Patent application title: CONVERTIBLE SINGLE AND DUAL EXERCISE HAND WEIGHTS
Murray L. Elowitz (Albuquerque, NM, US)
IPC8 Class: AA63B21072FI
Class name: User manipulated force resisting apparatus, component thereof, or accessory therefor utilizing weight resistance handheld bar with weight at each end (e.g., barbell, dumbbell, etc.) or component thereof
Publication date: 2014-03-20
Patent application number: 20140080686
Disclosed is a convertible single and dual exercise hand weight that
allows an exerciser who uses hand weights to work out with a unique
weight device that can be used as either a single item in a dumbbell
configuration to stress one hand and arm at a time, or to alter the
configuration to the mode of two comparable weights to exercise both
hands and arms simultaneously such as while walking or jogging/running.
The latter mode has the advantage of providing balance on both sides of
the body, compared to a single dumbbell or equivalent. A locking
mechanism holds the two separate single-ended weights securely in the
1. Convertible Single and Dual Exercise Hand Weight comprising: a
capability of being used as two matched weight units that incorporate a
shaft for a handle integrated with a single main mass at or near one end
forming a TEE BELL that is suitable for exercise in one hand; or as a
single dumbbell-like hand weight with a single shaft and a mass at or
near each end; allowing the exerciser to change from exercising with both
hands independently and simultaneously holding a TEE BELL; to working
with one hand with either the dumbbell configuration or one TEE BELL, and
to simply change back to the other configuration again at any time.
2. Convertible Single and Dual Exercise Hand Weight according to claim 1, wherein said apparatus can be made in any total weight usable as a dumbbell including those standard weights for commercial dumbbells, such as five pounds, eight pounds or twenty pounds with the same features as described in claim 1.
3. Convertible Single and Dual Exercise Hand Weight according to claim 1, incorporating a secure locking mechanism that keeps pair of TEE BELL units joined in the dumbbell configuration through the exercise or handling period without inadvertent separation.
4. Convertible Single and Dual Exercise Hand Weight according to claim 1, each of the TEE BELL shafts may extend past the main mass to accommodate additional mass components to increase the total weight in incremental steps as is common on some dumbbell systems; including additional length to accommodate a securing mechanism to hold the additional mass on the shaft in a safe manner.
5. Convertible Single and Dual Exercise Hand Weight according to claim 1, either or both of the T-Bell shafts can have a change in diameter to accommodate off-the-shelf or standard designs such as weight disks or attachments.
6. Convertible Single and Dual Exercise Hand Weight comprising: A set of two TEE BELL units that can be used as stand-alone exercise devices each comprising a shaft used as the handle of the unit during exercise; a main mass item of greater size near one end; and component or components of the locking mechanism; such that the units can mate with concentric shafts to form the dumbbell mode; a male unit with a smaller handle shaft and a female unit with a larger hollow handle shaft, whereby the inside diameter of the outer shaft is compatible to mate with the specified outer diameter of the inner shaft.
7. Convertible Single and Dual Exercise Hand Weight according to claim 6, applying the bayonet base approach to lock the two units where either one or two bayonets protrude from an insert into male unit to fit into the male's accepting slot to securely hold the male unit in place in the female unit, which has the advantage that it eliminates the need to break the outer surface of the male unit thereby eliminating the minor annoyance to the exerciser.
8. Convertible Single and Dual Exercise Hand Weight according to claim 6, applying an innovative reverse bayonet base design approach to lock the two units whereby the fixed bayonets protrude inward from the outer female TEE BELL unit to mate into the slot in the inner male TEE BELL unit to securely hold the male unit in place in the female unit, providing a low-cost solution.
9. Convertible Single and Dual Exercise Hand Weight according to claim 6, applying a component or components that apply spring loading to the male unit, thereby adding security to any of the lock approaches explained in the detailed description of the invention.
10. Convertible Single and Dual Exercise Hand Weight according to claim 6, whereby a push button will release the locking pins to allow separation or mating of the two units; such as when the bayonets protrude outward from the inner unit into a groove in the outer shaft
11. Convertible Single and Dual Exercise Hand Weight according to claim 6, whereof the unit with the outer or female shaft shall weigh half of the total weight of the Convertible Single and Dual Exercise Hand Weight in the dumbbell configuration; and whereof the unit with the inner or male shaft shall weigh half of the total weight of the Convertible Single and Dual Exercise Hand Weight in the dumbbell configuration.
