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Publication numberUS20060105890 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 10/904,503
Publication dateMay 18, 2006
Filing dateNov 12, 2004
Priority dateNov 12, 2004
Publication number10904503, 904503, US 2006/0105890 A1, US 2006/105890 A1, US 20060105890 A1, US 20060105890A1, US 2006105890 A1, US 2006105890A1, US-A1-20060105890, US-A1-2006105890, US2006/0105890A1, US2006/105890A1, US20060105890 A1, US20060105890A1, US2006105890 A1, US2006105890A1
InventorsScott Logue
Original AssigneeScott Logue
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
An apparatus for reducing body stress on an exerciser
US 20060105890 A1
Abstract
An apparatus used during weighted barbell exercises for reducing body stress on the wrists and lower back comprises identical assemblies mounted for rotation on the end sleeves of the barbell. Weights are suspended on the assemblies below the barbell. Each assembly comprises first horizontal tubular member having a sidewall defining an annulus adapted to receive the barbell end sleeves; a vertical extension member welded perpendicular to the first horizontal tubular member; and, a second horizontal member, parallel to the first horizontal tubular member welded to and suspended from the vertical extension member for carrying the weights. During the lift and recovery, the apparatus keeps the combined dynamic centers of gravity of the weights and apparatus close to the body reducing back stress. The apparatus reduces wrist stress by minimizing torque about the wrist.
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Claims(15)
1. An apparatus for reducing body stress on an exerciser, said exerciser having a centre of gravity, said apparatus used during weight lifting exercises using a barbell, said barbell having first and second non-rotating opposite end sleeves, said apparatus comprising a first assembly mounted to said first non-rotating end sleeve and a second parallel and identical assembly mounted to said second non-rotating end sleeve, wherein each of the first and second assemblies are adopted to suspend weights below the barbell, and wherein the apparatus and said weights having a combined centre of gravity that is dynamic during said weight lifting exercises, and further wherein each assembly comprises:
a. a first horizontal tubular member having a sidewall defining an annulus through said first horizontal tubular member for closely but slidably and co-axially receiving and passing one of said first or second non-rotating end sleeves of the barbell through the first horizontal tubular member so that the first or second barbell end sleeve is free to rotate within said annulus;
b. a vertical extension member welded perpendicular to and depending down from the first horizontal tubular member; and,
c. a second horizontal member, parallel to the first horizontal tubular member welded to and suspended from said vertical extension member, said second horizontal member adapted for carrying the weights thereby lowering the position of said combined centre of gravity with respect to said centre of gravity of the exerciser;
so that during the weight lifting exercises, the combined dynamic centre of gravity remains close to the exerciser thereby reducing the exerciser's compensatory body movements relative to the dynamic centre of gravity and resulting in a reduction of body stress.
2. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the first horizontal tubular member has a first end, a second end, a top surface and a bottom surface; the vertical extension member has a first end and a second end such that said first end of the vertical extension member is welded to said bottom surface of the first horizontal tubular member midway between said first end and said second end of the first horizontal tubular member thereby forming a “T” shape therewith; the second horizontal member has a first end and a free second end; and, said first end of the horizontal member is welded to said second end of the vertical extension member thereby forming a right angle “L” shape therewith.
3. The apparatus as claimed in claim 2, wherein the second horizontal member is tubular; the weights are disc-shaped and have apertures in their centers, the weights have diameters that increase as their mass increases, said apertures having a diameter larger than the diameter of the second horizontal tubular member, wherein said weight diameters increase with weight; the vertical distance between the first horizontal tubular member and the second horizontal member is defined by the length of the vertical extension member, said length adapted to accommodate a range of said weight diameters; and, said free second end of the second tubular horizontal member is adapted to closely and slidably receive and pass through the weight apertures.
4. The apparatus as claimed in claim 3, further including locking means for locking each of the first and second assemblies on opposite first and second end sleeves of the barbell respectively.
5. The apparatus as claimed in claim 4, wherein said locking means comprises one of a clamp collar, a regular collar or a spin lock collar.
6. The apparatus as claimed in claim 1, wherein the first and second assemblies are fabricated from steel sufficiently strong to carry the weights.
7. The apparatus as claimed in claim 1, further comprising second locking means for locking the weights onto the second horizontal member.
8. The apparatus as claimed in claim 7, wherein said second locking means comprises one of a clamp collar, a regular collar or a spin lock collar.
