The invention includes an apparatus, system and method for providing the user with an unstable equilibrium condition in which to perform athletic and therapeutic exercises. The apparatus includes a substantially elastic portion and a substantially inelastic portion and an extension arresting portion, each having respective adjustments.
This application claims the benefit of U.S. provisional patent application No. 61/727,973, filed on Nov. 19, 2012 and is a continuation in part of PCT patent application number PCT/US2011/001935 having an international filing date of Nov. 25, 2011 the disclosure of which is herewith incorporated by reference in its entirety, and which, in turn, claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 61/458,519, filed Nov. 24, 2010, entitled “Training Device with Mount” and U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 61/626,611 filed Sep. 28, 2011, entitled “Exercise Apparatus” the disclosures of which are all incorporated herewith in their entireties.BACKGROUND
Various forms of physical exercise are widely understood to have salutary effect. Consequently, exercise and exercise equipment are used therapeutically as well as in efforts to maintain health and to develop physical strength and endurance.
Resistance training is a popular form of exercise. Known resistance training exercise devices consist of, for example, an elastic tube or cord with a pair of handles secured to opposing ends of the tube. To use this type of device, the user holds the handles and repeatedly stretches the tube, increasing the tension force in the tube, and retracts the tube while maintaining tension in the tube. However, resistance training devices such as these are limited in application and structure.
Various types of apparatus have been proposed for exercise and/or training, sometimes collectively referred to herein as “exercise/training”. Additional techniques for adjusting exercise/training apparatus would be beneficial.SUMMARY
Inventions described herein can be embodied, for example, in devices, articles of manufacture, systems, and methods in which adjustments can be made for use in exercise/training.
Among its various aspects and embodiments, the invention includes an extension device having an elastic portion and an inelastic portion, and having a further inelastic extension arrestor. The extension arrestor serves to limit an overall extension of the elastic portion.
One or more such extension device serves to support a user in an unstable equilibrium state during athletic training and/or therapeutic training. The extension device is used in conjunction with a variety of ancillary equipment including a grip-step, a partial sling, a full body sling, an elastic pillow, and various support couplings and structures, among other devices. Together with various methods of the invention, a user is provided with an exercise environment offering novel challenges and opportunities for improvement.
These and other advantages and features of the invention will be more readily understood in relation to the following detailed description of the invention, which is provided in conjunction with the accompanying drawings.
It should be noted that, while the various figures show respective aspects of the invention, no one figure is intended to show the entire invention. Rather, the figures together illustrate the invention in its various aspects and principles. As such, it should not be presumed that any particular figure is exclusively related to a discrete aspect or species of the invention. To the contrary, one of skill in the art would appreciate that the figures taken together reflect various embodiments exemplifying the invention.
Various forms of physical activity can have beneficial effects on the physical and mental health of an individual participating in the activity. Such activity, referred to broadly as “exercise,” can have therapeutic benefit where trauma or disease has had a damaging effect and can otherwise be salutary in developing and maintaining health. The present invention relates to apparatus and methods to enable and facilitate healthful exercise.
A wide variety of methods and apparatus have been developed to facilitate exercise. These apparatus and methods include free and captive weights of various configurations and elastic resistance mechanisms, all of which oppose certain repetitive exercise activity. It is also known to practice isometric exercises in which an individual activates various muscle groups in opposition to one another so as to produce a substantially static muscle activation. In addition, certain exercises and activities involve balance against gravity in unstable equilibrium to promote the dynamic activation of muscles over short distances and time intervals. The present disclosure relates primarily to this latter class of unstable equilibrium exercises and activities.
In the subject class of unstable equilibrium exercises and activities, a user supports all or a portion of his or her body weight on, for example, a rope suspended from an overhead suspension point. Because the rope is suspended from a single point, and because the user grasps it at a point relatively distant from the suspension point, the rope tends to move laterally. Consequently, the user must apply muscular force and adjust his or her position to remain in at a balanced equilibrium point. Depending on the configuration of a particular apparatus and procedure this application of muscular force and positional adjustment can be very demanding.
Having examined and understood a range of previously available devices, the inventor of the present invention has developed a new and important understanding of the problems associated with those earlier apparatus and methods. Out of this novel understanding he has developed new and useful methods and improved devices, comprising the invention, that yield surprising and beneficial results.
The invention is described below in its various aspects with reference to several exemplary embodiments including a preferred embodiment. This description will enable any person skilled in the art to make and use the disclosed invention and sets forth the best modes presently contemplated by the inventor for carrying out his invention. Numerous specific details are set forth in order to provide a thorough understanding of the invention. It will be apparent to one skilled in the art, however, that the present invention may be practiced without these specific details. In certain instances, various structures and devices are shown in block diagram form in order to avoid unnecessarily obscuring the substance disclosed.
As noted above, certain exercises and activities involve balance in unstable equilibrium to promote the dynamic activation of muscles over short distances and time intervals. In order to achieve these conditions apparatus may be used that supports the user's weight on an unstable or mobile surface. For example, in certain exercises, a user is supported by generally inelastic ropes suspended from overhead in a push-up position. Depending on the configuration of the ropes and the activities of the user, a support region can move laterally as a rope hangs from an overhead support point. In other exercises the ropes include an elastic element such as a surgical tube material. The inclusion of an elastic element allows the support region to move both laterally and longitudinally with respect to a longitudinal axis of the rope.
The inventor has come to appreciate that providing superior adjustability in various aspects of the exercise apparatus yields improved results. Thus, in certain aspects, the invention includes a device for suspending a user that is adjustable in one or more of its relaxed length, its elastic characteristics, its extensibility, and its support configuration, among others. This adjustability allows arrangement of the exercise apparatus for optimal use by a given user at a given time. According to certain aspects of the invention it is possible to adjust the exercise apparatus in real time, without interrupting a user's exercise.
An extension arrestor 114 has a first end 116 coupled to top end 106 and a second end 118 coupled to bottom end 108. The extension arrestor 114 is configured to limit an extension of the extension device 102 to a limited length 122. In the illustrated embodiment, the extension arrestor 114 includes an adjustment device 124. The adjustment device 124 allows for adjustment of the limited length 122 according to the requirements of a particular user and/or circumstance.
In certain embodiments of the invention, the extension arrestor 114 includes a substantially flexible longitudinal member such as, for example, a textile member. In other embodiments, the extension arrestor 114 includes a substantially rigid longitudinal member.
Also, according to principles of the invention, in certain embodiments, the adjustment device 124 includes a buckle. In further embodiments, the adjustment device 124 includes one or more of a hook and loop fastener, a plurality of clips, a snap, and a button and button hole combination, for example. It should be noted that, while the illustrated adjustment device 124 is shown at a medial location on the extension arrestor 114, this arrangement is merely exemplary of many possible arrangements including, without limitation, those in which the adjustment device is that one or the other end of the extension arrestor 114.
A device prepared according to principles of the invention also may include a user engaging portion 126. For brevity, the user engaging portion is referred to herein as a grip-step. However, the term grip-step is not intended to be limiting in any way, but is intended to indicate any user-engaging portion within the scope and principles of the invention. Thus a grip-step may engage any appropriate part of a user's body, up to and including the entirety of the user's body in a sling-device.
In various configurations and embodiments, the grip-step has one or more of a handgrip portion, a sling portion, a foot peg portion or stirrup, and/or any other appropriate feature for engaging a user's body, that is necessary or desirable for a particular application. In particular embodiments, a single structural element may serve as one or more of the afore-mentioned handgrip portion, sling portion, foot peg portion, etc. The grip-step is adapted to be coupled to the lower end 108 of the extension device 102 so that the user is supported by the elevated suspension point 112 through the user support element 126 and the extension device 102.
Where the extension arrestor 114 includes a textile member, that textile member may include one or more of a length of webbing, a length of rope, and a length of cable, among other possibilities. The textile member may include any of a wide variety of materials. For example, the textile member may include one or more of a natural polymer material, a synthetic polymer material, a metallic material, a ceramic material, an inorganic fiber such as glass fiber or carbon fiber for example, and combinations thereof.
Where the extension arrestor 114 includes a substantially rigid longitudinal member, that substantially rigid longitudinal member may include one or more of a solid rod, a single tube, a rail, a plurality of coaxially telescoping tubes, a chain link, a spirally retracting coil, a helically retracting coil, and a hinge member, among other possibilities. The substantially rigid longitudinal member may include any of a wide variety of materials. For example, the substantially rigid longitudinal member may include one or more of a natural polymer material, a synthetic polymer material, a metallic material, and a ceramic material, and combinations thereof.
During use, the longitudinal axis 104 of the extension device 102 is oriented generally downward from the coupling feature 110. The elastic characteristic of the extension device 102 is adjusted according to the requirements of a particular user, accounting for the user's weight, desired extension, and desired mobility, for example. In addition, the limited length 122 is configured by adjustment of the adjustment device 124 to establish a maximum extension of the extension device 102.
In an alternative embodiment, coupling feature 210 includes a ring, rather than the illustrated strap portion. The ring may be substantially rigid, or maybe moderately to highly flexible. Thus, in one embodiment, the ring includes a substantially rigid tubing of PVC and/or any other appropriate natural or synthetic polymer, metallic material, a wood or other substantially rigid cellulosic or other natural fiber material, In another embodiment, the ring includes a moderately flexible materials such as synthetic rubber (silicone rubber, nitrile rubber, etc.), natural rubber, silicone rubber, leather, or any other appropriate polymer or the ring may be circular or have any other geometric configuration appropriate to a particular application. In addition, the ring may be formed of a generally open portion with a further mobile action portion to provide a carabiner action for ready connection to longitudinal member to 13.
The elastic characteristic of the extension device 200 is provided, in the illustrated embodiment, by a plurality of bungee cords 212, 214. A bungee cord is an elongate rubber rope which, in some cases, includes a textile covering disposed circumferentially around a peripheral surface of the rope. It will be understood, however, that other elastic devices will be used in other embodiments within the scope of the invention. As shown, a bungee cord of the present embodiment has a first end 216, 217 and a second end 218, 219 each coupled to a respective ring, 220, 221, 222, 223.
