Title:
DEVICE FOR ASSISTING WITH PLANK EXERCISES
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A device for assisting with plank exercises includes an elongated main body having a first axial end, an oppositely disposed second axial end and opposite lateral side walls extending therebetween. The main body comprises at least two telescoping members that may be adjusted to vary the length of the main body and the corresponding degree of stress provided by the exercise. The device includes a support brace positioned in proximity to the first axial end and a base member positioned in proximity to the second axial end. An ankle support is mounted to or extends from the main body. A post extends outwardly from a top surface of the main body and may receive at least one circular weight. The device is oriented so that the support brace rests on the user's lower back and buttocks area and the anterior portions of a user's lower legs rest on the ankle support.



Inventors:
Carney, William Edward (Ridgewood, NJ, US)
Application Number:
15/065308
Publication Date:
09/15/2016
Filing Date:
03/09/2016
Assignee:
Carney William Edward
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63B21/00; A63B21/068; A63B23/02; A63B23/035
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
ANDERSON, MEGAN M
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Gerald T. Bodner (MELVILLE, NY, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A device for assisting with plank exercises, which comprises: an elongated main body, the elongated main body having a first axial end and a second axial end situated opposite the first axial end; and a support brace, the support brace being positioned in proximity to the first axial end of the elongated body; wherein the support brace is at least partially in communication with the body of a user and the second axial end of the elongated body is at least indirectly in communication with the ground or floor when the device is being used by the user.

2. A device for assisting with plank exercises as defined by claim 1, which further comprises: a base member, the base member being situated on the elongated main body in proximity to the second axial end and extending downwardly therefrom.

3. A device for assisting with plank exercises as defined by claim 2, wherein the base member includes at least two legs that extend outwardly and downwardly from the elongated main body in proximity to the second axial end thereof.

4. A device for assisting with plank exercises as defined by claim 1, wherein the elongated main body includes a top surface, and wherein the device further comprises: at least one post, the at least one post extending outwardly from the top surface of the elongated main body and being dimensioned to receive a plate-type weight thereon.

5. A device for assisting with plank exercises as defined by claim 1, which further comprises: an ankle support, the ankle support being affixed to the elongated main body between the first and second axial ends thereof, and extending outwardly therefrom to provide support to a user's ankles.

6. A device for assisting with plank exercises as defined by claim 5, wherein the ankle support is formed as a cross-member that is perpendicularly situated on the elongated main body.

7. A device for assisting with plank exercises as defined by claim 5, wherein the elongated main body includes opposite lateral side surfaces, and wherein the ankle support is formed as a pair of diametrically opposing posts that extend outwardly from the opposite lateral side surfaces of the elongated main body.

8. A device for assisting with plank exercises as defined by claim 1, wherein the elongated main body comprises at least a first telescoping member and a second telescoping member, the second telescoping member being at least partially receivable within the first telescoping member and being selectively extendable therefrom and retractable therein to adjust the overall length of the elongated main body.

9. A device for assisting with plank exercises as defined by claim 8, which further comprises: a reducer, the reducer being interconnected between the first telescoping member and the second telescoping member to center and align one of the first and the second telescoping members at least partially within the other of the first and second telescoping members.

10. A device for assisting with plank exercises as defined by claim 8, wherein at least one of the first telescoping member and the second telescoping member has at least one hole formed diametrically therein, and at least the other one of the first telescoping member and the second telescoping member has a plurality of spaced apart holes formed diametrically therein and at least partially along the axial length thereof, and wherein the overall length of the elongated main body is fixed by aligning the holes in the first telescoping member and the second telescoping member and inserting a pin therethrough.

11. A device for assisting with plank exercises as defined by claim 8, which further comprises: means for adjustably locking the first and second telescoping members in a relative position to one another.

12. A device for assisting with plank exercises, which comprises: an elongated main body, the elongated main body having a first axial end and a second axial end situated opposite the first axial end; and a leg support, the leg support being positioned in proximity to the first axial end of the elongated body; wherein the leg support is at least partially in communication with the legs of a user and the second axial end of the elongated body is at least indirectly in communication with the ground or floor when the device is being used by the user.

