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Publication numberUS20090264267 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 12/425,908
Publication dateOct 22, 2009
Filing dateApr 17, 2009
Priority dateApr 17, 2008
Also published asWO2011149441A2, WO2011149441A3
Publication number12425908, 425908, US 2009/0264267 A1, US 2009/264267 A1, US 20090264267 A1, US 20090264267A1, US 2009264267 A1, US 2009264267A1, US-A1-20090264267, US-A1-2009264267, US2009/0264267A1, US2009/264267A1, US20090264267 A1, US20090264267A1, US2009264267 A1, US2009264267A1
InventorsDavid Ballif
Original AssigneeDavid Ballif
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Exercise Rod and Exercise Methods
US 20090264267 A1
Abstract
An exercise rod device comprises an elongate, flexible body portion and a pair of grip sections positioned on opposite ends of the rod. At least one of the grip sections is configured to allow a user to grasp an end of the rod when performing exercises. At least one of the grip sections includes indicia associated therewith, the indicia dividing the grip section into at least two distinct force zones, the force zones providing differing force responses when engaged by a user when flexing the rod.
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Claims(17)
1. An exercise rod device, including:
an elongate, flexible body portion;
a pair of grip sections positioned on opposite ends of the rod, at least one of the grip sections being configured to allow a user to grasp an end of the rod when performing exercises; and
an other of the grip sections having frictional engagement structure associated therewith, the frictional engagement structure being operable to frictionally engage an auxiliary support structure to maintain contact between the grip section and the auxiliary support structure when the rod is used to exercise the human body.
2. The device of claim 1, wherein the frictional engagement structure comprises a substantially planar engagement surface.
3. The device of claim 1, wherein the frictional engagement surface includes a surface having a higher coefficient of friction than does the auxiliary engagement structure.
4. The device of claim 4, wherein the grip sections are formed from a substantially pliable material, and wherein the frictional engagement surface is formed as an integral portion of the grip section.
5. The device of claim 1, wherein only one of the grip sections includes the frictional engagement structure associated therewith.
6. An exercise rod device, comprising:
an elongate, flexible body portion; and
a pair of grip sections positioned on opposite ends of the rod, at least one of the grip sections being configured to allow a user to grasp an end of the rod when performing exercises;
at least one of the grip sections including indicia associated therewith, the indicia dividing the grip section into at least two distinct force zones, the force zones providing differing force responses when engaged by a user when flexing the rod.
7. The device of claim 6, wherein at least three distinct force zones are defined in the grip section by the indicia.
8. The device of claim 6, wherein each of the pair of grip sections includes indicia dividing each grip section into distinct force zones.
9. The device of claim 6, wherein the indicia includes a numerical reference, with adjacent force zones having incremented numerical references.
10. The device of claim 6, wherein each of the grip sections include an inner stiffening material covered by an outer sheath material.
11. The device of claim 10, wherein the inner stiffening material includes a substantially constant outer diameter, and wherein an outer diameter of the outer sheath material increases from an inner portion of the grip section to an end portion of the grip section.
12. A method of exercise, comprising:
obtaining an exercise rod device, the exercise rod device including an elongate, flexible body portion;
grasping with each hand one of a pair of grip sections of the exercise rod device, the grip sections being positioned on opposite ends of the rod;
adjusting a position of at least one hand on at least one of the grip sections according to indicia associated with the at least one grip section to vary a force response provided by the rod as the rod is flexed.
13. The method of claim 12, wherein at least one of the grip sections includes at least three distinct force zones defined in the grip section by the indicia.
14. The method of claim 12, wherein each of the pair of grip sections of the rod includes indicia dividing each grip section into distinct force zones.
15. The method of claim 12, wherein the indicia includes a numerical reference, with adjacent force zones having incremented numerical references.
16. The method of claim 12, wherein each of the grip sections of the rod includes an inner stiffening material covered by an outer sheath material.
17. The method of claim 16, wherein the inner stiffening material includes a substantially constant outer diameter, and wherein an outer diameter of the outer sheath material increases from an inner portion of the grip section to an end portion of the grip section.
Description
PRIORITY CLAIM

