Title:
CROSS TRAINER EXERCISE APPARATUS
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An elliptical exercise apparatus. The exercise apparatus generally includes a frame, a pair of cranks pivotally connected to the frame and configured to rotate about a common axis, first and second reciprocating members, first and second support members, and first and second foot engaging members. The first end portion of each of the first and second reciprocating members may be pivotally coupled to the frame. The first portion of each of the first and second support members may be pivotally coupled to the corresponding crank, and the second portion of each of the first and second support members may be pivotally coupled to the second end portion of the corresponding reciprocating member. Each foot engaging member is coupled to a corresponding support member and may generally move through a closed path. Handle members may be coupled to the support members and may generally move through a closed path.



Inventors:
Nelson, Derek L. (Lake Mills, WI, US)
Blackburn, Travis J. (Deerfield, WI, US)
Budworth, Daniel D. (Milton, WI, US)
Application Number:
11/947999
Publication Date:
04/09/2009
Filing Date:
11/30/2007
Assignee:
JOHNSON HEALTH TECH CO., LTD. (Taichung Hsien, TW)
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63B22/04
View Patent Images:
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20100056347Abdominal Exercise ApparatusMarch, 2010Summers
20090149302Folding multi-purpose exercise apparatus with exchangeable enginesJune, 2009Thuma et al.
20090023561RESISTANCE SYSTEM FOR FITNESS EQUIPMENTJanuary, 2009Ross et al.
20020094912Magnetic exercise tubeJuly, 2002Tong
20030190998Pogo deviceOctober, 2003Hackworth et al.
20060189438Apparatus and methods for physical therapy and athletic conditioningAugust, 2006Black
20050277518TreadmillDecember, 2005Fan



Primary Examiner:
ROLAND, DANIEL F
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
MICHAEL BEST & FRIEDRICH LLP (Mke) (100 E WISCONSIN AVENUE Suite 3300, MILWAUKEE, WI, 53202, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. An exercise apparatus comprising: a frame configured to be supported by a supporting surface; a crank pivotally connected to the frame; a reciprocating member having a first end portion and a second end portion, the first end portion of the reciprocating member being pivotally coupled to the frame; and a substantially rigid support member having a first portion and a second portion, the first portion of the support member being pivotally coupled to the crank at a first moving pivot point, the second portion of the support member being pivotally coupled to the second end portion of the reciprocating member at a second moving pivot point, the substantially rigid support member maintaining a substantially constant distance between the first and second moving pivot points as the support member moves between a first position and a second position;

2. The exercise apparatus of claim 1, further comprising a handle connected to the first portion of the support member.

3. The exercise apparatus of claim 2, wherein the first moving pivot point moves in a circular path, and wherein the handle constrains a user's hand to move through a generally elliptical path.

4. The exercise apparatus of claim 1, further comprising a flywheel operatively associated with the crank.

5. The exercise apparatus of claim 4, further comprising a load resistance operatively associated with the flywheel.

6. The exercise apparatus of claim 1, further comprising a foot engaging member coupled to the second portion of the support member on which a user's foot is supportable.

7. The exercise apparatus of claim 6, wherein the foot engaging member is coupled to the second portion of the support member between the reciprocating member and the first portion of the support member.

8. The exercise apparatus of claim 6, wherein the foot engaging member is coupled to the second portion of the support member behind the reciprocating member.

9. The exercise apparatus of claim 1, wherein the foot engaging member is movable between a first position suited for a standing exercise and a second position suited for a sitting exercise.

10. The exercise apparatus of claim 1, further comprising a foot engaging member movably coupled to the second portion of the support member.

11. The exercise apparatus of claim 10, further comprising a connecting member coupled between the foot engaging member and the crank.

12. The exercise apparatus of claim 1, wherein the pivot axis of the crank is located above the reciprocating members.

13. The exercise apparatus of claim 1, further comprising a seat coupled to the frame and movable between a first position that is not suitable for use by the user and a second position that allows the user to sit on the seat while using the apparatus.

