US20140295983A1 - Exercise, training, and therapy tool and related systems and methods - Google Patents

Exercise, training, and therapy tool and related systems and methods Download PDF

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Publication number
US20140295983A1
US20140295983A1 US14/207,158 US201414207158A US2014295983A1 US 20140295983 A1 US20140295983 A1 US 20140295983A1 US 201414207158 A US201414207158 A US 201414207158A US 2014295983 A1 US2014295983 A1 US 2014295983A1
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Prior art keywords
user
sleeve
tool
telescoping member
exercise tool
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Abandoned
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US14/207,158
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Butler Nooner
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Butler Nooner
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Priority to US14/207,158 priority patent/US20140295983A1/en
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    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A63SPORTS; GAMES; AMUSEMENTS
    • A63BAPPARATUS FOR PHYSICAL TRAINING, GYMNASTICS, SWIMMING, CLIMBING, OR FENCING; BALL GAMES; TRAINING EQUIPMENT
    • A63B69/00Training appliances or apparatus for special sports
    • A63B69/36Training appliances or apparatus for special sports for golf
    • 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
    • A63B21/02Exercising apparatus for developing or strengthening the muscles or joints of the body by working against a counterforce, with or without measuring devices using resilient force-resisters
    • A63B21/026Bars; Tubes; Leaf springs
    • A63B21/1465
    • 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
    • A63B21/4027Specific exercise interfaces
    • A63B21/4033Handles, pedals, bars or platforms
    • 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
    • A63B23/0238Spinal column
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A63SPORTS; GAMES; AMUSEMENTS
    • A63BAPPARATUS FOR PHYSICAL TRAINING, GYMNASTICS, SWIMMING, CLIMBING, OR FENCING; BALL GAMES; TRAINING EQUIPMENT
    • A63B24/00Electric or electronic controls for exercising apparatus of preceding groups; Controlling or monitoring of exercises, sportive games, training or athletic performances
    • A63B24/0003Analysing the course of a movement or motion sequences during an exercise or trainings sequence, e.g. swing for golf or tennis
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A63SPORTS; GAMES; AMUSEMENTS
    • A63BAPPARATUS FOR PHYSICAL TRAINING, GYMNASTICS, SWIMMING, CLIMBING, OR FENCING; BALL GAMES; TRAINING EQUIPMENT
    • A63B24/00Electric or electronic controls for exercising apparatus of preceding groups; Controlling or monitoring of exercises, sportive games, training or athletic performances
    • A63B24/0087Electric or electronic controls for exercising apparatus of groups A63B21/00 - A63B23/00, e.g. controlling load
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A63SPORTS; GAMES; AMUSEMENTS
    • A63BAPPARATUS FOR PHYSICAL TRAINING, GYMNASTICS, SWIMMING, CLIMBING, OR FENCING; BALL GAMES; TRAINING EQUIPMENT
    • A63B24/00Electric or electronic controls for exercising apparatus of preceding groups; Controlling or monitoring of exercises, sportive games, training or athletic performances
    • A63B24/0062Monitoring athletic performances, e.g. for determining the work of a user on an exercise apparatus, the completed jogging or cycling distance
    • A63B2024/0071Distinction between different activities, movements, or kind of sports performed
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A63SPORTS; GAMES; AMUSEMENTS
    • A63BAPPARATUS FOR PHYSICAL TRAINING, GYMNASTICS, SWIMMING, CLIMBING, OR FENCING; BALL GAMES; TRAINING EQUIPMENT
    • A63B71/00Games or sports accessories not covered in groups A63B1/00 - A63B69/00
    • A63B71/06Indicating or scoring devices for games or players, or for other sports activities
    • A63B71/0619Displays, user interfaces and indicating devices, specially adapted for sport equipment, e.g. display mounted on treadmills
    • A63B71/0622Visual, audio or audio-visual systems for entertaining, instructing or motivating the user
    • A63B2071/0625Emitting sound, noise or music
    • A63B2071/063Spoken or verbal instructions
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A63SPORTS; GAMES; AMUSEMENTS
    • A63BAPPARATUS FOR PHYSICAL TRAINING, GYMNASTICS, SWIMMING, CLIMBING, OR FENCING; BALL GAMES; TRAINING EQUIPMENT
    • A63B2210/00Space saving
    • A63B2210/50Size reducing arrangements for stowing or transport
    • A63B2210/58Size reducing arrangements for stowing or transport slideably retracted in a housing when not in use
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A63SPORTS; GAMES; AMUSEMENTS
    • A63BAPPARATUS FOR PHYSICAL TRAINING, GYMNASTICS, SWIMMING, CLIMBING, OR FENCING; BALL GAMES; TRAINING EQUIPMENT
    • A63B2220/00Measuring of physical parameters relating to sporting activity
    • A63B2220/30Speed
    • A63B2220/34Angular speed
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A63SPORTS; GAMES; AMUSEMENTS
    • A63BAPPARATUS FOR PHYSICAL TRAINING, GYMNASTICS, SWIMMING, CLIMBING, OR FENCING; BALL GAMES; TRAINING EQUIPMENT
    • A63B2220/00Measuring of physical parameters relating to sporting activity
    • A63B2220/40Acceleration
    • A63B2220/44Angular acceleration
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A63SPORTS; GAMES; AMUSEMENTS
    • A63BAPPARATUS FOR PHYSICAL TRAINING, GYMNASTICS, SWIMMING, CLIMBING, OR FENCING; BALL GAMES; TRAINING EQUIPMENT
    • A63B2220/00Measuring of physical parameters relating to sporting activity
    • A63B2220/80Special sensors, transducers or devices therefor
    • A63B2220/803Motion sensors
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A63SPORTS; GAMES; AMUSEMENTS
    • A63BAPPARATUS FOR PHYSICAL TRAINING, GYMNASTICS, SWIMMING, CLIMBING, OR FENCING; BALL GAMES; TRAINING EQUIPMENT
    • A63B2220/00Measuring of physical parameters relating to sporting activity
    • A63B2220/80Special sensors, transducers or devices therefor
    • A63B2220/83Special sensors, transducers or devices therefor characterised by the position of the sensor
    • A63B2220/833Sensors arranged on the exercise apparatus or sports implement
    • 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

Abstract

An exercise tool includes an elongated bar configured to be positioned behind a user such that a midpoint of the elongated bar is substantially aligned with a spine of the user. The exercise tool includes a sensing unit configured to be operational during rotation of the bar by the user about the midpoint of the elongated bar. The sensing unit is configured to sense at least one of a speed associated with the bar, an acceleration associated with the bar, a number of times the bar has been rotated, an angle between a plane of rotation and a reference plane or reference line, a range of rotation, and an amount of deviation from which the plane of rotation varies from a standard or a measured plane.

Description

    CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION
  • This application claims the benefit of and priority to U.S. Provisional Patent Application Ser. No. 61/798,021 filed on Mar. 15, 2013, entitled EXERCISE, TRAINING, AND THERAPY TOOL AND RELATED SYSTEMS AND METHODS, which is hereby incorporated by reference.
  • BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
  • 1. Field of the Invention
  • The present disclosure generally relates to a portable fitness and therapy apparatus for use in improving a user's physical conditioning and the biomechanical form of a rotational motion, such as a golf swing.
  • 2. Description of the Related Art
  • While golfers vary in skill, age and physical condition, the pursuit of the majority of golfers is the same - a more powerful, more efficient, more consistent golf swing. Technology has produced forgiving modern equipment that makes the results of any given golf swing more effective, but the truth remains that the player's own body is his most significant, most variable piece of equipment. This concept, however, is not specific to the game of golf and is applicable to almost any sport or physical activity that requires swinging or rotational motion. Thus, for many golfers and other athletes, an effective physical training and conditioning regime is paramount to improving their performance, minimizing the potential for injury, and creating a competitive edge. Nonetheless, typical exercise regimens do little to improve a person's biomechanics that are specific to their sport of interest.