13. A device for assisting with plank exercises as defined by claim 12, which further comprises: a base member, the base member being situated on the elongated main body in proximity to the second axial end and extending downwardly therefrom.

14. A device for assisting with plank exercises as defined by claim 13, wherein the base member includes at least two legs that extend outwardly and downwardly from the elongated main body in proximity to the second axial end thereof.

15. A device for assisting with plank exercises as defined by claim 12, wherein the leg support is formed as a cross-member that is perpendicularly situated on the elongated main body.

16. A device for assisting with plank exercises as defined by claim 12, wherein the elongated main body includes opposite lateral side surfaces, and wherein the leg support is formed as a pair of diametrically opposing posts that extend outwardly from the opposite lateral side surfaces of the elongated main body.

17. A device for assisting with plank exercises as defined by claim 12, which further comprises: an ankle support, the ankle support being affixed to the elongated main body between the first and second axial ends thereof, and extending outwardly therefrom to provide support to a user's ankles.

18. A device for assisting with plank exercises as defined by claim 17, wherein the ankle support is formed as a cross-member that is perpendicularly situated on the elongated main body.

19. A device for assisting with plank exercises as defined by claim 17, wherein the elongated main body includes opposite lateral side surfaces, and wherein the ankle support is formed as a pair of diametrically opposing posts that extend outwardly from the opposite lateral side surfaces of the elongated main body.

20. A device for assisting with plank exercises as defined by claim 12, wherein the elongated main body comprises at least a first telescoping member and a second telescoping member, the second telescoping member being at least partially receivable within the first telescoping member and being selectively extendable therefrom and retractable therein to adjust the overall length of the elongated main body.

21. A device for assisting with plank exercises as defined by claim 20, which further comprises: a reducer, the reducer being interconnected between the first telescoping member and the second telescoping member to center and align one of the first and the second telescoping members at least partially within the other of the first and second telescoping members.

22. A device for assisting with plank exercises as defined by claim 20, wherein at least one of the first telescoping member and the second telescoping member has at least one hole formed diametrically therein, and at least the other one of the first telescoping member and the second telescoping member has a plurality of spaced apart holes formed diametrically therein and at least partially along the axial length thereof, and wherein the overall length of the elongated main body is fixed by aligning the holes in the first telescoping member and the second telescoping member and inserting a pin therethrough.

23. A device for assisting with plank exercises as defined by claim 20, which further comprises: means for adjustably locking the first and second telescoping members in a relative position to one another.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application is related to U.S. Provisional Application Ser. No. 62/130,663, filed on Mar. 10, 2015, and entitled “Device For Assisting With Plank Exercises”, the disclosure of which is incorporated herein by reference and on which priority is hereby claimed.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention generally relates to exercise equipment, and more particularly relates to devices for assisting with manual body stress exercises.

2. Description of the Prior Art

The plank exercise is a popular exercise that stresses the core muscles of the body such as the abdomen, lower back and upper legs. The plank exercise is utilized in a variety of exercise routines and is common in yoga studios and fitness classes. In fact, plank exercises are also often utilized by professional athletes.

The plank exercise is relatively simple. As can be seen in FIGS. 1A and 1B of the drawings, the exercise is performed by maintaining the body in a straight position, like a “plank” of wood, while the body is supported by the forearms and feet. When performing a plank exercise, fitness enthusiasts attempt to maintain the plank position for as long as possible until failure. By maintaining the challenging plank position, the core muscles are stressed and subsequently strengthened.

The degree and location of stress and strengthening that can be obtained from a traditional plank exercise is limited by the distance between the forearms and feet of the user, as well as the relative angle created between the user and the ground. Accordingly, since the distance between a user's forearms and feet is generally unchangeable, the degree and location of stress and strengthening accomplished by plank exercises is restricted. Furthermore, the conventional plank exercise places as much stress on the shoulders and arms as on the core muscles, and thus does not effectively target the core muscles.

The present invention provides a novel apparatus for varying the degree and location of stress and strengthening that can be obtained from a plank exercise by mechanically varying the distance between a user's forearm and the point at which a user's feet would otherwise traditionally contact the ground.

