Title:
Apparatus for mechanical emulation of dumbbells
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
In combination with apparatus for exercising the upper body of the type having extended, motion resisting levers and handgrips at the lever distal ends that follow defined converging and diverging paths upon movement of the levers in one direction and the reverse, an improvement having extended handle members with connecting ends and perpendicularly off-set handgrip ends. The connecting ends are connected to the extended levers for pivotal movement having one, two or three degrees of freedom with respect to the levers, so that the hand grips allow elective inclination and declination movements; elective inclination and declination movements in conjunction with elective converging and diverging movements; or, elective inclination and declination movements in conjunction with elective converging and diverging movements in conjunction with pronating and supinating movements, throughout the range of motion of an exercise.



Inventors:
Fulks, Kent (Dallas, TX, US)
Application Number:
09/792203
Publication Date:
08/29/2002
Filing Date:
02/23/2001
Assignee:
FULKS KENT
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
482/142
International Classes:
A63B21/06; (IPC1-7): A63B26/00; A63B21/06
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
DONNELLY, JEROME W
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
JOHN F. BRYAN (8291 LAKESIDE DRIVE, ENGLEWOOD, FL, 34224, US)
Claims:

I claim:



1. In combination with apparatus for exercising the upper body of the type having extended, motion resisting levers and handles with handgrips at the distal end thereof, and wherein the extended levers follow prescribed converging and diverging paths upon movement in one direction and the reverse, the improvement comprising: extended handle members, each having a longitudinal axis, a connecting end and a handgrip substantially perpendicular to the longitudinal axis at the distal end; and the connecting ends connected to the extended levers at the distal ends thereof, so that each extended handle member pivots about at least one axis with respect to the connected lever, allowing elective inclination or declination movements of the handgrips, in conjunction with prescribed converging and diverging movements, throughout the range of motion of an exercise.

2. The apparatus for exercising the upper body of claim 1 and further comprising horizontally skewed, non-parallel axes for pivotal movement of the levers along the prescribed converging and diverging paths.

3. The apparatus for exercising the upper body of claim 1 and further comprising: a common horizontal axis for pivotally mounting the levers; extended lever distal ends connected to the levers for pivotal movement with respect to the connected levers; and linkage means for moving the extended lever distal ends along converging and diverging paths as the levers pivot about their common horizontal axis.

4. The apparatus for exercising the upper body of claim 1 and further comprising connection of the extended handle members to the extended levers for pivotal movement of the extended handle members about their respective longitudinal axis, so as to allow elective movement of the handgrips for pronation and supination.

5. The apparatus for exercising the upper body of claim 1 and further comprising a connection of the extended handle members to the extended levers for pivotal movement of the extended handle member about their respective lever longitudinal axis, so as to allow elective movement of the handgrips for convergence and divergence.

6. In combination with apparatus for exercising the upper body of the type having extended, motion resisting levers and handles with handgrips at the distal end thereof, and wherein the extended levers follow prescribed converging and diverging paths upon movement in one direction and the reverse, the improvement comprising: extended handle members, each having a longitudinal axis, a connecting end and a handgrip substantially perpendicular to the longitudinal axis at the distal end; and the connecting ends connected to the extended levers at the distal ends thereof, so that each extended handle member pivots about at least two axes with respect to the connected lever, allowing elective inclination and declination movements of the handgrips, in conjunction with elective converging and diverging movements, throughout the range of motion of an exercise.

7. The apparatus for exercising the upper body of claim 6 and further comprising connection of the extended handle members to the extended levers for pivotal movement of the extended handle members about their respective longitudinal axis, so as to allow elective movement of the handgrips for pronation and supination.

8. The apparatus for exercising the upper body of claim 6 and further comprising horizontally skewed, non-parallel axes for pivotal movement of the levers along the prescribed converging and diverging paths.

9. The apparatus for exercising the upper body of claim 6 and further comprising: a common horizontal axis for pivotally mounting the levers; extended lever distal ends connected to the levers for pivotal movement with respect to the connected levers; and linkage means for moving the extended lever distal ends along converging and diverging paths as the levers pivot about their common horizontal axis.