  • SUMMARY
  • The problems presented by existing portable fitness apparatuses for use in improving a user's physical conditioning and the biomechanical form of a rotational motion are solved by the systems and methods of the illustrative embodiments described herein. In one embodiment, an exercise tool is provided and includes an elongated bar configured to be positioned behind a user such that a midpoint of the elongated bar is substantially aligned with a spine of the user. The exercise tool includes a sensing unit configured to be operational during rotation of the bar by the user about the midpoint of the elongated bar. The sensing unit is configured to sense at least one of a speed associated with the bar, an acceleration associated with the bar, a number of times the bar has been rotated, an angle between a plane of rotation and a reference plane or reference line, a range of rotation, and an amount of deviation from which the plane of rotation varies from a standard or a measured plane.
  • In another embodiment, a method of exercising includes positioning an elongated bar behind a neck of a user and aligning a midpoint of the elongated bar with a spine of the user. The elongated bar and a portion the upper body of the user are rotated about an axis of rotation that substantially corresponds to a longitudinal or vertical axis of the spine. The path of the elongated bar during rotation defines a rotational plane. Data is collected regarding at least one of a speed associated with the rotation of the elongated bar, an acceleration associated with the rotation of the elongated bar, a number of times the bar has been rotated, an angle between the rotational plane and a reference plane or reference line, a range of rotation, and an amount of deviation from which the rotational plane varies from a standard or a measured plane.
  • In another embodiment, a system for teaching a golf swing includes an exercise and training tool that is sized and configured to be positioned behind the shoulder blades of the user with the arms of the user wrapping around a top surface of the tool and extending out toward each end of the tool. The tool includes a sleeve having a first end configured to engage a first collar and a second end configured to engage a second collar. The sleeve includes a first inner diameter stop positioned a first distance from the midpoint of the sleeve and a second inner diameter stop positioned a second distance from the midpoint of the sleeve on the opposite side of the midpoint from the first inner diameter stop. A first telescoping member is operable to extend from and retract into the first end of the sleeve, the first telescoping member having an outer diameter that is less than the inner diameter of the sleeve. The first telescoping member includes a first outer diameter stop positioned along an outer surface of the first telescoping member. A second telescoping member is operable to extend from and retract into the second end of the sleeve, the second telescoping member having an outer diameter that is less than the inner diameter of the sleeve. The second telescoping member has a second outer diameter stop positioned along an outer surface of the second telescoping member. The first collar is coupled to the first end of the sleeve and the second collar is coupled to a second end of the sleeve. A computing device is coupled to the midpoint of the sleeve. The first collar is operable to engage the first telescoping member and the first end of the sleeve to fix the position of the first telescoping member relative to the sleeve. The second collar is operable to engage the second telescoping member and the second end of the sleeve to fix the position of the second telescoping member relative to the sleeve. The computing device includes a display, a vibratory motor, a speaker, a memory, a processor, and one or more sensors.
  • In yet another embodiment, an exercise and training tool that is sized and configured to be positioned behind the shoulder blades of the user with the arms of the user wrapping around a top surface of the tool and extending out toward each end of the tool is provided. The tool includes a sleeve having a first end configured to engage a first collar and a second end configured to engage a second collar, the sleeve having a first inner diameter stop positioned a first distance from the midpoint of the sleeve and a second inner diameter stop positioned a second distance from the midpoint of the sleeve on the opposite side of the midpoint from the first inner diameter stop. A first telescoping member is operable to extend from and retract into the first end of the sleeve, the first telescoping member having an outer diameter that is less than the inner diameter of the sleeve. The first telescoping member has a first outer diameter stop positioned along an outer surface of the first telescoping member. A second telescoping member is operable to extend from and retract into the second end of the sleeve, the second telescoping member having an outer diameter that is less than the inner diameter of the sleeve. The second telescoping member has a second outer diameter stop positioned along an outer surface of the second telescoping member. The first collar is coupled to the first end of the sleeve and the second collar is coupled to a second end of the sleeve. The first collar is operable to engage the first telescoping member and the first end of the sleeve to fix the position of the first telescoping member relative to the sleeve. The second collar is operable to engage the second telescoping member and the second end of the sleeve to fix the position of the second telescoping member relative to the sleeve.
  • In still another embodiment, a process for tracking the motion of a person using an exercise tool is provided. The exercise tool includes a sleeve having a first end configured to engage a first collar and a second end configured to engage a second collar, a first telescoping member operable to extend from and retract into the first end of the sleeve, and a second telescoping member operable to extend from and retract into the second end of the sleeve. The exercise tool is operated by a user placing the tool over their shoulder and rotating evenly from one direction to another such that the user's shoulders emulate the motion of swinging a golf club. The process includes receiving user input indicating one or more user parameters that the user desires to track. The process further includes receiving sensor input from one or more sensors indicating that the user has started using the exercise tool, and starting a tracking process based on the sensor input. The process further includes providing feedback to the user to indicate the tracked one or more user parameters.
  • Other objects, features, and advantages of the invention will become apparent with reference to the drawings, detailed description, and claims that follow.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • Illustrative embodiments are described in detail below with reference to the attached drawing figures, which are incorporated by reference herein and wherein:
  • FIG. 1 illustrates a front, isometric view of an illustrative embodiment of an exercise tool;
  • FIG. 2 illustrates an exploded, isometric view of the exercise tool of FIG. 1;
  • FIG. 3 illustrates a front view of an exercise tool that is similar to the exercise tool of FIG. 1 and that includes comfort pads, the exercise tool being shown in an extended position;
  • FIG. 4 illustrates a front view of the exercise tool of FIG. 3, the exercise tool being shown in a contracted position;
  • FIG. 5 illustrates a front view of the exercise tool of FIG. 3, the exercise tool being shown with a mount and a computing device attached;
  • FIGS. 6A-6C illustrates a schematic of a user using the exercise tool of FIG. 5;
  • FIG. 7 illustrates a flow chart showing an illustrative process for tracking data related to the use of the exercise tool of FIG. 5;
  • FIG. 8 illustrates an illustrative embodiment of a screenshot of a display of a computing device running an application that executes a process that is similar to the process shown in FIG. 7, the screenshot showing a user input display; and
  • FIG. 9 illustrates an illustrative embodiment of a screenshot of the display of a computing device that is running an application that executes a process that is similar to the process shown in FIG. 7, the screenshot showing data that is displayed to a user.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION
  • In the following detailed description of the illustrative, non-limiting embodiments, reference is made to the accompanying drawings that form a part hereof. These illustrative embodiments are described in sufficient detail to enable those skilled in the art to practice the disclosed tools, systems and methods. It is understood that other embodiments may be utilized and that logical structural, mechanical, electrical, and chemical changes may be made without departing from the spirit or scope of the disclosure. To avoid detail not necessary to enable those skilled in the art to practice the embodiments described herein, the description may omit certain information known to those skilled in the art. The following detailed description is not to be taken in a limiting sense, and the scope of the illustrative embodiments is defined only by the appended claims.
  • It will be understood that the benefits and advantages described above may relate to one embodiment or may relate to several embodiments of the invention. It will further be understood that reference to “an” item refers to one or more of those items.
  • In view of the shortcomings of existing exercise regimens with regard to improving the biomechanics of an upper body motion, especially a motion that involves rotation of the upper body, there is a need for an improved exercise tool that helps golfers, athletes, and other users improve their strength and physical conditioning and, in some cases, the mechanics of a desired motion or activity. The following disclosure describes illustrative embodiments of an exercise tool that provides improved flexibility and strength to a user.
  • With respect to golfers, for example, the physical stresses experienced by the body as a result of the golf swing are staggering. When one considers that the average swing speed for many golfers exceeds 100 miles per hour (mph), it becomes obvious that the golf swing is very powerful and highly dynamic. The club travels over an arc with an average circumference of roughly twenty feet. The rapid acceleration of the club head from 0 mph (top of back swing) to 100 mph (ball impact) and then back to 0 mph (end of follow through), while traveling such a short relative distance over and over again, creates massive physical loads on the skeletal and muscular systems in the body. These loads may be directly related to the measurably high incidences of lower back (lumbar spinal) injury and trauma experienced by golfers around the world. The repetitive nature of these motions can lead to damaging degenerative effects seen in the spines of many golfers.