OBJECTS AND SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

It is an object of the present invention to provide a device for assisting a user to perform a plank exercise.

It is another object of the present invention to provide a device for assisting a user in performing a plank exercise that focuses the exercise on the user's core muscles.

It is yet another object of the present invention to provide a device for assisting a user to perform a plank exercise which is selectively adjustable in length to vary the degree of stress placed on the user during the exercise.

In one form of the present invention, a device for assisting with plank exercises includes an elongated main body having a top surface and a bottom surface disposed opposite the top surface. The elongated main body has a first lateral side and a second lateral side. A support brace that supports and preferably conforms to the shape of a user's back is positioned on the elongated main body in proximity to a first end thereof.

The device preferably further includes a base member positioned in proximity to a second end of the elongated main body, opposite the first end, that is preferably formed as a stabilizing stand comprising at least two legs that extend outwardly and downwardly from the elongated main body. Furthermore, an ankle support is preferably positioned on and perpendicularly to the elongated main body, in proximity to the second end thereof, to support a user's ankles which rest thereon.

The elongated main body is preferably formed as at least two telescoping members that may be selectively extended and retracted within one another to vary the length of the elongated main body and the corresponding degree of stress placed on the user during the exercise. At least one post preferably extends outwardly and perpendicularly from the top surface of the elongated main body to receive circular, plate-type, weights that may further increase the degree of stress of the exercise.

In another form of the present invention, the device for assisting with plank exercises may include a leg support brace positioned perpendicularly to the elongated main body in proximity to the first end thereof. The leg support orients the device to rest on the user's legs during exercise instead of against a user's back.

These and other objects, features and advantages of the present invention will be apparent from the following detailed description of illustrative embodiments thereof, which is to be read in connection with the accompanying drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1A is a left perspective view of a user performing a traditional plank exercise.

FIG. 1B is a left elevational view of a user performing a traditional plank exercise.

FIG. 2 is a left perspective view of a device for assisting in plank exercises formed in accordance with a first embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 3A is a left perspective view of the device for assisting in plank exercises formed in accordance with a first embodiment of the present invention, showing the device positioned on the user.

FIG. 3B is top plan view of the device for assisting in plank exercises formed in accordance with a first embodiment of the present invention, showing the device positioned on the user.

FIG. 4 is a left elevational view of the device for assisting in plank exercises formed in accordance with a first embodiment of the present invention, showing the telescoping elongated main body, ankle support and post with the circular, plate-type, weights positioned thereon.

FIG. 5 is top plan view of the device for assisting in plank exercises formed in accordance with a first embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 6 is a left perspective view of a device for assisting in plank exercises formed in accordance with a first embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 7 is a partially exploded left perspective view of the device for assisting in plank exercises formed in accordance with a first embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 8 is a left perspective view of the device for assisting in plank exercises formed in accordance with a first embodiment of the present invention, showing the device positioned on the user with the telescopic elongated main body partially extended.

FIG. 9 is rear perspective view of the device for assisting in plank exercises formed in accordance with a second embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 10 is a partially exploded rear perspective view of the device for assisting in plank exercises formed in accordance with a second embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 11 is a left perspective view of the device for assisting in plank exercises formed in accordance with a second embodiment of the present invention, showing the device positioned on the user.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

As can be seen in FIG. 2 of the drawings, the device 2 formed in accordance with a first embodiment of the present invention includes an elongated main body 4 in the form of a solid or tubular post and having a first end 6 and an oppositely disposed second end 8. A support brace 10 for supporting the back of a user is preferably positioned on the elongated main body 4 near the first end 6 thereof.

Preferably, the support brace 10 is formed as a concavely curved and contoured cushion to conform to the shape of a user's back. As can be seen in FIG. 2 of the drawings, the support brace 10 is preferably affixed to a bottom surface 12 of the elongated main body 4 near the first end 6 thereof. Brackets 11, bolts 13 extending from the support brace 10 and nuts 15 may be used to adjustably affix the support brace 10 to the elongated main body 4 in a desired position which is comfortable for the user (see FIGS. 6 and 7). As shown in FIGS. 3A and 3B of the drawings, the curved and contoured shape of the support brace 10 is preferably oriented to rest against the lower back and buttock area of a user when the device 2 is positioned for use. Such an orientation inherently guides a user how to position the device 2 against his or her body.

