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Title:
IMPROVED FITNESS BALL
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2018/203114
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
The invention is a fitness ball (1) that is substantially spherical in shape and is particularly suitable for keep fit exercises or functional training and for physical exercise in general, comprising two substantially rigid hemispheres (2) suited to be constrained to each other in a removable manner so as to form the spherical shape of the ball (1) when it is completely assembled.

Inventors:
TOGNON ANDREA (IT)
BERION ANDREA (IT)
Application Number:
IB2017/052666
Publication Date:
November 08, 2018
Filing Date:
May 08, 2017
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
TOGNON ANDREA (IT)
BERION ANDREA (IT)
International Classes:
A63B21/00; A63B21/06; A63B22/18; A63B23/12; A63B26/00; A63B65/06; A63B71/02
Domestic Patent References:
WO2007035776A12007-03-29
WO2011012633A12011-02-03
Foreign References:
US20140194265A12014-07-10
US8454483B12013-06-04
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
ROCCHETTO, Elena (Via Sorio 116, PADOVA, IT)
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS

1. Fitness ball (1), substantially spherical in shape and particularly suitable for keep fit exercises or functional training and for physical exercise in general, comprising two hemispheres (2) and means (5) for joining said two hemispheres (2) together in a selective and reversible manner, so as to obtain the spherical shape of the completely assembled ball (1), characterized in that each one of said hemispheres (2) comprises:

a substantially rigid structure with at least one circular flat portion or base (21) suited to be rested on the ground or to allow a user to stand thereon, and at least one generically convex portion or dome (22) suited to be rested on the ground or to allow a user to stand thereon in an unstable manner, each one of said two hemispheres (2) being suited to be used alone or in combination with the other hemisphere (2);

at least one of said joining means, in turn comprising a magnet (5) positioned on said base (21) of each one of said hemispheres (2) and suited to be joined to a corresponding magnet (5) situated in a corresponding position on the base (21) of the other hemisphere (2), and wherein said base (21) of each hemisphere (2) comprises at least one covering portion (24) suited to cover said at least one magnet (5) and positioned so that it is level with the circular edge (23) of said dome (22).

2. Fitness ball (1) according to claim 1, characterized in that each one of said hemispheres (2) is hollow.

3. Fitness ball (1) according to claim 2, characterized in that each one of said hemispheres (2) is filled with a fluid or solid material.

4. Fitness ball (1) according to claim 1, characterized in that each one of said hemispheres (2) is completely or partially solid.

5. Fitness ball (1) according to any of the preceding claims, characterized in that each one of said hemispheres (2) comprises a substantially rigid structure suited to guarantee that the hemispherical shape is substantially maintained, as well as an external covering layer suited to cover at least said dome (22), and wherein said covering layer is made of a plastic material.

6. Fitness ball (1) according to any of the preceding claims, characterized in that said base (21) of each one of said hemispheres (2) is recessed with respect to the circular edge (23) of said dome (22), and wherein said base (21) comprises at least one seat created in its lower surface in order to house each one of said magnets (5).

7. Fitness ball (1) according to claim 1, characterized in that each one of said hemispheres (2) comprises two or more substantially flat and circular magnets (5) uniformly distributed on said base (21).

8. Fitness ball (1) according to claim 7, characterized in that said magnets (5) of each one of said hemispheres (2) are uniformly distributed along a circumference which is concentric with said base (21).

9. Fitness ball (1) according to any of the preceding claims, characterized in that the corner (25) between said base (21) and said dome (22) of at least one of said hemispheres (2) is rounded or recessed, so that, once said two hemispheres (2) have been assembled to form said ball (1), a circular groove (26) is defined along the joint between said two hemispheres (2).

Description:
IMPROVED FITNESS BALL

DESCRIPTION

The present patent concerns fitness balls, and in particular it concerns a new multi-purpose disassemblable fitness ball, particularly suitable for functional training activities and/or keep fit exercises.

Various tools and instruments for fitness exercises and training are known and used also for prevention or rehabilitation purposes.

Functional training is known, in which the training individual does not use the traditional gym machines used to train specific muscle groups, but performs exercises that involve several muscle groups at the same time and in a more natural manner.

