Search Images Maps Play YouTube News Gmail Drive More »
Sign in
Screen reader users: click this link for accessible mode. Accessible mode has the same essential features but works better with your reader.

Patents

  1. Advanced Patent Search
Publication numberUS20060094573 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 11/263,286
Publication dateMay 4, 2006
Filing dateOct 31, 2005
Priority dateNov 3, 2004
Publication number11263286, 263286, US 2006/0094573 A1, US 2006/094573 A1, US 20060094573 A1, US 20060094573A1, US 2006094573 A1, US 2006094573A1, US-A1-20060094573, US-A1-2006094573, US2006/0094573A1, US2006/094573A1, US20060094573 A1, US20060094573A1, US2006094573 A1, US2006094573A1
InventorsDavid Weck
Original AssigneeBosu Fitness, Llc
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Device for enhancing bilateral dexterity and methods therefor
US 20060094573 A1
Abstract
A bola-like device for enhancing bilateral dexterity includes an elastic member having a first end and a second end, a first hand held object connected with the first end of the elastic member cord, and a second hand held object connected with the second end of the elastic member. At least one of the hand held objects has visual indicia for distinguishing the first hand held object from the second hand held object.
Images(14)
Previous page
Next page
Claims(19)
1. A bola-like device for enhancing bilateral dexterity comprising:
an elastic member having a first end and a second end;
a first hand held object connected with the first end of said elastic member cord;
a second hand held object connected with the second end of said elastic member, wherein at least one of said hand held objects has visual indicia for distinguishing said first hand held object from said second hand held object.
2. The device as claimed in claim 1, wherein said first and second hand held objects are balls having outer surfaces and said visual indicia appear on the outer surfaces of said balls.
3. The device as claimed in claim 1, wherein said visual indicia include one or more numbers.
4. The device as claimed in claim 1, wherein said visual indicia include one or more colors.
5. The device as claimed in claim 1, wherein at least one of said hand held objects has an asymmetrical exterior surface.
6. The device as claimed in claim 1, wherein said elastic member has a length of greater than one (1) foot and less than five (5) feet.
7. The device as claimed in claim 1, wherein said elastic member has a length of between approximately 2-4 feet.
8. The device as claimed in claim 1, wherein the visual indicia indicate a physical characteristic of the hand held objects.
9. A system for conducting bilateral dexterity exercises comprising:
a plurality of bola-like devices, each said bola-like device including first and second hand held objects and an elastic member interconnecting said first and second hand held objects;
said hand held objects of a first one of said bola-like devices having a first physical characteristic;
said hand held objects of a second one of said bola-like devices having a second physical characteristic that is different than the first physical characteristic for changing a difficulty level of bilateral dexterity exercises.
10. The system as claimed in claim 9, wherein said hand held objects of said first one of said bola-like devices and said hand held objects of said second one of said bola-like devices are the same size, and wherein said second one of said bola-like devices is heavier than said first one of said bola-like devices.
11. The system as claimed in claim 9, wherein said hand held objects of said first one of said bola-like devices are larger than said hand held objects of said second one of said bola-like devices.
12. The system as claimed in claim 9, wherein said hand held objects of said first one of said bola-like devices are harder than said hand held objects of said second one of said bola-like devices.
13. The system as claimed in claim 9, wherein said elastic member of said first bola-like device has a greater tensile strength than said elastic member of said second bola-like device.
14. A method of exercising a body having hands for improving bilateral dexterity comprising:
a) providing a bola-like device including an elastic member having a first end and a second end, a first hand held object attached to the first end of said elastic member and a second hand held object attached to the second end of said elastic member;
b) grasping said first hand held object in a first hand;
c) directing said second hand held object away from said first hand held object until the elastic member is under tension, wherein said elastic member transfers tension force to said second hand held object for redirecting said second hand held object from a path away from to a path toward said first hand held object;
d) catching said second hand held object with the second hand; and
repeating steps a) through d) by reversing the order of the hands contacting said hand held objects so as to exercise in a bilateral manner.
15. The method as claimed in claim 14, wherein said first and second hand held objects have a primary component of motion that is parallel to the ground.
16. The method as claimed in claim 14, wherein said first and second hand held objects have a primary component of motion that is vertical to the ground.
17. A method of exercising a body having hands for improving bilateral dexterity comprising:
providing a bola-like device including an elastic member having a first end and a second end, a first hand held object attached to the first end of said elastic member and a second hand held object attached to the second end of said elastic member;
grasping said first hand held object in a first hand;
directing said second hand held object along a path including a segment extending away from said first hand held object until the elastic member is under tension, wherein the elastic member transfers tension force to said second hand held object for redirecting said second hand held object from the segment extending away from said first hand held object to a path toward said first hand held object;
releasing said first hand held object from the first hand as said second hand held object approaches said first hand held object; and
catching said second hand held object with the first hand.
18. The method as claimed in claim 17, further comprising:
after the catching step and while grasping said second hand held object in the first hand, grasping said first hand held object with the second hand;
stretching said elastic cord by moving said second hand held object grasped in the first hand away from said first hand held object grasped in the second hand;
releasing said second hand held object from the first hand for directing said second hand held object along a path including a segment that extends away from said first hand held object until said elastic cord is under tension, wherein said elastic cord transfers tension force to said second hand held object for redirecting said second hand held object from the segment that extends away from said first hand held object to a path toward said first hand held object;
as said second hand held object approaches said first hand held object, releasing said first hand held object from the second hand for freeing said second hand;
catching said second hand held object with the second hand.
19. The method as claimed in claim 18, further comprising continuously repeating the steps of claims 17 and 18.
Description
CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION

The present applications claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Application Ser. No. 60/624,622, filed Nov. 3, 2004, the disclosure of which is hereby incorporated by reference herein.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to exercise devices and more particularly relates to exercise devices and method for improving hand-eye coordination and bilateral dexterity.

Numerous studies have shown that improving an individual's hand-eye coordination will result in an improved athletic performance. This relationship is particular true for sports such as baseball, basketball, golf and tennis.

There are a wide variety of devices used for improving hand-eye coordination. One particular device, commonly sold under the trademark KETCH-IT, includes an elastic cord having a ball attached at one end and a wrist strap at the other end. The device is used by attaching the strap to a user's wrist, tossing the ball away from the user for stretching the elastic cord, and then catching the ball as the elastic cord returns the ball to the user. This device is typically used for baseball or softball training whereby a participant tends to throw and catch with designated hands for each task. Adjusting the strap can be cumbersome making this device less than ideal for bilateral dexterity exercises.

Another device for improving hand-eye coordination uses a paddle and a rubber ball that is attached to the paddle by an elastic cord. In operation, the ball is hit by the paddle and returned by the elastic cord. The paddle/rubber ball device only allows one hand to be exercised at a time.

