Title:
Plyometric Jump Training Device
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A plyometric jump training device used to improve health and human fitness includes an elevated perimeter surrounding a central hollow cavity. This device requires the user to control his/her body trajectory to jump on or over the top surface, then down to land inside a smaller central cavity, forcing the athlete to land in a confined space. The device also incorporates lateral jumping into and out of the central hollow cavity, along with other exercise drills to further enhance the workout.



Inventors:
Gilley, Ronal I. (Crandall, TX, US)
Lefler, Darryl Glenn (Crandall, TX, US)
Estridge, John Bartly (Garland, TX, US)
Application Number:
14/556587
Publication Date:
06/02/2016
Filing Date:
12/01/2014
Assignee:
GILLEY RONAL I.
LEFLER DARRYL GLENN
ESTRIDGE JOHN BARTLY
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63B5/00; A63B5/16; A63B21/00; A63B23/04
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
LEE, JOSHUA S
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Alvin R. Wirthlin (Murphy, TX, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. An exercise apparatus for conducting plyometric exercises by a user comprising: an elevated perimeter structure having an elevated top surface and a bottom surface adapted for placement on a ground surface; the elevated top surface and having a height with an elevated top surface to be no less than nine inches high, the elevated top surface being sufficiently strong to support a user when jumping from the ground surface to the elevated top surface; a central hollow cavity surrounded by the elevated perimeter structure, the central hollow cavity being of sufficient size to receive the feet of the user when jumping from either the ground and over the elevated perimeter or from the elevated top surface and into the central hollow cavity; the top surface of the perimeter structure having a textured surface to prevent slippage of the user; and the top edges of the perimeter structure having smoothed and rounded features to protect the athlete during use; and a bottom surface of the perimeter structure having channels for water drainage in the event the exercise apparatus becomes wet.

2. The exercise apparatus according to claim 1, wherein the perimeter structure comprises several pieces which are joined together to surround the central hollow cavity.

3. The exercise apparatus according to claim 2, where the collection of perimeter structures has two or more different elevation levels for the top surfaces that all surround the central hollow cavity.

4. The exercise apparatus according to claim 1, wherein the perimeter structure takes the shape of square.

5. The exercise apparatus according to claim 1, wherein the perimeter structure takes the shape of a circle.

6. The exercise apparatus according to claim 1, wherein the perimeter structure takes the shape of a triangle.

7. The exercise apparatus according to claim 1, wherein the perimeter structure takes the shape of a rectangle.

8. The exercise apparatus according to claim 1, wherein the perimeter structure takes the shape of a parallelogram.

9. The exercise apparatus according to claim 1, wherein the perimeter structure takes the shape of a hexagon.

10. The exercise apparatus according to claim 1, wherein the perimeter structure takes the shape of an octagon.

11. The exercise apparatus according to claim 1, wherein the perimeter structure takes the shape of a polygon.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Application No. 61/910,403 filed on Dec. 1, 2013, the disclosure of which is hereby incorporated by reference.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

This invention relates to exercise equipment, and more particularly to plyometric exercise equipment to improve health and human fitness

Many people strive to push their personal limits in the area of exercise, but want to do so in a safe, simple and effective manner, without harmfully overstressing the human body. Plyometric devices have been used in the past to achieve such limits. Plyometrics can best be described as a reflexive form of power training to help improve the responsiveness of muscles. This type of training involves powerful muscular contractions in response to a rapid stretching of the involved musculature. These powerful contractions are not a pure muscular event. In fact, they primarily involve and augment the central nervous system to improve the fast twitch muscle fiber. Plyometrics is a combination of an involuntary reflex (myotatic “stretch-reflex”), which is then followed by a fast voluntary muscular contraction.

One simple plyometric device used nearly every day are stairs. Stairs vary in height, width, and other factors depending on the local building codes that define such features. Stairs are by design a collection of individual steps that allow a person access to a higher level with the easiest, safest approach. One of the more important attributes of stairs is called the vertical rise height (i.e. a step), which varies, depending on which code you read. For example, OSHA outlines the vertical rise of a residential step between four and eight and one quarter inches, or for an industrial step a maximum of six and one-half inches at a thirty-five degree stair angle. So it can be observed stairs have consistent, predictable attributes that allow most any age group safe access between levels while burning a minimum amount of energy. Further, users notice more energy is required if two stairs are taken in a single pace, instead of one, or if the interval of time between steps is shortened, and so on.