9. An apparatus for reducing body stress on an exerciser, said exerciser having a centre of gravity, said apparatus used during weight lifting exercises using a barbell, said barbell having first and second rotating opposite end sleeves, said apparatus comprising a first assembly mounted to said first non-rotating end sleeve and a second parallel and identical assembly mounted to said second non-rotating end sleeve, wherein each of the first and second assemblies are adopted to suspend weights below the barbell, and wherein the apparatus and said weights having a combined centre of gravity that is dynamic during said weight lifting exercises, and further wherein each assembly comprises: a first horizontal tubular member having a sidewall defining an annulus through said first horizontal tubular member for closely but slidably and co-axially receiving and passing one of said first or second rotating end sleeves of the barbell through the first horizontal tubular member so that the first and second rotating end sleeves of the barbell are free to rotate within said annulus; a vertical extension member welded perpendicular to and depending down from the first horizontal tubular member; a second horizontal member, parallel to the first horizontal tubular member welded to and suspended from said vertical member, said second horizontal member adapted for carrying the weights; and, means for fixing the first and second assemblies to their respective first and second rotating end sleeves of the barbell so that the first and second end sleeves do not rotate with respect to the annulus sidewall; so that during the weight lifting exercises, the combined dynamic centre of gravity remains close to the exerciser thereby reducing the exerciser's compensatory body movements relative to the dynamic centre of gravity and resulting in a reduction of body stress.
10. The apparatus as claimed in claim 9, wherein means for fixing the first and second assemblies to their respective first and second rotating end sleeves comprises a locking assembly comprising a threaded aperture located in the centre of the top surface of the first horizontal tubular member; and, a key having a threaded shaft adapted for threaded engagement with said threaded aperture, said shaft having a first end and a free second end; and, a head fixed to said first end of the shaft, said head configured to permit hand turning of said key; so that once a first or second barbell end sleeve is co-axially inserted into the annulus of the first horizontal tubular member, the shaft of the key is threaded into the threaded aperture until said shaft free second end is firmly abutted against the barbell rotating end sleeve thereby preventing the rotational movement between the end sleeve and said sidewall while permitting rotational movement of the end sleeve about the axis of the barbell.
11. In combination a barbell and an apparatus for reducing body stress of an exerciser, said exerciser having a center of gravity, said apparatus used during weight lifting exercises using a barbell, said barbell having first and second non-rotating opposite end sleeve, said apparatus comprising a first assembly mounted to said first non-rotating end sleeves and a second parallel and identical assembly mounted to said second non-rotating end sleeve, wherein each of the first and second assemblies are adopted to suspend weights below the barbell, and wherein the apparatus and said weights having a combined centre of gravity that is dynamic during said weight lifting exercises, and further wherein each assembly comprises a first horizontal tubular member having a sidewall defining an annulus through said first horizontal tubular member for closely but slidably and co-axially receiving and passing one of said first or second non-rotating end sleeves of the barbell through the first horizontal tubular member so that the barbell end sleeve is free to rotate within said annulus; a vertical extension member welded perpendicular to and depending down from the first horizontal tubular member; and, a second horizontal member, parallel to the first horizontal tubular member welded to and suspended from said vertical member, said second horizontal member adapted for carrying the weights thereby lowering the position of the centre of said combined center or gravity with respect to the center of gravity of the exerciser; so that during the weight lifting exercises, the combined dynamic centre of mass remains close to the exerciser thereby reducing the exerciser's compensatory body movements relative to the dynamic center of gravity and resulting in a reduction of body stress.
12. The combination as claimed in claim 11, wherein the barbell has opposite first and second rotating end sleeves.
13. The combination as claimed in claim 12, further comprising means for fixing the first and second assemblies to their respective said first and second rotating end sleeves so that the first and second end sleeves do not rotate with respect to the annulus sidewall.
14. The combination as claimed in claim 13, wherein said means comprises a threaded aperture located in the centre of the top surface of the first horizontal tubular member; and, a key having a threaded shaft adapted for threaded engagement with said threaded aperture, said shaft having a first end and a free second end; and, a head fixed to said first end of the shaft, said head configured to permit hand turning of said key so that once the barbell is inserted into the annulus of the first horizontal tubular member, the shaft of the key is threaded into the threaded aperture until said shaft free second end is firmly abutted against the barbell thereby preventing the rotational movement thereof.
15. The combination as claimed in claim 14, wherein the barbell is an EZ Curl Olympic Bar™ manufactured by the Ivanko Barbell Company.
Description
FIELD OF THE INVENTION