Functional training exercises can be performed as floor workouts and/or using simple tools, such as fitness balls, medicine balls, balls with handles, clubs, cords, bars, elastic bands, etc.

Each one of said instruments and tools is particularly suited to be used for specific activities and therefore the purchase of some of them is often unjustified. Gym balls, or fitballs, are known. The gym balls of the known type are air- inflated rubber balls of medium-large size, for example with a diameter larger than 50 cm, generally used for fitness and training activities, even for prevention or rehabilitation purposes, during which the user, by means of the ball, assumes various possible positions or performs exercises that require a certain degree of balance and a certain effort, thus training various muscle groups.

Said balls, in fact, are made of an elastic material, in such a way that any force exerted on the external surface of the ball and having a component directed towards the inside of the ball itself causes the elastic spherical wall to react with a force having a component directed towards the outside of the ball.

Therefore, a certain effort and a certain ability on the part of the user are required in order to maintain balance. Proprioceptive boards are also known, meaning devices in various shapes and materials, in some cases hemispherical or dome-shaped, made of rubber or soft plastic, solid or filled with any filling material or inflatable, in this last case suited to be rested on the ground with the dome-shaped portion facing upwards, that is, in a stable position, or with the dome-shaped portion facing downwards, that is, in an unstable position; users rest on these boards in order to do exercises that, among other things, serve for balance training.

Document WO02/30519 concerns a device for balance training, constituted by a board in a substantially circular shape, provided with a flat rigid base and a convex portion, in the shape of a dome, said convex portion being made of soft rubber and inflated with air.

Positioning said device with the rigid base resting on the ground, the user can use the device to perform exercises while resting on the dome-shaped portion.

Vice versa, positioning the device in such a way that the dome-shaped portion rests on the ground, the user uses the device as an unstable support.

Document CN203915961 concerns a fitness ball comprising two hollow hemispheres suited to be joined to each other so as to obtain a sphere.

A frame having the function of making the ball heavier is mounted inside the latter, wherein said frame is constituted by various parts or discs suited to be stacked on one another in various manners inside the ball, in order to vary the weight of the latter according to the intended use. The two hemispheres are then joined together and fixed through a complex procedure. Said fitness ball, obtained by proceeding as described above, is particularly difficult to use, since in order to obtain a correct balance of the weights contained inside it good manual ability and knowledge of the object are required, as well as a certain amount of time.

In addition to the above, the two hemispheres are completely hollow and with no base, and therefore they cannot be used individually, but only when correctly assembled together.

Dome-shaped or cone-shaped devices are also known, suited to be positioned on the ground spaced from one another and according to various possible arrangement patterns, and to be used as space delimiting elements to define paths or to perform exercises intended to improve promptness, speed, resistance, etc. A drawback of the known devices is represented by the fact that each one of them is used for just a few specific activities and therefore in order to perform a complete and various training session it is necessary to use several different devices, which results in the need for more space for storing said devices.

Very often, during a gym lesson attended, for example, by several participants, much time is wasted to store the devices after use and take other devices that serve for the successive activities, which furthermore results in the training session being interrupted several times.

Furthermore, if a person wishes to train at home, he/she cannot have all of these devices available, due both to the expenditure required to purchase them and to the absence of sufficient space to store them.

Fitness balls, or fitballs, in particular, are rather bulky.

Document WO2007/035776 and document WO2007/035773 concern a fitness device comprising two inflatable and flexible hemispheres that can be joined together in a removable manner, in such a way as to obtain a spherical object. In particular, said hemispheres are made of a flexible material such as rubber, in such a way that they can be inflated with air or with another fluid.

A drawback posed by this type of device lies in that said hemispheres and said ball become deformed if subjected to a load, for example the weight of a user. Consequently, if it is necessary to do exercises during which the user climbs on one of the two hemispheres, for example with its flat surface facing upwards, in order to do stability exercises, the hemisphere would be squashed, thus completely annulling the effect of the exercise. Furthermore, the deformable structure does not guarantee sufficiently different levels of difficulty in the use of the hemispheres in the two different configurations (stable, meaning resting on the base, or unstable, meaning resting on the dome-shaped surface).