10. Apparatus for exercising the upper body, while permitting elective inclination and declination, and elective converging and diverging hand movements, the apparatus comprising: a frame; a pair of levers having first and second ends wherein the first ends are connected for pivotal movement about horizontal, obtusely angled first pivotal axes, so that the second ends converge and diverge when pivoting thereabout; means operatively connected to the levers for resisting pivotal movement about the first pivotal axes; and extended handle members, each having a longitudinal axis, a handgrip perpendicular thereto at the distal end, and a connecting end pivotally connected to each lever at the second end thereof, so that each extended handle member pivots about at least two axes with respect to the connected lever, allowing elective inclination and declination movements of the handgrips in conjunction with elective converging and diverging movements, throughout the range of motion of an exercise.

11. The exercise device of claim 10 wherein means operatively connected to the levers for resisting pivotal movement comprises at least one removably connected weight.

12. The exercise device of claim 10 wherein the connection of the first end of each lever on the frame for pivotal movement about its first axis comprises: a pair of brackets having holes therein, the holes being aligned with the first pivotal axis of the lever; an axle passing through the holes so as to be rotatable about the first pivotal axis of the lever; and the lever attached to the axle.

13. The exercise device of claim 10 wherein means operatively connected to the levers for resisting pivotal movement comprises a resisting force acting at a variable moment arm.

14. The apparatus for exercising the upper body of claim 10 and further comprising connection of the extended handle members to the levers for pivotal movement of the extended handle members about their respective longitudinal axis, so as to allow elective movement of the handgrips for pronation and supination.

15. Apparatus for exercising the upper body, while permitting elective inclination and declination and elective converging and diverging hand and arm movements, the apparatus comprising: a frame including a horizontal first pivotal axis; a pair of levers having first and second ends wherein the first ends are connected for pivotal movement about the first pivotal axis; means operatively connected to the levers for resisting pivotal movement about the first pivotal axes; a pair of lever extensions having first and second ends, wherein the first ends are pivotally connected to the lever second ends, on second pivotal axes substantially angled with respect to the first pivotal axis; means for pivoting each lever extension about the respective second pivotal axis in a predetermined relationship relative to the lever as the lever pivots about the first pivotal axis; and a pair of extended handle members, each having a longitudinal axis, a handgrip substantially perpendicular thereto at the distal end, and a connecting end, pivotally connected to one of the lever extensions at the second end thereof, so that the extended handle member is free for pivotal movement about at least two axes with respect to the connected lever extension, allowing elective inclination and declination movements of the handgrips in conjunction with elective converging and diverging movements, throughout the range of motion of an exercise.

16. An exercise device according to claim 15 wherein the second pivotal axes are displaced from and do not intersect the first pivotal axes.

17. An exercise device according to claim 15 wherein the means for pivoting each lever extension about the respective second pivotal axis is an operative connection between that lever extension and the frame.

18. The exercise device of claim 15 wherein the means for pivoting each lever extension about the respective pivotal second axis in a predetermined relationship relative to the lever as the lever pivots about the first pivotal axis comprises: a linkage rod having first and second ends; a first ball connector attached to the lever extension; a first socket connector fitting on the first ball connector and attached to the linkage rod first end; a second ball connector attached to the frame of the exercise device; and a second socket connector fitting on the second ball connector and attached to the linkage rod second end.

19. The exercise device of claim 15 wherein means operatively connected to the levers for resisting pivotal movement comprises at least one removably connected weight.

20. The exercise device of claim 15 wherein means supporting the levers on the frame for pivotal movement about the horizontal first pivotal axis comprises: brackets having holes therein, the holes being aligned with the first pivotal axis; and at least one axle passing through the holes, so as to be rotatable about the first pivotal axis, with the levers being attached thereto.

21. The exercise device of claim 15 wherein means operatively connected to the lever for resisting pivotal movement comprises a resisting force acting at a variable moment arm.

