communication with the open end, the bar defining a circumferential opening spaced from the open end; an elastic flexible line having an end portion extending through the circumferential opening into the inner lumen of the bar; a retainer with an extruded cut feature, balanced with a protruded half arc semi-circle, positioned within the inner lumen for connecting the flexible line to the tube, the retainer identifying a hole for receiving the end portion of the elastic/flexible line; a fastener securing the end portion of the flexible line to the inner pocket of the newly designed retainer

2. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein the flexible line comprises an open end and an inner lumen in communication with the open end, the fastener comprising a screw having a first end extending through the open end and into the inner lumen of the flexible line, the screw comprising a second and with a larger diameter than a diameter of the retainer hole for inhibiting the screw from passing through the retainer hole.

3. The apparatus of claim 2 wherein the first end of the screw comprises gripping means for coupling the screw to the flexible line.

4. The device of claim 3 wherein the gripping means comprises a ridge protruding from the screw and forming a spiral shape towards the first end of the screw for gripping onto an inner wall surface of the flexible line.

5. The device of claim 2 wherein the screw is substantially conical and comprises a lip on the second end sized to prevent the screw from passing through the retainer hole.

6. The device of claim 2 where in the retainer comprises a featured extruded cut out to allow the fastener to join with the elastic rope embedded within a pocket of the retainer.

7. The device of claim 1 wherein the bar is a metal handle with an arc in the middle.

8. The device of claim 1 wherein the flexible line comprises an elastic coil.

9. An exercise device comprising: a rigid tube with an arc in the middle and gripping features at both ends of the tube defining an open end and an inner lumen in communication with the open end, the tube defining a circumferential opening spaced from the open end; an elastic flexible line having an end portion extending through the circumferential opening into the inner lumen of the tube; a retainer with an extruded cut feature positioned within the inner lumen for connecting the flexible line to the bar, the retainer defining a hole for receiving the end portion of the flexible line; and a fastener securing the end portion of the flexible line to the retainer inside the extruded cut feature of the retainer; wherein the retainer defines a first, extruded cut feature with planar surface along the perimeter of the hole and an opposite, arcuate surface, the flexible line extending through the retainer from the arcuate surface through the extruded cut feature of the retainer to the planar surface on the perimeter of the hole, the fastener being disposed adjacent the extruded cut feature of the retainer and mating with the planar surface outside the hole for securing the line within the hole.

10. The device of claim 8 wherein the retainer further comprises a lip projecting from the arcuate surface, the lip surrounding the hole and being sized to minimize contact between the flexible line and the tube.

11. A method for coupling an elastic flexible line to a rigid handle of an exercise device, the method comprising: directing an end portion of the flexible line through circumferential opening in the rigid handle; guiding the end portion through a hole in a retainer; fastener the end portion the retainer; and positioning the retainer within an inner lumen of the handle to thereby fix the flexible line to the handle.

12. The method of claim 10 wherein comprises inserting the end portion of the flexible line through an inlet of the hole at a wall surface of the retainer and delivering the line through an outlet of the hole on an opposite wall surface of the retainer.

13. The method of claim 11 wherein the fastening step comprises inserting a first end of a screw through an open end of the flexible line and gripping the flexible line with a spiral ridge protruding from the first end.

14. The method of claim 12 further comprising the step of abutting a lip of the screw against the opposite wall surface from the extruded cut of the retainer for optimum connection to prevent the screw and the end portion of the flexible line from passing through the retainer hole.

15. The method of claim 12 wherein the inserting step comprises grasping the lip and compressing the screw into the inner passage of the flexible line.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

This invention generally relates to the technology for multi-purpose exercise. In particular, this invention relates to a new and improved joining feature of a tension resistant exercise apparatus.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

The invention relates to a new and improved joining feature of a tension resistant exercise apparatus. The apparatus is used for multi-purpose exercises including strengthening and conditioning of the human body. Distinctively, the invention involves the mechanism and apparatus for joining a flexible/elastic rope to a tubular metal bar in the multi-exercise device.

With perpetual advancements in the field of biology and kinesiology, exercise and health continue to be at the forefront of study and growth. Over the last twenty years a prodigious amount of exercise products have been introduced to the consumer market. In today's constantly evolving technology, there are new manufacturing methods and more effective technologies to enhance aerobics and exercise. Older exercise devices from years past are improving and updated to demonstrate safer and more effective exercise habits.

