Patent application title: Device for step exercises
Sylvia Orizaba Knilans (Wilmette, IL, US)
IPC8 Class: AA63B2204FI
Class name: Exercise devices involving user translation or physical simulation thereof stair climbing
Publication date: 2012-08-16
Patent application number: 20120208678
Disclosed is a device for a core balance stepping workout having a
flexible air or water filled bladder that can hold 400 to 500 pounds, and
can be used by stepping, standing, sitting, or lying on the device to
create new physical fitness exercises.
1. A device for physical fitness exercises comprising: An inflatable
bladder with a top, a bottom, and four sides, the top being a horizontal
surface designed to support the weight of a person, the bottom side being
structured to maintain contact with the floor, and the four sides
structured to support the top and to support the weight of a person.
2. A device according to claim 1, where the bottom of the device is reinforced with an attached stability ring.
3. A device according to claim 1, where the four sides of the device are reinforced with strength ribs.
4. A device according to claim 1, where the bottom side of the device is reinforced with a rigid bottom plate.
5. A device according to claim 2, where two or more rope locks are integrated into the stability ring.
Field of Invention
 The invention concerns physical fitness and exercise systems, principally in the area of step aerobics, though the invention can be used for other physical fitness training methods.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
 Step aerobics is a specialized form of aerobic physical fitness training which is characterized by its use of an elevated platform or step. Many devices for use with step aerobics are known, virtually all of which consist of a hard, inflexible, flat surface on a stable, immobile base. These devices require of the user simply the physical work required to raise the user's body onto the step. Further, the known devices in this field are hard and rigid, and impart a physical shock to the user when contacted.
 U.S. Pat. Nos. 7,344,488, 7,494,446, 6,554,753, 6,575,885, and 6,422,983 describe a balancing device which challenges a user's balance but lacks the proper rigidity, shape, and stability to be useful for step aerobics. Other devices provide the rigidity, shape, and stability in a platform for step aerobics, but do not challenge the user's balance and core muscles, and do not cushion the impact on the foot of the user when used.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
 The preferred embodiment of this invention is as a device for a step aerobic physical fitness workout. The device has a molded, semirigid, inflatable bladder which is filled with air or water and is generally of the shape of a rectangular parallelepiped step, in most cases approximately six inches to one foot above the floor. In the preferred embodiment, the bladder is molded such that it has a flat bottom side which is rigid and makes stable contact with the floor, and a rounded top side which, while primarily flat, is rounded at the corners. The flexible bladder, when fully filled, shall have sufficient rigidity to maintain its shape when stepped upon by the user.
 In another embodiment, the device has .a clamped on stability ring around the bladder where it makes contact with the floor. The stability ring increases the rigidity and stability of the device without sacrificing the cushioning effect or the balancing aspects of the invention.
 In another embodiment, the device has a base which is either a separate piece attached to the stability ring or an integral piece which incorporates the functions of the stability ring. This base further decreases the required rigidity of the bladder and allows for greater stability without sacrificing the cushioning effect or the balancing aspects of the invention.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE SEVERAL VIEWS OF THE DRAWING
 FIG. 1--Isometric View of the Full Assembly
 FIG. 2--Isometric Bottom View of the Bladder Showing Recess for the Bottom Plate
 FIG. 3--Isometric Top View of the Bladder
 FIG. 4--Elevated View of One Half of the Stability Ring
 FIG. 5--Isometric Top View of the Male Stability Ring Connector
 FIG. 6--Isometric Bottom View of the Male Stability Ring Connector
 FIG. 7--Isometric Bottom View of the Male Stability Ring Connector
 FIG. 8--View of Dovetails Locked Together
 FIG. 9--Bottom Plate
 FIG. 10--Section View Showing Stability Ring and Bottom Plate attached to Bladder
 FIG. 11--View of Rope Lock Assembly
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION
 FIG. 1 shows the invention in its preferred embodiment. This embodiment consists of a inflatable or fillable semirigid bladder (1) and an attached stability ring (2). The bladder (1) is molded with reinforcements at the corners (3) and reinforcements along the edges (4) so that it substantially maintains its form when inflated or filled, and when pressure is exerted on the top side (5) of the bladder (1). In addition, in the preferred embodiment, the bladder (1) is molded with indented strength ribs (6) in the side panels, which increase the vertical strength and rigidity of the device. In this embodiment, the bladder (1) is secured to the stability ring (2) which gives it increased strength and makes better contact with the ground.
 FIG. 2 shows the underside of the bladder (1). In the preferred embodiment, the bladder (1) is molded with a recess (7) in which rests a bottom plate (8), however the recess (7) and the bottom plate (8) can be omitted in some embodiments. At the outermost extremity of the recess, a lip (9) is formed by protruding material from the bladder, which rests in a bladder lock (10) of the stability ring (2) as seen also in FIG. 5, and which holds the bottom plate (8) in place as per FIG. 10 below.
 FIG. 3 shows the top view of the bladder (1) itself, including the reinforcements at the corners (3) and the reinforcements at the edges (4) and the indented strength ribs (6) and also another embodiment of the invention, in which no stability ring is present.
 FIG. 4 shows one of two matched frame halves (11) of the stability ring. Each half has a male dovetail (12) and a female dovetail (13) which are intended to interlock with mating connections on the opposite matched frame halves (11), and nine optional screw holes (14) which allow the stability ring to be attached to the bottom plate (8), if present.
 FIG. 5 and FIG. 6 show top and bottom views respectively of one end connector of the stability ring. This view shows more clearly the male dovetail (12) which is interlocked with the female dovetail (13) of the matched frame half (11). The figure also shows a recessed area or bladder lock (10) in which the bladder lip (9) rests, if present. Also shown in this drawing is a detail of a screw hole (14) which allows for the stability ring (2) to be attached to the bottom plate (8) if present.
 FIG. 7 shows the female dovetail (13) into which the male dovetail (12) is connected. Clearly shown in this view is the screw head recess (15) for screws which connect the stability ring (2) to the bottom plate (8).
 FIG. 8 shows the male dovetail (12) and female dovetail (13) when the matched frame halves (11) of the stability ring (2) are connected.
 FIG. 9 shows the optional bottom plate (8). The bottom plate (8) is fitted with 18 tapped holes (16) located to align with the screw holes (14) on the matched frame halves (11) of the stability ring (2).
 FIG. 10 shows a sectional view of the preferred embodiment of the invention. In this embodiment, the water-filled or inflated bladder (1) rests in an enclosure created by the stability ring (2) on all four sides and by the bottom plate (8) below it. In this embodiment, bottom plate (8) is inserted into the lip (9), which itself rests on the bladder lock (10) of the stability ring (2). Screws threaded through the screw holes (14) and into the tapped holes (16) of the bottom plate (8) further secure the bladder (1) to the stability ring (2).
 FIG. 11 shows a example of a protruding extension (17) from the stability ring (2) in which notched rope locks (18) are present. The rope locks (18) are intended to allow the user to attach or loop various exercise devices to the invention to augment the exercises that can be performed with the invention.
Patent applications in class Stair climbing
Patent applications in all subclasses Stair climbing