Priority is claimed of U.S. Provisional Patent Application Ser. No. 61/045,743, filed Apr. 17, 2008, which is hereby incorporated herein by reference in its entirety.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates generally to systems for use in exercising and/or rehabilitating the human body.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Variable resistance exercise devices have been popular for a number of years. Such devices generally provide variable, non-linear resistance in response to force applied by a user in order to exercise various areas of the user's body. Among other applications, variable resistance devices have been utilized in so-called “nautilus” machines, which are typically relatively permanent, stationary devices. While such stationary devices have proved effective and popular, they are not easily portable and so may not be easily adaptable into the daily routines of many people.

Portable variable resistance devices have been developed and adopted for use by a number of people. Examples of these types of devices are disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 4,863,159 and U.S. Pat. No. 5,004,226, each of which were issued to Gordon Brown, Jr., and each of which is incorporated herein by reference. These types of devices are essentially elongate, flexible rods that are grasped at each end by a user and bent or flexed during a workout. While such portable devices have enjoyed success, there are a number of problems with known portable devices such as these. For example, such devices are often prone to failure earlier in the product life than is desirable. Also, such devices can be non-intuitive to use. In addition, while a variety of exercises can be performed by simply grasping such devices with one hand at each end, it has been found that some users desire a more varied workout experience than those that have been available to date.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

In accordance with one embodiment, the present invention provides an exercise rod device, including an elongate, flexible body portion. A pair of grip sections can be positioned on opposite ends of the rod. At least one of the grip sections can be configured to allow a user to grasp an end of the rod when performing exercises. An other of the grip sections can have frictional engagement structure associated therewith, the frictional engagement structure being operable to frictionally engage an auxiliary support structure to maintain contact between the grip section and the auxiliary support structure when the rod is used to exercise the human body.

In accordance with another aspect of the invention, an exercise rod device is provided, including an elongate, flexible body portion; and a pair of grip sections positioned on opposite ends of the rod. At least one of the grip sections can be configured to allow a user to grasp an end of the rod when performing exercises. At least one of the grip sections can include indicia associated therewith, the indicia dividing the grip section into at least two distinct force zones, the force zones providing differing force responses when engaged by a user when flexing the rod.

In accordance with another aspect of the invention, a method of exercise is provided, including: obtaining an exercise rod device, the exercise rod device including an elongate, flexible body portion; grasping with each hand one of a pair of grip sections of the exercise rod device, the grip sections being positioned on opposite ends of the rod; and adjusting a position of at least one hand on at least one of the grip sections according to indicia associated with the at least one grip section to vary a force response provided by the rod as the rod is flexed.

There has thus been outlined, rather broadly, various features of the invention so that the detailed description thereof that follows may be better understood, and so that the present contribution to the art may be better appreciated. Other features of the present invention will become clearer from the following detailed description of the invention, taken with any accompanying exemplary claims, or may be learned by the practice of the invention.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a front view of an exercise rod in accordance with an embodiment of the invention;

FIG. 2 is a front view of another exercise rod in accordance with an embodiment of the invention;

FIG. 3A is an end view of a grip section of an exercise rod in accordance with an embodiment of the invention;

FIG. 3B is an end view of an grip section in accordance with another embodiment of the invention;

FIG. 4 is a partially sectioned view of a grip section of an exercise rod in accordance with an embodiment of the invention;

FIG. 5 is schematic representation of an exercise rod shown engaged with an auxiliary structure (a wall), and flexed into a tensioned condition;

FIG. 6 is plan view of a grip section of an exercise rod in accordance with another embodiment of the invention; and

FIGS. 6A through 6F are a series of sectional views of the grip section of FIG. 6, taken along various sections shown in FIG. 6 (with FIG. 6A corresponding to section A-A, FIG. 6B corresponding to section B-B, etc.).

