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Publication numberUS20060040803 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 11/198,052
Publication dateFeb 23, 2006
Filing dateAug 4, 2005
Priority dateAug 4, 2004
Also published asCN2860537Y, WO2006017657A1
Publication number11198052, 198052, US 2006/0040803 A1, US 2006/040803 A1, US 20060040803 A1, US 20060040803A1, US 2006040803 A1, US 2006040803A1, US-A1-20060040803, US-A1-2006040803, US2006/0040803A1, US2006/040803A1, US20060040803 A1, US20060040803A1, US2006040803 A1, US2006040803A1
InventorsCharles Perez
Original AssigneePerez Charles B Jr
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Exercise device
US 20060040803 A1
Abstract
An exercise device is disclosed having a self-inflating pillow with a compressed state and an expanded state. In an initial position, the pillow is biased in an expanded state, preferably by coils positioned in the pillow cavity. To perform exercises, the user must compress the pillow by applying force on the pillow. A two-way valve is provided on the pillow to facilitate the intake and the exhaust of air through the pillow. The valve can be adjusted to provide variable resistance and lumbar support to the user.
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Claims(19)
1. An exercise device, comprising:
a self-inflating pillow having an expanded state and a compressed state, the pillow defining a cavity therein for holding air;
a two-way valve in fluid communication with the air in the cavity, wherein the two-way valve comprises an adjustable outlet.
2. The exercise device of claim 1, further comprising a biasing device positioned in the cavity, wherein the biasing device biases the pillow in the expanded state.
3. The exercise device of claim 2 wherein the biasing device comprises a coil spring.
4. The exercise device of claim 3 further comprising a first plate and a second plate, wherein the coil spring is positioned between the first and second plates.
5. The exercise device of claim 1 wherein the self-inflating pillow comprises shape-memory foam.
6. The exercise device of claim 1, wherein the two-way valve comprises:
a control knob;
a plurality of outlets, each outlet having a pre-selected size;
wherein the control knob is operatively connected to the plurality of outlets such that the control knob can be manipulated to select one of the plurality of outlets.
7. The exercise device of claim 1, wherein the two-way valve comprises:
an upper portion;
a lower portion threadingly engaged to the upper portion;
wherein the upper portion is movable in an axial direction in relation to the lower portion, and wherein when the upper portion is moved in the axial direction away from the lower portion, a passageway for the flow of air is defined.
8. The exercise device of claim 1, further comprising a supplemental valve, wherein the supplemental valve is a one-way valve.
9. The exercise device of claim 8 wherein the supplemental valve is configured to allow air to enter the cavity.
10. An exercise device, comprising:
a self-inflating pillow having an expanded state and a compressed state, wherein the pillow is biased in the expanded state;
wherein the pillow provides a resistance against the movement of the pillow from the expanded state to a compressed state; and
means for adjusting the resistance provided by the pillow.
11. The exercise device of claim 10, wherein the resistance adjustment means comprises a two-way valve having an adjustable outlet.
12. The exercise device of claim 11, wherein the two-way valve comprises:
a control knob;
a plurality of outlets, each outlet having a pre-selected size;
wherein the control knob is operatively connected to the plurality of outlets such that the control knob can be manipulated to select one of the plurality of outlets.
13. The exercise device of claim 12, wherein the plurality of outlets comprises a large outlet, a medium outlet and a small outlet.
14. The exercise device of claim 13, wherein the plurality of outlets further comprises a blocked outlet.
15. The exercise device of claim 1, wherein the two-way valve comprises:
an upper portion;
a lower portion threadingly engaged to the upper portion;
wherein the upper portion is movable in an axial direction in relation to the lower portion, and wherein when the upper portion is moved in the axial direction away from the lower portion, a passageway for the flow of air is defined.
16. The exercise device of claim 1, further comprising a supplemental valve, wherein the supplemental valve is a one-way valve.
17. The exercise device of claim 16 wherein the supplemental valve is configured to allow air to enter the cavity.
18. The exercise device of claim 11 wherein the self-inflating pillow comprises shape-memory foam.
19. An exercise device, comprising:
a self-inflating pillow having a first side and a second side, the first and second sides defining a cavity therebetween;
a first plate positioned adjacent the first side of the pillow, a second plate positioned adjacent the second side of the pillow, a spring positioned between the first and second plates;
wherein the self-inflating pillow has an expanded state and a compressed state, and the spring biases the pillow in the expanded state;
a two-way valve configured to provide fluid communication between the interior and exterior of the pillow, wherein the two-way valve comprises an adjustable outlet.
Description
RELATED APPLICATIONS

The present application is related to U.S. Provisional App. No. 60/599,190 filed on Aug. 4, 2004.