This invention relates to the field of exercise devices, more particularly, a weight lifting apparatus utilizing weight resistance and a hand held bar with weight at each end, and specifically, an apparatus for reducing body stress on an exerciser during weight lifting exercises using a barbell.

DISCUSSION OF THE PRIOR ART

Over the past 20 years, the popularity of weight training has exploded. More than 45 million Americans train with weights regularly. Fortunately, serious injuries are relatively rare. However, minor and potentially debilitating injuries are common. In 1986, weight training injuries accounted for an estimated 43,400 emergency department visits out of a total of 5.6 million visits for all sports. In 1995, the last year for which statistics are available, emergency room visits for weight training injuries totaled 56,400, out of more than 5.4 million visits for all sports.

Exercising with free weights, as opposed to an exercise machine by Universal® or Nautilus®, is well known. One common exercise apparatus comprises a barbell with metallic disc-weights removably fixed to either side of the barbell. This type of exercise equipment is commonly used to increase the strength and tone of muscles in the upper body, particularly the arms. There are a wide variety of exercises that can be used with this type of exercise equipment such as curls, and presses. Similarly, there is wide variety of equipment sold to accomplish these types of exercises.

Body building exercises fall into various categories such as eccentric contractions or “negatives,” forced repetitions to muscle failure, supersets (rapidly paired exercises of different muscle groups in the same anatomic region), and compound sets (rapidly matched exercises of the same muscle group). Due to the repetitive nature of weight lifting and the use of progressively heavier weights, there are a number of sports-related injuries to muscles and ligaments can occur as a result.

The body parts most at risk from performing weight lifting exercises using a barbell, such as bicep curls in a standing position, are the back and the wrists. Lifting a heavy weight during a bicep curl causes more movement about all segments of the body due to other muscles trying to compensate for the increase in weight and the dynamic center of gravity of the combined weights and barbell during the exercise. For a heavy weight, there is a greater range of motion of the trunk segment, a greater range of motion about the hip joint, and greater linear displacement of the hip. This type of collateral movement does not serve to strengthen the target muscle group but does increase the risk of injury to the lower back by hyperextension. Furthermore, a bicep curl requires that the heavy weights hang from the wrists causing extension of the soft tissues and a significant bending moment about the wrist thereby straining related bones, muscles and ligaments.

There are a large number of patented exercise devices designed to improve the exercise of the biceps and triceps. For example, U.S. Pat. No. 6,022,300 “Rotating Grip Barbell” issued to Charles Hightower on Feb. 8, 2000 teaches a multi-positional grip barbell adapted to produce greater muscle toning and muscle building results. The Hightower device overcomes problems associated with standard barbells by permitting the exercise of muscle groups involved in pronation and supination. However, the Hightower device does not overcome the collateral movements associated with bicep curls that can result in back injury.

Relatively few patented exercise devices are specifically designed to reduce stress on the body during bicep strength development exercises. Once such device is described in U.S. Pat. No. 6,129,650 “Exercise Bar” issued to Roy D. Wedge Jr. on Oct. 10, 2000. The Wedge device is designed specifically as a rehabilitation tool for stroke victims or hemiplegic patients in order to reduce muscle tension and spasms. It is not adapted to the type of strengthening exercises contemplated by my invention. Canadian Patent 1,166,280 “Bicep Exercising Curling Bar” issued to William F. Brennan of the United States on Apr. 24, 1984 describes a device that relies upon a thin, rigid and padded rectangular plate behind the supine wrist in order to displace the centre of gravity of the barbell from the plain of the hand grip bar and distribute weight across the distal portion of the forearm thereby reducing stress on the wrist. However, the Brennan device does nothing to reduce stress on the back.

Therefore, there is still a requirement in the field of free weight lifting exercises using a barbell for an apparatus that reduces stresses on both the wrists and the lower back of an exerciser caused by collateral movements of the exerciser's body and thereby reduces the risk of debilitating injury to the exerciser.

Objects

In light of the disadvantages noted above, it is a principle object of the present invention to provide an apparatus that can be used during weight lifting exercises using a barbell with the result of strengthening the target muscle group while reducing the stress on the body of the exerciser, specifically, the wrists and lower back of the exerciser caused by collateral movements of the exerciser's body and thereby reducing debilitating injuries to the exerciser.

Another object of the invention is to provide an apparatus that can be easily adapted to existing barbells.

Another object of the invention is to provide an apparatus that is easy to manufacture and inexpensive to purchase.

Still further objects and advantages to our invention will become apparent from a consideration of the ensuing description and drawings.

SUMMARY

The present invention is directed to an apparatus that overcomes the above-noted deficiencies of the prior art and satisfies the objects listed previously. An apparatus having the features of the present invention comprises an apparatus for reducing exerciser stress during weight lifting exercises using a barbell having non-rotating end sleeves. The apparatus comprises two identical assemblies. Each assembly comprises a first horizontal tubular member having a sidewall defining an annulus through the first horizontal tubular member. The annulus closely but slidably receives and passes one of the opposite end sleeve of the barbell through the first horizontal tubular member. The barbell end sleeve is free to rotate within the annulus. The assembly further comprises a vertical extension member fixed perpendicular to and depending down from the first horizontal tubular member. The assembly further comprises a second horizontal member, parallel to the first horizontal tubular member fixed to and suspended from the vertical extension member. The second horizontal member adapted for carrying weights and thereby lowers the combined center of gravity of the apparatus and weights with respect to the center of gravity of the exerciser.