12. Convertible Single and Dual Exercise Hand Weight according to claim 6; alternate locking mechanisms for non-concentric and concentric handle shafts include magnetic latching, hooks, detents, friction-based and threaded devices.
13. Convertible Single and Dual Exercise Hand Weight according to claim 6; where the shaft or shafts may include a grip to accommodate the user in mating and demating the pair of Tee Bells, whereby the shaft at the end with the weight is extended to accommodate the grip. The grip will provide and facilitate the method of unlocking and extracting the male unit and holding it in the usual position with the hand on the shaft.
14. Convertible Single and Dual Exercise Hand Weight comprising: a capability of being used as two matched weight units with symmetrical non-concentric shafts that each incorporate a shaft for a handle integrated with a single main mass at or near one end forming a TEE BELL that is suitable for exercise in one hand; or as a single dumbbell-like hand weight with a single handle composed of the two TEE BELL symmetrical shafts and a mass at or near each end; allowing the exerciser to change from exercising with both hands independently and simultaneously holding a TEE BELL having the advantage that both hands feel the same shape shaft; to working with one hand with either the dumbbell configuration or one TEE BELL, and to simply change back to the other configuration again at any time.
15. Convertible Single and Dual Exercise Hand Weight according to claim 14; two symmetrical or nearly symmetrical shafts for handles each with attached main mass whereby the cross section of the two shafts are as if they were split from one combined handle in the dumbbell mode, creating a shape similar to two half-circles, approximating two capital letter D's or other desired shape, thereby providing the exerciser with the same feel of texture, size and shape in both hands;
16. Convertible Single and Dual Exercise Hand Weight according to claim 14; whereby a magnet is embedded into the open end of the shaft, made of non-magnetic material, that is attracted to the main mass; the magnetic strength of the magnet being of sufficient strength to hold the two TEE BELL units securely in the dumbbell configuration.
17. Convertible Single and Dual Exercise Hand Weight according to claim 14; alternate locking mechanisms for non-concentric and concentric handle shafts include spring latching, hooks, detents, friction-based and threaded devices.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
 1. Field of the Invention
 The present invention relates to exercise hardware in the form of a pair of hand weights consisting of a handle with larger mass near one end, that are used for exercise and muscle building and that are easily convertible from dual single-ended hand weights, or Tee-Bells, into a single dumbbell with one larger disk-like mass at each end of its handle so the exerciser can change from exercising with one hand to using both, such as for symmetrical exercising.
 2. Description of the Prior Art
 Dumbbells and other basic exercise aids have been sold and used for a very long time. An uncountable number of Americans walk and jog for exercise or conditioning every day, and many of them are observed in gymnasiums, parks and along paths and roads with dumbbells or other kinds of hand-held weights. The most recent trends in related inventions have been to create ways to quickly, securely and easily change the total weight of dumbbells, or make the handle shaft more comfortable, such as by using materials that mold to the exerciser's hand. There are similar improvements in the kettle bells. These trends demonstrate that there is interest in improving available hand-held exercise aids. Two needs that have not been addressed are (1) to allow the exerciser to change from carrying one weight, such as a dumbbell, in one hand to carrying duel separate weights in both hands or the reverse, without going back to the gym or garage to get or store other weight items, and (2) an alternate configuration for the single-ended weight devices where the mass resides at the end of a cylindrical handle.
 U.S. Pat. No. 7,780,582 describes a dumbbell and incremental weight plate for same comprise a bar that extends generally axially between opposing end regions, a weight plate mass mounted about the bar at each end region, and at least one incremental weight plate mountable on the dumbbell. The weight plate mass and the incremental weight plate have respective magnetic regions that cause the incremental weight plate to be selectively magnetically secured to the weight plate mass or to be magnetically repelled from the weight plate mass to assist the user in removing the incremental weight plate from the dumbbell.
 The limitation of this patent is that it only addresses the dumbbell configuration and use for single-handed exercises, but not the ability to convert from a dumbbell to two single-ended hand weights for use exercise both hands and keeping the body stress symmetrical. It does address the use of a magnet in the exercise device to hold weight plates during the exercise and handling, but not to convert to two hand weights locked in the dumbbell position.