Recent studies have shown that exercises that force an individual to develop hand-eye coordination with both hands will dramatically improve athletic performance. One study, conducted at Arizona State University by exercise scientist Debbie Crews, sought to prove that one key to success in golf is balancing the left and right hemispheres of the brain during the golf swing. The left hemisphere is the analytical and verbal side of the brain that allows an athlete to focus on body mechanics. The right hemisphere of the brain controls rhythm, timing, balance and imagery. During a golf swing, the left hemisphere of the brain is active, which allows a golfer to focus on his or her mechanics. However, Crews hypothesized that it is equally important for the right side of the brain to be active during the swing so that the two sides of the brain are synchronized. Crews sought to prove that a synchronized brain is in balance, and that an individual will become a better golfer as a result.

In her study, Crews used actor Alan Alda, a non-golfer, to illustrate her concept of brain balance. She used a cap with electrodes to pick up and chart Mr. Alda's brainwaves. She then had Alda putt on a green located in an Arizona State University lab. After Alda used several techniques to balance his brain, his golf putting improved dramatically. Crews then had Alda engage in cardiovascular exercises to increase his heart rate. By continuing to use the brain balancing techniques, however, he maintained his improved level of putting. Crews later had Alda compete in a putting competition against a professional golfer. When Alda used the balancing techniques and the professional golfer used her regular methods, Alda out-putted the professional.

Another study, reported in Nature, showed that the area of the brain associated with the processing and storage of complex visual motion will expand when an individual learns to juggle. Draganski, B. Nature, Jan. 22, 2004; vol 427: pp 311-312. In order to determine whether the structure of the brain changes in response to stimuli, the researchers used magnetic resonance imaging to examine the brains of two groups of adults. A first group of adults learned to juggle and a second group of adults did not learn to juggle. The juggling group had three different brain scans conducted: a first scan at the start of the study, a second scan after the jugglers could juggle for at least 60 seconds, and a third scan three months later. The adults in the juggling group did not juggle during the time between the second scan and the third scan. The first scan of the jugglers showed a baseline. The second scan, after the adults learned to juggle, showed that the juggler's had experienced significant expansion in the area of the brain associated with the processing and storage of complex visual motion. The amount of brain expansion also correlated with the juggler's performance level. In other words, the better the individual could juggle, the greater the expansion of the brain. By the third scan, after the period of inactivity, the increased areas seen on the brain scans had declined. In contrast, the non-jugglers showed no increase in brain structure during the study.

One method for enhancing hand-eye coordination in both hands is disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 4,268,254 to McCormick. The '254 patent teaches a method of enhancing bimanual dexterity of a person having a dominant arm and hand and a non-dominant arm and hand. The method involves a person participating in an athletic exercise whereby a bouncing ball is projected toward the person equipped in each hand with a paddle for striking the ball and returning it in the direction from which it was projected. The paddle held in the non-dominant hand has a larger ball-striking area than the paddle held in the dominant hand. The '254 patent teaches that the method may be used by an individual, such as a handicapped person, to improve the performance of an injured or defective arm. Unfortunately, a handicapped person may have a difficult time continuing the exercise if the ball does not return to the individual. This may occur if the ball is struck improperly or if the ball bounces erratically off a wall.

In spite of the above advances, there remains a need for a device and methods for improving hand-eye coordination. In addition, there is a need for a device and methods for improving bilateral dexterity, which may result in the left and right hemispheres of the brain being in balance. Such methods of enhancing bilateral dexterity may result in expansion in the area of the brain associated with the processing and storage of complex visual motion, which may result in improved athletic performance. There is also a need for a device that is easy to use, whereby an individual can easily continue an exercise. This is particularly true for a handicapped person having limited mobility.

SUMMARY OF INVENTION

One aspect of the invention relates to bola-like devices, which generally consist of a cord having opposite ends and balls attached to the opposite ends of the cord. In the past, bolas were developed as hunting tools and typically consisted of two, three, or more weighted objects tied together by a cord or string. When hunting, the bola is thrown at prey in order to ensnare and capture the prey.

Many games use bola-like devices whereby the bola-like devices are tossed back and forth between participants. For example, U.S. Pat. No. 3,717,348 discloses a bola-like device including two rubber balls attached together by an elastic cord, with a tab located midway between the two rubber balls. The tab is used to hold the bola device and throw it toward a catching post. In this game having a scoring system similar to that found in darts, points are awarded based upon where the bola-like device is ensnared on the catching post. The '348 patent, however, does not teach a device and method that encourages uniform bilateral usage of a person's body, whereby both hands and arms alternately reverse roles and perform similar functions.

Although the present invention is not limited by any particular theory of operation, it is believed that exercises that encourage uniform bilateral usage of both sides of the body are particularly beneficial because the uniform bilateral usage encourages the development of ambidexterity and “whole-brain” thinking conducive to better performance in many activities including athletics. One example of an exercise/activity that accomplishes this objective of developing hand-eye coordination while encouraging uniform bilateral usage of the body is juggling. While juggling is a very useful training technique, there exists the need for an exercise/activity using the present invention that allows the participant to benefit from alternating bilateral usage of the body while increasing the range and scope of exercises beyond what is currently known and that accommodates various levels of skill of different participants.

The present invention provides an improved bola-like device and method of use. The bola-like device preferably includes an elastic member that allows an individual to engage in alternating bilateral tossing and catching activities to develop hand-eye coordination and ambidextrous bilateral usage of the body.

In certain preferred embodiments, the present invention includes a device having two moderately weighted balls attached to either end of an elastic member to form a bola-like device for the specific method of use described below. The weighted balls do not have to be actual balls and may be beanbags, hacky sacks or juggling beanbags. The weighted balls may also be molded balls that are hollow, solid rubber, foam rubber, sponge-like balls, PVC balls, or the like. The balls may be similar in weight and dimension to tennis balls. In certain preferred embodiments, the balls have a diameter of approximately 1.5-4 inches. Larger balls may make the exercise activities easier while smaller balls may make the exercises more challenging. The balls may be asymmetrical or uneven (i.e. not round). It is believed that balls that are not round will tend to fly through the air in a less predictable manner thereby increasing the challenge to the participant. The balls are preferably softer than a baseball to reduce the risk of injury during use. The hardness of the balls may vary. The hardness of the balls may also vary between a first bola-like device and a second bola-like device. The harder the ball, the faster one can engage in the exercises. The balls in a bola-like device are preferably similar to one another. However, the balls in a device may vary in weight and shape for particular uses.

In preferred embodiments, the balls have a weight similar to the weight of a hacky sack or a tennis ball or a baseball or softball. The balls are preferably substantial enough in weight to fly through the air with some speed as the participant develops hand-eye coordination and ambidexterity. If the ball is too light, speed may be compromised and the snapping/bouncing action of the elastic member and ball described herein will be difficult. If the balls are too heavy, for instance if they are made of solid metal or stone, the risk of injury may be too great for most individuals. The balls may be brightly colored to facilitate easy spotting by the eyes.

