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Publication numberUS20050079964 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 10/683,481
Publication dateApr 14, 2005
Filing dateOct 8, 2003
Priority dateOct 8, 2003
Publication number10683481, 683481, US 2005/0079964 A1, US 2005/079964 A1, US 20050079964 A1, US 20050079964A1, US 2005079964 A1, US 2005079964A1, US-A1-20050079964, US-A1-2005079964, US2005/0079964A1, US2005/079964A1, US20050079964 A1, US20050079964A1, US2005079964 A1, US2005079964A1
InventorsJohn Francavilla
Original AssigneeFrancavilla John Joseph
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Spherical back exerciser apparatus
US 20050079964 A1
Abstract
An exercise apparatus for developing flexibility and strength in the back uses a captured ball to support the user's body. The ball is mounted in a receptacle with a substantial portion of the sphere exposed for contact with the user's body. The sphere has universal movement in the receptacle. In use, the user sits or lies on the ball in contact with the exposed sphere and their feet on the floor or a foot rest. The body is exercised by maintaining a point of contact between the ball and the user's back.
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Claims(20)
1. An exercise device comprising an elongated frame, said elongated frame having a first end, a second end, and an underside for supporting the frame, said first end adjustably connected to an attachment, said attachment carrying a foot rest, a receptacle having an open mouth connected to said frame intermediate said first end and said second end for holding a sphere of a particular diameter and circumference, said receptacle having a depth less than the diameter of said sphere, said open mouth of said receptacle having a circumference closely circumscribing the circumference of said sphere to capture said sphere, whereby a user applies force to said sphere causing movement of said surface of said sphere resulting in exercise of the body in all axes to maintain contact between said sphere and the user.
2. An exercise device of claim 1 wherein said second end is adjustably connected to a second attachment, said second attachment including a first handle bar, said first handle bar disposed in a manner to provide a manual support for the user to maintain contact with said sphere.
3. An exercise device of claim 1 further comprising said foot rest having means for providing user support in the supine, prone and lateral positions.
4. An exercise device of claim 3 further comprising said foot rest including a support strap for securement of an individual's feet against said foot rest.
5. An exercise device of claim 2 further comprising said second attachment having a base connected to said frame, said base attached to a stabilizing bar extending laterally from said base, a support post extending upwardly from said stabilizing bar, said support post connected to a head rest.
6. An exercise device of claim 5 further comprising a flexible tether attached at one end to said stabilizing bar, said tether being adjustable in length, a grip attached to said tether at an other end thereof, said grip providing manual support for a user in all axes.
7. An exercise device of claim 5 further comprising a handle bar attached to said support post intermediate said stabilizing bar and said head rest.
8. An exercise device of claim 7 further comprising a second handle bar attached to said handle bar support post between said first handle bar and said frame.
9. An exercise device of claim 1 further comprising said sphere being resilient, said resilient sphere adapted to support a user's weight and maintain universal movement in said receptacle.
10. An exercise device adapted for floor exercises said device comprising a frame, said frame having an open mouthed receptacle, said open mouth receptacle adapted to capture a sphere, said frame having vertical legs connected to said receptacle for supporting the receptacle above the floor, said frame including a radial frame member connected to said legs, said radial frame member having means for removable attachment of a manual rotary motor, whereby a user may place a sphere in supporting contact with the body and manually rotate said motor exercising in all axes.
11. An exercise device of claim 10 further comprising a second attachment having a base connected to said radial frame member, a support post extending upwardly from said attachment, said support post connected to a head rest.
12. An exercise device of claim 11 further comprising said support post connected to a handle bar.
13. An exercise device of claim 10 further comprising a second attachment having a base connected to said radial frame member, a support post extending upwardly from said attachment, said support post connected to a handle bar attached to said support post.
14. An exercise device of claim 13 further comprising a second handle bar attached to said handle bar support post between said first handle bar and said base.
15. An exercise device for improving strength and flexibility of a user's body by continuous contact with a universally moving spherical surface through muscular responses to maintain equilibrium, said exercise device comprising a receptacle for capturing a sphere with a substantial portion of the surface of said sphere exposed, said receptacle having a circular frame member, said circular frame member connected to vertical frame members extending approximately normal to said circular frame member about said periphery, and supporting said circular frame member, said vertical frame members attached to accessories extending beyond said circular frame member, said accessories adapted to facilitate maintaining equilibrium.
16. An exercise device of claim 15 further comprising said frame members forming extensions beyond said periphery of said circular frame member and including removable connections to attachments whereby said device is easily disassembled.
17. An exercise device of claim 16 further comprising said attachments including vertical poles connected to said vertical frame members and extending upwardly to terminate in hand grips.
18. An exercise device of claim 16 further comprising said attachments including a foot rest.
19. An exercise device of claim 16 further comprising said attachments including a handle bar.
20. An exercise device of claim 16 further comprising said attachments including a head rest.
Description

