Title:
STATIONARY PEDAL EXERCISER WITH HANDLE
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A pedal exerciser for therapeutic and/or aerobic exercise including a handle attached to the exerciser frame wherein the handle is engaged by a user to secure the exerciser in place during use, to lift or more the exerciser, or to otherwise engage the upper body of the user. The handle may be adjustable in both the lateral and vertical directions with respect to a support surface upon which the exerciser rests. The handle may also pivot to provide therapeutic or aerobic upper body benefits while a user pedals the exerciser by foot. Accessories, such as pedometers, timers, or the like, may be attached to the handle so as to be accessible to the user during use of the exerciser.



Inventors:
Battiston, Joseph (Sutherland, VA, US)
Application Number:
12/129029
Publication Date:
12/04/2008
Filing Date:
05/29/2008
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63B22/06
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
20020183170Electric running exerciserDecember, 2002Wu
20060189441RECREATIONAL STRUCTURE USING A COUPLING MEMBERAugust, 2006Vanelverdinghe et al.
20060035771Push-up exercise apparatusFebruary, 2006Gant
20060019807Loading device for exercise machinesJanuary, 2006Husted et al.
20040005966Press device of exercise machineJanuary, 2004Chen
20030232701Club swing training methodDecember, 2003Frank Jr.
20050239618Waist training exerciserOctober, 2005Teng
20070184948Exercising apparatusAugust, 2007Miura
20090227435Horizontal rotary torso exercising apparatus and methodSeptember, 2009Pandozy
20050143229Dumbbell with removable coversJune, 2005Marr
20050266970Breast enhancement systemDecember, 2005Tuller



Primary Examiner:
ROLAND, DANIEL F
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Alexander D. Raring;Thomas & Raring, P.C. (536 Granite Avenue, Richmond, VA, 23226, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A stationary pedal exerciser comprising: a frame positioned on a support surface, the frame including at least a first foot bar and a second foot bar to provide lateral stability, each foot bar connected to at least one other foot bar via a frame body member; a rotatable pedal apparatus connected to the frame, the pedal apparatus engaged by a user during use of the exerciser; and a handle connected to the frame, the handle comprising a grip portion.

2. The exerciser of claim 1, wherein the handle is adjustable in both a lateral and vertical direction with respect to the support surface.

3. The exerciser of claim 2, wherein the handle further comprises a first tube, a second tube, and a third tube; and wherein the first tube is connected to the body member and comprises a plurality of spaced and aligned apertures; the third tube comprises a plurality of spaced and aligned apertures and the grip portion; the second tube is inserted into and joining the first tube and the third tube, the second tube including at least one releasable fastening mechanism to engage at least one of the apertures of the first tube and at least one of the apertures of the third tube.

4. The exerciser of claim 3, wherein the second tube is not straight.

5. The exerciser of claim 3, wherein the grip portion of the handle comprises a horizontally aligned grip.

6. The exerciser of claim 1, wherein the handle is pivotally attached to the frame.

7. The exerciser of claim 6, wherein the handle is adjustable in both a lateral and vertical direction with respect to the support surface.

8. The exerciser of claim 6, wherein a friction knob is operable to adjust the friction of the pivotal rotation of the handle.

9. The exerciser of claim 1, wherein at least one accessory is attached to the exerciser, the at least one accessory selected from the group comprising pedometers, pedal counters, timers, and pulse counters.

10. The exerciser of claim 1, wherein the body member comprise an inverted, U-shape with two end portions angled at about 45 degree angles with respect to the support surface, the end portions joined by a horizontal portion of the body member.

11. The exerciser of claim 10, wherein the handle is adjustable in both a lateral and vertical direction with respect to the support surface.

12. The exerciser of claim 11, wherein the handle further comprises a first tube, a second tube, and a third tube; and wherein the first tube is connected to the body member and comprises a plurality of spaced and aligned apertures; the third tube comprises a plurality of spaced and aligned apertures and the grip portion; the second tube is inserted into and joining the first tube and the third tube, the second tube including at least one releasable fastening mechanism to engage at least one of the apertures of the first tube and at least one of the apertures of the third tube.