22. An exercise machine for providing selected resistance through a range of motion comprising; a frame including a substantially horizontal first pivotal axis; a seat mounted on the frame; a backrest mounted rearwardly of the seat; an adjustable weight to provide selected resistance; a pair of substantially parallel first lever members pivotally mounted to the frame for rotation about the horizontal first pivotal axis against the selected resistance, the first lever members each including one of a pair of spaced apart, substantially parallel and angularly oriented second pivotal axes lying substantially perpendicular to the horizontal first axis; a pair of second lever members, each having a distal end and a mounting end, with the mounting end pivotally connected to one of the first lever members for rotation about the second pivotal axis; linkage means guiding the second lever member distal ends to converge along predetermined curved paths as the first lever members pivot from a first position to a second position; and a handle member connected to each of the second lever member distal ends for pivotal movement with at least two orthogonal degrees of freedom with respect thereto.

23. The exercise machine of claim 22 wherein the handle member connected to each of the second lever member distal ends for pivotal movement has three orthogonal degrees of freedom with respect thereto.

24. In combination with a method for exercising the upper body wherein the hands of the user follow mechanically defined converging and diverging paths upon movement in one direction and the reverse, the improvement comprising the steps of: providing extended handle members with handgrips at the distal ends thereof; grasping the handgrips with the user's hands to perform exercise movements; guiding the proximal ends of the extended handle members to follow mechanically defined converging and diverging paths as the user's hands move through the range of the exercise movements; and allowing the user's hands to follow elective paths deviating from the mechanically defined converging and diverging paths.

Description:

TECHNICAL FIELD

[0001] This invention relates generally to exercise machines and more particularly to exercise machines with forced pronation or supination movement for the hands and arms.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0002] Many athletes and non-athletes utilize weight lifting or weight training exercises to build strength and/or bulk, or to improve overall condition and appearance. Typically, weight training exercises are performed with either exercise machines or free weights, i.e., barbells with plates for incremental weight selection, dumbbells, etc. For various reasons, most exercise programs incorporate both machines and free weights in a variety of different exercise routines in order to maximize the effect of working specific muscle groups.

[0003] Free weights offer a number of advantages over exercise machines. For instance, they are relatively inexpensive in comparison to exercise machines. Free weights are also more versatile because a variety of exercises can be performed with one set of weights, whereas most exercise machines are designed for only one exercise. Even though some exercise machines accommodate more than one exercise, the cost of these machines usually increases proportionately with the number of exercises. Use of dumbbells also enables both arms to be exercised independently. Finally, dumbbells are popular among many weight lifters because the lifting movements, rather than being restricted to prescribed planes of motion, can follow a more natural converging/diverging path with elective inclination and declination.

[0004] Nevertheless, there are inherent disadvantages associated with free weights. One such disadvantage relates to safety. Most weight room instructors strongly advise against an individual working out alone, and this cautionary measure is particularly important when lifting free weights, because becoming trapped beneath a bar could easily occur in exercises such as bench press, incline or squat. There is also the danger of dropping a weight, so as to cause personal injury. Also, loading and unloading of heavy plates onto the ends of a bar can sometimes, through carelessness, result in an unbalanced bar that falls from its rack. Finally, the handling of these heavy plates is laborious and time consuming.

[0005] Another disadvantage associated with free weights relates to the fact that the weight resistance, or opposing force, that is exercised against is always directed vertically downward by gravity. Yet, the moment arm of the weight about the pivot point varies considerably throughout the full range of motion. This principle is explained in U.S. Pat. No. 3,998,454 with respect to a commonly performed exercise referred to as the dumbbell biceps curl. In short, during this exercise the applied moment arm about the elbow varies according to the sine of the angle of the lower arm with respect to the vertically oriented upper arm. The moment arm is greatest when the angle is 90°, and it is lowest when the angle is 180° and 0°.

[0006] If the resistance capabilities of the muscles of the human body matched this moment arm, the degree of difficulty experienced by the exerciser would be uniform, or balanced, throughout the entire range of motion. However, as reported in U.S. Pat. No. 3,998,454, the strength generated by the human muscles during this exercise is not in fact “balanced” throughout the range of motion, and there are some “sticking points” of increased difficulty. As a result, maximum benefits are not achieved when performing a biceps curl with free weights.