In the practice of my invention, one advantage of the apparatus becomes apparent, namely, once each assembly is placed over the end sleeves of the barbell and loaded with weights, the weights are suspended below the barbell when lifted. During, for example, the bicep curl, the stress on the wrist is reduced because the weights are able to move below and behind the wrist thereby reducing the torque on the wrist. Another advantage of the apparatus is that, during the bicep curl, the centre of gravity of the combined weights and apparatus is maintained close to the centre of gravity of the body of the exerciser. This has the effect of reducing the amount of collateral movement of the exerciser's body required to compensate for movement of the weight during the curl. Hence the risk of injury to both the wrist and the back are reduced. A further advantage of my invention is that, since the weights are is closer to the body of the exerciser, there is less static inertia to overcome at the commencement of the lift and less dynamic inertia to overcome at the top of the lift. Yet another advantage of my invention is that the velocity of the lift (upward movement) and recovery (downward movement) are constant thereby reducing the collateral movement of the body that is caused by varying acceleration and deceleration of the weights at the commencement of the lift and the recovery.

In the invention, the first horizontal tubular member has a first end, a second end, a top surface and a bottom surface. The vertical extension member has a first end and a second end such that the first end of the vertical extension member is fixed to the bottom surface of the first horizontal tubular member midway between its first end and the second end thereby forming a “T” shape. The second horizontal member has a first end and a free second end. The first end of the horizontal member is fixed to the second end of the vertical extension member thereby forming a right angle “L” shape.

In one embodiment of the invention the second horizontal member is tubular as is the vertical extension member. The vertical extension distance between the first horizontal tubular member and the second horizontal member is defined by the length of the vertical extension member. The length of the vertical extension member is sufficient to accommodate a range of weights (hence weight diameters) loaded onto the free second end of the second horizontal member.

The assemblies are locked onto the opposite end sleeves of the barbell using one of a clamp collar, a regular collar or a spin lock collar. These devices are also used to lock the weights onto the second horizontal member. The assemblies are fabricated from welded steel tubular members sufficiently strong to carry suspended weights. In another embodiment of the invention, the second horizontal member and the vertical extension member may be solid steel members.

In another embodiment of the invention the second horizontal member includes co-axial rotating end sleeves adapted to carry the weights and permitting them to rotate.

In yet another embodiment of the invention, the invention comprises an apparatus for suspending weights below opposite ends of a barbell where the barbell has rotating end sleeves. In this embodiment each of the two identical assemblies of the apparatus comprises a first horizontal tubular member having a sidewall defining an annulus. The annulus receives closely but slidably one of said opposite rotating end sleeves of the barbell and passes it through the first horizontal tubular member. The invention also comprises a vertical extension member fixed perpendicular to and depending down from the first horizontal tubular member and a second horizontal member, parallel to the first horizontal tubular member fixed to and suspended from the vertical extension member. The second horizontal member is adapted for carrying the weights. Since the end sleeves upon which the assemblies are mounted rotate, there is required means for fixing the assemblies to the rotating end sleeves of the barbell. Such means comprise a threaded aperture located in the centre of the top surface of the first horizontal tubular member and a key having a threaded shaft adapted for threaded engagement with the threaded aperture. The shaft has a first end, a free second end and a head fixed to the first end of the shaft. The head is configured to permit hand turning of the key. In operation, once the barbell is inserted into the annulus of the first horizontal tubular member, the shaft of the key is threaded into the threaded aperture until the shaft free second end is firmly abutted against the barbell rotating end sleeve thereby preventing the rotational movement between the end sleeve and the sidewall of the first horizontal tubular member while still permitting rotational movement of the end sleeve about the axis of the barbell.

The invention is also concerned with a combination of a barbell with non-rotating end sleeves and my invention, namely, a pair of identical assemblies for suspending weights below opposite end sleeves of the barbell. In this embodiment of the invention, there is provided two identical assemblies each comprising a first horizontal tubular member having a sidewall defining an annulus for closely but slidably receiving and passing one of the opposite non-rotating end sleeves of the barbell. The barbell end sleeve is free to rotate within the annulus. This combination also comprises a vertical extension member fixed perpendicular to and depending down from the first horizontal tubular member and a second horizontal member, parallel to the first horizontal tubular member fixed to and suspended from the vertical extension member. The second horizontal member adapted for carrying said weights.

In still another embodiment of the invention, there is provided a combination of a barbell having rotating end sleeves and the apparatus of my invention. The apparatus further comprises means for fixing the assemblies to the rotating ends of the barbell so that there is no rotation of the rotating end sleeve with respect to the side wall of the first horizontal tubular member. Such means comprise a threaded aperture located in the centre of the top surface of the first horizontal tubular member and a key having a threaded shaft adapted for threaded engagement with the threaded aperture. The shaft has a first end and a free second end. The head is fixed to the first end of the shaft and permits hand turning of the key so that once the barbell is inserted into the annulus of the first horizontal tubular member, the shaft of the key is threaded into the threaded aperture until the shaft free second end is firmly abutted against the barbell thereby preventing the rotational movement.