13. The exerciser of claim 12, wherein the first tube is connected to an end portion of the body member, the first tube angled at about a 45 degree angle with respect to the support surface.

14. The exerciser of claim 13, wherein the second tube is not straight, and wherein the third tube comprises an angle relative to the support surface that is greater or smaller than the angle of the first tube relative to the support surface.

15. The exerciser of claim 2, wherein the handle further comprises a first tube, a second tube; and wherein the first tube is connected to the body member, the first tube including at least one releasable fastening mechanism; the second tube comprises a plurality of spaced and aligned apertures and the grip portion; and wherein the releasable fastening mechanism engages at least one of the apertures of the second to adjustably position the second tube on the first tube.

Description:

This applications claims the benefit of the provisional application Ser. No. 60/941,428 filed Jun. 1, 2007.

The present application relates to the field of pedal exerciser devices. Specifically, the subject apparatus provides a stationary pedal exerciser having a handle to provide additional functionality and use for a pedal exerciser user. The additional handle allows a user to easily transport, hold steady the device during use, and/or to otherwise engage the upper body of the user.

BACKGROUND

Many patients receive significant therapeutic benefits from the use of stationary pedal exercisers. These pedal exercisers are a convenient for use and may be easily stored away. Essentially, a user is reclines in a chair of their choosing. Without having to mount a piece of exercise equipment, such as a stationary bike, the exerciser can be placed in front of the user wherein the exerciser pedals are engaged by the user. The user rotates the pedals via their feet to receive therapeutic, aerobic or other benefits. The rotational resistance of the pedals is adjustable to match the user's abilities or preferences. In some instances, a user will place the stationary pedal exerciser on a table and rotate the pedals by hand. This provides an upper-body workout or other therapeutic benefits.

While pedal exercisers typically have rubber-tipped supports to keep the device stationary, these exerciser devices may accidentally slip on a surface on which it is positioned. This is especially true when the exerciser is placed on a polished floor. The pedal exercise must be repositioned so that the user can engage the device. Unfortunately, many of the users for which these exercisers are intended are unable to retrieve the exercise on their own. Limited mobility and flexibility can, therefore, deter a user from following a prescribed exercise routine.

Displacement of the exerciser during use is also likely to happen if the exerciser device is initially positioned slightly away from a patient/user. The resulting natural tendency is to then accidentally push away the exerciser from the patient during use. This is problematic for users, particularly for users or patients that might already be physically limited. There is a need for a pedal exerciser that can be more securely held in place during use or that is more easily repositioned by the user.

For users who wish to rotate the pedal exerciser by hand, physical limitations may also prevent them from being able to bend to pick the exerciser up to place into a position for hand pedaling. As a result, many patients forgo the user of the exerciser and do not receive the benefits associated with the use of the exerciser. This can lead to a declining level of mobility, flexibility, or overall health. There is a need for a pedal exercise that is more accessible to patients/users.

Accordingly, there is a need for pedal exerciser with additional structure that addresses the above and other needs associated with typical pedal exerciser devices. Ideally, the additional structure and functionality would be adjustable to accommodate many types of users. In addition, the structure would more securely position the exerciser during use. It might also engage a user's upper body. In at least one embodiment, a new pedal exerciser would provide additional access or ease of portability relative to traditional exercisers. The subject pedal exerciser with a handle addresses at least one of these or other needs.

SUMMARY OF THE SUBJECT APPARATUS

In accordance with the subject apparatus, a pedal exerciser that includes a handle is provided. In at least one embodiment of the apparatus, the handle is adjustable so as to be customizable for a particular user. The adjustability occurs in both the lateral and vertical directions. The adjustability allows the owner/user of the exerciser to maximize their comfort of using the exerciser handle. The adjustability also allows institutional owners (hospitals, retirement homes, assisted living communities, etc.) to provide an exerciser that is customizable for more than one user.

The stationary pedal exerciser, as disclosed herein, includes an elevated handle attached to or integral with the exerciser base. The exerciser further comprises a tubular frame including at least two tubular support feet and a tubular body joining the support feet. Each support foot or foot bar has rubber caps optionally mounted on each end of the foot. The inverted U-shaped body, which can comprise one or two pieces, is connected to approximately the middle of each support foot. However, it is also envisioned that multiple body members could connect the feet together and that a body member(s) could be connected to various points along the tubular feet.

