Title:
Multiple-person elliptical trainer
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
Various embodiments of the present invention are directed to a multiple-person elliptical trainer for improving cardiovascular fitness. In one embodiment of the present invention, the multiple-person elliptical trainer includes two training stations mounted to a support frame. Each training station includes a pair of roughly parallel tracks, each track pivotally attached to a swing arm at a front end and a crank arm at a rear end. The crank arms, in turn, are interconnected via a rotatable axle attached to the support frame. Each track further includes a foot pedal and each swing arm includes a swing-arm handle. In one embodiment of the present invention, a user can place a foot on each of the foot pedals, grasp the swing-arm handles, and rotate the crank arms by rhythmically pushing and pulling the swing-arm handles while using the foot pedals to simulate a walking or running gait.



Inventors:
Sargen, James P. (City of Avila Beach, CA, US)
Hongo, Adrian K. (City of San Luis Obispo, CA, US)
Application Number:
11/541141
Publication Date:
04/03/2008
Filing Date:
09/29/2006
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
482/51
International Classes:
A63B22/00; A63B22/04; A63B71/00
View Patent Images:
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20100041519WHEEL ASSEMBLY FOR TRAMPOLINESFebruary, 2010Law et al.
20040038783Device for exercising pelvic floor musclesFebruary, 2004Hunter
20050164857Fitness card systemJuly, 2005Black



Primary Examiner:
CROW, STEPHEN R
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
OLYMPIC PATENT WORKS PLLC (P.O. BOX 4277, SEATTLE, WA, 98194-0277, US)
Claims:
1. A multiple-person elliptical trainer for physical exercise, the multiple-person elliptical trainer including: a support frame; and a plurality of training stations mounted to the support frame, each training station including a first track with a front end and a rear end, a second track with a front end and a rear end, a first crank arm pivotally attached to the rear end of the first track, a second crank arm pivotally attached to the rear end of the second track, a rotatable axle interconnected to the support frame and interconnecting the first crank arm to the second crank arm, a first foot pedal mounted to the first track, and a second foot pedal mounted to the second track.

2. The multiple-person elliptical trainer of claim 1 wherein the support frame includes a front base bar, a rear base bar approximately parallel to the front base bar, and a plurality of approximately-parallel side base bars approximately orthogonal to the front base bar and the rear base bar.

3. The multiple-person elliptical trainer of claim 2 wherein each side base bar includes a relatively flat inner portion, an upwardly-bending rear portion, and an elongated, upwardly-bending front portion.

4. The multiple-person elliptical trainer of claim 3 wherein the upwardly-bending rear portion of each side base bar contains a rear terminus.

5. The multiple-person elliptical trainer of claim 3 wherein the elongated, upwardly-bending front portion of each side base bar contains a front terminus.

6. The multiple-person elliptical trainer of claim 3 further including a first swing arm with a proximal end pivotally attached to the front end of the first track.

7. The multiple-person elliptical trainer of claim 6 wherein the first swing arm includes a first swing-arm handle at a distal end.

8. The multiple-person elliptical trainer of claim 7 wherein the first swing-arm handle further includes a first swing-arm grip at a distal end.

9. The multiple-person elliptical trainer of claim 6 wherein the first swing arm is pivotally attached to the support frame at the front terminus of one of the side base bars.

10. The multiple-person elliptical trainer of claim 3 further including a second swing arm with a proximal end pivotally attached to the front end of the second track.

11. The multiple-person elliptical trainer of claim 10 wherein the second swing arm includes a second swing-arm handle at a distal end.

12. The multiple-person elliptical trainer of claim 11 wherein the second swing-arm handle further includes a second swing-arm grip at a distal end.

13. The multiple-person elliptical trainer of claim 10 wherein the second swing arms is pivotally attached to the support frame at the front terminus of one of the side base bars.

14. The multiple-person elliptical trainer of claim 1 further including a number of flat bars for anchoring the multiple-person elliptical trainer to the ground, each flat bar having a number of mounting apertures.