Among the many exercise devices, is the tension resistant rope which joins to a tubular bar for performing strength resistant exercises. Consistent efforts are being made to improve the older methods of exercising equipment. One multi-purpose exercise device has gained a prodigious amount of popularity over the past twenty years: the tension resistant rope exercise device that couples to a tubular bar. While older patents exist for example, U.S. Pat. No. 4,733,861, to Plunkett, the complete disclosure of which is incorporated herein by reference, and which describes an exercise device comprising a pair of cylindrical handles coupled to an elastic cord that can be manipulated to modify the length and shape of the cord. Along with U.S. Pat. No. 5,746,687 to Vial, the complete disclosure of which is incorporated herein by reference, which also describes an exercise device comprising a pair of cylindrical handles coupled to an elastic cord that can be manipulated to modify the length and shape of the cord.

The technologies described in the aforementioned patents are out dated, the advancement of technology and exercise methods presented by professional fitness advisors, continues to urge designers of exercise equipment to update features on older equipment and provide safer and more effective exercise techniques to keep up with evolving discoveries of exercise and innovation.

As applications have been made by designers to produce more effective and safe exercise equipment, the concern perpetually exists regarding robust and effective designs for multi-purpose exercise equipment. With a prodigious amount of information available to consumers including the accessibility of information on the internet, libraries, television etc., and the consumer is able to access the requirements for modern day exercise equipment i.e. feeling the exercise equipment is safe, comfortable and effective. The new designs must be able to withhold higher tension compared to the original designs from years past along with defined safety measures in place to make the users feel comfortable when using the equipment.

The technology involved with the joining method of the tubular bar to the elastic rope continues to evolve in this specific type of multi-purpose exercise equipment. The joining intersection creates principal stresses in the linking members inside the metal tubular bar and the elastic rope. Along with these stresses, there are tensile stresses exerted by the user of the equipment that apply to the mechanical joining of the tubular bar and the elastic rope. The principle in designing the mechanical joining is one the most important features of the multi-purpose exercise equipments. Along with joining, the weight and safety of the exercise is another important factor for multi-purpose exercise equipment. The perpetual application and wearing of the elastic rope when coming in direct contact to the metal material of the tubular bar has caused injuries in previous designs as the tensile stresses have eventually caused the elastic rope to snap and fail. With a robust mechanical joining, the safety measures can be met along with obtaining the most effective results for the user.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The invention is directed to a method and apparatus for coupling a tubular bar of an exercise device to a flexible line, such as an elastic rope. The present invention provides a relatively strong mechanical link between the handle and the flexible line that will effectively withstand the concentrated stress placed on the link during use of the exercise device. The newly designed retainer with the extruded cut feature allows for an improved lightweight component to be used in the coupling assembly. In addition, the present invention is configured to reduce contact between the flexible line and the handle, thereby minimizing stress on the line.

The apparatus comprises at least one rigid bar of an exercise device and an elastic flexible line having an end portion extending through a circumferential opening in the handle. The flexible line is secured within an inner lumen of the handle by a joining assembly. A joining assembly comprises a retainer positioned within an inner lumen of the handle and defining a hole for receiving the end portion of the flexible line. The retainer is designed for manufacturability of injection molding by including a 3-point curved cut out feature which also allows for a more rigid and lightweight component of the joining assembly. The coupling assembly further includes a fastener for securing the end portion of the flexible line to the retainer to thereby fix the line to the handle.

The method includes the retainer which slides into the open end of the bar. In addition, the retainer defines a lip projecting from one of its surfaces around the hole. The lip is sized to minimize contact between the flexible line extending through the hole and the bar. This reduces the surface friction between the handle and the line, thereby decreasing the wear on the line.

The fastener is preferably a conically shaped screw having a first end extending through an open end of the flexible line. The screw comprises a second end with a larger diameter than a diameter of the retainer hole for inhibiting the screw from passing through the retainer hole to thereby prevent the flexible line from being released from the retainer. Preferably, the second end comprises a protruding lip that mates against the retainer wall to prevent passage of the screw through the retainer hole. The retainer, including the new and improved extruded rectangular cut out provides optimum joining between the screw and elastic rope. This is done by embedding the joining of the tubular bar to the elastic rope in a particular housing within the retainer. The extruded cut feature is makes the retainer lightweight. The half arc protrusion added on the opposite end of the extruded cut allows for balancing of the retainer component. The screw may also include a ridge protruding from the screw and forming a spiral shape towards the first end of the screw for gripping onto an inner wall surface of the flexible line. This spiral ridge digs into the flexible line, providing a strong mechanical link there between.

