Navy

Weight training prosthetic for arm amputee

Device securely attaches the upper limb to a barbell and allows for a balanced exercise

Medical & Biotechnology

Everyday activities are more difficult for amputees and when you consider more specialized activities, the difficulty increases exponentially. Human hands can provide subtle, precise, and effective grip of properly shaped tools but the best designs and embodiments of prosthetics have yet to match mother nature. But engineers are making strides to increase the effectiveness of prosthetics to mimic their biological counterparts.

With improved prosthetics, the limitations on what amputees can do in the area of exercise are being broken-down. There are now specialized prosthetics for tennis, running, cycling and a host of other activities. While those are more prevalent, there are also prosthetics specific to weight training.  While weight training has been around for centuries, the fitness boom has morphed it into a mainstream activity and weights are an obvious fixture in work out facilities. Weight training is a staple in the regimen of fitness enthusiasts – professional, amateur and casual, regardless of physical ability.

One new device for above-the-elbow amputees has been designed by a military veteran amputee who is also a weightlifter. The prosthetic enables the wearer to perform the popular bench press and other exercises.

As shown in the drawing, the forearm component attaches to the upper arm by a rod end bearing (Heim joint). The forearm is completely adjustable in length and ends in a yoke adaptor that is also adjustable. The yoke adaptor accommodates a cylindrical device such as a barbell handle. With this prosthesis, a person can safely perform bench press and other lifts using both arms.

The design has been patented by the Navy and licenses are available to businesses or entrepreneurs who would like to manufacture it.

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