Affixed to the frame, generally at the top of the body member, which might be an inverted-U shape, is a pedal apparatus. The pedal apparatus includes a short barrel enclosing one or more bearing. The bearings carry an axle that is configured between the opposite pedals. In at least one embodiment, a knob is connected to the barrel. The knob includes a threaded screw or other adjustable member that allows the user to adjustably apply, vary or remove the friction applied to the axle. Therefore, the knob allows the user to adjust the rotational force necessary to rotate the pedal apparatus.

Connected to the body of the frame is an elevated handle. In at least one embodiment, the elevated handle is directly connected to one or more of the body members of the frame. The elevated handle might be positioned at an angle of greater than 30 degrees relative to the support surface upon which the exerciser rests. The handle includes a grip portion. Optional grip pads or material can be placed about the grip for the user's comfort.

In another embodiment, the handle comprises three components and a single horizontal grip portion. The three components include first, second and third tubes. The first tube is connected to a body member of the frame at approximately a forty-five degree (45°) angle from the prospective surface upon which the exerciser will be placed. The first tube is straight and hollow. Additionally, there are holes in the first tube along the longitudinal length of the tube. The second tube is also a hollow tube. The second tube is a male insert into both the first and third tubes. In the illustrated embodiment, the second tube is straight. In at least one other embodiment, the second tube is not straight. Therefore, the second tube can optionally comprise an angle along the length of the second tube. Further, the second tube includes a pin and spring construction on each respective end of the second tube. The third hollow tube has fixed on one end of it a horizontal grip portion. The other end of the third hollow tube is a female receiving portion that receives the second tube on the opposite end of the second tube from the first tube. The third hollow tube also has holes along its longitudinal length.

The pin and spring features in the second tube interact with the openings along the longitudinal length of the first and third tubes. This allows a user to variably position the grip portion of the handle. The variability between the first and second tubes and between the second and third tubes includes some variability in both the vertical and lateral directions with respect to the user. Therefore, the user can vary both the height and lateral closeness to the user of the grip portion of the handle of the pedal exerciser. In this way, a user may grasp the grip portion of the handle and hold the pedal exerciser in a fixed position. In other words, they can keep the pedal exerciser from accidentally moving away from the user when in use. The handle also provides a convenient prop for a user to transport and stow away or otherwise move the pedal exerciser.

Alternatively, instead of the pin and spring configuration, other types of friction collars or other releasably fixable fasteners may be used to allow a patient to variably adjust the length of the respective components of the handle of the pedal exerciser. Still further, two or more types of releasable fastening mechanisms may be employed to redundantly fix the length of the handle versus the base portion of the pedal exerciser. In at one embodiment, the first and third tubes are directly but adjustably mated. For instance, the first tube of this embodiment might be a hollow tube with at least one of the releasable fastening mechanisms, such as a pin and spring mechanism. The first tube in this embodiment is inserted into the female end of the third tube. The third tube including apertures spaced to engage the releasable fastening mechanism of the first tube. In this embodiment, the second tube of the handle is eliminated.

Other embodiments include a pedal exerciser having a handle of a single, fixed size or length. In another example, the handle may be two parts and be variable in length in only one direction. In a further example, the handle may be curved and bent in multiple directions. There may be multiple different components of the handle that increases the variability of position of the grip component of the handle. Still further, the grip component of the handle may simply be the end portion of the vertical tubes that make up the handle. In other words, it is not required that the handle have a horizontal grip portion.

In another embodiment, the handle portion of the exerciser may be inserted or mounted in the tube of the body portion of the frame. Alternatively, the handle may be fixed to one of the foot portions of the frame. Alternatively, it may be simply fixed or attached to top of the body portion of the frame.

In a still further embodiment, the handle component may be pivotally attached to the frame. This pivotal attachment allows a user to variably fix the angle of the handle with respect to the user. In another example, the handle may be pivotally attached to the frame to allow a user to add arm movement to the exercise options of a pedal exerciser. This embodiment may have a knob or other friction modifier whereby a user can adjust the friction of the pivotal rotation of the handle.