15. The multiple-person elliptical trainer of claim 14 wherein the multiple-person elliptical trainer can be anchored to a cement footing by partially sinking a bolt into the cement footing and passing the exposed portion of the bolt through the mounting aperture of one of the flat bars and tightening a locking nut onto the bolt.

16. The multiple-person elliptical trainer of claim 1 wherein the first foot pedal and the second foot pedal each include a toe plate.

17. The multiple-person elliptical trainer of claim 1 interconnected to a walking simulator.

18. A method for improving cardiovascular fitness, the method comprising: providing a multiple-person elliptical trainer, the multiple-person elliptical trainer including a support frame and a plurality of training stations mounted to the support frame, each training station including a first track with a front end and a rear end, a second track with a front end and a rear end, a first crank arm pivotally attached to the rear end of the first track, a second crank arm pivotally attached to the rear end of the second track, a rotatable axle interconnected to the support frame and interconnecting the first crank arm to the second crank arm, a first foot pedal mounted to the first track, and a second foot pedal mounted to the second track; placing a left foot on the first foot pedal and a right foot on the second foot pedal; and rotating the crank arms by alternately pressing down on the first foot pedal and the second foot pedal

19. The method of claim 18 further including a first swing arm pivotally attached to the front end of the first track and a second swing arm pivotally attached to the front end of the second track.

20. The method of claim 19 wherein the first swing arm and the second swing arm are each pivotally attached to the support frame.

21. The method of claim 18 further including a number of flat bars for anchoring the multiple-person elliptical trainer to the ground, each flat bar having a number of mounting apertures.

22. The method of claim 21 wherein the multiple-person elliptical trainer can be anchored to a cement footing by partially sinking a bolt into the cement footing and passing the exposed portion of the bolt through the mounting aperture of one of the flat bars and tightening a locking nut onto the bolt.

Description:

TECHNICAL FIELD

The present invention relates to the field of exercise equipment, and, in particular, to a multiple-person elliptical trainer.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Many people strive to maintain, or even increase, their fitness level by regularly exercising. Regular exercise can improve fitness in a variety of ways, including improving cardiovascular health, strength, and balance and flexibility. Some people buy gym memberships so they can exercise at a gym. Many gyms contain exercise equipment with smooth motions and consistent resistances that can be used to improve fitness in various muscle groups. However, a gym membership can be expensive, and gyms can be crowded during popular workout times, making workouts slow and time-consuming. Blaring music, pushy trainers, and supplement salespeople can also be annoying to some users. Additionally, competitive and intense users can be intimidating to beginners and casual users. Gyms may be inconveniently located, may have inadequate parking, or may maintain hours of operation that conflict with a busy work, or school, schedule.

Some people, instead, opt to exercise at home using home exercise equipment, which can provide a convenient, low-cost, small-scale alternative to gyms. However, low-cost, small-scale home exercise equipment can be difficult and uncomfortable to use and often does not provide a user with the same level of smooth motions and consistent resistances that a user may find with larger-scale commercial exercise equipment found in gyms. Additionally, low-cost, small-scale home exercise equipment may not efficiently exercise various muscle groups, and may fail to exercise certain muscle groups altogether. People exercising at home can also be distracted by many different types of commonly-occurring events, including telephones ringing, pets and/or roommates needing attention, and people knocking on the door.

Increasing cardiovascular fitness is a desire of many users. Cardiovascular fitness can be improved by a number of different ways, including running, walking, bicycling, swimming, cross-country skiing, and using cardiovascular exercise equipment. However, many people live, work, or attend classes in areas where certain outdoor cardiovascular exercises are difficult or impossible. Additionally, due to price and electronic-supply constraints, cardiovascular exercise equipment, such as treadmills, stair climbers, and other electronic-based exercise equipment are often confined to high-priced gyms. Home cardiovascular exercise equipment, such as exercise bikes, can be bulky, uncomfortable, poorly constructed, and clunky. Additionally, many of the cardiovascular exercise equipment found in gyms and at home can only accommodate a single user at a time. People who are interested in staying fit have, therefore, recognized a need for a way to promote cardiovascular fitness without relying on visiting a gym, purchasing low-cost, small-scale home cardiovascular equipment, or engaging in outside activities that need specific geographical and/or climactic conditions.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

