Title:
Mobile resistance trainer and method
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
Mobile resistance training apparatus and a method of resistance training for an athlete. The apparatus and method of the present invention are not sport-specific; they are applicable to train and exercise individuals in various disciplines. The preferred apparatus of the present invention is a vehicle having a steering system, a braking system, a mechanism for varying resistance, and a pushing and or pulling apparatus. In one embodiment of the invention, the operator steers the vehicle in a random or predetermined direction as the participant (i.e., individual being trained) pushes or pulls the vehicle. In addition to controlling the direction of movement of the vehicle, the operator also controls the amount of resistance that the participant must overcome in order to move the vehicle. Alternatively, the direction of the vehicle and the resistance level can be controlled remotely and/or by the participant.



Inventors:
Pendlebury, John J. (Bellingham, MA, US)
Application Number:
10/036808
Publication Date:
12/19/2002
Filing Date:
11/07/2001
Assignee:
PENDLEBURY JOHN J.
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63B69/34; A63B21/00; A63B69/00; (IPC1-7): A63B69/34
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:



Primary Examiner:
CHAMBERS, MICHAEL S
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Nields & Lemack,Kevin S. Lemack (176 E. Main Street, Westboro, MA, 01581, US)
Claims:

What is claimed is:



1. Mobile vehicle resistance trainer for training an individual over a terrain, comprising: a vehicle chassis; a steering mechanism to control the direction of movement of said vehicle chassis; and a utilitarian accessory supported on said vehicle chassis, said accessory adapted to be manipulated by said individual to cause movement of said vehicle over said terrain.

2. The mobile vehicle resistance trainer of claim 1, further comprising at least one wheel for facilitating movement of said chassis over said terrain.

3. The mobile vehicle resistance trainer of claim 1, further comprising resistance control for modifying the force necessary to move said trainer over said terrain.

4. The mobile vehicle resistance trainer of claim 1, further comprising a brake.

5. The mobile vehicle resistance trainer of claim 4, wherein said brake is for slowing and/or stopping movement of said chassis over said terrain, and for adding to the force necessary to move said trainer over said terrain.

6. The mobile vehicle resistance trainer of claim 1, wherein the height of said utilitarian accessory with respect to said terrain is changeable.

7. The mobile vehicle resistance trainer of claim 1, wherein said utilitarian accessory comprises a pushing assembly positioned in the rear of said chassis adapted to be contacted by said individual to push said trainer over said terrain.

8. The mobile vehicle resistance trainer of claim 1, wherein said pushing assembly comprises at least one bar adapted to be gripped by said individual.

9. The mobile vehicle resistance trainer of claim 1, wherein said pushing assembly comprises a chest pad adapted to receive the chest of said individual.

10. The mobile vehicle resistance trainer of claim 1, wherein said utilitarian accessory comprises means for pulling said trainer over said terrain.

11. The mobile vehicle resistance trainer of claim 1, wherein said utilitarian accessory comprises a tether for pulling said trainer over said terrain.

12. A method of training an individual with a mobile apparatus adapted to move over a terrain at variable levels of resistance, said method comprising manually causing said mobile apparatus to move over said terrain in a variable pattern under variable resistance.

13. The method of claim 12, wherein said movement of said apparatus is caused by manually pushing said apparatus.

14. The method of claim 12, wherein said movement of said apparatus is caused by manually pulling said apparatus.

15. The method of claim 12, wherein said variable pattern is achieved by steering said apparatus.

16. A method of training an individual, comprising: providing a mobile apparatus adapted to move over a terrain at variable levels of resistance; causing said mobile apparatus to move over said terrain; steering said mobile apparatus over said terrain; varying the amount of force necessary to move said apparatus over said terrain during said movement.

17. The method of claim 16, whereins aid steering is carried out by an operator other than said individual.

18. The method of claim 16, wherein said varied amount of resistance is carried out by an operator other than said individual.

19. The method of claim 16, wherein said apparatus is moved by pushing said apparatus.

20. The method of claim 16, wherein said apparatus is moved by pulling said apparatus.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0001] Exercise equipment, and in particular, training apparatus, is often utilized in various athletic endeavors to improve an athlete's strength and fitness levels. For example, football programs at all levels of ability often make use of training apparatus known as a blocking sled/dummy, to improve blocking ability as well as tackling ability and technique of the player. The blocking dummy is meant to simulate an opponent, and a plurality of such dummies are generally permanently mounted to a sled in a parallel array. The dummies are suitably padded, and the player approaches or charges the dummy and impacts the dummy in an attempt to move the sled to which it is affixed as far as possible. However, the resistance imparted by each dummy is not variable, and the range of motion of the sleds is limited. As a result, the ability of such apparatus to train the athlete in a dynamic manner also is limited. In addition, the movement of the sleds tends to tear up the playing field.

[0002] There is therefore a need in the field for resistance training apparatus where the resistance can be varied, controlled and customized to each individual athlete.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0003] The problems of the prior art have been overcome by the present invention, which provides mobile resistance training apparatus and a method of resistance training for an athlete. The apparatus and method of the present invention are not sport-specific; they are applicable to train and exercise individuals in various disciplines, including but not limited to football, wrestling, track and field, hockey, soccer, basketball, tennis, baseball, lacrosse, gymnastics, and aerobic activities. The preferred apparatus of the present invention is a vehicle having a steering system, a braking system, a mechanism for varying resistance, and a pushing and/or pulling apparatus. In one embodiment of the invention, the operator steers the vehicle in a random or predetermined direction as the participant (i.e., individual being trained) pushes or pulls the vehicle. In addition to controlling the direction of movement of the vehicle, the operator also controls the amount of resistance that the participant must overcome in order to move the vehicle. Alternatively, the direction of the vehicle and the resistance level can be controlled remotely and/or by the participant.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0004] FIG. 1 is a side view of the apparatus in accordance with the present invention;

[0005] FIG. 2 is a side view of the stabilizer for the pushing mechanism in accordance with the present invention;

[0006] FIG. 3 is a rear view of the stabilizer for the pushing mechanism in accordance with the present invention;

[0007] FIG. 4 is a side view of a pushing mechanism in accordance with the present invention;

[0008] FIG. 5 is a front view of a pushing mechanism in accordance with the present invention; and

[0009] FIG. 6 is a side view of a blocking pad assembly in accordance with the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

[0010] Turning first to FIG. 1, there is shown a mobile resistance trainer vehicle 10 in accordance with the present invention. The vehicle 10 includes a chassis 11, preferably of rectangular configuration and constructed of steel. The chassis 11 is supported above the ground by a plurality of wheels 12. In the embodiment shown, four wheels 12 are used, a front pair rotatable on a front axle and a rear pair rotatable on a rear axle. However, those skilled in the art will appreciate that fewer or more wheels could be used without departing from the spirit and scope of the present invention. Preferably the wheels include all terrain heavy duty tubeless air-filled tires and are positioned to provide good traction, excellent ground clearance and some shock absorption for the vehicle 10. Other forms of locomotion could be used instead of or in addition to wheels, including tracks. Preferably the chassis 11 has a wide base to provide stability to the assembly. One suitable chassis configuration has a width of about 1.5 feet and a length of about 5.5 feet.

[0011] The chassis 11 houses or supports a transmission (not shown) for the vehicle. Suitable chassis and transmissions are commercially available, such as those used with conventional riding mowers or tractors. One suitable transmission is Peerless 820 Series Transaxle, model 820-011B. The transaxle allows the operator to “shift on the fly” while the vehicle is being pushed by the user, without destroying the gears or the keyway pin that initiates the change of gear. The chassis 11 also supports an optional platform 13 as shown. Mounted on platform 13 (or directly on the chassis 11 when the platform 13 is eliminated) towards the rear of the chassis is a seat 14 for the operator of the vehicle.

[0012] A steering device 15 such as a steering wheel operatively connected to the front and/or rear axles is conveniently accessible to the operator when seated on seat 14 for controlling the direction of movement of the vehicle 10. Preferably the steering device 15 is a low radius steering device providing the vehicle 10 with a small or tight turning radius. This allows the operator to maneuver quickly and precisely, whether through an obstacle course, in a congested field or in open space. Although a steering wheel is preferred, other steering devices such as levers, joysticks, etc. can be used without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention. Alternatively, the vehicle can be placed on a track and the vehicle manipulated by the user over the track over a predetermined course.

[0013] A braking device such as lever 16 is also accessible to the operator for stopping movement of the vehicle as well as applying measured resistance when needed or desired. The braking device 16 can be any conventional braking mechanism well known to those skilled in the art effective for slowing and/or stopping the vehicle. Although the braking device is preferred, it is not absolutely necessary, as the apparatus can be stopped manually or by ceasing of the pushing or pulling forces that move it.

[0014] Also conveniently accessible to the operator is a resistance control device 17. The device 17 is coupled to a gear box or the like (not shown) forming part of the transmission which controls the amount of power necessary to drive one or more of the vehicle axles. For example, the Peerless 820 series transaxle mentioned above has six different gears in the box, offering varying turning ratios, with the highest turning ratio offering the least resistance to move the vehicle.

[0015] A vehicle engine optionally can be included to assist in powering the vehicle. Preferably the engine is a 2 or 4-cycle and is gasoline powered. The engine is operatively connected to the transmission and one or more of the vehicle axles.

[0016] In order to attach additional weight to the assembly, a weight rack 19 can be provided on the vehicle chassis 11 or platform 13. In the embodiment shown in FIG. 1, the weight rack 19 is about 12″ high and is near the front end of the chassis 11. It is used to house one or more removable weight plates (not shown) to modify the weight of the assembly (and thereby increase the resistance) by adding or removing weight therefrom. The chassis generally has a maximum load of about 600 pounds, which is sufficient to carry the operator (about 200-300 pounds) and accommodate about 300 pounds of added weight plates or the like to increase resistance.

[0017] A coupling mechanism 21 such as an eye hook can be located at the front of the chassis 11 to attach a tether such as a rope, if desired. The participant can use the rope to pull the apparatus for training. The rope can be attached to the participant with a shoulder or waist harness, or the participant can simply grasp it with his hands.

[0018] The pushing apparatus is shown generally at 50 in FIG. 1. In the embodiment shown, the pushing apparatus 50 includes a stationary hollow cylinder or pipe 51 supported on a plate 48 mounted to the platform 13 or chassis 11 in a cantilevered manner. Further support for the plate 48 can be provided with one or more, preferably two spaced, angled stabilizer bars 49 as shown in FIGS. 2 and 3. The pushing apparatus 50 further includes a telescoping adjusting cylinder or pipe 52. At least the lower portion of the pipe 52 has a smaller outside diameter than the outer diameter of the stationary pipe 51 so that the pipe 52 can telescope in the pipe 51. Preferably the entire pipe 52 has such a smaller diameter. Alternatively, the relative diameters of the two pipes 51, 52 could be reversed so that the adjusting pipe 52 telescopes over the stationary pipe 51. Stationary pipe 51 includes a tightening bolt 47 that can be tightened to abut against the adjusting pipe 52 and lock the adjusting pipe 52 in place. Alternatively or in addition, one of the pipes 51, 52 can be slotted or have a plurality of holes and can be locked in place with respect to the other pipe with a pin or the like extending through a slot or hole. Other alternative embodiments of providing adjustable height for the pushing apparatus are within the skill in the art and are within the spirit and scope of the present invention.

[0019] Turning now to FIG. 4, shown coupled to adjusting pipe 52 is a pushing plate 53. The pushing plate 53 is coupled to the pipe 52 and spaced from the pipe 52 (and chassis 11) by one or more bars 54 (two shown) attached to the pipe 52 by welding, with bolts, or by other suitable means. The plate 53 can be welded or otherwise secured to the bars 54. The plate 53 is preferably angled outwardly from top to bottom as shown to better align with the chest of the individual being trained. A cushion or pad 55 (FIG. 1) can be secured or removably secured to the plate 53 for the comfort of the participant.

[0020] Because the pushing mechanism 50 is vertically adjustable, the apparatus can accommodate individuals of various heights. Once a suitable height of the pushing apparatus is determined, the apparatus can be locked at that height (such as with tightening bolt 47) which forces the participant to maintain the same height throughout varying levels of resistance. Alternatively, the height can be modified during training to alter the exercise routine and/or the particular muscles being worked by the exercise. For example, the pushing apparatus can be set to a higher height to simulate a higher resistance. Similarly, although the adjustable pipe 52 can be locked in place, the tightening bolt 47 or other locking mechanism can be loosened or removed to allow the pushing apparatus 50 to swivel, thereby forcing the participant to constantly adjust position during the routine in order to apply maximum pushing force. Thus, as the operator steers the apparatus 10, the participant must rotate his hips and legs around to square his position with the center of the apparatus in order to effectively and efficiently push the apparatus. This action simulates opposing lineman changing their point of attack in a football situation.

[0021] In addition to or in place of the pad 55, the pushing mechanism 50 can include one or more handle grip bars 57 as best seen in FIG. 5. The bars 57 extend laterally across the adjusting pipe 52 with respect to the direction of vehicle travel. In the embodiment shown, two bars 57 are used, vertically spaced as shown, and mounted with plate 58. Those skilled in the art will appreciate that the gripping means could be instead made up of more than one integral bar; that is, the top gripping means could be two separate bars 57, one extending to the right as oriented in the Figure, and one extending to the left. The lower gripping means could be similarly made up of two separate bars. Any suitable means of attaching the bars 57 to the adjusting pipe 52 can be used, including welding and bolting. The bars 57 preferably extending laterally a sufficient distance to allow the individual being trained to grip the bars with the hands in a position where the arms are spread or spaced a comfortable distance from one another. It has been found that if the bars extend about 32 inches laterally, suitable centered about the pipe 52, most individuals can be accommodated. The participant can grip the bars 52 and push the apparatus 10, and if the pad 55 is present, can also push with or support himself with his chest resting on the pad 55.

[0022] FIG. 6 shows another utilitarian accessory that can be attached to the apparatus of the present invention. The accessory illustrated is a blocking pad assembly 60 removably secured to the stationary pipe 51. In the embodiment shown, the stationary pipe 51 is hollow, and receives a coupling leg of the blocking pad assembly. The depth to which the block pad assembly 60 is inserted into the stationary pipe 51 can be altered, and determines the relative height of the pad assembly 60 based upon the height of the participant. The blocking pad assembly 60 includes a vertically depending leg 61, and an angled leg 62 extending from the depending leg 51. A stabilizing bar 63 can be positioned between depending leg 61 and angled leg 62 to provide stability to the assembly. In the embodiment shown, the assembly 60 is a standard blocking pad assembly typically used with a conventional blocking sled. Other means for securing the assembly to the vehicle can be used and are within the skill in the art. A pad (not shown) can be attached to the angled leg 62 to cushion impact.

[0023] The operation of a preferred embodiment of the apparatus is as follows. The apparatus is optionally equipped with a predetermined amount of added weight via rack 19. A suitable utilitarian accessory, such as a padded chest pad 55 as shown in FIG. 1, is mounted on pipe 51 and, along with gripping bars 57, is set to a suitable height for the participant. The operator of the apparatus is seated in seat 14 and sets a suitable resistance level using resistance control device 17. The operator grasps steering wheel 15 in preparation for steering the vehicle. The participant then contacts the pad 55 and/or grips handle grip bars 57, and pushes the assembly across the terrain. As the participant pushes, the operator steers the vehicle in a random or predetermined fashion. The operator has the option of increasing or decreasing the resistance level during the exercise by manipulating device 17 and/or by applying or releasing the braking mechanism.

[0024] The apparatus of the present invention is particularly suited for building leg, lower back and upper body strength. For example, maximum leg and lower back exercise is achieved when the participant applies force by pushing the apparatus using only their chest. Leg, lower back and upper body strength is maximized when the participant applies force by pushing the apparatus with their chest along with using the gripping bars 57 and applying force through the arms. Cardiovascular training is achieved as a result of the dynamic motion coupled with resistance. The level of resistance can be readily controlled based upon the ability of the participant and the desired difficulty of the exercise. The vehicle can be used outdoors in all weather conditions and on virtually any terrain, including hills and flat areas, and can be used indoors in field house floors or gymnasium floors, for example. It can be adapted quickly for any individual, reducing down-time from one participant to the next.

[0025] It is also possible to operate the apparatus without the assistance of an operator. Thus, the participant can preset the desired resistance level, and can push or pull the apparatus without secondary steering. Alternatively, the steering (and changing of resistance level) can be carried out remotely, the apparatus can be used on a track or pre-defined course, or steering can be carried out by the participant during the activity by modifying the steering mechanism and resistance control device so that they are in close proximity to the participant.