US20080176716A1 - Vertical Lumbar Stretching Machine and Method - Google Patents

Vertical Lumbar Stretching Machine and Method Download PDF

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Publication number
US20080176716A1
US20080176716A1 US12/013,323 US1332308A US2008176716A1 US 20080176716 A1 US20080176716 A1 US 20080176716A1 US 1332308 A US1332308 A US 1332308A US 2008176716 A1 US2008176716 A1 US 2008176716A1
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user
support structure
strap
vertical
machine
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Abandoned
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US12/013,323
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John P. Boren
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Boren John P
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Priority to US12/013,323 priority patent/US20080176716A1/en
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    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A63SPORTS; GAMES; AMUSEMENTS
    • A63BAPPARATUS FOR PHYSICAL TRAINING, GYMNASTICS, SWIMMING, CLIMBING, OR FENCING; BALL GAMES; TRAINING EQUIPMENT
    • A63B21/00Exercising apparatus for developing or strengthening the muscles or joints of the body by working against a counterforce, with or without measuring devices
    • A63B21/00181Exercising apparatus for developing or strengthening the muscles or joints of the body by working against a counterforce, with or without measuring devices comprising additional means assisting the user to overcome part of the resisting force, i.e. assisted-active exercising
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A61MEDICAL OR VETERINARY SCIENCE; HYGIENE
    • A61HPHYSICAL THERAPY APPARATUS, e.g. DEVICES FOR LOCATING OR STIMULATING REFLEX POINTS IN THE BODY; ARTIFICIAL RESPIRATION; MASSAGE; BATHING DEVICES FOR SPECIAL THERAPEUTIC OR HYGIENIC PURPOSES OR SPECIFIC PARTS OF THE BODY
    • A61H1/00Apparatus for passive exercising; Vibrating apparatus ; Chiropractic devices, e.g. body impacting devices, external devices for briefly extending or aligning unbroken bones
    • A61H1/02Stretching or bending or torsioning apparatus for exercising
    • A61H1/0218Drawing-out devices
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A61MEDICAL OR VETERINARY SCIENCE; HYGIENE
    • A61HPHYSICAL THERAPY APPARATUS, e.g. DEVICES FOR LOCATING OR STIMULATING REFLEX POINTS IN THE BODY; ARTIFICIAL RESPIRATION; MASSAGE; BATHING DEVICES FOR SPECIAL THERAPEUTIC OR HYGIENIC PURPOSES OR SPECIFIC PARTS OF THE BODY
    • A61H1/00Apparatus for passive exercising; Vibrating apparatus ; Chiropractic devices, e.g. body impacting devices, external devices for briefly extending or aligning unbroken bones
    • A61H1/02Stretching or bending or torsioning apparatus for exercising
    • A61H1/0218Drawing-out devices
    • A61H1/0229Drawing-out devices by reducing gravity forces normally applied to the body, e.g. by lifting or hanging the body or part of it
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A61MEDICAL OR VETERINARY SCIENCE; HYGIENE
    • A61HPHYSICAL THERAPY APPARATUS, e.g. DEVICES FOR LOCATING OR STIMULATING REFLEX POINTS IN THE BODY; ARTIFICIAL RESPIRATION; MASSAGE; BATHING DEVICES FOR SPECIAL THERAPEUTIC OR HYGIENIC PURPOSES OR SPECIFIC PARTS OF THE BODY
    • A61H1/00Apparatus for passive exercising; Vibrating apparatus ; Chiropractic devices, e.g. body impacting devices, external devices for briefly extending or aligning unbroken bones
    • A61H1/02Stretching or bending or torsioning apparatus for exercising
    • A61H1/0292Stretching or bending or torsioning apparatus for exercising for the spinal column
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A63SPORTS; GAMES; AMUSEMENTS
    • A63BAPPARATUS FOR PHYSICAL TRAINING, GYMNASTICS, SWIMMING, CLIMBING, OR FENCING; BALL GAMES; TRAINING EQUIPMENT
    • A63B21/00Exercising apparatus for developing or strengthening the muscles or joints of the body by working against a counterforce, with or without measuring devices
    • A63B21/00047Exercising devices not moving during use
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A63SPORTS; GAMES; AMUSEMENTS
    • A63BAPPARATUS FOR PHYSICAL TRAINING, GYMNASTICS, SWIMMING, CLIMBING, OR FENCING; BALL GAMES; TRAINING EQUIPMENT
    • A63B21/00Exercising apparatus for developing or strengthening the muscles or joints of the body by working against a counterforce, with or without measuring devices
    • A63B21/40Interfaces with the user related to strength training; Details thereof
    • A63B21/4001Arrangements for attaching the exercising apparatus to the user's body, e.g. belts, shoes or gloves specially adapted therefor
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A63SPORTS; GAMES; AMUSEMENTS
    • A63BAPPARATUS FOR PHYSICAL TRAINING, GYMNASTICS, SWIMMING, CLIMBING, OR FENCING; BALL GAMES; TRAINING EQUIPMENT
    • A63B23/00Exercising apparatus specially adapted for particular parts of the body
