Returning to FIGS. 1 and 2, in accordance with another embodiment of the invention, the exercise rod can include a pair of grip sections 18a, 18b, each of which (or only one of which) can include indicia 24 associated therewith. The indicia can divide the grip section into at least two distinct force zones (shown by example in as an outer zone, a middle zone "+" and an inner zone "++"). The force zones serve to provide differing force responses when engaged by a user flexing the rod.
The frictional engagement surface can also include features to increase the interface between the exercise rod and the auxiliary engagement structure. For example, materials that have a relatively high coefficient of friction can be used, such as many polymers that are very pliable and tacky to the touch. Features such as "suction cups" can be added to increase the engagement strength.
In one aspect of the invention, a method of exercise is provided, including: positioning a patient such that the patient's shoulder in oriented in the scapular plane; positioning a flexible exercise rod in a bent configuration and securing an end of the rod to the patient's arm; and allowing the flexible rod to at least partially return to a relaxed state, the rod thereby assisting the patient to move the arm in a natural range of motion.
To enhance the ability of the frictional engagement structure 30 to maintain contact with the wall, floor, etc. the surface of the frictional engagement structure can be contoured to best engage the structure. In the example shown, a generally flat profile may work best when the exercise rod is to be used next to a standard wall or floor, such as against a wall in a gym or rehabilitation center, a wall of a swimming pool or spa, etc. In other applications, it may be advantageous to include a more inwardly arcuate curvature, for example, if the exercise rod is to be used near a support pole or other rounded structure.