Title:
METHOD AND APPARATUS FOR TARGETING ABDOMINAL MUSCLES WHILE RECEIVING A CARDIOVASCULAR WORKOUT
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An exercise device includes: a frame member; a pair of foot rests connected to the frame member; a seat that can be moved along the frame member; and, a back rest that can be pivoted with respect to the seat. By moving the seat along the frame member a user can move between an upright seated position and an extended planar position. By pivoting the back rest with respect to the seat a user can move between an upright seated position and a laid out position.



Inventors:
Parmater, Kim M. (Eden Prairie, MN, US)
Application Number:
12/137575
Publication Date:
10/02/2008
Filing Date:
06/12/2008
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
482/132
International Classes:
A63B69/06; A63B21/00
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
GANESAN, SUNDHARA M
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Brouse, Mcdowell Lpa (388 SOUTH MAIN STREET, SUITE 500, AKRON, OH, 44311, US)
Claims:
I/We claim:

1. An exercise device comprising: a frame member; a first foot rest operatively connected to the frame member; a seat selectively moveable along the frame member; a back rest selectively pivotable with respect to the seat; wherein by moving the seat along the frame member a user can move between an upright seated position and an extended planar position; and, wherein by pivoting the back rest with respect to the seat a user can move between an upright seated position and a laid out position.

2. The exercise device of claim 1 further comprising: a biasing mechanism that provides resistance to the pivoting motion of the back rest.

3. The exercise device of claim 1 further comprising: a biasing mechanism that provides resistance to the motion of the seat along the frame member.

4. The exercise device of claim 1 wherein the back rest comprises: a height adjustable neck rest.

5. The exercise device of claim 1 further comprising: a second foot rest; and, wherein both the first and second foot rests are fixedly connected to the frame member.

6. The exercise device of claim 5 wherein each foot rest comprises: a stir-up.

7. The exercise device of claim 1 further comprising: a pair of arm rests extending from opposite sides of the back rest.

8. The exercise device of claim 7 wherein each arm rest comprises: a hand grip.

9. The exercise device of claim 1 wherein the frame member defines a rail, the seat further comprising: at least one roller that operatively engages the rail for movement of the seat along the frame member.

10. The exercise device of claim 1 further comprising: a first floor engaging member operatively attached to a first end of the frame member; and, a second floor engaging member operatively attached to a second end of the frame member.

11. The exercise device of claim 10 wherein the first floor engaging member can be height adjusted to adjust workout intensity.

12. The exercise device of claim 1 further comprising: a pair of resistance bands attached to one end of the frame member for use in simulating a rowing machine workout.

13. An exercise device comprising: a frame member defining a rail; first and second foot rests fixedly connected to the frame member; a seat including at least a first roller that operatively engages the rail, the seat being selectively moveable along the rail; a back rest selectively pivotable with respect to the seat; a pair of arm rests extending from opposite sides of the back rest, each arm rest including a hand grip; wherein by moving the seat along the frame member a user can move between an upright seated position and an extended planar position; and, wherein by pivoting the back rest with respect to the seat a user can move between an upright seated position and a laid out position.

14. The exercise device of claim 13 further comprising: a biasing mechanism that provides resistance to the pivoting motion of the back rest; and, a biasing mechanism that provides resistance to the motion of the seat along the frame member.

15. The exercise device of claim 13 further comprising: a first floor engaging member operatively attached to a first end of the frame member; a second floor engaging member operatively attached to a second end of the frame member; and, wherein the first floor engaging member can be height adjusted to adjust workout intensity.

16. The exercise device of claim 13 further comprising: a pair of resistance bands attached to one end of the frame member for use in simulating a rowing machine workout.