Various embodiments of the present invention are directed to an indoor/outdoor, multiple-person elliptical trainer for improving cardiovascular fitness. In one embodiment of the present invention, the multiple-person elliptical trainer includes two training stations mounted to a support frame. Each training station includes a pair of roughly parallel tracks, each track pivotally attached to a swing arm at a front end and a crank arm at a rear end. The crank arms, in turn, are interconnected to each other via a rotatable axle attached to the support frame. Each track further includes a foot pedal and each swing arm includes a swing-arm handle. In one embodiment of the present invention, a user can place a foot on each of the foot pedals, grasp the swing-arm handles, and rotate the crank arms by rhythmically pushing and pulling the swing-arm handles while using the foot pedals to simulate a walking or running gait.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 shows a first perspective view of a two-person elliptical trainer that represents one embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 2 shows a second perspective view of the elliptical trainer shown in FIG. 1 that represents one embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 3 shows a top view of the elliptical trainer shown in FIG. 1 that represents one embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 4 shows a front view of the elliptical trainer shown in FIG. 1 that represents one embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 5 shows a rear view of the elliptical trainer shown in FIG. 1 that represents one embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 6 shows a first side view of the elliptical trainer shown in FIG. 1 that represents one embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 7 shows a second side view of the elliptical trainer shown in FIG. 1 that represents one embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 8 shows a first side view of a user using the elliptical trainer shown in FIG. 1 that represents one embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 9 shows a second side view of a user using the elliptical trainer shown in FIG. 1 that represents one embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 10 shows a cement block anchoring the elliptical trainer shown in FIG. 1 that represents one embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 11 shows a perspective view of an elliptical trainer with three training stations that represents one embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 12 shows an alternate embodiment of a two-person elliptical trainer with inward-facing training stations and a dividing wall that represents one embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 13 shows an alternate embodiment of a two-person elliptical trainer without swing arms that represents one embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 14A shows a rear perspective view of an elliptical trainer and a walking simulator mounted to a support frame that represents one embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 14B shows a front perspective view of an elliptical trainer and a walking simulator mounted to a support frame that represents one embodiment of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

Various embodiments of the present invention are directed to an indoor/outdoor, multiple-person elliptical trainer for improving cardiovascular fitness. FIG. 1 shows a first perspective view of a two-person elliptical trainer that represents one embodiment of the present invention. The two-person elliptical trainer 100 (“elliptical trainer”) includes a first training station 102 and a second training station 104 mounted to a support frame 106. The support frame 106 includes a front base bar 108, a rear base bar 110 roughly parallel to the front base bar 108, and two roughly-parallel side base bars 112 and 114 roughly orthogonal to the front base bar 108 and the rear base bar 110.

Each side base bar 112 and 114 includes a relatively flat inner portion 116, an upwardly-bending rear portion 118, and an elongated, upwardly-bending front portion 120. The inner portions 116 of the side base bars 112 and 114 interconnect the front base bar 108 and the rear base bar 110. The rear portions 118 of the side base bars 112 and 114 bend upwards to roughly a 45° angle and each contain a roughly-horizontal, open-tube rear terminus 122. A rotatable axle 124 inside each of the rear termini 122 interconnects a pair of crank arms, such as first crank arm 126 and second crank arm 128 on the training station 102. The front portions 120 of the side base bars 112 and 114 bend upward to a roughly vertical orientation and each contain a roughly-horizontal, open-tube front terminus 130. In alternate embodiments of the present invention, instead of utilizing single side base bars with each side base bar having a flat inner portion, an upwardly-bending front portion, and an upwardly-bending rear portion, the support frame utilizes multiple bars that include one or more roughly flat base bars, one or more interconnected upwardly-directed front base bars, and one or more interconnected upwardly-directed rear base bars, as discussed below with reference to FIG. 13.

