Title:
Ideal Static Contraction Device
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The ideal static contraction device of the present invention comprises a system designed to provide safe, reliable, accurate, and efficient exercise options to individuals of all fitness levels. The device includes the rigidity and strength necessary to provide static contraction exercise capabilities able to withstand forces eight times greater than the force generated by the strongest human. The device also includes the versatility to be used at home or at a specialized fitness center through its transformable design features.



Inventors:
Reno, Tony (Pepperell, MA, US)
Application Number:
11/277356
Publication Date:
11/23/2006
Filing Date:
03/23/2006
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63B23/00; A63B21/002; A63B24/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
MATHEW, FENN C
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
LAMBERT SHORTELL & CONNAUGHTON (92 STATE STREET, BOSTON, MA, 02109-2004, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. An ideal static contraction device comprising: a base plate; a resistance sleeve, fitted to said base plate; a resistance bar located substantially within said resistance sleeve; a first column and a second column, wherein said first column and said second column are rigidly connected to said resistance bar; a lift bar connected to said first column and said second column; a strain detection mechanism in communication with said resistance bar, whereby said strain detection mechanism is capable of detecting a force generated by a user; a meter in communication with said strain detection mechanism.

2. The ideal static contraction device of claim 1, wherein said first column and said second column include incremental lock positions.

3. The ideal static contraction device of claim 2, wherein said incremental lock positions are closely spaced.

4. The ideal static contraction device of claim 3, wherein said lift bar includes a locking mechanism, wherein said locking mechanism cooperates with said incremental lock positions.

5. The ideal static contraction device of claim 4, wherein said strain detection mechanism further comprises a set of four strain gauges.

6. The ideal static contraction device of claim 5 further comprising converters located on said base plate.

7. The ideal static contraction device of claim 6 further comprising a bench, wherein said bench is adapted to couple with a pair of bench receptacles, said bench receptacles located in said base plate.

8. The ideal static contraction device of claim 6 wherein said ideal static contraction device is positioned in a leg press configuration by means of said converters.

9. The ideal static contraction device of claim 8 further comprising a leg press seat, wherein said leg press seat is attached to said first and second columns, and wherein said leg press seat includes a seat back.

10. The ideal static contraction device of claim 9, wherein said seat back is substantially parallel to said base plate.

11. The ideal static contraction device of claim 10 wherein said lift bar is located between said leg press seat and said base plate.

12. An ideal static contraction device comprising: a base plate; a pair of wheels connected to said base plate; a resistance sleeve, fitted to said base plate; a resistance bar located substantially within said resistance sleeve; a first column and a second column, wherein said first column and said second column are rigidly connected to said resistance bar, and wherein said first column and said second column include closely spaced incremental lock positions; a lift bar wherein said lift bar includes a locking mechanism, wherein said locking mechanism cooperates with said incremental lock positions; a set of four strain gauges in communication with said resistance bar, whereby said set of four strain gauges is capable of detecting a force generated by a user; a meter in communication with said strain detection mechanism.

13. The ideal static contraction device of claim 12 further comprising a bench, wherein said bench is adapted to couple with a pair of bench receptacles, said bench receptacles located in said base plate.

14. The ideal static contraction device of claim 12 further comprising a leg press seat, wherein said leg press seat is attached to said first and second columns, and wherein said leg press seat includes a seat back.

15. The ideal static contraction device of claim 14, wherein said seat back is substantially parallel to said base plate.

16. The ideal static contraction device of claim 15 wherein said lift bar is located between said leg press seat and said base plate.

17. A method for performing ideal static contraction on an ideal static contraction device, said method comprising the steps of: positioning a lift bar at a desired height between a first column and a second column, wherein said lift bar includes a locking mechanism, wherein said locking mechanism cooperates with incremental lock positions located on said first column and said second column, and wherein said first column and said second column are rigidly attached to a base plate, wherein said base plate further includes a resistance sleeve fitted to said base plate, and wherein a resistance bar is located substantially within said resistance sleeve; positioning a user in a desired exercise position; exerting a force upon said resistance bar; detecting said force; displaying force data on a meter; using said force data to analyze fitness development.

18. The method of claim 17 wherein said step of positioning a user in a desired exercise position further comprises coupling a bench with a base plate, and said step of exerting a force upon said resistance bar further comprises exerting a force on said lift bar.

19. The method of claim 17 further comprising positioning said ideal static contraction device in a leg press configuration.

20. The method of claim 19, wherein step of positioning a user in a desired exercise position further comprises coupling a leg press seat to said first column and said second column.

Description:

CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application is a continuation in part of U.S. patent application No. 10/624,788 filed Jul. 22, 2003.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

This invention relates generally to the field of health and fitness, and more particularly to a device for achieving maximum fitness levels through static contraction.