17. A method comprising the steps of: (1) providing an exercise device comprising: a frame member; a pair of foot rests operatively connected to the frame member; a seat that is selectively moveable along the frame member; and, a back rest that is selectively pivotable with respect to the seat; (2) sitting on the seat in an upright seated position with feet placed on the foot rests; (3) exerting a simultaneous force on the foot rests, the seat, and the back rest thereby moving the seat along the frame and pivoting the back rest with respect to the seat and adjusting into an extended planar position; (4) sitting on the seat in an upright seated position with feet placed on the foot rests; and, (5) exerting a simultaneous force on the foot rests and the back rest thereby pivoting the back rest with respect to the seat and adjusting into a laid out position.

18. The method of claim 17 wherein steps (2) and (3) are repeated at a speed sufficient to achieve a cardiovascular workout.

19. The method of claim 17 wherein steps (4) and (5) are repeated at a speed sufficient to achieve a cardiovascular workout.

20. The method of claim 17 further comprising the steps of: providing a first floor engaging member operatively attached to a first end of the frame member and a second floor engaging member operatively attached to a second end of the frame member; and, height adjusting the first floor engaging member to adjust workout intensity.

Description:

This application claims priority to U.S. Ser. No. 11/352,579, titled METHOD AND APPARATUS FOR TARGETING ABDOMINAL MUSCLES WHILE RECEIVING A CARDIOVASCULAR WORKOUT, filed Feb. 13, 2006, which claims priority to U.S. Ser. No. 60/652,340, titled METHOD AND APPARATUS FOR TARGETING ABDOMINAL MUSCLES WHILE RECEIVING A CARDIOVASCULAR WORKOUT, filed Feb. 11, 2005, which is incorporated herein by reference.

I. BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

A. Field of Invention

This invention relates to exercise devices and methods of exercising. More particularly, the present invention relates to apparatuses that include a frame member and a seat that can be moved along the frame member as well as a back rest that can be pivoted with respect to the seat. The apparatuses provide a variety of exercises to simultaneously workout and train many different muscles in the body.

B. Description of the Related Art

It is well known to provide various exercise devices for use in “working out,” that is exercising or training, various muscles of the upper body, lower body and abdominal muscles. These known exercise devices include free weights, weight machines, barbells and exercise “bands.” The free weights and barbells of conventional construction include weighted ends and a hand held bar in the center. Other devices, including weight machines, are known to use pulley structures and weighted plates as well as hydraulic or pneumatic cylinders. These devices provide variable resistance to the user. Such known exercise devices can be intimidating to a novice and can also exert excessive stress or strain on the body, especially when the user does not have a great deal of experience in the particular type of weight training or weightlifting being used. In addition, such exercise devices are only designed to exercise certain muscles and/or certain groups of muscles.

One known type of exercise device includes a stack of weighted plates connected to a pulley structure and a connecting seat. The user sits in the seat of the exercising device and pulls on the straps connected to the pulley structures as they bend at the waist. This type of machine exercises abdominal muscles. Although this exercising device is beneficial to the body, there are many disadvantages. This large piece of equipment, for example, is only designed to exercise one particular group of muscles, the abdominal muscles.

Another known type of exercise device is a cardiovascular exercise device that allows a user to replicate the motions that would be experienced if the user were rowing a boat. This type of device includes a seat on a single rail and stationary foot rests. The user pulls on a resistive cord attached to the device while the user pushes on the foot rests. This type of device provides a beneficial way of increasing heart rates as well as providing some low impact upper body and lower body exercising. A disadvantage to this device is that the ability to exercise other muscle groups is limited.

This invention provides methods and apparatuses for exercising a broad range of specific muscles with a single device while providing simultaneous cardiovascular exercise as well.

II. SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

According to one embodiment of this invention, an exercise device includes: a frame member; a first foot rest operatively connected to the frame member; a seat selectively moveable along the frame member; and, a back rest selectively pivotable with respect to the seat. By moving the seat along the frame member a user can move between an upright seated position and an extended planar position. By pivoting the back rest with respect to the seat a user can move between an upright seated position and a laid out position.