The method of the present invention comprises directing an end portion of the flexible line through the circumferential opening in the handle and guiding the end portion through a hole in the retainer. The end portion is then fastened to the retainer and the retainer is positioned within the inner lumen of the handle to thereby fix the flexible line to the handle. Preferably, the end portion of the line is fastened to the retainer by inserting a first end of the conical screw through an open end of the flexible line and gripping the inner wall of the flexible line with a spiral ridge protruding from the screw. One of the advantages of this method is that the screw and the retainer can be easily replaced by engaging a lip on the screw with, e.g., a pair of pliers, withdrawing the screw from the flexible line and guiding the line back through the hole in the retainer. Features and advantages of the improved retainer will appear from the following description in which the preferred embodiment has been set forth in detail in conjunction with the accompanying drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of an improved multi-purpose exercise device incorporating a coupling assembly according to the principles of the newly designed exercise device.

FIGS. 2A-2B are schematic views illustrating various exercises performed with the improved exercise device of FIG. 6.

FIG. 3A-3C are side views of the improved coupling assembly of FIG. 7, illustrating the method according to the improved invention of coupling a flexible elastic line to a rigid bar using the method of coupling.

FIG. 4A-4C is isometric views of the improved invention of the retainer component illustrating the extruded cut feature along with the protrusion of the half arc semi-circle.

FIG. 5 is a perspective view of a fastener of the coupling assembly of FIGS. 3A-3C.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

Referring to the drawings in detail, wherein like numerals indicate like elements, a multi-purpose exercise device 3 is illustrated in FIG. 6 according to the principles of the invention. Exercise device 3 generally includes a pair of rigid gripping handles 7, 9 with a center bar 11 and attached to an elastic flexible line 10.

Referring to FIGS. 6 and 8A-8C, handles 7, 9 each comprise an elongated cylindrical body 11, preferably constructed of metal, such as aluminum or stainless steel. Preferably, cylindrical bodies 11 on both ends have substantially identical diameters and lengths to facilitate use of the device when handles 7, 9 are separated from bar 13. Center bar 8 includes a release button 14 for releasably attaching handles 7, 9 to center bar 13. Release buttons 14 on both sides include compressed springs (not shown) having protrusions that extend through corresponding holes in handles 7, 9, to lock the handles to center bar 13, thereby preventing them from rotating relative to bar 13 and pulling apart from the center bar. Release buttons 14 on both sides allow the operator to either use device 3 as a composite bar (as shown in FIG. 6) or to separate handles 7, 9 from center bar 13 for a variety of other exercises.

Referring to FIGS. 6 and 8A-8C, handles 7, 9 each comprise an elongated cylindrical member 11, preferably constructed of metal, such as aluminum or stainless steel. The cylindrical member has an arched center for placing behind the neck of the user as grip and guide for performing various aerobic exercises.

Center bar 11 is a metal cylindrical bar having an arched center for balancing the left and right ends of the bar center to the user's neck. Handles 7, 9 and center bar with arched center may also include grip sleeves 13 made out of an elastomeric material, such as rubber, for facilitating operator gripping of the handles 7, 9 and center bar 11 during use of exercise device 3. Preferably, the composite length of bar 11 and handles 7, 9 when coupled together as shown in FIG. 6 is approximately equal to the shoulder span of an adult.

Line 11 is removable coupled to line receiving ends 26, 15 of handles 7, 9 by a coupling assembly 24, described in more detail below (see FIGS. 8A-8C). Line 11 may be a solid or tubular rubber, latex or any other suitable elastic flexible material which will not be permanently deformed upon the full extension of the user's arms, such as elastic synthetic rubber, elastic nylon cord or other elastic cording. Line 10 will preferably have a sufficient length, in a non-stressed configuration, so that the distance from the handles 7, 9 to the middle of the line is slightly less than the waist height of an operator. The length of line 10 may also be varied by the user to produce the desired resistive or tension force to the displacement of handles 7, 9. As shown in FIGS. 8A-8C, the line preferably has open ends 24 and inner lumens 26 in communication with the open ends 24 (note that only one open end and inner lumen is shown in FIGS. 8A-8C). Line 10 may also include a solid rubber or nylon insert extending through the outer tube between the inner lumens 26 on either end of the line.