Each bungee cord is folded in a region generally medial 224 between its first and second ends about a further ring 226. This folded arrangement is maintained, and the location of the bungee cord is fixed in place with respect to the further ring 226, by a length of heat-shrink tubing, e.g., 228. This folded arrangement increases the packing efficiency of the bungee cords, allowing a single ring 226 to support more cords than would be the case if each cord were independently attached to the ring. It also reduces the number of coupling devices required, and may correspondingly reduce the overall cost of the apparatus.
The length of heat-shrink tubing 228 is disposed about the folded bungee cord such that a portion of the cord on either side of the further ring 226 is disposed within a region defined by an interior surface of the heat-shrink tubing 228. The further ring 226 thus serves to support the bungee cord 212 while its two ends 216, 218, and their respective rings 220, 222, are disposed relatively distal to the further ring 226. As further discussed below, in relation to
In certain embodiments, further ring 226 is configured as a “D-ring” with a first substantially linear region disposed across the end of a second substantially curved region. In the illustrated embodiment, further ring 226 is coupled to a lower end 230 of the webbing material 232. The length of webbing material 232 includes, at its upper end 234, the previously noted loop of webbing material forming coupling feature 210.
In the illustrated embodiment, the further ring 226 is coupled to the lower end 230 of webbing material 232 by a loop 236 of further webbing material 238 and a buckle device 240. The buckle device 240 allows adjustment of an effective length 246 of webbing material 232.
The practitioner ordinary skill in the art will appreciate that, while buckle 240 is illustrated as a simple two-loop buckle, a wide variety of other buckles and coupling devices are advantageously applied in the practice of the invention. For example, a locking buckle such as a buckle with a spring-activated cam provides certain advantages. In other examples, a reversed-helix locking buckle will be advantageously employed.
Loop 236 is disposed at an upper end 248 of further webbing material 238. At its lower end 250, the further webbing material 238 is coupled to an additional ring 252. In the illustrated embodiment, the further webbing material 238 includes a material that is substantially inelastic as compared with the bungee cords 212, 214. The practitioner of ordinary skill in the art will observe that additional ring 252 can be coupled to one or more of rings 220, 221, 222 and 223 with, for example, a carabiner 254 or other coupling device. When thus configured, the further webbing material 238 serves as an extension arrestor for the extension device 200.
In the illustrated embodiment, the further webbing material 238 is looped through additional ring 252 and coupled at one end to an additional buckle 256. Additional buckle 256 is slidingly supported part-way along the length of further webbing material 238. Consequently, additional buckle 256 allows for adjustment of a configured length 258 of the extension arrestor.
It will be apparent on inspection that the length 258 can be configured to be somewhat longer than a relaxed length 260 of the bungees 212, 214. Consequently, when rings e.g., 220 and 252 are coupled together, and sufficient weight is applied downwardly 262 on the coupling device 254 the corresponding bungee 212 is substantially elastically stretched from a first length 260 to a second length 258, at which point the extension arrestor assumes support of the applied weight and substantially prevents additional stretching of the bungee device.
Consideration of the illustrated apparatus will also show that an overall configured length of the apparatus is approximately equal to the sum of lengths 246 and 258, and can be adjusted by using one or more of buckle device 240 and additional buckle 256. In addition, lateral position of the suspension point 212 and the device can be adjusted 264 by sliding loop 210 along the longitudinal member 213.
Optionally, and as illustrated, a slack region 268 of webbing portion 232 is coupled 270 back to webbing 232 to form a loop. This avoids a dangling end at 272 which would otherwise result. A similar advantage is evident in the arrangement of the extension arrestor formed by webbing portion 238. It should also be noted that, while extension arrestor webbing 238 is coupled to webbing portion 232 through the previously discussed arrangement of buckles and loops, webbing portion 238 may also be directly coupled to (and/or integrally formed with) webbing portion 232 where this arrangement provides a particular structural strength of the overall device, or otherwise is advantageous.
In certain embodiments, the protective tube 318 preserves the bungee from abrasion that might result from contact with the surface of the D-ring and other mechanical contact, and from environmental factors including, for example, oxygen and ultraviolet light. In a further aspect of the invention, the protective tube 318 limits stretching of the bungee material adjacent to the D-ring and adds tensile strength to the localized portion of the bungee adjacent to the tube.
In the illustrated embodiment, a further length of heat-shrinkable protective tubing 320 is disposed around regions of both of the two generally elongate portions 312 and 314, as well as around a portion of protective tube 318. This further length of heat-shrinkable protective tubing 320 serves to maintain the fold 316 and the positional relationship of the bungee cord 308 to the D-ring 304.
As illustrated by an additional folded bungee 322 a single D-ring can support one or more folded bungees, the number being chosen according to the requirements of a particular user or application. Bungee 322 also shows that, in certain embodiments, the protective tube 324 can be sized to cover the generally elongate portions, e.g. 326 so as to extend beyond a distal edge 326 of the further length of heat-shrinkable protective tubing 328. By employing the illustrated folded bungees, additional bungees may be made available for exercise purposes, as compared with a single-coupling-per-bungee arrangement.
The apparatus of the present invention is designed to increase the possible activities and exercises, functions and safety over the options available in the current market place. There is a need for a suspension exercise device which allows for more stable, safe, systematic, and functionally flexible operation.
Referring again to
In the illustrated example, strap 402 includes a webbing material having a generally rectangular profile that is comparatively larger in a first transverse dimension 420, and comparatively smaller in a second transverse dimension 422. It should be noted that this generally rectangular profile is only one example of many possible profiles including, for example, circular, elliptical, square, triangular and stellate, for example.
In an alternative embodiment, loop 406 is defined by a ring, rather than the illustrated strap 402. The ring may be substantially rigid, or maybe moderately to highly flexible. Thus, in one embodiment, the ring includes a substantially rigid tubing of PVC and/or any other appropriate natural or synthetic polymer, metallic material, a wood or other substantially rigid cellulosic or other natural fiber material, In another embodiment, the ring includes a moderately flexible materials such as synthetic rubber (silicone rubber, nitrile rubber, etc.), natural rubber, silicone rubber, leather, or any other appropriate polymer. The ring may be circular or have any other geometric configuration appropriate to a particular application.
A portion of the strap 402 is disposed within a longitudinal cavity 424. The longitudinal cavity 424 is defined by an internal surface region 426 of a longitudinal member 428. The illustrated longitudinal member 428 exhibits a generally circular cross-section such that internal surface region 426 is substantially cylindrical. This is merely exemplary, however, of many possible cross-sections that may be implemented in respective particular items and embodiments of the invention. Indeed, in certain embodiments (not shown), cavity 444 is partially or completely filled with a filling material during assembly so as to substantially eliminate cavity 424. In another embodiment, the longitudinal member 428 is substantially solid without a longitudinal cavity, and with loops e.g. 408, 410 effectively coupled between ends thereof.
As suggested above, in the illustrated embodiment second and third loops 408 and 412 are formed of a single contiguous longitudinal strap 404 that passes through longitudinal cavity 424 twice. Consequently, loops 408 and 410 can be mutually adjusted such that reducing the peripheral length of one loop, e.g. 410, increases the peripheral length of the other loop, e.g. 408, by a corresponding amount. This adjustability allows these two loops to be adjusted to concurrently support the forearm and the upper arm respectively of a user, for example. The skilled practitioner will appreciate that an alternative adjustment will support the knee of a user equally well.
Once adjusted, frictional forces between an external surface region of the strap 404 and internal surface 426 will tend to maintain the loops in a particular configuration. The weight of a user on the strap tends to increase these frictional forces and thereby further maintain the desired configuration. Once the weight of user is removed from the straps, however, the virtual forces are relieved and additional or alternative adjustments of the illustrated device are readily made. In certain embodiments, the desirable frictional forces can be enhanced by providing an internal surface 426 and a surface of the strap 404 with appropriate frictional characteristics. Thus the respective materials of the straps 402, 404, and of longitudinal member 428 may be selected with an eye towards achieving these desirable characteristics. In addition, appropriate inserts and/or coatings may be applied to the respective surfaces to promote the desired level of frictional interaction.
In similar fashion, strap 402 can be advanced through longitudinal cavity 424 to adjust a position of longitudinal member 428 and a resulting angle with respect to vertical of a longitudinal axis of that member. It is worth noting that in certain embodiments, loop 406 includes a D-ring 430 that is useful to facilitate coupling of the suspension device 400 to the lower end of an extension device prepared according to the invention. In certain embodiments of the invention, this coupling is achieved by snapping the D-ring into a spring clip of the of the extension device. In other embodiments, the D-ring is supplemented by, or replaced by, a spring clip or other fastening device.
One of skill in the art will appreciate that the D-ring 430 may be attached to strap 406 in any appropriate manner, including but not limited to, being sewn into a loop in the strap 432 as illustrated. The D-ring may be include any appropriate material, including a polymer material or a metallic material such as chrome-plated steel.
Another notable feature of the illustrated grip-step suspension device 400 is an ancillary loop 434 formed along loop 412 and defining a further aperture 436. Aperture 436 is well adapted for use as a toe-loop, finger loop, etc. to engage a toe or finger, hand or foot, respectively, according to the needs and wishes of a particular user.
In the illustrated instance, loop 434 is formed by connecting a further length of strap 438 at its respective ends 440, 442 to loop 410. In the illustrated embodiment, this connection is a sewn connection, but any other appropriate coupling means is intended to fall within the scope of the invention. In one successful embodiment, the length between connection points 440 and 442 is approximately 4.5 inches.
Grip-step 400 is shown to include the further optional feature of a pad, or padded region, 444. The pad 444 provides an increased surface area, as compared to a corresponding surface region of strap 404 so as to more comfortably support a user (at a user's shin, upper arm or forearm, for example). In addition, the pad 444 may be formed of a generally elastic material such as, for example, a polymer foam in order to further increase user comfort. In one successful implementation, the pad 444 can be advanced along the strap 404, as indicated by arrow 446, to provide additional adjustment of its location with respect to loop 410.