A further drawback emerges during exercises requiring the user to rest his/her hands on the hemisphere, for example push-ups: excessive deformation causes more stress on the joints of hands and wrists.

Finally, if the tool is used as a stable platform, meaning resting on its base, for example for step exercises, the response of the tool is not adequate for the exercise due to its high deformability, in fact it would not be rigid enough for this type of exercise.

According to the documents mentioned above, these hemispheres can be joined together by means of VELCRO ® elements, or through snap buttons, laces, buckles, etc. The preferred solution is the use of VELCRO ® elements, in fact the device comprises also a glove suited to be worn by the user and provided with VELCRO ® elements that adhere to the convex surface or to the flat surface of the hemisphere. This solution, however, creates some problems when it is necessary to join the two hemispheres, since the result of this joining operation is often imprecise. Furthermore, VELCRO ® wears out over time, affecting the stability of the connection.

Document US8454483 concerns a fitness training tool constituted by two hollow and specially shaped hemispheres, suited to be joined together to form a single piece, substantially in the shape of a sphere, but also suited to be used separately. The cavities can be used to contain weights, while the joined parts are distributed along the circular edges of the hemispheres. Said fitness training tool is completely unsuitable for exercises requiring the ball to bounce.

Document US2013/274078 concerns a tool for practicing yoga, suited to protect the wrist joint during the execution of the exercises. The tool comprises a parallelepiped-shaped body provided with an opening for the insertion of a hand and a grip inside the parallelepiped-shaped body. The lower flat surface of the block, which is intended to be rested on an underlying surface, can be provided with some magnets so that it can be joined to an identical block when these blocks are piled or stacked.

Two identical blocks stacked on one another and joined together can be used for the execution of various exercises, but in any case they can be used only in a static manner. No part of the document suggests that the block, either used individually or in combination with other blocks, can be used for dynamic exercises, for example exercises requiring throwing or bouncing movements. Document CN87215116 concerns a massage ball formed by two complementary elements, each one of which is shaped with a convex portion and a concave portion, so as to reproduce the pattern that corresponds to the classical Chinese concept of "Taijitu" or "Yin and Yang". The item is at least partially made of a metallic material with magnetic properties or a non-metallic material with magnetic elements and is used for magnetotherapy and for doing massages. No part of the document suggests that this item can also be used for dynamic exercises, for example exercises requiring throwing or bouncing movements. In order to overcome all of the drawbacks mentioned above, a new type of multipurpose disassemblable fitness ball has been designed and constructed, which is particularly suitable for functional training activities and/or calisthenics workouts.

The main object of the present invention is to provide a single device that can be used for different and numerous fitness activities, functional training, prevention or rehabilitation activities etc, for which several specific devices are currently needed.

It is a consequent object of the present invention, therefore, to reduce the quantity and overall dimensions of the devices currently needed to perform the physical activities mentioned above.

It is another object of the present invention to provide a fitness ball that can be disassembled so as to obtain at least one further element suited to be used alone or in combination with other elements making up the ball, in order to allow further physical activities, training activities etc. to be performed.

It is another object of the present invention to simplify and quicken the procedure for disassembling and re-assembling the ball, eliminating the need for special tools, exertion of force or special procedures.

It is a further object to make the fitness ball a useful device also for those users who train at home.

It is another object to limit the interruptions between the different exercises in the gym.

It is another object to reduce the costs for the purchase of fitness and training equipment.

These and other direct and complementary objects are achieved by the new multi-purpose disassemblable ball, particularly suitable for keep fit exercises or functional training, whose main parts comprise the following:

- two substantially rigid hemispheres, suited to be constrained to each other in a removable manner so as to obtain the spherical shape of the completely assembled ball, and wherein each one of said hemispheres in turn comprises a hemispherical convex surface, or dome, suited to be rested on the ground in an unstable manner or to allow a user to stand thereon, and a circular flat surface, or base, suited to be rested on the ground or to allow a user to stand thereon;

means for joining said two hemispheres in a selective and reversible manner, so as to obtain the spherical shape,

and wherein said joining means are constituted by one or more magnets joined to said base of each one of said hemispheres, wherein said base of each hemisphere also comprises at least one covering layer for said magnets, said covering layer being substantially level with the circular edge of said dome.

