Title:
Exercise bench and method
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An exercise bench having a locking system for locking a portion of the bench adapted for receiving a portion of the body of a user thereon in a desired position is provided. The locking system has a locking member, an engagement member associated with the bench for engaging the locking member to lock the portion of the bench in the desired position, an actuator associated with the locking member for disengagement of the locking member from engagement with the engagement member, the actuator being associated with the portion of the bench such that the location of the actuator with respect to the portion of the bench is maintained when the portion of the bench is rotated about a common axis.



Inventors:
Schiff, Jon D. (St. Joseph, MI, US)
Application Number:
10/205843
Publication Date:
01/29/2004
Filing Date:
07/25/2002
Assignee:
SCHIFF JON D.
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63B21/078; A63B23/00; (IPC1-7): A63B26/00
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
20080280739Inversion exerciserNovember, 2008Wu
20060189451Invercycle device and method for exerciseAugust, 2006Nelson
20070167296Stilt height adjustment apparatus and methodJuly, 2007Hika
20050037897Apparatus with a raised grip for exercising wrist and forearm musclesFebruary, 2005Chen
20070219075Set Of Yoga LoopsSeptember, 2007Axelrod
20100009816ARTICULATED HANDLES FOR ROWING EXERCISE DEVICESJanuary, 2010Edmondson
20080287263INTERACTIVE BALANCE TRAINERNovember, 2008Cheng
20070238593Method for increasing fitness level while losing body weightOctober, 2007Ellis et al.
20060100063Mechanical resistance training device for skatingMay, 2006Barr
20060223676Rebounder exercise systemOctober, 2006Rote
20030134724Specialized mass additive garments to modify the balances of athletesJuly, 2003Tuttle



Primary Examiner:
BAKER, LORI LYNN
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Locke Lord LLP (P.O. Box 55874, Boston, MA, 02205, US)
Claims:

We claim:



1. A locking system for locking a portion of an exercise bench adapted for receiving a portion of the body of a user thereon in a desired position comprising: a locking member; an engagement member associated with the bench which engages the locking member to lock the portion of the bench in the desired position; and an actuator associated with the locking member to allow disengagement of the locking member from engagement with the engagement member, the actuator being associated with the portion of the bench such that the location of the actuator with respect to the portion of the bench is maintained when the portion of the bench is rotated about a common axis.

2. The locking system of claim 1 wherein the actuator is mounted on the portion of the bench.

3. The locking system of claim 1 wherein the actuator is spaced apart from the locking member.

4. The locking system of claim 1 wherein a linkage associates the actuator and the locking member for transmitting a force applied on the actuator to the locking member to disengage the locking member from the engagement member.

5. The locking system of claim 4 wherein the actuator comprises a cable tensioning member and the linkage comprises a cable.

6. The locking system of claim 1 wherein the locking member is mounted directly on the portion of the bench.

7. The locking system of claim 1 further comprising a housing including a first hole extending between a first side and a second side of the housing, the locking member being positioned in the hole, and a spring member positioned in the hole between the first side of the housing and the locking member for urging the locking member in a direction from the first side of the housing toward the second side of the housing.

8. The locking system of claim 7 further comprising a locking member retention mechanism which retains the locking member in the first hole, the locking member retention mechanism including: a pair of shoulders formed on the locking member; a second hole formed in the housing and intersecting the first hole; and a locking member retention pin received in the second hole for engaging one of the pair of shoulders on the locking member.

9. The locking system of claim 1 wherein the engagement member is mounted on a third portion of the bench that is rotatably connected to the first portion of the bench.

10. The locking system of claim 9 wherein the locking member is mounted on the first portion of the bench.

11. The locking system of claim 1 wherein the locking member is movable along a surface of the engagement member when locking member is disengaged from the engagement member.

12. The locking system of claim 2 wherein the portion of the bench has a first end proximate the pre-determined axis and a second end opposite the first end and distal the pre-determined axis, and the actuator is positioned proximate the second end of the portion of the bench.

13. The locking system of claim 1 wherein the portion of the bench includes a first side having a pad adapted to receive a user thereon and a second side opposite the first side, the actuator being positioned along the second side of the portion of the bench.