FIG. 2 shows a second perspective view of the elliptical trainer shown in FIG. 1 that represents one embodiment of the present invention. Each training station 102 and 104 includes two roughly parallel tracks, such as first track 202 and second track 204 on the first training station 102. FIG. 2 shows the first track 202 pivotally attached to the first crank arm 126 at a first rear end 206 and pivotally attached to a first swing arm 208 at a first front end 210. The first swing arm 208 is pivotally attached to the front terminus 130 of the support frame 106 at a first front-terminus pivot 212. Above the first front-terminus pivot 212, the first swing arm 208 forms a first swing-arm handle 214 with a first swing-arm grip 216 at the distal end. In one embodiment of the present invention, the first front-terminus pivot 212 includes a horizontal bar (not shown in FIG. 2) located inside the front terminus 130 that mates with a frictionless bearing (not shown in FIG. 1) located inside the first swing arm 208. As the first swing arm 208 swings, the first swing arm 208 pivots at the first front-terminus pivot 212 as the frictionless bearing rotates around the horizontal bar.

Similarly, the second track 204 is pivotally attached to the second crank arm 128 at a second rear end 218 and pivotally attached to a second swing arm 220 at a second front end 222. The second swing arm 220 is pivotally attached to the front terminus 130 of the support frame 106 at a second front-terminus pivot 224. Above the second front-terminus pivot 224, the second swing arm 220 forms a second swing-arm handle 226 with a second swing-arm grip 228 at the distal end. In one embodiment of the present invention, the second front-terminus pivot 224 includes a horizontal bar (not shown in FIG. 2) located inside the front terminus 130 that mates with a frictionless bearing (not shown in FIG. 1) located inside the second swing arm 220. As the second swing arm 220 swings, the second swing arm 220 pivots at the second front-terminus pivot 224 as the frictionless bearing rotates around the horizontal bar. FIG. 2 shows the second training station 104 containing similar features as the first training station 102.

FIG. 3 shows a top view of the elliptical trainer shown in FIG. 1 that represents one embodiment of the present invention. In FIG. 3, a right foot pedal 302 is shown interconnected to the top surface of the first track 202. Similarly, a left foot pedal 304 is shown interconnected to the top surface of the second track 204. The right foot pedal 302 and the left foot pedal 304 each include a toe plate 306 and 308, respectively extending upward from the proximity of the front of the right foot pedal 302 and the left foot pedal 304. The toe plates 306 and 308 can be used to partially secure a user's feet and ameliorate foot slippage in the roughly-forward direction during use of the elliptical trainer 100.

In FIG. 3, the support frame 106 includes four flat bars 310-313 interconnecting the two side base bars 112 and 114 to the front base bar 108 and the rear base bar 110. The four flat bars 310-313 each include a mounting aperture, such as mounting aperture 314. The mounting apertures can be used as part of a mounting mechanism to optionally secure the elliptical trainer 100 to the ground, as discussed below with reference to FIG. 10. FIG. 4 shows a front view of the elliptical trainer shown in FIG. 1 that represents one embodiment of the present invention. FIG. 5 shows a rear view of the elliptical trainer shown in FIG. 1 that represents one embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 6 shows a first side view of the elliptical trainer shown in FIG. 1 that represents one embodiment of the present invention. In FIG. 6, the first crank arm 126 and the second crank arm 128 are shown in roughly vertical positions, with the first crank arm 126 extending roughly downward from the rear terminus 122 and the second crank arm 128 extending roughly upward from the rear terminus 122. Consequently, the first rear end 206 of the first track 202 is lower than the second rear end 218 of the second track 204. Meanwhile, the first front end 210 and the second front end (222 in FIG. 2) are both at roughly the same elevation, with the first swing arm 208 and the second swing arm 220 roughly aligned vertically at the front terminus 130. As a result, the right foot pedal 302 is in a lower position than the left foot pedal 304. Because the tracks 202 and 204 are interconnected to the swing arms 208 and 220, respectively, rotation of the first crank arm 126 and the second crank arm 128 in one of the directions indicated by directional arrow 602 causes one of the swing-arm grips 216 and 228 to swing forward and the other of the swing-arm grips 216 and 228 to swing backward in the directions indicated by directional arrow 604.