[0007] The pullover machine disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 3,998,454 utilizes an eccentric cam to vary weight resistance over the range of motion for the muscles utilized in a pullover maneuver. Over the years, for various muscle groups, a number of these cam and chain machines have been designed in an attempt to match a resistance variation through a range of motion with the natural strength curve for a particular muscle group associated with the range of motion.

[0008] Dumbbells, the sort of free weights preferred by many, allow exercising movements to be performed with free inclination, convergence and pronation, wherein the hands follow a natural path. Upper body dumbbell exercises are useful for every muscle group and the inherent free range of movement brings adjacent muscles into play. This is considered to be an advantage in using dumbbells to achieve complete, well rounded development.

[0009] Exercise devices in the prior art, specifically Fulks U.S. Pat. No. 5,769,757, and continuation-in-part thereof, application Ser. No. 09/095,360, the contents of which are incorporated in this application by reference, teach apparatus that forces pronating and supinating movements in the hands and forearms, to simulate natural converging and diverging arm movements in exercising. However, there are no existing exercise machines that truly simulate dumbbell exercises.

[0010] Therefore, the object of the present inventions is to provide an improvement to exercise machines to accurately simulate exercising with dumbbells. A second object of the present inventions is to allow exercise movements to follow an elective path, with unforced convergence or divergence, inclination or declination. A third object of the present inventions is that forces counter to movement toward the aforesaid elective paths be minimized. A fourth object of the present inventions is to provide exercise machines with the desirable characteristics of dumbbells while permitting easily adjusted exercise resistance. A fifth object of the present inventions is to provide an exercise machine, capable of varying resistance through the range of an exercise movement, with the desirable characteristics of dumbbells. Yet another object is to provide the safety of an exercise machine with the desirable characteristics of dumbbell exercises.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0011] In accordance with a preferred embodiment of the present inventions, herein is disclosed an improved apparatus for exercising the upper body, with free inclination or declination movements of the hands and arms, and free converging or diverging movements in the range of motion for a specified exercise. In this manner, the feel and effect of exercising with dumbbells is simulated. The device comprises a base frame and a centrally mounted seat. The two sides are mirror images with respect to a vertical mid-plane that bisects the seat and extends through the middle of the frame. The proximal ends of motion resisting levers are pivotally mounted to the base frame on either side of the seat. The lever distal ends follow defined converging and diverging paths upon movement of the levers in one direction and the reverse.

[0012] In a second preferred embodiment, a pair of levers is mounted on either side of the seat to pivot on the same horizontal axis. Lever extensions are connected to the distal end of each lever to pivot about second axes. The ends of a linkage rod are connected between each lever extension and the frame, so that the lever extensions rotate about their respective second axes and converge, or diverge as the levers rotate in one direction or the reverse about the first axis.

[0013] In combination with either embodiment, the improvement of the present inventions introduces extended handle members with handgrips mounted at the distal end of each lever extension by a connection which allows pivotal movement on at least two axes, one parallel to, and one perpendicular to, the longitudinal centerline of the lever extension. Thus mounted, the handgrips allow elective inclination or declination movements of the hands and arms in conjunction with elective converging or diverging movements throughout the range of motion for a designed exercise. In both embodiments, an inherently converging path geometry minimizes those forces that would counter deviations toward the aforesaid elective paths.

[0014] In all cases, a pair of levers is pivotally attached to the frame for rotation about substantially horizontal axes. If the apparatus is configured for use in bench pressing or rowing exercises, the user sits above this axis and the levers extend in a generally upward direction. In the preferred embodiments, a member is attached between the levers so that they pivot in tandem about this horizontal axis. Alternatively, in another embodiment, the levers may be mounted to pivot separately.