It is also envisioned that pedometers, pedal counters, or other devices may be attached to the exerciser to track the use or condition of the exerciser or patient. Therefore, timers, pulse counters, or the like could be associated with the exerciser.

In summary, a pedal exerciser in accordance with the present invention efficiently addresses at least one of the problems associated with prior art pedal exercisers. The use of additional structure to steady the exerciser and to provide additional portability and ease of use for patients will encourage use of the device compared to traditional stationary pedal exercisers lacking the new and unique structure. The subject exerciser is easier to use, more stable, more portable, and otherwise improves upon the traditional pedal exercisers. The foregoing and additional features and advantages of the present invention will become apparent to those of skill in the art from the following detailed description of a preferred embodiment taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE FIGURES

FIG. 1 illustrates a perspective view of the subject pedal exerciser wherein the exerciser comprises an adjustable handle consisting of three tubular members and a grip portion;

FIG. 2 presents a side view thereof.

FIG. 3 illustrates a side view of another embodiment of the subject pedal exerciser wherein the handle includes a bent or angled tubular member;

FIG. 4 illustrates a side view of another embodiment of the subject pedal exerciser wherein the handle is pivotally attached to the exerciser frame; and

FIG. 5 illustrates an embodiment of the subject pedal exerciser wherein an accessory is attached to the handle of the exerciser.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE APPARATUS

Turning now to a more detailed description of the present invention, there is illustrated in FIGS. 1 and 2 a preferred embodiment of a stationary pedal exerciser 10. A stationary pedal exerciser does not include a seat or any support for a user's body. A user positions the exerciser so as to be accessible to a user's hands or feet. Therapeutic or aerobic benefits are gained from rotating the pedals of the exerciser by hand or foot. The lack of structure to support a user means the exerciser is a relatively small piece of equipment that can be stored under a bed or in a closet. Such exercisers are useful in physical therapy and are popular for the elderly, people with arthritis, the obese, and the like.

In the illustrated embodiment, exerciser 10 includes a handle 30 that has an adjustable length in two places to better allow a user to position the exerciser to the location and setup required by the user. However, other embodiments of the handle are envisioned, as discussed below. The exerciser 10, due to handle 30, is more customizable, more portable, and otherwise more functional relative to traditional exercisers without handle 30.

As illustrated, a frame 12 includes the following frame members: a first foot bar 14, a second foot bar 16, and a body member 18. Body member 18 connects first foot bar 14 to second foot bar 16. Member 18 can be joined to the respective bars 14, 16 via welding and/or known fasteners or fastening means. There can be more than one body member 18. In addition, body member 18 may comprise more than one tube.

In the illustrated embodiment, body member 18 is substantially an inverted, U-shape in that each end of member 18 comprise end portions angled at about 45 degree angles from the respective foot bar towards the other foot bar and relative to a support wherein the end portions are joined by a horizontal portion. Body member 18 is joined to the respective foot bars 14, 16 substantially in the middle of each of the respective foot bars. As illustrated, body member 18 comprises two tubular members joined together by a pedal apparatus, as described further below. Overall, frame 12 provides lateral stability.

A plurality of foot caps 20 comprise rubber members inserted over and enclosing the end of foot bars 14, 16. Caps 20 comprise cylindrical apertures sized and dimensioned to frictionally receive the respective ends of foot bars 14, 16. The outer dimensions of caps 20 are substantially cylindrical. Caps 20, as illustrated in FIGS. 1 and 2, further comprise a lower flat face to sit flush against a planar support surface. Caps 20 are illustrated in cross section in FIG. 2. Due to force applied from the user, frame 12 still tends to move away from a user during use.

Affixed to frame 12, generally at the top of the inverted-U body member 18, is a pedal apparatus 22. Pedal apparatus 22 includes pedals 23, as known in the field of stationary pedal exercisers. Basically, pedal apparatus 22 includes a short barrel 24 enclosing a bearing(s) 26. Bearing(s) 26 carry an axle that is configured between and the opposing pedals 23. Bearing(s) 26 allow the axle to rotate within barrel 24.