 U.S. Pat. No. 7,052,445 pertains to an improved adjustable kettle bell that has a stack of standard weight plates, a rounded grip section, a support bar serving to hold the weight stack, and flexible attachment members with cutouts for the support bar. The flexible attachment members provide a mechanically compliant clamping arrangement to accommodate weight stack of varying widths, and the cutouts allowing adjustment to the relative distance between the grip axis and the support bar axis. The improved adjustable kettle bell of the current invention serves as a close physical approximation to a solid cast kettle bell with a wide combination of standard weight plates.
 This equipment is limited to the kettle bell form of hand weight, where the main mass hangs from one hand, and is useful in exercising one arm and hand at a time. The invention is oriented to being able to change the total weight, most useful when the exerciser is at a gym or place where the additional weight plates are stored. It is not suitable to changing weight away from the gym or garage, or suitable for a jogger, where the hanging weight is hard to control. It does not address the utility of the dumbbell and the conversion to two one-handed Tee-Bells on the fly.
 U.S. Pat. No. 4,638,994 is for a tubular main bar, internally threaded, with buttress teeth, from each end, with a stop in the middle, and an inner bar inserted in each end, having a single tooth element, spring pressed radially outwardly, forming a buttress tooth engaging the buttress teeth in the main bar. The inner bars can be pushed inwardly, but must be threaded, or turned, out. The weights are fitted on the inner bar at each end, against the end of the main bar and a locking collar interlocks with the outer end of each inner bar, and holds the weights. The outer surface of the locking collar and of the inner bar lie in a common plane, defining the end of the dumbbell. The inner bars cannot be threaded completely out of the main bar, except by special manipulation of the tooth element in the inner bar, through an inconspicuous opening.
 This device is another example of the variety of approaches to changing the total weight of dumbbells. It includes a novel way of locking additional weight plates, which is totally different than any of the locking mechanisms in this new invention, and is for a very different purpose. It does not address the ability to change configuration from a single dumbbell to duel Tee-Bell hand weights.
 U.S. Pat. No. 8,241,189 is for a dumbbell that includes: a handle portion having a flattened cross section; and at least two weight portions provided at opposite ends of the handle portion. The handle portion is connected to an off-center position deviating from a center-of-gravity portion of each of the weight portions.
 This patent applies to specific elliptical non-circular cross-section shapes of dumbbell handle shaft that connects irregular and nonsymmetrical large mass components for the purpose of strengthening the user's wrist. It does not address single-ended weighted devices such as TEE BELLs. The present invention is (a) for TEE BELLs that are like dumbbells only when combined as a pair, and (b) have specific uses when used separately, either one in each hand or one TEE BELL at a time.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
 The present invention is a Convertible Single and Dual Exercise Hand Weight which allows an exerciser to rapidly and easily change from exercising with one hand at a time with the DUMBBELL configuration, such as doing curls, to using the invention in the dual weight configuration to exercise with symmetrical weights in the form of Tee-Bells in each hand from one piece of equipment, whether at a gym, at home, in a park or anywhere else. This device can be used by any of the people who exercise with hand weights, especially those who walk or jog, and unlike any existing form of dumbbell or kettle bell it can provide balanced load on the body. This is a new capability for the exerciser/user, providing new flexibility. The potential number of users who would benefit from this invention is huge, as exercisers who use hand weights are in every city and town in America and across the developed countries.
 It is therefore a primary objective of the present invention to provide the exerciser with the previously unavailable ability to convert a hand weight from a single dumbbell useful for one-handed exercise into a pair of single-ended Tee-Bell hand weights suitable for simultaneous exercises with both hands, and convertible back again to the dumbbell configuration by a simple method.
 It is also a primary objective of the present invention to provide the two independent Tee-Bell hand weights with a secure locking mechanisms that will keep the apparatus in the dumbbell configuration throughout the period of use. The locks are easily disengaged to allow each of the independent hand weights to be used separately. The invention includes several types of locks that meet the requirements. The locking mechanism is easily engaged and stays engaged during use including periods of rapid acceleration or shock from dropping or banging against other objects.