14. An exercise apparatus comprising: a frame; a crank mounted on the frame to rotate about an axis; a guider having a first portion and a second portion, the first portion of the guider being coupled to the frame; a support member having a first portion pivotally connected to the crank to rotate about the axis, and a second portion coupled to the second portion of the guider to move in a generally reciprocating path, the first and second portions being fixedly connected; a handle coupled to the first portion of the support member; and a foot engaging member coupled to the support member; wherein the handle moves through a first closed path and the foot engaging member moves through a second closed path as the crank rotates about the axis.

15. The exercise apparatus of claim 14, wherein the foot engaging member is coupled to the support member between the first and second portions of the support member.

16. The exercise apparatus of claim 14, wherein the handle integrally extends from the first portion of the support member, and wherein the first closed path is substantially an elliptical path.

17. The exercise apparatus of claim 14, wherein the foot engaging member is coupled to the support member behind the second portion of the support member.

18. The exercise apparatus of claim 14, wherein the guider is a reciprocating member having a first portion pivotally connected to the frame and a second portion pivotally connected to the second portion of the support member.

19. The exercise apparatus of claim 18, wherein the first portion of the reciprocating member is substantially below the second portion of the reciprocating member.

20. The exercise apparatus of claim 18, wherein the first portion of the reciprocating member is substantially above the second portion of the reciprocating member.

21. The exercise apparatus of claim 14, wherein the guider is a track having a first portion connected to the frame and a second portion adapted to engage the second portion of the support member.

22. The exercise apparatus of claim 14, wherein the first and second closed paths are substantially elliptical paths.

23. The exercise apparatus of claim 14, wherein the foot engaging member is movably coupled to the support member.

24. The exercise apparatus of claim 14, further comprising a connecting member coupled between the foot engaging member and the crank.

25. The exercise apparatus of claim 14, wherein the foot engaging member is movable between a first position suited for a standing exercise and a second position suited for a sitting exercise.

26. The exercise apparatus of claim 14, further comprising a seat coupled to the frame and movable between a first position that is not suitable for use by the user and a second position that allows the user to sit on the seat while using the apparatus.

27. An exercise apparatus comprising: a frame configured to be supported by a supporting surface; a pair of cranks, each crank being pivotally connected to the frame and configured to rotate about a common axis; first and second reciprocating members, each reciprocating member having a first end portion and a second end portion, the first end portion of each of the first and second reciprocating members being pivotally coupled to the frame; first and second support members, each support member having a first portion and a second portion, the first portion of each of the first and second support members being pivotally coupled to the corresponding crank, the second portion of each of the first and second support members being pivotally coupled to the second end portion of the corresponding reciprocating member; and first and second foot engaging members coupled to a corresponding support member, each foot engaging member moving through a closed path.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The invention generally relates to exercise apparatuses and, more particularly, to cross-trainer exercise apparatuses.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Indoor exercise is getting more and more popular during recent decades. One popular indoor exercise apparatus is the cross-trainer, which exercises both the upper body and the lower body of the user. One type of cross-trainer is called an “elliptical” exercise trainer, where the movement of either the hands or the feet (or both) is in a circuitous, closed path. An exemplary elliptical exercise trainer is shown and described in U.S. Pat. Nos. 5,573,480 and 5,924,962, the entire contents of which are incorporated by reference.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention provides an exercise apparatus, such as a cross-trainer apparatus, that can provide dual action arm and leg exercise to give a user a balanced total body workout (e.g., 50% upper body and 50% lower body). The exercise apparatus may generally create a feeling of walking/running and, in some constructions, may also provide an upward action like a climbing or hiking motion.

In some aspects, the exercise apparatus generally includes a frame, a pair of cranks pivotally connected to the frame and configured to rotate about a common axis, first and second reciprocating members, first and second support members, and first and second foot engaging members. The first end portion of each of the first and second reciprocating members may be pivotally coupled to the frame. The first portion of each of the first and second support members may be pivotally coupled to the corresponding crank, and the second portion of each of the first and second support members may be pivotally coupled to the second end portion of the corresponding reciprocating member. Each foot engaging member is coupled to a corresponding support member and may generally move through a closed path. Handle members may be coupled to the support members and may generally move through a closed path.