[0015] Pronation and supination movements are inherent to the convergence or divergence of the lever extensions in the second preferred embodiment. Thus, the degree of pronation or supination at the handgrips is determined solely by the position and direction of movement of the lever extensions and is not affected by deviations of inclination or convergence of the handle members In operation, as the user applies force to the handles, the levers (of a press machine) pivot forward about the first axis. As the levers pivot about the first axis, the extended lever distal ands are forced to pivot in a predetermined fixed relationship about the second axis on a converging path. The hands and forearms of the exerciser undergo related pronating movements unless the handgrips are allowed to rotate about the longitudinal axis of the extended handle members. This third pivotal axis gives the handle member three degrees of freedom and, in effect, allows elective pronation and supination. Comparative testing has shown however, that this added refinement is not essential to achievement of the objects stated hereabove

[0016] An alternate embodiment, as might be used for a curling machine, is basically the same in principle, except that the first axis is preferably located behind the user's back and the lever and lever extension members extend somewhat horizontally from the first axis, on either side of the user. Obviously, the present inventions may be expressed in embodiments adapted to a number of different exercises.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0017] The accompanying drawings are incorporated into and form a part of the specification to assist in explaining the present inventions. The drawings illustrate preferred and alternative examples of how the inventions can be made and used, and are not to be construed as limiting the inventions to only those examples illustrated and described. The various advantages and features of the present inventions will be apparent from a consideration of the drawings in which:

[0018] FIG. 1 is a perspective view of an exercise machine comprising an embodiment of the present invention;

[0019] FIG. 2 is a perspective view of an exercise machine comprising an alternative embodiment of the present invention;

[0020] FIG. 3 is a view of an alternative handle member attachment for the exercise device of FIGS. 1 and 2;

[0021] FIG. 4 is a view of a second alternative handle member attachment for the exercise device of FIGS. 1 and 2;

[0022] FIG. 5 is a view of a third alternative handle member attachment for the exercise device of FIGS. 1 and 2; and

[0023] FIG. 6 is a partial view of the apparatus of either FIG. 1 or FIG. 2, illustrating alternative apparatus for providing variable resistance.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0024] The present inventions are described in the following by referring to drawings of examples of how the inventions can be made and used. In these drawings, reference characters are used throughout the views to indicate like or corresponding parts. FIGS. 1-6 illustrate some examples of exercise machine embodiments to which the present invention may be applied. The embodiments shown and described herein are exemplary. Many details are well known in the art, and as such are neither shown nor described. It is not claimed that all of the details, parts, elements, or steps described and shown were invented herein. Even though numerous characteristics and advantages of the present inventions have been described in the drawings and accompanying text, the description is illustrative only, and changes may be made in the detail, especially in matters of shape, size, and arrangement of the parts within the principles of the inventions to the full extent indicated by the broad general meaning of the terms used in the attached claims.

[0025] Reference is now made to the drawings wherein like reference characters denote like or similar parts throughout the Figures. Specifically, FIG. 1 is an illustration of exercise apparatus 10. The two sides are mirror images with respect to an imaginary vertical mid-plane that bisects seat 16 and seat back 18. Frame 20, including base 22 is formed of standard rectangular section steel tubing. Cross braces 24 and 26 are laterally disposed between converging right side member 28 and left side member 30 of base 22. A pair of bifurcated support structures 32 and 34 extend upwardly from converging right and left side members 28 and 30 respectively. Each of the bifurcated support structures 32 and 34 is aligned with right side member 28 or left side member 30 respectively, and supports a pivotal shaft 36 or 38, mounted in bearings 40. The skewed axes of pivotal shafts 36 and 38 are perpendicular to right side member 28 and left side member 30 respectively, and taken together, define a horizontal plane. Levers 42 and 44, fixedly mounted on right pivotal shaft 36 and left pivotal shaft 38 respectively, rotate in converging planes. Thus, levers 42 and 44 follow converging paths upon forward movement and diverging paths in reverse movement.

[0026] Rearwardly extending resistance arms 46 and 48 are affixed to the extended levers 42 and 44 for the purpose of providing resistance to pivotal movement thereof. Horizontally posts 50 and 52 extend from arms 46 and 48 to receive standard iron plates 54, which may be stacked on posts 50 and 52 to provide incremental selective mass for resisting pivotal movement of levers 42 and 44.