2. Description of the Related Art

The health and fitness field is replete with theories and programs and devices designed to improve the overall health and fitness of individuals. The traditional method of moving weighted objects through a range of motion to achieve an increase in musculature has been augmented by competing fitness routines. One example, known as Static Contraction Training, focuses only on that portion of a range of motion that is strongest within that range. In a traditional bench press exercise, that strongest range of motion may include the area short of where the arms are fully extended. Static Contraction Training also involves selecting a large enough weight such that an individual could hold it in place at the strongest range of motion for more than five seconds. A safety device would also be required in order to prevent injury following muscle failure.

Although the prior art may successfully perform their intended functions, none of them provide a training device that provides for achieving ideal static contraction.

Therefore, what is needed is a device and method that can be utilized by individuals of any fitness level, from the infirm to the most athletically advanced.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

In this further refinement of the principle of providing a simple exercise device, practical for home use, yet strong enough for use by the most accomplished of athletes, this static contraction system reduces the number of moving parts dramatically over previous designs. This reduction in number of moving parts reduces the effects of friction on the design at low weights, and increases the stability at high loads.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE SEVERAL VIEWS OF THE DRAWINGS

These and other features, aspects and advantages of the present invention will become better understood with reference to the following description, appended claims, and accompanying drawings where:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of the upper body configuration.

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of the leg press configuration.

FIG. 3 is a side view of the upper body configuration.

FIG. 4 is rear view of the upper body configuration.

FIG. 5 is a top view of the upper body configuration.

FIG. 6 is a side view of the leg press configuration.

FIG. 7 is a top view of the leg press configuration.

FIG. 8 is a rear view of the leg press configuration.

Drawing 1 is an arrangement of upper body configuration views

Drawing 2 is a leg press configuration side view and user.

Drawing 3 is a enlarged view of the sensors and a sensor schematic.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

As mentioned above, Static Contraction Training involves working with the maximum amount of weight possible through the strongest portion of a muscle's particular range of motion. The present invention includes solutions to the problems that are inherent with this approach. Namely, the present invention contemplates the use of a metered resistance device and the method of using it. Such devices and methods are described in U.S. patent application Ser. No. 10/624,788 filed Jul. 22, 2003 and hereby incorporated by reference in its entirety.

The features retained from the initial design are the incremental lock in positioning with close spacing, which is a unique requirement of static contraction training due to the heavy loads, and the high sensitivity to positioning for getting an ideal exercise.

The new additional working features over the initial design are as follows:

  • 1. All in one capabilities of both leg press and upper body workouts due to the wheels that allow for the same base to be used in a leg press configuration.
  • 2. The special, lockout avoidance safety feature in the leg press arrangement.
  • 3. The special parallel arrangement to the footplate. Previous full range leg press designs have emphasized a tapered design of approximately 10 to 30 degrees off of parallel. These arrangements fail under heavy load as the extremely high forces (well over 2,000 lbs for many peoples, some who weigh as little as 180 lbs) cause the vertical component of the force to greatly exceed their weight. The parallel arrangement overcomes this feature.
  • 4. No moving part simplicity. By having no moving parts in the line of resistance the system allows for far greater stability than any previous design.
  • 5. The crossbeam arrangement in the base greatly reduces the total weight of the machine by allowing the base plate to be built out of very light sheet metal. Since the crossbeam, resistance bar, and the two column supports (plus whatever attachment is preferred, whether it be the lift bar shown, or the leg press seat shown in FIG. 2) are the only parts that are resisting the major load, the other parts can be as light as possible without sacrificing strength.

The present invention is based on the fairly simplistic idea that the fastest muscle development occurs only with maximum muscle stimulation, and maximum muscle stimulation only occurs in the strongest range of motion. The strongest range of motion can only be safely achieved and maintained through the static contraction device of the present invention.

FIG. 1 illustrates a detailed view of the present invention in a upper body configuration. Shown is bench 10, though it will be noted by those skilled in the art that the bench 10 need not be present for certain desired exercises. For example, a user could perform a military style press, or leg squat exercise in a substantially upright position, standing directly upon base plate 5.

The bench 10 also allows for a number of exercises to be performed as desired. A bench press type exercise, or seated military style press are two examples. Additionally, hold downs or similar belt-style apparatus could be used to hold a user in place as a pull down type exercise is performed. The hold downs may be attached to the portion of resistance sleeve 7 that extends from the base plate 5.

The other features of the present invention that may be understood from FIG. 1 include the first and second columns 2 that are rigidly attached to resistance bar 6, seen located substantially within resistance sleeve 7. Force is generated onto resistance bar 6 as a result of the rigid attachment. .The resistances bar 6 is preferably thick enough that it can be made out of aluminum and still provide resistance far beyond 10,000 lbs, which is well beyond world record level resistances achieved by humans.