    • A63B23/02Exercising apparatus specially adapted for particular parts of the body for the abdomen, the spinal column or the torso muscles related to shoulders (e.g. chest muscles)
    • A63B23/0233Muscles of the back, e.g. by an extension of the body against a resistance, reverse crunch
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A61MEDICAL OR VETERINARY SCIENCE; HYGIENE
    • A61HPHYSICAL THERAPY APPARATUS, e.g. DEVICES FOR LOCATING OR STIMULATING REFLEX POINTS IN THE BODY; ARTIFICIAL RESPIRATION; MASSAGE; BATHING DEVICES FOR SPECIAL THERAPEUTIC OR HYGIENIC PURPOSES OR SPECIFIC PARTS OF THE BODY
    • A61H2201/00Characteristics of apparatus not provided for in the preceding codes
    • A61H2201/16Physical interface with patient
    • A61H2201/1602Physical interface with patient kind of interface, e.g. head rest, knee support or lumbar support
    • A61H2201/1628Pelvis
    • A61H2201/163Pelvis holding means therefor
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A61MEDICAL OR VETERINARY SCIENCE; HYGIENE
    • A61HPHYSICAL THERAPY APPARATUS, e.g. DEVICES FOR LOCATING OR STIMULATING REFLEX POINTS IN THE BODY; ARTIFICIAL RESPIRATION; MASSAGE; BATHING DEVICES FOR SPECIAL THERAPEUTIC OR HYGIENIC PURPOSES OR SPECIFIC PARTS OF THE BODY
    • A61H2203/00Additional characteristics concerning the patient
    • A61H2203/04Position of the patient
    • A61H2203/0406Standing on the feet
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A63SPORTS; GAMES; AMUSEMENTS
    • A63BAPPARATUS FOR PHYSICAL TRAINING, GYMNASTICS, SWIMMING, CLIMBING, OR FENCING; BALL GAMES; TRAINING EQUIPMENT
    • A63B23/00Exercising apparatus specially adapted for particular parts of the body
    • A63B2023/006Exercising apparatus specially adapted for particular parts of the body for stretching exercises
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A63SPORTS; GAMES; AMUSEMENTS
    • A63BAPPARATUS FOR PHYSICAL TRAINING, GYMNASTICS, SWIMMING, CLIMBING, OR FENCING; BALL GAMES; TRAINING EQUIPMENT
    • A63B21/00Exercising apparatus for developing or strengthening the muscles or joints of the body by working against a counterforce, with or without measuring devices
    • A63B21/06User-manipulated weights
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A63SPORTS; GAMES; AMUSEMENTS
    • A63BAPPARATUS FOR PHYSICAL TRAINING, GYMNASTICS, SWIMMING, CLIMBING, OR FENCING; BALL GAMES; TRAINING EQUIPMENT
    • A63B21/00Exercising apparatus for developing or strengthening the muscles or joints of the body by working against a counterforce, with or without measuring devices
    • A63B21/06User-manipulated weights
    • A63B21/068User-manipulated weights using user's body weight
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A63SPORTS; GAMES; AMUSEMENTS
    • A63BAPPARATUS FOR PHYSICAL TRAINING, GYMNASTICS, SWIMMING, CLIMBING, OR FENCING; BALL GAMES; TRAINING EQUIPMENT
    • A63B2208/00Characteristics or parameters related to the user or player
    • A63B2208/02Characteristics or parameters related to the user or player posture
    • A63B2208/0204Standing on the feet
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A63SPORTS; GAMES; AMUSEMENTS
    • A63BAPPARATUS FOR PHYSICAL TRAINING, GYMNASTICS, SWIMMING, CLIMBING, OR FENCING; BALL GAMES; TRAINING EQUIPMENT
    • A63B2208/00Characteristics or parameters related to the user or player
    • A63B2208/02Characteristics or parameters related to the user or player posture
    • A63B2208/0285Hanging
    • A63B2208/029Hanging upright
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A63SPORTS; GAMES; AMUSEMENTS
    • A63BAPPARATUS FOR PHYSICAL TRAINING, GYMNASTICS, SWIMMING, CLIMBING, OR FENCING; BALL GAMES; TRAINING EQUIPMENT
    • A63B2225/00Other characteristics of sports equipment
    • A63B2225/09Adjustable dimensions
    • A63B2225/093Height
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A63SPORTS; GAMES; AMUSEMENTS
    • A63BAPPARATUS FOR PHYSICAL TRAINING, GYMNASTICS, SWIMMING, CLIMBING, OR FENCING; BALL GAMES; TRAINING EQUIPMENT
    • A63B2230/00Measuring physiological parameters of the user
    • A63B2230/62Measuring physiological parameters of the user posture

Abstract

A machine and method for conditioning and strengthening the human frame, and particularly the lumbar muscles of the lower back and pelvic region. The user-controlled machine has a single restraint strap which wraps around the user's pelvic region and connects to both sides of a support structure. The single restraint strap may be positioned high or low about the user's pelvic region while the user faces forward, backward, or sideways relative to the support structure. The user causes the single restraint strap to be drawn tightly about the pelvic region, thereby restraining the pelvic region against the support structure. This isolates the lumbar muscles and permits the user to conduct specific lumbar muscle conditioning and strengthening exercises while remaining in an upright position.