  • Similar injuries can occur in athletes of other sports, including, for example, baseball, tennis, and hockey. All of these sports, among others, require extensive upper body movement and rotation, all of which place stress on the spine and require use of abdominal and other core muscles. Strengthening these muscles provides great benefits to people engaged in these sports, such as greater performance and a decreased risk of injury. Similarly, for people who have been injured (whether an athlete or not) or who have a need to participate in physical therapy for other reasons, strengthening of core muscles and increasing flexibility often provide a path to healing.
  • In an attempt to assist golfers in attaining a higher level of consistency, many golf training and exercise devices exist. Most of these devices are oriented to one of two common goals: (1) providing the golfer with a training device to improve swing mechanics and (2) providing the golfer with an exercise device to strengthen his swing. Many of these training aids, however, do not help to significantly improve the physical conditioning of the golfer.
  • Golfers may use traditional workout regimens, such as weight training, running, and cycling to gain strength and stamina and other types of exercise, such as yoga, to increase flexibility. With regard to improving performance in golf or any other sport that involves a swinging motion, a shortcoming of these exercise regimens is that they are not specific to any one particular type of motion and may not help an athlete to improve the mechanics of their swing. Thus, there is a need for a training aid that improves an athlete's physical conditioning while also improving the mechanics of their swing.
  • Referring now to the Figures, a system for refining a swinging motion and improving the physical conditioning of a user is shown. According to the illustrative embodiment of FIGS. 1 and 2, an exercise tool 100 that may be used as a training aid comprises a multi-piece elongated bar. The elongated bar includes a sleeve 102 that, in the illustrative embodiment is a round, tubular member. The sleeve 102 may be circular in shape, or may be made from a material having an alternative profile, such as a shaped part that is hollow at the ends or a hollow extrusion having a cross-section that is rectangular, elliptical, triangular, or of any other suitable shape. The exercise tool 100 includes two telescoping members 104 that are received by and extend from either end of the sleeve 102, the telescoping members 104 being sized and shaped to have an external profile that complements the internal profile of the sleeve 102. The telescoping members 104 may be extended from the sleeve 102 in an extended or expanded position and retracted back into the sleeve 102 in a retracted or collapsed position.
  • To prevent the telescoping members 104 from retracting completely within the sleeve 102, one or more stops, such as inner stops 122, may be coupled to or formed into the internal surface of the sleeve 102. As referenced herein, a stop refers to a feature on a telescoping member 104 or sleeve 102 that limits the depth or extension to which the telescoping member 104 may be received within or extended from the sleeve 102. For example, the inner stop 122 may be positioned on the inner diameter of the sleeve 102 at approximately the midpoint of the sleeve 102 to prevent the telescoping member 104 from contracting into the sleeve 102 past the location of the inner stop 122. In such an embodiment, the inner stop 122 may be a stopping groove, a portion of material having a smaller diameter section or other restrictive feature, such as a fastener, an adhesive, or a lock ring placed in a complementary grove that makes a section of the sleeve 102 narrower than the outer diameter of the telescoping member 104. Alternatively, two inner stops 122 may be placed at approximately the same distance from the midpoint of the sleeve 102 on either side of a midpoint of the sleeve 102 to restrict the contraction of each telescoping member 104 into the sleeve 102.
  • A second stop, such as an outer stop 120, may also be attached to an outer surface of the telescoping members 104 to limit the extent to which the telescoping members 104 may extend from the sleeve 102 and thereby retain at least a portion of the telescoping members 104 within the sleeve 102. The outer stop 120 may be formed from a lock ring, clip, fastener, set screw, a raised portion of the telescoping member 104, a bushing, or a similar feature having an outer dimension, such as an outer diameter, that is greater than an inner dimension, such as an inner diameter, of a retaining feature that is coupled to the end of the sleeve 102. In the embodiment illustrated in FIGS. 1 and 2, the retaining feature is a collar 106 that is coupled to each end of the sleeve 102 to retain the telescoping member 104 within the sleeve 102.
  • It is noted that the telescoping members 104 may be free to slide in an out of the sleeve 102 to the extent the telescoping member is not restricted by engagement of the end of the telescoping member 104 and internal stop 122 or the outer stop 120 and the retaining feature, such as the collar 106. In some embodiments, a bushing 112, such as a step down bushing, may be installed at the end of the sleeve 102 where the telescoping member 104 enters the sleeve 102. The bushing 112 provides for efficient telescopic performance and serves as a safety feature by covering any potentially sharp edges that would otherwise be exposed at the junction of the tubes that form the telescoping members and the larger tube that forms the sleeve. The bushings 112 remove any play or excessive clearance space between the telescoping members 104 and collar 106 or sleeve 102. Each bushing 112 constrains one of the telescoping members 104 so that the telescoping members 104 are guided to move axially along the axis of the sleeve 102 without excessive play. In one embodiment, the bushings 112 are made from a softer material that provides a relatively smooth, low-friction interface between sleeve 102 and the telescoping members 104. The collars 106 may be tightened against the sleeve 102, and may include an expansion cam or similar feature that engages and fixes the position of the telescoping members 104 so that the telescoping members 104 are no longer free to move along the axis of the sleeve 102. It is noted that while a threaded collar 106 that engages a threaded end 124 of the sleeve 102 is shown, other collar configurations may also be suitable. For example, a variable diameter collar such as a quick release-type collar may be used to fix the telescoping members 104 relative to the sleeve 102. To facilitate the use of a quick-release, the ends of the sleeve 102 may be notched in some embodiments to allow the quick-release collar to more easily compress the ends of the sleeve 102.
  • As further shown in FIG. 2, weights 110 may be inserted into the telescoping members 104 to add weight to the exercise tool 100. In some embodiments, the weights 110 are inserted within the distal ends of each telescoping member 104, opposite the end of the telescoping member that is closest to the midpoint of the sleeve 102 in the assembled exercise tool 100. Here, the weights 110 are high-density weight inserts composed of a material such as lead, tungsten, iron, steel, or concrete. The weights 110 are generally formed in a shape that complements the shape of the inner surface of the telescoping members 104. For example, where the telescoping members 104 are formed from round tubing, the weights may be cylindrical and sized and shaped to have a precise fit with minimal clearance between the surface of the weight 110 and inner surface of the telescoping member 104, which allows for precise installation of the weight 110 into the inner volume of the end of the telescoping member 104. In such an embodiment, the diameter of the weights 110 may be no greater than the maximum allowable internal diameter of the telescoping members 104. The weighted inserts may be fixed into place by a high strength epoxy, resin epoxy, glue, any suitable high-strength adhesive material, or a mechanical fastener, such as a screw or bolt. In an illustrative embodiment, the weights 110 may range from 1-20 pounds. In an embodiment, based on the anticipated characteristics of the user, the optimal weight of each of the two weights may be 2.5 lbs.
  • Protective end caps 108 may be applied to each end of the exercise tool 100 at the ends of the telescoping members 104 over the weights 110 to minimize the risk of the telescoping members being damaged or causing damage. The end caps 108 close the ends of each telescoping member 104 and thereby enhance the durability of the exercise tool 100 and reduce the potential for accidental user injury from that might result from contact with rough metal ends or edges at the ends of the telescoping members 104.
  • In some embodiments, the weights 110 may be formed integrally to the telescoping members 104 by bar stock that is solid at the end that is distal from the sleeve and hollow at the end that is proximate or within the sleeve 102. In another embodiment, the weights 110 may be formed from cement or suitable another high density filler material that is molded within the telescoping members 104. In another embodiment, the weights 110 may include a plurality of small parts, such as metallic or other high-density beads or stackable cylinders, a high-density powder, or a liquid that occupies a spring-loaded or compressible compartment in the telescoping member 104 to bias the weight toward the ends of the telescoping members 104. In such embodiments, the protective end caps 108 may also serve as lids to enable the easy removal or addition of weight, whether in the form of a plurality of small parts, a powder, or a liquid.