It will be understood that the attached figures are merely for illustrative purposes in furthering an understanding of the invention. The figures may not be drawn or shown to scale, thus dimensions, particle sizes, and other aspects may, and generally are, exaggerated to make illustrations thereof clearer. Therefore, departure can be made from the specific dimensions and aspects shown in the figures in order to produce the systems of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

Before the present invention is disclosed and described, it is to be understood that this invention is not limited to the particular structures, process steps, or materials disclosed herein, but is extended to equivalents thereof as would be recognized by those of ordinary skill in the relevant arts. It should also be understood that terminology employed herein is used for the purpose of describing particular embodiments only and is not intended to be limiting.

It is noted that, as used in this specification and the appended claims, the singular forms “a” and “the” include plural referents, unless the context clearly dictates otherwise. Thus, for example, reference to a “grip section” can include one or more of such sections.

As used herein, relative terms may be used to refer to various components of exercise equipment, such as “upper,” “lower,” “upwardly,” “downwardly,” etc. It is to be understood that these terms in no way limit the present invention but are used to aid in describing the components of the exercise equipment, and surrounding structures generally, in the most straightforward manner.

As used herein, an “auxiliary structure” that is distinct from the rod can be one of a variety of structures typically found in an environment where exercises are performed. Examples of such auxiliary structures include, without limitation, walls, floors, doors and door jambs, tables and chairs, stationary exercise equipment and the like. In addition, a structure that is distinct from the rod can include a portion of a user's body that is not used to grip the exercise rod. Thus, in one aspect of the invention, the structure that is distinct from the rod can include a user's leg, ankle, forearm, wrist, etc. In this aspect of the invention, one end of the rod can be secured against the leg, ankle, etc., while the other end of the rod can be grasped or gripped by the user's hand.

As used herein, the term “substantially” refers to the complete or nearly complete extent or degree of an action, characteristic, property, state, structure, item, or result. As an arbitrary example, when an object or group of objects is/are referred to as being “substantially” liquid-tight, it is to be understood that the object or objects are either completely liquid-tight or are nearly completely liquid tight. The exact allowable degree of deviation from absolute completeness may in some cases depend on the specific context. However, generally speaking the nearness of completion will be so as to have the same overall result as if absolute and total completion were obtained.

The use of “substantially” is equally applicable when used in a negative connotation to refer to the complete or near complete lack of an action, characteristic, property, state, structure, item, or result. As another arbitrary example, an opening that is “substantially free of” material would either completely lack material, or so nearly completely lack material that the effect would be the same as if it completely lacked material. In other words, an opening that is “substantially free of” material may still actually contain some such material as long as there is no measurable effect as a result thereof.

As used herein, the term “about” is used to provide flexibility to a numerical range endpoint by providing that a given value may be “a little above” or “a little below” the endpoint.

Distances, angles, forces, weights, amounts, and other numerical data may be expressed or presented herein in a range format. It is to be understood that such a range format is used merely for convenience and brevity and thus should be interpreted flexibly to include not only the numerical values explicitly recited as the limits of the range, but also to include all the individual numerical values or sub-ranges encompassed within that range as if each numerical value and sub-range is explicitly recited. As an illustration, a numerical range of “about 1 inch to about 6 inches” should be interpreted to include not only the explicitly recited values of about 1 inch to about 6 inches, but also include individual values and sub-ranges within the indicated range. This same principle applies to ranges reciting only one numerical value and should apply regardless of the breadth of the range or the characteristics being described.