According to another embodiment of this invention, a biasing mechanism provides resistance to the pivoting motion of the back rest.

According to another embodiment of this invention, a separate biasing mechanism provides resistance to the motion of the seat along the frame member.

According to still another embodiment of this invention, the back rest includes a height adjustable neck rest.

According to another embodiment of this invention, two foot rests are provided and are fixedly connected to the frame member.

According to another embodiment of this invention, two arm rests extend from opposite sides of the back rest.

According to still another embodiment of this invention, each arm rest has a hand grip.

According to another embodiment of this invention, the frame member defines a rail and the seat has at least one roller that operatively engages the rail for movement of the seat along the frame member.

According to another embodiment of this invention, a first floor engaging member is operatively attached to a first end of the frame member and a second floor engaging member is operatively attached to a second end of the frame member.

According to still another embodiment of this invention, the first and/or second floor engaging member can be height adjusted to adjust workout intensity.

According to another embodiment of this invention, a pair of resistance bands are attached to one end of the frame member for use in simulating a rowing machine workout.

According to another embodiment of this invention, a method of exercising includes the steps of: (1) providing an exercise device including: a frame member; a pair of foot rests operatively connected to the frame member; a seat that is selectively moveable along the frame member; and, a back rest that is selectively pivotable with respect to the seat; (2) sitting on the seat in an upright seated position with feet placed on the foot rests; (3) exerting a simultaneous force on the foot rests, the seat, and the back rest thereby moving the seat along the frame and pivoting the back rest with respect to the seat and adjusting into an extended planar position; (4) sitting on the seat in an upright seated position with feet placed on the foot rests; and, (5) exerting a simultaneous force on the foot rests and the back rest thereby pivoting the back rest with respect to the seat and adjusting into an extended planar position.

According to another embodiment of this invention, steps (2) and (3) and/or steps (4) and (5) can be repeated at a speed sufficient to achieve a cardiovascular workout.

One advantage of this invention is that a single exercise device provides easy methods for exercising various muscles of the body including muscles in the lower body, abdomen and upper body.

Another advantage of this invention is that it can be used to provide both muscle specific as well as overall cardiovascular workout regimens.

Still another advantage of this invention is that it is easy to install and use.

Yet another advantage of this invention is that it is easy to adjust workout intensity.

Still other benefits and advantages of the invention will become apparent to those skilled in the art to which it pertains upon a reading and understanding of the following detailed specification.

III. BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The invention may take physical form in certain parts and arrangement of parts, embodiments of which will be described in detail in this specification and illustrated in the accompanying drawings which form a part hereof and wherein:

FIG. 1 is a perspective end view of one embodiment of an exercise device according to this invention.

FIG. 2 is a perspective side view of the exercise device shown in FIG. 1 but with the floor engaging members removed for ease of illustration.

FIG. 3 is a perspective side view of the exercise device showing a user in an upright seated position.

FIG. 4 is a perspective side view of the exercise device showing a user in an extended planar position.

FIG. 5 is a perspective side view of the exercise device showing a user in a forward squat position.

FIG. 6 is a perspective end view of the exercise device showing a user in a laid out position.

FIG. 7 is a perspective end view of the exercise device showing a user in a forward squat position.

FIG. 8 is a perspective side view of the exercise device showing a user in an upright seated position with knees bent and both hands gripping the same hand grip.

FIG. 9 is a perspective side view of the exercise device showing a user in a partially twisted extended position.

FIG. 10 is a perspective front end view of another embodiment of an exercise device according to this invention.

FIG. 11 is a perspective back end view of the exercise device shown in FIG. 10.

FIG. 12 is a perspective bottom view of the exercise device shown in FIG. 10.

FIG. 13 is a side view of the exercise device shown in FIG. 10.

FIG. 14 is a back view of the exercise device shown in FIG. 10.

FIG. 15 is a top view of the exercise device shown in FIG. 10.