 It is a primary objective of the present invention to offer separate hand weights with concentric mating cross-sections to the handle portion of the weights in the dual weight mode.
 It is also a primary objective of this invention to offer an alternative matched and equal cross-section handles for the weights in the dual weight Tee-Bell mode, which will also mate securely when in the dumbbell mode.
 These and other objects of the present invention will become apparent to those skilled in this art upon reading the accompanying description, drawings and claims set forth herein. The headings used in this description of this invention are to aid the reader in finding various materials and are not to be limiting in their construction.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
 FIG. 1 is a profile view of the Convertible Single and Dual Exercise Hand Weight in the dumbbell configuration, according to the present invention.
 FIG. 2 is a profile view of the single Tee-Bell having the outer or larger shaft diameter. Not shown is the locking mechanism.
 FIG. 3 is a profile view of the single Tee-Bell having the inner or smaller shaft diameter. Not shown is the locking mechanism.
 FIG. 4 is a profile and an end view drawing of a typical slot configuration in the inner shaft for the basic bayonet lock, with an alternative slot shape shown below.
 FIG. 5 is an end view of the two bayonet positions in the outer shaft for the basic bayonet lock.
 FIG. 6 is an end view of the outer shaft when a single rod is used in the lock instead of one or two bayonets.
 FIG. 7 is a drawing of an insert probe with bayonets to be inserted in the outer shaft to lock with the inner shaft.
 FIG. 8 exploded view of the dumbbell configuration with the insert probe including bayonets installed in the outer shaft and the inner shaft locked in place.
 FIG. 9 is an exploded view with a spring mechanism to provide additional security to the basic bayonet lock.
 FIG. 10 is an shows the relationship of the spring loading mechanism to the inner and outer shafts when in the dumbbell configuration.
 FIG. 11 is a schematic view of a pushbutton lock mechanism in the inner shaft such that, when pushed, the button causes the bayonets to retract for mating and de-mating of the two shafts.
 FIG. 12 is an end view depicting the groove that receives the bayonet.
 FIG. 13 is an end view when the shafts are formed like two halves split from a single shaft, and including the receiving notch for the second Tee-Bell.
 FIG. 14 is a profile view of the two separated Tee-Bells when the shafts are formed like two halves split from a single shaft.
 FIG. 15 is an end view of the alternate shaped symmetrical shaft, i.e., not a semi-circle, and without the mass.
 FIG. 16 is an end view, with the mass, showing how the locking magnet may be embedded in the shaft.
 FIG. 17 is a profile view showing how the locking magnet may be embedded in the shaft.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION
 1. Definitions
 Dumbbell as used herein shall mean any exercise apparatus held in one hand having a shaft or handle connecting two heavier masses.
 TEE BELL as used herein shall mean an exercise apparatus held in one hand having a shaft or handle connecting it to a single heavier mass.
 Handle or shaft can refer to a stand-alone component or one integrated into a single part with the mass, even when the description treats them as separate components.
 3. Best Mode of the Invention
 FIGS. 1, 2 and 3 show side sectional views of the best mode contemplated by the inventor of a set of two TEE BELLs in the joined or mated by concentric shafts in the dumbbell configuration.
 4. How to Use the Invention
 The Convertible Single and Dual Exercise Hand Weight consists two stand-alone units called TEE BELLs that mate and join to form a dumbbell configuration. The user can start exercising with one TEE BELL in each hand, exercising with balanced stress on both sides of the body. At any point, the user can join the two units and perform single-handed exercises in the dumbbell mode. For instance, in the TEE BELL mode, the exerciser could walk or jog. At the completion, he or she can perform muscle-development exercises like curls in the dumbbell mode. Of course, they can be converted to or from either configuration at any time anywhere.
 4 How to o HMake the Invention
 As can be seen from the drawings the Convertible Single and Dual Exercise Hand Weight can be made in a wide variety of configurations with a number of optional features. There are at least two shapes of handles, concentric cylinders and identical matching partially rounded shapes. There are also options for locking and security mechanisms.