  • In an embodiment, the components of the exercise tool 100 may be constructed of a high tensile strength material, such as a high-grade steel, aluminum, or other alloy, a fibrous composite material, a polymer, or even wood. Tubing of various diameters may be used to form the sleeve 102 and telescoping members 104. For example, the sleeve 102 may be constructed from a tube having a continuous diameter of no less than 0.5 inches and no greater than 2 inches. Similarly, the telescoping members 104 may be formed from tubing that is sized and configured to complement the inner diameter of the sleeve 102 to facilitate smooth, telescopic movement of the telescoping members 104 into and out of the sleeve 102. In the embodiment, the material selected to form the sleeve 102 and telescoping members 104 exhibits a high strength to weight ratio and relatively low deflection modulus.
  • In an illustrative embodiment, the design of the exercise tool 100 is bilaterally symmetrical about a midpoint, such as midpoint 205 discussed with regard to FIGS. 3 and 4. While the exercise tool 100 includes several movable parts, in some embodiments, the assembled exercise tool 100 may be considered a unitary design with no removable components, such as weights or handles. In other embodiments, the exercise tool 100 may have telescopic members or sleeves that could be removed by the user. In any particular embodiment, accessories such as a bracket may be removably attached to the exercise tool 100 to allow the positioning of sensors or a computing device on the exercise tool 100. The respective telescoping members 104 may be identical, having like measurements and smaller corresponding inner and outer diameters relative to the sleeve 102 to provide efficient telescopic functionality.
  • Referring again to FIG. 2, in an illustrative embodiment, construction of the exercise tool 100 includes installing the tubular telescoping member 104 into each end of the sleeve 102. Each telescoping member 104 is adjustable and fixable relative to the sleeve 102 using the collar 106, which may be a plastic expansion cam twist locking mechanism combined with step-down-bushings 112, to anchor the telescoping member 104 relative to the sleeve 102. Weights 110 may be installed within the telescoping members 104, which may be covered by protective end caps 108 that prevent the telescoping members 104 from causing or receiving damage. The resulting construction may be considered a bilaterally symmetrical telescopic apparatus, wherein each of the two telescoping members 104 may be manipulated by a user to contract within and extend out of the sleeve 102 over an equal range of distances.
  • According to an illustrative embodiment, each telescoping member 104 will displace no more than 50% of the available inner circumferential volume of the sleeve when the telescoping members are fully contracted. As such, one or more stopping grooves may function as inner stops 122 to impede the telescoping members from traveling than further into the sleeve and occupying more than 50% of the volume of the sleeve. Each telescoping member 104 may be restricted by outer stops 120 from extending beyond the end of the sleeve 102 by more than 90% of the length of the telescoping member. This limitation creates a structurally beneficial overlap between the sleeve 102 and each telescoping member 104 that helps to maintain the structural rigidity of the exercise tool 100 even when the telescoping members 104 are fully extended. The outer stops 120 are installed at each end of the sleeve, and may be formed by complementary features such as ridges in the collar 106 and telescoping member 104 that engage to prevent the telescoping members 104 from exiting the sleeve entirely.
  • In an embodiment, the collars 106 may be simple internal twist operated expansion cams that can be operated with one hand. The collars 106 are be installed at the ends of the sleeve 102 to engage and fix the position of the telescoping members 104. Such an internal cam feature enables a user to secure the telescoping members 104 into the fully contracted position, fully extended or any other intermediate position that may be desirable to a user. As such, the exercise tool 100 may be configured with intermediate stops, such as detents or notches in the sleeve 102 that complement protrusions, spring-loaded ball bearings, or recesses in the telescoping members 104. The intermediate stops may establish intermediate locating indicia for partially extending each telescoping member 104 the same distance from the end of the sleeve 102. In an embodiment, visual indicia, such as numbers or lines drawn or printed on the telescoping members may be included to enable a user to extend each telescoping member 104 by the same amount. These features allow for customization and adjustment by users because each user may easily and accurately move the telescoping members 104 into and out of the sleeve 102 and thereby adjust the characteristics of the exercise tool 100.
  • FIG. 3 shows an exercise tool 200 that is similar in many respects to the exercise tool 100 of FIG. 1. The embodiment of FIGS. 3 and 4 includes comfort pads 214 that are positioned along the sleeve at the locations of a user's shoulders. With regard to the embodiment of FIGS. 3 and 4, it is noted that the sleeve 202 is the central structural element of the exercise tool 200. Shown here, pressure release ports 211 are formed or drilled into the central portion of the sleeve to facilitate the piston-like motion of the telescoping members 204 into and out of the sleeve 202. The pressure release ports shall be adequately sized to prevent a pneumatic pressure differential between the inner volume of the sleeve 202 and the external environment so that the air in the sleeve 202 does not resist extension and contraction of the telescoping members 204. As noted above, the sleeve 202 is partially covered by one or more comfort pads 214, which may be made from a resilient and dense cushioning material. The pads 214 or a single pad may be joined to the sleeve 202 using a suitable adhesive compound, such as an epoxy, or frictionally engaged with the outer surface of the sleeve 202. The length of the one or more comfort pads 214 may be generally less than the length of the sleeve 202. As such, the comfort pads 214 may be separated to provide easy recognition of the midpoint 205, or center, of the exercise tool 200. The comfort pads 214 may be formed from, or covered by, leather or another suitable covering material that may increase wear and comfort for the user. The color and finish of the exercise tool 200, including its components, may be that of the natural chosen construction materials or some other modified process of sealing, finishing or painting chosen to enhance the durability of the apparatus.
  • Other features of the embodiments of FIGS. 3 and 4 are similar to those of FIGS. 1 and 2. The embodiment illustrated in FIGS. 3 and 4 has several components that are similar to those described above with regard to FIGS. 1 and 2. Although not all of these features are discussed are discussed in detail with regard to FIGS. 3 and 4, these components have been identified by reference numerals that are indexed by 100. As shown in FIG. 3, the collars 206 may be loosened to allow the telescoping members 204 to slide freely along the axis of the sleeve 202 to the fully extended position. FIG. 4 shows that the collars 206 may be loosened to allow the telescoping members 204 to retract within the sleeve 202 to the fully retracted position. As noted below, the exercise tool 200 may be used to perform an exercise that involves rotating the exercise tool 200 about its midpoint 205 and an axis of rotation 207 associated with a user's body. According to an embodiment, the axis of rotation 207 passes through the midpoint of the tool when properly held by the user such that the weight of the exercise tool 200 on each side of the midpoint 205 is balanced. In some embodiments, however, it may be desirable to configure the exercise tool 200 to have a weight distribution that is asymmetrical about the midpoint 205.
  • The degree of resistance experienced by a user when rotating the exercise tool 200 about the axis 207 may vary depending on the moment of inertia of the exercise tool 200 relative to the midpoint 205, which a user may vary by adjusting the extent to which the telescoping members 204 extend from the sleeve 202. For example, by fixing the telescoping members 204 in a contracted position, a user may lower the moment of inertia of the exercise tool 200 about the axis 207 to decrease resistance. The user may increase the moment of inertia about the axis 207 by adjusting the exercise tool 200 and fixing the telescoping members 204 in an extended position. In general, the positioning of the telescoping members 204 in the extended position provides a more difficult exercise regimen for the use of the exercise tool 200 since the force required to start and stop rotation of the exercise tool 200 within a given distance is greater when the telescoping members 204 are extended compared to when the telescoping members 204 are retracted.
  • Similarly, the mass of the weights 210 used in the exercise tool 200 may vary based on the physical traits of the user, such as strength, weight, and physical conditioning. For example, the mass of the weights 210 may range from 2-10 lbs each for a smaller user having a normal amount of strength and good physical conditioning. The same configuration may also be appropriate for a larger user having low strength or poor physical condition, such as poor muscular-skeletal conditioning in the lower back. This configuration may also be desirable for a patient undergoing physical therapy. Conversely, higher mass weights 210 may be used for larger users or users who are more physically fit and seeking to build strength.
