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Publication numberUS20040023766 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 10/211,178
Publication dateFeb 5, 2004
Filing dateAug 5, 2002
Priority dateAug 5, 2002
Publication number10211178, 211178, US 2004/0023766 A1, US 2004/023766 A1, US 20040023766 A1, US 20040023766A1, US 2004023766 A1, US 2004023766A1, US-A1-20040023766, US-A1-2004023766, US2004/0023766A1, US2004/023766A1, US20040023766 A1, US20040023766A1, US2004023766 A1, US2004023766A1
InventorsBobby Slone
Original AssigneeBobby Slone
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Adjustable instability apparatus for exercising, balancing, recreation and physical rehabilitation activities
US 20040023766 A1
Abstract
The invention (49), an adjustable instability apparatus for exercising, balancing, recreation and physical rehabilitation activities, is described comprising an air spring assembly (48), a bleeder valve with seal assembly (46), a bearing assembly (66) and flanged button head cap screws (38). The air spring assembly (48) consists of a molded rubber resilient inflatable bladder (22) that can be selectively inflated or deflated, and is surrounded by a girdle hoop (80) filled with multiple strands of wire (24) which are molded into the resilient rubber bladder (22). A substantially round, flat and rigid top plate (20) equipped with multiple threaded blind nuts (28) is crimped and sealed to the top portion of the bladder (22). A substantially round, rigid bottom plate (26) with the central portion concaved inward having a threaded open nut (88) with multiple threaded blind nuts (28) is crimped and sealed to the bottom portion of the bladder (22).
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Claims(14)
What is claimed is:
1. An adjustable instability apparatus for exercising, balancing, recreation and physical rehabilitation activities comprising:
a rotating rigid top for said exercising, balancing, recreation and physical rehabilitation activities;
an inflatable bladder having a top portion and a bottom portion;
a flow regulating device for selectively inflating and deflating said bladder;
a rigid top plate connected and sealed to said top portion of said bladder; and
a rigid bottom plate connected and sealed to said bottom portion of said bladder.
2. The apparatus of claim 1 further comprising:
means for securing devices to top side of said rigid top plate and bottom side of said rigid bottom plate, generally using multiple threaded fasteners and multiple threaded nuts.
3. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein said rigid top plate and said rigid bottom plate are generally comprised of metal.
4. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein said bladder may be comprised of multiple sections.
5. The bladder of claim 4, wherein said bladder possess means, usually a girdle hoop, to maintain shape, stability and integrity of said multiple sections.
6. The bladder of claim 5, wherein said bladder is generally cylindrical in shape.
7. The bladder of claim 6, wherein said bladder bellows upward toward said rigid top plate and downward toward said rigid bottom plate when inflated.
8. The apparatus of claim 1 further comprising:
means for connecting flow regulating device, usually a threaded regulating valve, is generally threaded into said rigid bottom plate.
9. The flow regulating device of claim 8 is usually threaded into a central cavity located on the bottom side of said rigid bottom plate.
10. The flow regulating device of claim 9 further comprising:
means for sealing flow regulating device, generally a seal ring between said flow regulating device and said central cavity on said bottom side of said rigid bottom plate.
11. The flow regulating device of claim 10 further comprising:
means for regulating the volume and rate of flow, generally a threaded regulating valve threaded into said central cavity on said bottom side of said rigid bottom plate.
12. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein said rotating rigid top is rotated by a rotating device.
13. The rotating device of claim 12 is usually a bearing and generally connected to the bottom side of said rigid bottom plate of said apparatus.
14. The rotating device of claim 13 further comprising:
means for securing said rotating device, usually to said bottom side of said rigid bottom plate, generally comprising multiple threaded fasteners and multiple threaded nuts.
Description
    FIELD OF THE INVENTION
  • [0001]
    The present invention generally relates to the field of exercising, balancing, recreation and physical rehabilitation activities devices. More particularly, the present invention relates to the field of exercising, balancing, recreation and physical rehabilitation activities equipment, using an adjustable instability apparatus (air spring assembly) as the foundation.
  • BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
  • [0002]
    It is well known in the prior art that balancing and exercising devices consist of various foundations such as circular balls, rounded bases, wedges and coiled spring assemblies. In most cases, the circular balls, rounded bases, wedges and coiled spring assemblies are made of wood, plastic, metals or other hard material and do not have resilience in them, and, therefore, are harder to use for exercising and balancing, and harder to stimulate the proprioceptors (little sensors at the end of the nerves) in the muscles, tendons and joints. Another type of prior art device comprised of a rotating bearing assembly only; this limits the usefulness and benefits of the device. Most devices also offer no way of connecting various types of appliances to the top and bottom of the foundation assembly. Most foundation devices do not offer a resilient foundation with adjustable instability in all directions to include bounce or spring up and down, tilt, flex or pivot front to back, side to side or any other angle, up-and-down elevation adjustment and rotation 360 degrees right or left.
  • [0003]
    U.S. Pat. No. 5,810,703 issuing to Louis Stack on Sep. 22, 1998 discloses an exercise board having central mounting with multi level adjustable spacer. A wobble board is provided with the capability of varying the height between its sphere section and board. This device gives you the ability to adjust at set intervals the height that the wobble board is off the floor.
  • [0004]
    U.S. Pat. No. 5,328,421 issuing to Charles Stanalajczo on Jul. 12, 1994 discloses a closed kinetic chain exercise device and method, a rehabilitation device for conditioning the lower extremity joints of a user. The device consists of a platform and a pivot plate or wedge.
  • [0005]
    U.S. Pat. No. 5,062,629 issuing to Jeffrey Vaughan on Nov. 5, 1991 discloses a surfing simulator, a simulator which uses, in combination, a ball bearing turntable, an adjustable spring plate assembly and a flexible mounting pad to connect a riding deck to a stationary supporting base.
  • [0006]
    U.S. Pat. No. 5,358,463 issuing to Jesus Fuentes on Oct. 25, 1994 discloses an exercise device, a device for doing push-ups by using push-up handles and assembly mounted to a tapered roller bearing assembly. This allows the user to rotate hands and arms during the push-up process.
  • [0007]
    All of the referenced devices above are deficient in one or more of the following major advantages that are incorporated into the new invention. They include the ability to raise or lower the top exercising or balancing top plate easily to many heights by simply opening or closing a bleeder valve, thus increasing or decreasing the intensity of the desired outcome of the activity, the ability to bounce or spring up and down, the ability to tilt, flex or pivot in any direction forward, backward, side to side or any degree in between, the ability to rotate 360 degrees right or left, or the ability to attach other appliances to the top plate and or bottom plate to increase usefulness and benefits of the activities and exercises performed.
  • [0008]
    The air spring assembly of the present invention is designed so that a user may carry out proprioceptive training, strengthening, exercising, balancing, recreation and physical rehabilitation by making use of full range of motion, resistance and balancing activities that are possible with this new invention. This is accomplished by varying the instability or stability of the air spring assembly simply by removing or adding air, and rotating 360 degrees right or left by use of a bearing assembly attached to the bottom of the air spring assembly.
  • SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
  • [0009]
    Briefly stated and in accordance with the preferred embodiment of the present invention, an adjustable instability apparatus for exercising, balancing, recreation and physical rehabilitation activities consists of an air spring assembly bleeder valve with seal assembly, bearing assembly and flanged button head cap screws. The air spring assembly is comprised of a molded rubber resilient inflatable bladder that can be selectively inflated or deflated and is surrounded by a girdle hoop that is filled with multiple strands of wire which are molded into the bladder. A substantially round, flat and rigid top plate equipped with multiple threaded blind nuts is crimped and sealed to the top portion of the bladder, and a substantially round rigid bottom plate with the central portion concaved inward having a threaded open nut equipped with multiple threaded blind nuts is crimped and sealed to the bottom portion of the bladder.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • [0010]
    Referring particularly to the drawings for the purpose of illustration only and not limitation, there are illustrated:
  • [0011]
    [0011]FIG. 1 shows an exploded perspective view of the preferred embodiment of the present invention, an adjustable instability apparatus for exercising, balancing, recreation and physical rehabilitation activities with an inflated bladder.
  • [0012]
    [0012]FIG. 2 shows a cross-sectional view taken along line 90-90 of FIG. 1.
