US 3498605 A
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Description (OCR text may contain errors)
March 3, 1970 F. BUTTNER 3,
EXERGISING MAT HAVING A LEG SUPPORfIING PORTION Filed Oct. 14. 1966 INVENTOR.
F'Rnuz BU'ITNER United States Patent 3,498,605 EXERCISING MAT HAVING A LEG SUPPORTING PORTION Franz Biittner, Egg, near Zurich, Switzerland Filed Oct. 14, 1966, Ser. No. 586,741 Claims priority, application Switzerland, Oct. 19, 1965,
14,502/ 65 Int. Cl. A63b 21/00, 23/00; A47c 27/ 004 US. Cl. 27258 Claims ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE This invention generally relates to gymnastics and is particularly directed to a novel and improved exercising mat which facilitates body exercises to be carried out by a person or gymnast while lying with his back on the mat.
It is common practice to perform body exercises with the gymnast or user lying with his back on a relatively hard plane support or mat. Such exercises, however, are relatively tiring and therefore can be performed for a relatively short time only. The principal reason for causing rapid fatigue of the gymnast who exercises in the described position resides in the fact that each exericse involving the legs of the gymnast requires that the legs are first lifted from the plane support surface. This requires considerable energy or force expenditure resulting in early tiredness. Attempts to support the legs in an elevated position from the bend or hollow of the knee downwards to the feet do not overcome the disadvantages referred to but only result in restriction of movement without 'facilitating the performance of the exercises.
Accordingly, it is a primary object of this invention to overcome the disadvantages of prior art exercising mats and to provide a mat which enables the user, while lying with his back on the mat, to perform body, including leg exercises, for a prolonged period of time without causing rapid fatigue.
It is also an object of this invention to provide a mat of the indicated kind which is rugged in construction, can be easily manufactured at relatively low cost, and which can be stored in the form of a compact unit of small size.
Generally, it is an object of this invention to improve on the art of mat constructions as presently practiced.
Briefly, and in accordance with this invention, the above objects are obtained by providing a mat which has elevated leg supporting means, the upper surface of the leg supporting means being elastically yielding.
In a preferred embodiment of this invention, the leg supporting means of the inventive mat comprises a block shaped member of elastic plastic foam, the block being arranged at one end of the mat, to wit, the end adapted to receive the legs and feet of the gymnast. The mat is advantageously composed of several interconnected portions which are foldable relative to each other so that, during nonuse of the mat, the individual portions can be folded over to form a multi-layer unit Whose area is essentially that of the leg supporting means.
The elevated leg supporting means of the inventive mat not only causes a raising of the legs into a position in which the exercises can be carried out in a more ad- Patented Mar. 3, 1970 vantageous and less tiring manner but, due to its elasticity, the leg supporting means also facilitates the performance of the exercises. In this manner, the various body movements performed can easily be carried out with a minimum of force expenditure.
The various features of novelty which characterize the invention are pointed out with particularity in-the claims annexed to and forming a part of this specification. For a better understanding of the invention, its operating advantages and specific objects attained by its use, reference should be had to the accompanying drawings in which there are illustrated and described preferred embodiments of the invention.
In the drawings:
FIG. 1 is a perspective elevational view of a first embodiment of an inventive mat in operative condition with part of the cover of the leg supporting means being cut away; and
FIG. 2 is a perspective elevational view of a second embodiment in inoperative or folded condition with part of the leg supporting means being cut away to show the interior construction.
Referring now to the drawings and, in particular, to FIG. 1, the inventive mat comprises a body supporting portion 1 and leg supporting means 2. The body supporting portion 1, in turn, consists of two mat sections 1a and 1b. Sections 1a, 1b and 2 are connected with each other by means of a common fabric cover 3. The common fabric cover 3 could, of course, be replaced by hinge strips or the like arranged between sections 1a and 1b on the one hand and section 1b and the leg supporting means 2 on the other hand. It will be noted that the area dimensions of the top and bottom surfaces of sections 1a and 1b are substantially the same as those of the leg supporting means 2 so that, when the mat is to be stored, sections 1a and 1b may be folded relative to each other and below the leg supporting means 2, to form a compact unit of smaller size (see FIG. 2).
The body supporting sections 1a and 1b, below the fabric cover 3, are composed of a yielding mattress-like material as known in the art. Thus, the sections 1a and 1b may consist of or comprise sponge rubber covered by the fabric 3.
The leg supporting means 2 is essentially block-shaped and substantially higher than the body supporting sections 1a and 1b. The leg supporting means 2 comprises a body 4 of elastically yielding material, for example, elastic plastic foam or foam rubber. During use, the gymnast will place himself with his back on the mat so that the head is locater on section 1a while the lower segments of the legs are supported by the top surface of the leg supporting means 2. This position is particularly suitable for performing various exercises. It should be noted that the height of the leg supporting means 2 approximately corresponds to the average length of the human thigh. Due to this particular height of the leg supporting means 2, the legs are located in a particularly favorable starting position for lifting them from the leg supporting means for exercising purposes. In fact, eX- periments have demonstrated that only an insignificant energy expenditure is necessary to cause lifting of the legs from the top surface of the leg supporting means 2. Further, due to the elastically yielding nature of the leg supporting means 2, the leg movements in the indicated position are greatly facilitated which again delays and reduces fatigue of the user. It should be noted that in using the inventive mat with its leg supporting means, the requirement for force in leg exercises is substantially reduced while the movements per se are facilitated.
As previously mentioned, the leg supporting means 2 of the embodiment of FIG. 1 consists of the uniform body of elastically yielding material which is covered by the fabric cover 3. However, in order to obtain the desired elasticity of the top surface of the leg supporting means, the latter may be constructed as a multi-layer body. Thus, for example, the body of the leg supporting means may consist of a relatively non-elastic basic layer on which is mounted a strongly elastic top or upper layer.
FIG. 2 indicates a second embodiment which comprises the body supporting sections lla and 1112 which form interconnectced parts of the body supporting portion 11. The leg supporting means 12 are hingedly connected to the body supporting portion 11. The leg supporting means 12 comprises a resilient bottom layer 14a and a yielding or resilient upper layer 140, compression springs 14b being interposed between the layers 14a and 14c. A common fabric 13 interconnects the body supporting portion 11 with the elevated block-shaped leg supporting means 12. As in the embodimment of FIG. 1, the 'base surfaces of the three sections, to wit, the body supporting sections 11a and 11b and the leg supporting means 12 occupy essentially the same area. The illustration in FIG. 2 depicts the mat in inoperative condition in which the body supporting sections 11a and 11b have been folded under the leg supporting means to reduce the space for storage purposes. When the mat is to be used, it can, of course, easily be spread out on the floor.
While specific embodiments of the invention have been shown and described in detail to illustrate the application of the inventive principles, it will be understood that the invention may be embodied otherwise without departing from uch principles.
What is claimed is:
1. An exercising mat comprising a body supporting mat portion having a support surface being arranged to support the body of a person, said body supporting portion comprising at least two separate mat sections hingedly connected together, said two mats sections of said body supporting mat portion having support surfaces of substantially equal size, a leg supporting mat portion formed of a single separate mat section having a thickness considerably greater than the thickness of said mat sections forming said body supporting portion and the difference in thickness between said mat section of said leg supporting portion and of said mat sections of said body supporting portion approximately corresponding to the average length of the human adult thigh, said leg supporting mat portion being hingedly connected to said body supporting mat portion and having a support surface being arranged to support the lower portion of a persons leg, said body supporting portion and said leg supporting portion being foldable from an extended supporting position with the supporting surfaces thereof disposed in a longitudinally extending series arrangement into a folded position with the support surfaces thereof being disposed in a generally parallel arrangement one upon the other, the support surfaces of said mat sections of said body supporting portion and the support surface of said mat section of said leg supporting portion being disposed in spaced parallel planes in the extended supporting position with the support surface of said leg supporting portion being spaced upwardly above the support surface of said body supporting portion, in the folded position the area dimension of the support surface of said separate mat sections of said body supporting mat portion and of the support surface of said mat section of said leg supporting mat portion being of substantially equal size whereby in the folded position said body supporting portion and said leg supporting portion are folded one upon the other forming a folded unit having a substantially uni form size in the planes of the support surfaces.
2. An exercising mat, as set forth in claim 1, wherein said leg supporting portion comprises a plurality of superimposed layers disposed in parallel relationship with the support surface thereof, and the uppermost layer being of elastically yielding material.
3. An exercising mat, as set forth in claim 1, wherein said leg supporting portion comprises a bottom layer of a resilient material, a top layer of a resilient material being spaced above said bottom layer, said bottom layer and top layer being disposed in planes parallel with the support surface of said leg supporting portion, and spring means being interposed and extending between top and bottom layers.
4. An exercising mat, as set forth in claim 1, wherein each of said sections of said body supporting portion comprises a fabric cover, and a mattress-like material filling said cover.
References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 132,686 10/1872 Pack 5-357 1,694,547 12/1928 Karr 5352 2,928,107 3/1928 Meredith 5-338 3,284,819 11/1966 Nissen 272-1 3,308,489 3/1967 Winkler 5338 3,360,806 1/1968 'Dunaway 5357 ANTON O. OECHSLE, Primary Examiner RICHARD W. DIAZ, Assistant Examiner US. Cl. X.R. 5357