Description

    CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION
  • This application is based upon provisional application 60/880,338, filed on Jan. 12, 2007, the priority of which is claimed.
  • BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
  • 1. Field of the Invention
  • This invention relates to a device or machine for stretching, exercising, and strengthening the human body. Specifically, the invention relates to a device or machine for exercising and strengthening the lumbar muscles while remaining in an upright position.
  • 2. Description of the Prior Art
  • Weakness of the back muscles, and particularly the lumbar muscles, which are responsible for proper posture, may lead to increasing muscle weakness and even muscle atrophy over time. In order to maintain their strength and conditioning, the lumbar muscles must be exercised through stretching and conditioning.
  • Prior art devices for stretching and strengthening the human frame, including the lumbar muscles of the lower back, have included numerous medical and non-medical mechanical devices. These mechanical devices include both motorized and non-motorized movement, and employ weight stacks, plyometric resistance and/or gravity to accomplish the goal of stretching, flexing, or strengthening the human frame. Purely medical devices have included over-the-door and power-controlled traction devices, among others, arranged and designed to decompress the spine. Non-medical devices have typically included gym-type stretching equipment including, but not limited to, gravity balls and Pilates machines, arranged and designed to improve flexibility and range of joint motion. However, Pilates equipment, MedX exercise equipment, and other fitness-oriented exercise and stretching units are often uncomfortable, cumbersome, and/or difficult to operate. Furthermore, fitness-oriented exercise and stretching units are not necessarily directed at strengthening and conditioning the user's lumbar muscles.
  • Among the more common types of prior art devices for stretching and conditioning the human frame are “inversion” devices which operate by inverting the human body. These inversion devices suspend the user in an upside down position by the ankles or knees so that the spine and associated structures that produce vertical pressure while upright can be unloaded and stretched. While inverted, the user may also twist, bend, and otherwise stretch and exercise muscles along the torso, including the lumbar muscles. However, a major drawback of these inversion devices and their method of operation is that the user's cardiovascular system must operate in an abnormal state thus potentially causing the user to feel ill effects from the inversion. Furthermore, typical inversion devices provide little, if any, of the proper back support needed to isolate and safely strengthen and condition the user's lumbar muscles.
  • U.S. Pat. Nos. 6,656,098 and 6,749,548 issued to Hoffman disclose a restraint and exercise device comprising a restraint, e.g. two straps, connected to a support structure. The straps help to restrain a portion of a person's body, such as the pelvic region, in a substantially pain-free position so as to reduce the pain that would otherwise be felt during exercise. A ratchet mechanism is used to adjust the tension in the two-strap restraint. However, for a user in pain, mechanical self adjustment of a non-actuated, two-strap restraint can prove difficult, if not impossible.
  • 3. Identification of Objects of the Invention
  • An object of the invention is to accomplish one or more of the following:
  • Provide a machine that limits or restrains the movement of the user's pelvic region thereby isolating the lumbar muscles of the lower back for exercise by the user;
  • Provide a machine, operable by the user without assistance, that limits or restrains the movement of the user's pelvic region while permitting exercise of the torso; and
  • Provide a machine that limits or restrains the movement of the user's pelvic region without twisting or otherwise radially moving the user's torso.
  • Other objects, features, and advantages of the invention will be apparent to one skilled in the art from the following specification and drawings.
  • SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
  • An exercise machine and method are disclosed for stretching and strengthening the human body, particularly the lumbar muscles of the lower back, to enhance postural balance. In the upright position, the movement of the lumbar muscles (i.e., the muscles supporting the lumbar vertebrae) results in simultaneous movement of the pelvis. To effectively exercise the lumbar muscles, they must be isolated by a device or machine which limits or restrains movement of the pelvis. The user-controlled machine limits or restrains movement of the pelvis using a single restraint strap that wraps around the user's pelvic region and connects to the support structure. The single restraint strap may be positioned high or low about the user's pelvic region while the user faces forward or backward relative to the support structure. The machine preferably has a user-controlled, powered actuator which draws the single restraint strap tight around the user's pelvic region thereby restraining the user's pelvic region against the support structure. This isolates the lumbar muscles and permits the user to conduct specific lumbar muscle conditioning and strengthening exercises while remaining in an upright position. Thus, the exercise machine enables quick, simple, and safe operation but also permits the user, without the aid of another, to isolate the lumber muscles and perform specific lumbar exercises in an upright position.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • The objects, advantages, and features of the invention will become apparent by reference to the drawings which are appended hereto, and wherein by way of illustration, and not limitation, implementations of the invention are described, of which:
  • FIG. 1 illustrates a frontal view of a preferred implementation of the exercise machine while not in operation for stretching and strengthening the lumbar muscles of the lower back;
  • FIG. 2 illustrates a side view of the exercise machine of FIG. 1 while in operation with the user's pelvic region securely bound to the support structure with a single restraint strap; and
  • FIG. 3 illustrates a side view of an alternative preferred implementation of the exercise machine of FIGS. 1 and 2 while in operation and with the addition of a user-controlled actuator that tightens or loosens the restraint of the user's pelvic region.
  • DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS OF THE INVENTION
  • As generally shown in FIGS. 1 and 2, a preferred implementation of the invention is a user-controlled, power-actuated machine 10 which limits or restrains movement of the pelvis. Machine 10 comprises a vertical support structure 20 having a vertical contact area 22 disposed thereon which is arranged and designed to receive a user's pelvic region when the user stands upright adjacent to the vertical contact area 22. The machine 10 uses a single restraint strap 12 which wraps around the user's pelvic region and connects to the vertical support structure 20. The user adjusts the vertical height of the single restraint strap 12 either manually or by controlling a powered actuator 16. The user removes any slack in the single restraint strap 12 by tightening strap 12 using a manually-operated mechanism 11 or a user-controlled powered actuator 26 (FIG. 3). This draws the user's pelvic region tightly against the vertical contact area 22 of support structure 20 and frees the user to perform upper body and midsection stretching and conditioning exercises. The user may face forward (as shown in FIG. 1), backward (not shown), or sideways (not shown) relative to the vertical contact area 22 of support structure 20 while operating the machine 10 in order to varyingly exercise the torso, and particularly the lumbar muscles of the lower back.
  • As illustrated in FIG. 1, the single restraint strap 12 comprises two sections 15, 17. An end portion of one section 15 of strap 12 is connected to the vertical support structure 20 at connection point 14. The other section 17 of strap 12 has an end portion that is connected to the opposite side of the support structure 20 at an analogous connection point (not shown). Alternatively, the two strap sections 15, 17 may share a common connection point (not shown) positioned on support structure 20. Preferably, the free end portion of strap 15 (i.e., the end portion not connection to the support structure 20) has a buckle, clasp, hook and loop fastener, or other connection device 11 which couples with a cooperative device 13 attached to the free end portion of strap 17, such that the two sections 15, 17 of single restraint strap 12 form a loop with the support structure 20. The sections 15, 17 of the single restraint strap 12 are arranged and designed to be of sufficient length to couple about the user's waist or midsection (i.e., have a circumference with the support structure 20 larger than the user's waist or midsection). Preferably, the buckle, clasp, hook and loop fastener, or other connection device 11 is arranged and designed with a mechanism to remove any slack in the single restraint strap 12 (e.g., as with a car seat buckle) and thereby firmly restrain the user's pelvic region against the support structure during use. While the sections 15, 17 of single restraint strap 12 are each shown in FIG. 1 as having some length, alternative implementations may have one of the sections 15, 17 of little to no length such that the buckle, clasp, hook and loop fastener, or other connection device 11 (or a cooperative device 13 therewith) are effectively a part of the support structure 20.