The support members may be substantially rigid such that the distance between the pivot point between the crank and the support member and the pivot point between the reciprocating member and the support member does not substantially change during the exercise. The reciprocating members may be connected to the frame and/or to the support members in different orientations to thereby change the path of the foot engaging members and/or of the handle members.

Independent features and independent aspects of the invention will become apparent to those skilled in the art upon review of the following detailed description, claims, and drawings, wherein like elements have like numerals throughout the drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a rear perspective view of an elliptical exercise apparatus.

FIG. 2 is a side view of the exercise apparatus shown in FIG. 1.

FIG. 3 is a front view of the exercise apparatus shown in FIG. 1.

FIG. 4 is a rear perspective view of a second construction of an elliptical exercise apparatus.

FIG. 5 is a side view of the exercise apparatus shown in FIG. 4.

FIG. 6 is a front view of the exercise apparatus shown in FIG. 4.

FIG. 7 is a rear perspective view of a third construction of an elliptical exercise apparatus.

FIG. 8 is a side view of the exercise apparatus shown in FIG. 7.

FIG. 9 is a front view of the exercise apparatus shown in FIG. 7.

FIG. 10 is a rear perspective view of a fourth construction of an elliptical exercise apparatus.

FIG. 11 is a side view of the exercise apparatus shown in FIG. 10.

FIG. 12 is a front view of the exercise apparatus shown in FIG. 10.

FIG. 13 is a side view of a fifth construction of an elliptical exercise apparatus.

FIG. 14 is a side view of the apparatus in FIG. 13 with foot supports in the process of being moved to a raised position.

FIG. 15 is a side view of the apparatus in FIG. 13 with the foot supports in the raised position.

Before at least one independent embodiment of the invention is explained in detail, it is to be understood that the invention is not limited in its application to the details of construction and the arrangements of the components set forth in the following description or illustrated in the drawings. The invention is capable of other embodiments and of being practiced or being carried out in various ways. Also, it is understood that the phraseology and terminology used herein is for the purpose of description and should not be regarded as limiting.

The use of “including”, “having”, and “comprising” and variations thereof herein is meant to encompass the items listed thereafter and equivalents thereof as well as additional items. The use of “consisting of” and variations thereof herein is meant to encompass only the items listed thereafter. The use of letters to identify elements of a method or process is simply for identification and is not meant to indicate that the elements should be performed in a particular order. The use of directional or positional terms (e.g., forward, rearward, front, rear, etc.) are for the purpose of description and should not be regarding as limiting.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

The exercise apparatus illustrated in FIGS. 1-3 is an elliptical exercise apparatus 10. As described below in more detail, the exercise apparatus 10 can provide dual action arm and leg exercise to give a user a balanced total body workout (e.g., 50% upper body and 50% lower body). The exercise apparatus 10 is designed to create a feeling of walking/running and, in some constructions, may also provide an upward action like a climbing or hiking motion.

The exercise apparatus 10 includes a frame assembly 14 having a base assembly 18 which is supportable on a supporting surface 22 in an exercise area, such as in a gym or in a user's home. An upright assembly 26 extends upwardly from the base assembly 18 generally at the front of the exercise apparatus 10.

Two support members 30 are movably supported on the frame assembly 14. During exercise, a user will stand on and move the support members 30 relative to the frame assembly 14 to achieve leg exercise. Each support member 30 has first and second end portions 38, 42 and is substantially rigid between the end portions 38, 42. In the illustrated construction, each support member 30 is angled to generally form an L-shape. In some illustrated constructions, each support member 30 is formed as a single, unitary, substantially rigid piece. In other constructions, each support member 30 may be formed of multiple separate pieces that are connected to form a single, substantially rigid support member.

Each first end portion 38 defines a first pivot point 46 at which a first pivot pin 50 is supported. Each second end portion 42 defines a second pivot point 54 at which a second pivot pin 58 is supported (see FIG. 2). A foot pad 62 is connected to each support member 30 and is positioned generally on the second end portion 42. During exercise, the user will place a foot on each foot pad 62.