Apparatus 22 is secured to member 18 via a pair of plates positioned about the tubular member 18. In the illustrated embodiment, the plates join the respective ends of the two-piece body member 18. Body member 18 could also comprise a single, bent tube. In addition, in another embodiment, the plates of apparatus 22 are replaced by a tubular mount. The tubular mount could be placed onto a one-piece body member prior to bending the end portions. In another embodiment, the ends of a multi-piece body member 18 would be inserted into the tubular mount. The mount would secure the body member together. Fasteners would secure the mount in place on the body member or body member pieces.

In the illustrated embodiment, the plates are secured to each other via fasteners. The fasteners pass through the horizontal portion of inverted, U-shaped member 18. Plates or pedal apparatus 22 can be secured to frame 12 by other means commonly known in the art.

A resistance knob 28 is connected to barrel 24. The knob includes a threaded screw that allows the user to adjustably apply, vary or remove the friction applied to the axle via the threaded screw. Therefore, knob 28 allows a user to adjust how much rotational force is necessary to rotate pedals 23 during use.

Connected to body 18 of frame 12 is the handle 30. The handle includes, in this embodiment, three elevated tubular components and a horizontal grip portion. The three tubular components include first tube 32, second tube 34 and third tube 36. First tube 32 is connected to body 18 along one end portion of member 18. For instance, if the horizontal portion of member 18 is joined to first foot bar 14 and second foot bar 16 via end portions angled at about 45 degrees (each end portion angled towards the other end portion) relative to a support surface upon which the exerciser rests, first tube 32 will also be angled at about 45 degrees (relative to a support surface upon which the exerciser rests).

First tube 32 is substantially straight and hollow. Additionally, there are a plurality of apertures 38 in first tube 32 spaced and aligned along the longitudinal length of the tube.

Second tube 34 is also a hollow tube. Second tube 34 is a male insert into both first tube 32 and third tube 36. In the illustrated embodiment of FIGS. 1 and 2, second tube 34 is a straight tube. In at least one other embodiment, tube 34 is not straight (see FIG. 3). Therefore, tube 34 may include an angle in the tube along the length of second tube 34. In this embodiment, third tube 36 will comprise an angle relative to a support surface that is greater or smaller than the angle of first tube 32 relative to the support surface.

Whether second tube 34 is bent or straight, second tube 34 includes a pin and spring assembly 39 on each respective end of the second tube. Pin and spring construction 39 selectively engages the apertures of first tube 32 and third tube 36 (as discussed further below). It is envisioned that other mechanisms besides a pin and spring assembly might be provided to adjustably position first tube 32 and third tube 36 relative to second tube 34.

Third tube 36 is a hollow tube and is, preferably, straight. Third tube 36 is inserted over male/second tube 34. Additionally, there are a plurality of apertures 40 in third tube 36 spaced and aligned along the longitudinal length of the tube. These apertures are selectively engaged by a fastening mechanism, such as pin and spring assembly 39, provided by second tube 34, as discussed above.

Third tube 36 also has fixed on one end of it a horizontal grip portion 42. The other end of the third hollow tube is a female receiving portion that receives second tube 34 on the opposite end of second tube 34 from first tube 32.

The pin and spring assembly in second tube 34 interact with the openings along the longitudinal length of first tube 32 and third tube 36. Basically, a pin for each pin and spring assembly 39 is spring-biased to extend from second tube 34. In use, a user overcomes the spring bias force in order to depress the pin at least partially into second tube 34. Second tube 34 is then positionally adjusted along the length of either first tube 32 or third tube 36 either by moving second tube 34 or third tube 36. When the respective pin is aligned with openings 38 or 40, the spring of the pin and spring assembly 39 biases the pin outwards and through the aperture in tube 32 or tube 36. This mechanism secures the respective tubes in place relative to second tube 34 until the user depresses the pin.

The adjustability of tubes 32, 36 allow a user to variably position grip portion 42 of handle 30. As seen especially from the side view in FIG. 2 of subject pedal exerciser 10, handle 30 is angled in orientation with respect to the surface on which exerciser 10 will be positioned. Therefore, the variability between first tube 32 and second tube 34 and between the second tube 34 and third tube 36 includes some variability in both the vertical and lateral directions with respect to the user. The user can vary both the height and lateral closeness to the user of grip portion 42 of the handle of the pedal exerciser. In this way, a user may grasp the grip portion of the handle and hold the pedal exerciser in a fixed position. The user can keep the pedal exerciser from accidentally moving away from the user when in use.