  • [0013]
    [0013]FIG. 3 shows a perspective view of another embodiment of the present invention, an adjustable instability apparatus for exercising, balancing, recreation and physical rehabilitation activities with an inflated bladder, push-up handle and push-up handle plate.
  • [0014]
    [0014]FIG. 4 shows a cross-sectional view taken along line 92-92 of FIG. 3.
  • [0015]
    [0015]FIG. 5 shows an exploded perspective view of another embodiment of the present invention, an adjustable instability apparatus for exercising, balancing, recreation and physical rehabilitation activities with an inflated bladder and balance board assembly.
  • [0016]
    [0016]FIG. 6 shows a side view application example of the preferred embodiment of the present invention, an adjustable instability apparatus for exercising, balancing, recreation and physical rehabilitation activities with an inflated bladder, balance board, and posterior view of the lower legs and feet of a human body balancing and exercising on a balance board.
  • DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT
  • [0017]
    Although specific embodiments of the present invention will now be described with reference to the drawings, it should be understood that such embodiments are by way of example only and merely illustrative of but a small number of the many possible specific embodiments which can represent applications of the principles of the present invention. Various changes and modifications obvious to one skilled in the art to which the present invention pertains are deemed to be within the spirit, scope and contemplation of the present invention as further defined in the appended claims.
  • [0018]
    Referring to FIG. 1 is an exploded perspective view of the preferred embodiment of the present invention 49, an adjustable instability apparatus for exercising, balancing, recreation and physical rehabilitation activities. The invention 49 consists of the air spring assembly 48, bearing assembly 66 or rotating device, flanged button head cap screws 38, known as threaded fasteners and a bleeder valve with seal assembly 46. The air spring assembly 48 comprises of a molded rubber resilient inflatable bladder 22 is commonly referred to as a bladder, a double bladder or a multiple section bladder, and is generally cylindrical in shape. The bleeder valve with seal assembly 46 can selectively inflate or deflate the bladder 22. The bladder 22 has a top portion and a bottom portion. The bladder 22 is surrounded by a girdle hoop 80. The girdle hoop 80 surrounds and is molded into the bladder 22 and divides the bladder into two sections, a top and a bottom. The girdle hoop 80 helps the multiple sections maintain there shape, stability and integrity. The bladder 22 bellows upward toward the rigid top plate 20 and downward toward the rigid bottom plate 26 when inflated. The substantially round, flat and rigid top plate 20 is sometimes called a rigid top. The substantially round, rigid bottom plate 26 is sometimes called a rigid bottom and the bottom side has a central portion concaved inward, the concaved portion at times is referred to as a central cavity. The rigid top plate 20 and rigid bottom plate 26 are generally comprised of metal and also sometimes referred to as bead plates. Rigid top plate 20 and rigid bottom plate 26 have multiple threaded blind nuts 28 known as threaded nuts. The preferred installation method of the multiple threaded blind nuts 28 is to press them into multiple through bore holes in the rigid top plate 20 and rigid bottom plate 26, and then welded to seal them in place. The preferred type of valve and seal assembly is a bleeder valve with seal assembly 46, which is comprised of a flat rubber seal 32 at times called a seal ring with a central through bore hole that is placed over the threaded shaft of the bleeder valve 30, sometimes referred to as a threaded regulating valve, drain plug or flow regulating device, for selectively inflating and deflating the bladder 22. The bleeder valve 30 is normally a metal threaded hollow hex head plug that has a through bore hole horizontal to the threads leading into the hollow center section of the hollow hex head plug. This allows for the regulation of the volume and rate of flow, of air to flow or vent into or out of the air spring assembly 48 as the bleeder valve 30 is opened (unscrewed), you have minimum flow and when removed maximum flow. The through bore hole and hollow center section of the bleeder valve 30 are commonly referred to as a bleeder hole, vent hole or pressure relief port. The through bore hole in the bleeder valve 30 is located slightly above the sealing surface of the flat rubber seal 32 toward the threaded end of the bleeder valve 30. The bleeder valve with seal assembly 46 has been used in diesel fuel systems for many years by companies such as John Deere Company of Moline, Ill.