The preferred barbell used with my invention in combination is the EZ Curl Olympic Bar™ manufactured by the Ivanko Barbell Company.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The foregoing and other objects, features and advantages of the invention will be apparent from the following more particular description of the preferred embodiments of the invention as illustrated in the accompanying drawings in which like reference characters refer to the same parts throughout the different views. The drawings are not necessary to scale, emphasis instead being placed upon illustrating the principles of the invention.

FIG. 1 comprises views, A, B and C, of three variants of a typical Olympic type barbell.

FIG. 2 is a diagram representing the hand, finger and wrist positions with respect to the barbell.

FIG. 3 is a series of diagrams A to F showing motion of the barbell with respect to the body of the exerciser during a bicep curl using light weights.

FIG. 4 shows positions of the barbell and the wrist at the beginning of a curl.

FIG. 5 shows positions of the barbell and the wrist during the curl.

FIG. 6 shows positions of the barbell and the wrist at the end of the curl.

FIG. 7 shows positions of my invention and the wrist at the beginning of the curl.

FIG. 8 shows positions of my invention and the wrist during the curl.

FIG. 9 shows positions of my invention and the wrist at the end of the curl.

FIG. 10 shows a series of positions A to F of the exerciser's body during a curl with heavy weights.

FIG. 111 shows a series of positions A to F of the exerciser's body during a curl with heaving weights using my invention.

FIG. 12 shows one embodiment of my invention on a barbell with non-rotating end sleeves.

FIG. 13 shows one embodiment of my invention.

FIG. 14 shows another embodiment of my invention mounted on a barbell with rotating end sleeves.

FIG. 15 shows another embodiment of my invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

Introduction

The Barbell

Referring to FIG. 1, there are shown three drawings A, B, and C each representing a variety of an EZ Curl Olympic™ style barbell (10), (12) and (14). This type of barbell is well adapted for use with the present invention. The barbell dimensions are shown on FIG. 1. The barbell is manufactured from solid steel and chrome plated. For explanation, I will refer to FIG. 1B. The grip portions of each barbell (16 and 18) are knurled for a comfortable and slip-free grip. The barbell includes chrome steel collars (20) with locks (22). Weight plates are slid onto each end sleeve of the bar (24) and (26) and locked into place using locks (22). The locks are fixed to each end sleeve using a threaded shaft (28) having a turn handle (30) to permit tightening of the lock onto the end sleeve. The end sleeves may be adapted for rotation and this will necessitate additional features described in the various embodiments of my invention described herein. The “W” configuration of the bar (32) is designed for maximum effect on the target muscle group, namely, the biceps. Other types of bars can be used with the present invention but the Olympic™ barbell is the one contemplated in this invention.

The Hand Grip

Referring to FIG. 2, there is shown a diagram of a hand grip on a barbell from a face on view (FIG. 2A) and a side view (FIG. 2B) that an exerciser would use at the commencement of a bicep curl. The barbell is shown at (34). For the sake of explanation, the barbell is shown as horizontal rather than having the curved grip on the Olympic™ barbell described in FIG. 1. The attached weight (36) is shown on the left side of the barbell. Only one arm (38) is shown in the Figure and it is understood that the curl is a two handed exercise. The wrist (40) is shown between the forearm (42) and the hand (44). The hand is in a supine position, that is, with the palm (45) facing outwards. The fingers (46) of the hand are wrapped around the barbell and the thumb (48) extends towards the weight along the barbell as shown. Other exercisers may have variants of this grip, but generally, this the manner in which the barbell is held for a bicep curl. In FIG. 2B, the forearm (42), wrist (40) and hand (44) are shown in a side view. The barbell (34) is carried by the curled fingers. This causes a significant extension on the tissues of the wrist and the hand due to the weight pulling the wrist and hand downwards. In this commencement position, there is little or no torque on the wrist caused by the moment arm (50) measured from the centre line of the wrist (52) to the centre line of the barbell (53) supporting the weights. However, the exerciser must exert significant forces through the wrist in order to overcome the static inertia at the beginning of the lift.

The Range of Movements When Lifting a Light Weight

Referring now to FIG. 3, there is shown a number of drawings illustrating the movement of the weighted barbell during a bicep curl. In FIG. 3A, the commencement position is shown and the bar rests generally about or below the hips (55) of the exerciser (56). The weight (58) in FIG. 3 will be considered a very light one compared to the weight of the exerciser (56). During the curling exercise, the weight (58) is lifted in an arc (60) (FIG. 3F) from the hips (55) to about the level of the chest (62) of the exerciser. The movement is restricted to the forearm (42) pivoting about the elbow joint (64). With a very light weight, there is little collateral movement of the body necessary to compensate for the dynamic movement of the centre of gravity of the combined apparatus and weights. Therefore, as illustrated in FIG. 3, the lower back (66) and hips (55) of the exerciser can remain relatively stable during the up and down movement of the bicep curl. Such a light weight is unlikely to place injurious stresses on the lower back although there is a reasonable amount of torque on the wrist joint even with a small weight due to the forces that must be exerted to overcome the static inertia at the beginning of the lift and the dynamic inertia at the end of the lift. As well, during recovery, that is lowering the weight from the top position to the bottom position, also requires overcoming dynamic inertia as the weights must be decelerated at the bottom of the curl and then accelerated to commence the next repetition.