IV. DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

Referring now to the drawings wherein the showings are for purposes of illustrating embodiments of the invention only and not for purposes of limiting the same, FIG. 1 shows one embodiment of an inventive exercise device 100. The exercise device 100 includes a seat 102, a frame member 103, and a pair of foot rests 106, 106. The foot rests 106, 106 may be rigidly attached to opposite sides of the frame member 103, as shown. In one embodiment, each foot rest 106 includes a stir-up 107 and a heel brace 109 for purposes well known in the art. Each stir-ups 107 may be adjustable to comfortably receive different foot sizes. The foot rests 106, 106 may be angled with respect to the frame member 103, as shown, to comfortably receive the feet of a user sitting and/or laying in the seat 102. In one embodiment, the foot rests 106, 106 can be position adjusted with respect to the frame member 103 in any conventional manner to better accommodate individual preference.

With continuing reference to FIG. 1, the frame member 103 may have first and second floor engaging members 90, 92 attached to first and second ends 120, 122 of the frame member 103, respectively. The floor engaging member 90, 92 are used to support the exercise device 100 and the user of the exercise device 100. In one embodiment, each floor engaging member 90, 92 is generally Y-shaped with first and second arms 91, 91 extending outwardly from the frame member 103. In this way the exercise device can easily be supported without tipping. A plurality of feet 93 may extend from the bottom and be used to contact the floor or other surface upon which the exercise device 100 may be supported. In one embodiment, the feet 93 can be adjusted to adjust the height of the exercise device 100. Thus, for example, the feet 93 at the first end 120 may be adjusted, by a conventional threading motion for example, to a first position while the feet 93 at the second end 122 are adjusted to a second position. In this way the height of the exercise device 100 can be adjusted differently from end to end to provide a workout intensity adjustment for the user. Of course any manner of adjusting the height of the exercise device 100 chosen with sound engineering judgment can be used with this invention.

With reference now to FIGS. 1 and 2, in one embodiment the frame member 103 defines a track or rail 104 that extends along the frame member 103. The rail 104 may include a channel 105 on either side of the frame member 103, as shown. The seat 102 may include one or more rollers 113 rotatably connected to a bottom portion of the seat 102, as illustrated in FIG. 2. The rollers 113 may be received within the channels 105, 105 to provide an easy way to move the seat 102 with respect to the frame member 103 along the rail 104, as indicated by arrow 1 19. This motion will be discussed further below. It should be understood that while a “roller-in-channel” design has been described, applicant contemplates any conventional forms of connection between the seat 102 and the frame member 103 to provide similar relative motion. Such non-limiting examples include tongue and groove connections, roller bearing connections, and the like. One or more stops 117 may be provided within or near the channels 105 to prevent further motion of the seat 102 upon the rail 104 in a given direction. In one embodiment, a biasing mechanism 125 is provided to provide a force to resist the motion of the seat 102 away from the foot rests 106, 106. The biasing mechanism 125 may be one or more resistance cords 127, as shown, or may be any other conventional biasing device such as springs, or fluid cylinders. The resistance cords 127 may be attached at one end to a foot rest 106 (or directly to the first end 120 of the frame member 103) and at the other to the seat 102. In one embodiment, to adjust the degree of biasing force, the number and/or type of resistance cords 127 used can be varied. This provides a workout intensity adjustment for the user.