  • In a preferred implementation, as shown in FIG. 1, the sections 15, 17 of the single restraint strap are arranged and designed to couple near the center of the user's back when in operation. This permits the sections 15, 17 of single restraint strap 12 to be connected during use and any slack removed without unduly twisting or rotating the user. It also permits the user to enter and exist the machine 10 without having to detach an end portion of strap 12 from its respective connection point 14 on support structure 20. In another preferred implementation (FIG. 3), the single restraint strap 12 is constructed as a continuing member without sections and has the end portion un-releasably attached to one side of the support structure 20. The free end portion of strap 12 may be connected to the opposite side of the support structure 20 using a buckle, clasp, hook and loop fastener or other connection device 31 (and a cooperative device 33 therewith). More preferably, the length of the strap 12 is adjustable after connection using a hook and loop fastener disposed on the free end portion of the strap 12. Padding 18 may also be affixed to the single restraint strap 12 (i.e., one or both sections 15, 17 thereof) where the strap contacts the user to ensure that the strap 12 does not constrict or cause discomfort to the user while in operation. Similarly, the vertical contact area 22 of support structure 20 may be padded to ensure that the support structure 20 does not cause any discomfort to the user when the user's pelvic region becomes restrained thereagainst during operation.
  • The height of the strap connection point 14 on the support structure 20 is adjustable so that the single restraint strap 12 may be positioned high or low about the user's pelvic region while maintaining the support strap 12 perpendicular or nearly perpendicular to the user while the machine 10 is in operation. The vertical height of the strap connection point 14 to the support structure 20 is preferably adjusted using a user-controlled, powered actuator 16; however, the height of the strap connection point 14 could easily be adjusted manually in any known manner. As shown in FIG. 1, the support structure actuator 16 adjusts the vertical height of the strap connection point 14 by raising that portion of the support structure 20 (i.e., vertical bars 19, 24 or similar rigid members) so that the strap 12 properly contacts the user's pelvic region during operation. Actuators and other powered drive mechanisms which move and manipulate physical objects relative to each other are well known in the art and thus will not be discussed at length herein. Likewise, control interfaces for actuators and similar mechanisms, which are operable by the user, are also well known in the art and include, but are not limited to, remote controlled devices, hard wired devices, wireless devices and voice command systems. In one implementation of the invention, the control interface (not shown) for the actuator 16 is a push button control panel with a button that controls actuator 16 to raise the vertical height of the strap connection point 14 and another button that controls actuator 16 to lower the vertical height of the strap connection point 14.
  • As illustrated in FIGS. 1 and 2, the strap connection point 14 is disposed on a vertical bar 24 of support structure 20. The strap connection point disposed on the opposite side of the support structure (not shown) is similarly disposed on a vertical bar 19 (FIG. 1) of the support structure 20. For illustration purposes, the strap connection point 14 is shown as being disposed on a vertical bar 24 but may actually be disposed on any rigid member of support structure 20. In an alternative preferred implementation, and as shown in FIG. 3, the vertical bar 24, or a similar rigid member, is arranged and designed to move horizontally, relative to the vertical support structure, toward or away from a user operating the machine 10. When strap 12 is coupled around the user and connected to the vertical bar 24, movement of the bar 24 away from the user tightens the strap about the user and forces the user's pelvic region to become increasingly restrained against the vertical contact area 22 of support structure 20. Conversely, movement of the bar 24 toward the user loosens the strap about the user and reduces the restraint of the user's pelvic region against the vertical contact area 22 of support structure 20. A strap actuator 26 or similar powered mechanism is connected between the vertical bar 24 and the support structure 20 to provide horizontal movement to the vertical bar 24. Preferably, the rigid members (e.g., the vertical bars 19, 24) to which the end portions of strap 12 are connected to on both sides of the support structure 20 are physically connected to each other such that movement of the strap actuator 26 simultaneously moves both rigid members 19, 24 in unison, and therefore both end portions of strap 12. In this way, the user is tightly restrained against the support structure 20 by an equal force applied to both end portions of strap 12 and rotational or radial movement of the user is mitigated.
  • Preferably, the user controls the operation of strap actuator 26 while using the machine 10. In one implementation of the invention, the control interface (not shown) for the strap actuator 26 is a push button control panel with a button that controls actuator 26 to increase the tautness of the strap 12 about the user and the support structure 20, as described, and another button that controls actuator 26 to decrease the tautness of the strap 12 about the user and the support structure 20. Therefore, when the user is positioned upright, against vertical contact area 22, and within the loop formed by the strap 12 and the support structure 20, activating the button to increase the tautness of the strap 12 draws the user's pelvis toward the support structure 20, effectively binding the user's pelvis to the support structure 20. Conversely, when the button is activated to decrease the tautness of the strap 12, the user's pelvis becomes unbound from the support structure 20.