 FIG. 1 shows a side sectional view of the Convertible Single and Dual Exercise Hand Weight in the dumbbell configuration. It consists of two separate units that have a single-ended handle shaft and a main mass, forming a TEE BELL. The weight of the main mass 3 will vary according to the total weight desired. The best mode is to make the handles in the form of concentric cylinders. One main mass 3, shown on the left of FIG. 1 is mated to the outer handle shaft 1. The other main mass 3 is mated to the inner handle shaft 2 which fits snugly inside the hollow outer handle shaft 1. In this configuration, the dumbbell handle is the outer handle shaft 1 held in one hand perform the exercises.
 The rated or nominal weight is the sum of two main masses 3 and the two shafts 1, 2. For commercial sales, it is anticipated that most units will be at standard dumbbell weights, such as 5, 8, 10 or 20 lbs. The weight values are primarily controlled in design and manufacturing by the volume and density of the main masses 3.
 In FIGS. 1, 2, 3 both shafts are shown extended beyond the outer edge 4 of the main mass 3 in the basic approach, which is common in commercial dumbbells. However, the shafts 1 and 2 may be terminated at the outer edges 4 of the main mass without changing the character of the invention.
 FIG. 2 shows a side sectional view of the single-ended Tee-Bell with the larger or outer shaft 1 when in the dual bell mode. FIG. 3 shows the comparable view of the Tee-Bell with the smaller or inner shaft 2. Each of these duel hand weights can be used independently in the chosen exercises, or both simultaneously, such as when walking or jogging with balanced stress on both sides.
 The total weight of each of the single-ended Tee-Bell weights in FIG. 2 and FIG. 3 including the outer shafts 1 and 2 is approximately one half of the total weight. The outer diameter of the inner shaft 2 shown in FIG. 3 is sized to snugly fit inside the hollow outer shaft 1 shown in FIG. 2.
 The duel Tee-Bells are held together in the dumbbell mode, even during the most energetic exercises, by a locking mechanism. For simplicity, the locking mechanism is not shown in FIG. 1, 2 or 3.
 FIGS. 4 and 5 show the simplest locking mechanism which is a reverse bayonet concept. In FIG. 4 the slot 6 on the near side of the inner shaft 2 and another diametrically opposite slot 7 receive bayonets 5, or probes to securely lock it in place by inserting the female shaft 2 into the outer shaft land twisting so the bayonets 5 travel along the path of the slots 6 and 7. The upper drawing shows one method of making the slots, and the lower shows an alternate. Either of these and others that will retain the bayonets during use can perform the function. FIG. 4 also shows the end view of a thin-walled tubular inner handle.
 FIG. 5 is the end view of the outer shaft 1 with one or two diametrically opposing bayonets 5 (two shown) that are part of the outer shaft and point inward to engage in slot 6 and slot 7, respectively. Locking occurs when the bayonets 5 are inserted in the slots 6, 7 and one shaft is inserted then twisted against the other. The circle 8 indicates the location of the bayonet 5 when in the locked position. This is a unique application for the bayonet and base type of lock.
 FIG. 6 shows a variation of the bayonet lock to replace the two bayonets 5 with a continuous rod 9 across the hollow center of the outer shaft 1. When mated and locked in the dumbbell mode, the rod 9 fits in the slots 6 and 7 of shaft 2 to reside at the circle 8 and its counterpart location on the hidden side. The use of the rod may have an advantage of strength over the bayonets, but may not be suitable for all designs.
 FIG. 7 illustrates another variation of the basic bayonet lock that uses an insert probe 10 that includes a shoulder 11, and a nose 12 and one or two bayonets 13 that protrude outward. The bayonets 13 mate with the groove or slot 6, 7 in the inner shaft 2 as in FIG. 4. The shoulder reduces the maximum diameter of the nose to fit inside the inner shaft securely.
 FIG. 8 illustrates how the probe 12, attached to the outer shaft 1 such that the nose 14 fits inside the inner shaft 2 to allow the bayonets 15 to enter the slots 6, 7 to secure the two shafts 1, 2 together in the dumbbell mode. The bayonets mate with a twisting motion as in the slots 6, 7 in FIG. 4
 FIG. 9 shows the concept of a spring 14 with a possible pusher plate 15 for additional strength. The spring is installed in the base of the outer shaft 1 to exert additional force on the inner shaft 2, increasing the security of the lock.
 FIG. 10 is an overlay of the spring 14 and push plate 15 inside the dumbbell configuration, which shows push plate providing a securing force to the end of the inner shaft 2. For clarity, not shown are the bayonets and slots such as in FIGS. 3, 4, 5.