In certain preferred embodiments, the elastic member is approximately two to four feet in length. In more preferred embodiments, the elastic member is about three feet in length, which is preferred for the alternating bilateral exercises disclosed herein. The elastic member may be shorter or longer depending upon the particular activity and the size of the participant, however, a cord one foot in length may be too short and a cord five feet in length may be too long for engaging in effective exercises. The elasticity of the elastic member may be increased or decreased for controlling the bounce or snap action of the device. In certain preferred embodiments, the length of the elastic member may be adjustable so as to accommodate growing individuals or individuals of various sizes. In further preferred embodiments, the balls are detachable and different length elastics are provided. These elastics can also have different tensile properties depending upon the intended application. In yet further preferred embodiments, portions of the balls or weighted objects are detachable such that the size, weight, and/or firmness of the balls or weighted objects can be easily modified by attaching different coverings or ball bodies to change the properties of the device.

In preferred embodiments, the balls are attached to the elastic member so that nothing projects out from the ball or cord (i.e. a seamless attachment). If the attachment includes a projecting element, there may be an unnecessary risk of injury to a participant's eyes. In certain preferred embodiments, the elastic member is molded into a ball for providing a seamless attachment. In other preferred embodiments, the balls are molded with an attachment area countersunk into the ball. The balls may be constructed such that two or more elements are put together around the cord to facilitate attachment. In other preferred embodiments, however, the elastic member may be attached by taping, stitching, gluing, tying a knot, using a knotted cord countersunk into the ball, clamping, welding, or by other known attachment techniques. In further preferred embodiments, the attachment involves a swivel device to help prevent tangling the elastic cord.

In one particular preferred embodiment, a method of using the bola-like device to participate in an alternating bilateral tossing and catching pattern includes holding a first ball in a first hand and a second ball in a second hand. The first hand and first ball are then moved in a direction away from the second hand and second ball for stretching the elastic member. The second hand then releases the second ball at the appropriate time to allows the second ball to snap outwardly toward the first ball. The participant allows the second ball to continue outwardly past the first ball until the second ball reaches its farthest point away from the participant at which time the participant then pulls back the first hand that is holding the first ball, which places the elastic member under tension and causes the second ball in motion to return back toward the participant. The participant then catches the second ball with the second hand. If the second ball is caught, the participant then repeats the same action to the other side reversing roles of the hands. This action can be done in multiple planes of movement simply by twisting the body or by using the arms to direct the ball in motion in different planes. In certain preferred embodiments, the balls are directed side to side to side, front to back to front, back to front to back, up to down to up, and down to up to down and various combinations thereof. The possible combinations are nearly infinite. One preferred pattern may include performing the action to the right, then the left, then to the back on the right side, then to the left, then to the right, then to the back on the left side, etc. While the bola-like device of the present invention may be used to develop only one side of the body, it is believed that a participant is much more likely to significantly benefit by being capable of performing the action in an alternating bilateral pattern and thus should practice in this manner in addition to any unilateral training.

Exercises for a new user may be broken down into simple steps until one sequence to either side can be performed. One preferred teaching method may include having an individual perform a simplified version that involves dropping one ball and using the other hand holding onto one of the balls to bounce the free ball back up so as to be caught with the free hand. This simple exercise gets the participant accustomed to bouncing the free ball back in a controlled manner and is very easy to learn when simply dropping the ball. If the participant is unable to catch the free ball, he/she need not chase it around the room as he/she maintains a grasp on one ball, keeping the device under their control despite a miss. This is particularly useful for beginners and makes the learning process easier and more user friendly than juggling.

In certain preferred embodiments an exercise for enhancing bilateral dexterity includes holding a first ball in a first hand and a second ball in a second hand and moving the balls away from one another for stretching the elastic member. The user then releases the second ball from the second hand. The tension in the stretched elastic member is transferred to the second ball, which directs the second ball on a path including a first segment in which the second ball moves toward the first ball and a second segment in which the second ball continues in a direction away from the participant. As the second ball reaches its furthest point from the body, the participant pulls on the first ball, which re-tensions the elastic member. The tension in the elastic member is transferred to the second ball, which changes the direction of the second ball and directs the second ball back toward the participant. The participant then releases or drops the first ball from the first hand and catches the approaching second ball with the first hand. The participant then switches the roles of the first and second hands and repeats the process to the other side. After a period of practice, a participant should be able to time his or her movement so as to simultaneously initiate the movement with one hand and dropping the ball with the other hand for stretching the elastic member. Additionally, with much practice this technique can be performed while only manipulating one ball with one hand at a time. In other words, the participant can perform this technique and alternate sides only touching one ball at a time.

Performing the above-described alternating bilateral repetitive motion will improve a participant's bilateral dexterity and hand-eye coordination skills. Although the present invention is not limited by any particular theory of operation, it is believed that dexterity and coordination will improve because both hands are constantly involved with each other and are constantly switching roles. As a result, a participant is not able to favor one side over the other, which forces the participant to develop both sides equally. This forced bilateral activity is crucial to developing true ambidexterity and encourages balanced bilateral usage of both hemispheres of the brain for controlling body movement. Although the hand holding one of the balls (the control hand) tends to influence the flight of the ball in motion, the snapping action of the elastic cord and ball tends to create a random trajectory of the ball in motion that is difficult to control, which makes the exercise especially useful for hand-eye coordination. Another advantage of such activity is that the participant is able to engage in many more repetitions per unit of time than is possible with other hand-eye coordination devices and techniques. For instance, if a participant using the present device while performing certain techniques and is unable to catch the ball, he/she can immediately engage in another attempt without having to pick balls up off the floor or chase the balls around the room. Such a rapid reinstitution of an exercise regimen is not possible when juggling or exercising in the manner disclosed in the above-mentioned '254 patent. Another advantage of the present invention is that the participant may vary the speed at which the free ball moves through the air from very slow to extremely fast. The participant may also vary the planes of movement in which the balls travel which is very useful for spatial awareness training. This provides an improvement over juggling, which is predominantly performed with the ball(s) moving in planes that are generally vertical to the ground. Yet another advantage is that the device and method of the present invention may be performed anywhere, on any surface, without requiring a large monetary investment in equipment and without requiring the assistance of a coach or partner.

In preferred embodiments in which a first ball is dropped from a first hand and the second ball is caught with the first hand, the action of dropping the first ball before catching the second ball traveling toward the participant tends to create an anchoring effect for the device. As a result, if the participant is unable to catch the second ball, the device tends to drop at the participant's feet, which makes it convenient to pick up the device without having to chase the device around the room or outdoor space. This result also provides a measure of safety, because the dropping ball will often stop the ball traveling toward the participant before hitting the participant.