Stress on the Wrist

Referring to FIG. 4A, the exerciser commences the lift with a pivoting motion at the elbow (not shown) and the fore arm (42) and weighted barbell (34) begin to rise as shown in FIGS. 4B and 4C. As the exerciser raises her forearm, the distance (D) (21) between wristjoint (23) and weighted barbell (34) begins to increase thereby forming a moment arm. This creates significant torque around wrist joint (23). In FIG. 4C, the forearm (42) continues to rise and wrist joint (23) continues to extend by gravity rearward (27) until the maximum limit of rearward movement is reached. At this time, the exerciser will have to exert a significant counter torque about the wrist joint (23) in order to prevent a serious wrist sprain due to extension of soft tissues.

Referring now to FIG. 5A and FIG. 5B, the hand (44) begins to curl the weighted barbell (34) about the wrist joint (23) until, as shown in FIG. 5B, the weight is the furthest from the wrist joint (23). At this point, the distance “D” (21) is longest and the torque on the wrist joint is at its highest magnitude.

Referring now to FIGS. 6A to 6C, the hand (44) continues to exert a counter force against the torque to reduce the length of the moment arm “D” (21) between the weighted barbell (34) and the wrist joint (23) as much as possible. The biceps pull the forearm towards the chest of the exerciser (not shown) to complete the curl at position 6C. Note that in this position, the length of the moment arm (D) between the weighted barbell (34) and the wrist (23) has been minimized. The exerciser will then commence to lower the weight in a rearward curl to complete the recovery.

Generally, wrist injuries occur when the wrist joint is extended beyond its limitations as shown in FIGS. 4A and 4B or when the exerciser attempts to counter the torque by applying a curling motion with the wrist joint during the lift phase of the exercise as shown in FIGS. 5A, 5B, 6A and 6B.

The Solution Offered by my Invention

My invention is designed to reduce wrist stress by ensuring that the moment arm between the weighted barbell (34) and the wrist joint (23) is minimized during the lifting phase and recovery phase of the curl. As well, my invention assists the exerciser in overcoming the static inertia at the commencement of the curl and the dynamic inertia at the top of the curl by using less force and therefore applying less stress to soft tissues of the wrist. My invention effectively decouples the mass of the weights from the hands creating inertial forces during the exercise that are less stressful as more fully explained below. The structural features of my invention will be described more fully below.

Referring to FIG. 7A, the invention (100) effectively lowers the weight (37) by suspending it from the barbell (34) by means of member (80). My invention is attached to the barbell in such a manner as to permit rotation of the suspended weight with respect to the barbell. For example, with the Olympic type barbell shown in FIG. 1, my invention would permit a swinging motion (82) of the weight about the axis of the bar. The importance of the swinging motion of the weight is important if one considers the reaction of the body to the lifting of the weight during a two-hand bicep curl. As more fully explained below in the discussion relating to how my invention lessens back stress, as the weight is lifted the center of gravity of the weight and apparatus combination is dynamic and moves outward as the weight is lifted. The exerciser's body will respond to the shift of weight by moving her hips outwards towards the weight to retain a stable stance when lifting. The effect of moving the hips towards the weight causes the weight to swing (84) towards the exerciser and therefore reduce the moment arm (21) between the suspended weight and the wrist joint (23).

Throughout the lift phase of the bicep curl, the body will remain slightly arched towards the weight as long as the centre of gravity of the combined suspended weight and apparatus in front of the exerciser's body.

Referring to FIGS. 8A and 8B and comparing them to FIGS. 5A and 5B, it is clear that my invention results in a reduction of the length of the moment arm “D” (21) and therefore a reduction of the injurious torque about the wrist joint (23). As well, because the suspended weights remain closer to the body, the velocity of the lift is and the recovery is more consistent during the curl. This further reduces stress on the body as there is less need to dramatically accelerate and decelerate the weights during the exercise. By keeping the distance “D” minimized during the lift and recovery, the initial forces needed to be exerted to overcome static and dynamic inertia during the exercise are reduced.

Referring to FIG. 9, similar reductions in the length of “D” are shown as a result of my invention thereby reducing wrist joint (23) stress.

Once the upward movement of the curl has been completed, the combined centre of gravity of the weight and the apparatus will generally be vertically co-axial and the body can re-assume an erect posture. The reverse movement will have the same effect as the weight is brought down from the chest to the starting position.