Each hemisphere thus comprises a substantially rigid structure, for example and conveniently in a plastic material, suited to guarantee that the hemispherical shape is substantially maintained.

According to the invention, each one of said hemispheres may comprise also an external covering layer suited to cover at least said dome, and wherein said covering layer is made of a plastic material, for example an elastomer, a thermoplastic material, rubber, cured PVC, foam, or in any case a material suited to allow the ball obtained by joining the two hemispheres to bounce.

According to a possible embodiment, each one of said two hemispheres is hollow and is made in a single piece, for example through a rotary moulding process. In this case, said dome and said base are joined together in a single piece.

Alternatively, according to the invention said base and said dome can be produced through separate moulding processes.

Said magnets are applied and constrained to suitable seats obtained in the surface of said base. Said covering layer is finally applied to said base, which for this purpose is conveniently recessed, at least partially, with respect to the circular edge of the dome.

According to the invention, the inside of said hemispheres can be empty, meaning filled with air at atmospheric pressure, or filled with liquid or solid material, or filled with pressurized air, which increases the rigidity of the hemisphere.

According to an alternative embodiment, each one of said hemispheres is at least partially solid.

In a possible embodiment, each hemisphere comprises two or more of said magnets, which are disc-shaped and uniformly distributed on said base, preferably along a circumference which is concentric with said base. For example, each hemisphere is provided with four magnets, distributed on four diametrically opposite points of a circumference which is concentric with said base.

In order to facilitate the separation of said hemispheres, and also to favour the bouncing of the assembled ball even when the point of impact lies in the area where the two hemispheres are joined together, the corner between said dome and said base of each hemisphere is rounded, in such a way that once the two hemispheres have been joined a groove is obtained, which develops along the joint between the hemispheres and in which the user can introduce his/her fingers in order to separate the two hemispheres.

The new fitness ball is suitable for multiple uses and applications for physical exercises and functional training requiring the use of the ball itself, which can be used in the assembled or disassembled or partially disassembled configuration. In said assembled configuration, the ball has a classical spherical shape and can be used as a ball, meaning for normal fitness activities and functional training, but also for throwing, bouncing and catching exercises.

Furthermore, it is possible to use each one of said two hemispheres individually or in combination with the other hemisphere.

The new configuration offers the advantage of eliminating the risk of puncturing the hemispheres, thanks to their rigid structure.

According to a first possible application, said individual hemisphere can be used with the flat portion resting on the ground, in a stable position.

According to a further possible application, said individual hemisphere can be used with the dome-shaped portion resting on the ground, in an unstable position.

Instability is guaranteed by the sufficient rigidity of said hemispheres, thanks to which they substantially maintain the same shape, without being squashed, even when loaded with the weight of the user.

According to a further possible application, it is possible to use both of said hemispheres, arranged side by side, adjacent to or spaced from each other, with the flat portion resting on the ground.

According to a further possible application, it is possible to use both of said hemispheres, arranged side by side, adjacent to or spaced from each other, with the dome-shaped portion resting on the ground.

According to a further possible application, it is possible to use said hemispheres, arranged in a stable position with the flat portion resting on the ground, as space delimiting elements, for example to create paths or to perform exercises intended to improve promptness, speed, resistance, etc.

According to a further possible application, it is also possible to use at least one of said hemispheres, arranged in a stable or unstable position, as a proprioceptive board.

According to a further possible application, it is also possible to use at least one of said hemispheres, arranged in a preferably stable position, as a step board. Therefore, with said fitness ball, meaning with a single device, it is possible to perform exercises for which at least four types of device are currently needed, namely: ball, proprioceptive board, step board, space delimiting elements.

Consequently, with a single device it is possible to train concentrating on different aspects, that is, muscular strength, cardio resistance and flexibility. It is also possible to differentiate the exercises according to the level of difficulty, creating a teaching progression from the easiest to the most difficult exercises, from exercises in conditions of stability to exercises in conditions of instability.

The new ball can thus be used by any user, be he/she an athlete training at any level or an elderly or disabled person.