This application is related to the apparatus disclosed and claimed in U.S. Pat. No. 6,461,284, issued Oct. 2, 2002 to the same inventor, the contents of which are herein incorporated by reference in its entirety.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

This invention relates to the field of exercising devices and more particularly to exercise apparatus used to strengthen back muscles, add flexibility to the spine and to increase range of motion.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Back pain is a predominant complaint of patients seen by chiropractors, orthopedic surgeons and other professionals who deal in physical fitness/rehabilitation. The causes of back pain are varied, including injury, congenital defects, and bad habits. For example, individuals with poor posture place excessive pressure on the intervertebral disks and nerves related to the soft tissue of the back.

An integral part of any rehabilitation of the back and spine, regardless of the cause of the problem, is some form of exercise to strengthen and increase the flexibility of the back. Exercises and exercise equipment should result in movement of the spine to bend forwardly, rearwardly, and from side to side. Bending rearwardly is especially helpful in relieving pressure on the disks.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PRIOR ART

One method of exercise that is well known employs a large ball, sometimes called a Fit Ball, that is placed between a user's back and a vertical surface, such as a wall. The user assumes a squat position and pushes against the ball with his legs and back. The exercise requires the individual to apply sufficient pressure to prevent the ball from dropping through the application of pressure, while using their legs to move the ball for receipt of the exercise effect. Should the ball fall or otherwise lose contact, the individual could injure themself if their physical ailment was of a type that would not allow for sudden movements.

In another embodiment, a larger ball may be used on the floor or the like horizontal surface. As the ball rolls about the surface, the user maintains contact by flexing muscles and the skeleton. In this embodiment, the individual may sit on the ball wherein muscle exercise maintains the individual in an upright position providing spine movement and associated flex movement. The ability for an individual to maintain a position on the ball depends on their balance since the curvature of the ball requires balance at the base and apex of where the individual is situated. If an individual employs the ball to work the back, movement of the ball is necessary. However, excess movement may cause the individual to fall off the ball defeating any beneficial effects.

If the individual has certain physical handicaps, the current ball exercise device could not occur without the assistance of support personnel. This makes the use of current ball technology limited to those persons who have the assistance of support personnel or risk injury to themselves while attempting a rehabilitation.

U.S. Pat. No. 6,231,489 B1 discloses a back exercise machine which has a base for support of the machine. Attached to the base is an array of parallel rollers upon which the user rests the back in the supine position. The rollers terminate adjacent to a seat and extending from the seat, opposite from the rollers, is a bar for securing the user's feet. The user may sit in the seat and place his feet on the bar, bending rearwardly to allow the rollers to engage his back. This motion decompresses the spinal disks.

U.S. Pat. No. 4,191,178 discloses the use of a sphere or ball to massage the feet. The ball has a circumference of approximately 15 to 20 inches with protuberances to engage the feet.

U.S. Pat. No. 5,728,031 discloses an abdominal exerciser employing a vertical frame extending from a base mounted on the floor. Within the frame, is a pivotally mounted sphere that impacts the abdomen when the upper portion of the frame is pushed away from the user.

There is a Power Ball Bench with Ab Bar, distributed by Sports & Leisure Technology Corp. of Yonkers, N.Y., that has a metal frame with a circular mouth holding a large ball. The user pushes against the ball during exercise. The frame includes other attachments used for various exercises.

Thus, what is needed is an exercise apparatus that reacts with universal motion when forcibly contacted by an individual requiring equal and opposite body movements in all axes to maintain the point of contact.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The exercise apparatus develops flexibility and strength in the back and other portions of the body. The apparatus employs a frame that captures an exercise ball for support of the user's body during exercises. The ball is mounted in a receptacle with a substantial portion of the sphere exposed for contact with the user's body. The sphere has universal movement in the receptacle or may remain in a fixed position. In use, the user sits or lies on the ball with their body in contact with the exposed sphere with feet on the floor or a foot rest. The body is exercised by maintaining a point of contact between the ball and the user's back, sides or stomach.

Accordingly, it is an objective of the instant invention to teach an exercise device having a captured ball housed within a receptacle or cage. The ball provides a re-active surface to the movement of weight placed on its circumference, either by deformation or by rotation or both.

Still another objective of the instant invention is to provide an exercise apparatus having a primary purpose of increasing flexibility and strength in the back and spine of a person whose motion is limited by injury, surgery, congenital defects or lack of conditioning.