  • In an alternative implementation, the single restraint strap 12 does not have a buckle, clasp, hook and loop fastener, or other connection device 11 which couples the sections 15, 17 of the single restraint strap 12 together at a location between connection point of the strap 12 to the two opposing sides of support structure 20. Instead, the single restraint strap 20 is constructed as a continuous member without sections and has its two end portions attachable to the two sides of the support structure 20 (as shown in FIG. 3), or alternatively, to a single point (not shown) on the support structure 20. At least one end portion of the strap 12 is preferably connected through a user controlled, power-actuated drive mechanism (not shown) disposed at a strap connection point 14, which controls slack in the strap 12. Operation of the actuator (not shown) tightens or loosens the strap disposed about the user by increasing or decreasing, respectively, the length of the strap relative to the drive mechanism (not shown). In other words, the drive mechanism “pulls” the strap 12 therethrough toward the support structure 20 or “pushes” the strap therethrough away from the support structure 20.
  • As disclosed, the user easily controls, either manually or through a powered actuator 26, the degree to which the user's pelvic region is restrained against support structure 20. Binding the user's pelvis and/or pelvic region to the support structure 20 with the single restraint strap 12 isolates the lumbar muscles and permits the user to conduct specific lumbar muscle conditioning and strengthening exercises. Such exercises may include, but are not limited to, rotating and bending the torso about the immobilized pelvic region while in an upright standing position. The user may also perform the exercises, while facing forward, backward, or sideways relative to the support structure 20. Further still, the user can quickly adjust the vertical height at which the strap 12 is connected to the support structure 20 with the actuator control (not shown), thereby adjusting up or down the position of the strap 12 about the user's pelvic region in order to vary the targeted area to be exercised. A safety cord 30 or similar safety device (FIG. 2), coupled to the support structure 20 and preferably constructed of an elastic/resilient material, is provided which fits underneath the user's arms and across the user's back to ensure that the user does not slide out of the single restraint strap 12 or otherwise become detached from the machine 10 while performing lumbar muscle conditioning and strengthening exercises. Alternatively, as shown in FIG. 3, a strap 40, line, cord, rope, chain, or similar device is connected to a weight stack 44 through a series of sheaves or pulleys 42 disposed on support structure 20. The strap 40 preferably has a loop which fits around the user's torso (e.g., under the user's arms and across the user's back), however, other attachment mechanisms may be used. The strap 40 connected to weight stack 44 provides additional upper body resistance to the user while exercising.
  • In a preferred method of the invention, the user stands upright in front of the support structure 20 and couples the uncoupled single restraint strap 12 (e.g., couples the two sections 15, 17 of strap 12) around the pelvic area and to the support structure 20. The user next adjusts the vertical height of the strap connection point 14 and thus the strap 12 by pressing the appropriate control button (not shown) to raise or lower the strap using actuator 16. The user controls the actuator 16 until the strap 12 is raised to the desired height in comparison to the user's pelvic region. With the strap 12 wrapped around the user perpendicularly to the support structure 20, the user then removes any slack in the strap 12 either by tightening strap 12 using the mechanism of connection device 11 or by operating strap actuator 26 thereby drawing the user's pelvis toward the support structure 20.
  • Once the user's pelvis is secured to the support structure 20, the user places the safety cord 30, strap, or similar device underneath the user's arms and across the user's back to ensure that the user does not slide out of the single restraint strap 12 or otherwise become detached from the machine 10 while performing lumbar muscle conditioning and strengthening exercises. Alternatively, the user disposes strap 40 (connected to weight stack 44) around her torso in order to provide additional upper body weighted resistance while exercising. The user may then perform stretching and conditioning exercises by bending and/or rotating the upper body about the restrained pelvis region. If the single restraint strap 12 is or becomes too tight about the user's midsection, the user may at any time loosen the strap 12 using the mechanism of connection device 11 or by operating strap actuator 26. Conversely, if the single restraint strap 12 is or become too loose while performing the lumbar conditioning and strengthening exercises, then the user may at any time tighten strap 12 by using connection device 11 or by operating strap actuator 26. After the user has fully exercised the isolated lumbar muscles, the user simply loosens the single restraint strap 12 by using the mechanism of connection device 11 or by operating strap actuator 26. The user then unhooks, uncouples, or similarly unfastens the strap 12 to be released from the machine 10. The advantages of this machine 10 over prior art devices include, but are not limited to, its ease of use, its versatility and its ability to change the area or position to be exercised quickly with minimal effort.