However, such plyometric devices are not always available in a gym or home setting. It would therefore be desirous to provide a device to meet the advanced exercise needs with something easy and fun to use, that will physically push a person to a higher workout level, and yet have some measure of portability so it can be used at the home, gym, or any environment.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

In accordance with one aspect of the invention, an exercise apparatus for conducting plyometric exercises by a user comprises an elevated perimeter structure having an elevated top surface and a bottom surface adapted for placement on a ground surface, with the elevated top surface and having a height with an elevated top surface to be no less than nine inches high, the elevated top surface being sufficiently strong to support a user when jumping from the ground surface to the elevated top surface; a central hollow cavity surrounded by the elevated perimeter structure, the central hollow cavity being of sufficient size to receive the feet of the user when jumping from either the ground and over the elevated perimeter or from the elevated top surface and into the central hollow cavity; the top surface of the perimeter structure having a textured surface to prevent slippage of the user; and a bottom surface of the perimeter structure having channels for water drainage in the event the exercise apparatus becomes wet.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The following detailed description of the preferred embodiments of the present invention will be best understood when considered in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, wherein like designations denote like elements throughout the drawings, and wherein:

FIG. 1 is an isometric view of a plyometric exercise device in accordance with the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a front plan view thereof;

FIG. 3 is a top elevation view thereof; and

FIG. 4 is a sectional view taken along line A-A of FIG. 3 showing the central hollow cavity.

It is noted that the drawings are intended to depict only exemplary embodiments of the invention and therefore should not be considered as limiting the scope thereof. It is further noted that the drawings are not necessarily to scale. The invention will now be described in greater detail with reference to the accompanying drawings.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

Referring now to the drawings, and to FIGS. 1-4 in particular, a plyometric exercise device, known hereafter as a “jump box”, in accordance with an exemplary embodiment of the present invention is illustrated. The jump box 10 includes an elevated perimeter structure (Section A-A) with top surfaces 11, 12, 13 and 14 that surround a central hollow cavity (FIG. 3). The jump box 10 is shown as four separate pieces, joined in the corners with simple fasteners, dovetails, or the like (not shown.) However, the jump box 10 could also be constructed in a single piece (not shown.) The jump box 10 is also shown as a simple square shape, but other shapes such as a round, rectangle, triangle, circular, hexagonal, and so on, is also within the scope of the present invention.

Referring to FIGS. 2 and 3, there are four key dimensions to the jump box 10. The first is the height of the top perimeter surface 16 (dimension “A” shown in FIG. 2) the user has to jump up on. Empirical testing revealed the values for A to be between nine and one-half and twenty four inches to provide a solid workout, depending on the age of the user. Smaller youths and women liked the shorter heights, while adult males liked the taller heights. A preferable size for the general adult population is sixteen inches.

Referring to FIG. 3, the values for B are critical in determining the size of the central hollow cavity the user jumps within. Empirical testing revealed the values for B to be between sixteen and thirty six inches to provide a solid workout, depending on the age of the user. Smaller youths and women fit inside the smaller hollow cavities better, while adult males fit inside the larger hollow cavities better. A preferable size for the general adult population is twenty four inches square.

Referring to FIG. 3, the values for C and D define the area on the upper elevated surface the user has to land on. Empirical testing revealed the values for C to be between six and thirty six inches to provide a solid safe workout. The youths and women preferred the smaller platforms, while the adult males preferred the larger platforms. A preferable size for the adult platform is fifteen inches.

Referring to FIG. 3, the values for C & D define the area on the upper elevated surface the user has to land on. Empirical testing revealed the values for D to be no less than fifty inches square to provide a solid safe workout. The youths and women preferred the smaller platforms, while the adult males preferred the larger platforms. A preferable size for the adult platform is fifty four inches.

Referring to FIG. 2, the top perimeter surface 16 ideally has a textured surface finish. This texture helps increase the grip with the user's shoes to prevent slipping and further ensures safety. The texture is preferably integrated into the Jump Box 10, but could also be attained from a secondary process such as by adding a grip tape, decal, rubber paint or the like. The edges of the top perimeter surface have smoothed and rounded features 18 to protect the athlete during use. These rounded features 18 appear both on the inside edges of the central hollow cavity and the outside perimeter, and are especially helpful in the event the athlete has a misstep.

Referring to FIG. 4 (SECTION A-A), the jump box 10 needs to withstand heavy forces generated by multiple users. That said, the base 17 could be made from a variety of materials such as metal, wood or composite plastics and could be made from a single piece or multiple pieces combined together, so long as the final structure is capable of supporting the maximum forces. The base 17 can be a solid shape (shown in FIG.4) constructed of a structural foam or similar material, or can be hollowed out in a honeycomb or other material saving arrangements (not shown) and made from a more dense material like plastic.

Referring to FIG. 1, the jump box 10 has a plurality of channels 15 located along the bottom edge of the base. These channels 15 connect the inner hollow cavity with the outside perimeter of the jump box 10. The purpose of these channels 15 is to allow water to drain from the inner hollow cavity in the event this apparatus is left outside to the elements (rain, lawn sprinklers or the like.) Therefore, there is no standing water anywhere associated with this apparatus, which is ideal when trying to reduce problems associated with mosquitoes.

As initially mentioned, the jump box is loosely based on the same principal as stairs: using a person's body weight and change in their elevation to burn energy. But by sharp contrast, the jump box has dimensions far taller than ordinary steps that force the user to expel large amounts of energy in order to reach up (or down) to the next level, as well as being completely portable. The dimensions and layout have been carefully chosen to require explosive bursts of energy from the user, but in a controlled format to improve the user's core strength, enhance athletic ability and challenge balance. The user's body weight under the influence of gravity, along with the will to overcome an obstacle placed in front of the user is the main driving formula behind the jump box.

The basic design of the jump box includes a tall perimeter structure which surrounds a central hollow cavity. The perimeter structure has many surfaces located at a high elevation above the ground level (i.e. much higher than steps,) forcing the user to jump up/down, in/out, over, forwards or sideways between the ground level and the upper surfaces of the jump box. These surfaces can all be in the same plane (i.e. same height) or in different planes (i.e. different heights.) The jump box requires the user to control his/her body trajectory to jump up on the top surface, then jump down to land inside this smaller central cavity, which is an easy task that burns tremendous amounts of energy, and forces careful control by the athlete to land in a confined space. Too much or too little energy and the user may hit a wall or miss the top elevated surface. Once down inside the central hollow cavity, the user can then choose which way to jump out, stimulating mental awareness during the work out (i.e. front, back, left or right.) The jump box forces these explosive movements under short periods of time with little rest between movements, and inside a confined central hollow cavity, all of which are ideal ingredients for an intense high level core body workout. So it can be shown the jump box empowers the user to improve athletic ability, in a safe, fun, easy to use and unique package.

A more advanced look at this jump box reveals a revolutionary plyometric training device. The jump box guides the athlete into a more perfect running form by forcing the athlete to lift his or her knees to clear the elevated top surface(s) of the jump box (dimension “A” in FIG. 2), while reducing time intervals between each stride by keeping the feet moving during each exercise drill. This basic physiological concept helps lengthen the athlete's stride, and increases the frequency of energy bursts, making this a truly unique and power packed workout device.

The jump box can be used to perform traditional plyometric training by jumping straight up and down, or into lateral/sideways jumping, and importantly, it forces the athlete to control his or her landing in a confined space, which brings a new level of processing for the brain, body and central nervous system, especially as the athlete starts to fatigue during these high energy workouts.

The jump box will also increase an athlete's running speed. One way to quickly become a faster runner is by lifting the knees higher. The ability to lift the knees when running is controlled by the hip flexors, a group of muscles that act together to lift the femur. Another way to run faster is through the anatomy of Lift Turnover, or how fast an athlete can get to the next step, a key factor that determines speed in sprinting. The ability to flex the hips determines how fast and far the feet are picked up. The iliacus is a muscle that allows for hip flexion up to a level parallel with the ground. The rectus femoris assists it and also allows hip flexion to 90 degrees. The psoas provides hip flexion above the 90-degree level as seen in sprinting with high knee lift. The psoas, which raises the knees past 90 degrees, can be strengthened to improve knee lift. Flexibility in the hip flexors decreases muscle resistance and allows runners to take advantage of the leg's full range of motion. The jump box in accordance with the invention has thus been designed to get a 90 degree lift or higher to increase speed. The jump box does more than enhance the high lift, it focuses on moving laterally while lifting the knees, working in a confined space and utilizing a narrow landing, forcing the feet and knees to lift and touch in a rapid sequence. The lifting of the knees will increase stride length and the narrow landing forces the athlete to move his or her feet at a very fast rate. The repetition of lateral agility drills will increase flexibility and the turnover ratio in relationship with the ground, all of which will improve the athlete's overall speed.

The jump box will also improve an athlete's agility. In general terms, agility means being able to move the body quickly and easily while maintaining body control and balance. In athletic terms, agility is more specifically defined as the ability of an athlete to quickly stop and start, and to change directions without losing motor control. Every exercise drill on the jump box, requires the athlete to perform some part of the drill in a confined space and incorporates some form of lateral movement. Agility is important in all sports, and jump box training for agility revolves around lateral movement and cone drills that are combined together to improve athletic ability. The jump box has suggested drills set up to improve power and agility on alternating days. Each day the athlete performs the drills, speed development is reinforced on both days by simply performing the basic drills.

The jump box will also help prevent injury. Safety is always a concern with anyone, especially amongst coaches. The jump box helps build up key attributes in each athlete that will help protect them from injury. If the athlete has a faster twitch reflex, he or she can quickly change directions to help avoid contact during fast action sports. Since the athlete has quicker feet motion from the benefits of jump box training, he is less likely to have leg injuries due to feet being planted on the ground. Jump box training in combination with regular strength training and stretching will build up the athlete's internal muscular fiber, further protecting them from injury.

As the user builds strength and gains confidence in his/her abilities with the jump box, the workout drills can be increased. For example, instead of first jumping up, and then down into the central hollow cavity, the user can simply jump directly up over the elevated surface and down inside the central hollow cavity in one combined event, burning even more energy.

Yet another feature of the jump box is its capacity to be used with multiple users. The many sides of the jump box allow multiple people to simultaneously workout on the same apparatus, which further refines the nature of the workout and provides stimulating synergy within the workout group. It is well known that exercise partners can help motivate each other to work harder while promoting the concept of teamwork to reach a common goal. The jump box allows such an interaction to take place.

Still another feature of the jump box is the capacity to combine multiple jump boxes together into a single workout routine. By increasing the number of jump boxes, the user will extend his or her physical work space and duration, and burn even more energy to further increase stamina and endurance.

The jump box can also be combined with other workout gear such as weights, running cones, and stop watches to push athletes to an even higher level of training. By changing up workout routines, the athlete maintains sharp focus and won't become bored with a regular workout routine.

In a forward looking attempt to avoid health issues related to mosquitoes, the jump box is designed to prevent the accumulation of water anywhere on the apparatus. There are special channels strategically placed around the base perimeter, as previously described, which extend from the central hollow cavity through to the outside perimeter on all sides. So in the event the jump box is left outside and exposed to the elements, accumulation of water within the jump box is substantially reduced or eliminated.

It will be understood that the term “preferably” as used throughout the specification refers to one or more exemplary embodiments of the invention and therefore is not to be interpreted in any limiting sense.

It will be appreciated by those skilled in the art that changes could be made to the embodiments described above without departing from the broad inventive concept thereof. It is understood, therefore, that this invention is not limited to the particular embodiments disclosed, but it is intended to cover modifications within the spirit and scope of the present invention as defined by the appended claims.