It is a further objective of the instant invention to teach universal movement of the captured ball in response to physical movement of an exerciser in contact with the exposed portion of the sphere.

It is yet another objective of the instant invention to teach a receptacle or cage with an open mouth housing the ball with a portion of the ball exposed for contact by an exerciser.

It is a still further objective of the invention to teach a frame supporting the cage and attachments to the frame with implements used by an exerciser to translate physical force to the ball for universal motion or deformation.

Another objective of the invention is to disclose a frame having hand and/or foot supports that allow an individual to maintain a position on the captured ball without assistance from other individuals.

Still another objective of the instant invention is to provide an exercise apparatus having a fully adjustable attachment for engaging the legs and feet.

Another objective of the instant invention is to provide an exercise apparatus having attachments for a resistance band attachment.

Another objective of the instant invention is to provide an exercise apparatus having attachments for engaging the hands.

Other objectives and advantages of this invention will become apparent from the following description taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings wherein are set forth, by way of illustration and example, certain embodiments of this invention. The drawings constitute a part of this specification and include exemplary embodiments of the present invention and illustrate various objects and features thereof.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE FIGURES

FIG. 1 is a perspective of one embodiment of the invention;

FIG. 2 is a perspective of the frame of the embodiment depicted in FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is a perspective the foot rest of FIG. 1;

FIG. 4 is a perspective of a height adjuster of FIG. 1; and

FIG. 5 is a perspective of a manual motor for connection to the embodiment of FIG. 1.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

The exercise device 10 has a primary purpose of increasing flexibility and strength in the back and spine of a person whose motion is limited by injury, surgery, congenital defects or lack of conditioning. While the use of the device focuses on the back, the device may be used to exercise other parts of the body. Indeed, proper use of the device obviously requires coordinated action from other parts of the body.

The basic apparatus is shown in FIG. 1. A large ball or sphere 1, approximately 2 foot diameter, is captured in a frame 11 having a cage 19 which may be formed of a tubular shape to interact with the surface of the ball. The ball 1 may be a hollow sphere filled with a gas, fluid or it may be solid. The spherical outside wall may be smooth or roughened for better purchase. The sphere 1 is preferably resiliently deformable but will not lose it's shape when supporting the weight of an exerciser.

The frame 11 supports the sphere on an exercise surface, such as a floor. The cage or receptacle 19 has an open mouth which is sized to accept the circumference of the ball 1 and can capture the ball 1 in a fixed position. Alternatively the cage 19 can allow the ball 1 universal rotation or surface deformation of the ball within the cage. The open mouth of the cage 19 is a circular frame member. The cage 19 is held in spatial relationship by vertical members such as those depicted by numerals 15, 16, 17 and 18. The vertical members 15 and 16 extend from the cage 19 to the radial frame member 14. The vertical frame members 17 and 18 extend from the cage 19 to the floor or other supporting surface. The circular frame support surface is reinforced by radial frame member 14. Radial frame member 14 is connected to the attachment 12 at one end and the attachment 13 at the other end. The connections between radial frame member 14 and the attachments 12 and 13 is adjustable so as to accommodate the size of an individual using the ball 1.

The attachment 12 has a base 22 which slidably connects with the radial frame member 14 by an adjustable coupling 21 and an aperture 23. There is a plurality of apertures in base 22. A stabilizing bar 24 extends laterally from the base 22 to prevent twisting of the base 22 and to support the head rest 32. The stabilizing bar 24 has rotatable height adjusters 35 at each end.

The base 22 and the stabilizing bar 24 have a bracket 33 mounted thereon to removably receive a post 25 secured by a pin 34. The post 25 slidably receives a handle bar support 27 carrying a laterally extending handlebar 28. The height of the handle bar may be adjusted by pin 26. Above handlebar support 27, there is another slidably received head rest post 30 which is height adjustable through the pin 29. The head rest post 30 has a handle bar 31 extending laterally directly under the head rest 32. The handle bars 28 and 31 provide an area for an individual to grasp for support while situated on the ball 1 in a prone, supine or sitting position.

The radial frame 14 extends beyond the circular frame cage 19 and slidably connects with attachment 13 which terminates in a T bar 36. The extension 13 may be formed in telescoping parts for longitudinal adjustment by pin 20 and aperture 37. The T bar 36 has a journal 38 which receives a support post 39. The journal 38 affords an angular adjustment for the support post 38 to permit the user's feet to comfortably engage the foot rest 40 in different exercises and for users of differing heights. The support post 39 includes apertures for adjustment of the foot rest shaft 40, in length, by coupling pin 41. The foot rest 42 has a non-slip surface for engaging the feet or footwear of the user. A strap 43 is attached to the foot rest 42 by a swivel 44 and buckles mounted on the edges of the foot rest. The strap 43 is used to anchor the feet to the foot rest during some exercises.