  • The Abstract of the disclosure is written solely for providing the United States Patent and Trademark Office and the public at large with a means by which to determine quickly from a cursory inspection the nature and gist of the technical disclosure, and it represents one implementation of the invention and is not indicative of the nature of the invention as a whole.
  • While some embodiments of the invention have been illustrated in detail, the invention is not limited to the embodiments shown; modifications and adaptations of the above embodiment may occur to those skilled in the art. Such modifications and adaptations are in the spirit and scope of the invention as set forth herein:

Claims (20)

1. An exercise machine (10) for stretching the human body comprising,
a vertical support structure (20) arranged and designed with a vertical contact area (22) to receive a user's pelvic region thereagainst when a user stands upright adjacent to said support structure, said vertical contact area having two vertical sides;
a single restraint strap (12) having two end portions with one end portion un-releasably connected to a moveably disposed first member (19) of said support structure positioned adjacent to one vertical side of said vertical contact area and with another end portion un-releasably connected to a moveably disposed second member (24) of said support structure positioned adjacent to another vertical side of said vertical contact area, said single restraint strap comprising two sections (15, 17) which couple using a coupling mechanism (11, 13) at a position along said strap between said first and second members; said two sections of said single restraint strap being arranged and designed to couple around a user's pelvic region when a user stands upright adjacent to said support structure; and
a support structure actuator (16) connected adjacent to said first and second members and arranged and designed to adjust a vertical height of said first and second members of said support structure by vertically moving said first and second members, said vertical movement of said first and second members also vertically moving said single restraint strap relative to said support structure and to a user when a user stands upright adjacent thereto by moving the two end portions of said single restraint strap;
whereby, when a user stands upright adjacent to said vertical contact area of said support structure and couples said two sections of said single restraint strap around said user's pelvic region, said user's pelvic region is restrained against said vertical contact area of said support structure by said single restraint strap at said vertical height adjusted by said support structure actuator.
2. The machine of claim 1 further comprising,
a strap actuator (26) connected adjacent to said first and second members and arranged and designed to horizontally move said first and second members of said support structure; said horizontal movement of said first and second members also horizontally moving said two end portions of said single restraint strap relative to a user when a user is standing upright adjacent to said support structure;
whereby, when a user stands upright adjacent to said vertical contact area of said support structure and couples said two sections of said single restraint strap around said user's pelvic region, said user's pelvic region is tightly restrained against said vertical contact area when said first and second members are moved horizontally away from said user.
3. The machine of claim 2 wherein,
said first and second members are adjacently connected to each other.
4. The machine of claim 2 wherein,
said strap actuator is arranged and designed to be controlled by a user of said machine.
5. The machine of claim 1 wherein,
said first and second members are adjacently connected to each other.
6. The machine of claim 1 further comprising,
a weight bearing arrangement comprising a strap (40), a sheave (42), and a weight (44), said strap arranged and designed to be disposed about a user's torso and to connect to said weight through said sheave positioned on said support structure above said vertical contact area such that weighted resistance is applied to said user's torso.
7. The machine of claim 1 further comprising,
a safety cord having two end portions, said first end portion being coupled to said support structure above said vertical contact area and said second end portion arranged and designed to be disposed about a user's torso.
8. The machine of claim 1 wherein,
said support structure actuator is arranged and designed to be controlled by a user of said machine.
9. The machine of claim 1 wherein,
said coupling mechanism comprises a hook and loop fastener.
10. An exercise machine (10) for stretching the human body comprising,
a vertical support structure (20) arranged and designed with a vertical contact area (22) to receive a user's pelvic region thereagainst when a user stands upright adjacent to said support structure, said vertical contact area having two vertical sides;
a single restraint strap (12) having two end portions with one end portion un-releasably connected to a moveably disposed first member (19) of said support structure positioned adjacent to one vertical side of said vertical contact area and with another end portion releasably connectable to a moveably disposed second member (24) of said support structure positioned adjacent to another vertical side of said vertical contact area; said single restraint strap being arranged and designed to be disposed around a user's pelvic region when a user stands upright adjacent to said support structure; and
a support structure actuator (16) connected adjacent to said first and second members and arranged and designed to adjust a vertical height of said first and second members of said support structure by vertically moving said first and second members, said vertical movement of said first and second members also vertically moving said single restraint strap relative to said support structure and to a user when a user stands upright adjacent thereto by moving the two connected end portions of said single restraint strap;
whereby, when a user stands upright adjacent to said vertical contact area of said support structure and connects said releasably connectable end portion of said single restraint strap around said user's pelvic region and to said second member, said user's pelvic region is restrained against said vertical contact area of said support structure by said single restraint strap at said vertical height adjusted by said support structure actuator.