Back Problems

As noted above, using heavy weights in a two-handed bicep curl puts a significant amount of stress on the lower back due to hyper-extension. Referring to FIG. 10, there is shown in A to F a side view representation of exerciser body movement during a bicep curl lift using heavy weights. The weight (37) is attached to the barbell (34). At position A, the exerciser is carrying the weight in her hands and generally there is no forward movement of the hips to compensate the shifted centre of gravity of the combined exerciser and weight. At position B, the weight has moved a distance forward and the centre of gravity of the body and weight also moves. Therefore the hips must compensate by shifting the weight of the body forward by moving forward. This stresses the lower back (66). At position C, the hands of the exerciser are in their most forward position and the centre of gravity of the combined apparatus and weight is also at its most forward position. This necessitates the hips to move the centre of gravity of the body forward in order to retain a stable platform for the combined apparatus and weights. This puts additional stress on the lower back. At positions D and E the weight is moving towards the body and therefore the centre of gravity of the combined exerciser body and weight is moving back towards the body. This necessitates the hips moving backwards and has the effect of reducing stress on the lower back. As illustrated by FIG. 10F, the horizontal arrow (86) represents the amount of movement of the hips in the lifting phase of the two-handed bicep curl. The vertical arc (88) represents the movements of the hands during the lift phase of the curl. It is important to note that the weight travels upwards and away from the centre of gravity of the exerciser's body both in a horizontal and vertical direction. This necessitates considerable exerciser body movement in order to compensate the shift in the combined centre of gravity of the apparatus and weights. This body movement creates stress on the lower back. As well, when heavier weights are used for the exercise there are greater forces that must be exerted by the exerciser to overcome static and dynamic inertia. This will result in the exerciser having to apply greater acceleration at the commencement of the lift and greater deceleration at the top of the lift and the bottom of the recovery. These greater forces will require collateral movements of the body in order to maintain stability and therefore greater stresses on the lower back and wrists of the exerciser.

The Solution Offered by my Invention

Referring to FIG. 11, there is shown the same movement as FIG. 10, but using my invention (100). In my invention, the weight (37) is suspended from the barbell (34) and so hangs below the centre of gravity of the exerciser's body (90) and close to the vertical axis (92) of the body. In this position, there is no requirement for major body movements to compensate for the centre of gravity of the apparatus and weight combination. In position B, as the lift commences, the weight rises and the body of the exerciser must shift to compensate for the dynamic combined centre of gravity of the weights and apparatus shifts. However, note that the suspended weight remains proximate to the centre of gravity of the exerciser's body. This necessitates much less of a forward corrective or compensatory movement by the exerciser's hips and therefore there is less stress on the exerciser's lower back (66). The result is a lift and recovery that has a relatively consistent velocity with a reduced need for the acceleration and deceleration of the weight to overcome static and dynamic inertia. At position C, the hands of the exerciser are in their furthest extension and the stress on the lower back is at a maximum. However, due to the proximity of the suspended weight to the centre of gravity of the exerciser, the centre of gravity of the exerciser's body has not shifted forward as far as the situation in position 10C. Therefore, there is less of a compensatory movement required by the exerciser's hips and the stress on the back using the invention is much less. At positions 11D and 11E the centre of gravity of the weight are moving back towards the body and therefore the stress on the lower back is lessening. In FIG. 11F, the lower horizontal arrow (94) indicates the required movement of the exerciser's hips to compensate for the dynamic shift of centre of gravity of the weights during the lift. It is much less than that of FIG. 10F. In FIG. 11F, the top arc (96) represents the movement of the hands or barbell during the lift. This arc is substantially the same as the arc in 10F as the movement is the same. However, the lower arc (98) in FIG. 11F represents the movement of the axis of the suspended weight and it is shown to be more proximate to the centre of gravity of the exerciser's body. Therefore, by keeping the centre of gravity of the weight being lifted in a bicep curl close to the centre of gravity of the exerciser's body, the lower stress on the exerciser's back is significantly reduced.

Physical Description of the Preferred Embodiment of the Invention

Referring to FIGS. 12 and 13, my invention is an apparatus (100) for suspending weights below opposite ends of a barbell (102). The barbell may be a standard barbell having a first (109) and a second (111) non-rotating end sleeve upon which the weights are mounted. The apparatus comprises two identical and parallel assemblies (104) and (106) will be attached to the respective first and second non-rotating end sleeves (109) and (111) in such a manner that permits the first and second assemblies to rotate around their respective end sleeves. The two assemblies are identical and comprise a first horizontal tubular member (108) having a sidewall (110) defining an annulus (112) through it. The annulus is adapted for closely but slidably receiving and passing one of the first or second barbell end sleeves through the first horizontal tubular member of one of the respective first or second assemblies. The barbell sleeve end is free to rotate within the annulus. A vertical extension member (114) is fixed by welding perpendicular to and depending down from the first horizontal tubular member. There is also a second horizontal member (116), parallel to the first horizontal tubular member and welded to and suspended from the vertical member. The second horizontal member adapted for receiving and carrying the disc-shaped weights that would otherwise be mounted on the barbell end sleeves. Therefore, the second horizontal member effectively lowers the center of gravity of the weights and the assemblies with respect to center of gravity of the exerciser and maintains that lowered center of gravity close to the center of gravity of the body of the exerciser.