[0027] Extended handle members 56 and 58 are connected to the distal ends of levers 42 and 44, respectively. In this embodiment, the distal ends of levers 42 and 44 of apparatus 10 are connected to clevis members 60 by pivot shafts 66. Shafts 66 extend through bushings 69 at the distal ends of levers 42 and 44. This connection allows clevis members 60 to pivot on axes perpendicular to the longitudinal axes of levers 42 and 44. Extended handle members 56 and 58, with handgrips 62 and 64, are connected to clevis members 60 by clevis members 67 and pins 68, on axes that are nominally perpendicular to the longitudinal axes of pivot shafts 66. Thus, handle members 56 and 58, with hand grips 62 and 64, are given two orthogonal degrees of rotational freedom with respect to their respective lever members 42 and 44.

[0028] FIG. 2 is an illustration of an alternative exercise apparatus 70. Seat 16 and seat back 18 are bisected by an imaginary vertical plane that extends through the middle of frame 72. The two sides are mirror images with respect to this vertical mid-plane. Frame 72, including base 74, is formed of standard rectangular section steel tubing. Cross members 76 and 78 are laterally disposed between substantially parallel right side member 80 and left side member 82 of base 74. A pair of bifurcated support structures 84 and 86 extend upwardly from right and left side members 80 and 82, respectively. Bifurcated support structures 84 and 86 support pivotal shafts 88 and 90, mounted in bearings 40. The axes of pivotal shafts 88 and 90 are aligned and horizontal. Levers 92 and 94 are fixedly mounted on right pivotal shaft 88 and left pivotal shaft 90 respectively, and thus, rotate in parallel planes about bearings 40.

[0029] Rearwardly extending resistance arms 96 and 98 are affixed to levers 92 and 94 to provide for resistance to pivotal movement. Horizontal posts 100 and 102 extend from arms 96 and 98 to receive standard iron plates 54, which may be stacked in increments to provide incremental selective mass for resisting pivotal movement of levers 92 and 94.

[0030] Lever extension members 104 and 106 are connected to the distal ends of levers 92 and 94 respectively, for pivotal movement relative to the respective levers. The pivotal axes 200 and 202 of lever extension members 104 and 106 are nominally perpendicular to the common horizontal pivotal axis 300 of levers 92 and 94, but the angular relationship may deviate significantly from nominal within the scope of the inventions. Control linkage rods 108 and 110 are connected between frame 72 and lever extension members 104 and 106 respectively, with spherical rod end bushings 112 to compensate for angular misalignment. Thus, as levers 92 and 94 rotate forward, through their range of motion, control links 108 and 110 cause lever extension members 104 and 106 to pivot inwardly, along converging paths.

[0031] Much as in the previous embodiment, the distal ends of lever extension members 104 and 106 of apparatus 70 are connected to clevis members 60 by pivot shafts 66. Shafts 66 extend through bushings 69 at the distal ends of lever extension members 104 and 106. This connection allows clevis members 60 to pivot on axes perpendicular to the longitudinal axes of lever extension members 104 and 106. Extended handle members 56 and 58, with handgrips 62 and 64, are connected to clevis members 60 by devises 67 and pins 68, on axes that are nominally perpendicular to the longitudinal axes of pivot shafts 66. Thus, handle members 56 and 58, with hand grips 62 and 64, are given two orthogonal degrees of rotational freedom with respect to their respective lever extension members 104 and 106.

[0032] To perform an exercise on apparatus 10 or 70, a user sits on seat 16, with his or her back supported by seat back 18, and grasps handgrips 62 and 64. Pressing forward, against the resistance of incrementally adjustable weights 54, initiates the exercise movement. The geometry of the established converging/diverging paths is an arbitrary approximation of the ideal paths of natural movement. These ideals paths will vary from one individual to another. While the hands and arms of the user are generally guided to follow the established converging paths, the connections of handle members 56 and 58 allow two degrees of rotational freedom. Thus, the hands and arms of the user are not rigidly constrained to follow the established paths. Rather, the user can elect to displace his hands upwardly or downwardly, for greater relative inclination or declination and to displace his hands toward or away from the imaginary center plane, for greater relative convergence or divergence. The length of the extended handle members 56 and 58 reduces those forces which act counter to such elective deviations from the established paths.

[0033] FIGS. 3, 4 and 5 show alternative designs for the extended handle members 56 and 58 of FIGS. 1 and 2. In FIG. 3 extended handle member 120 is connected to the distal end of lever 42/104. In this embodiment, the proximal ends of extended handle member 120 is connected to clevis member 114 by transverse pivot pin 116. Clevis member 114 includes shaft 118, perpendicular to transverse pivot pin 116 and rotating in bushing 119 at the distal end of lever 42/104. This connection allows clevis member 114 to rotate on an axis parallel to the longitudinal axis of lever 42/104. Connected in this manner, handle member 120 has two degrees of rotational freedom with respect to lever 42/104. The distal end of extended handle member 120 is bent perpendicular to the longitudinal axis of the member, so as to form handgrip 122 that is nominally perpendicular to the longitudinal axis of respective levers 42/104.

[0034] FIG. 4 shows extended handle member 126, with spherical rod end bushing 112, joined to the distal end of lever member 42/104 by threaded connection 113. Spherical rod end bushings are specifically designed to allow three degrees of rotational freedom and so, rod end bushing 112 provides the same attributes of elective inclination/declination and convergence/divergence to hand grip 128 as disclosed in FIGS. 1-3, plus the added degree of rotational freedom for elective pronation/supination. The freedom of movement provided by these elective deviations from otherwise constrained paths accurately simulate the feel and effect of a like exercise, performed with dumbbells. However, as mentioned previously, it has been shown by comparative testing that the third degree of freedom, for pronation/supination, is not essential to achievement of the objects of the present inventions.

[0035] FIG. 5 shows what may seem an oversimplification, but none the less, is a useful embodiment of the present inventions. Here, extended handle member 130, with clevis end member 134 is joined to the distal end of lever member 42/104 by transverse pivot pin 136. Such a connection allows but one degree of rotational freedom with respect to lever 42/104, providing the attribute of elective inclination/declination to hand grip 132 as disclosed in FIGS. 1-4, but lacking the degree of rotational freedom for elective convergence/divergence shown for FIGS. 1-4 and the added degree of freedom for pronation/supination. Shown in FIG. 4. The single degree of freedom for elective inclination/declination makes a significant contribution to simulating the feel and effect of a like exercise, performed with dumbbells. However, it has been shown by comparative testing that, at least a second third degree of freedom, preferably for convergence/divergence is more desirable for achieving the objects of the present inventions.

[0036] FIG. 6 shows an alternative arrangement 150 for a variable resistance suitable for either exercise machine 10 or 70. Flexible cable 138 depends from resistance arm 140 and makes a directional change of 180° in passing around pulley 142. Pulleys 142 and 144 are mounted to base frame 146 on roller bearings, so as to be free to rotate. Flexible cable 138 then passes over non-circular, eccentrically mounted pulley 144. The shape of pulley 144 is specifically designed to vary the moment arm at which incrementally adjustable weight 148 acts, so as to increase or decrease the load on cable 138 according to the optimum resistance profile for a specific exercise.

[0037] It is to be understood that the elements of the above-described invention may be used in any number of configurations for exercise machines including, but not limited to push or pull motions in bench press machines, rowing machines, pull down machines and decline press machines. Although the preferred and alternative embodiments of the invention have been shown in the accompanying Drawings and described in the Detailed Description, it will be understood that the invention is not limited to the embodiment disclosed, but is capable of numerous modifications without departing from the scope of the claimed invention.

[0038] The embodiments shown and described above are exemplary. Many details are often found in the art, and therefore, many such details are neither shown nor described. It is not claimed that all of the details, parts, elements, or steps described and shown were invented herein. Even though numerous characteristics and advantages of the present inventions have been described in the drawings and accompanying text, the description is illustrative only, and changes may be made in the detail, especially in matters of shape, size, and arrangement of the parts within the principles of the inventions to the full extent indicated by the broad meaning of the terms of the attached claims.

[0039] The restrictive description and drawings of the specific examples above do not point out what an infringement of this patent would be, but are to provide at least one explanation of how to use and make the inventions. The limits of the inventions and the bounds of the patent protection are measured by and defined in the following claims.





 
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