11. The machine of claim 10 further comprising,
a strap actuator (26) connected adjacent to said first and second members and arranged and designed to horizontally move said first and second members of said support structure; said horizontal movement of said first and second members also horizontally moving said two end portions of said single restraint strap relative to a user when a user stands upright adjacent to said support structure;
whereby, when a user stands upright adjacent to said vertical contact area of said support structure and connects said releasably connectable end portion of said single restraint strap around said user's pelvic region and to said second member, said user's pelvic region is tightly restrained against said vertical contact area when said first and second members are moved horizontally away from said user.
12. The machine of claim 11 wherein,
said first and second members are adjacently connected to each other.
13. The machine of claim 11 wherein,
said strap actuator is arranged and designed to be controlled by a user of said machine.
14. The machine of claim 10 wherein,
said first and second members are adjacently connected to each other.
15. The machine of claim 10 further comprising,
a weight bearing arrangement comprising a strap (40), a sheave (42), and a weight (44), said strap arranged and designed to be disposed about a user's torso and to connect to said weight through said sheave positioned on said support structure above said vertical contact area such that weighted resistance is applied to said user's torso.
16. The machine of claim 10 further comprising,
a safety cord having two end portions, said first end portion being coupled to said support structure above said vertical contact area and said second end portion arranged and designed to be disposed about a user's torso.
17. The machine of claim 10 wherein,
said support structure actuator is arranged and designed to be controlled by a user of said machine.
18. The machine of claim 10 wherein,
said releasably connectable end portion of said single restraint strap connects to said moveably disposed second member of said support structure using a hook and loop fastener.
19. An exercise method for stretching the human body comprising the steps of,
standing a user upright adjacent to a vertical contact area (22) of a vertical support structure (20), said vertical contact area arranged and designed to receive a user's pelvic region and having two vertical sides;
disposing a single restraining strap (12) around said user's pelvic region, said single restraining strap having two end portions;
releasably connecting said first end portion to a moveably disposed first member (24) of said support structure positioned adjacent to one vertical side of said vertical contact area, said second end portion being un-releasably connected to a moveably disposed second member (19) of said support structure positioned adjacent to another vertical side of said vertical contact area;
controlling a support structure actuator (16) connected adjacent to said first and second members to vertically move said single restraint strap to a desired vertical height relative to said user; and
controlling a support structure actuator (26) connected adjacent to said first and second members to horizontally move said first and second members and said first and second end portions connected thereto away from said user, thereby tightly restraining said user's pelvic region against said vertical contact area at said desired vertical height.
20. The exercise method of claim 19 wherein,
said controlling steps are performed by said user while using said machine.
US12/013,323 2007-01-12 2008-01-11 Vertical Lumbar Stretching Machine and Method Abandoned US20080176716A1 (en)

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US9764188B1 (en) * 2016-08-25 2017-09-19 Aganyan Inc. Portable multi-functional upright body stretching apparatus
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US7846080B2 (en) 2007-01-12 2010-12-07 Boren John P Machine and method for head, neck and, shoulder stretching
US9402776B2 (en) * 2007-04-25 2016-08-02 Backproject Corporation Restraint, reposition, traction and exercise device and method
US20110208242A1 (en) * 2007-04-25 2011-08-25 Backproject Corporation Restraint, reposition, traction and exercise device and method
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US9089737B2 (en) * 2007-12-21 2015-07-28 Cybex International, Inc. Exercise apparatus and method with selectively variable stabilization
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US8070658B2 (en) * 2007-12-21 2011-12-06 Cybex International, Inc. Exercise apparatus and method with selectively variable stabilization
US8652015B2 (en) * 2009-11-27 2014-02-18 Technogym S.P.A. Safety device
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US20110218086A1 (en) * 2010-03-05 2011-09-08 Boren John P Apparatus and method of gravity-assisted spinal stretching
US9345611B2 (en) 2011-05-11 2016-05-24 Backproject Corporation Cervical repositioning, restraint, traction and exercise device and method
USD835114S1 (en) 2016-06-08 2018-12-04 Humanscale Corporation Workstation
US9616284B1 (en) * 2016-08-25 2017-04-11 Aganyan Inc. Portable multi-functional upright body stretching apparatus
US9764188B1 (en) * 2016-08-25 2017-09-19 Aganyan Inc. Portable multi-functional upright body stretching apparatus
USD849456S1 (en) * 2017-04-11 2019-05-28 Humanscale Corporation Workstation

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