With continuing reference to FIGS. 1 and 2, the exercise device 100 may also include a back rest 110 pivotally connected to the seat 102, as shown. In one embodiment, the back rest 110 is formed primarily of hollow tube components, as shown. The pivotal connection makes it possible for the user to accomplish a rocking type motion, indicated with arrow 116, as will be described further below. While the particular pivotal connection can be of any convention type chosen with sound engineering judgment, for the embodiment shown the back rest 110 is pivotable about a pair of pivot rods 80 extending from opposite sides of the seat 102. Alternatively, a single pivot rod extending from both sides of the seat 102 can be used. In one embodiment, a biasing mechanism 121 is provided to provide a force to resist the rocking motion of the back rest 110 with respect to the seat 102. The biasing mechanism 121 may a resilient band 123 (more visible in FIG. 3) attached to opposite ends of the back rest 100, as shown. When the user exerts a backwards force on the back rest 110, the mid-portion of the band 123 contacts the top surface of the frame member 103 to provide the desired resistance. The biasing mechanism 121 may alternatively (or in addition) include any other conventional biasing device such as springs, or fluid cylinders. In one embodiment, the back rest 110 includes a neck rest 111. The neck rest 111 may be formed at least in part of foam padding. In one embodiment the neck rest 111 is height adjustable to meet the needs of different users having different sized torsos. In one embodiment this height adjustment is provided by forming a telescoping connection between the top portion 118 of the back rest 110 with respect to the bottom portion 129. Such a telescoping connection is well known in the art and thus will not be described in detail here. A pair of arm rests 114 may extend generally forward from opposite sides of the back rest 110, as shown. In one embodiment, each arm rest has a hand grip 115 that the user may hold or squeeze when doing exercises. In one embodiment the hand grips 115, 115 extend at least partially upward to more comfortably receive the user's hands.

Those skilled in the art will recognize that the various embodiments of the exercise device 100 described above and below can be used to perform numerous beneficial exercises. A few particular exercise examples will now be described—it being understood that these are non-limiting illustrations only.

With reference now to FIGS. 3-5, a first exercise example will be described. This example is especially designed to exercise hip, gluteus, thigh, back and abdominal muscle groups. The user first sits, as shown in FIG. 3, on the seat 102 in an upright seated position with both feet placed on the foot rests 106, 106. The feet may then be secured within the stir-ups 107, 107. The seat 102 should be adjusted along the frame member 103 so that the user's knees are bent, as shown. The user's arms are placed on the arm rests 114, 114 with the hands gripping the hand grips 115, 115. Next, the user simultaneously exerts forces on the foot rests 106, 106, the seat 102 and the back rest 110. This exertion of forces results in the linear movement of the seat 102 along the frame member 103, the pivoting movement of the back rest 110 with respect to the seat 102, and the adjustment of the user's body into an extended planar position, as shown in FIG. 4. From this extended planar position the user can then exert opposite forces that result in the return of the exercise device 100 and the user to the positions shown in FIG. 3. If desired, to increase the extent of exercise the user can continue from the position shown in FIG. 4 to the forward squat position shown in FIG. 5. In addition to exercising the muscle groups as described, this exercise also aids in increasing the user's heart rate such that the user will also receive a cardiovascular workout. It should be understood that the steps of this exercise can be repeated in speed and duration as desired to adjust the workout intensity.

With reference now to FIGS. 3 and 6-7, another exercise example will be described. This example is especially designed to exercise back and abdominal muscle groups. The user may again begin in the position shown in FIG. 3, with hands on the hand grips 115, 115. The user then simultaneously exerts forces on the foot rests 106, 106, and the back rest 110. This exertion of forces results in the backward pivoting or rocking movement of the back rest 110 with respect to the seat 102, and the adjustment of the user's body in direction 126 into a laid out position, as shown in FIG. 6. From this laid out position the user can then exert opposite forces that result in the movement of the exercise device 100 and the user in direction 128 to the positions shown in FIG. 3 and then on to the forward squat position shown in FIG. 7. As with the previous exercise, it should be understood that the steps of this exercise can be repeated in speed and duration as desired to adjust the workout intensity. It should also be understood that this exercise aids in increasing the user's heart rate such that the user will receive a cardiovascular workout.