  • While many of the exercise tools described herein are adjustable in length, it is conceivable that the exercise tool could be a one-piece elongated bar of fixed length. Whether the exercise tool is fixed or adjustable in length, it is generally desirable in some embodiments for the exercise tool to have a length that is approximately the same as the height of the user that will be using the exercise tool. In one embodiment, the total combined contracted length of the exercise tool 200 may be no less than 30 inches and no greater than 72 inches, and the total combined extended length may be no less than 30 inches and no greater than 144 inches. In one embodiment, the length of the exercise tool is about 44 inches contracted and about 72 inches extended.
  • In view of the features of the illustrative embodiments of the exercise tool 200 described above, it is noted that the exercise tool 200 serves as a portable tool that may be easily carried in the car, a golf bag, or other luggage of a user. The exercise tool 200 also provides a low mass weight that, due to its relatively high moment of inertia about the axis of intended motion, offers a high degree of dynamic resistance. In an illustrative embodiment, 87% of the weight of the exercise tool 200 is concentrated in the 22.2% of the length of the tool 200 that resides at the distal ends of the telescoping members 204 helping to beneficially increase the amount of torque that a user must apply to use the tool. The exercise tool 200 is also easy to assemble, ship, and store because of its collapsibility. The variable length of the exercise tool 200 makes it easy to adjust so that it may be used easily by people of different shapes, sizes, and abilities. The exercise tool 200 also has orienting features, as the two-piece comfort pad 214 (not shown), which aid the user in quickly establishing the midpoint 205 of the exercise tool 200. The exercise tool 200 may also serve as a two-in-one device that performs the functions of both training and conditioning, and the configuration of the weights 210 provide for a self-contained, high-density material that provides significant kinetic forces without deforming, decoupling, or incurring significant wear.
  • After assembly, the exercise tool 200 serves as a bilaterally telescopic, unitary assembly with a fixed length. The exercise tool 200 may also be provided as separate components or taken apart for easy transportation and be easily assembled by a user for use. The contractibility of the exercise tool 200 makes the tool easy to transport and store. In addition, the bilaterally telescopic and captive weight exercise tool 200 is advantageous, as compared to fixed length or multi-piece assemblies, because the length of the exercise tool 200 can be easily modified to adjust the moment of inertia and associated angular momentum that works against the user 230 to improve strength and conditioning during operation. The adjustability of the exercise tool 200 also makes the tool suitable for use by users having varying heights, levels of flexibility, and strength.
  • Concentration of mass in the weights 210 at the ends of the exercise tool 200 provides for the greatest possible angular momentum and moment of inertia about the axis of rotation 207, which offers the user 230 greater resistance for a small amount of weight. When used as a golf swing training tool, for example, the exercise tool 200 may increase ball striking ability, distance, accuracy, and may even enhance the user's endurance.
  • Further, it is noted that while the exercise tool 200 generally described herein contemplates a central sleeve 202 and telescoping members 204 that extend from the sleeve 202. The exercise tool 200 may, in an alternative embodiment, have an inverted construction. In such an embodiment, the telescoping members 204 may be constructed similar to the sleeve 202 such that the telescoping members 204 extend over a central member when the tool is collapsed by a user. Such a tool would be largely similar to the tool shown and described in the drawings, with the exceptions that the collars 206 would be configure to engage the inward ends of the telescoping members 204 and the retaining stops would be placed at the distal ends of the central member which, in the alternative embodiment, may be formed from a solid material in addition to a tube or hollow member. Further, in another embodiment, it may be desirable to form an exercise tool having nested telescoping members to provide for greater collapsibility and extendibility. In such an embodiment, intermediate telescoping members may also serve as sleeves to allow for multiple sets of telescoping members that extend from each end of a central sleeve.
  • Referring now to FIG. 5, an illustrative embodiment of an exercise tool 300 includes a mount 316 that is attached to a location on the exercise tool 300 that corresponds to the midpoint 305 of the exercise tool 300. The mount 316 is used to couple a computing device 318 or other sensor assembly that may be used to help a user operate the exercise tool 300 by tracking and analyzing the use of the exercise tool 300, as described below. The computing device 318 may be a dedicated computing device that includes one or more sensors, such as a gyroscope, inclinometer, or accelerometer; a processor; a memory; a power source; and an input/output system. The input/output system may include one or more of a touch-screen or other display, hard-button controls, a microphone, and a speaker. The computing device 318 may also include customized software stored on the memory of the device to track and analyze data relating to the use of the exercise tool 300 and to provide visual and audible feedback to a user. It is noted that, in addition to being a purpose specific computing device 318, the computing device 318 may also be formed by a multi-function computing device, such as an MP3 player, smart phone, personal digital assistant, or similar computing device that is provided with customized software to track and analyze data relating to the use of the exercise tool 300.
  • FIGS. 6A-6C illustrate how a user 430 may operate the exercise tool 400. In the illustrative embodiment, an exercise tool 400 having the features described above with regard to FIGS. 1-5 is placed centrally behind the upper shoulders 432 or lower shoulders 434 while the user grasps the exercise tool 400 near each end 436. The user operates the exercise tool 400 by rotating the exercise tool 400 across different rotational, or swing, planes 440 using different combinations of muscle groups for each rotational plane 440. In the embodiment of FIG. 6A, the rotational plane 440 is shown as being parallel to the ground. However, the rotational plane 440 may vary based on the position of the user 430 and may therefore be at an angle y relative the user's spine.
  • In an embodiment, the angle y is a 90° angle and the rotational plane 440 is perpendicular to the axis 407, which corresponds to the average vector of the user's spine. In turn, the axis 407 may be angled relative to the ground at an angle that corresponds to the position of the user 430 in the stance of a golf-swing, a baseball swing, or a similar motion. Further, in the case of a golf swing, for example, the rotational plane 440 may be varied to approximate the plane through which the shoulders of the user 430 would rotate when swinging each type of golf club that a user may swing in a round of golf. For example, one rotational plane 440 may correspond to a driver and another rotational plane 440 may correspond to a pitching wedge. The user 430 may also operate the exercise tool 400 at different speeds, where higher speeds may be used to refine muscle movements and increase strength and conditioning and lower speeds may be used to more carefully isolate muscle groups and establish a consistent rotational plane 440.
  • FIG. 6C shows how the user 430 may rotate the exercise tool 400 through the rotational plane 440 during use. The user 430 is shown holding the exercise tool 400 in a starting position 452 and rotating to a second position 454 that is an angle a from the starting position. The user rotates from the second position 454 back across the starting position 452 to a third position 456 that is an angle β from the starting position to complete a swing or rotation. In an embodiment, the angle α from the starting position to the second position and the angle β from the starting position to the third position are equivalent. In another embodiment, for example, when a physical therapy patient has been instructed to restrict movement in a direction or has a limited range of motion on one side of their body, the angles α and β may be different.
  • According to an illustrative method for using the exercise tool 400, the user 430 may increase improve their physical conditioning by using the exercise tool 400 to repeat isometric motions or, motions that isolate certain muscle groups. The user 430 places the exercise tool 400 behind their shoulders and grips the tool at each end, as shown in FIG. 6. The user 430 may then rotate their torso from one direction to another through a range of motion of approximately 90 degrees in either direction such that the user starts a rep facing directly to their left, rotates their torso through their midsection such that they are facing directly to their right midway through the rep, and returns to the left-facing position to complete the rep. The repetition may alternatively be started with the user facing forward or to the right, provided that the same path of motion (a 180 degree turn from the left to the right, and back) is included within each repetition.
  • A user 430 may employ the exercise tool 400 to perform repetition based rotational exercises at any athletic spine angle and rotational plane 440. To increase power, the user may execute a high number of repetitions at a time at a high speed over a short range of motion, such as 45 degrees in either direction. Conversely, to increase flexibility, the user may execute a lower number of repetitions at a low speed through a large range of motion, for example, greater than 90 degrees. In an embodiment, the user 430 drives the exercise tool 400 using their abdominal and secondary core muscles to increase the benefits of using the exercise tool 400.