The resistance bar is a very solid aluminum bar, preferably over an inch and a half thick, and four inches tall. This large size is required to provide stability to the first and second columns which are suspended by nothing more than the heavy ⅜″ bolts at the bottom, and yet need to stand upright and resistance the downward pulling motions in excess of 2,000 lbs which are near the high end of force levels found in static contraction training. To be able to handle both the downward motion of 2,000 lbs and the upward motion in a leg press of 5,000 lbs, and yet still have accuracy at single pound increments has been thought in the past to require very expensive gauges and meters. However the unique arrangement of all four gauges in a specially designed torsion system in which all gauges perform as active gauges in all exercises provides a fourfold increase in sensitivity over the normal single active gauge, three passive gauge arrangements of most meter gauging arrangements. The symmetry of the system insures that readings maintain their accuracy even when users tilt the machine at various angles, as the negative/positive bridge arrangement automatically cancels out inaccuracies that would typically result from tilts. The close placement of the pivot points allows for a very sensitive reading to come from a very thick resistance bar capable of handling very heavy loads. And the high thermal sink of the resistance bar make the system far less sensitive to short term thermal fluctuations during the short duration of a typical exercise. This added high resistance to thermal fluctuations allows for reduced cost of manufacture as the high cost of thermal cancellation devices is avoided.

Meter 9 is illustrated in a position that will be most easily viewed by the user depending on the exercise currently being performed. Lifting bar 3 is shown locked into position by means of locking mechanisms 4 along the closely spaced incremental lock positions located along the first and second columns 2. The locking mechanisms 4 may take a variety of forms, but in a preferred embodiment they comprise a simple pin engagement mechanism that interacts with the lock positions. It will also be noted that in the embodiment illustrated in FIG. 1 the converters 8 take the form of simple rollers or wheels to allow transformation of the device to a leg press configuration.

FIG. 2 illustrates the present invention in a leg press configuration. By simply pulling back on the first and second columns 2, the leg press seat 12 may be quickly and easily coupled with the columns 2. Given the high torque advantage of the long columns even small weaker people can do this easily.

The lift bar 3 may be left in place as desired to prevent lock out of the legs during a leg press. One problem unique to static contraction training (due to the much heavier weights involved) is the problem of lockout when performing a very high resistance leg press. Previous devices took no special care with this problem as a result is was impossible for a person to fearlessly give an all out effort, as one experience with lockout in such a machine has a tendency to make a person shy about ever attempting an all out effort in the future. (It can take even a healthy person as much as two months to fully physically recover from having gone to lockout in one of the previous versions of the system). This anti-lockout feature comprises the placement of the lift bar 3 in the path that the leg would normally go through in order to go to lockout.

Meter 9 is also pivotable to maintain optimal viewing position. The low back of the leg press seat 12 ensures that the spine cannot become engaged in the effort. Previous attempts at building a leg press always emphasized having a lot of coverage for the back. This turns out to be not only unnecessary, but counterproductive as a correct leg press effort should not allow any back involvement. The more the back is involved the riskier a high force machine becomes to causing a spinal injury. The combination of the parallel seat back and the low design directs all of the forces into the hip area, and away from the spine in ways that ensure that the user need not concentrate on the correct ergonomics themselves.

Close examination of FIG. 3 illustrates the location of the preferred set of four strain gauges 11. The unique strain gauge arrangement while being attached to a meter that is set up to read the absolute value of the resistance (negative values are read as positive) allows the system to totally cancel out resistance that is a function of the weight of the materials used. Previous designs did not allow for measurement of small lifts, as the user, upon first lifting a bar would be initially overcoming the weight of the bar, and only afterward engaging the meter. But the strain gauge attachment combined with the absolute value meter arrangement makes this device capable of measuring the force immediately in all directions, without regard to the weight of the bar involved. Practically speaking this means that a very small, very weak person can use the same heavy duty heavy weight bar as a very strong man, as the weight of the bar is automatically subtracted out by the taring of the meter. Previous arrangements of bars suspended from pulley arrangements did not have this canceling out of the weight of the bar, as a result any lift measurement would be off by the weight of the bar in either direction. Not very meaningful for very strong people, but enough to make the machines lack the necessary accuracy for very weak people.

Yet the unique attachment of the strain gauges 11 makes every strain gauge active, which greatly increases the sensitivity. By having four times the sensitivity of a normal strain gauge device (which typically has only one active gauge) the system is able to be made of metal strong enough to withstand thousands of pounds of force.

The present invention has been tested by the fifth strongest man in the world pressing over 2800 lbs in a leg press, and by hydraulic jacks against loads of over 5,000 lbs, yet continues to operate with a sensitivity that makes it work fine for older women doing exercises like a bicep curl in which the typical elderly woman can only lift about 10 lbs or so. And even at that low range it can detect differences of only a pound or two reliably from workout to workout.

The combination of all of these features together creates a system that is capable of providing all of the static contraction exercises that would normally require a very heavy duty smith machine, a lat pull down machine, and a leg press, yet do so in a package that only needs the removal of four bolts or push pins to then be able to transport easily in a car.

No previous, entirely rigid design is in existence. The reliability of the no moving part save for a bar that is over engineered to handle over eight times the capacity of the strongest human ever recorded, is unique among exercise equipment. And to make that possible in both a light weight package and with low cost is also unique.

It will be apparent to those skilled in the art that other modifications may still be made and yet remain within the scope of the present invention.