The stabilizing bar 24 and the T bar 36 each have a pair of rings attached on either side of the longitudinal center line of the frame. These rings 50 are used to connect to one end of resistance bands or tethers 51. The bands may be elastic or not depending on the exercise to be accomplished. The bands may have a hand grip/foot grip or loop at the free end. While using the exercise device, a user can place one or both hands or feet in the grip or loop portion of the flexible tether, which remains attached at an opposite end thereof to said stabilizing bar. The tether is constructed and arranged to be adjustable in length, and the grip provides manual support for a user in all axes. The bands may be used in conjunction with the ball or by themselves.

The frame 11, as shown in FIG. 2, has poles 52 and 53 extending from the vertical members 17 and 18, respectively, to a level to be grasped by a user whose body is in contact with the ball. The poles may have hand grips 53 and 54. Each pole is removably mounted on the vertical member through a journal 55.

In FIG. 3, the foot rest 42 is shown with the strap 43 in the vertical position. Two sets of buckles 56 and 57 are attached to the edges of the foot rest 42. The ends of the strap are passed through the opposite buckles 57 and doubled back so that they may be removably fastened to the strap by Velcro components 58 and 59. Another pair of opposite buckles 56 are used to orient the strap in a horizontal position. The strap may be tightened to hold the feet on the foot rest during exercises. The strap may be held in place by the buckles, the Velcro or both.

In FIG. 4, the rotatable eccentric adjuster 35 is mounted on the ends of the T bar 36 and stabilizing bar 24. The adjuster has a plurality of planar surfaces 60 to establish a stable foundation. The planar surface may be changed and the height of the frame attachments may be changed to accommodate an uneven supporting surface while maintaining the exercise device level.

The manual motor 70, shown in FIG. 5, has frame 71 which has one end 72 for removable connection to journal 38. Mounted on the frame 71 is a chain drive 73 driven by a sprocket wheel 74 and foot pedals 75. The chain is connected to drive wheel 76 whereby the drive wheel is rotated by the movement of the foot pedals. A friction wheel 77 is in rotary contact with the drive wheel 76. The friction wheel is adjustable by knob 78 to increase or decrease the amount of force applied to the drive wheel which results in a requirement for more or less force on the pedals 75.

As the sphere deforms and/or rotates, the exerciser must apply muscular force to compensate for the shifting location of the point of contact between the body and the ball to avoid dislodgement. Since there is no limit to the direction of deformation or rotation, the exerciser must move in all axes. Further, the device can be used by an individual for sitting on wherein balancing, with or without the wall support, provides the desired flex exercise.

It is to be understood that while a certain form of the invention is illustrated, it is not to be limited to the specific form or arrangement of parts herein described and shown. It will be apparent to those skilled in the art that various changes may be made without departing from the scope of the invention and the invention is not to be considered limited to what is shown and described in the specification and drawings.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US7285076Dec 14, 2005Oct 23, 2007Kelly Gerry KOscillating exercise machine
US7591764 *Sep 24, 2004Sep 22, 2009Swimworks, Inc.Exercise apparatus
US7651446Nov 13, 2008Jan 26, 2010Paul William EschenbachElliptical core cycle exercise apparatus
US7819781 *Jul 31, 2009Oct 26, 2010Brian MaldonadoMethods and apparatus for improved isolated musculature training
US8123663 *Apr 9, 2007Feb 28, 2012Fey Edward GExercise apparatus and apparel
US20110124476 *Nov 24, 2010May 26, 2011Terry Reed HolleyWhole body exercise apparatus for use with elastic spherical ball
US20110237403 *Mar 17, 2010Sep 29, 2011Cordio, LLCExercise machine with stationary bicycle and inflatable seat
US20130102443 *Oct 20, 2011Apr 25, 2013Recreation Supply, Inc.Vertical exercise equipment
WO2007068104A1 *Dec 12, 2006Jun 21, 2007Gerry K KellyOscillating exercise machine
WO2009158599A2 *Jun 26, 2009Dec 30, 2009Robert Joseph BaschnagelExercise ball and similar stationary exercise equipment
Classifications
U.S. Classification482/142
International ClassificationA63B26/00, A63B23/02
Cooperative ClassificationA63B23/0233, A63B2225/62, A63B2208/0252, A63B26/003
European ClassificationA63B23/02B, A63B26/00B