Referring to FIG. 6, the exercise device 3 may be used for a variety of muscle development and/or aerobic exercises. An operator may lie on the line 10 or position the line underneath a chair to perform muscle development exercises, such as the military press or the bench press (see FIGS. 7A). Alternatively, the device may be used for an aerobic type exercise. For example, FIG. 7B illustrates two operators using the exercise device as a rowing machine.

FIGS. 8A-8C, 9A-9C, along with the spiral fastener of FIG. 5 illustrate the new and improved invention of the novel apparatus and method for coupling line 10 to handles 7, 9 of the present invention. Coupling assembly 24 comprises a retainer 30 (FIG. 9) and a fastener 32 (FIG. 5). Retainer 30 includes an elongate body member 33 preferably constructed of molded plastic and having a planar wall 34 and an opposite arcuate wall 36. Retainer 30 includes a protruded circular feature 39 from the planar surface. Retainer 30 also includes a rectangular featured cut out 41 extending to an end portion of Retainer 30. The combination of the protruded circular feature on one end of the retainer and the extruded cut on the other end completes the improved design of the retainer component in the coupling assembly. Retainer 30 enters into one of the handles 7, 9, as discussed below. Retainer 30 further includes a hole 40 extending through body member 33 and having a larger inner diameter than the outer diameter of line 10 so that line 10 can be inserted through hole 40.

Retainer 30 includes a raised lip 42 protruding from arcuate wall 36 and extending around the circumference of hole 40. Lip 42 functions to minimize contact between the point on line 10 where pressure is applied and the inner metal surface of the handles after the handles have been coupled to line 10. Thus, when an operator pulls on the elastic line, the tensile force causes the line to rub or wear against the plastic retainer, rather than the metal handle. The friction between the plastic retainer and the elastic line is substantially less than the friction between the metal handle and the elastic line. The extruded cut feature 40 in the retainer 30 allows for a closer contact for joining between the elastic rope and the spiral fastener. This helps increases the lifetime of the line 10, thereby minimizing potential injuries caused by the failure of line 10

Referring to FIG. 5, fastener 32 is preferably a screw that functions as a stopper for preventing the release of line 10 through hole 40 in retainer 30. To that end, fastener 32 comprises a generally conical body 46 with a stopper disc 48 at one end. Disc 48 has a larger outer diameter than the inner diameter of hole 40 so that fastener 32 cannot be pulled through hole 40. Disc 48 further includes a lip 50 protruding outward there from to facilitate gripping of fastener 32 with, for example, a pair of pliers. To facilitate the connection between fastener 32 and flexible line 10, fastener 32 includes a ridge 52 protruding outward from conical body 46 in a spiral shape. Ridge 52 grips the inner surface of line 10 to resist tension as the line 10 is pulled away from fastener 32 during use of the device.

Referring to FIGS. 8A-8C, the method for coupling line 10 to handles 7, 9 described in detail is as follows. Line 10 is fed through a circumferential opening 60 in body 12, directed through an inner lumen 62 and out of line receiving end 20 of handle 4, as shown in FIG. 8A. Line 10 is suitably bent to form a partially kinked portion 64 near open end 24 to facilitate holding line 10 within inner lumen 62 of handle 4. As shown in FIG. 8B, retainer 30 is positioned with arcuate wall 36 facing line 10 and line 10 is guided through hole 40 in retainer 30. Lip 50 of fastener 32 can then be grasped by suitable means, e.g., pliers, and conical body 46 is compressed into lumen 26 of the elastic line 10. The extruded cut feature of the retainer 30 allows for optimum joining of the Lip 50 and conical body 46. The spiral ridge 52 on fastener 32 grips the inner surface of line 10 to bond fastener 32 to line 10.

As shown in FIG. 8C, line 10 is pulled taut until fastener 32 engages planar wall 34 of retainer 30, thereby preventing further pulling of line 10. Coupling assembly 24 is then guided into the open end of line 10. The kinked portion 64 of line 10 and the lip 50 of fastener 30 provide a frictional fit with the inner walls of handle 4 so that elastic line 10 cannot be pulled further through circumferential opening 60. If the kinked portion 64 unravels, however, retainer 30 will not be pulled through opening 60 and fastener 32 ensures that line 10 remains fixed to the retainer 30. After the line 10 and coupling assembly 24 are suitably positioned within handle 4, a cap 70 may be placed over open end 20 to seal coupling assembly 24 within the handle.

Although one or more embodiments of the newly improved invention have been presented in detail, one of ordinary skill in the art will appreciate the modifications to the components. It is acknowledged that obvious modifications will ensue to a person skilled in the art. The claims which follow will set out the full scope of the claims.