My interest in the relationship between adroit talents and optimal performance levels, led me to fitness research and the construction of prototype devices. Then, while dwelling on the juncture of the corpus callosum, I repeatedly doodled a spiral, when it struck me: By propelling a ball back and forth on a loop, the repetitive rhythmic action would invigorate the complex workings of cognition, while also energising the neural network.
The health benefits of rhythmic action/response are well known, so I incorporated this technique as the primary component of the exercise trainer I have invented. This unique form of exercise enhances, concentration, grip, balance, coordination and stamina. The secondary component, user selected music, is a natural fit. The user simply synchronises operation of the trainer to the beat of their favorite music track. This important personal component brings an enjoyable, even synergetic effect, promoting a healthy emotional mindset and overall fitness.
The design consists of a metal spiral loop, about 42 cm diameter, with a sliding metal ball. The ends of each loop are fixed to a handlebar, held by the user, with a compression spring at each loop end, which functions to repel the ball around the loop.
The two types of trainer are static or wobbly. The static gives the ‘feel’ of direct control, so users can perform both aerobic and anaerobic exercise, while the wobbly trainer requires less effort, but greater focus and dexterity to maintain momentum.
Playing a selected musical track, say between 40 BPM - 110 BPM, the user grips the handles and swishes the armature around in an ellipse, propelling the ball end to end, in time to the rhythmic beats. This operation requires a modicum of practice but the user soon masters it, and ‘gets into the groove.’ Since users can both operate the trainer and move around, most users soon express themselves in subtle dance-like movements.
Example tracks to follow: ’My Sweet Lord’ by George Harrison, at 122 BPM, or, ‘Constant Craving’ by K. D. Laing, at 126 BPM; here, the user can comfortably strike the springs at every other beat, around 60+BPM, akin to the BPM of the human heartbeat. Striking the spring at higher BPMs requires shorter spells of anaerobic effort, especially good for core and cardiovascular fitness.
A rejuvenating idea for lockdown?
Something between a toy, an exercise device and a percussion instrument, this trainer can be used in confined spaces as a frequent tonic to alleviate excessive sitting and digital usage.
Easily constructed by competent local metal smiths, the basic assembly only requires, bicycle handlebars, grips, rubber-knit balls, compression springs, bendable steel rods and metal or acrylic ball bearings.
As a feasible IOT device, linked up users could either compete or join together for synchronous exercise sessions. With further design work, the trainer may also have applications in therapeutics, physiotherapy, and as a bespoke trainer in a wide range of sporting activities.
Gareth Lee Williams