In certain preferred embodiments, the bilateral exercises may be simplified during initial training with the device. In this preferred embodiment, the technique involves dropping one ball and using the hand holding onto the other ball to bounce the dropped ball back up. As the free, dropped ball bounces up, the participant drops the ball they are holding and catches the free ball. After this catch, the participant can practice bouncing the ball that is now free up to be caught by the other hand. Again this simplification gets the participant accustomed to bouncing, then dropping and catching with one hand and then bouncing the free ball back up to be caught with the other hand.

More alternating bilateral patterns involving a snapping or bouncing action of the free ball back to the participant may be performed in various planes of movement including going behind the back, through the legs, etc. However, the two techniques described above provide a solid foundation that will convey tremendous benefit to most participants. Advanced participants may engage in techniques that involve multiple snapping actions of the bola device, i.e. such that the first hand drops the first ball as the second ball snaps back toward the participant. Instead of catching the incoming second ball, the participant lets the second ball reach its full distance against the elastic cord and then snap back away from the participant. This then causes the first ball to snap back toward the participant who then catches the first ball. Depending upon skill level, a participant may be able to cause the device to snap back and forth multiple times before catching either ball before the device hits the ground.

In addition to the above exercises, there are many more simplified techniques useful for beginners and many more advanced exercises for more experienced participants. Participants can benefit substantially from practicing various techniques. It can also be useful to utilize certain techniques as transitional movements between different exercises. The following are examples of simplified techniques that are useful for learning and/or useful as transitional moves that allow a participant to keep moving between exercises.

The repetitive bounce simply consists of holding a first ball in a first hand while bouncing the second ball repetitively up and down. The user attempts to control the bounce of the second ball with the first hand holding the first ball. This is useful as a technique to learn control for more advanced moves like the reverse juggling move described in this application and is also very useful as a transitional movement.

The one hand drop bounce catch is useful for learning the reverse juggle. The participant begins with both balls in one hand and drops the second ball while maintaining a grasp on the first ball. He/she then attempts to bounce the second ball that has been dropped up to be caught with the same hand that is holding first ball.

As a further progression, the participant can perform the switch move which when performed repetitively is reverse juggling. To perform the switch move the participant now drops the first ball as he/she catches the second ball that is bouncing up. It may be useful for the participant to first practice catching the second ball while maintaining a grasp on the first ball, then letting go of the first ball to get accustomed to the timing of performing the switch on the fly.

An exercise called knockers is performed in multiple planes and is very useful for learning the switch as well. To perform the basic knocker movement, the participant engages in the repetitive bounce exercise and attempts to touch the first ball he/she is holding to the second ball as it bounces up and reaches its apex. This exercise can also be performed in various planes of motion.

One technique that can be highly effective for the beginner is the floor bounce up. This technique is performed by resting the second ball on the floor while holding the first ball and attempting to raise the second ball in the air using the hand holding the first ball to elevate the second ball that is then caught with the second hand. By adjusting the speed by which the participant raises the ball, he/she can experience success easily.

The kick and catch movement involves holding a first ball in a first hand and using a foot to kick the second ball, while it is either stationary or in motion, and attempting to catch that second ball with the second hand as it travels as a result of the kick.

Some examples of more advanced exercises include a technique called the stall. The stall consists of holding a first ball in a first hand and directing that ball away from the second ball (either while holding the second ball in the second hand or, more advanced, while the second ball is free) stretching the elastic member so as to direct the second ball first away from the participant and then back toward the participant via the appropriate pull on the first ball. As the second ball approaches the participant, he/she catches the second ball with the first hand that is holding the first ball without dropping the first ball. Because the incoming ball is traveling in the transverse plane, this technique is quite challenging.

Another challenging exercise is the side double hand catch. To perform this technique, the participant directs a first ball in the first hand away from the second ball (either while holding the second ball in the second hand or more advance while the second ball is free) stretching the elastic member so as to direct the second ball first away from the participant and then back toward the participant via the appropriate pull on the first ball. As the second ball approaches the participant, he/she switches the first ball he/she is holding in the first hand to the second hand, either by tossing or handing it off, and then catches the second ball with the first hand that is now free.

Another move that requires skill is called knotting the cord. To engage in this maneuver, the participant holds a first ball in a first hand while bouncing the second ball up and down such that he/she is able to intentionally place a knot in the cord.

Another useful exercise for reaction training involves performing lateral snapping actions with the bola-like device in close proximity to a wall or an object such as a punching bag or a tree in order to hit the object with the snapping ball of the bola-like device in order to cause a more random and more challenging trajectory as the ball snaps back toward the participant. A very advanced technique involves the alternating bilateral techniques described above to be performed between objects equidistant and on both sides of the participant such that each snap back toward the participant is made more challenging.

The device described above may also be used for other alternating bilateral tossing and catching movement patterns and exercises that do not necessarily incorporate the snapping action of the elastic member and ball, but rather involve swinging one ball around in various planes of motion to be caught by the other hand and then repeating the movement with the hands reversing roles to develop ambidextrous hand-eye coordination. The elastic member may be utilized with these movements to increase the challenge. Exercises that do not tend to incorporate the snapping action of the elastic member and ball may be particularly useful for beginners and for participants at all levels that are engaged in balance training exercises. Such balance training exercises may involve standing on one leg or standing on an unstable surface, such as described in U.S. Pat. Nos. 6,422,983 and 6,554,753. As participant tracks the ball in motion through various planes of motion with his/her eyes, demands upon balance are significantly increased. Any of the exercises or activities described in the present application may be made more challenging by adding a balancing component to the exercise, such as by standing on one leg or using an unstable surface.

Other preferred bilateral exercises may include holding one ball in one hand while the other ball is free and bouncing the free ball upwardly. The participant then releases the held ball and catches the free, bounced ball with the same hand, and then bounces the released ball upwardly and repeats the pattern. This activity, which is akin to a reverse juggling action, requires only one bounce to execute, but is very useful for developing quickness and agility. Some participants may have to use two or more bounces before releasing the held ball and catching the bounced ball with the same hand, not unlike an individual who cannot jump rope with only a single jump. To fully realize the benefit of this activity, the participant should switch hands and do equal repetitions with each side of the body. For example, the participant may choose to execute two bounce catches with one hand then two bounce catches with the other hand while attempting to switch hands “on the fly” without interrupting the bouncing rhythm. This is akin to performing a reverse juggle action which allows both arms to alternate and perform equal repetitions and functions.

In other preferred embodiments, the bola-like device may be twirled around the arms, hands or body of a participant in a manner similar to using Nunchakus, a Chinese martial arts tool.

In certain preferred embodiments of the present invention, a bola-like device for enhancing bilateral dexterity includes an elastic member having a first end and a second end, a first hand held object connected with the first end of the elastic member and a second hand held object connected with the second end of the elastic member, whereby the elastic member includes a resilient core encased in stretchable fabric. The resilient core may be made of rubber and may include a plurality of stretchable filaments. The stretchable fabric may be made of fibers selected from the group consisting of natural fibers such as cotton and/or synthetic fibers such as nylon.