As shown generally in the attached figures, the present invention provides an exercise rod and associated methods for use in exercising and/or rehabilitating the human body. In the example shown in FIG. 1, the rod 10 can include an elongate, flexible body portion 12 that can be formed from a variety of materials known to those having ordinary skill in the art. As shown by the cross-section of FIG. 1, in one aspect the body portion can include a central core, or inner stiffening material, 16 surrounded by a sheathing material 14. Many suitable configurations for the body portion are known, including those described in the Brown patents referenced above, and U.S. patent application Ser. No. 12/001,477, filed Dec. 10, 2007, the disclosure of which is hereby incorporated herein by reference in its entirety.

Referring again to FIGS. 1 and 2, the rod can include a pair of grip sections 18 a, 18 b positioned on opposite ends of the rod. One or both of the grip sections can be configured to allow a user to grasp an end of the rod when performing exercises. In one aspect of the invention, one or both of the grip sections can also include a frictional engagement structure; the frictional engagement structure can be operable to frictionally engage an auxiliary support structure to maintain contact between the grip section and the auxiliary support structure when the rod is used to exercise the human body. In the example shown in FIGS. 2 and 3A, grip 18 c can include frictional engagement structure that comprises a generally planar flattened section 30 that can be well suited to engage a generally planar auxiliary structure, including, without limitation, a wall or floor surface.

FIG. 5 illustrates an exemplary use of the exercise rod and the frictional engagement structure. In this example, the rod is engaged with a wall 26 (e.g., the flat, planar portion 30 of the grip 18 c lies flat against the wall), such that the grip 18 c does not move relative to the wall. A user can then move the other grip portion 18 b to exercise the user's body along directional indicator 31 to perform a variety of exercises. The wall 26 can be a wall of a room, a wall of swimming pool (whereby the rod can be submerged under water while used for exercising), and the like.

To enhance the ability of the frictional engagement structure 30 to maintain contact with the wall, floor, etc. the surface of the frictional engagement structure can be contoured to best engage the structure. In the example shown, a generally flat profile may work best when the exercise rod is to be used next to a standard wall or floor, such as against a wall in a gym or rehabilitation center, a wall of a swimming pool or spa, etc. In other applications, it may be advantageous to include a more inwardly arcuate curvature, for example, if the exercise rod is to be used near a support pole or other rounded structure.

The frictional engagement surface can also include features to increase the interface between the exercise rod and the auxiliary engagement structure. For example, materials that have a relatively high coefficient of friction can be used, such as many polymers that are very pliable and tacky to the touch. Features such as “suction cups” can be added to increase the engagement strength.

Returning to FIGS. 1 and 2, in accordance with another embodiment of the invention, the exercise rod can include a pair of grip sections 18 a, 18 b, each of which (or only one of which) can include indicia 24 associated therewith. The indicia can divide the grip section into at least two distinct force zones (shown by example in FIG. 2 as an outer zone, a middle zone “+” and an inner zone “++”). The force zones serve to provide differing force responses when engaged by a user flexing the rod.

The indicia can include, without limitation, lines or other delineators that divide the grip section, differing color treatments applied to the grip section, words, symbols, differing textural features on the grip section, etc. In example grip section 18 d shown in FIG. 6, the indicia 24 includes numerical references (e.g., “1,” “2,” “3”), with adjacent zones including incremented numerical references. In this example, the force response of the rod generally increases as a user moves his or hand from the zone indicated with a “1,” to the zone indicated with a “2,” to the zone indicated with a “3.”

It will be appreciated that, generally speaking, the force response provided by the rod will differ depending upon the distance between grip sections. If the rod were formed with a very long length, a lesser force would be required to flex the rod, as compared to a rod with a much shorter length. The present invention utilizes this concept to provide to a patient or user the ability to predictably and repeatedly vary his or her experience using the rod depending upon where he or she grasps the grip sections.

As an example, if a user grasps the rod shown in FIG. 1 on each grip section at the location marked “+,” he or she will experience a more stiff response than if he or she grasped the grip section at the location with no marking. By utilizing two such zones on each end, three different force response options are provided (corresponding to outer zone on both ends; outer zone on one end; and inner zone on another end, and inner zone on both ends).