With reference now to FIGS. 8-9, still another exercise example will be described. This example is especially designed to exercise hip, gluteus, thigh, back and abdominal muscle groups. In particular, this exercise targets oblique muscles of the abdomen. The user first places both feet, as shown in FIG. 8 on the foot rests 106, 106 and then secures the feet to the foot rests 106, 106 using the stir-ups 107, 107. The user then sits on the seat 102 in an upright position with knees bent and both hands gripping the same one of the hand grips 115, as shown. Next, the user exerts a force against the foot rests 106, 106 while simultaneously exerting a force on the back rest 110. This results in movement of the seat 102 in direction 124, the backward pivoting of the back rest 110, and the lengthening of the user's body into a partially twisted extended position as illustrated in FIG. 9. From this position, the user may exert opposite forces to return to the position shown in FIG. 8. Once again, the steps of this exercise can be repeated in speed and duration as desired to adjust the workout intensity. As with the previously described exercises, this exercise aids in increasing the user's heart rate such that the user will also receive a cardiovascular workout.

With reference to FIG. 1, in another embodiment, a pair of resistance bands 232 having handles 233 may be attached to the frame member 103 in any conventional manner. These resistance bands 232 provide the user with the ability to simulate the workout achieved on a conventional rowing machine. As the operation of the resistance bands 232 is well know, no further details will be provided.

With reference now to FIGS. 10-15 another embodiment exercise device 400 is shown. While the exercise device 400 works similar to the earlier described device 100 (the same number and range of beneficial exercises can be achieved), various inventive design modifications will be described. The exercise device 400 includes a seat 402 and a frame member 403. The frame member 403 may have first and second floor engaging members 390, 392 attached to first and second ends 420, 422 of the frame member 403, respectively. The floor engaging member 390, 392 are used to support the exercise device 400 and the user of the exercise device 400. In one embodiment, each floor engaging member 390, 392 is generally T-shaped with a leg 391 that attaches to the frame member 403 and a cross member 393 that is used to contact the floor or other surface upon which the exercise device 400 may be supported. In this way the exercise device can easily be supported without tipping. In one embodiment, the leg 391 can be adjusted with respect to the frame member 403 to adjust the height of the exercise device 400. This adjustment may be accomplished by providing the leg 391 with a pivotal connection 396 to the frame member 403 and by providing the each end of the frame member 403 with a bracket 397 having an arcuate slot 394, as shown. A pin 395 can be received through the slot 394 and connected (by threading engagement, for example) to the upper portion of the leg 391. To adjust the height of either end of the frame member 403, it is only necessary to loosen the pin 395 with respect to the bracket 397, pivot the leg 391 about pivotal connection 396 to the desired location, and then tighten the pin 395 with respect to the bracket 397. In this way the height of the exercise device 400 can be adjusted differently from end to end to provide a workout intensity adjustment for the user. Of course any manner of adjusting the height of the exercise device 400 chosen with sound engineering judgment can be used with this invention.

The exercise device 400 may have a pair of foot rests 406, 406. The foot rests 406, 406 may be attached to opposite sides of the floor engaging member 390 using, for example, L-shaped brackets 431, as shown. In one embodiment, the foot rests 406, 406 may be slightly pivotable with respect to the floor engaging member 390. By slightly pivotable it is meant that the foot rests 406, 406 can be pivoted about pivot pin 433 less than 45 degrees. In one embodiment, each foot rest 106 may include a stir-up (not shown) and a heel brace 409 for purposes well known in the art.