  • Through use of the exercise tool 400, it is contemplated that a user will increase his rotating core muscle power and his rotating core range of motion. Using the exercise tool 400, a user is able to define and remember the proper rotational axis of the correct spine angle and rotational plane 440. Through repeated use, a user can build muscle memory for a preferred rotational plane 440. In addition, a user may gain added core stability and core endurance to enable enabling consistent, repeatable swing or rotation performance over time. Taken together, these enhancements to the physical conditioning of the user, when applied to the game of golf, for example, serve to increase the user's accuracy, distance, and endurance.
  • In addition, by utilizing the sensing and analyzing capabilities of the computing device 418, the user 430 is able to actively monitor and improve their swinging motion in real time. As such, the computing device 418 may monitor the usage of the exercise tool 400 and provide the user 430 with feedback about their usage of the exercise tool 400. In an embodiment, the computing device 418 may be configured to provide feedback relative to the user's range of motion and rotational plane 440. For example, the computing device, may track the motion of the exercise tool 400 through a set number of repetitions to determine the rotational plane 440 and alert the user 430 if his swing breaks plane. The computing device may also track the rotation of the exercise tool 400 and alert the user 430 if he rotates to a second position having an angle a that is greater than a preselected angle, or average angle a determined from previous repetitions, at the start of his swing. Similarly, the computing device may alert the user 430 if he rotates to a third position having an angle β that is greater than a preselected angle, or average angle β determined from previous repetitions, at the end of his swing. Such alerts may be beneficial in assisting the user 430 to identify and adhere to a consistent motion and to prevent the user 430 from over-rotating, which may lead to bad swing mechanics or possible injury. The computing device 418 may also monitor the angles corresponding to the start of the swing and end of the swing (αand β, respectively) to determine if the angles are less than preselected angles or angles α and β determined from previous swings to alert the user 430 or their trainer if the user 430 is under-rotating and not completing their swinging motion.
  • FIG. 7 shows a representative process for receiving user input, monitoring the usage of the exercise tool, and providing feedback to the user. To start the process 500, a user starts an application 510 on the computing device, which in turn prompts the user to select a program 512 or program features. The process determines whether the user has selected program features 514, and which features the user has selected, and determines whether the user has started using the exercise tool 516. The computing device also determines whether the user has started using the exercise tool based on whether the user has selected a “start” button or by monitoring the sensors described above to determine whether the exercise tool is being used. Once the device has determined that the exercise tool is in use, the computing device displays visual feedback and increments the repetition count 518 if the user has requested a repetition count. The process also monitors the motion of the exercise tool for variation from an alert parameter 519, such as swing angle, range of motion (ROM), and rotational plane. For example, the system may establish a rotational plane and ROM when the user begins using the tool by taking the average planes and ROM from a predetermined number of repetitions, such as the first ten repetitions. Alternatively, the ROM and rotational plane may be calibrated in advance with a user-defined value or assigned a default value. In such an embodiment, the ROM may have a default value of 90 degrees from the forward-facing position and the rotational plane may be parallel to the ground. The process also includes determining whether the swing or rotation has broken plane 520 and determining whether the swing has exceeded the ROM or if the user has under-rotated. For example, if the user's motion varies more than a predetermined amount from the rotational plane, such as plus or minus, for example, 2 degrees, the device may determine that the swing has broken plane. Similarly, if device may determine that the swing or rotation is not within the expected ROM if the ROM of the swing is not within plus or minus, for example, 2 degrees from the expected ROM. In either case, in accordance with the illustrative process, the device alerts the user 524 if the swing has broken plane, under-rotated, or over-rotated. Depending on the device and the configuration selected by the user, the alert may be a vibration to be felt by the user, an audible sound, or a visual indicator such as a flashing light, the presence of a color on the display, or text.
  • FIGS. 8 and 9 show representative displays for a computing device 600 and 700, respectively, that implements a process similar to the process shown in FIG. 7. As shown in FIG. 8, the computing device 600 displays a menu that allows a user to select which swing parameters he wishes to track. As shown, the user may select a check box 611-615 that corresponds to several requested inputs. As such, the user is queried by portions of the display that ask the user whether he wants to monitor, for example, swing count 602, angular acceleration 604, virtual club head speed 606, rotational plane 608, and range of motion 610.
  • As shown in FIG. 9, depending on the user selection, the computing device 700 may display swing count 711, maximum swing angle 712, the angle of the rotational plane relative to a reference plane, such as, for example, the plane parallel to the ground 713, the percentage of the swings that are in plane 714, and the percentage of swings that are within the expected range of motion 715. In addition, the computing device 700 may be configured to display visual indicators to convey similar data. For example, a heat map may be used to show the percentage of swings that are within plane or within the expected range of motion by displaying each swing from a view that is perpendicular to the rotational plane and facing the user and a view that is parallel but offset from the rotational plane. In accordance with such an embodiment, each swing may be shown and multiple swings following the same trajectory may be shown by incrementing the color toward a color that indicates a high number of swings. Thus, where 49 swings are in plane and one swing is out of plane, the trajectory of the one outlying swing may be shown in light red while the trajectories of the in-plane swings are shown in dark green.
  • In accordance with the foregoing, a simple-to-use, active response feedback and motion analysis system is provided for use in conjunction with the exercise tool. The system functions to assist the user in defining and achieving the correct athletic motion and assists the user in counting repetitions by recognizing a pattern of motions associated with swinging the exercise tool. In one embodiment, the system may also provide a three-dimensional display to pair with the analysis mentioned above and to show swing trajectories. The system may be configured to maintain a user's training history and graphically display swing related mechanical trends from the user's history of data associated with their use of the device. In an embodiment, the system also includes the ability to set alarms so that they do not miss scheduled session trainings and, where a smart phone is used as the computing device, it may be possible to provide the analysis and associated data to the user without the user incurring any additional cost by utilizing sensors already embedded in the smart phone or similar computing device.
  • In accordance with an illustrative embodiment, the process described above may be expanded to initiate, capture, record and export three-dimensional sports motion analysis from an accelerometer, a speed sensor, an inclinometer, a load sensor, a gyroscopic sensor, a magnetic sensor, or a location sensor (such as for example a Global Positioning System (GPS) sensor) coupled to the exercise tool. The process may also include the ability to record the motion of an elite player so that their motions can be used as a composite baseline for sports-related or other movements, and to allow the user to compare their movements to movements provided by the elite player. The process and device may also compare recorded sensor data to the aforesaid baseline to provide real time biomechanical feedback to user through vibration or an audible signal.
  • In addition, in an illustrative embodiment, the process and computing device may use the sensor data to warn against unsafe levels of velocity, acceleration, or excessive rotation to protect the user from injury. The process and system may also employ repetitive pattern recognition to identify common known athletic movements, such as a golf swing, thereby providing the ability to audibly count exercise repetitions. Further, three-dimensional plotting and graphical display playback of “average shoulder plane, range and plane accuracy ” may be recorded and displayed on the user's computing device or on a remote computing device via a server that is communicatively coupled to the user's computing device to receive and record sensor data.
  • By recording user data and elite player data, the data gathered using the systems, tools, and processes described herein may be used to populate a database that allows the comparison of user data to professional player data, and may provide a video analysis that superimposes the user's swing over the elite players swing to show deviations from the baseline. The device may also instruct the user in accordance with different modes. For example, where the user desires to increase power, they may be instructed to execute short, fast repetitions, and where the user desires to increase flexibility, they may be instructed to execute long slow repetitions.
  • As noted above, the computing device and sensor system may be calibrated by using baselines determined from a sample set of user motions, default values, user input values, and values taken from a database that includes recorded data for a variety of amateur and elite athletes.
  • It is also noted that while the data aggregation, input, and analysis is generally contemplated as being executed on a user computing device, the sensors or computing device may be communicatively coupled to a remote server that may analyze, compile, and store the data for future analysis and display. Thus, a user may be able to view analysis and swing data from a remote computer and to receive instruction from a secondary computing device having a larger display, such as a television or desktop computer.