In one aspect of the invention, shown generally in FIGS. 6-6F, the inner stiffening material (or central core) 16 can include a substantially constant outer diameter (as shown in the progression from FIG. 6A through FIG. 6F), while the outer diameter of the outer sheath material 14 can increase from an inner portion of the grip section to an end portion of the grip section (as also shown in the progression from FIG. 6A through FIG. 6F).

FIG. 4 illustrates one exemplary manner in which a handle strap 17 can be secured to the body portion 12. The strap can extend through an opening in a washer 19, and can include an enlarged section 21 (e.g., a knot tied in the strap) which can aid in preventing or restricting the strap from being pulled through the washer. The grip section 18 b material can be bonded, welded, or otherwise attached to (or integrally formed with) the outer sheath material 14.

In one aspect of the invention, a method of exercise is provided, including: positioning a patient such that the patient's shoulder in oriented in the scapular plane; positioning a flexible exercise rod in a bent configuration and securing an end of the rod to the patient's arm; and allowing the flexible rod to at least partially return to a relaxed state, the rod thereby assisting the patient to move the arm in a natural range of motion.

In accordance with another aspect of the invention, positioning the rod in a bent configuration can include frictionally engaging an auxiliary structure with one end of the rod. The auxiliary engagement structure can include a substantially planar surface, such as a wall or a floor.

This series of exercise methods can be beneficial for a number of patients following various medical procedures. For example, a patient following arthroplasty, rotator cuff and labral repair is often unable to elevate his or her shoulder against gravity. Conventional methods used for rehabilitation after such procedures involve compensation using the upper trapezius. However, these can result in an abnormal movement pattern. The present invention utilizes a flexible rod to assist in the elevation of the shoulder against gravity by using the inherent stiffness and recoil in the rod to assist the humerus during arm elevation. The amount of assist can be regulated by the size and/or strength of the rod used (as well as the concepts outlined above relating to the differing stress zones defined by the indicia). Patients can be positioned such that the shoulder is in the scapular plane and the rod is bent downward and secured to the injured extremity using the strap at the end of the rod. The arm can then be elevated using the assistance of the rod to allow for a more normal non-compensating range of motion.

In accordance with another aspect of the invention, a method of exercise is provided, including: obtaining an exercise rod device, the exercise rod device including an elongate, flexible body portion; grasping with each hand one of a pair of grip sections of the exercise rod device, the grip sections being positioned on opposite ends of the rod; and adjusting a position of at least one hand on at least one of the grip sections according to indicia associated with the at least one grip section to vary a force response provided by the rod as the rod is flexed.

In addition to the method of exercise or rehabilitation outlined immediately above, it is to be understood that the structure outlined above can be used in a variety of exercise or rehabilitation procedures.

It is to be understood that the above-described arrangements are only illustrative of the application of the principles of the present invention. Numerous modifications and alternative arrangements may be devised by those skilled in the art without departing from the spirit and scope of the present invention and any appended or following claims are intended to cover such modifications and arrangements. Thus, while the present invention has been described above with particularity and detail in connection with what is presently deemed to be the most practical and preferred embodiments of the invention, it will be apparent to those of ordinary skill in the art that numerous modifications, including, but not limited to, variations in size, materials, shape, form, function and manner of operation, assembly and use may be made without departing from the principles and concepts set forth herein.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US7909748 *Oct 28, 2009Mar 22, 2011Reebok International Ltd.Exercise apparatus
Classifications
U.S. Classification482/139
International ClassificationA63B21/00
Cooperative ClassificationA63B23/12, A63B21/00058, A63B2071/0694, A63B21/026, A63B21/0004, A63B2209/10
European ClassificationA63B21/00D, A63B21/02D
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Jul 6, 2009ASAssignment
Owner name: MINDPIX, INC., UTAH
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:BALLIF, DAVID;REEL/FRAME:022913/0944
Effective date: 20090702