With continuing reference to FIGS. 10-15, in one embodiment the frame member 403 defines a rail 404 that extends along the frame member 403. The lower portion 413 of the seat 402, seen best in FIG. 12, may define one or more channels 405 that slidably receive the outer edges of the frame member 403, as shown. This permits the seat 402 to slide along the rail 404 as indicated by arrow 419. The seat 402 may have an extension member 417 with a hole and the rail 404 may have a plurality of openings 435 along the length of the frame member 403, as shown. To fix the position of the seat 402 with respect to the frame member 403, it is only necessary to insert a pin 436 through the extension member 417 and the desired opening 435. In one embodiment, seen best in FIGS. 12 and 13, a biasing mechanism 425 is provided to provide a force to resist the motion of the seat 402 away from the foot rests 406, 406. The biasing mechanism 425 may be one or more resistance cords 427, as shown, or may be any other conventional biasing device such as springs, or fluid cylinders. The resistance cord 427 may be attached at one end to the floor engaging member 390 and at the other to the seat 402. In one embodiment, to adjust the degree of biasing force, the number and/or type of resistance cords 427 used can be varied. This provides a workout intensity adjustment for the user.

The exercise device 400 may also include a back rest 410 pivotally connected to the seat 402, as shown. In one embodiment, the back rest 410 is formed primarily of hollow tube components, as shown. The back rest 410 may have a mid-back support member 481 extending across the width of the back rest 410, as shown. The pivotal connection makes it possible for the user to accomplish a rocking type motion, indicated with arrow 416. While the particular pivotal connection can be of any convention type chosen with sound engineering judgment, for the embodiment shown the back rest 410 is pivotable about a pair of pivot rods 480,480 extending from opposite sides of the seat 402. Alternatively, a single pivot rod extending from both sides of the seat 402 can be used. In one embodiment, a pivot stop device 441 may extend rewardly from the seat 402, as shown, to limit the degree that the back rest 410 can pivot or rock with respect to the seat 402. This may be desirable for some users to prevent over exertion of hip area muscles and tendons. The pivot stop device 441 may include a stop member 443 extending substantially horizontally across the frame member 403, as shown. In one embodiment, opposite ends of the stop member 443 have padding material 445, such as foam padding, attached thereto. When the user exerts a backwards force on the back rest 410, the bottom portions 429, 429 contact the ends of the stop member 443 having the padding material 445 and thus further pivoting or rocking motion is prevented.

Still referring to FIGS. 10-15, in one embodiment, a biasing mechanism 421 is provided to provide a force to resist the rocking motion of the back rest 410 with respect to the seat 402. The biasing mechanism 421 may a pair of resilient band 423, 423 attached at one end to the mid-back support member 481 and at the other end to the pivot stop device 441, as shown. The biasing mechanism 421 may alternatively (or in addition) include any other conventional biasing device such as springs, or fluid cylinders. In one embodiment, the back rest 410 includes a neck rest 411 that may be formed at least in part of foam padding. In one embodiment the neck rest 411 is height adjustable to meet the needs of different users having different sized torsos. This adjustment may be accomplished by attaching the neck rest 411 to a bracket 447 that is slidably received in a tightening member 449 including an adjustment knob 451. The operation of the tightening member 449 is well known in the art and thus will not be described further. In one embodiment, a pair of handles 455, 455 may be provided at opposite ends of the neck rest 411, as shown. The user may use the handles 455, 455 for any exercise purpose such as, for example, to assist in performing a pivoting or rocking movement of the back rest 410 with respect to the seat 402.

In one embodiment the back rest 410 is also height adjustable via the formation of a telescoping connection between the top portion 418 of the back rest 410 with respect to the bottom portion 429. Once the top portion 418 has been adjusted as desired with respect to the bottom portion 429, at least one (two shown) tightening member 153 can be used to fix their relative position. Telescoping connections are well known in the art and thus will not be described in detail here. A pair of arm rests 414 may extend generally forward from opposite sides of the back rest 410, as shown. In one embodiment, each arm rest has a hand grip 415 that the user may hold or squeeze when doing exercises. In one embodiment the hand grips 415, 415 extend at least partially upward to more comfortably receive the user's hands.

The embodiments have been described, hereinabove. It will be apparent to those skilled in the art that the above methods and apparatuses may incorporate changes and modifications without departing from the general scope of this invention. It is intended to include all such modifications and alterations in so far as they come within the scope of the appended claims or the equivalents thereof.