The pad 444 includes, in certain embodiments, two layers of woven nylon sewn along parallel lengthwise edges so that the strap 404 can slide 446 in its lengthwise direction between them. A layer of felt or other padding material is sewn to one of the layers of woven nylon in one embodiment.
The longitudinal member 428 can be implemented with a hollow polyvinylchloride (PVC) tube. A soft foam exterior layer can advantageously be provided about an exterior surface of the tube. A longitudinal member prepared in this way can be comfortably held in a user's hand, or use as a foot-peg or other support, and is appropriate for use in some types of exercise and training.
An interior surface region 510 of the PVC tube 504 defines an interior axial cavity 512. Disposed within the interior axial cavity are portions of a first strap of webbing material 514 and a second strap of webbing material 516. In light of the previous discussion of
Disposed within the interior axial cavity 542 are portions of a first strap of webbing material 544 and a second strap of webbing material 546. In light of the previous discussion of
As illustrated, trapeze bar 560 includes a substantially rigid member of generally circular cross-section. Other cross-sections, including those particularly adapted for hand or foot gripping, are contemplated however. Accordingly, the trapeze bar 560 is well adapted to be held by user's hand or to support a foot or other portion of the user's body.
In some embodiments, a substantially planar region 566 is formed at a portion of an external surface 568 of the trapeze bar. In various embodiments, the substantially planar region 566 is integrally formed during, for example, extrusion or injection molding of the substantially rigid member. In other embodiments, the substantially planar region 566 is formed after the substantially rigid member by, for example, a subsequent machining process.
In certain embodiments, a level indicator 570 is incorporated into the trapeze bar 560. The level indicator 570 may include a spirit level, accelerometer, or any other device adapted to provide an indication of an orientation of the trapeze bar with respect to Earth normal. In particular embodiments, the level indicator 570, or a display portion thereof, is disposed within the substantially planar region 566.
A user or a user's trainer can use level indicator 570 to assist in leveling a user's body before and throughout an exercise/training session. This feature can help to train the user to evenly distribute body weight toward each of the user's limbs and toward the right and left sides of the user's body. When a user is suspended elastically or solidly within an exercise/training system, bar 530 enables the user and/or the user's trainer to visually check and then enhance or correct the user's balancing and stabilizing autonomic functions.
Various other grip-step user-engaging components and variations can be used in an exercise/training system with features as described above. For example, a sliding, tubular grip can be wrapped around a line supporting a user to position a movable handle and guide for the user: As the user changes bodily positions in movements such as squats, the user can hold onto the grip and slide it along the line that is under loaded tension; or the user can use the grip as a bearing to change orientation of a line, using strength and weight as leverage. Such a grip can lessen the possibility of hand-gripping fatigue or of “rope burn”. As in other situations, eliminating avoidable fatigue and discomfort allows a more pain-free exercise modality; since pain can inhibit function and movement, it can reduce the benefits of any exercise.
The generally flexible longitudinal member 602 includes, in certain embodiments, a textile material adapted to support, while generally conforming to, the user's body. The textile material may include one or more of a woven fabric, a felted fabric, a knitted fabric, a knotted netting and an extruded polymer material, among others. In some embodiments, the textile material includes one or more of a natural polymer, a synthetic polymer, a metallic material (including without limitation, various metallic alloys), an inorganic material (including without limitation, ceramic materials, glass fibers and/or carbon fibers), composite materials and combinations thereof.
In certain embodiments the sling has a longitudinal dimension of approximately 8 feet and a lateral dimension of approximately 3 feet and is well adapted to support the entire length of the user's body. In certain configurations, the sling tends to envelop the body of a user, with the side edges being disposed above a central region of the sling, so as to prevent the user from falling out. The resulting environment may be advantageously soothing and supportive to a user, including a user whose movement is impaired by, for example, injury or disease.
In the illustrated case, the loop includes a generally flexible longitudinal member such as a length of aircraft cable, rope, bungee, or other elongate device 714. In certain embodiments, the elongate device extends beyond the collar 712 and provides structural support to the flexible longitudinal member 702. Thus, an extended portion of the elongate device 714 is embedded, adhered to, or otherwise coupled to a region 716, 718 of the flexible longitudinal member 702.
As illustrated, loop 710 is adapted to be coupled to, for example, one or more bungees 720, 722 for support. In the illustrated embodiment, this coupling is made with a spring clip or carabiner 724.
Apparatus prepared according to the principles and examples described above can be used individually, and can be incorporated into systems having further inventive aspects and additional benefits. One of skill in the art will appreciate that appropriate combinations of subsystems can be used together to provide symbiotic benefit with any suitable structures, and supporting other components in any suitable combination of orientations. Furthermore, each support component need not be fixed and rigid, but one or more support components could be movable and flexible.
Support component 802 is shown supporting a number of components including extension devices 860 and 808, supported respectively by mounting components 810 and 812. Extension devices 806 and 808 are adjustable in several ways; for example, as suggested by bidirectional arrows 814, lateral distance between extension devices 806 and 808 can be adjusted by moving one or both of mounting components 810 and 812 in a lateral direction toward or away from the other. Similarly, support component 804 is shown supporting a number of components including extension device 816 illustratively supported by mounting components 820 through 822 and minimal component 818 illustratively supported by mounting component 824. Component 816 thus illustrates that a component can be supported on one or more mounting components. Mounting components 810, 812, 820 through 822, and 824 could be implemented in many ways, whether separate from or part of the respective components they support. Exemplary implementations of mounting components are described below.
Components 806, 808, 816, and 818 are only a few examples of components that could be included in system 800. Each component, or subset of components is supported by one or more mounting components, each of which, in turn, supports one or more user-engaging or grip-step component. Thus extension device 806 illustratively support user-engaging component 826, labeled “U1”. Extension device 808 illustratively support user-engaging components 828, 830, and 832, respectively labeled “U2”, “U3”, and “U4”, as well as possible additional user-engaging components between them, as suggested by ellipses.
Extension device 816 illustratively supports user-engaging component 834, labeled “U5” and minimal component 818 illustratively supporting user-engaging component 836, labeled “U6”. Similar to mounting components described above, user-engaging components 826, 828, 830, 832, 834 and 836 could be implemented in many ways, whether separate from or part of the respective components that support them. Exemplary implementations of user-engaging components are described below.
Components 806, 808, and 816 are described as “elastic”, a term that is used herein to describe a part, component, or article that is capable of being stretched along at least one stretching dimension by a force that a normal human can apply during exercise and/or training and also is elastic in the sense that it both resists a stretching force and also tends to return toward its former shape when a stretching force is released or reduced. An elastic part, component, or article therefore has “elastic resistance” opposing a stretching force, and equilibrium occurs when the stretching force and the elastic resistance are equal in magnitude. Note, however, that a part, component, or article would be “elastic” as used herein even if it does not return exactly to its former shape when a stretching force is released. Furthermore, its elastic resistance is ordinarily not constant, but varies with the extent to which it is stretched and could also vary as a function of time rate of stretching, frequency spectrum of a time-varying stretching force, or other parameters. If implemented as an active elastic part, component, or article, its elastic resistance could even be determined by a processor or other circuitry based, e.g., on stored, sensed, or randomly generated values.
Also, components 806 and 808 are shown as including a number of parts, with the parts of each component connected into an arrangement that extends between the component's respective mounting component or components and the component's respective user-engaging component or components. As described below, each component can include parts connected “in series” or “serially” as well as parts connected “in parallel”: As a first approximation, two or more parts are connected “in series” or “serially” if a stretching force applied across them is effectively applied to each of them. In contrast, two or more parts are connected “in parallel” if a stretching force applied across them would, under appropriate conditions, be divided between them, with each of the parts experiencing part of the stretching force. Two or more parallel parts are also described herein as connected “in parallel” even if one or more of the parts is sufficiently different in length from the others that a stretching force cannot actually be divided between all of the parts. Also, in some exemplary implementations, parts that branch at the end of a component are also described herein as connected “in parallel”.
For extension device 806, for example, parts 840 through 842, labeled “B1” through “BN”, are connected in parallel, while series connections exist between mounting component 810; part 844, labeled “A”; the segment that includes both of part 840 and 842; and user-engaging component 826. Similarly, for extension device 808, parts 846 through 848, labeled “D1” through “DP”, are connected in parallel as they branch from a common connection that leads to part 850, labeled “C”, and user-engaging components 830 through 832 are connected in parallel as they branch from part 848, as well as being in parallel with component 828 as a result of the parallel connection of parts 846 and 848. Also for extension device 808, series connections exist between mounting component 812; part 850; and the segment that includes all of parts 846, 848, 828, 830, and 832.
Parts 846 through 848 in component 808 are elastic, as suggested by the spring-like marking in parts 846 and 848. Even if part 850 is not elastic, component 808 stretches in response to stretching force applied to one or more of user-engaging components 828, 830, and 832. Further, elastic resistance of component 808 is adjustable because the branching parallel connections between parts 846 and 848 allow use of a subset of user-engaging components 828, 830, and 832: If a user engages all three of components 828, 830, and 832, for example, elastic resistance of component 808 will be different than if the user were to engage only component 828 or, on the other hand, only one or both of components 830 and 832.
in component 806, part 840 has adjustable length, as indicated by bidirectional arrow 852, while part 842 is elastic, as suggested by a spring-like marking, with adjustable stretch resistance, as indicated by arrow 854 extending across it. Exemplary implementations of adjustable stretch resistance are described below. If part 840 were also elastic, component 806 would stretch in response to stretching force applied to user-engaging component 826 even if part 844 were not elastic, for reasons similar to component 808 as described above.