The first and second hand held objects may be balls having a diameter of approximately 1.5 -4 inches. The balls may be solid balls, hollow balls, rubber balls, foam rubber balls, balls with a weighted core and softer casing, sponge-like balls, polyvinylchloride (PVC) balls and/or tennis balls. In certain preferred embodiments, at least one of the balls desirably has an asymmetrical exterior surface.

The hand held objects may also include a flexible material surrounding a filling material, such as a hacky sack or beanbag. Additionally the balls may comprise a harder core surrounded by a softer material so as to protect the user from impact. In certain preferred embodiments, the first hand held object of each bola-like device may have first visual indicia and the second hand held object of each bola-like device may have second visual indicia differing from the first visual indicia. The distinct visual indicia may indicate a physical characteristic of a particular hand held object, i.e. weight or size.

In certain preferred embodiments, the elastic member has a length of greater than one (1) foot and less than five (5) feet. In more preferred embodiments, the elastic member has a length of between approximately 2-4 feet.

In another preferred embodiment of the present invention, a system for conducting bilateral dexterity exercises includes a plurality of bola-like devices, each bola-like device having first and second hand held objects and an elastic member interconnecting the first and second hand held objects. The hand held objects of a first one of the bola-like devices desirably has a first physical characteristic, and the hand held objects of a second one of the bola-like devices desirably has a second physical characteristic that is different than the first physical characteristic for changing a difficulty level or properties of bilateral dexterity exercises. The hand held objects of the first one of the bola-like devices and the hand held objects of the second one of the bola-like devices may be the same size, with the second one of the bola-like devices being heavier than the first one of the bola-like devices.

In other preferred embodiments, the hand held objects of the first one of the bola-like devices may be larger than the hand held objects of the second one of the bola-like devices. In still other preferred embodiments, the hand held objects of the first one of the bola-like devices are harder than the hand held objects of the second one of the bola-like devices. In yet another preferred embodiment, at least one of the hand held objects of one of the bola-like devices has visual indicia for distinguishing at least one of the hand held objects from other ones of the hand held objects. In still further preferred embodiments of the present invention, the elastic member of the first bola-like device has a greater tensile strength than the elastic member of the second bola-like device.

In a further preferred embodiment of the present invention, a bola-like device for enhancing bilateral dexterity includes an elastic member having a first end and a second end, a first hand held object connected with the first end of the elastic member and a second hand held object connected with the second end of the elastic member. At least one of the hand held objects has visual indicia for distinguishing the first hand held object from the second hand held object. The first and second hand held objects may be balls having outer surfaces and the visual indicia may appear on the outer surfaces of the balls. In certain embodiments, the visual indicia desirably include one or more numbers or letters. The visual indicia may also include one or more colors. In certain preferred embodiments, the visual indicia may indicate a physical characteristic of the hand held objects.

In another preferred embodiment of the present invention, a method of exercising a body having hands for improving bilateral dexterity includes providing a bola-like device including an elastic member having a first end and a second end, a first hand held object attached to the first end of the elastic member and a second hand held object attached to the second end of the elastic member. The method includes, grasping the first hand held object in a first hand, directing the second hand held object along a path including a segment extending away from the first hand held object until the elastic member is under tension. Although the present invention is not limited by any particular theory of operation, it is believed that the elastic member comes under tension when it is stretched. The elastic member transfers tension force to the second hand held object for redirecting the second hand held object from the segment extending away from the first hand held object to a path toward the first hand held object. The first hand held object is released from the first hand as the second hand held object approaches the first hand held object, and the second hand held object is caught with the first hand.

The method may also include after the catching step and while grasping the second hand held object in the first hand, grasping the first hand held object with the second hand, stretching the elastic cord by moving the first hand held object grasped in the second hand away from the second hand held object grasped in the first hand, releasing the second hand held object from the first hand for directing the second hand held object along a path including a segment that extends away from the first hand held object until the elastic member is under tension, wherein the elastic member transfers tension force to the second hand held object for redirecting the second hand held object from the segment that extends away from the first hand held object to a path toward the first hand held object. As the second hand held object approaches the first hand held object, the first hand held object is released from the second hand for freeing the second hand and the second hand held object is caught with the second hand. The method may include continuously repeating the above steps for exercising both hands in a bilateral manner. During the exercise, the first and second hand held objects may have a primary component of motion that is parallel to the ground. In other preferred embodiments, during the exercise, the first and second hand held objects may have a primary component of motion that is vertical to the ground.

In yet another preferred embodiment of the present invention, a method of exercising a body having hands for improving bilateral dexterity includes providing a bola-like device having an elastic member with a first end and a second end, a first hand held object attached to the first end of the elastic member and a second hand held object attached to the second end of the elastic member, grasping the first hand held object in a first hand, directing the second hand held object away from the first hand held object until the elastic member is under tension, whereupon the elastic member transfers tension force to the second hand held object for redirecting the second hand held object from a path away from to a path toward the first hand held object, catching the second hand held object with the second hand, repeating the above steps by reversing the order of the hands contacting the hand held objects so as to exercise in a bilateral manner.

In still another preferred embodiment of the present invention, a kit for use in enhancing bilateral dexterity includes a container, and a first bola-like device storable in the container, the first bola-like device including first and second hand held objects interconnected by an elastic member. The kit includes a second bola-like device storable in the container, the second bola-like device including first and second hand held objects interconnected by an elastic member, wherein the first and second bola-like devices have different physical characteristics for changing the skill level necessary to handle the devices during bilateral dexterity exercises. The kit may also include different length bola-like devices to accommodate a growing participant over time or various size participants. The container may be comprised of anything suitable for storing or displaying the bola-like devices.

In certain preferred embodiments of the present invention, a system for conducting bilateral dexterity exercises includes a plurality of bola-like devices, each bola-like device including first and second hand held objects and an elastic member interconnecting the first and second hand held objects. The hand held objects of a first one of the bola-like devices desirably has a first physical characteristic, and the hand held objects of a second one of the bola-like devices desirably has a second physical characteristic that is different than the first physical characteristic for changing a difficulty level of bilateral dexterity exercises. In certain preferred embodiments, the hand held objects of the first one of the bola-like devices and the hand held objects of the second one of the bola-like devices are the same size. In other preferred embodiments, the second one of the bola-like devices is heavier than the first one of the bola-like devices. In still other preferred embodiments, the hand held objects of the first one of the bola-like devices are larger than the hand held objects of the second one of the bola-like devices. The hand held objects of the first one of the bola-like devices may be harder than the hand held objects of the second one of the bola-like devices. The elastic member of the first bola-like device may have greater tensile strength than the elastic member of the second bola-like device.