  • It is further noted that while the exercise tool, computing device, and related systems and processes described herein are generally discussed in the context of a sport that involves a swinging motion, such as golf or baseball, the tool, device, and related systems and processes may have a variety of alternative uses. For example, motions associated with other technique-oriented sports involving the use of a bar may also be tracked and analyzed as described above. These motions may also include weight lifting motions and motions associated with simple physical therapy sessions in a therapeutic environment. As such, the exercise tool, systems, and processes may be used to rehabilitate a patient by providing the patient with an exercise tool and tracking their recovery or improvements with regard to workout history, range of motion, and ability to execute consistent, stable movements. As such, the exercise tool, systems and processes may also be used to record, monitor and coach physical therapy sessions and related activities.
  • Where appropriate, aspects of any of the embodiments described above may be combined with aspects of any of the other embodiments described to form further examples having comparable or different properties and addressing the same or different problems. Several non-limiting examples of the tools, systems, and methods disclosed herein are provided below.
  • Example 1
  • An exercise tool comprising:
      • an elongated bar configured to be positioned behind a user such that a midpoint of the elongated bar is substantially aligned with a spine of the user;
      • a sensing unit configured to be operational during rotation of the bar by the user about the midpoint of the elongated bar, the sensing unit configured to sense at least one of a speed associated with the bar, an acceleration associated with the bar, a number of times the bar has been rotated, an angle between a plane of rotation and a reference plane or reference line, a range of rotation, and an amount of deviation from which the plane of rotation varies from a standard or a measured plane.
    Example 2
  • The exercise tool of example 1, wherein the sensing unit is mounted to the elongated bar at approximately the midpoint of the elongated bar.
  • Example 3
  • The exercise tool of example 1, wherein the sensing unit is configured to worn by or mounted to the user.
  • Example 4
  • The exercise tool of example 1, wherein the sensing unit is at least one of a gyroscopic sensor, an accelerometer, an inclinometer, a magnetic sensor, a load sensor, and a location sensor.
  • Example 5
  • The exercise tool of example 1 further comprising a storage unit configured to store data sensed by the sensing unit.
  • Example 6
  • The exercise tool of example 5, wherein the stored data may be compared to exemplary data collected from a third party using a similar exercise tool.
  • Example 7
  • The exercise tool of example 6, wherein the third party is a professional athlete.
  • Example 8
  • A method of exercising comprising:
      • positioning an elongated bar behind a neck of a user and aligning a midpoint of the elongated bar with a spine of the user;
      • rotating the elongated bar and a portion an upper body of the user about an axis of rotation that substantially corresponding to a longitudinal axis of the spine, the path of the elongated bar during rotation defining a rotational plane;
      • collecting data regarding at least one of a speed associated with the rotation of the elongated bar, an acceleration associated with the rotation of the elongated bar, a number of times the bar has been rotated, an angle between the rotational plane and a reference plane or reference line, a range of rotation, and an amount of deviation from which the rotational plane varies from a standard or a measured plane.
    Example 9
  • The method of example 8 further comprising:
      • storing the data.
    Example 10
  • The method of example 9 further comprising:
      • comparing the stored data to exemplary data collected from a third party using a similar exercise tool.
    Example 11
  • The method of example 9 further comprising:
      • reviewing or replaying a portion of the stored data.
    Example 12
  • A system for teaching a golf swing, the system comprising:
      • an exercise and training tool that is sized and configured to be positioned behind the shoulder blades of the user with the arms of the user wrapping around a top surface of the tool and extending out toward each end of the tool, the tool comprising:
      • a sleeve having a first end configured to engage a first collar and a second end configured to engage a second collar, the sleeve having a first inner diameter stop positioned a first distance from the midpoint of the sleeve and a second inner diameter stop positioned a second distance from the midpoint of the sleeve on the opposite side of the midpoint from the first inner diameter stop;
      • a first telescoping member operable to extend from and retract into the first end of the sleeve, the first telescoping member having an outer diameter that is less than the inner diameter of the sleeve, wherein the first telescoping member has a first outer diameter stop positioned along an outer surface of the first telescoping member;
      • a second telescoping member operable to extend from and retract into the second end of the sleeve, the second telescoping member having an outer diameter that is less than the inner diameter of the sleeve, wherein the second telescoping member has a second outer diameter stop positioned along an outer surface of the second telescoping member;
      • the first collar being coupled to the first end of the sleeve and the second collar being coupled to a second end of the sleeve;
        • a computing device coupled to the midpoint of the sleeve;
      • wherein the first collar is operable to engage the first telescoping member and the first end of the sleeve to fix the position of the first telescoping member relative to the sleeve;
      • wherein the second collar is operable to engage the second telescoping member and the second end of the sleeve to fix the position of the second telescoping member relative to the sleeve; and
      • wherein the computing device comprises a display, a vibratory motor, a speaker, a memory, a processor, and one or more sensors.
    Example 13
  • The system of example 12, wherein the memory comprises instructions for:
      • receiving user input indicating one or more user parameters that the user desires to track;
      • receiving sensor input from one or more sensors indicating that the user has started using the exercise tool, and starting a tracking process based on the sensor input; and
      • providing feedback to the user to indicate the tracked one or more user parameters.
    Example 14
  • The system of example 12, wherein the memory further comprises instructions for estimating user motion paths based on the received sensor input.
  • Example 15
  • The system of example 12, wherein the memory comprises instructions for tracking and recording the rotational motion of the training tool in multiple axes as it is moved by the user.
  • Example 16
  • The system of example 12, wherein the one or more sensors includes a sensor selected from the group consisting of a gyroscope, an accelerometer, and an inclinometer.
  • Example 17
  • An exercise and training tool that is sized and configured to be positioned behind the shoulder blades of the user with the arms of the user wrapping around a top surface of the tool and extending out toward each end of the tool, the tool comprising:
      • a sleeve having a first end configured to engage a first collar and a second end configured to engage a second collar, the sleeve having a first inner diameter stop positioned a first distance from the midpoint of the sleeve and a second inner diameter stop positioned a second distance from the midpoint of the sleeve on the opposite side of the midpoint from the first inner diameter stop;
      • a first telescoping member operable to extend from and retract into the first end of the sleeve, the first telescoping member having an outer diameter that is less than the inner diameter of the sleeve, wherein the first telescoping member has a first outer diameter stop positioned along an outer surface of the first telescoping member;
      • a second telescoping member operable to extend from and retract into the second end of the sleeve, the second telescoping member having an outer diameter that is less than the inner diameter of the sleeve, wherein the second telescoping member has a second outer diameter stop positioned along an outer surface of the second telescoping member;
      • the first collar being coupled to the first end of the sleeve and the second collar being coupled to a second end of the sleeve; and
      • wherein the first collar is operable to engage the first telescoping member and first end of the of the sleeve to fix the position of the first telescoping member relative to the sleeve,
      • wherein the second collar is operable to engage the second telescoping member and the second end of the of the sleeve to fix the position of the second telescoping member relative to the sleeve.
    Example 18
  • The exercise and training tool of example 17, further comprising a first split ring bushing affixed to the first collar and a second split ring bushing affixed to the second collar, wherein:
      • the inner diameter of the first split ring bushing, the inner diameter of the second split ring bushing, and outer diameter of the first telescoping member, and the outer diameter of the second telescoping member are approximately equivalent;
      • the first split ring bushing compresses to engage the outer diameter of the first telescoping member when the first collar engages the first end of the sleeve; and the second split ring bushing compresses to engage the outer diameter of the second telescoping member when the second collar engages the second end of the sleeve.
    Example 19
  • The exercise and training tool of example 17, further comprising a first bushing affixed to the inner surface of the first end of the sleeve and a second bushing affixed to the inner surface of the second end of the sleeve, wherein
      • the first end of the sleeve is configured to engage the first telescoping member when the first collar engages the first end of the sleeve; and
      • the second end of the sleeve is configured to engage the second telescoping member when the second collar engages the second end of the sleeve.
    Example 20
  • The exercise and training tool of example 17, wherein the first telescoping member and second telescoping member comprise weights.
  • Example 21
  • The exercise and training tool of example 20, wherein the weights are high-density weights fixed relative to an internal surface of each of the first telescoping member and second telescoping member.