FIELD OF INVENTION

The present invention generally relates to a combination lumbar support and exercise device. More particularly, the present invention relates to a lightweight and portable exercise device that provides both lumbar support and resistance for exercising a user's back muscles and abdominal muscles.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Traditional lumbar support devices are limited in their versatility. Many are pillow-like devices which are placed between an individual's lower back and the seat back of a chair. Such devices only offer static lumbar support. They do not allow the user to move or flex the lower back against any device-provided resistance and do not permit the user to vary the amount of support or resistance provided by the device.

Traditional back and abdominal exercise devices are also limited in their versatility. For example, an individual cannot use most such devices while he or she is seated in an ordinary chair. Instead, such devices often require that the user use the device while lying prone on the floor, or the like. Many of these devices are rather large and cumbersome and are difficult to transport and store.

The traditional manner of performing “sit-ups”, wherein the exerciser lies on the floor on his or her back and lifts the torso toward the bent knees is generally adequate for exercising one's lower back and abdominal muscles. However, such exercises cannot be performed in some settings, such as in an office or while traveling on a train or airplane.

Accordingly, there is a continuing need for a device that provides lumbar support and enables the user to exercise his or her lower back and abdominal muscles. It is desirable to have a device that provides variable resistance such that the user can control and adjust the amount of lumbar support provided by the device and can control the amount of resistance provided in exercising the lower back and abdominal muscles.

SUMMARY OF PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

The present invention is directed to a device that provides lumbar support and enables the user to exercise his or her lower back and abdominal muscles. In a preferred embodiment, the exercise device includes a self-inflating pillow having a compressed state and an expanded state. In an initial position, the pillow is biased in an expanded state. To perform exercises, the user must compress the pillow by applying force on the pillow. A two-way valve is provided on the pillow to facilitate the intake and the exhaust of air through the pillow, thereby causing the pillow to expand and compress. The valve can be adjusted to provide variable resistance and lumbar support to the user.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF DRAWINGS

The accompanying drawings illustrate the invention. In such drawings:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a preferred embodiment of the abdominal exercise and lumbar support device of the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of various component parts of a preferred embodiment of the abdominal exercise and lumbar support device of the present invention;

FIGS. 3 a through 3 d are perspective views of a preferred embodiment of a valve utilized in the present invention;

FIG. 4 is an exploded view of a preferred embodiment of a valve used in the present invention;

FIG. 5 is a perspective view of an alternate valve; and

FIG. 6 is an exploded view of a supplemental valve utilized in the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

As shown in the accompanying drawings for purpose of illustration, the present invention resides in an abdominal exercising device generally referred to by the reference number 10. As shown in FIG. 1, in a preferred embodiment of the invention, the exercise device 10 is in the form of a self-inflating pillow. The pillow is preferably sized to be inserted between a user's lower back and a back rest of a chair or the like. As will be more fully described herein, the exercise device 10 provides a degree of lumbar support while the user is seated and can be adjusted to provide a desired level of resistance for support. To exercise the abdominal and lower back muscles, the user pushes against the exercise device, overcoming the resistance provided by the device and causing it to deflate. To successfully deflate the pillow, the user must utilize his or her abdominal and back muscles. The difficulty level of the exercise can be varied depending on the resistance provided, which movement is resisted to an adjustable degree by the device 10.

With reference to FIG. 2, the device 10 includes foam 12 disposed within a cover 14. The cover 14 is preferably of a material which is impermeable to air, or otherwise resists airflow therethrough. In a particularly preferred embodiment, as illustrated, foam 12 comprises two pieces, or is otherwise formed, so as to create a cavity 16 within the device 10.

Disposed within the cavity 16 is resistance means 18. In the embodiment shown in FIG. 2, resistance means includes springs 20 disposed between plates 22 and 24. The number and type of springs used can vary according to the desired level of resistance. In a preferred embodiment of the invention, two sets of coiled springs 20 are attached to semi-flexible plates 22 and 24, which can be comprised of plastic or the like. In another preferred embodiment of the invention, the springs can be attached directly to the foam 12, eliminating the need for plates 22 and 24.