14. A torso support apparatus for an exercise bench comprising a torso member for supporting the torso of a user thereon and a torso member support structure connected to the torso member that allows the torso support apparatus to be maintained in a pre-determined position, the support structure being connected to the torso bearing surface such that the torso bearing surface and the support structure are not movable with respect to each other when they are both rotated about a common axis.

15. The torso support apparatus of claim 14 further comprising a locking member adapted to engage an engagement member positioned on the bench to lock the torso support apparatus in a desired position.

16. The torso support apparatus of claim 15 further comprising a mechanism to urge the locking member into engagement with the engagement member.

17. The torso support apparatus of claim 16 further comprising: an actuator associated with and spaced apart from the locking member in a position closer to the torso support apparatus than to the locking member; and a linkage connecting the actuator and the locking mechanism for transmitting a force applied on the actuator to the locking mechanism to disengage the locking member from the engagement member.

18. The torso support apparatus of claim 15 further comprising: an actuator spaced apart from the locking member in a position closer to the torso support apparatus than to the locking member; and a linkage connecting the actuator and the locking member for transmitting a force applied on the actuator to the locking member to disengage the locking member from the engagement member.

19. A method for repositioning a portion of an exercise bench from a first position to a second position comprising the steps of: a) providing a locking member connectable to the bench; b) providing an engagement member connectable to the bench which engages with the locking member for locking the portion of the bench into the first position; c) providing an actuator associated with the locking member for disengagement of the locking member from engagement with the engagement member, the actuator being associated with the portion of the bench such that the location of the actuator with respect to the portion of the bench is maintained when the portion of the bench is rotated about a pre-determined axis; d) applying a force to the actuator to disengage the locking member from the engagement member in the first position; and e) moving the portion of the bench to the second position.

20. The method of claim 19 wherein the step of providing an actuator associated with the locking member further comprises the step of providing a cable connecting the actuator and the locking member.

21. The method of claim 19 further comprising the step of applying a force to the locking member to engage the locking member with the engagement member when the first portion of the bench is in the second position.

22. A method for manufacturing an exercise bench comprising the steps of: a) providing a locking member connectable to the bench; b) providing an engagement member connectable to the bench for engagement with the locking member to lock a portion of the bench into a pre-determined position; and c) providing an actuator associated with the locking member for disengaging the locking member from engagement with the engagement member, the actuator being associated with the portion of the bench such that the location of the actuator with respect to the portion of the bench is maintained when the portion of the bench is rotated about a pre-determined axis.

23. The method of claim 22 wherein the step of providing an actuator associated with and spaced art from the locking member further comprises the step of providing a cable connecting the actuator and the locking member.

24. The method of claim 22 further comprising the step of urging the locking member into engagement with the engagement member.

25. The method of claim 22 wherein the step of providing an actuator further comprises the step of positioning the actuator on the portion of the bench.

26. The method of claim 25 wherein the step of positioning the actuator on the portion of the bench further comprises positioning the actuator on the first portion of the bench so as to enable grasping of the actuator by a first hand of a user for disengaging the locking member from engagement with the engagement member and for repositioning the first portion of the bench from the pre-determined position to a second position with the first hand while grasping the actuator.

27. The method of claim 25 wherein the step of positioning the actuator on the portion of the bench further comprises positioning the actuator on the portion of the bench so as to enable positioning of the portion of the bench in the desired position through grasping of the actuator when the locking member is disengaged from engagement with the engagement member.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

[0001] The present invention pertains to an exercise bench of the type used in conjunction with weight lifting exercises and more particularly to an exercise bench having a rotatable torso support apparatus mechanically linked to a rotatable seat support apparatus.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0002] FIG. 1 is an exploded view of an exercise bench;

[0003] FIGS. 2A-2E are partial cutaway views of the bench of FIG. 1 showing various indexable positions of the bench;

[0004] FIG. 3A is a cross-sectional view of the torso support assembly of the bench of FIG. 1;

[0005] FIG. 3B is a cross-sectional view of a portion of the torso support apparatus locking system of the bench of FIG. 1;

[0006] FIG. 3C is a perspective view of the portion of the locking system of FIG. 3B;

[0007] FIG. 4 is a cross-sectional view of another portion of the torso support apparatus locking system of the bench of FIG. 1;

