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1. (WO2017136822) GYM SUPPORT PILLOW
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GYM SUPPORT PILLOW

RELATED APPLICATION

The present application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Application No. 62/291,946, filed February 5, 2016, which is hereby incorporated herein in its entirety by reference.

TECHNICAL FIELD

The invention relates generally to fitness, and more particularly to a support cushion for weight lifting.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Weight lifting is a common activity to strengthen the human body. A full body compound exercise known as the bench press is preformed to strengthen the chest, shoulders and triceps to gain upper-body strength. The exercise is performed while an individual is supine or lying down on one's back on a bench in a horizontal or inclined position with respect to the ground or floor. A rack holds a barbell having weights on each end of the bar. Alternatively, dumbbells can be used.

When the individual is in the supine position on the weight bench with their feet on the floor, the barbell is unracked with straight arms. The barbell is lowered to the mid-chest and then pressed back up until the elbows are locked. The motion is repeated for the desired number of repetitions. Preferably, a user's backside is kept on the bench during each repetition.

Oftentimes, when the barbell is pressed up, the lifter's head is forced into the bench for leverage, causing the back to arch. Lifting for extending periods of time and/or lifting heavy loads can result in acute and/or chronic pain of the head, neck, and back due to strain put on the spine and head when pressing the barbell up. Furthermore, improper bench press form can also result in head, neck and/or back pain, and in some cases, acute injury to the neck or back.

There remains a need for a means of support for protecting the spine, head, and neck while performing bench press exercises.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

According to embodiments, a support cushion for use when bench pressing includes a cushion portion having a flat bottom surface for placing on the weight bench, and an arcuate or rounded top surface. The top surface is shaped to provide constant support of the user's shoulders, neck, and head during the exercise. In particular, it is curved to fit the spinal curve of the neck between the shoulders and head. This shape provides a consistent level of support when the user is pressing the barbell up and forcing the body, particularly the head and shoulders, towards the bench, and to prevent the head from contacting the bench when the barbell is being pressed upwardly.

In embodiments of the invention, the support cushion is rectangular, square, or circular in shape and dimensioned to fit within the width of a standard weight bench. The cushion portion is formed of a compressible material such as an open- or closed-cell foam material. The cushion is sized appropriately for the user, and dimensioned to fit within the width of a standard weight bench. For example, the cushion is sized for an averagely sized adult male, female, or child. The cushion can optionally include a cover to protect the foam material.

In an embodiment, the support cushion includes means for removably securing the cushion to the bench. Any of a variety of means can be contemplated, such as straps or belts with or without mechanical fasteners. In one particular embodiment, the means comprise an adjustable strap assembly. A first strap is coupled to a first side of the flat bottom and a second strip is coupled to a second opposite side of the flat bottom. When the flat bottom is place proximate a top surface of the bench, the straps are dimensioned to wrap around the bottom surface of the bench and are removably securable to each other.

In embodiments, the straps can be secured to each other by any of a variety of mechanical fasteners or can be tied to one another. In another embodiment, a single strap or loop is coupled to opposite sides of the cushion, and can optionally be adjustable, such as by a toggle, or a ratchet type mechanism.

Embodiments of the invention are not limited for use during bench pressing, but can also be used for supporting the head, neck, or back during other exercises contemplated by one of ordinary skill in the art.

The above summary is not intended to describe each illustrated embodiment or every implementation of the subject matter hereof. The figures and the detailed description that follow more particularly exemplify various embodiments.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Subject matter hereof may be more completely understood in consideration of the following detailed description of various embodiments in connection with the accompanying figures, in which:

Fig. 1 A is a front perspective view of a bottom surface of a support cushion according to an embodiment of the invention;

Fig. IB is a bottom perspective view of the support cushion of Fig. 1A depicting straps secured to one another;

Fig. 1C is a bottom perspective view of the support cushion of Fig. 1A depicting straps unsecured to one another;

Fig. ID is a front elevational view of the support cushion of Fig. 1 A depicting straps hanging down;

Fig. IE is a rear elevational view of the support cushion of Fig. 1A depicting straps hanging down;

Fig. IF is a first side elevational view of the support cushion of Fig. 1A depicting straps hanging down;

Fig. 1G is a second side elevational view of the support cushion of Fig. 1A depicting straps hanging down;

Fig. 1H is a top plan view of the support cushion of Fig. 1 A depicting straps hanging down;

Fig. II is a bottom plan view of the support cushion of Fig. 1A depicting straps hanging down;

Fig. 2 is a perspective view of the support cushion removably coupled to a weight bench;

Fig. 3 is a rear view of the support cushion of Figure 1 being compressed by a user; and

Fig. 4 is a side view of the support cushion of Figure 1 being compressed by a user.