The device 2 further may include a base member 14 affixed and positioned in proximity to the second end 8 of the elongated main body 4 so that the base member is in communication with the ground or floor 16. As can be seen in FIGS. 2 and 3A of the drawings, the base member 14 preferably extends downwardly from the elongated main body 4 so that it is in communication with the ground or floor 16 to stabilize the device 2. The downward extension of the base member 14 further guides the user how to properly orient the device 2 when the device 2 is being used during plank exercises. As shown in FIGS. 6-8 of the drawings, the base member may also be formed as a stabilizing stand comprising a plurality of legs that extend outwardly and downwardly from the elongated main body 4 to stabilize and limit rotation of the device 2.

Furthermore, as shown in FIGS. 4 and 5 of the drawings, at least one post or stud 20 may extend outwardly and perpendicularly from a top surface 22 of the elongated main body 4 to hold a circular, plate-type, weight 24. The post 20 preferably has a diameter that corresponds to the diameter of the center opening 26 in a conventional circular, plate-type, weight 24. During use, a user may add one or a plurality of circular weights 24 onto to the post 20 to add further resistance/stress to the core muscles during the exercise.

As can be seen in FIGS. 3A and 3B of the drawings, to utilize the device 2, a user positions the support brace 10 against his lower back and buttock region and then wraps his legs around or over the elongated main body 4 attached to and extending therefrom. The elongated main body 4 serves as a support for the legs while the support brace 10 stabilizes the device 2 on the body. Padding or a cushion 18 may be wrapped around or secured to the elongated main body 4 to provide comfort for the user's legs. As can be seen in FIG. 3A of the drawings, once the device 2 has been positioned, the base member 14 extending downwardly from the device 2 in proximity to the second end 8 of the elongated main body 4 is in communication with the ground or floor 16 and the user's body is elevated as the user's elbows or arms are extended.

As shown in FIGS. 4-8 of the drawings, the device 2 may further include an ankle support 28 positioned between the first end 6 and the second end 8 of the elongated main body 4, the ankle support 28 generally being oriented perpendicularly to the elongated main body 4. Preferably, the ankle support 28 is positioned closer to the second end 8 of the elongated main body 4 than to the first end 6 so that the anterior portions of a user's ankles may rest thereon. The ankle support 28 may be formed as a cross-member affixed perpendicularly to the elongated main body 4 on the top surface 22 or bottom surface 12 thereof. In a preferred embodiment, the ankle support 28 may be formed as a pair of diametrically opposing posts 30 that extend outwardly from opposite lateral sides 32, 34 of the elongated main body 4. The ankle support 28 may be covered by padding or other materials so that a user's lower legs may rest comfortably thereon.

The elongated main body 4 may also be formed so that its length may be selectably adjusted by a user. More specifically, as shown in FIGS. 4-11 of the drawings, the elongated main body may be formed as a tubular member having at least a first telescoping member 36 and a second telescoping member 38. The first telescoping member 36 preferably has an inner diameter that is greater than or equal to the outer diameter of the second telescoping member 38 so that the second telescoping member 38 may be received by and reciprocate within the first telescoping member 36. A reducer 40 preferably interconnects the first telescoping member 36 and the second telescoping member 38 and is fitted therebetween to align and center the second telescoping member 38 at least partially within the first telescoping member 36, and preferably may be used to lock the two members 36, 38 in place. The second telescoping member 38 may be selectively extended and retracted from the first telescoping member 36 to vary the overall length of the elongated main body 4.