  • [0019]
    Referring now to FIG. 2 is a cross-sectional view taken along line 90-90 of FIG. 1. The invention 49 consists of the air spring assembly 48 which comprises of a bladder 22, surrounded by a girdle hoop 80, filled with multiple strands of wire 24 which are molded into the bladder. The bladder 22 has a top portion and a bottom portion. The circumference of the girdle hoop 80, rigid top plate 20 and rigid bottom plate 26 are all about the same. The girdle hoop 80 is molded around the bladder 22 which forms a top section that bellows upward toward the rigid top plate 20 and a bottom section that bellows downward toward the rigid bottom plate 26 when inflated. The girdle hoop 80 helps the bladder maintain its shape, stability and integrity. The preferred method of connecting and sealing the rigid top plate 20 to the top portion of the bladder 22 and rigid bottom plate 26 to the bottom portion of the bladder 22 is by crimping. Rigid top plate 20 and rigid bottom plate 26 have multiple threaded blind nuts 28. Multiple threaded blind nuts 28 and multiple flanged button head cap screws 38 are used in combination to secure various devices such as the bearing assembly 66 to the bottom side of the rigid bottom plate 26 or top side of the rigid top plate 20. Rigid bottom plate 26 has a central portion that is concaved inward. The preferred mounting location of the threaded open nut 88 is in the center of the concaved portion of the rigid bottom plate 26. The preferred installation method of the threaded open nut 88 is to press it into a through bore hole in the rigid bottom plate 26 and seal it in place by welding.
  • [0020]
    The flat rubber seal 32 or seal ring with a through bore hole is placed over the threaded shaft of the bleeder valve 30, then the bleeder valve with seal assembly 46 is placed through the large through bore access hole 64B in the bottom plate 70, and the large through bore access hole 64A in the top plate 68 of the bearing assembly 66. The preferred installation or connecting method of the bleeder valve with seal assembly 46 or flow regulating device is to thread it into the threaded open nut 88 located in the central cavity on the bottom side of the rigid bottom plate 26. This process also seals the bleeder valve with seal assembly 46 to the invention 49 and makes it an air tight sealed unit.
  • [0021]
    Bearing assembly 66, commonly referred to as a lazy Susan bearing assembly, is attached to the bottom side of the rigid bottom plate 26 by using multiple flanged button head cap screws 38. A flanged button head cap screw 38 is placed through the through bore access hole 60 in the bearing assembly bottom plate 70. The flanged button head cap screw 38 is placed into the through bore hole 62 in the bearing assembly top plate 68 and then threaded into the threaded blind nut 28 of the rigid bottom plate 26. The bottom plate 70 is rotated on the ball bearings 72 until the next through bore hole 62 in the top plate 68 is aligned with the through bore access hole 60 in the bottom plate 70, then the installation of another flanged button head cap screw 38 is repeated. This process attaches the bearing assembly 66 to the rigid bottom plate 26. This allows the air spring assembly 48 to rotate 360 degrees right or left, thus permitting the rigid top plate 20 of the air spring assembly 48 to rotate 360 degrees right or left. The bearing assembly 66 is currently manufactured and sold by Triangle Manufacturing Company of Oshkosh, Wis.
  • [0022]
    Referring now to FIG. 3 is a perspective view of another embodiment of the present invention with a push-up handle 36, push-up handle plate 42, molded rubber inflatable resilient bladder 40 commonly referred to as a bladder, a single bladder or a single section bladder and bearing assembly 66. This embodiment consists of a generally cylindrical bladder 40 that has a top portion and a bottom portion. The top portion of the bladder 40 bellows upward toward the rigid top plate 20 and the bottom portion of the bladder 40 bellows downward toward the rigid bottom plate 26 when inflated. A substantially round, flat, rigid top plate 20 and a substantially round, rigid bottom plate 26 with the center portion concaved inward are generally comprised of metal and are also sometimes referred to as bead plates. Rigid top plate 20 and rigid bottom plate 26 have multiple threaded blind nuts 28 (shown in FIG. 4). The push-up handle 36 normally is formed from round metal and is generally attached by welding 44 and the push-up handle plate 42, also usually made of metal. Push-up handle plate 42 has a centrally located large through bore hole. Push-up handle plate 42 is connected to the rigid top plate 20 by the preferred method of placing multiple flanged button head cap screws 38 into multiple through bore holes in the push-up handle plate 42. Flanged button head cap screws 38 are threaded into the multiple threaded blind nuts 28 (shown in FIG. 4).
