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.


  1. Advanced Patent Search
Publication numberUS3628790 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateDec 21, 1971
Filing dateNov 10, 1969
Priority dateNov 10, 1969
Publication numberUS 3628790 A, US 3628790A, US-A-3628790, US3628790 A, US3628790A
InventorsDonald W Gordon
Original AssigneeDonald W Gordon
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Gymnast trainer cushions
US 3628790 A
Abstract  available in
Previous page
Next page
Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

United States Patent [72] Inventor Donald W. Gordon 10323 E. Rush St., Villa Park, Calli. 91733 [21] Appl. No. 875,199 [22] Filed Nov. 10, 1969 [45] Patented Dec. 21, 1971 [54] GYMNAST TRAINER CUSHIONS 7 Claims, 13 Drawing Figs.

[52] U8. Cl 272/64, 272/60, 27 2/5 8 [5|] llt.Cl A63b 5/18 [50] Field Search 272/57,S8, 60, 64

[56] Relerences Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 3,498,605 3/1970 Butner 272/58 FOREIGN PATENTS 725,055 1/1966 Canada Primary Examiner-Richard C. Pinkham Assistant Examiner-Richard Dror AttorneyLynn H. Latta PATENTED mica! an SHEET 1 BF 2 DONALD \J 60PDO/v PATENTinniczl an 316528.790


DONALD M 60200 14 7TOENEY- GYMNAST TRAINER CUSHIONS BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION Gymnasts mats are commonly used to provide a cushioning surface for tumbling and other gymnastics. Such mats, although somewhat protective, do not facilitate the learning of gymnastic stunts.

Gymnastic coaches and teachers for years have recognized the need for better specialized equipment to assist and accommodate the beginning gymnast, the child learning just for the fun of it, and the average uncoordinated student who is required to take classes in tumbling and gymnastics.

Many children lack the courage to try gymnastic stunts and consequently never develop aerial balance or other gymnastic skills, the value of which is self evident.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION The invention provides a system of trainer units of approximately log form (which I call Spot Trainer") which can be attached together in pyramid formation to function as a handvaulting horse or a dive obstacle, or which can be used individually for rolling exercises to facilitate the learning of dive rolls, log-rolling balance, and the like. A mat of wedge shape (which I call Incline Mat") used in conjunction with the trainer mats, provides an inclined landing surface that facilitates the learning of front dive rolls. Plain rectangular hinged section cushioning mats (which I call Builder Mats") are also used with the other units for some exercises.

The object of the invention is to provide apparatus for enabling beginners in tumbling and gymnastics to acquire tumbling, aerial balance, and other gymnastic skills with greatly improved ease and effectiveness.

DESCRIPTION Other objects will become apparent in the following specification and appended drawings, wherein:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of the trainer unit of the system; FIG. 2 is a cross sectional view thereof;


FIG. 4 is a detail of the center attachment of the same;

FIG. 5 is a perspective view illustrating the pyramid used as a vaulting horse;

FIG. 6 is a perspective view of one of the trainer units used in a log-rolling exercise for balance;

FIG. 7 is a perspective view of one of the trainer units used by a beginner in learning a front dive roll;

FIG. 8 is a perspective view showing the use of the trainer unit A in an exercise for orthopedic treatment;

FIG. 9 is a perspective view of an assembly of pyramid and incline mat for training an advanced stage of front dive roll;

FIG. 10 is a perspective view of the incline mat used for a settingup exercise;

FIG. 11 is a side view, partially in section, of the incline mat used as in FIG. 9;

FIG. 12 is a perspective view of the sectional builder mat of the system, in a setup for dive-roll practicing; and

FIG. 13 is a fragmentary side view of one of the double hinge joints of the builder mat.

Referring now to the drawings in detail, the training apparatus of the invention, in general, comprises the trainer units A of FIGS. 1-7, the incline mat B of FIGS. 8 and 9, the hinged sectional builder mat C of FIGS. 12 and 13, and one or more mats of conventional design except for greater thickness than conventional mats.

The trainer unit A (FIGS. 1 and 2) comprises a core 10 of foam plastic material (e.g. urethane foam) and a cover 11 of a tough material such as plastic-impregnated nylon cloth, enclosing the core. The unit is of regular polygonal cross section (e.g. hexagonal or octagonal) and is of a right prismatic form. In the octagonal form shown, it has eight equal rectangular sides. Its comers are slightly rounded and are adapted to be FIG. 3 is an end view of a pyramid of three attached trainer to acquire the characteristics of a cylinder in its facility for rolling.

Unit A is dimensioned and proportioned in relation to the size range of the child by which it is used. Hence for the youngest age group, a cushion unit A of a minimum size is provided, and for older age groups, one or more progressively larger sizes are used. For example, for the average size of children in the 7- to 10-year age group, I have found that 3-feet long and l6-inches diameter (somewhat less than half his height) are satisfactory dimensions. The larger sized are proportioned in the same ratio to the average size of children in the older groups.

At the centers of the respective ends of one face of the unit A, respective snap fasteners 12 are secured to the cover ll, and at the remote end corners of the next adjacent faces, fastener rings 13 are secured to the cover. To fonn a pyramid as shown in FIG. 3, two units, positioned with their snaps on top, are assembled with abutting side faces, to form the base of the pyramid, and a third unit, positioned with its snaps 12 at the bottom, is fitted into the longitudinal top V-channel defined between the adjoining inclined faces of the base units. The two snaps of the base units are then hooked to the rings at the lateral corners of the top unit in a lateral tiedown attachment. The hooking of a pair of adjacent rings of adjacent base units to a common snap at the center of the assembly ties together the adjacent corners to which the pair of rings is secured, thus inhibiting spreading of the base units under the weight imposed on the top unit. The tiedown attachment of the lateral snaps prevents lateral rolling of the top unit.

FIG. 5 illustrates how the pyramid of three units A can be used as a vaulting horse on which a child cannot be injured by any accidental contact therewith. It can be used for squat or straddle vaults.

FIG. 6 illustrates the use of a single trainer unit in a logrolling exercise which provides excellent training for balance while exercising the legs and feet.

FIG. 7 illustrates the use of a single trainer unit to assist the learning of a front roll by a beginner. The unit teaches the proper body, arm hand and neck position for the front roll. The instructor, shown in the background, rolls the trainer unit forwardly, which causes the student to automatically go into a front roll correctly.

FIG. 8 illustrates an orthopedic treatment exercise in which a patient walks with a trainer unit A grasped between his legs while steadying himself by grasping parallel bars 25.

The incline mat B (FIGS. 8 and 9) comprises a wedge shaped core block 20 of plastic foam, a correspondingly shaped cover 21 of impregnated fabric such as the cover of unit A, and two pairs of foot stirrups 22- secured to the top edge of the butt (thick) end 23 of the unit. From this top edge the upper face of the mat slopes downwardly to the opposite end of the mat which is relatively thin. From the bottom of the mat, its butt end 23 rises vertically to a height approximately at the level of the upper margin of the vertical face of the trainer unit A against which the butt end 23 can be fitted closely in the assembly of pyramid and incline mat shown in FIG. 8.

The height of butt end 23 is sufficient to bring its upper edge to substantially a third of the height of the pyramid (e.g. to the level to the upper margin of the vertical face of the unit A against which it is abutted). The height may be approximately 1 foot, the length may be about 6 feet, and the width about 4 feet, preferably sufficient to project about 6 inches beyond the ends of the pyramid with which it is associated.

In this assembly the pyramid of units A roughly defines the aerial path to be taken by the students body in executing the flattened by compression during rolling, so that the unit tends in imparting forward momentum in the roll.

FIG. 9 illustrates another use of the incline mat, in which the students feet are inserted beneath the stir'rups to anchor the feet while the body is raised and lowered in setting up exfC1SeS.

l have found that the use of these units has brought the success ratio of a beginners class from a previous 10 to percent range up to a range of 60 to 80 percent, and, furthermore, has reduced by an average of two-thirds the time required for achieving such success.

I have also found that the learning of motor skills has a positive effect on the learning of academic matter in working with the mentally retarded. My invention has proven of great value in this field.

The blind and physically handicapped find the Spot Trainer and Incline Mat offers opportunity to learn skills they never dreamed possible. They are able to have body contact with the apparatus and relate their body position to their surroundings. No other equipment of the market offers this positive advantage.

Spot Trainers offer an excellent means for treating many conditions of the orthopedically handicapped, such as walking with a Spot Trainer between the legs to counteract severe abduction, rolling and stretching exercises to relax and limber the patient etc. as illustrated in FIG. 8.

FIGS. 12 and 13 show the sectional builder mat C comprising a plurality of mat sections 30 connected side-by-side by double reversible hinge joints each comprising a pair of crossed straps or lengths of cable 31 attached at 32 to adjacent corners of adjacent mat sections, hook snaps 33 attached to the other ends of straps 31, and fastener rings 34 attached to the opposite comers of the respective sections, the hook snaps 33 being normally hooked into rings 34, though detachable therefrom for individual use of a mat section.

The reversible hinge connections allow accordion folding of the connected sections into a compact stack, or propping two of the sections in an A-shaped hurdle, with the remaining sections lying flatly on the ground or gymnasium floor to receive a person doing a dive roll over the hurdle; or laying all of the sections in a common horizontal plane.

I claim:

1. Gymnastic-training apparatus comprising:

a plurality of cushion units each of generally prism form having a regular polygonal cross section;

said unit including a core of plastic foam cushioning material, and a cover of tough sheet material enclosing said core;

said unit having a diameter in the range of about half the height of the person using it;

and fastener means for attaching said units together in a pyramid formation in which a top unit is cradled in a V- channel space between sloping sides of a pair of base units supporting said top unit.

2. A trainer apparatus as defined in claim 1; each unit having a length in the range of about twice its diameter.

3. A trainer apparatus as defined in claim I;

each unit having two ends and a number of rectangular sides in the range of 6 to 8.

4. A trainer apparatus as defined in claim I; each unit having eight sides and two ends, adjacent sides subtending dihedral angles of l35.

5. A trainer apparatus as defined in claim 1, said fastener means including:

fastener elements located midway between corners of one side thereof, and cooperating fastener elements at remote comers of sides adjacent and embracing said one side; said fastener elements being arranged so that the first-mentioned fastener elements of one unit are attachable to the cooperating fastener elements of another unit.

6, A trainer apparatus as defined in claim 1, each unit having dihedral angular longitudinal corners that are compressible so as to flatten under the weight of a person supported thereon, so as to facilitate rolling of the unit under said weight.

7. Gymnastic-training apparatus comprising a plurality of cushion units each of generally prism form having a regular polygonal cross section;

said unit including a core of plastic foam cushioning material, and a cover of tough sheet material enclosing said core;

said unit having a diameter in the range of about half the height of the person using it;

said units adapted to be stacked in a triangular pyramid formation with a plurality of base units supporting at least one upper unit;

and a wedge-shaped mat having a bottom adapted to rest on a common supporting surface with said pyramid formation, a butt end adapted to abut a side face of an adjacent base unit and having a height between half the height and the full height of said adjacent base unit;

and an inclined top face extending downwardly from the upper edge of said butt end to a level near said bottom at the opposite end thereof.

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3498605 *Oct 14, 1966Mar 3, 1970Buttner FranzExercising mat having a leg supporting portion
CA725055A *Jan 4, 1966Peter ArigiDevice for sport, play and gymnastic training
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3730518 *Apr 8, 1971May 1, 1973Minneapolis Soc Fine ArtsChildren{40 s toy with resilient ball supporting resilient obstacles
US3761087 *Apr 23, 1971Sep 25, 1973Mm Ind IncFrustrum shaped target and projectile
US3822499 *May 30, 1972Jul 9, 1974Vos J DeToy building block suitable for a pad, raft or the like
US3892402 *Sep 7, 1973Jul 1, 1975James L MontourLanding pad
US3971559 *Aug 23, 1974Jul 27, 1976Bat Weight, Inc.Weighting device for attachment to baseball bats
US4189149 *Sep 8, 1977Feb 19, 1980Katsiaficas Mary DRecreational structure including flexible tubular member
US4236634 *Feb 16, 1979Dec 2, 1980Benedict Gertrude BGarment storage bag
US4609188 *Dec 3, 1984Sep 2, 1986Lind Charles FDevice for doing situps
US4884804 *Jan 11, 1988Dec 5, 1989Chad FenwickExercise apparatus
US4905330 *Feb 23, 1989Mar 6, 1990Jacobs Lawrence ICombination furniture and exercise device
US4968025 *Sep 7, 1989Nov 6, 1990Carolina Gym Supply Corp.Portable gymnastic training apparatus
US5066001 *Sep 4, 1990Nov 19, 1991Wilkinson William TPortable, foldable, adjustable, aerobic exercise bench/step/mat
US5474509 *Jul 29, 1993Dec 12, 1995Athletic Clubs Of AmericaAdjustable exercise platform
US5540638 *May 17, 1995Jul 30, 1996Wilkinson; William T.Multi-level aerobic step device
US6033345 *Apr 24, 1998Mar 7, 2000American Sports International, Ltd.Vaulting horse training pad
US7611442Nov 3, 2009Rainbow Group, LLCHurdle for sport and training use
US7789805Jan 21, 2009Sep 7, 2010Norbert's Athletic ProductsPortable acrobatic trainer apparatus
US7901328 *May 27, 2010Mar 8, 2011Resilite Sports Products, Inc.Gymnastic trainer assembly
US7918774 *Apr 5, 2011Performance Solutions, LlcTherapeutic, fitness, and sports enhancement device
US8002682Aug 23, 2011Performance Solutions, LlcTherapeutic, fitness, and sports enhancement device
US8202203Aug 27, 2010Jun 19, 2012Norbert's Athletic ProductsPortable acrobatic trainer apparatus
US9011295 *Feb 17, 2012Apr 21, 2015The Prophet CorporationAerobic step
US20050049125 *Jul 16, 2004Mar 3, 2005Guy CloutierExercise mat apparatus
US20060089241 *Oct 21, 2004Apr 27, 2006Klein Karyn DErgonometric pushup wedge
US20060225372 *Feb 24, 2003Oct 12, 2006Gonzalez Linda MPortable stair assembly for pets
US20070219076 *Mar 18, 2006Sep 20, 2007Helena AxelrodYoga Block
US20080090707 *Jul 11, 2007Apr 17, 2008Dye Kipp KTherapeutic, fitness, and sports enhancement device
US20080254956 *Apr 16, 2007Oct 16, 2008Purvis Thomas CAbdominal Exercise Device
US20090131234 *Nov 10, 2008May 21, 2009Dye Kipp KTherapeutic, fitness, and sports enhancement device
US20100184567 *Jul 22, 2010Lim Jung MPortable acrobatic trainer apparatus
US20100323847 *Aug 27, 2010Dec 23, 2010Norbert's Athletic ProductsPortable acrobatic trainer apparatus
US20110105286 *May 5, 2011Dye Kipp KTherapeutic, fitness, and sports enhancement device
US20120317719 *Jun 20, 2012Dec 20, 2012Jade NgApparatus and method for an exercise mat
US20130217545 *Feb 17, 2012Aug 22, 2013Amber OrensteinAerobic step
U.S. Classification482/15, 482/25, 482/140, 482/35, 482/145, 273/DIG.600, 482/23, 273/DIG.800, 472/127, 482/139
International ClassificationA63B9/00, A63B6/00
Cooperative ClassificationA63B9/00, A63B2208/12, Y10S273/06, A63B6/00, Y10S273/08
European ClassificationA63B6/00, A63B9/00