[0008] FIG. 5 is a perspective view of the bench of FIG. 1 fully assembled; and

[0009] FIG. 6 is an enlarged perspective view of the seat adjustment linkage of FIG. 1.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

[0010] Referring to FIG. 1, exercise bench 20 includes a base 22 comprising a base member 24 and a pair of main support brackets 26a, 26b secured to base member 24. Through holes 28a, 28b adapted to receive a main pivot shaft 30 therein and slots 32a, 32b extend through respective ones of main support brackets 26a, 26b for purposes to be described in detail later. Slots 32a, 32b each have a first end 34 and a second end 36. Main support brackets 26a, 26b are secured to base member 22 such that they extend substantially parallel to each other along a length of base member 22 with through hole 28a and slot 32a of support bracket 26a being aligned with, respectively, through hole 28b and slot 32b of the remaining support bracket 26b. Supporting feet 38 are provided on opposite sides of base member 22 for stabilization of the base member when bench 20 resides on a floor. In addition, a set of rollers 40 may be secured to an end of base member 22 to facilitate movement of bench 20 to different locations.

[0011] Ends of main pivot shaft 30 are rotatably secured within respective ones of support bracket holes 28a, 28b so as to rotatably support a torso support apparatus 42 and a seat support apparatus 70 in a manner to be described in detail later.

[0012] A torso support apparatus 42 is rotatably secured to main support brackets 26a, 26b via main pivot shaft 30. Torso support apparatus 42 includes a torso member 46 having a torso support pad 50 mounted thereon. A torso member support structure 52 is affixed to a side 48 of torso member 46 opposite support pad 50 for supporting the torso member in any one of multiple positions that may be selected by a user. Support structure 52 is connected to torso member 46 such that torso member 46 and support structure 52 are not movable with respect to each other when they are both rotated about a common axis.

[0013] In one embodiment, support structure 52 comprises a pair of side brackets 54. Each side bracket 54 includes a body 56, a flap 58 extending from body 56 so as to form an “L”-shaped section, and a first hole 60 extending through body 56. A second hole 62 is also provided in each side bracket 54 for rotatable attachment of a seat adjustment linkage connecting member 64 thereto, in a manner to be described in detail later. Flaps 58 of side brackets 54 are spaced apart and affixed to surface 48 opposite support pad 50 such that torso member 46 and side brackets 54 form a unitary body with first holes 60 aligned with each other. For example, side brackets 54 may be bolted or welded to torso member 46. A web portion 68 (see FIG. 3C) may also be mounted between side brackets 54 along surface 48 to become part of torso support apparatus 42.

[0014] Bench 20 also includes a seat support apparatus 70 pivotably coupled to main support brackets 26a, 26b via main pivot shaft 30. Seat support apparatus 70 includes a seat member 72 having a seat support pad 76 mounted thereon. A seat member support structure 78 is affixed to a side 74 of seat member 72 opposite seat support pad 76 for, in conjunction with a seat adjustment linkage to be described in detail later, supporting seat member support apparatus 42 in any one of multiple positions that may be selected by a user. In one embodiment, support structure 78 comprises a pair of side brackets 80. Each side bracket includes a body 82, a flap 84 extending from body 82 so as to form an “L”-shaped section, and a first hole 86 extending through body 82. Flaps 84 of side brackets 80 are spaced apart and affixed to side 74 of seat member 72 such that seat member 72 and side brackets 80 form a unitary body with first holes 86 aligned with each other. For example, side brackets 80 may be bolted or welded to seat member 72. A second hole 90 is also provided in each bracket for rotatable attachment of a seat adjustment linkage member 92 thereto, in a manner to be described in detail later.

[0015] As seen from FIGS. 2A-2E, when main pivot shaft 30 extends through both main support bracket holes 28a, 28b and is rotatably secured to support brackets 26a, 26b, main pivot shaft 30 also extends through both torso support apparatus bracket first holes 60 and seat support member bracket first holes 86 to pivotably support torso support apparatus 42 and seat support apparatus 70 with respect to base member 24.