  • [0023]
    Referring now to FIG. 4 is a cross-sectional view with the bladder 40 inflated taken along line 92-92 of FIG. 3. The preferred method of connecting and sealing the rigid top plate 20 to the top portion of the bladder 40 and rigid bottom plate 26 to the bottom portion of the bladder 40 is by crimping. Rigid top plate 20 and rigid bottom plate 26 have multiple threaded blind nuts 28. Push-up handle 36 is connected to the push-up handle plate 42 by welding 44 which is the preferred method. Push-up handle plate 42 is connected to the rigid top plate 20 by the preferred method of placing multiple flanged button head cap screws 38 into multiple through bore holes in the push-up handle plate 42. The flanged button head cap screws 38 are threaded into the multiple threaded blind nuts 28 of the rigid top plate 20. This same process can be used to secure other devices to the rigid top plate 20 or the rigid bottom plate 26.
  • [0024]
    The flat rubber seal 32 with a through bore hole is placed over the threaded shaft of the bleeder valve 30, then bleeder valve 30 is threaded into the threaded open nut 88 which is located in the central portion of the concaved area of the rigid bottom plate 26. The bladder 40 can be selectively inflated or deflated using the bleeder valve 30 and flat rubber seal 32. The flat rubber seal 32 and bleeder valve 30 are shown in the open (unscrewed) position.
  • [0025]
    The flat rubber seal 32 and bleeder valve 30 can be operated, removed or replaced through the large through bore access hole 64A in the bearing assembly top plate 68 and large through bore access hole 64B in the bearing assembly bottom plate 70. The centrally located concaved area of the rigid bottom plate 26 is deep enough to allow the bleeder valve 30 and flat rubber seal 32 to reside within the concaved area of the rigid bottom plate 26.
  • [0026]
    Bearing assembly 66 is attached to the rigid bottom plate 26 by using multiple flanged button head cap screws 38. A flanged button head cap screw 38 is placed through the through bore access hole 60 in the bearing assembly bottom plate 70. A flanged button head cap screw 38 is placed into the through bore hole 62 (shown in FIG. 2) in the bearing assembly top plate 68 and then threaded into a threaded blind nut 28 of the rigid bottom plate 26. The bearing assembly bottom plate 70 is rotated on the ball bearings 72 until the next through bore hole 62 in the top plate 68 is aligned with the through bore access hole 60 in the bearing assembly bottom plate 70, then the installation of another flanged button head cap screw 38 is repeated. This process attaches the bearing assembly 66 to the rigid bottom plate 26.
  • [0027]
    Next referring to FIG. 5 is an exploded perspective view of another embodiment of the present invention with a balance board assembly 78, molded rubber inflatable resilient bladder 82, is commonly referred to as a bladder, a triple bladder or a multiple section bladder, bearing assembly 66, multiple flanged button head cap screws 38, and bleeder valve with seal assembly 46. This embodiment consists of a bladder 82 and is generally cylindrical in shape. The bleeder valve with seal assembly 46 can selectively inflate or deflate the bladder 82. The bladder 82 has a top portion and a bottom portion. Two girdle hoops 80 filled with multiple strands of wire 24 (shown in FIG. 2) surround and are molded into the bladder 82, dividing the bladder into three sections a top, middle and bottom. The two girdle hoops 80 help the bladder maintain its shape, stability and integrity. The bladder 82 bellows upward toward the rigid top plate 20 and downward toward the rigid bottom plate 26 when inflated. A substantially round, flat, rigid top plate 20 and the substantially round, rigid bottom plate 26 with the center portion concaved inward are generally comprised of metal and are sometimes referred to as bead plates. The preferred method of connecting and sealing the rigid top plate 20 to the top portion of the bladder 82, and rigid bottom plate 26 to the bottom portion of the bladder 82 is by crimping. Rigid top plate 20 and rigid bottom plate 26 have multiple threaded blind nuts 28. The balance board assembly 78 consists of multiple flanged button head cap screws 38, self-adhesive, anti-slip grip tape 52, a rectangular balance board 54, and multiple through bore holes 79. The balance board 54 is made of wood, sufficient and strong enough for supporting a human body, and is commonly referred to as the deck of a skate board. The balance board 54 is connected to the rigid top plate 20 by inserting multiple flanged button head cap screws 38 into the multiple through bore holes 79 and threading them into the multiple threaded blind nuts 28 of the rigid top plate 20. Bearing assembly 66 is connected to the rigid bottom plate 26 by inserting multiple flanged button head cap screws 38 through the through bore holes 62 in bearing assembly 66 and threading them into the multiple threaded blind nuts 28 of the rigid bottom plate 26. The bleeder valve with seal assembly 46 is installed into the concaved central area of the rigid bottom plate 26 (shown in FIG. 4). The bleeder valve with seal assembly 46 is installed through the large through bore access holes 64A and 64B of the bearing assembly 66.