FIGS. 1 and 2 illustrate a secondary position for handle 30 in broken lines. The position of the handle will vary based on the placement of the releasable fastening mechanism 39 of second tube 34 within first tube 32 and third tube 36. Institutional health care providers (hospitals, retirement homes, etc.) will be able to customize an exerciser 10 for a plurality of users via the adjustability of handle 30.

Handle 30 also provides a convenient structure for a user to transport and stow away or otherwise move the pedal exerciser. For instance, if a user wishes to pedal the exerciser by hand, the user must position the exerciser onto a table or elevated support surface so as to be accessible for hand engagement of pedals 23. For the subject exerciser, this can be achieved via handle 30. As such, handle 30 prevents a user from bending over to retrieve exerciser 10. Many patients would not have the mobility to retrieve a traditional exerciser without the handle. Moreover, bending over often causes elderly or mobility-impaired patients to lose their balance and fall. In the illustrated embodiment, handle 30 can be disassembled from frame 12 for storage. Overall, handle 30 provides a structure to assist a user in the operation, movement, and storage of exerciser 10.

Alternatively, instead of the illustrated pin and spring configuration, other types of friction collars or other releasably fixable fasteners may be used to allow a patient to variably adjust the length of the respective components of the handle of the pedal exerciser. Still further, two or more types of releasable fastening mechanisms may be employed to redundantly fix the length of the handle versus the base portion of the pedal exerciser.

Other embodiments include, for example, a pedal exerciser having a handle of a single, fixed size or length (see FIG. 4). The fixed length handle could be secured directly to frame 12 via welding or other fastening means known in the art. In another embodiment, the handle may be two parts with adjustability provided between the two parts. In a further embodiment, the handle may be curved and bent in multiple directions. There may be multiple different components of the handle that increases the variability of position of the grip component of the handle. Still further, the grip component of the handle may simply be the end portion of the vertical tubes that make up the handle. In other words, it is not required that the handle have a horizontal grip portion.

In another example, handle 30 of exerciser 10 may be inserted or mounted in frame 12. For example, handle 30 may be inserted into body member 18 or foot bars 14, 16 of the frame. Alternatively, it may be fixed or attached to top of the body portion of the frame.

In a still further example, as illustrated in FIG. 4, the handle component 30 may be pivotally attached to the frame. This pivotal attachment, for example by way of second barrel 44 and second resistance knob 48, allows a user to variably fix the angle of the handle with respect to the user. The pivot attachment is a hinge, axle or other rotatable connecting structure that provides a range of motion. In another embodiment, the handle may be pivotally attached to the frame to allow a user to add arm movement to the exercise options of a pedal exerciser. This embodiment could include a knob 48 (see FIG. 4), or other friction modifier whereby a user can adjust the friction of the pivotal rotation of the handle. In this manner, a user could engage their upper body for additional range of motion therapy or exercise.

It is also envisioned, as illustrated in FIG. 5, that accessories such as accessory 50 may be attached to handle 30 or the grip portion thereof. Traditional pedal exercisers do not have means to present such accessories to users in a convenient manner when the user is engaging the pedal exerciser with their feet. The subject exerciser accessory can include pedometers, counters, or other devices attached to the exerciser frame or handle in order to track the use or condition of the exerciser or patient. Therefore, accessories, such as timers, pulse counters, or the like could be associated with the exerciser. In at least one embodiment, the accessory (or accessories) are mounted to the grip portion of the handle (see FIG. 5) in order to be easily visible and accessible to a user pedaling the exerciser by foot.

In summary, a pedal exerciser in accordance with the present invention efficiently addresses at least one of the problems associated with prior art pedal exercisers. The use of additional structure to steady the exerciser and to provide additional portability and ease of use for patients will encourage use of the device compared to traditional stationary pedal exercisers lacking the new and unique structure.

While the invention has been described with reference to specific embodiments thereof, it will be understood that numerous variations, modifications and additional embodiments are possible, and all such variations, modifications, and embodiments are to be regarded as being within the spirit and scope of the invention.