FIG. 7 shows a second side view of the elliptical trainer shown in FIG. 1 that represents one embodiment of the present invention. FIG. 7 shows the first crank arm 126 and the second crank arm 128 rotated clockwise roughly a third of a revolution from the positions of the first crank arm 126 and the second crank arm 128 shown in FIG. 6. Directional arrow 702 shows the direction of rotation of the first crank arm 126 and the second crank arm 128. As a result of the rotation, the right foot pedal 302 and the left foot pedal 304 have begun to equalize vertically. The second front end 222 of the second track 204 has moved forward horizontally, as shown by directional arrow 704, while the first front end 210 of the first track 202 has moved backward horizontally, as shown by directional arrow 706. Additionally, the first swing arm 208 and second swing arm 220 have pivoted in opposite directions at the front terminus 130 in a scissor-like manner, causing the first swing-arm grip 216 to move forward horizontally, as shown by directional arrow 708, and the second swing-arm grip 228 to move backward horizontally, as shown by directional arrow 710.

FIG. 8 shows a first side view of a user using the elliptical trainer shown in FIG. 1 that represents one embodiment of the present invention. In FIG. 8, a user 800 is shown standing on the elliptical trainer 100 with his right foot 802 on the right foot pedal 302 and his left foot 804 on the left foot pedal 304. The user 800 is also grasping the first swing-arm grip 216 with his right hand 806 and grasping the second swing-arm grip 228 with his left hand 808. The user 800 can rotate the first crank arm 126 and the second crank arm 128 by using his hands and/or her feet. The user can use one, or both, of his feet to apply a force to one, or both, of the foot pedals 302 and 304 in one of the directions indicated by the directional arrow 602. The user 800 can also use one, or both, of his hands to apply a force to one, or both, of the swing-arm grips 216 and 228 in one of the two directions indicated by the directional arrow 604.

The user 800 can vary the amount of effort used to rotate the first crank arm 126 and the second crank arm 128 by varying the amount of force applied by each of his hands 806 and 808 and feet 802 and 804. The user 800 can also vary the relative amount of pressure applied by each hand 806 and 808 and foot 802 and 804 in relation to the other hand 806 and 808 and foot 802 and 804. For example, the user 800 can apply a relatively higher amount of force with his left hand 808 and left foot 804 than with to his right hand 806 and right foot 802. Alternately, the user 800 can use different combinations of one or more hands 806 and 808 and/or one or more feet 802 and 804 to apply the majority, or all of, the force needed to rotate the first crank arm 126 and the second crank arm 128.

FIG. 9 shows a second side view of a user using the elliptical trainer shown in FIG. 1 that represents one embodiment of the present invention. In FIG. 9, the user 800 is using his lower body, legs, and core to provide force with his feet 802 and 804 to rotate the first crank arm 126 and the second crank arm 128 via the foot pedals 302 and 304 and/or using his upper body, arms, and core to provide force with his hands 806 and 808 to rotate the first crank arm 126 and the second crank arm 128 via the first swing-arm grip 216 and the second swing-arm grip 228.

The directions of the movements of the first swing arm grip 216 and the second swing arm grip 228 are alternating back-and-forth motions in both of the directions indicated by the directional arrow 604, whereas the movements of the first crank arm 126 and the second crank arm 128 are in either a clockwise or counterclockwise motion. The user 800 can control the direction of the first crank arm 126 and the second crank arm 128 to be in either of the directions indicated by the directional arrow 602 by controlling the application of force applied to the right foot pedal 302 and the left foot pedal 304. However, the motions of the first swing arm grip 216 and the second swing arm grip 228 are back-and-forth regardless of the positioning and directionality of the first crank arm 126 and the second crank arm 128.