  • [0028]
    Next referring to FIG. 6 is a side view application example of using the preferred embodiment of the invention 49. Shown is the posterior view of the lower legs and feet 84 of a human body balancing and exercising on a balance board assembly 78. The balance board assembly 78 is connected to the top of the invention 49. The bottom of the invention 49 is resting on the floor 56, ground or other substantial, generally-horizontal surface.
  • [0029]
    Now referring to FIG. 1, the preferred technique of manufacturing the air spring assembly 48 is to start with a bladder 22, girdle hoop 80, rigid top plate 20 and rigid bottom plate 26 combination, presently sold as Airidec, springs. Currently manufactured and sold by Firestone of Carmel, Ind., are particularly suitable after adoption to manufacture the air spring assembly 48.
  • [0030]
    In operation, the size of the invention 49 will vary depending upon the application. For example, if a large unit is used, the user would position the bottom of the bearing assembly 66, upon the floor 56 (shown in FIG. 6), ground or other substantial, generally-horizontal surface. The user then positions themself upon the rigid top plate 20 in a push-up, sitting, kneeling, standing or laying position (not shown). The user then performs the desired activities such as exercising, balancing, recreation or physical rehabilitation. If desired, two inventions 49, of the same size or different sizes, can be used close together; set-up will be the same as that of a single invention 49. Two inventions 49 are great for doing squats, pushups or standing on when doing upper body dumbbell lifts or other activities to further enhance proprioception, body core stability, strength and balance.
  • [0031]
    To increase the varied diversity, usefulness and many benefits of the present invention 49, various appliances or devices such as a balance board assembly 78 (shown in FIG. 6), push-up handle 36 with push-up handle plate 42 (shown in FIG. 3) or various platforms round, square or rectangular (not shown) can be attached to the rigid top plate 20. These are not part of the invention and are shown to demonstrate the diversity, usefulness and many benefits of the present invention.
  • [0032]
    A bearing assembly 66 connected to the rigid bottom plate 26 allows for 360 degree rotation right or left.
  • [0033]
    Still referring to FIG. 1, the process of increasing or decreasing the instability or stability is a simple one. With the invention 49 in hand, you simply open the bleeder valve with seal assembly 46 by hand or by using a hand tool such as a wrench. Once opened, you simply apply slight pressure to the bottom plate 26 and top plate 20 and press them together to remove air from the air spring assembly 48, or you pull with slight pressure the top plate 20 and bottom plate 26 apart and air is pulled into the air spring assembly 48 through the bleeder valve with seal assembly 46; when the desired stability or instability is achieved, you then close the bleeder valve with seal assembly 46.
  • [0034]
    The amount of stability or instability is the amount of bounce up and down, tilt, flection or bending front to back, side to side or any other direction offered by the amount of air inside the air spring assembly 48, and the amount of rotation 360 degrees right or left offered by the bearing assembly 66 which is attached to the bottom of the air spring assembly 48.
  • [0035]
    If additional stability is needed for physically challenged or physical therapy patients, the bearing assembly 66 can be removed. This will increase the stability of the invention 49 by removing the ability to rotate 360 degrees right or left.
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Classifications
U.S. Classification482/146
International ClassificationA63B23/12, A63B26/00, A63B22/18
Cooperative ClassificationA63B2208/0242, A63B2208/0228, A63B2208/0214, A63B23/1236, A63B2022/0033, A63B26/003, A63B22/18
European ClassificationA63B22/18, A63B26/00B