While various embodiments are amenable to various modifications and alternative forms, specifics thereof have been shown by way of example in the drawings and will be described in detail. It should be understood, however, that the intention is not to limit the claimed inventions to the particular embodiments described. On the contrary, the intention is to cover all modifications, equivalents, and alternatives falling within the spirit and scope of the subject matter as defined by the claims.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

Referring to Figures 1A-2, a bench press support cushion 100 comprises a cushion portion 102 having a flat bottom surface 104 and a rounded or domed top support surface 106. Cushion portion 102 comprises an open- or closed-cell foam material that partially compresses under force while providing sufficient opposing force to support a user's head, neck, and shoulders. Top support surface 106 defines a non-planar or arcuate surface shaped to fit within and support the spine in the neck area between the shoulders and head. Cushion portion 102 is sized appropriately to support an adult male, female, or child.

Cushion portion 102 can include a cover 112. Cover 112 can comprises a comfortable yet wipeable or cleanable material to cover at least the top surface of the cushion to protect the cushion from absorbing unwanted moisture, such as sweat, which can prematurely degrade the foam. The cover can be any suitable material such as synthetic or nature leather, lined or waterproof fabric such as cotton, neoprene or any of a variety of materials. In some embodiments, cover 112 is printable, such as by screen printing, ink jet, laser printing, or any of a variety of printing methodologies, and/or embroidered with custom or non-custom indicia. Such indicia can include names, logos such as a sports team logo, or any of a variety of indicia.

Referring to Figs. 1A-1I, a first strap 108 and a second strap 110 are coupled to flat bottom surface 104, such as the shorter sides of a rectangular bottom surface, by any of a variety of suitable means such as snaps, buttons, staples, tacks, rivets, stitching, glue or adhesive, or combinations thereof. Straps 108 and 110 are removably securable to each other, and preferably adjustable, to secure cushion 100 to a weight bench W. In yet another embodiment of the invention (not shown), bottom surface 104 can be formed of an anti-slip material or have an anti-slip coating to further secure cushion 100 to weight bench W.

In embodiments, straps 108 and 110 can be secured to each other by any of a variety of mechanical fasteners or can be tied to one another. In one particular embodiment, and referring to Figure IB, first strap 108 includes a hook portion 109 (shown facing downward) of a hook and loop assembly, and second strap 110 includes a loop portion 111 of the hook and loop assembly. Straps 108 and 110 are removably secured to each other by engaging the hooks and loops. The hooks and loop portions extend a sufficient amount along the length of each strap such that they can be secured in a variety of lengths to accommodate differently sized benches.

Alternative embodiments not shown include a belt type arrangement in which a protrusion on the first strap engages one of a plurality of apertures defined in the second strap, or a button arrangement including a button on the first strap and a plurality of button holes defined in the second strap. In another embodiment, a opposite ends of a single strap or loop, elastic or non-elastic, are coupled to opposite sides of the cushion. The loop can optionally be adjustable, such as by a toggle device or a ratchet type mechanism.

Referring to Figures 3 and 4, in use, cushion 100 is secured to weight bench W using any of the mechanism described above. A lifter L (in this case a male lifter) lies supine on bench W, with his neck on cushion 100. After unracking the barbell and bringing it to his chest, lifter L presses the barbell back up towards the rack. Cushion 100 compresses to absorb and counteract downward force F placed on it by lifter L's head and neck. Cushion 100 prevents lifter L's head from contacting bench W, and aids in keeping the spine straight along the neck and back during the exercise, thereby reducing the occurrence or risk of pain or injury.

Various embodiments of systems, devices, and methods have been described herein. These embodiments are given only by way of example and are not intended to limit the scope of the claimed inventions. It should be appreciated, moreover, that the various features of the embodiments that have been described may be combined in various ways to produce numerous

additional embodiments. Moreover, while various materials, dimensions, shapes, configurations and locations, etc. have been described for use with disclosed embodiments, others besides those disclosed may be utilized without exceeding the scope of the claimed inventions.

Persons of ordinary skill in the relevant arts will recognize that the subject matter hereof may comprise fewer features than illustrated in any individual embodiment described above. The embodiments described herein are not meant to be an exhaustive presentation of the ways in which the various features of the subject matter hereof may be combined. Accordingly, the embodiments are not mutually exclusive combinations of features; rather, the various embodiments can comprise a combination of different individual features selected from different individual embodiments, as understood by persons of ordinary skill in the art. Moreover, elements described with respect to one embodiment can be implemented in other embodiments even when not described in such embodiments unless otherwise noted.

Although a dependent claim may refer in the claims to a specific combination with one or more other claims, other embodiments can also include a combination of the dependent claim with the subject matter of each other dependent claim or a combination of one or more features with other dependent or independent claims. Such combinations are proposed herein unless it is stated that a specific combination is not intended.

Any incorporation by reference of documents above is limited such that no subject matter is incorporated that is contrary to the explicit disclosure herein. Any incorporation by reference of documents above is further limited such that no claims included in the documents are incorporated by reference herein. Any incorporation by reference of documents above is yet further limited such that any definitions provided in the documents are not incorporated by reference herein unless expressly included herein.

For purposes of interpreting the claims, it is expressly intended that the provisions of 35 U.S.C. ยง 112(f) are not to be invoked unless the specific terms "means for" or "step for" are

recited in a claim.