The support frame 106 for the elliptical trainer 100, described above with reference to FIGS. 1-9, allows the elliptical trainer to be self-standing. However, the elliptical trainer 100 can be anchored to the ground when, for example, theft prevention is a concern, or when additional stability is desired during a particularly strenuous exercise session. FIG. 10 shows a cement block anchoring the elliptical trainer shown in FIG. 1 that represents one embodiment of the present invention. In FIG. 10, the elliptical trainer 100 is shown containing the training station 104. The first crank arm (126 in FIG. 1), the second crank arm (128 in FIG. 1), the first track (202 in FIG. 2), the second track (204 in FIG. 2), the first swing arm (208 in FIG. 2), and second swing arm (220 in FIG. 2) of the training station (102 in FIG. 1) have been removed to more clearly show the support frame 106.

L-shaped bolts, such as L-shaped bolt 1002, have been passed through the mounting apertures (314 in FIG. 3) contained on the flat bars 310-313. Threaded locking nuts, such as locking nut 1004, have been threaded onto the threaded portion of each of the L-shaped bolts positioned above the flat bars 310-313. The L-shaped bolts can be placed into curing cement footings to anchor the elliptical trainer 100 to the cement footings. In FIG. 10, the L-shaped bolts passed through the mounting apertures contained on the flat bars 310 and 311 are placed into a cement block 1006. The cement block 1006 can be formed underground, with the top 1008 of the cement block 1006 approximately at ground level, to anchor the elliptical trainer 100 to the ground. Similarly, the L-shaped bolts passed through the mounting apertures contained on the flat bars 312 and 313 can be placed in one or more curing underground cement blocks to further anchor the elliptical trainer 100. In alternate embodiments of the present invention, a plastic covering (not shown in FIG. 10) can be placed over the locking nuts, such as the locking nut 1004, when attached to the L-shaped bolts, such as the L-shaped bolt 1002, to reduce the risk of injury to a user caused by contacting a L-shaped-bolt/locking-nut assembly 1008.

In alternate embodiments of the present invention, the support frame can accommodate additional training stations, and additional users can simultaneously exercise using the elliptical trainer. FIG. 11 shows a perspective view of an elliptical trainer with three training stations that represents one embodiment of the present invention. The elliptical trainer 1100 includes three training stations 1102-1104 mounted to a support frame 1106. As many as three users can simultaneously exercise on the elliptical trainer 1100 using any combination of the training stations 1102-1104.

A multiple-person elliptical trainer can include a number of training stations in alternate orientations. FIG. 12 shows an alternate embodiment of a two-person elliptical trainer with inward-facing training stations and a dividing wall that represents one embodiment of the present invention. Elliptical trainer 1200 includes two training stations 1202 and 1204 facing inward to one another with a dividing wall 1206 between the two training stations 1202 and 1204. Each training station 1202 and 1204 includes two transverse base bars, such as transverse base bars 1208 and 1210 connected to the inner portion of a side base bar 1212. The upwardly-bending front portions each training station 1202 and 1204, such as upwardly-bending front portion 1214, contain a mounting cuff, such as mounting cuff 1216, that attaches to the dividing wall 1206 via a bent bar and a mounting plate, such as bent bar 1218 and mounting plate 1220. In alternate embodiments of the present invention, the mounting cuffs can be omitted and the bent bars can be welded or bolted directly to the upwardly-bending front portion of the training stations 1202 and 1204. The dividing wall 1206 can be used for posting notices and/or instructions and/or advertisements. Also, additional items can be attached to the dividing wall 1206, including water-bottle holders, televisions, audio systems, video screens, towel racks, book and magazine holders, radio/MP3-player holders, and other items.