[0016] As seen in FIGS. 1 and 2A-2E, a lower leg brace 94 may be rotatably secured to an edge of seat support apparatus 70 to brace the legs of a user during the performance of certain exercises. Lower leg brace 94 comprises an extension member 96 and a pair of generally cylindrical ankle pads 98 projecting from either side of extension member 96. Referring to FIG. 2A, a slot 100 is formed in portion of extension member 96 to enable a limited rotation of extension member 96 about a securement axis “A” in directions indicated by arrow “B”.

[0017] Referring to FIGS. 3A-3C and also to FIG. 4, bench 20 includes a locking system which locks torso support apparatus 42 in a desired position relative to seat support apparatus 70. The locking system generally comprises a locking member, an engagement member for engaging the locking member, an actuator that allows disengagement of the locking member from the engagement member, and a linkage connecting the actuator to the locking member.

[0018] In one embodiment, the locking member comprises a spring-loaded pin 102 positioned in a housing 110. Pin 102 has a first end 112 and a second end 114. Housing 110 has a first side 116, a second side 118 and a hole 120 extending between the first and second sides. Pin 102 is positioned inside hole 120. A spring member 122 is positioned in hole 120 between housing first side 116 and locking member 102 for urging pin 102 in a direction from housing first side 116 toward housing second side 118, as indicated by arrow “C”. Spring member 122 may comprise, for example, a coil spring.

[0019] An engagement member is provided for engaging the locking member to lock torso support apparatus 42 in a desired position. In the present embodiment, the engagement member comprises a metal plate 104 which is generally arcuate in shape and includes a plurality of spaced-apart holes 130 extending along a portion of its length for receiving locking member 102 therein. Holes 130 correspond to separate indexing positions of torso support apparatus 42 which may be selected by a user. In the present embodiment, holes 130 are substantially evenly angularly spaced along a portion of engagement member 104. Alternatively, the angular spacing of holes 130 may be uneven. Locking member 102 may be inserted into any one of holes 130 to lock torso support apparatus 42 in a desired position in a manner to be described in detail later. As seen in FIG. 1, engagement member 104 is affixed to, and extends between, main support brackets 26a, 26b. Referring to FIG. 3A, as each torso support structure side bracket body 56 rotates about pivot axis “D” projecting through main pivot shaft 30, a portion of bracket body 56 sweeps through an arcuate path generally parallel to engagement member, as indicated by arrow

[0020] As stated above, an actuator is associated with the locking member that allows disengagement of the locking member from engagement with the engagement member, and a linkage is provided for connecting the actuator to the locking member. Referring again to FIGS. 3A-3C, in the present embodiment the actuator comprises a cable tensioning member 106 and the linkage associating cable tensioning member 106 and locking member 102 comprises a cable 134 connected at either end to cable tensioning member 106 and locking member 102.

[0021] Cable tensioning member 106 is associated with torso support apparatus 42 such that the location of the cable tensioning member with respect to the torso support apparatus is maintained when torso support apparatus 42 is rotated about a pre-determined axis. It may also be seen that, in the present embodiment, cable tensioning member 106 is spaced apart from locking member 102 and is mounted on web portion 68, which is a part of torso support apparatus 42. Cable tensioning member 106 is generally “L”-shaped and includes a cable-retention portion 136 having a hole 138 adapted to receive an end of cable 134 therethrough, and an actuator portion 140. Cable tensioning member 106 is rotatably connected to web portion 68 using, for example, a hinge 142 or other suitable connection mechanism positioned at a junction between cable retention portion 136 and actuator portion 140 such that cable tensioning member 106 may rock back and forth about axis E in the directions indicated by arrows F. An end of cable 134 is attached to cable tensioning member 106 on a side of hinge 142 residing opposite torso member 46. The end of cable 134 may be secured to cable-retention portion 136 using any appropriate securement means.

[0022] Referring to FIG. 4, the present embodiment also incorporates a locking member retention mechanism adapted to retain locking member 102 within housing 110. The locking member retention mechanism includes a pair of shoulders 144a and 144b formed on locking member 102 and bounding a flat 146 along the locking member, and a locking member retention pin 148 received in a second hole 150 (not shown) formed in housing 110. Housing second hole 150 is located so as to intersect first hole 120 into which locking member 102 extends. When inserted into second hole 150, retention pin 148 resides proximate flat 146 and between shoulders 144a, 144b of pin 102 to restrict the travel of pin 102 along the length of flat 146. In the event of cable breakage or loss of connection between cable 134 and pin 102, pin 102 will be retained within housing 110 by engagement between either of shoulders 144a, 144b and retention pin 148.