The first and second telescoping members 36, 38 may further include means for engaging one another to fix the elongated main body 4 to a desired length. For example, as shown in FIGS. 6 and 7 of the drawings, the first telescoping member 36 may include one hole or a plurality of holes 42 formed along the axial length thereof that may be aligned with one hole or a plurality of holes 44 formed along the axial length of the second telescoping member 38. Once the elongated main body 4 has been adjusted to a desired length (i.e., by selectively extending or retracting the second telescoping member 38 from the first telescoping member 36), a pin 39 or other fixation device may be inserted through the holes 42 formed in the first telescoping member 36 and through the corresponding aligned holes 44 formed in the second telescoping member 38 to engage the first and second telescoping members 36, 38 together. Alternatively, the first telescoping member 36 may be formed with a plurality of detents or other protrusions (not shown) that may engage the holes in the second telescoping member 38 once aligned. Of course, it is envisioned to be within the scope of the present invention to use other means to engage the telescoping members 36, 38 together. Furthermore, it is also envisioned to be within the scope of the present invention to have the first and second telescoping members 36, 38 configured so that the first telescoping member 36 is received by the second telescoping member 38 and may be selectively extendable therefrom and retractable therein. During use, a user may adjust the device 2 to a variety of different lengths to provide different degrees of stress as well as provide the device 2 with the ability to be stored in a compact state.

As can be seen in FIGS. 9-11 of the drawings, in accordance with a second embodiment of the present invention, a leg support 46 may be positioned on the elongated main body 4 near the first end 6 thereof. In this configuration, the device 2 is oriented to rest against the posterior portions of a user's legs during use instead of against a user's back. More specifically, as shown in FIG. 11, during use, the anterior portions of a user's lower legs rest on the ankle support 28 and the leg support 46 rests on the posterior portions of a user's upper legs.

The leg support 46 may be formed as a cross-member affixed perpendicularly to the elongated body 4 near the first end 6 thereof Furthermore, as shown in FIGS. 9-11 of the drawings, in a preferred embodiment, the leg support 46 is affixed to one axial end of the elongated body 4, opposite the base member 14. The leg support 46 may also be formed as a pair of diametrically opposing posts that extend outwardly from opposite lateral sides 32, 34 of the elongated main body 4 in proximity to the first end 6 thereof. As shown in FIGS. 9-11 of the drawings, the portion 48 of the elongated main body 4 between the ankle support 28 and the leg support 48 may be angulated relative to the second end 8 of the elongated main body 4.

Furthermore, it is also envisioned to be within the scope of the present invention to have the support brace 10, ankle support 28, leg support 46 and base member 14 be adjustably positionable along the length of the elongated main body 4. For example, a track or pin system (not shown) may be utilized to allow the support brace 10, ankle support 28, leg support 46 and base member 14 to be secured on the elongated main body 4 at various positions. Furthermore, it is envisioned to be within the scope of the present invention to have the base member 14 formed of a material that limits slippage with the ground, such as rubber, or to have a material attached to the base member 14 that limits slippage with the ground or prevents marring of the floor on which the exerciser 2 is used.

By utilizing the device 2 formed in accordance with the present invention, the lever arm relating to the core muscle stress is lengthened. More specifically, the lever arm that the core muscles are supporting is lengthened by mechanically extending the point at which a user's feet would otherwise traditionally touch the ground or floor 16 from the core muscles.

As can be seen in FIGS. 3A, 3B, 8 and 11 of the drawings, instead of the user's feet touching the ground or floor 16, when the device 2 is positioned on the user, the base member 14 is in communication with the ground or floor 16 rather than the user's feet. Since the base member 14 is positioned at a point farther away from the user's feet, the lever arm is mechanically extended. The lengthening of the lever arm makes the traditional plank exercise more strenuous to perform by increasing the lever arm on the core muscles and increasing the torque on the core muscles, thus adding a degree of difficulty to the exercise and strengthening of the core muscles. By utilizing the device 2 formed in accordance with the present invention, the plank exercise becomes more challenging and is focused more on the targeted core muscles than the shoulders, allowing the exercise to be effectively performed in a shorter duration than a conventional plank exercise alone.

Although illustrative embodiments of the present invention have been described herein with reference to the accompanying drawings, it is to be understood that the invention is not limited to those precise embodiments, and that various other changes and modifications may be effected therein by one skilled in the art without departing from the scope or spirit of the invention.