 The insert probe 10 in FIG. 7 can also be spring loaded with an approach such as installing a spring 14 shown in FIG. 7 between the shoulder 13 and the end of the inner shaft 2 in FIG. 8.
 Another approach to locking and releasing the concentric Tee-Bell shafts 1 and 2 is with a push button mechanism. FIGS. 11 and 12 are schematic views of the inner and outer shafts, respectively.
 In this approach there is a push button 16 protruding from the closed end of the inner shaft 2 shown in FIG. 11. This pushbutton 16 is shown as an assembly that includes a spring restorer to the normally-protruding position. Each bayonet 5 is part of and protrudes from spring-loaded assembly 17. The push button 16 is connected to the bayonet assemblies 17 by a stiff linkage 18 and connecting lines 19. When no force is exerted on the pushbutton 16, the bayonets 5 protrude from their enclosures 17. The ratio of distance traveled by the pushbutton 16 to the distance traveled by the bayonet 17 is a function of the angle between pushrod 18 and the linkages 19.
 When the push button 16 is pushed in by the user, the push button 16 causes the bayonets 17, also shown as a packaged assembly, to retract while the two TEE BELL shafts 1, 2 are being separated or mated into the locked position. When the user removes pressure, the internally generated spring force returns the push button 16 to its neutral position.
 FIG. 12 is an end view and profile of the outer shaft to show the mating groove 16 in the inside of the outer shaft 1 to receive the bayonets 17 that, without penetrating the skin, hold the two shafts locked in the dumbbell mode throughout the period of use.
 Other locking mechanisms can be used with the basic design. In addition to the different types of bayonet and twist locks, with and without spring loading, and the push button types, other lock types may include magnetic and friction locks.
 This invention can also be brought to practice with a different shaft configuration that offers the same shape, weight and feel of both shafts or handles in each of the duel Tee-Bells and mates to form a dumbbell.
 FIG. 13 shows and end view and FIG. 14 shows the profile view of the duel Tee-Bell hand weights with an alternative design for the shafts 23. The cross-section shape of the shafts 23 can be any comfortable design that allows the two to come together into one shape that is also a smooth, and comfortable shape when the duel Tee-Bells are joined in the dumbbell configuration. This will usually require a common flat side where they come together, such as would occur when any general round shape is split longitudinally. Typical shapes are semi-circular, semi-elliptical or near a capital D.
 This alternative has both TEE BELLs the same, as compared to the smaller and larger shaft 1, 2 diameters of the concentric shaft approach. Each duel Tee-Bell consists of a shaft 23, a main mass 3 which has a recessed receiving notch 24 or slot for the mating shaft 23 of the same shape of the second duel hand weight. The duel TEE BELLs are mated into the dumbbell mode by simultaneously sliding both open ends of the shafts 23 into the receiving notches 24.
 FIG. 15 is an end view of the Tee-Bell looking into the handle side with the open notch 22.
 When in the dumbbell configuration, the shafts 21 in the notches 22 are held secure in the transverse direction by the adjoining shaft and the opening in the mass 3. An additional feature secures the position in the longitudinal direction, which is indicated by the arrows in FIG. 14.
 For the symmetrical shafts 21, the locking may be made by magnetic force. FIG. 16 shows the intersecting shafts 21 inserted in notches 22. In the open end there will be a permanent magnet 23. Upon insertion in the notch 22, the magnet is attracted to the mass 3. Since the shaft is made of a non-magnetic material, the attraction is strong enough to hold the shaft in the notch. The total attraction force is two times the single magnetic force by adding the force at both ends of the handle in the dumbbell configuration.
 Other means of securing the TEE BELLs longitudinally include bayonet or bayonets, spring clips, friction, etc.
 Thus it will be appreciated by those skilled in the art that the present invention is not restricted to the particular preferred embodiments described with reference to the drawings, and that variations may be made therein without departing from the scope of the present invention as defined in the appended claims and equivalents thereof.
Patent applications in class Handheld bar with weight at each end (e.g., barbell, dumbbell, etc.) or component thereof
Patent applications in all subclasses Handheld bar with weight at each end (e.g., barbell, dumbbell, etc.) or component thereof