The first horizontal tubular member has a first end (120), a second end (122), a top surface (124) and a bottom surface (126). The vertical extension member (114) has a first end (128) and a second end (130). The first end of the vertical extension member (128) is welded to the bottom surface (126) of the first horizontal tubular member midway between the first end (120) and the second end (122) of the first horizontal tubular member thereby forming a “T” shape. The second horizontal member (116) has a first end (132) and a free second end (134). The first end (132) of the horizontal member is welded to the second end (130) of the vertical extension member thereby forming a right angle “L” shape.

The second horizontal member maybe tubular and it may also be a solid cylindrical member. Similarly, the vertical extension member is generally tubular but it may be a solid member as well. The weights received on the second horizontal member are disc-shaped and apertured in their centers. The apertures have a diameter that is larger than the diameter of the second horizontal tubular member so that easily slide onto and off of the member. Generally, the heavier weights have larger disc diameters and so the vertical distance between the first horizontal tubular member and the second horizontal member is defined by the length of the vertical extension member and ensures that this vertical distance is sufficient to accommodate a range of weights.

In order to retain the assemblies on the barbell end sleeves the apparatus further includes locks for locking each of the assemblies on opposite end sleeves of the barbell. The locks comprise one of a clamp collar, a regular collar or a spin lock collar and the differences between these devices are well known in the art of weight lifting equipment and need not be further described in this specification. To lock the weights onto the second horizontal member the same types of locks are used. The assemblies are fabricated from steel sufficiently strong to carry suspended weights.

Once each of said two identical assemblies of my invention are mounted to the opposite end sleeves of the barbell and weights are mounted to the respective second tubular horizontal member of each of the two identical assemblies, raising the barbell will result in the weights being suspended below the barbell in a balanced configuration.

Referring now to FIG. 14 and FIG. 15, in another embodiment of my invention, the apparatus (140) is used with a barbell (142) having rotating end sleeves (143) and (145). This type of barbell like the Olympic EZ Curl Barbell illustrated in FIG. 1. In this embodiment each identical assembly (144) comprises a first horizontal tubular member (146) having a sidewall (148) defining an annulus (150) through the first horizontal tubular member for closely but slidably receiving and passing one of the opposite rotating end sleeves of the barbell through the first horizontal tubular member. There is a vertical extension member (152) welded perpendicular to and depending down from the first horizontal tubular member. There is a second horizontal member (154), parallel to the first horizontal tubular member (146) welded to and suspended from the vertical extension member (152) and adapted for carrying the weights. This embodiment includes means for fixing the assemblies to the rotating end sleeves of the barbell which comprises a threaded aperture (160) located in the centre of the top surface of the first horizontal tubular member and a key (162) having a threaded shaft (164) adapted for threaded engagement with the threaded aperture. The shaft of the key has a first end (167), a free second end (169) and a head (166) fixed to the first end of the shaft. The head configured to permit hand turning of the key so that once the barbell end sleeve is inserted into the annulus of the first horizontal tubular member, the shaft of the key is threaded into the threaded aperture until the shaft free second end is firmly abutted against the barbell rotating end sleeve thereby preventing the rotational movement between the end sleeve and the sidewall while permitting rotational movement of the end sleeve about the axis of the barbell.

Another embodiment of my invention comprises a barbell in combination with an apparatus for suspending weights below the barbell of the type described herein. The barbell may have a non-rotating end sleeves at opposite ends or it may have rotating end sleeves. Where the barbell has rotating end sleeves, then the apparatus must include means for fixing the assemblies to the rotating end sleeves of the barbell as described above. Once such barbell with rotating end sleeves is the EZ Curl Olympic Bar™ as illustrated in FIG. 1.

In yet another embodiment of the invention, the second horizontal member includes a rotating end sleeve for carrying weights just as in the EZ Curl Olympic Bar so that the weights are free to rotate on the bar and the barbell does not rotate with respect to the hands of the exerciser.

Although this description contains much specificity, these should not be construed as limiting the scope of the invention by merely providing illustrations of some of the embodiment of the invention. Thus the scope of the invention should be determined by the appended claims and their legal equivalents rather than by the examples given.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US7963891 *Feb 17, 2010Jun 21, 2011Zeaman Christian MLift adapter
US8574136 *Nov 15, 2010Nov 5, 2013Donald BurstromBarbell having parallel forearm engaging bar
USD734407Aug 6, 2014Jul 14, 2015Venice Gravity Worx, Inc.Pair of barbell collars
WO2010010353A1 *Jul 22, 2009Jan 28, 2010Richard MayWeight training apparatus
Classifications
U.S. Classification482/106, 482/107
International ClassificationA63B21/075, A63B21/072
Cooperative ClassificationA63B21/0724
European ClassificationA63B21/072B