A crank assembly 66 is supported by the frame assembly 14, at an upper portion of the upright assembly 26. The crank assembly 66 includes a sprocket member 70 rotationally supported by the upright assembly 26 by a bearing assembly (not shown).

Two crank members 74 are connected, at one end, to the sprocket member 70 to rotate with the sprocket member 70. The opposite end of each crank member 74 is connected to the first end portion 38 of the associated support member 30. Each crank member 74 is connected to the associated first pivot pin 50 such that the support members 30 are pivotable relative to the crank members 74.

Reciprocating members 82 are connected to the base assembly 18 by respective third pivot pins 90. The reciprocating members 82 are supported to generally pivot back and forth relative to the base assembly 18. At the opposite end, each reciprocating member 82 is connected to the second portion 42 of each associated support member 30. Each reciprocating member 82 is connected to the associated second pivot pin 58 such that the support members 30 are pivotable relative to the reciprocating members 82.

In the illustrated construction, each reciprocating member 82 is connected to the associated support member 30 at a position below the foot pad 62. The connection to the base assembly 18 is located in front of the foot pad 62 in a position such that the reciprocating members 82 generally slant downwardly in the forward direction.

The exercise apparatus 10 also includes a flywheel assembly 98 that is coupled to the crank assembly 66. The flywheel assembly 98 includes a flywheel 102 that is rotationally supported by the frame assembly 14, generally by the upright assembly 26 at a location below the crank assembly 66. A sprocket member 106 on the flywheel is coupled to the sprocket member 70 by a connecting member 110, such as a chain, a belt, etc., such that rotation of the sprocket member 70 causes rotation of the flywheel 98.

In addition, the exercise apparatus 10 includes a load resistance assembly (not shown) that is operable to apply resistance during exercise. The resistance assembly may include any type of resistance structure to apply resistance during exercise. Such a resistance assembly may include, for example, an adjustable strap assembly (e.g., to apply an adjustable force to the flywheel 102 to resist rotation of the flywheel 102), electromagnetic structure, an alternator, an air fan, etc.

A control panel assembly 118 is supported on the frame assembly 14 generally on the upper portion of the upright assembly 26. The control panel assembly 118 provides an input interface having a plurality of input selectors (not shown) and at least one display. With the control panel assembly 118, the user may select operational features of the exercise apparatus 10 (e.g., resistance level, exercise time, etc.) and view the operating status and/or the selected features of the exercise apparatus 10.

In the illustrated construction, the exercise apparatus 10 also includes movable handle members 122 to exercise a user's upper body. A hand grip portion 130 is provided on each handle member 122 to provide a gripping surface for the user's hands. As shown in FIGS. 1-3, each handle member 122 is rigidly connected to the associated support member 30, generally at the first end portion 38.

In some illustrated constructions, each handle member 122 is formed with the associated support member 30. In other constructions, each handle member 122 may be formed separately from and then connected to the associated support member 30. In such constructions, each handle member 122 may be movable relative the associated support member 30, for example, to adjust the position of user's hand grip (e.g., forwardly, rearwardly, upwardly, downwardly, inwardly, outwardly) relative to the support member 30.

Stationary handle members 132 are also provided on the exercise apparatus 10, generally fixed to the upper portion of the upright assembly 26. The user may grip the stationary handle members 132 for example, if the user chooses not to exercise the arms/upper body, for added stability during exercise, or when entering or exiting the exercise apparatus 10, etc.

In operation, a user enters the exercise apparatus 10 by stepping onto each foot pad 62. The resistance to be applied during the exercise may be selected by inputting information into the control panel assembly 118. If arm exercise is also desired, the user grips the hand grip portions 130. As the user exercises, the support members 30 and handle members 122 move between a first position (for example, the position of the left support member 30 and the left handle member 122 in FIG. 1-3) and a second position (for example, the position of the right support member 30 and the right handle member 122 in FIG. 1-3). The first portion 38 of each support member 30 moves with the associated crank 74 (the pivot point 46 moves in a generally circular path). At the same time, the second portion 42 of each support member 30 moves with the associated reciprocating member 82 (the pivot point 54 moves in a generally reciprocating arcuate motion, i.e. following the same path when moving in opposite directions along a link path 134). Because the support members 30 are substantially rigid, the distance between the pivot point 46 and the pivot point 54 does not substantially change during the exercise.