[0023] Referring to FIGS. 1, 2A and 6, torso support apparatus 42 is coupled to seat support apparatus 70 via a seat adjustment linkage, generally designated 152, attached to opposite sides of seat support apparatus 70. Seat adjustment linkage 152 comprises first linkage members 92, second linkage members 154 and seat adjustment linkage connecting members 64. Each of connecting members 64 has a first end 160 rotatably coupled to torso support apparatus 42 and a second end 162.

[0024] First linkage members 134 each have a first end 164 and a second end 166. Each first linkage member first end 164 is rotatably coupled to a respective one of side brackets 80 of seat support apparatus 70 through second hole 90 in side brackets 80. Each first linkage member second end 166 is rotatably coupled to a respective one of second linkage member second ends 168 and also to a respective one of connecting member second ends 162 at a linkage junction 172.

[0025] Second linkage members 154 also have a first end 170 and a second end 168. Each second linkage member first end 170 is rotatably and translatably coupled to respective one of main support brackets 26a, 26b via slots 32 in main support brackets 26a, 26b. Each second linkage member second end 168 is rotatably coupled to respective one of first linkage member second ends 166 and also to a respective one of connecting member second ends 162 at linkage junction 172. Each second linkage member first end 170 may also travel along a respective main support bracket slot 32 between slot first end 34 and slot second end 36 during rotation of torso support apparatus 42 about axis “D” (see FIG. 1).

[0026] The operation of the locking system will now be described in detail. Referring to FIGS. 2A and 3A, for purposes of describing the operation of pin 102 and seat adjustment linkage 152, torso support apparatus 42 is shown initially locked in a first position “A” with pin 102 extending into engagement member hole “a” corresponding to first position “A”.

[0027] Referring to FIGS. 2A, 3A and 3C, when it is desired to move torso support apparatus 42 from first position “A” to a second position, a user grasps actuator portion 140 of actuator 132 and moves actuator portion 140 in the direction indicated by arrow “J”, causing actuator 132 to rotate about axis “E”. This rotation causes a corresponding rotation of cable-retention portion 136 about axis “E”, resulting in the application of a tensile force to cable 134 in the direction indicated by arrow “L”. This tensile force is transmitted via cable 134 to pin 102, thereby overcoming the engagement force exerted on pin 102 by spring member 122 and causing pin 102 to withdraw from hole “a” in engagement member 104.

[0028] If it is desired to secure torso support apparatus 42 in a new position “B” (FIG. 2C) close to first position “A” following disengagement of pin 102 from engagement member 104, the user may move torso support apparatus 42 slightly in the direction indicated by arrow “N” toward new position “B” such that torso support apparatus 42 resides in an intermediate position, between indexable positions “A” and “B”. Also, in this intermediate position, pin 102 resides between adjacent holes a and b corresponding to positions “A” and “B”. Actuator portion 140 may then be released by the user, thereby releasing the tension force on cable 134.

[0029] Upon release of the tension force, spring member 122 urges pin 102 in the direction indicated by arrow “C” (see FIG. 4) toward engagement member 104. As torso support apparatus 42 now resides in a position intermediate two adjacent indexable positions A and B, when pin 102 is urged toward engagement member 104 by spring member 122 pin 102 will abut engagement member 104 and slide along the surface of engagement member 104 extending between engagement member holes “a” and “b”. As the user continues moving torso support apparatus in the direction indicated by arrow “N”, torso support apparatus 42 will eventually reach the next indexable position “B” (FIG. 2C). At this point, pin 102 aligns with engagement member hole “b” corresponding to position “B” of the torso support member. The force exerted on pin 102 by spring member 122 then forces pin 102 into hole “b”. Torso support member is now locked in second position “B”.

[0030] Alternatively, it may be desired to secure torso support apparatus 42 in either new position “B” or in a new position “C” (see FIG. 2D) which is not adjacent to position “A”. To lock torso support apparatus 42 in either of new positions “B” or “C”, the user may apply a force to actuation portion 140 as described above to disengage pin 102 from engagement member 104. When pin 102 has been disengaged the user may maintain application of the disengaging force to actuation portion 140 during movement of torso support apparatus 42 from position “A” to position “C” (or “B”), causing pin 102 to remain in a disengaged state and out of contact with engagement member 104. The user then repositions torso support apparatus 42 to a position at or near the desired position “C” (or “B”), at which point actuation portion 140 may be released. Upon release of the tension force applied to pin 102, spring member 122 urges pin 102 in the direction indicated by arrow “C” toward engagement member 104. If pin 102 is aligned with hole “c” (or “b”) (corresponding to positions “C” and “B”, respectively), pin 102 will then extend into hole “c” (or “b”). If pin 102 is not yet aligned with hole c (or b), a slight movement of torso support apparatus 42 in either of directions indicated by arrows “N” or “R” (depending on the current position of torso support apparatus 42 with respect to hole “c” (or “b”) will result in alignment of pin 42 with hole “c” (or “b”), causing pin 42 to extend into hole “c” (or “b”). Torso support member is now locked in new position “C” (or “B”).

[0031] The operation of seat adjustment linkage 152 will now be discussed. To assist a user in maintaining proper posture during the performance of various exercises, it is important to achieve and maintain a pre-determined angular relationship between torso support apparatus 42 and seat support apparatus 70 for each indexable position of torso support apparatus 42. For any given position in which torso support apparatus 42 is locked, forces applied to seat support apparatus 70 at rotation axis “D” (see FIG. 1) and through seat adjustment linkage 152 act to secure seat support member 72 in a pre-determined position corresponding to the given position of torso support apparatus 42. The lengths of first linkage members 92, second linkage members 154 and connecting members 64 and the points on the bench at which these members are connected, are calculated so as to provide a positioning and securement of seat support apparatus 70 corresponding to, and in response to, the positioning of torso support apparatus 42 by the user.

[0032] The interconnections between first linkage members 92, second linkage members 154 and connecting members 64 are described above. FIG. 2A shows torso support apparatus 42 in the fully lowered position and seat support apparatus 70 secured in a position corresponding to the fully lowered position of the torso support apparatus. Second linkage member first end 170 is constrained at first end 34 of main support bracket slot 32, restricting travel of seat support apparatus 70 in the direction indicated by arrow T.

[0033] FIG. 2D shows torso support apparatus 42 after it has been rotated about main pivot shaft axis “D” (see FIG. 1) to a position intermediate the lowered position seen in FIG. 2A and the fully raised position shown in FIG. 2E. FIG. 2D also shows seat support apparatus 70 secured in a position corresponding to the intermediate position of torso support apparatus 42. As torso support apparatus 42 is rotated about axis “X” out of the fully lowered position, second linkage member first end 170 slides from slot first end 34 along slot 32 until stopped at slot second end 36. From this point on, second linkage member second end 168 acts as a fixed pivot about which second linkage member 154 rotates. Also, as torso support apparatus 42 is rotated about axis “X” in the direction indicated by arrow “N” out of the fully lowered position and toward the intermediate position, connecting member 64 is forced in the general direction indicated by arrow “N”, thereby driving linkage junction 172 in the same general direction. In response, first linkage member 92 pivots about linkage junction 172 causing seat support apparatus 70 to rotate about axis “D” into a position corresponding to an intermediate raised position of torso support apparatus 42.

[0034] FIG. 2E shows torso support apparatus 42 after it has been rotated further about pivot shaft axis “X” past the intermediate position shown in FIG. 2D to a fully raised position. As torso support apparatus 42 is rotated about axis “D” (see FIG. 1) in the direction indicated by arrow “N” out of the intermediate position and toward the fully raised position, connecting member 64 is forced further in the general direction indicated by arrow “V”, thereby driving linkage junction 172 in the same general direction. In response, first linkage member 92 pivots about linkage junction 172 causing seat support apparatus 70 to rotate about axis “D” into a position corresponding to the fully raised position of torso support apparatus 42.

[0035] It should be understood that the preceding is merely a detailed description of one embodiment of this invention and that numerous changes to the disclosed embodiment can be made in accordance with the disclosure herein without departing from the spirit or scope of the invention. The preceding description, therefore, is not meant to limit the scope of the invention. Rather, the scope of the invention is to be determined only by the appended claims and their equivalents.