FIG. 13 shows an alternate embodiment of a two-person elliptical trainer without swing arms that represents one embodiment of the present invention. Elliptical trainer 1300 includes two training stations 1302 and 1304 mounted to a support frame 1306. The support frame 1306 includes a flat base 1308 and a vertical post for each training station, such as vertical post 1310 on training station 1304. Each vertical post includes a handlebar in the proximity of the distal end of the vertical post, such as handlebar 1312 on vertical post 1310. Rear extension posts, such as rear extension post 1314, extend from the rear of the flat base 1308 and support a rotatable axle for a training station, such as rotatable axle 1316 on training station 1304. Each training station includes a pair of roughly-parallel tracks, such as first track 1318 and second track 1320 on training station 1304. Additionally, each training station further includes a pair of ramps, such as first ramp 1322 and second ramp 1324 on training station 1304. The front ends of each of the tracks include a pair of rollers, such as rollers 1326 at the front end of the second track 1320, that roll along the ramps as the tracks are rotated. Accordingly, a user (not shown in FIG. 13) using the training station 1304 can stand on the first track 1318 and the second track 1320 and rotate the tracks 1318 and 1320 while grasping the handlebar 1312. As the tracks are rotated, the rollers at the front of the tracks roll up and down the ramps.

A walking simulator can be used in combination with other pieces of cardiovascular exercise equipment. FIG. 14A shows a rear perspective view of an elliptical trainer and a walking simulator mounted to a support frame that represents one embodiment of the present invention. In FIG. 14A, elliptical trainer 1402 and walking simulator 1404 are shown mounted to a common support frame 1406. FIG. 14B shows a front perspective view of an elliptical trainer and a walking simulator mounted to a support frame that represents one embodiment of the present invention. A spacer bar 1408 interconnects the side of the elliptical trainer support frame 106 with the side of the walking simulator support frame 1410.

The elliptical trainers described above can be placed indoors and outdoors at a number of different locations, including private homes, yards, elementary schools, middle schools, high schools, colleges, universities, hotels, motels, resorts, cruise ships, commercial-building courtyards, parks, trails, recreation centers, community centers, residential and lifestyle communities, hospital grounds, out-patient clinics, golf courses, and other indoor and outdoor locations. The anchoring mechanisms described above, with reference to FIG. 10, allow various embodiments of the present invention to be securely anchored to the ground to reduce the risk of theft. Accordingly, various embodiments of the present invention can be placed in locations that lack constant and careful supervision. Additional design elements can be included to allow the present invention to be placed in outdoor locations, including using powder coated steel components to provide rust protection and using stainless steel nuts and bolts for assembly. In one embodiment of the present invention, there are no electronic components mounted to the exercise apparatus. Various embodiments of the present invention also provide safety features, including rounded edges, smooth surfaces, and rubber padding around various moving and non-moving parts.

Additional modifications within the spirit of the invention will be apparent to those skilled in the art. For example, adjustable resistances can be incorporated into an elliptical trainer by the manufacturer, distributor, and/or a user. Additional flat bars can be attached to the support frame of an elliptical trainer for anchoring the elliptical trainer to the ground. Removable and non-removable devices can be attached to the support frame, such as water-bottle holders, book and magazine holders, towel holders, and radio/MP3-player holders. The foot pedals can be angled to change the gait used by a user. Angling the foot pedals can be accomplished in a number of different ways, such as bending and/or curving the tracks on which the toe plates are located. Similarly, the swing-arm handles can be bent and/or curved to change the positioning of a user's hands. Changing hand positions can change a user's comfort level and can also change the muscles used and the amount of force that a user is able to apply to the swing-arm handles. Various materials can be used to fabricate exercise apparatuses, such as metals and composite materials.

The foregoing detailed description, for purposes of illustration, used specific nomenclature to provide a thorough understanding of the invention. However, it will be apparent to one skilled in the art that the specific details are not required in order to practice the invention. Thus, the foregoing descriptions of specific embodiments of the present invention are presented for purposes of illustration and description; they are not intended to be exhaustive or to limit the invention to the precise forms disclosed. Obviously many modifications and variation are possible in view of the above teachings. The embodiments were chosen and described in order to best explain the principles of the invention and its practical applications and to thereby enable others skilled in the art to best utilize the invention and various embodiments with various modifications as are suited to the particular use contemplated.