The springs are preferably biased in an outward direction such that exercise device 10 is in an expanded, decompressed state when no external force is applied to it. Those skilled in the art will understand that any biasing device that biases the pillow in an expanded state can be used. To further assist the device in maintaining an expanded state while at rest, the foam 12 can be shaped and positioned to maintain an expanded volume, defining a cavity therein, when external forces are not applied to the exercise device. Furthermore, in another embodiment of the invention, the foam may comprise shape-memory foam, i.e., constructed of a material that returns to its initial shape and position upon removal of external forces.

When performing an exercise, the user exerts force on the exercise device overcoming the resistance provided by the biasing device and causing the exercise device to deflate. A user must utilize his or her abdominal and back muscles to successfully deflate the exercise pillow. AS the exercise device deflates, air from the cavity 16 escapes through air valve 30 (shown in FIG. 1).

Once the exercise has been performed, the user relaxes his or her abdominal muscles and back muscles and moves his or her back in a direction away from the exercise device. When the external force from the user is removed, springs 20 push the opposing sides of the device 10 apart from each other to open the central cavity 16 causing air to be introduced into the self-inflating foam. The incoming air is drawn through air valve 30 into the central cavity 16. In alternative embodiments of the invention, springs 20 are not used, as the self-inflating foam will eventually inflate and cause air to be re-introduced into the cavity 16. However, in a preferred embodiment of the invention, the device 10 includes spring 20 and plastic bases 22 and 24 to facilitate the expansion of the exercise device.

With reference now to FIGS. 1 and 3 a-3 d, a preferred embodiment of the adjustable air valve 30 is described. Adjustable air valve 30 is preferably a two-way valve, allowing air to escape from the central cavity 16 when the exercise device 10 compresses and allowing air to enter the central cavity 16 when the exercise device expands. It is envisioned that the two-way valve 30 can be replaced with two or more one-way valves known to those skilled in the art. However, it is preferable to utilize a two-way valve that is adjustable, as described further herein.

In a preferred embodiment of the invention, valve 30 includes a control knob 32. By rotating the control knob 32, the user can control the size of the valve outlet 34. In a preferred embodiment of the invention, there are three different sized outlets, depicted in FIGS. 3 a through 3 c, respectively. Of the different sized outlets, the outlet 34 a shown in FIG. 3 a has the largest opening. The larger the opening, the less force the user must exert on device 10 to compress it. Therefore, with respect to level of difficulty, the valve setting shown in FIG. 3 a is the easiest setting depicted. FIG. 3 b shows an outlet 34 b having a smaller opening than the outlet 34 a of FIG. 3 a. The valve opening shown in FIG. 3 b corresponds to a moderate or medium setting for level of difficulty. FIG. 3 c shows an outlet 34 c having the smallest opening. This valve setting corresponds to a difficult or advanced level of exercise. FIG. 3 d depicts a valve setting wherein there is no opening and the outlet 34 d is blocked. In this setting, the device 10 cannot be compressed. This setting is most suitable when device 10 is used as a lumbar support device, and not for exercise purposes.

FIG. 4 is an exploded view of the valve shown in FIG. 3. As shown in FIG. 4, valve 30 includes a control knob 32, a middle portion defining valve outlets 34, and a cap 36. By turning the control knob 32, the cap 36 turns. The opening in the cap 36 can be aligned with a selected outlet 34 of the middle portion to control the resistance provided in the exercise device.

The number of outlet options available and the size of the outlets can vary as desired. Furthermore, the control knob can be configured to move translationally or otherwise control the outflow of air through the valve. In another embodiment of the invention, as shown in FIG. 5, valve 40 includes an upper portion 42 and a lower portion 44 threadingly engaged to each other. The airflow through valve 40 can be adjusted by moving the upper portion 42 with respect to the lower portion 44. For example, as the upper portion is rotated counterclockwise, it will begin to move away from the lower portion 44, allowing for air to flow through passage 46. As the upper and lower portions 42, 44 are further separated, airflow through passage 46 increases.

The adjustable valves described herein primarily function to control the difficulty level of the exercise. The smaller the outlet opening, the more force the user will be required to apply to compress the device. To exercise the back and abdominal muscles, the user must repeatedly compress the device. After each compression, the device self-inflates to its initial expanded state and remains in the expanded state until the user's next compression.

In a preferred embodiment of the invention, a supplemental valve 50 is provided to reduce the amount of time that the device takes to return to its expanded state. The supplemental valve 50 is preferably a one-way valve that allows air to enter the device when it is self-inflating, but does not allow air to escape from the device. By using a one-way valve, the supplemental valve 50 does not interfere with the exercise level adjustment of valve 30. Rather, supplemental valve 50 only assists in self-inflating the exercise device between compressions.

One-way valves are well known in the art. A typical one-way valve, as shown in FIG. 6, includes an upper casing 52 that faces the exterior, a lower casing 54 that faces the interior of the exercise device, a flap 56, and a venting plate 58. When the exercise device 10 is compressed, the air pushes flap 56 against upper casing 52, such that flap 56 blocks the openings 60 in the upper casing 52. Therefore, no air will exit through the supplemental valve 50. In contrast, when the air is drawn into the exercise device, the air pushes flap 56 away from the upper casing 52, allowing for a flow of air through the openings of the upper casing 52, through the venting plate 58, through the openings 60 in the lower casing 54 and into the cavity 16.

In a preferred embodiment of the invention, the self-inflating foam 12 will draw air in through the adjustable air valve 30 and the supplemental valve 50. The adjustable air outlet 34 is adjusted to the desired level. The user places the device 10 between the small of his or her back and the back rest of the chair and pushes against the device 10, such as by contracting the abdominal muscles and moving the lower back towards the back rest of the chair, causing the air within the foam 12 to escape through the valve outlet 34. Primarily, it is the forcing of the air through the valve 30 which creates the resistance to exercise the abdominal and back muscles. By opening the valve 30, less resistance is achieved. However, by closing the valve 30, the air escapes more slowly and the resistance is increased.

Many modifications and other embodiments of the invention set forth herein will come to mind to one skilled in the art to which the invention pertains having the benefit of the teachings presented in the foregoing descriptions and the associated drawings. Therefore, it is to be understood that the invention is not to be limited to the specific embodiments disclosed and that modifications and other embodiments are intended to be included within the scope of the appended claims. Although specific terms are employed herein, they are used in a generic and descriptive sense only and not for purposes of limitation.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US8096928 *Nov 4, 2009Jan 17, 2012Izhuk OvadiaDevice for treating the lower back
US8260438Apr 27, 2007Sep 4, 2012Tyco Healthcare Group LpElectrode pad packaging systems and methods
US8594812Jul 27, 2012Nov 26, 2013Covidien LpElectrode pad packaging systems and methods
US8632443Dec 24, 2010Jan 21, 2014Martina E. HauptmannTherapeutic-exercise pillow and methods of use
US20130019409 *Jul 19, 2012Jan 24, 2013Jiajing Usa, Inc.Comfort customizable pillow
EP2394537A1 *Jun 14, 2010Dec 14, 2011Chern Shing Top Co., Ltd.Pillow structure
WO2007127266A2 *Apr 27, 2007Nov 8, 2007Covidien AgElectrode pad packaging systems and methods
WO2009079696A1 *Dec 19, 2008Jul 2, 2009Comfort Concepts Pty LtdSeating systems incorporating self-inflating adjustable supports
WO2014157184A1 *Mar 25, 2014Oct 2, 2014TOKYU SPORTS OASIS Inc.Exercise cushion
Classifications
U.S. Classification482/112, 5/709, 482/121, 5/644, 482/148
International ClassificationA47G, A63B21/05, A63B23/00, A63B21/008, A63B21/02
Cooperative ClassificationA63B21/00069, A63B21/05, A47C7/425, A63B23/0233, A63B2225/62, A47C27/084, A63B21/0085, A63B23/0211, A47C9/002, A47G9/1027
European ClassificationA47C27/08A8, A63B21/05, A47C7/42B, A63B21/008C, A47C9/00B, A47G9/10D
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Aug 4, 2005ASAssignment
Owner name: LICENSING GROUP, INC., THE, CALIFORNIA
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:PEREZ, CHARLES B. JR.;REEL/FRAME:016869/0141
Effective date: 20040921