During exercise, the foot pads 62 and the user's feet move along a foot path 138, and, in the illustrated construction, the heel portion and the toe portion of the foot pads 62 move along different foot paths 138. The handle members 122 and the user's hands and arms, if holding the hand grip portions 130, move along an arm path 142. In the illustrated construction, the configuration and arrangement of the support members 30 and the reciprocating members 82 creates a foot path 138 that is a substantially upward arc, and an arm path 142 that is a generally “elliptical” path. The foot path 138 and the arm path 142 are generally circuitous, closed paths in which movement in one direction is along a different path than movement in the other direction.

In the illustrated construction, movement along the foot path 138 and the arm path 142 generally creates a feeling of walking or running with an upward action like a climbing motion. The movement of the dual action arms (handle members 122) and foot pedals (support members 30) allow the user to get a balanced total body workout (e.g., 50% upper body and 50% lower body).

A second construction of an exercise apparatus 10A is illustrated in FIGS. 4-6. The exercise apparatus 10A is similar to the exercise apparatus 10 in FIGS. 1-3, and common elements have the same reference number with an “A”.

In the illustrated construction, each reciprocating member 82A is connected to the associated support member 30A at a position underneath and behind the foot pad 62A. The illustrated configuration creates a downward closed arm path 142A for the arms and a flattened, upward closed foot path 138A for the feet (again, in the illustrated construction, the heel portion and the toe portion of the foot pad 62A move along different foot paths 138A). This creates a feeling of walking/running with an upward action like a hiking motion, and the dual action arm and foot pedal movement provides a balanced total body workout.

A third construction of an exercise apparatus 10B is illustrated in FIGS. 7-9. The exercise apparatus 10B is similar to the exercise apparatus 10 in FIGS. 1-3, and common elements have the same reference number “B”.

In the illustrated construction, the frame assembly 14B also includes a rear upright assembly 146 and an upper frame assembly 150 generally connected between the front upright assembly 26B and the rear upright assembly 146. The user may grip the upper frame assembly 150 instead of the handle members 122B or the stationary handle members 132B.

A link support 154 is connected to the upper frame assembly 150, and each reciprocating member 82B is connected to the frame assembly 14B at the associated link support 154. In the illustrated construction, the connection of the reciprocating members 82B to the frame assembly 14B is generally located above the rear end of the foot pads 62B. The illustrated configuration creates a downward, closed arm path 142B for the arms and an upward closed foot path 138B for the feet (again, in the illustrated construction, the heel portion and the toe portion of the foot pad 62B move along different foot paths 138B), which creates a feeling of walking/running and provides a balanced total body workout.

As shown in phantom in FIG. 8, the structure and movement control provided by the guiders/reciprocating members 82B could be provided by a track assembly. The track assembly may include a track member 158 (one shown in phantom) for each support member 30B or a single track for both support members 30B. In such constructions, a track follower on each support member 30B(e.g., the end of each support member 30B or an additional track follower such as a roller, a wheel, etc.) engages and moves along the track assembly to guide movement of the second end portion 42B during exercise.

As also shown in phantom in FIG. 8, the exercise apparatus 10B may also include a seat assembly 162 which can be positioned at the top of the rear upright assembly 154. The seat assembly 162 allows the user to sit down, place their feet on the foot pads 62B or on auxiliary foot pads (not shown) on the angled intermediate portion of the support members 30B and ride the exercise apparatus 10B. In this configuration, the exercise apparatus 10B creates a feeling of riding a recumbent exercise bike or exercising using a recumbent stepper exerciser, and the dual action arm and foot pedal movement provides a balanced total body workout.