Further, even if part 840 were not elastic but were adjusted to a longer length than part 842 when unstretched, component 806 would initially stretch in response to the stretching force until part 842 were stretched to the maximum length allowed by part 840. In this case, part 840 would act as a stretch arrestor or safety tether, limiting the stretching of part 842 to a range with an upper bound determined by the length of part 840. A stretch arrestor can help prevent overstretching, loss of control, and personal injury to a user or to bystanders.
Component 816 is elastic because part 856, labeled “E”, is elastic, as suggested by a spring-like marking. Component 818, on the other hand, might not be elastic unless user-engaging component 836 is elastic. In this case, component 818 could be modeled as if it included a elastic part connected in series with a non-elastic user-engaging component, similarly to component 816. The modeled elastic part could then be treated as having elastic resistance F, as suggested by the label “(F)” in component 818. Similarly, if any of the connections between parts are elastic, each of the elastic connections can be modeled a elastic part with a respective elastic resistance. For simplicity, however, the following discussion assumes that all connections between parts shown in
Without intending to be bound to a particular theory of operation, the inventor offers the following observations. In general, when parts with stretch resistances x and y are connected in series, magnitude of their combined stretch resistance z can be approximated by z=xy/(x+y). If x is finite but y is infinite, as would be the case for a elastic part connected in series to a non-elastic part, y/(x+y) 1 and z a x. Similarly, if the same parts are connected in parallel under conditions in which the stretching force is divided equally between them, magnitude of their combined stretch resistance z can be approximated by z=(x+y). In this case, if y is infinite, then z is also infinite regardless of x, and the segment that includes both parts is non-elastic. In the case of a non-elastic arrestor of fixed length LA with infinite stretch resistance y connected in parallel with a elastic part of stretch resistance x and variable length L(f), where f is the stretching force, there are two regimes: If L(f)<LA, then the combined stretch resistance is x. If L(f)≧LA, then the combined stretch resistance is y, i.e. infinite.
Applying these approximations, it can be seen that stretch resistances of components 806 and 808 will depend on the stretch resistances of their parts, with that of component 806 being a function of A and B1 through BN and that of component 808 being a function of C and a subset of D1 through DP, the subset depending on which of components 828, 830, and 832 a user engages. Overall stretch resistance of a component can be adjusted in a wide variety of ways by connecting the component's parts using both series and parallel connections, as illustrated by exemplary implementations described below.
User 902, for example, stands on the floor with each hand engaging a respective user-engaging component connected to a respective extension device. The extension devices are connected to respective mounting components positioned at an appropriate lateral spacing along an overhead horizontal support structure such as a pipe or pipe-like structure. User 902 can therefore apply downward stretching force to the extension devices, and the extension devices can support at least part of the user's body weight.
User 904 is similarly standing on the floor with each hand engaging a respective user-engaging component connected to a respective extension device. But in this case the extension devices are connected to respective mounting components positioned at appropriate positions along respective vertical support structures such as pipes or pipe-like structures. User 902 can therefore apply lateral, lateral and downward, or lateral and upward stretching force to the extension devices. In the case of lateral and downward stretching force, the extension devices can support at least part of the user's upper body weight, as suggested by the position of user 904.
User 906 is also standing, but with both hands engaging a bar-like user-engaging component connected at its ends to two extension devices. In this case each of the extension devices is connected to a respective mounting components that is in turn connected to the floor or held in position on the floor: In the illustrated example, the user is standing on a board-like support structure and the mounting components could include holes in the support structure or hooks or other fasteners attached to the support structure, with several available positions at different lateral spacings. The support structure also has two vertical end-boards, on which are several additional available positions for the mounting components, which might be appropriate, for example, for a very tall user.
User 906 can use the bar-like component to apply upward stretching force to the extension devices. In contrast to users 902, 904, and 906, user 908 is lying on the floor or on a pad or mat on the floor, with each foot engaging a respective user-engaging component connected to a respective extension device. The extension devices are connected to respective mounting components positioned at an appropriate lateral spacing along a pipe or pipe-like horizontal support structure mounted in a doorway. User 908 can therefore apply downward stretching force to the extension devices, and the extension devices can support at least part of the user's lower body weight.
User 910 has each hand and each foot engaging a respective user-engaging component connected to a respective extension device. The extension devices for the left hand and foot are connected to respective mounting components positioned at an appropriate lateral spacing along one overhead horizontal support structure such as a pipe or pipe-like structure, and the extension devices for the right hand and foot are connected to respective mounting component positioned at an appropriate lateral spacing along another. User 910 therefore applies downward stretching force to the extension devices, and the extension devices support all of the body weight of user 910.
Finally, like user 902, user 912 has each hand engaging a respective user-engaging component connected to a respective extension device, and the extension devices are connected to respective mounting components positioned at an appropriate lateral spacing along an overhead horizontal support structure such as a pipe or pipe-like structure. But unlike user 902, the body of user 912 also engages a sling-like user-engaging component that is connected to and extends between the two extension devices.
In this arrangement, the body of user 902 is supported. The level of support can vary, up to and including full support of the body. This situation is referred to as off-waiting and offers significant advantages over alternative equivalent and methods.
According to one embodiment, the body of an off-weighted user is fully supported within a sling. The sling is coupled to, and supported by, an appropriate plurality of extension devices (e.g. bungees). The bungees are configured to fully support the sling and user without being fully extended. Thus there is substantial remaining elastic range in the bungees. This provides the user with a training environment that is reassuringly supportive but nevertheless fluid and flexible enough to provide a unique challenge the user's body. When appropriately configured, a user may feel as if he or she can trust the apparatus with his or her life.
While supported by the sling, configured as above, a user may grasp a further substantially inelastic portion of the apparatus to adjust a position and/or orientation of their body in space. Thus, in one embodiment of the invention, a user lies prone in the sling while grasping with his or her left and right-hand respective grip-step devices. The sling is supported overhead by substantially elastic bungee apparatus, while the grip-step devices are supported by substantially inelastic devices, including e.g., rope and/or webbing.
The user, thus supported, is able to press with his or her hand against the supporting members of the grip-step or other apparatus so as to elevate and/or reorient the body slightly. Generally this is a downward pressure, which is assisted by the elastic tension provided by the through the sling by the bungees.
Without intending to be bound to a particular theory of operation, the above-described method of using the apparatus is believed to allow a user to work out a “perfect posture” on the device. The user's movements including stretching and apparent buoyancy within the device cause the balance mechanisms within the user's peripheral nervous system and central nervous system to activate, so as to continually adjust an orientation of the user's body. These adjustments result in a desirable muscle engagement. With repetition this is believed to allow the user to achieve a desired postural form more easily as muscle strength develops and ultimately as the nerves become trained.
Advantageously, a user may undergo pre- and post-testing to identify opportunities for improvement and advancement in the visual, vestibular and proprioceptive balance mechanisms. According to the invention, iterations of testing is employed where appropriate to the particular results desired.
In the position shown in
If user 902 very gradually increases the applied stretching force, a gradual lengthening of part 1106 can occur until part of the applied force, including body weight, is transferred from part 1106 to part 1108, and the applied force is then divided between parts 1106 and 1108.
During the lengthening operation, the elastic resistance of part 1106 in effect acts to absorb shock and provide buoyancy to body weight, serving the goal of a safer, low-impact suspension exercise system. Use of extension devices in this way therefore allows safe body warm up and gradual work toward higher impact exercises that exert higher stress on joints. When extension devices support some or all of a user's body weight during exercise, controlled instability arises in the user's body, which can engage the body's muscle recruitment, strength, and autonomic balance mechanisms, one of the purposes of the extension devices.
After reaching the position shown in the
The examples in
Part 1200 is shown in a slack position, with its upper portion in profile at left in
The upper portion of part 1200 includes sewn points 1204, 1206, and 1208 which in effect create four openings in part 1200 each of which can be used in any appropriate way, such as to mount part 1200 on a support structure, to hold a user-engaging component such as a sling or one end of a pullup or trapeze bar, or other purposes. Loop 1210 extends to the side of part 1200 when hanging, while openings 1212 and 1214 can be within the central vertical line of part 1200 or can be used in mounting. A user could, for example, put upper loop 1216 through one of openings 1212 and 1214 to obtain a clamping effect. Upper loop 1218 has rubber pad 1218 attached to its inner surface to facilitate clamping, such as to pipe 213 (
In one successful implementation, part 1200 was made from a single length of woven nylon webbing, with a rubber piece attached for use in clamping to a support structure and with sewing as described above. The length of part 1200 when fully extended between its ends could, for example, be roughly five feet or any other suitable length. Part 1200 could, however, be implemented in various other ways, could also be used in other implementations of a elastic article, and might also be appropriate for use in a non-elastic article in some cases.
One of the loops 1260 is advantageously employed for coupling the extension device 1252 to a supporting member 1290. To achieve this coupling, the longitudinal member is folded back on itself at 1292 and passed through loop 1260 so as to encircle support member 1290 in the illustrated fashion.
Loop 1262 provides a handhold and, in certain embodiments, includes a cushion portion 1294. Loops 1256 and 1258 are adapted to support a trapeze bar when two or more of the extension devices 1250 are arranged in parallel to one another. In use, the user may grasp the trapeze bar while standing on a grip-step device (not shown) that is coupled to one or more of rings 1294 and 1296. Loops 1256 and 1258 may also be used as supplementary handgrip loops.
A plurality of calibration markings are disposed at regular intervals along a further portion of the longitudinal member. These calibration markings, 1274, 1276, 1278, 1280, 1282, 1284, are useful for locating an extendable portion 1286 of the extension device including an extension arrestor like that shown 202 in
Selection of an appropriate location is aided by the presence of the calibration markings, e.g. 1274. In the illustrated embodiment, these calibration markings are formed by sewing additional thread into and through the body of the longitudinal member. Preferably, the thread has a color that contrasts with a color of the longitudinal member.
In an alternative embodiment, the calibrations markings are formed on the longitudinal member 1252 by scorching a corresponding surface region of the longitudinal member. To achieve this effect, a heated device (i.e., a specialized iron) having appropriate temperature is briefly placed in contact with the respective surface region. A heat cutter may be advantageously applied to this purpose. The resulting scorch mark is advantageously visible and substantially permanent, without diminishing in any significant way a tensile strength of the longitudinal member. Webbing having a tensile strength of 1000 pounds is advantageously employed in some embodiments. Notwithstanding these advantages, alternative marking methods may be employed, including the use of paint, or ink.
The interval between markings may be chosen at any desirable length. As a typical example, a 4 inch interval is used. Generally speaking the marks are placed transversely across the longitudinal member. In certain embodiments, the transverse marks traverse the entire width of the longitudinal member.
In certain advantageous embodiments, the scorch marks are formed having a depth sufficient to produce a sound when the grip coupling 1288 is advanced across the mark. In some circumstances, this sound allows for adjustment of the grip coupling position without the necessity of visual confirmation.
The longitudinal member 1232 includes a trapeze bar loop 1238 as previously described. In addition, it includes a handle loop 1240 as previously described. The handle loop 1240 is releasably slidingly coupled to the longitudinal member 1232 with a spring release grip coupling 1244. A further spring release grip coupling 1246 releasably slidingly couples an extendable portion 1248 (including extension arrestor) to the longitudinal member 1232. The location of the spring release grip couplings 1244 and 1246 is facilitated by the presence of calibration markings 1249 on the longitudinal member. It should be understood as release grip coupling may include any appropriate coupling including any buckle or toggle coupling.
An upper non-elastic part of article 1300 includes cord 1302, a substantially inelastic cord that is illustratively similar in diameter to each bungee device e.g., 212 (
Like articles 180 (
Cord 1406 extends through rope wedge connector 1410, within which it engages a rope cleat or wedge that can lock cord 1406 in position relative to connector 1410, as shown in
To adjust a lateral position of article 1400 along pipe 1402, as suggested by bidirectional arrows 1403, it is only necessary to move part 1404 relative to pipe 1402, such as in ways described below. To adjust a lateral distance between two such articles, an appropriate combination of lateral adjustment of the two of them can be made, such as to fit a user's body width so that each hand can engage a user-engaging component attached to one of the articles. Similarly, to adjust vertical position, a user can reposition cord 1406 on part 1404, moving it upward or downward as suggested by bidirectional arrows 1422. Also, to modify the length of the lower portion of cord 1406 that operates as an arrestor, a user can disengage cord 1406 from connector 1410, move cord 1406 upward or downward as suggested by bidirectional arrows 1424, and then reengage cord 1406 with connector 1410 as shown in
The reader will note that many, though not all, of the embodiments discussed include a device with an assembly of solid support lines (rope or webbing), a plurality of elastic cords and connection hardware, along with specific and various methods of mounting, adjustment, and user interface. Such a device can be used alone or together with other such devices for greater versatility. Two or more duplicate devices can support some or all of a user's body weight and can be configured in various relative positions, with various dimensions, levels of resistance, and functions.
A user's body weight can then be leveraged and balanced against the constant force of gravity using the devices. The user can use the devices to perform exercises, such as open kinetic chain exercises for individual muscles, muscle groups, muscle kinetic chains, or offloading the whole body. Exercise movements with the elastic resistance of such devices can create a condition of controlled instability in a user's body, engaging the user's autonomic balancing and corrective neuromuscular mechanisms. It is believed that neuroplasticity of the brain allows for such movements and consequent bodily balance mechanisms to reconfigure muscle firing patterns in weak muscles of a kinetic chain. As a result, the body engages dormant or inhibited muscles and tension in overused or injured muscles is lowered, allowing a healthier, more balanced musculo-skeletal system.
Spring-loaded plunger assembly 1604 is held firmly in a hole oriented radially to the axis of the central opening of article 1600, with an outer sleeve, a pin, and a biasing spring (not shown) urging the pin toward a position in which it extends into the central opening, as shown in
Pipe 1602 can have a series of depressions or holes 1620 bored in a row, such as along its downward-facing side if pipe 1602 is horizontal or at an angle so that hole 1628 (
Article 1600 also has various features for engaging one or more ropes or cords. Each of its ends 1624 and 1626 can have at least one hole through which a rope or cord can extend, such as hole 1628 (
Article 1600 as in
One of skill in the art will readily appreciate that other techniques and methods of manufacturing are equally well applicable to the present invention. Thus article 1600, and/or components thereof, could also be manufactured by any other appropriate method including, without limitation, injection molding or any other molding process, extrusion, drop forging, powder metallurgy, including sintering and rapid prototyping/three-dimensional printing.
In the configuration of
The side view in
The configuration shown in
In the configuration of
As shown in the top view in
Various other mounting articles similar to those in
The cross section in
The cross section in
A grip-step as in
Configurations in which such a sling article can be used include (1) with two loops of equal size, one padded, for a hand grip; (2) with two loops of equal size for foot arch placement; (3) with two loops of similar size, a padded one under the Achilles tendon area and the other under the arch for a cradling effect; (4) with two loops, one short and between the ball and toes of the foot and the other padded and under the Achilles area of the ankle; (5) with two loops, one short and under the Achilles and the other longer and under the toes, providing a more proximal fulcrum point than (4); (6) with two loops, one completely shortened, one completely lengthened in order to provide a wide open, padded sling for placement of the arm, leg, or back of the head/neck area; (7) with two loops of similar length for cradling the knee or the elbow; (8) with a toe loop on the non-padded loop for harnessing the toes in order to avoid loop slippage off of the original foot placement; and (9) with the PVC foam grip rolled under an arched plantar area of the foot, providing a plantar flexion exercise capability. In short, the sling article is a multi-function accessory of an exercise/training system; in a setting in which both professional fitness training and corrective therapies are performed, a sling article can provide many functions with only a brief moment between individual exercises or movement, creating potential for more cost effective services.
In this arrangement, the bungee may be used to support the grip-step and, thereby, a user. In the illustrated configuration, the strength (i.e., the spring constant) of the bungee is effectively approximately doubled. One of skill in the art will appreciate that this advantage is achieved at the expense of effectively halving the overall extension of the bungee. Nonetheless, in some circumstances this method of using the illustrated apparatus will be beneficial.
According to principles of the invention, the sheath device 2108 serves to confine the bungee cords and extension arrestor within the longitudinal cavity 2114. In certain embodiments, the sheath device 2108 is substantially inelastic in a longitudinal direction 2116. The sheath device 2108 of the illustrated embodiment includes a generally flexible longitudinal member 2118, shown, for example, as a length of webbing material. The webbing material is relatively inelastic in longitudinal direction 2116. Accordingly, the generally flexible longitudinal member 2118 serves to support the body of the sheath device 2108 and to reinforce the characteristic of inelasticity in direction 2116 of the sheath device 2108 noted above. As will be further described below, a portion 2120 of the longitudinal member 2118 serves to couple the sheath device 2108 to a suspension portion of an adjustable coupling device 2124.
In certain embodiments, the sheath device includes a textile material, a plasticized textile or another polymer material, or an organic material such as, for example, a leather material. In further embodiments, the sheath device includes a substantially flexible tube such as a generally flexible extruded or assembled polymer tube. In still further embodiments, the sheath device includes a substantially rigid tube such as a substantially rigid polymer tube, a metallic tube, a wooden tube, a fibrous tube, a ceramic tube or any other appropriate apparatus including, without limitation, an extruded tube, an assembled tube, and an organically grown tube.
While the sheath device 2108 is substantially inelastic in longitudinal direction 2116, the bungee cords, e.g. 2102, 2104 and extension arrestor 2106 exhibit some elasticity in longitudinal direction 2116, consistent with the various inventive embodiments described above. One of skill in the art will accordingly appreciate that both the bungee cords and extension arrestor can expand and contract substantially elastically within the sheath device 2108 along direction 2116 while the sheath device itself experiences little, if any, expansion and contraction. At the same time, the sheath device 2108 serves to confine the bungee cords and extension arrestor within longitudinal cavity 2114. This confinement serves to facilitate manual grasping of the assembly 2122 formed by the sheath device 2110, the bungee cords 2102, 2104 and the extension arrestor 2106.
According to principles of the invention, certain embodiments of the invention will include a sheath device 2108 having an outer surface region 2110 selected for frictional characteristics that further facilitate manual grasping of assembly 2122. Thus, in certain embodiments, one or more of a material of the sheath device 2108 and a surface texture of surface region 2110 will be selected to facilitate manual grasping. In various embodiments, one or more regions of the sheath device will include surface features including ridges (including, e.g., longitudinal ridges, circumferential ridges, oblique ridges,), grooves (including, e.g., longitudinal grooves, circumferential grooves, oblique grooves,), striations, finger grips, speckling, etc. to improve comfort and/or functionality as a user grips the sheath device.
Consistent with other embodiments described above, the bungee cords 2102, 2104, and the extension arrestor 2106 of the extension device 2100 are arranged to be suspended from an adjustable coupling device 2124. In like fashion, the bungee cords 2102, 2104, and the extension arrestor 2106 of the extension device 2100 include respective rings e.g., 2126, 2128, and 2130 to facilitate further apparatus couplings.
Desirably, the extension device 2100 includes a fixed or removable coupling device, exemplified by the illustrated carabiner 2132. The coupling device facilitates the configuration of the extension device for various activities and uses, as described above and further described below. In certain embodiments, a grip or grip-step is permanently attached 2134 to one end of the extension device 2100.
A further portion 2209 of the support strap 2202 is disposed adjacent to jaws 2210 of an adjustment device 2212. The jaws 2210 include a spring adapted to urge a gripping portion of the jaws into contact with the support strap 2202 so that the gripping portion releasably grasps the support strap 2202. A lever portion 2214 of the adjusting device can be manually depressed to release the jaws 2210 and allow adjustment of the position of the adjusting device 2212 along a longitudinal dimension 2216 of the support strap 2202.
A further loop 2218 of webbing material is coupled to the adjustment device 2212 and supports an extension arrestor 2220 as well as a plurality of bungee cords 2222. The extension arrestor 2220 includes a substantially elastic bungee cord 2224 disposed within a longitudinal internal cavity 2226 of an external tube portion 2228. The bungee cord 2224 is substantially fixedly coupled to the external tube portion 2228 at a first end 2232 and at a second and 2234.
The external tube portion 2228 includes a material that is generally flexible, but substantially inelastic in longitudinal direction 2230. The bungee cord 2224 has a relaxed length in direction 2230. When longitudinal tension is applied to the ends of the bungee cord, the bungee cord tends to extend substantially elastically. External tube portion 2228 is arranged to have an extended length in direction 2230 that is longer than the relaxed length of the bungee cord 2224. Thus, when the bungee cord is relaxed, i.e., not extended, the external tube portion 2228 is formed into a plurality of folds, e.g., 2236, 2238, 2240 to form a generally convoluted arrangement.
When the bungee cord 2224 is extended along direction 2230, the folds of the external tube portion 2228 flatten out and the tube transitions from its convoluted configuration into a generally linear extended configuration. Because the external tube portion 2228 is substantially inelastic in direction 2230, the length of extension in direction 2230 of the bungee cord 2224 is limited by the extended length of the external tube portion 2228. The external tube portion 2228 includes a material chosen to have a tensile strength sufficient to support the weight of a user of the extension device and effectively limit extension of the bungee cords 2222.
The extension device 2200 also includes a sheath portion 2242. The sheath portion 2242 has a generally tubular aspect; tubular indicating that an inner surface region 2244 of the sheath portion defines a generally longitudinal cavity 2246 within, and coincident with a longitudinal axis or axial curve 2248 of, the sheath portion. An outer surface region 2250 of the sheath portion is disposed in radially spaced relation to the inner surface region; typically in substantially uniform radially spaced relation.
In the illustrated embodiment, a generally flexible reinforcing member 2252 is coupled to the sheath portion 2224 adjacent to the outer surface region 2250. The generally flexible reinforcing member is chosen to be substantially inelastic along its longitudinal axis, and hence to provide tensile strength to the sheath portion 2224 along axis 2248. In various embodiments, the generally flexible reinforcing member 2252 includes a webbing of textile material. In various embodiments, the reinforcing member 2252 is coupled to the surface region 2250 with an adhesive material such as a chemical adhesive and/or an adhesive tape. In other embodiments, this coupling is effected by sewing with a textile thread and/or an extruded polymer thread. In still other embodiments, this coupling is effected by a thermal and/or ultrasonic bonding and/or welding of the reinforcing member 2252 to the surface region 2250, and it still other embodiments, the reinforcing member 2252 is coupled to the outer surface region 2250 by one or more fasteners such as, for example and without limitation, rivets, eyelets, grommets, snaps, buttons, pins, nuts and bolts, hook and loop fasteners, and any other method known in the art that is appropriate to forming a functional coupling of the reinforcing member 2252 to the balance of the sheath portion 2224.
One of skill in the art will appreciate that a sheath portion 2224 can be prepared without the described reinforcing member where an appropriate material and configuration is selected, and for appropriate applications. The practitioner of skill in the art will also appreciate that the reinforcing member 2252 may include a wide variety of materials and exhibit a similarly wide variety of configurations appropriate to achieve the desired functions. Thus, the reinforcing member may include, without limitation, one or more of an organic polymer material including a reinforced or un-reinforced material, a metallic material, an extruded material, a textile material including a fabric and/or a felt, a ceramic material, a glass material, a crystalline material, and any other material having characteristics appropriate for a particular application of the invention.
In the illustrated embodiment, the reinforcing member 2252 includes an extension portion 2254 extending beyond an upper end 2256 of the tubular portion and supporting it at a further surface region thereof, a coupling device 2258. As will be further described below, the coupling device 2258 is arranged to maintain a special relationship between the sheath portion 2224 and, for example, adjustment device 2212.
As will be evident upon inspection of
An extension arrestor 2308 includes a substantially elastic bungee cord 2310 disposed coaxially within a generally flexible substantially inelastic tubular elongate member 2312. An upper end 2314 of the bungee cord is folded 2316 and bound with three hog rings 2318, 2320 and 2322, to form an expanded region 2324. First hog ring 2318 is disposed transverse to second hog ring 2320, and prevents the bungee cord from being drawn through the second hog ring, notwithstanding the radial compressibility and general elasticity of the bungee cord. It should be noted here that bungee cord is used in this context to refer to an elastic member that may or may not be provided with a textile covering.
A third hog ring 2322 serves to reinforce the second hog ring 2320, preventing the first hog ring from being drawn through, and applying further frictional forces to the surface of the bungee cord so as to prevent unfolding of the bungee.
The expanded region 2324 is secured in place with respect to the adjacent portion of the tubular member 2012 by two further hog rings 2326 and 2328 disposed circumferentially about the coaxial combination of the tubular member 2312 and the bungee cord 2310. Substantial frictional forces are exhibited between an internal surface region of the tubular member 2312 and an adjacent external surface region of the bungee cord 2310 resulting from the radial compression applied by the inner circumferential surfaces of the hog rings 2326 and 2328. In addition, frictional forces between the inner circumferential surfaces of the hog rings 2326 and 2328 and the corresponding external surface regions of the tubular member 2312 prevent the hog rings 2326 and 2328 from being displaced axially downward 2330. Such downward displacement might otherwise be motivated in response to pressure from the expanded region 2324 of the bungee, because the diameter of the hog rings 2326 and 2328 is substantially less than the diameter of the expanded region 2324.
Above the expanded region 2324, the tubular member is folded 2332 over a supporting member 2334 of the adjusting device 2302 and fixed in place by, for example, a sewn seam or other appropriate functional connection 2336. A further seam or other connection 2338 serves to capture a supporting ring 2340 which, in turn, supports an additional bungee(s) 2342 at a folded portion 2344 thereof.
A fastener device 2346 is coupled to an adjacent external surface region of the tubular member 2312. A complementary fastener device 2348 is adapted and arranged to be coupled to fastener device 2346 and is in turn coupled to a corresponding adjacent surface region 2350 of a substantially flexible, substantially inelastic longitudinal member 2352, embodied as a strap or other similarly functional device. The member 2352 is configured to be thus coupled in substantially fixed spatial relation to the adjustment device 2302 and the upper ends of the bungee 2342 and extension arrestor 2308. Accordingly, the substantially inelastic longitudinal member 2352 is configured to be suspended 2354 over supporting member 2334 so as to keep the attached sheath 2356 substantially fixed in relation to the suspension device and the respective upper ends of the bungees and extension arrestor. At either end of the bungee, colored heat shrink tubing 2357 is applied to assist in the ready identification of bungee resilience/strength by color coding. In certain embodiments, color is added to a textile covering of the bungee by means of, for example, the inclusion of colored threads in a sheath of the bungee. The threads may be applied during production of the bungee. In other embodiments the bungee sheath is formed exclusively of colored threads. In still other embodiments, a dye or other coloring material is added to the bungee after production.
Reference is now made to
In the illustrated embodiment, supporting member 2406 includes a substantially elastic longitudinal member or bungee 2412 disposed generally coaxially within a generally flexible tubular member 2414 that is substantially inelastic along its length 2418. In light of the present disclosure, the practitioner of ordinary skill in the art will recognize a structural similarity between this supporting member 2406 and the extension arrestors 2220, 2308 described above in relation to
In the illustrated embodiment, the grip-step 2400 includes a foot rest 2415 having a longitudinal cavity 2416 therewithin. The supporting member 2406 is arranged to pass longitudinally through the longitudinal cavity 2416. The foot rest 2415 is configured to be longitudinally slideable along supporting member 2406 to allow for adjustment of its position to a preferred location as an overall configuration of the grip-step is adjusted. An internal surface and/or material of the foot rest 2415 is chosen to provide a desirable level of frictional interaction with external an surface of the tubular member 2414. Consequently, while the rest is slidable along the tubular member 2414, undesirable sliding during use of the grip-step will be minimized or eliminated.
In certain embodiments, the foot rest 2415 includes an upper portion 2417 and a lower portion 2419. In a further aspect, the upper portion 2417 and lower portion 2419 will be joined at one or more seams 2420, where the one or more seams may be, for example, sewn seams, bonded seams, welded seams, chemically glued seams, or seams formed by any other method appropriate to the required function. In certain embodiments, the upper portion will include a textile material and/or a polymer material such as, for example, an elastomeric material. In certain embodiments, the upper portion 2417 will include a closed-cell neoprene.
According to principles of the invention, upper portion 2417 will include, in certain embodiments, a surface 2422 well adapted to provide a comfortably soft and effective gripping surface such that the user can step on the surface with reasonable comfort and without unreasonable risk of slipping off. In certain embodiments, surface 2422 measures at least about 2 inches in a transverse dimension and at least about 8 inches in its longitudinal dimension.
In certain embodiments, a grip-step 2400 is delivered to a first user with a foot rest 2415 positioned along length 2418 such that it is disposed over a connection point of the bungee 2412. Accordingly, as seen in cutaway view 2424, a first end 2426 and a second end 2428 of an internal elastic member are coupled together with one or more, and in some cases three to five or more, hog rings 2430.
In the illustrated embodiment, a carabiner 2434 is provided, removably coupled to the supporting member 2406 to facilitate the attachment of additional equipment. The illustrated carabiner is desirably removable when not in use.
Certain embodiments of grip-step 2400 include a tube or guard device 2436 providing an alternative handgrip or step. The guard device is formed of a robust material well adapted to endure, for example, being repeatedly stepped on with athletic cleats. In certain embodiments, the guard device 2436 is substantially rigid. In a further embodiment, the guard device 2436 exhibits some flexibility, but is generally more rigid than foot rest 2415. In certain embodiments, guard device 2436 includes a longitudinal cavity within which the supporting member 2406 is disposed. The supporting member 2406 is able to stretch freely within the longitudinal cavity. In certain embodiments, the guard device 2436 is arranged and configured to fit within one or more of the handle 2402 and the foot rest 2415 in respective user configurations. For such embodiments, the supporting member 2406 may desirably include a material having a relatively low coefficient of friction, as compared with alternative materials. It will be understood that the guard device is optional and that certain embodiments of the grip-step are prepared without a guard device.
In various embodiments, the guard device 2436 includes a polymer material such as, for example, an ultrahigh molecular weight polyethylene, a polyethylene, a polypropylene, a polyamide, a polybutylene, or any other polymer and/or filled polymer with characteristics suitable for the intended uses of the respective embodiment. In other embodiments, the guard device 2436 includes a metallic material such as, for example, an aluminum, iron or iron alloy, a non-ferrous metal, or any other metallic material with characteristics suitable for the intended uses of the respective embodiment. In like fashion, other materials such as, for example, natural organic materials including natural polymers and other materials known in the art may be used with the foregoing materials alone, and/or in combination.
First 2610 and second 2612 coupling devices are pivotally coupled to the supporting member and reinforcing member at respective first 2614 and second 2616 ends thereof. The coupling devices 2610, 2612 are illustrated as D-rings, but other devices, such as, eg., grommets, textile loops and keyrings, will also be used in alternative embodiments.
Coupled to the respective upper ends 2716, 2718 of the extension devices are first 2720 and second 2722 extension straps which in turn are coupled to respective first 2724 and second 2726 grip-steps. As evident from the figure, the upper ends of the extension devices 2716, 2718 and the extension straps 2720, 2722 are mutually suspended from respective supporting members 2728, 2730 of the general type exemplified by supporting member 2202 of
The illustrated sling device 2710 is arranged to support a user in a variety of positions such as the illustrated sitting position.
In configuration 3100, as shown in
Referring again to
Among other applications, it will be understood by one of skill in the art that apparatus as described above may be sold as a kit. An exemplary kit will include, for example and without limitation, two or more extension devices, including in some embodiments, respective sheath devices, two or more grip-step devices, two or more suspension devices and two or more extension devices along with one or more sling devices, one or more crossbars, and one or more stability pillows, where a stability pillow is a generally flexible cushion on which a user can stand, sit or kneel while otherwise employing any of the apparatus described above. In addition, in certain circumstances a sheath device may be sold as a discrete item for retrofit to older equipment.
A wide variety of other methods and processes for using the above-described equipment fall within the scope of the present invention. It is an advantage of the equipment, and of these methods, that the dynamic instability achieved by a user coupled to the inventive apparatus is similar in many respects to corresponding states of instability found in a wide variety of athletic activities and sports. In addition, the correspondence of these states of dynamic instability to those found in many everyday activities, such as walking, running, dancing, standing, carrying objects and maintaining healthful posture, renders the practice of the invention therapeutic in restoring many of these functions where they have been impaired or lost.
The following activities are performed as methods of the invention. In the course of performing these activities activity, a user is coupled to a single grip-step with one hand and a user is coupled to two grip-steps with two hands. Each activity is performed at various angles of user orientation from vertical to substantially oblique. Optionally, the activity is performed while the user is standing on a flexible pillow. Having established these parameters, the user is instructed to bounce using ankles and calves; bounce using ankles and calves, knees and thighs; perform lateral ankle tilts in unloaded condition; perform lateral ankle tilts in loaded condition; perform lateral ankle tilts with piano toes in unloaded condition; perform lateral ankle tilts with piano toes in loaded condition; perform medial ankle tilts in unloaded condition; perform medial ankle tilts in loaded condition; perform medial ankle tilts with piano toes in unloaded condition; and perform medial ankle tilts with piano toes in loaded condition.
Further activities within the scope of the invention employing the parameters identified above include instructing the user to place toes lateral in an unloaded condition; place toes lateral in a loaded condition; place toes medial in an unloaded condition; place toes medial in a loaded condition; place toes middle in an unloaded condition; place toes middle in a loaded condition; place toes in high half toe while in an unloaded condition; place toes in a high half toe while in a loaded condition; perform ankle circles in an unloaded condition; perform ankle circles in a loaded condition; perform unilateral ankle circles; and perform bilateral ankle circles.
Additional activities within the scope of the invention employing the parameters identified above include instructing the user to perform knee circles in an unloaded condition; perform knee circles in a loaded condition; perform knee pendulums from side to side; perform knee pendulums front to back; perform hip circles unloaded; perform hip circles loaded; perform hip circles semi-unloaded; and elevate and lower hips.
Further activities within the scope of the invention employing the parameters identified above include instructing the user to perform a pelvic tuck; execute a flat; perform a thoracic stretch; protract the lumbar region; and retract the lumbar region.
Additional activities within the scope of the invention employing the parameters identified above include instructing the user to perform chin nods; perform lateral cervical tilt; perform cervical rotation; perform cervical circles; perform shoulder cam shafts with arm in front; perform shoulder cam shafts with arm at 45°; perform shoulder cam shafts with arm abducted; perform unilateral shoulder cam shafts; and perform bilateral shoulder cam shafts.
As previously noted, apparatus and systems prepared according to principles of the invention may include a wide variety of materials selected according to the requirements of a particular application and/or embodiment. These materials may include, for example, natural polymers, synthetic polymers, metallic materials (including without limitation, various metallic alloys), inorganic materials (including without limitation, ceramic materials), composite materials and other combinations thereof.
Suitable polymers for use in preparing the apparatus of the invention may include, for example, polyethylene, polypropylene, polybutylene, polystyrene, polyester, acrylic polymers, polyvinylchloride, polyamide, or polyetherimide like ULTEM®; a polymeric alloy such as Xenoy® resin, which is a composite of polycarbonate and polybutyleneterephthalate or Lexan® plastic, which is a copolymer of polycarbonate and isophthalate terephthalate resorcinol resin (all available from GE Plastics), liquid crystal polymers, such as an aromatic polyester or an aromatic polyester amide containing, as a constituent, at least one compound selected from the group consisting of an aromatic hydroxycarboxylic acid (such as hydroxybenzoate (rigid monomer), hydroxynaphthoate (flexible monomer), an aromatic hydroxyamine and an aromatic diamine, (exemplified in U.S. Pat. Nos. 6,242,063, 6,274,242, 6,643,552 and 6,797,198, the contents of which are incorporated herein by reference), polyesterimide anhydrides with terminal anhydride group or lateral anhydrides (exemplified in U.S. Pat. No. 6,730,377, the content of which is incorporated herein by reference) or combinations thereof.
In addition, any polymeric composite such as engineering prepregs or composites, which are polymers filled with pigments, carbon particles, silica, glass fibers, conductive particles such as metal particles or conductive polymers, or mixtures thereof may also be used. For example, a blend of polycarbonate and ABS (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene) may be used
Suitable metallic materials may include, for example, stainless steel; aluminum; an alloy such as Ni/Ti alloy; any amorphous metals including those available from Liquid Metal, Inc. or similar ones, such as those described in U.S. Pat. No. 6,682,611, and U.S. Patent Application No. 2004/0121283, the entire contents of which are incorporated herein by reference.
Referring again to the sling device of
In certain embodiments, the material of the reinforcing member 3706 is selected to have a relatively high coefficient of friction with respect to, for example, typical fabrics used for clothing and/or human skin. In addition, the material will be selected, in certain embodiments, for its tendency to cohere at a moderate level to the same substances, so as to provide a firm grip for a user during use. While the particular level of coherence and coefficient of friction will vary according to the needs of a particular application, one of skill in the art will gain insight into the benefits of the invention by understanding that, for example, a neoprene reinforcing member 3706 of a particular embodiment will have a higher coefficient of friction in use than the underlying supporting member 3702, which in the same embodiment might be formed of a ballistic polyamide. In addition, a surface of the reinforcing member 3706 may be provided with a pattern adapted to increase friction such as, for example, a knurled pattern, a plurality of bumps or a plurality of recesses, all properly sized to desirably increase effective friction between the surface and a user.
In the illustrated embodiment, generally elastic reinforcing member 3706 has an exposed surface region 3707 disposed in substantially uniform spaced relation to surface region 3704. In other embodiments generally elastic reinforcing member 3706 is disposed internally, within the sling device 3700. In certain embodiments, generally elastic reinforcing member 3706 has a thickness between surface region 3707 and corresponding surface region 3704 of at least about 1/32 inch. In other embodiments, the thickness is at least about 1 inch. In still further embodiments, the generally elastic reinforcing member 3706 has any desirable intermediate thickness appropriate to a particular application of the device. For example in a typical embodiment, the generally elastic reinforcing member 3706 will have a thickness of at least about ¼ inch.
It will be noted that, in contrast to sling 2600 of
In various embodiments, the generally elastic reinforcing member 3706 has a width 3708 that is substantially equal to a corresponding width 3710 of the sling device 3700. In other embodiments (for example, as shown) width 3708 is less than width 3710. In such embodiments, the generally elastic reinforcing member 3706 will have any desirable width such as, for example, approximately, 90% of width 3710, approximately 75% of width 3710, or approximately 50% of width 3710. It should be understood, that these proportions are exemplary only, and that any width, including widths that exceed width 3710 are intended to be included within the present invention disclosure.
in the illustrated embodiment, coupling portions 3712 and 3714 form respective parallel layers of material in relation to corresponding ends 3716, 3718 of supporting member 3702. Together with supporting member 3702, coupling portions 3712 and 3714 form respective cavities or recesses within which respective end portions 3720, 3722 of generally elastic reinforcing member 3706 are disposed. In various embodiments, these end portions 3720, 3722 are coupled to supporting member 3702 and coupling portions 3712, 3714 by, for example, stitching, stapling, adhesive bonding, ultrasonic welding, mechanical fasteners such as, for example, rivets, or any other appropriate coupling method such as is known, or becomes known, in the art.
In certain further embodiments, stitching is provided laterally (i.e., particular to longitudinal axis 3710) at multiple locations along the length of the sling. For example, stitching may be provided laterally across the sling to couple reinforcing member 3706 to supporting member 3702 every inch, every 2 inches, every 4 inches, or at any other interval deemed appropriate for a particular application.
As illustrated, certain embodiments of the sling device 3700 will include coupling portions 3712, 3714 that have a generally equilateral triangular aspect. It will be understood, however, that other arrangements are possible and are within the scope of this disclosure including rectangular coupling portions with a rectangular aspect and others with a curved aspects such as, for example, a semicircular aspect where coupling devices 3724, 3726 are disposed on respective circumferential regions of the semicircular coupling portions. As noted with in relation to sling 2600, coupling devices 3724, 3726 are illustrated as D-rings, but other devices, such as, eg., grommets, textile loops and keyrings, etc. will also be used in alternative embodiments.
In various embodiments, support member 3702 and/or coupling portions 3712 and 3714 will include a textile material such as, for example, a woven textile material. Exemplary materials will include a woven textile material having fibers that include one or more of, for example, cotton fibers, polyamide fibers, polyaramid fibers, carbon fibers, carbon nanotube fibers, glass fibers, metallic fibers, and fibers of any other appropriate or desirable material known or to be discovered in the art.
Whereas extension device 2200 is shown in a configuration such that the bungees and the extension arrestor are suspended from adjustment device 4020, suspension device 4000 is configured differently. Suspension device 4000 is shown with bungees 4006, 4008 disposed in generally axial opposition to bungees 4002 and 4004, and generally parallel, and adjacent (or proximate), to extension arrestor 4012. Suspension device 4000 is, in the illustrated configuration, unused, and is disposed medially between an upper suspension point 4022 and respective lower ends of bungees 4002, 4004. It should also be noted that while extension arrestor 4012 is shown disposed adjacent, or proximate to, the upper bungees 4006, 4008, in other embodiments, it will be arranged adjacent, or proximate to, the lower bungees 4002, 4004.
Suspension at suspension point 4022 will be achieved, in various embodiments, by coupling rings 4026, 4028 and 4030 to any appropriate support including, for example, a ring, a crossbar, a textile loop, etc. Such coupling can be made in any way appropriate, as indicated by the balance of this disclosure, or as would be known to one of skill in the art. It will be appreciated that, while
This arrangement provides a substantially different force characteristic, as a function of extension, when compared with the arrangement shown in
For an extension less than full extension of extension arrestor 4012, the overall spring constant (or, allowing for nonlinearities, characteristic) of the device will depend on the elasticity of all of bungees 4002, 4004, 4006, 4008 and internal bungee 4014. Once the extension arrestor 4012 has reached full extension, however, further extension of bungees 4006, 4008 and 4014 is effectively terminated, and the spring characteristic of the device thereafter depends primarily on the further extension characteristics of bungees 4002 and 4004. In light of the present disclosure, one of skill in the art will appreciate that the lengths, cross-sectional profiles, materials, and other characteristics of the various bungees and the extension arrestor components can be selected to provide any of a wide variety of desirable characteristics for the overall device.
It will also be appreciated by one of skill in the art that the configuration shown in
It should be understood that, unlike various earlier devices, the apparatus and configurations shown in
While the exemplary embodiments described above have been chosen primarily from the field of optical communication, one of skill in the art will appreciate that the principles of the invention are equally well applied, and that the benefits of the present invention are equally well realized in a wide variety of other communications systems including, for example, electronic command and control systems. Further, while the invention has been described in detail in connection with the presently preferred embodiments, it should be readily understood that the invention is not limited to such disclosed embodiments. Rather, the invention can be modified to incorporate any number of variations, alterations, substitutions, or equivalent arrangements not heretofore described, but which are commensurate with the spirit and scope of the invention. Accordingly, the invention is not to be seen as limited by the foregoing description, but is only limited by the scope of the appended claims.
1. An exercise apparatus comprising:
- an extension device having a first user accessible adjustment feature providing an adjustable tensile elastic characteristic, said extension device having a top end and a bottom end, said extension device including a coupling feature at said top end, said coupling feature being adapted to receive elevated support so as to orient a longitudinal axis of said extension device downwardly of said coupling feature when in use, whereby said extension device is adapted to bear a user's entire weight;
- an extension arrestor, said extension arrestor having a second user accessible adjustment feature, said second adjustment feature being adapted to adjust a configured length of said extension arrestor, said configured length defining a maximum configured extension of said extension device between said top end and said bottom end; and
- a grip device, said grip device being adapted to be coupled to said bottom end, said grip device including a body portion with a bore therethrough, said grip device including a first loop portion and a second loop portion, said first and second loop portions mutually including a single continuous longitudinal member, said single continuous longitudinal member being passed twice through said bore.
2. An exercise apparatus as defined in claim 1 wherein said extension device comprises a spring.
3. An exercise apparatus as defined in claim 2 wherein said spring comprises a polymeric bungee.
4. An exercise apparatus as defined in claim 1 wherein said first adjustment feature comprises a connector arranged to allow for removable coupling of one or more of a plurality of substantially elastic members between said top end and said bottom end.
5. An exercise apparatus as defined in claim 1 wherein said extension arrestor comprises a nylon webbing.
6. An exercise apparatus as defined in claim 5 wherein said second user accessible adjustment feature comprises a buckle
7. An exercise apparatus comprising:
- a first coupling device;
- a second coupling device;
- an extension device, said extension device including a plurality of tensile elastic members, said plurality of tensile elastic members being coupled at respective first ends thereof to said first coupling device, said plurality of tensile elastic members being optionally coupled to said second coupling device whereby an overall tensile elastic characteristic of said extension device is adjustable according to a number of said elastic members being so optionally coupled;
- an extension arrestor, said extension arrestor being coupled between said first coupling device and said second coupling device, said extension arrestor having a user accessible adjustment feature, said user accessible adjustment feature being adapted to adjust a configured length of said extension arrestor, said configured length defining a maximum configured extension of said extension device; and
- a grip device, said grip device being adapted to be coupled to said bottom end, said grip device including a body portion with a bore therethrough, said grip device including a first loop portion and a second loop portion, said first and second loop portions each including a respective region disposed within said bore.
8. An exercise apparatus comprising:
- a first coupling device;
- a second coupling device;
- an extension device, said extension device including a plurality of tensile elastic members, said plurality of tensile elastic members being coupled at respective first ends thereof to said first coupling device, said plurality of tensile elastic members being optionally coupled to said second coupling device whereby an overall tensile elastic characteristic of said extension device is adjustable according to a number of said elastic members being so optionally coupled;
- an extension arrestor, said extension arrestor being coupled between said first coupling device and said second coupling device, said extension arrestor being adapted to define a maximum extension of said extension device; and
- a sheath, said sheath having an inner surface, said inner surface defining a longitudinal cavity therewithin, said sheath having an outer surface disposed in spaced relation to said inner surface, said sheath being adapted to receive said plurality of elastic members and said extension arrestor within said longitudinal cavity, said outer surface be adapted to be optionally gripped by a user during use.
9. An exercise apparatus as defined in claim 8 wherein said extension arrestor comprises a tubular webbing portion having a tensile elastic device disposed within a longitudinal cavity thereof and wherein the tubular webbing portion has an extended length longer than a relaxed length of said tensile elastic device.
10. An exercise apparatus as defined in claim 8, further comprising a sling, said sling being adapted to be coupled to said second coupling device, said sling including a first supporting member and a second reinforcing member.
11. An exercise apparatus as defined in claim 10 wherein said second reinforcing member is substantially inelastic along a longitudinal axis of said sling.
12. An exercise apparatus as defined in claim 10 wherein said second reinforcing member is substantially elastic along a longitudinal axis of said sling, and in a direction transverse to said longitudinal axis, and wherein said second reinforcing member is adapted to conform to a contacting body region of a user.
13. An exercise apparatus as defined in claim 8 further comprising a grip device, said grip device being adapted to be coupled to said second coupling device, said grip device including a body portion with a bore therethrough, said grip device including a first loop portion and a second loop portion, said first and second loop portions each including a respective region disposed within said bore.
14. A method of protecting a user of an exercise device comprising:
- providing an exercise device having a first coupling feature, a second coupling feature, a plurality of bungees adapted to be optionally coupled between said first and second coupling features, and an extension arrestor adapted to be coupled between said first and second coupling features; and
- providing said exercise device with a sheath, said sheath having an inner surface, said inner surface defining a longitudinal cavity therewithin, said sheath having an outer surface disposed in spaced relation to said inner surface, said sheath being adapted to receive said plurality of elastic members and said extension arrestor within said longitudinal cavity, said sheath being effective to substantially contain a snap back of one of said plurality of bungees.
15. A method of protecting a user of an exercise device as defined in claim 14 wherein said outer surface is adapted to be optionally gripped by a user during use.
16. A method of protecting a user of an exercise device as defined in claim 14 wherein said plurality of bungees is sized to support a full weight of said user.
17. A method of protecting a user of an exercise device as defined in claim 14 wherein said extension device is sized to support a full weight of said user.
18. A method of protecting a user of an exercise device as defined in claim 14 further comprising providing a further plurality of bungees, said further plurality of bungees being coupled respectively to said first coupling feature and arranged to provide an additional extension of said exercise device after said extension arrestor has reached a maximum extension.
19. A method of protecting a user of an exercise device as defined in claim 18 wherein said maximum extension comprises an adjustably configured maximum extension.
20. A method of protecting a user of an exercise device as defined in claim 14, further comprising providing said exercise device with a sling, said sling being adapted to be coupled to said second coupling feature, said sling having a reinforcing portion, said reinforcing portion including a surface region having a coefficient of friction adapted to provide an optimal grip between said surface region and a corresponding surface region of a user.
21. A method of protecting the user of an exercise device as defined in claim 14 further comprising providing one or more additional exercise devices and commonly supporting a full weight of said user with said exercise device and said one or more additional exercise devices.
Filed: May 24, 2013
Publication Date: Mar 13, 2014
Inventor: David BANNERMAN (Duxbury, MA)
Application Number: 13/902,620
International Classification: A63B 21/00 (20060101);