In addition to the above, as already explained, the new ball can be used also out of the sphere of fitness, for example for prevention or rehabilitation activities, for individual training and team sports, etc.

The new fitness ball can have any size, for example its diameter can range between 15 and 35 cm.

According to the invention, the new fitness ball can also have any weight, according to the individual who is going to use it and to the activity for which it is intended.

According to the invention, inside said elements making up the ball there can also be one or more elements intended to stiffen said flat portion.

According to the invention, one or both of said hemispheres can be provided with one or more handles or one or more elastic bands, constrained in a removable or non-removable manner.

The characteristics of the new fitness ball are highlighted in greater detail in the following description, with reference to the attached drawings which are provided by way of non-limiting examples.

Figure 1 shows a side view of the new ball (1) in the completely assembled configuration.

Figure 2 shows a side view of one of two identical hemispheres (2) making up the new ball (1).

Figure 3 shows a sectional view of the hemisphere (2) illustrated in Figure 2. Figure 4 shows an axonometric view of the hemisphere illustrated in Figure 2. Figures 5, 6 and 7 show three possible training activities that can be performed using the new ball (1) and the hemispheres (2) that make it up.

The invention is a new multi-purpose disassemblable fitness ball (1) particularly suitable for keep fit exercises or functional training, but also for prevention and rehabilitation activities.

The new ball (1) has a genetically spherical shape, as shown in Figure 1, and comprises at least two identical hemispheres (2) suited to be constrained to each other in a removable manner so as to form said spherical shape.

Each one of said hemispheres (2) is made of a substantially rigid material, meaning that it has a substantially rigid structure, suited to guarantee that the hemispherical shape will be substantially maintained also when subjected to a load corresponding, for example, to the weight of a user.

In particular, in the preferred embodiment, said ball (1) comprises two identical hemispheres (2), each one in turn comprising a circular flat portion or base (21) and a convex portion (22) or dome, joined to said flat portion (21).

Said two hemispheres (2) can be constrained to each other by juxtaposing and joining their respective bases (21) by means of said magnets (5) positioned on said bases (21).

In particular, said base (21) of each hemisphere (2) is recessed with respect to the circular edge (23) of the dome (22), in order to allow said magnets (5) to be housed therein, and wherein said base (21) comprises at least one covering portion (24) suited to cover said magnets (5) and positioned so that it is substantially level with said circular edge (23).

In this way, each hemisphere (2) has a perfectly smooth and continuous lower flat portion, which can be rested on the ground in a stable manner and furthermore allows the user, for example, to rest his/her hand thereon with no need to wear protective gloves.

For example, each hemisphere (2) comprises four substantially disc-shaped magnets (5), uniformly distributed on said base (21), and in particular at the four diametrically opposite points of a circumference which is concentric with said base (21).

The absence of other constraining devices, such as VELCRO ® elements, straps or buckles, facilitates the assembly and disassembly of the ball (1).

Thanks to the specially arranged magnets (5), furthermore, the exact and immediate positioning of the two hemispheres (2) is guaranteed, differently from what happens with other types of constraining devices.

The corner (25) between said base (21) and said dome (22) of at least one or preferably both of said hemispheres (2) is recessed, thus defining a groove (26) along the joint between the two hemispheres (2), as can be seen in Figure 1. Figure 5 shows the ball (1) when completely assembled and used to train the abdominal muscles. In this configuration, it can be used as a normal ball, meaning for normal functional training activities, but also for throwing, bouncing and catching exercises, as well as for training other muscle groups. In the solution shown in Figure 6, one of said individual hemispheres (2) can be used with said flat portion (21) resting on the ground, in a stable position, for example to perform lunges, but it can be used in this configuration also for training other muscle groups.

In the solution shown in Figure 7, both of said hemispheres (2) can be used with said convex portion (22) resting on the ground, in an unstable position, and they can be arranged side by side and spaced from each other, for example to perform push-ups, but they can be used in this configuration also for training other muscle groups.

These are the schematic outlines which are sufficient for the expert in the art to carry out the invention, consequently in practical application variants may be developed which however do not affect the substance of the innovative concept introduced herein.

Therefore, with reference to the above description and the attached drawings, the following claims are expressed.