A fourth construction of an exercise apparatus 10C is illustrated in FIGS. 10-12. The exercise apparatus 10C is similar to the exercise apparatus 10 in FIGS. 1-3, and common elements have the same reference number “C”.

In the illustrated construction, each reciprocating member 82C is connected to the associated support member 30C at a position underneath and behind each foot pad 166, in a manner similar to that in the exercise apparatus 10A in FIGS. 4-6. In this construction, the foot pads 166 are movable relative to the support members 30C to provide a different foot path 138C.

Structure is provided between each foot pad 166 and the associated support member 30C to allow limited movement of each foot pad 166 relative to (e.g., along) the associated support member 30C. In the illustrated construction, the structure includes a track or guide 170 on each support member 30C and a follower 174 on the associated foot pad 166. As such, the foot pad 166 is movable forwardly and rearwardly along the support member 30C.

Secondary cranks 178 are mounted to the crank assembly 66C such that each secondary crank 178 is rigidly connected to, and at a fixed angle with respect to, the associated crank 74. A connecting member 186 is connected between each secondary crank 178 and the associated foot pad 166. This arrangement is used to drive the foot pad 166 fore and aft on the associated support member 30C. The illustrated configuration creates a downward, closed arm path 142C for the arms and a substantially horizontal closed foot path 138C for the feet (again, in the illustrated construction, the heel portion and the toe portion of the foot pad 166 move along different foot paths 138C). This creates a feeling of walking/running, and the dual action arm and foot pedal movement provides a balanced total body workout.

In other constructions (not shown), this movement can also be achieved by placing a secondary pulley (not shown) driven off of the flywheel 102C at a 1:1 ratio to the crank assembly 66C. The secondary crank 178 would be mounted to the secondary pulley.

In still other constructions (not shown), this movement can also be achieved with a series of gears (not shown) attached to the top rear link pivot point and a rack (not shown) attached to the bottom of the foot pad 166. As the rear link rotates fore and aft, this also drives the foot pad 166 fore and aft.

As described above, the exercise apparatus 10, 10A, 10B, 10C may have a relatively small footprint on the support surface 22. The construction may allow more complete assembly of the exercise apparatus 10, 10A, 10B, 10C in the shipping carton which may provide better quality of the product.

The exercise apparatus 10, 10A, 10B, 10C may have a lower material cost, for example, because of fewer components, such as connectors which would be necessary between relatively-movable portions of a support member in other exercise apparatus. Also, the exercise apparatus 10, 10A, 10B, 10C may have fewer pivots and joints than a typical elliptical trainer.

The exercise apparatus 10, 10A, 10B, 10C has a relatively low step-on height and/or a low Q Factor (the lateral distance between pedals). In the illustrated constructions, the exercise apparatus 10, 10A, 10B, 10C does not include wheels between the support members 30 and the reciprocating members 82.

FIGS. 13-15 illustrate a fifth construction of an exercise apparatus. The illustrated apparatus is similar to the design shown in FIGS. 7-9 with a seat 200 shown in solid lines. The seat 200 can be sat on by the user to perform a sitting exercise in order to train different muscles than would be exercised when the user is standing. The seat can be permanently mounted, removable, or movably mounted to the frame. In the illustrated embodiment, the seat can be removed from the apparatus (i.e., a “first” position) so that it does not interfere with the use of the apparatus by a user when performing a standing exercise (FIG. 13). When mounted on the apparatus (i.e., a “second” position), the seat can be sat upon by the user during use of the apparatus to perform the sitting exercise (FIG. 15).

In addition, in the apparatus of FIGS. 13-15, the front end of each foot pad 62D is hinged to the corresponding support member 30D. This allows the foot pads 62D to be moved from a first position (FIGS. 13) to a second position (FIG. 15). Alternatively, the foot pads 62D can be slid, rotated, or otherwise moved from the first position to the second position. In the first position, the foot pads 62D are in a position that is suited for use of the apparatus to perform the standing exercise (FIG. 13), and in the second position the foot pads are in a position more suited for performing the sitting exercise (FIG. 15).

One or more independent features and/or independent advantages may be set forth in the following claims: