US 20060084556 A1
The exercise apparatus is a lightweight and portable exercise device that enhances the active care and rehabilitation of patients participating in programs of therapeutic exercise as other individuals who may wish to use the device for general physical fitness and exercise. The exercise apparatus comprises at least one resistance band secured to an anchor device, and handles with attachment rings, hooks, etc. to secure the handles to the resistance band(s). The anchor device is used to secure the exercise apparatus to either a door frame or to some other immovable object. The device is versatile enough to allow the user to employ a wide range of different type handles in order to achieve the desired exercise effect. Resistance can be easily varied and will increase linearly as the muscle shortens and becomes more efficient. The exercise apparatus can be used to exercise all areas of the spine as well as every major extremity joint from shoulders, elbows, and wrists to hips, knees and ankles without the need for rotating to different machines to exercise different body parts.
1. An exercise apparatus comprising:
an anchor device;
at least one resistance band;
a plurality of handles; and
a fastening member corresponding to each of said handles wherein each of said handles is coupled to said at least one resistance band.
2. The apparatus of
3. The apparatus of
4. The apparatus of
5. The apparatus of
6. The apparatus of
7. The apparatus of
8. The apparatus of
9. An apparatus for exercise, comprising:
means for securing the apparatus to a vertical structure;
means for providing variable resistance to exercises;
means for gripping the apparatus; and
means for coupling the gripping means to the resistance means.
10. The apparatus of
11. The apparatus of
12. The apparatus of
13. The apparatus of
14. The apparatus of
The present invention is generally related to exercise equipment, and more particularly, to an exercise apparatus which may be used for general exercise and strength training, as well as the active care and rehabilitation of patients in a therapeutic setting.
Many fields of health care have embraced the concept of therapeutic exercise and activity as being beneficial to individuals suffering from a wide variety of ailments.
The fields of orthopedic medicine, occupational medicine, chiropractic, and physical therapy as well as many other, routinely recommend various regimens of therapeutic strengthening for the benefit of the patients they serve. Evidence suggests that patients who participate in active care or rehabilitation programs tend to get better results, stay better longer, malinger less, and get back to work sooner than those who do not participate in programs of active care.
The wealth of information regarding the benefits of therapeutic exercise has become embedded-in the base of scientific literature relevant to the practice of various health care disciplines. As a result, therapeutic exercise has become a recognized part of modern health care. In addition, general physical exercise, particularly in the form of resistance or strength training has become widely regarded as a beneficial activity for the general health and well being of the population in general. Proper strength training can and will increase the not only strength, but also range, and quality of motion.
Proper programs of resistance training can help to stabilize weak or injured joints, reduce the presence of local inflammatory exudates, prevent degenerative changes in the joints, increase bone density, improve connective tissue strength, improve posture, and promote general physical and mental health and well-being.
In addition, many types of athletic activity may benefit from specific programs of strength training. Since various activities will require the recruitment and use of differing muscle groups, the development of sport specific training programs has taken on new importance within recent years.
Various types of exercise machines and devices are well known in the art. The present marketplace includes neck systems, back systems, shoulder machines, pulleys, weights, cams and other devices. Products include Nautilus®, Cybex®, and free weights, among others. There are barbells, dumbbells, bands, tubing, multi-neck machines, and multi-hip machines. Many of the systems are reputable and of good quality, and would most certainly be of benefit to the user. Unfortunately, they have certain other qualities in common such as size, bulkiness, and limitations on the number and variety of exercises possible. Further, they can be very expensive and complex to assemble and use. In clinical settings, it may be desirous to not fill up an entire clinic with bulky machines. In the home or general fitness market, a need exists for a resistance training system that is simple to use. It is also desirous that the equipment takes up-a minimum amount of floor space and further that the device be able to exercise all of the major areas of the body without having to change equipment. If the user should be exercising within a clinical or professional setting, it would also be desirous for the patients to have a safe and affordable take home device to use for follow-up and maintenance care after the supervised rehabilitation is complete. It would be even further desirous if the take home device was the same or similar to what the patients had grown accustomed to using in the office.
Consequently, a need exists for simple exercise equipment for general strength training and exercise, particularly in regards to patients participating in programs of active care and rehabilitation.
In response to these and other shortcomings of the prior art, the present exercise apparatus, a therapeutic exercise device that is lightweight and portable, and that has many advantages over traditional weight and pulley systems, is disclosed. Resistance can be varied infinitely and like many cam systems on the market, the resistance will increase linearly as the muscle shortens and becomes more efficient. The exercise apparatus is lightweight, portable, and can be sent home with the patient. It is a simple low-tech device that meets all home and in-office strength training needs. The exercise apparatus allows for health care professionals to rehabilitate cervical, thoracic, and lumbar areas of the spine. It allows for adjustable resistance so as to accommodate those of all levels of ability. The device is durable enough to withstand the demands of professional use and yet affordable enough to produce so that patients can purchase the device for take-home use if prescribed by their doctor. This advantage over many other devices allows patients to rehabilitate with the exercise apparatus in the doctors office or clinic during the early phases of care and then easily transition to home care using the same device. With the exercise apparatus, patients can exercise not only the entire spine but also, every major extremity joint from shoulders, elbows, and wrists to hips, knees and ankles, all in the same area of the clinic. There is no need for patients to rotate from machine to machine to exercise different body parts. The exercise apparatus allows patients to perform all office strength training using only one device. As a result, the rehabilitation department is very small, minimizing investment by health care professionals and requires very little attention from the staff while patients are exercising.
A preferred embodiment of the exercise apparatus comprises five resistance bands secured to an anchor device and two handles with snap hook to secure the handles to the resistance bands. The anchor device is used to secure the exercise apparatus to either a door frame or to some other immovable structure. Other systems, methods, features, and advantages of the present invention will be or become apparent to one with skill in the art upon examination of the following drawings and detailed description. It is intended that all such additional systems, methods, features, and advantages be included within this description, be within the scope of the present invention, and be protected by the accompanying claims.
Many aspects of the invention can be better understood with reference to the following drawings. The components in the drawings are not necessarily to scale, emphasis instead being placed upon clearly illustrating the principles of the present invention. Moreover, in the drawings, like reference numerals designate corresponding parts throughout the several views.
Various aspects of the exercise apparatus, having been summarized above, reference will now be made in detail to the description of the representative assembly illustrated in the drawings. While the exercise apparatus will be described in connection with these drawings, there is no intent to limit it to the embodiment or embodiments disclosed therein.
As illustrated in
The exercise apparatus 10 also comprises means for providing variable resistance to exercises such as a resistance band 18. Multiple resistance bands 18 may be used to provide additional resistance to exercises. The resistance band(s) 18 may be secured to the anchor device 16 via a cinching mechanism 24 or any other desirable fastening mechanism. An attachment means such as attachment ring 22 is secured to a resistance band 18 by a clamp 26 or other fastening mechanism. Each end of the resistance bands 18 in this embodiment contains an attachment ring 22 inserted into an elastic tube and is further secured with a clamp 26. Though this embodiment of the exercise apparatus 10 uses elastic tubing for the resistance bands 18, it should be understood that one of skill in the art would recognize that any of a number of other materials could be used as a means for providing resistance to exercises, such as bungee cords, elastic bands, etc. It should further be appreciated by one skilled in the art that the exact nature of the attachment ring or other fastening mechanism might vary if one should desire to use a material other than elastic tubing to comprise the resistance bands 18.
In the embodiment shown, the resistance bands 18 are made up of five elastic tubes of differing thickness and resistance which range, for example, from ultra light to extra heavy. Resistance bands 18 that utilize a wide range of tubing thicknesses allow the doctor, therapist, trainer, or user to easily tailor the amount of resistance applied for each exercise. This ability to easily switch from light to heavy or any combination of resistance bands 18 is one of the novel features of the product. It should be understood by one of skill in the art that any number of resistance bands 18 could be used and any combination of resistance bands 18 could be used to vary the resistance for exercises.
The attachment ring 22 is manufactured as one piece consisting of an eyelet 25 at one end that is large enough for a snap hook, carabiner or other type fastening device to attach. A shaft 27 extends from the eyelet 25 toward an enlarged collar 29 at the other end of the attachment ring 22. The enlarged collar 29 is substantially pointed at the end to facilitate insertion into elastic tubing, hoses, etc. The enlarged collar 29 is wider than the shaft 27 at the shaft 27 end of the enlarged collar 29 to facilitate making it more difficult to remove the attachment ring 22 once it has been inserted. A clamp 26 is used to secure the attachment ring 22 after the attachment ring 22 is inserted into, for example, an elastic tube. The clamp 26 is placed on the outside of the elastic tube and centered between the enlarged collar 29 and the eyelet 26. The attachment ring 22 is manufactured from rigid plastic, though one of skill in the art would recognize that many materials could be appropriate according to the desired use and strength requirements of the attachment ring 22.
As shown in
The exercise apparatus 10 further comprises a means for gripping the apparatus such as handles 20. This embodiment uses two handles 20 with one handle 20 being attached to each end of a resistance band 18. Of course, multiple resistance bands 18 may be attached to each handle 20. Further, multiple handles 20 may be attached to the same or different resistance bands 18, thus increasing the variety of exercises that may be performed.
The apparatus further comprises a means for coupling the gripping means to the resistance means such as a snap hook 28 secured to a handle 20 and a attachment ring 22 secured to the resistance band 18. It should be appreciated that many varieties of fastening mechanism may suffice to couple the handle 20 to the resistance bands 18.
Typically, two handles 20 will be used for exercising with the exercise apparatus 10, with one handle 20 attached to each end of one or more of the resistance bands 18. It should be appreciated that the user could also use multiple handles 20 on each end of a resistance band 18 and further, that one or more handles 20 could be attached to multiple resistance bands 18. For example, one handle 20 could be attached to two resistance bands 18 on each end of the resistance bands 18. Thus, there would be a handle 20 on each end of and connected to the two selected resistance bands 18.
The handles 20 are designed large enough to enable them to be used in performing a wide array of exercises. All areas of the spine, as well as other major extremity joints, can be easily exercised using the exercise apparatus 10 equipped with one set of handles 20. There is no need to switch handles 20 or attachments to go from spinal exercise to extremity training. Alternative embodiments could include shorter more traditional style handles 20, or other attachments deemed to assist the user in achieving specific exercise benefits.
In the use and operation of the present exercise apparatus 10, a user may utilize the apparatus to exercise arm muscles as shown in
As another example of the use and operation of the present exercise apparatus 10, a user may utilize the apparatus to exercise the neck muscles (not shown). The user could position a chair facing the door frame 14 where the apparatus 10 could be secured at the users neck height. The user could select, for example, resistance band 18B and place both handles 20 behind the neck. The exercise would begin with slight tension and the user would extend the head and neck backward as if to look toward the ceiling. The position would be held for several seconds before returning the head and neck back to the starting position. The exercise would be repeated as often as desired or prescribed.
Similarly, the exercise apparatus 10 may be used to perform numerous exercises involving strengthening in each of the three major areas of the spine. In this regard the apparatus may be used to strengthen the neck, the middle and lower back, and the hip.
The exercise apparatus 10 may also be used to exercise the extremities. Single joint exercises may be used to exercise the major joints. For example, such exercises would be isolated movements of a single joint, such as the hip, through single or multiple planes of motion. The person 12 could stand arm's length from a door, with the exercise apparatus 10 attached above the ankle and to the door frame 14 at the same height. Bracing against the wall, the person 12 would then extend the leg away from the door frame 14, keeping the knee straight in the process and thus exercising the hip joint by keeping the leg extended for some length of time. The knee, ankle, shoulder, elbow or wrist could be exercised in similar fashion.
Further, the exercise apparatus 10 may also be used to exercise multiple joints using multiple plane movements. Such exercises are more similar to common movements that one might make in everyday activities or while exercising in a gym. The type of exercise that may be performed is limited only by the judgment and creativity of the user.
It should be emphasized that the above-described embodiments of the present invention are merely possible examples of implementations, merely set forth for a clear understanding of the principles of the invention. Many variations and modifications may be made to the above-described embodiment(s) of the invention without departing substantially from the spirit and principles of the invention. All such modifications and variations are intended to be included herein within the scope of this disclosure and the present invention and protected by the following claims.