  • Example 22
  • The exercise and training tool of example 17, further comprising a first comfort pad coupled to the outer surface of the sleeve and a second comfort pad coupled to the outer surface of the central tubular, the first comfort pad and second comfort pad being offset from one another on opposing sides of the midpoint of the sleeve.
  • Example 23
  • The exercise and training tool of example 17, further comprising a mount for a computing device coupled to the midpoint of the sleeve.
  • Example 24
  • The exercise and training tool of example 23, wherein the computing device is a smart phone.
  • Example 25
  • A process for tracking the motion of a person using an exercise tool having a sleeve comprising a first end configured to engage a first collar and a second end configured to engage a second collar, a first telescoping member operable to extend from and retract into the first end of the sleeve, and a second telescoping member operable to extend from and retract into the second end of the sleeve, wherein the exercise tool is operated by a user placing the tool over their shoulder and rotating evenly from one direction to another such that the users shoulders emulate the motion of swinging a golf club, the process comprising:
      • receiving user input indicating one or more user parameters that the user desires to track;
      • receiving sensor input from one or more sensors indicating that the user has started using the exercise tool, and starting a tracking process based on the sensor input; and
      • providing feedback to the user to indicate the tracked one or more user parameters.
    Example 26
  • The process of example 25, wherein the one or more user parameters comprise a user parameter selected from the group consisting of acceleration, degree of rotation, rotational plane, and number of repetitions.
  • Example 27
  • The process of example 26, further comprising playing an audible signal when the user's motion deviates from the target rotational plane or exceeds the target range of rotation.
  • Example 28
  • The process of example 27, further comprising vibrating the exercise tool when the user's motion deviates from the target rotational plane or exceeds the target range of rotation.
  • Example 29
  • The process of example 25 wherein the one or more user parameters comprises acceleration, degree of rotation, rotational plane, and number of repetitions, and wherein providing feedback to the user comprises displaying the number of repetitions, displaying a map of the user's motion from a plane that is parallel to the user's rotational plane to indicate the user's degree of rotation relative to a target range of rotation, displaying a map of the user's motion from a front view that is perpendicular to the user's target rotational plane to indicate the path of the repetitions relative to the target rotational plane.
  • Example 30
  • The process of example 25, wherein the one or more user parameters comprises degree of rotation, and wherein providing feedback to the user comprises alerting the user when their degree of rotation exceeds a predetermined range.
  • Example 31
  • The process of example 25, wherein the one or more user parameters comprises rotational plane, and wherein providing feedback to the user comprises alerting the user when their path of motion deviates from a target rotational plane.
  • It will be understood that the above description of preferred embodiments is given by way of example only and that various modifications may be made by those skilled in the art. The above specification, examples and data provide a complete description of the structure and use of exemplary embodiments of the invention. Although various embodiments of the invention have been described above with a certain degree of particularity, or with reference to one or more individual embodiments, those skilled in the art could make numerous alterations to the disclosed embodiments without departing from the scope of the claims.

Claims (16)

I claim:
1. An exercise tool comprising:
an elongated bar configured to be positioned behind a user such that a midpoint of the elongated bar is substantially aligned with a spine of the user;
a sensing unit configured to be operational during rotation of the bar by the user about the midpoint of the elongated bar, the sensing unit configured to sense at least one of a speed associated with the bar, an acceleration associated with the bar, a number of times the bar has been rotated, an angle between a plane of rotation and a reference plane or reference line, a range of rotation, and an amount of deviation from which the plane of rotation varies from a standard or a measured plane.
2. The exercise tool of claim 1, wherein the sensing unit is mounted to the elongated bar at approximately the midpoint of the elongated bar.
3. The exercise tool of claim 1, wherein the sensing unit is configured to worn by or mounted to the user.
4. The exercise tool of claim 1, wherein the sensing unit is at least one of a gyroscopic sensor, an accelerometer, an inclinometer, a magnetic sensor, a load sensor, and a location sensor.
5. The exercise tool of claim 1 further comprising a storage unit configured to store data sensed by the sensing unit.
6. The exercise tool of claim 5, wherein the stored data may be compared to exemplary data collected from a third party using a similar exercise tool.
7. The exercise tool of claim 6, wherein the third party is a professional athlete.
8. A method of exercising comprising:
positioning an elongated bar behind a neck of a user and aligning a midpoint of the elongated bar with a spine of the user;
rotating the elongated bar and a portion an upper body of the user about an axis of rotation that substantially corresponding to a longitudinal axis of the spine, the path of the elongated bar during rotation defining a rotational plane;
collecting data regarding at least one of a speed associated with the rotation of the elongated bar, an acceleration associated with the rotation of the elongated bar, a number of times the bar has been rotated, an angle between the rotational plane and a reference plane or reference line, a range of rotation, and an amount of deviation from which the rotational plane varies from a standard or a measured plane.
9. The method of claim 8 further comprising:
storing the data.
10. The method of claim 9 further comprising:
comparing the stored data to exemplary data collected from a third party using a similar exercise tool.
11. The method of claim 9 further comprising:
reviewing or replaying a portion of the stored data.
12. A system for teaching a golf swing, the system comprising:
an exercise and training tool that is sized and configured to be positioned behind the shoulder blades of the user with the arms of the user wrapping around a top surface of the tool and extending out toward each end of the tool, the tool comprising:
a sleeve having a first end configured to engage a first collar and a second end configured to engage a second collar, the sleeve having a first inner diameter stop positioned a first distance from the midpoint of the sleeve and a second inner diameter stop positioned a second distance from the midpoint of the sleeve on the opposite side of the midpoint from the first inner diameter stop;
a first telescoping member operable to extend from and retract into the first end of the sleeve, the first telescoping member having an outer diameter that is less than the inner diameter of the sleeve, wherein the first telescoping member has a first outer diameter stop positioned along an outer surface of the first telescoping member;
a second telescoping member operable to extend from and retract into the second end of the sleeve, the second telescoping member having an outer diameter that is less than the inner diameter of the sleeve, wherein the second telescoping member has a second outer diameter stop positioned along an outer surface of the second telescoping member;
the first collar being coupled to the first end of the sleeve and the second collar being coupled to a second end of the sleeve;
a computing device coupled to the midpoint of the sleeve;
wherein the first collar is operable to engage the first telescoping member and the first end of the sleeve to fix the position of the first telescoping member relative to the sleeve;
wherein the second collar is operable to engage the second telescoping member and the second end of the sleeve to fix the position of the second telescoping member relative to the sleeve; and
wherein the computing device comprises a display, a vibratory motor, a speaker, a memory, a processor, and one or more sensors.
13. The system of claim 12, wherein the memory comprises instructions for:
receiving user input indicating one or more user parameters that the user desires to track;
receiving sensor input from one or more sensors indicating that the user has started using the exercise tool, and starting a tracking process based on the sensor input; and
providing feedback to the user to indicate the tracked one or more user parameters.
14. The system of claim 12, wherein the memory further comprises instructions for estimating user motion paths based on the received sensor input.
15. The system of claim 12, wherein the memory comprises instructions for tracking and recording the rotational motion of the training tool in multiple axes as it is moved by the user.
16. The system of claim 12, wherein the one or more sensors includes a sensor selected from the group consisting of a gyroscope, an accelerometer, and an inclinometer.
US14/207,158 2013-03-15 2014-03-12 Exercise, training, and therapy tool and related systems and methods Abandoned US20140295983A1 (en)

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US20170072247A1 (en) * 2015-09-16 2017-03-16 M.C. Wilson Exercise Bar Device
US9855460B2 (en) * 2015-09-16 2018-01-02 M. C. Wilson Exercise bar device
USD779598S1 (en) 2015-11-27 2017-02-21 Suzanne W Corley Yoga bind strap
USD794141S1 (en) 2015-11-27 2017-08-08 Suzanne W Corley Yoga bind strap
US20170312169A1 (en) * 2016-04-29 2017-11-02 Robert Polenik Weight Plate Loadable Body Tempering Device

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