These and other preferred embodiments of the present invention will be described in more detail below.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 shows a front elevational view of a bola-like device including an elastic member and two hand held objects, in accordance with certain preferred embodiments of the present invention.

FIG. 2 shows a cross-sectional view of an elastic member of a bola-like device, in accordance with preferred embodiments of the present invention.

FIG. 3 shows a cross-sectional view of an elastic member of a bola-like device, in accordance with other preferred embodiments of the present invention.

FIG. 4 shows a cross-sectional view of an elastic member of a bola-like device, in accordance with another preferred embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 5 shows a front elevational view of a bola-like device, in accordance with yet another preferred embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 6 shows a system including a plurality of bola-like devices, in accordance with still further preferred embodiments of the present invention.

FIGS. 7A-7F show an exercise for enhancing bilateral dexterity, in accordance with certain preferred embodiments of the present invention.

FIGS. 8A-8F show an exercise for enhancing bilateral dexterity, in accordance with still other preferred embodiments of the present invention.

FIGS. 9A-9F show an exercise for enhancing bilateral dexterity, in accordance with yet further preferred embodiments of the present invention.

FIGS. 10A-10G show an exercise for enhancing bilateral dexterity, in accordance with yet another preferred embodiment of the present invention.

FIGS. 11A-11E show an exercise for enhancing bilateral dexterity, in accordance with further preferred embodiments of the present invention.

FIGS. 12A-12B show an exercise for enhancing bilateral dexterity, in accordance with still further preferred embodiments of the present invention.

FIGS. 13A-13B show an exercise for enhancing bilateral dexterity, in accordance with another preferred embodiment of the present invention.

FIGS. 14A-14D show elevational views of various components of one end of a bola-like device with multiple ball attachments, in accordance with certain preferred embodiments of the present invention.

FIG. 15 shows a system including a plurality of bola-like devices, in accordance with still further preferred embodiments of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

Referring to FIG. 1, in certain preferred embodiments of the present invention, a bola-like device 20 includes an elastic member 22 having a first end 24 and a second end 26. The bola-like device 20 includes a first ball 28 attached to the first end 24 of elastic member 22 and a second ball 30 attached to the second end 26 of elastic member 22. The first and second balls 28, 30 may be molded balls, and may be hollow, solid rubber, foam rubber, sponge-like balls, PVC balls or the like. The balls may be similar in weight and dimension to tennis balls and preferably have a diameter of one and one half—four inches.

Referring to FIG. 2, in certain preferred embodiments, elastic member 22 has a resilient core 32 surrounded by a sheath 34 made of a stretchable fabric. The resilient core preferably is made of a polymer material such as rubber. Although the present invention is not limited by any particular theory of operation, the construction shown in FIG. 2 is preferably similar to that found in a bungee cord. Providing the stretchable fabric 34 over the resilient core 32 limits the extent to which the resilient core 32 may stretch. This enables better control of the bola-like device during bi-lateral exercises. In addition, it is believed that the stretchable fabric 34 is able to slide and/or glide over an individual's body much easier that a rubber material, which may tend to bind to the user's body.

FIG. 3 shows an elastic member 22′, in accordance with another preferred embodiment of the present invention. The elastic member 22′ includes a core 32′ made up of a plurality of resilient filaments 36′. The elastic member 22′ also includes a sheath 34′ that surrounds the resilient core 32′. The sheath is preferably made of a stretchable fabric such as natural fabric including cotton fibers or a synthetic fabric including nylon fibers.

FIG. 4 shows another preferred embodiment of the present invention whereby elastic member 22″ is a resilient tube 32″ having an inner surface 38″ and an outer surface 40″. In preferred embodiments, the resilient member 32″ is a rubber tube.

FIG. 5 shows a bola-like device 120, in accordance with another preferred embodiment of the present invention. The bola-like device 120 includes an elastic member 122 having a first end secured to first hand held object 128 and a second end secured to second hand held object 130. The first hand held object 128 has first visual indicia 142 provided thereon and the second hand held object 130 has second visual indicia 144 provided thereon. The visual indicia 142, 144 enable a user to distinguish the first hand held object 128 from the second hand held object 130. Although FIG. 5 shows the visual indicia 142, 144 in the form of numbers, other forms of visual indicia such as color, patterns, etc. may also be used.

FIG. 6 shows a set of bola-like devices assembled in a kit, in accordance with certain preferred embodiments of the present invention. The kit 146 includes a case 148 having an upper half 150 and a lower half 152. The lower half 152 of the case 148 includes a series of wells 154 a-154 c adapted to receive respective bola-like devices 120 a-120 c. The first and second balls 128 a, 130 a of first bola-like device 120 have a combined weight that is less than the combined weight of the first and second balls 128 b, 130 b of second bola-like device 120 b. In turn, the first and second balls 128 c, 130 c of third bola-like device 120 c have combined weight that is greater than the combined weight of the first and second balls 128 b, 130 b of second bola-like device 120 b. Thus, each of the three bola-like devices 120 a-120 c has a different weight, which provides different properties to the bola-like devices. For example, the greater weight of the first and second balls 128 c, 130 c of third bola device 130 c enables the balls to be moved more rapidly than is possible with the lighter first and second balls 128 a, 130 a of the first device 120 a. In other preferred embodiments, other physical properties of the respective bola-like devices 120 a, 120 c may be modified. For example, in one particular embodiment, the tensile strength of the elastic members 122 a-122 c may vary between the three devices and/or the lengths of the elastics can vary. In other preferred embodiments, the size of the respective first and second balls may vary between the three bola-like devices so as to change the difficulty of handling the hand held objects. In still other preferred embodiments, the first and second hand held objects of a first bola-like device may be symmetrical and the hand held objects of a second device may be asymmetrical. Although the present invention is not limited by any particular theory of operation, it is believed that the physical properties of bola-like devices may be modified so as to alter the difficulty level when using the devices during bilateral dexterity exercises. The easiest device could be used by beginners and a more difficult to handle device may be used by intermediate and advanced users.

FIGS. 7A-7F show a bilateral exercise, in accordance with certain preferred embodiments of the present invention. Referring to FIG. 7A, an individual 156 holds a bola-like device 120 including an elastic member 122 having a first ball 128 secured to a first end thereof and a second ball 130 secured to a second end thereof. The first ball 128 is held in the individual's right hand and the second ball 130 is held in the individual's left hand.

Referring to FIG. 7B, the individual 156 then moves the first and second balls 128, 130 away from one another for stretching elastic member 120. Referring to FIG. 7C, after elastic member 122 has been stretched, the first ball 128 is released from the user's right hand 158. After the first ball 128 is released, the elastic member 122 transfers the stored tension force therein to the first ball 128 for moving the first ball in the direction indicated by the arrow designated A. Referring to FIG. 7D, the first ball 128 moves away from individual 156 until elastic member 122 is fully extended. At that point, individual 156 pulls second ball 130 in the direction indicated by direction arrow designated B to apply a tension force though elastic member 122 for changing the direction of flight of first ball 128. FIG. 7E shows first ball 128 moving in the direction of arrow B and at a point at which the elastic member 122 is collapsed. The first ball 128 continues to move in the direction of arrow B while the second ball 130 is held in the individual's left hand 160. Referring to FIG. 7E, the individual 156 then catches the first ball 128 with his right hand 158. At that point, first ball 128 is held in the individual's right hand 158 and second ball 130 is held in the individual's left hand 160. The process is then repeated in the reverse direction to that shown in FIGS. 7A-7F. In this reverse process, the first and second balls are stretched apart, the second ball is released by the user's left hand until it extends away and then rebounds back to the user for being caught in the user's left hand. The above-described exercise encourages an individual to utilize both hands and both sides the body to complete the exercise. Although the present invention is not limited by any particular theory of operation, it is believed that such bilateral exercise will result in synchronization of the left and right hemispheres of the brain, which has been shown to improve athletic performance.

FIGS. 8A-8F shows a bilateral exercise, in accordance with another preferred embodiment of the present invention whereby the balls of the bola-like device are directed outwardly in front of an individual and returned by the elastic member. Referring to FIG. 8A, individual 256 is holding a bola-like device 220 including an elastic member 222 having a first ball 228 connected to a first end thereof and a second ball 230 connected to a second end thereof. The first ball 228 is held in the user's right hand 258 and the second ball is held in the user's left hand 260.

Referring to FIG. 8B, the user 256 moves the right and left hands 258, 260 apart for stretching the elastic member 222. The second ball 230 held in the left hand 260 is in front of the individual's body and the first ball 228 held in the user's right hand 258 is held behind the user's body.

Referring to FIG. 8C, the user releases first ball 228 from his right hand 258 while holding second ball 230 in front of the body. Once the first ball 228 is released, the tension in elastic member 222 directs first ball 228 in a forward direction indicated by arrow C. Referring to FIG. 8D, the first ball 228 continues to move in the forward direction until the elastic member 222 is fully extended. At about the time the elastic member 222 is fully extended, the user holds back on second ball 230 to retention elastic member 222. The user pulls in the direction indicated by arrow D. Referring to FIG. 8E, the tension in the elastic member 222 is transferred to first ball 228 for changing the direction of the ball from the direction indicated by arrow C to the direction indicated by arrow D. Referring to FIG. 8F, the user then catches the first ball 228 in his right hand 258. The user may then reverse the order by stretching the balls apart and releasing the second ball 230 from the left hand 260 and then catching the second ball with the left hand when it is returned by elastic member 222.

FIGS. 9A-9F show a bilateral exercise using the bola-like device of the present invention, whereby the ball is directed behind a user's body. Referring to FIG. 9A, individual 356 holds a first ball 328 in his right hand 358 and a second ball 330 in his left hand 360. The bola-like device 320 includes elastic member 322.

Referring to FIG. 9B, individual 356 pulls first and second balls 328, 330 apart so that elastic member 322 is under tension and with second ball 330 held in front of the individual and first ball 328 held behind the individual. Referring to FIG. 9C, second ball 330 is released from the individual's left hand 360 while the first ball 328 is held behind the individual's back in right hand 358. The tension force on elastic member 322 causes second ball 330 to move in the direction indicated by arrow E. As a result, the second ball 330 moves from the position shown in FIG. 9C to the position shown in FIG. 9D. When the elastic member 322 is fully extended as shown in FIG. 9D, the individual 356 moves first ball 328 in the direction indicated by arrow F so as to retention the elastic member 322. FIG. 9E shows second ball 330 moving forward in the direction indicated by arrow F whereby the tension force in the elastic member 322 has been transferred to the second ball 330. Referring to FIG. 9F, the user 356 catches second ball 330 in left hand 360. The process may be reversed whereby first ball 328 is held in front of the individual and second ball 330 is held behind the individual and first ball 328 is released and then caught on the rebound by the individual's right hand.

FIGS. 10A-10G show a bilateral exercise whereby a user drops a first ball and catches the second ball as the second ball is rebounded toward the user by an elastic member. Referring to FIG. 10A, user 456 is holding a bola-like device 420. The bola-like device 420 includes an elastic member 422, a first ball 428 secured to the first end of the elastic member 422 and a second ball 430 secured to a second end of the elastic member 422. The first ball 428 is held in the user's right hand 458 and the second ball 430 is held in the user's left hand 460.

Referring to FIG. 10B, the user 456 moves the right and left hands 458, 460 apart for stretching the elastic member 422. The user then releases first ball 428 from his right hand 458 so that first ball 428 moves in the direction indicated by arrow G in FIG. 10C. Referring to FIG. 10D, as user 456 holds second ball 430 in left hand 460, the first ball 428 moves away from the user until the elastic member 422 is fully extended. The user 456 then moves left hand 460 in the direction indicated by arrow H for changing the direction of first ball 428. Referring to FIG. 10E, as the first ball 428 moves toward the user in the direction indicated by arrow H, the user releases the second ball 430 from his left hand 460. After the second ball 430 is released, the second ball falls toward the ground 462 in the direction indicated by arrow I. As the second ball 430 is falling toward the ground 462, the first ball 428 continues to move toward the user 456 in the direction indicated by arrow H. Referring to FIG. 10F, the user catches the first ball 428 in his left hand 460. The user then moves first ball 428 upward in the direction indicated by arrow J for applying tension to elastic member 422 for snapping second ball 430 in an upward direction. Referring to FIG. 10G, the second ball 430 continues to move in an upward direction until it is caught by the right hand 458 of the user. The user can continue the bilateral exercise by reversing the order of the steps outlined above. In one preferred embodiment, the user stretches the balls apart, releases the first ball from his left hand, and as the first ball is rebounding back towards the user, releases the second ball from his right hand and catches the first ball.

FIGS. 11A-11E show a bilateral exercise using a drop bounce pattern, in accordance with other preferred embodiments of the present invention. Referring to FIG. 11A, user 556 is holding a bola-like device 520. The bola-like device 520 includes an elastic member 522, a first ball 528 and a second ball 530. The user holds the first ball 528 in the user's right hand.

Referring to FIG. 11B, the user 556 pulls first ball 528 upward to place elastic member 522 under tension. The tension force in the elastic member is transferred to the second ball 530, which moves second ball 530 in an upward direction indicated by arrow K. Referring to FIG. 11C, as the second ball 530 moves in an upward direction toward the user's right hand 558, the user drops first ball 528 which moves toward ground 562 in the direction of the arrow designated L. At this point, the user's right hand 558 is free to catch the second ball 530. Referring to FIG. 11D, as the first ball 528 falls to ground 562, the user catches second ball 530 in his right hand 558. The user may then repeat the process for tensioning elastic member 522 for jerking first ball 528 upwardly in the direction indicated by arrow K. Referring to FIG. 11E, the user 556 may then perform the above-described steps using his left hand 560.

FIGS. 12A and 12B show another bilateral exercise including an alternating bilateral toss and catching activity. Referring to FIG. 12A, an individual holds a bola-like device 620 in his respective left and right hands 658, 660. Holding the first ball 628 in right hand 658, the user releases second ball 630 from his left hand 660 and allow the second ball 630 to twirl along path 664 until the second ball 630 is recaptured by the left hand 660. The user can then reverse the process by holding second ball 630 in his left hand 660 and releasing the first ball 628 from his right hand 658. Using the second ball 630, the user will twirl the first ball 628 along the path 666 until the first ball is recaptured by right hand 658. FIG. 12B shows the user 656 holding the first and second balls 628, 630 after the balls have traveled along the respective paths 664, 666.

FIGS. 13A and 13B show another bilateral exercise, in accordance with certain preferred embodiments of the present invention. Referring to FIG. 13A, user 756 holds first ball 728 in his right hand 758 and second ball 730 in his left hand 760. While holding the first ball 728 in his right hand 758, user releases the second ball 730 and utilizes the elastic member 722 to twirl the second ball 730 along the path designated 768. Referring to FIG. 13B, the user continues to twirl the second ball 730 along the path 768 until the second ball 730 is caught by left hand 760. The user may reverse the process, whereby the second ball is held in the user's left hand and the first ball 728 is twirled about using the elastic member 722 until the first ball 728 is captured by the right hand.

FIGS. 14A-14D show a bola-like device with multiple ball attachments, in accordance with another preferred embodiment of the invention. Referring to FIG. 14A, an elastic member 822 has an end and a threaded element 829 is provided adjacent the end of the elastic member 822. The device may include a clamp 831 for securing the threaded element 829 to the elastic member 822. Element 829 is integral with multiple ball attachments as seen in FIGS. 14B and 14C. The ball attachments seen in FIGS. 14B and 14C are of different size and weight, however these balls can be variable in firmness, bounce, weight, size, color, texture, and/or shape, though they need not differ in all aspects. In some cases these balls may have removable soft coverings that are interchangeable. Referring to FIG. 14D, the threaded element 829 has external threads to facilitate a screw like attachment with the ball attachments. In certain preferred embodiments, at least one face 833 of the threaded element 829 has notches 835 to facilitate screwing and unscrewing of the ball attachments onto the threaded element. In certain preferred embodiments, the threaded element 829 may have a locking mechanism to prevent unwanted separation or unscrewing. This type of construction makes for easy modification of ball attachments and cord length adjustments and/or replacement.

FIG. 15 shows a set of bola-like devices assembled in a kit, in accordance with another preferred embodiment of the present invention. The kit 946 includes case 948 having an upper half 950 and a lower half 952. The lower half 952 of case includes a series of wells 954 a-954 c adapted to receive respective bola-like devices 920 a-920 c. The first and second balls 928 a, 930 a of first bola-like device 920 have a combined weight that is less than the combined weight of the first and second balls 928 b, 930 b of second bola-like device 920 b. In turn, the first and second balls 928 c, 930 c of third bola-like device 920 c have combined weight that is greater than the combined weight of the first and second balls 928 b, 930 b of second bola-like device 920 b. Thus, each of the three bola-like devices 920 a-920 c has a different weight, which provides different properties to the bola-like devices. For example, the greater weight of the first and second balls 928 c, 930 c of third bola device 930 c enables the balls to be moved more rapidly than is possible with the lighter first and second balls 928 a, 930 a of the first device 920 a. In other preferred embodiments, other physical properties of the respective bola-like devices 920 a, 920 c may be modified. For example, in one particular embodiment, the tensile strength of the elastic members 922 a-922 c may vary between the three devices and/or the lengths of the elastics can vary. In other preferred embodiments, the size of the respective first and second balls may vary between the three bola-like devices so as to change the difficulty of handling the hand held objects. In still other preferred embodiments, the first and second hand held objects of a first bola-like device may be symmetrical and the hand held objects of a second device may be asymmetrical. Although the present invention is not limited by any particular theory of operation, it is believed that the physical properties of bola-like devices may be modified so as to alter the difficulty level when using the devices during bilateral dexterity exercises. The easiest device could be used by beginners and a more difficult to handle device may be used by intermediate and advanced users. Although FIG. 15 shows a kit with three bola-like devices, other preferred embodiments may have four or more bola-like devices.

Although the invention herein has been described with reference to particular embodiments, it is to be understood that these embodiments are merely illustrative of the principles and applications of the present invention. It is therefore to be understood that numerous modifications may be made to the illustrative embodiments and that other arrangements may be devised without departing from the spirit and scope of the present invention as defined by the appended claims.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US7963278Nov 25, 2008Jun 21, 2011Makowski Gary GApparatus for deploying a bola
US8024889 *Jun 25, 2008Sep 27, 2011Brett BunkerPest control method and apparatus
US8137247 *Jan 12, 2010Mar 20, 2012Stamina Products, Inc.Exercise apparatus with resilient foot support
US8157712 *Dec 8, 2010Apr 17, 2012Nicholas R. MusachioResistance exercise and physical therapy apparatus
US8234811Sep 13, 2011Aug 7, 2012Brett BunkerPest control method and apparatus
US8480548Feb 10, 2011Jul 9, 2013Stamina Products, Inc.Exercise apparatus and method
US8561343Aug 6, 2012Oct 22, 2013Brett Bunker BunkerPest control method and apparatus
US8562492Jul 1, 2010Oct 22, 2013Stamina Products, Inc.Exercise apparatus with resilient foot support
US8721506Jun 14, 2013May 13, 2014Stamina Products Inc.Exercise apparatus and method
US20130014735 *Jul 15, 2011Jan 17, 2013Mathew Peter MowbrayProjectile firing toy
WO2010065220A2 *Oct 30, 2009Jun 10, 2010Makowski Gary GApparatus for deploying a bola
WO2012021171A1 *Aug 11, 2011Feb 16, 2012Ehsan KhademiStretching and exercise device and method
Classifications
U.S. Classification482/126, 482/121
International ClassificationA63B21/02
Cooperative ClassificationA63B21/1434, A63B21/00043, A63B43/00, A63B21/0552, A63B21/0555, A63B21/0004, A63B67/08, A63B2208/0204, A63B21/0557, A63B21/00069, A63B21/00061
European ClassificationA63B21/00D, A63B21/00D2, A63B21/055D
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Feb 23, 2006ASAssignment
Owner name: BOSU FITNESS, LLC, DELAWARE
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:DW FITNESS, LLC;REEL/FRAME:017275/0803
Effective date: 20051031