Title:
Exercise furniture device
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An exercise device adapted for use with a chair includes a handle arm mounted to an armrest portion by a first connector including a first axis and a second axis disposed substantially orthogonal to the first axis. A resistance element is used with a first end attached to the armrest portion by a second connecter including a third axis and a fourth axis disposed substantially orthogonal to the third axis and a second end attached to the handle arm by a third connector including a fifth axis and a sixth axis disposed substantially perpendicular to the fifth axis. A foot frame is included with at least one frame band receiver, the foot frame being mounted to the base portion. A foot support is moveably mounted to the foot frame and includes at least one support band receiver. A resistance band is adapted to be received by the frame band receiver and the support band receiver to provide resistance to displacement by the user. This provides a method of upper and lower body exercise for a user without the necessity of getting out of the chair.



Inventors:
Biggs, Kevin D. (Springfield, IL, US)
Julian, Danial E. (Athens, IL, US)
Kniffin, David M. (Brownsburg, IN, US)
Application Number:
11/978307
Publication Date:
04/30/2009
Filing Date:
10/29/2007
Assignee:
NSEC Corporation (Springfield, IL, US)
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
482/142
International Classes:
A63B21/00
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
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20030197412Zara porta head restOctober, 2003John Sr.
20070035162Conditioning system for cooling and heating surfaces, particularly automobile seatsFebruary, 2007Bier et al.
20080001465Seat Belt Auxiliary DeviceJanuary, 2008Nagao
20090236892Hinge Mechanism and Vehicle Seat Comprising Such a MechanismSeptember, 2009Cillierre et al.
20050264045Stowable armrest for vehicle seatDecember, 2005Ropp et al.
20070215661Utility system for motorized wheelchairs and scootersSeptember, 2007Caplan et al.
20090267399LINEAR RETRACTOR SEAT TIE DOWNOctober, 2009King et al.
20070222248HOLSTER FOR PORTABLE IFE DEVICESeptember, 2007Maulden et al.
20060103217Angle-adjustable footrestMay, 2006Jones et al.



Primary Examiner:
JALALZADEH ABYANE, SHILA
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Kevin D. Biggs (2215 Groth Street, Springfield, IL, 62703, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. An exercise device comprising: a chair including a base portion, a seat portion, a backrest portion and at least one armrest portion; and an exercise system including: a handle arm mounted to the at least one armrest portion by a first connector including a first axis and a second axis disposed substantially orthogonal to the first axis; and a resistance element with a first end attached to the at least one armrest portion by a second connector including a third axis and a fourth axis disposed substantially orthogonal to the third axis and a second end attached to the handle arm by a third connector including a fifth axis and a sixth axis disposed substantially perpendicular to the fifth axis.

2. The exercise device according to claim 1, wherein the handle arm includes a handle end received by the handle arm base.

3. The exercise device according to claim 2, further comprising a handle resistance mechanism mounted to the handle end and the handle arm, thereby offering resistance to movement of the handle end relative to the handle arm base.

4. The exercise device according to claim 3, further comprising a clip that is adapted to receive the handle resistance mechanism and be releasably engaged with the handle arm, thereby enabling selective engagement of one or more handle resistance mechanisms.

5. The exercise device according to claim 1, wherein the resistance element is a device selected from the group consisting of a two-way hydraulic damper, a one-way hydraulic damper, a pneumatic cylinder and an elastic spring device.

6. The exercise device according to claim 1, further comprising a foot frame including at least one frame band receiver, the foot frame mounted to the base portion; a foot support moveably mounted to the foot frame and including at least one support band receiver; and at least one resistance band adapted to be received by the frame band receiver and the support band receiver.

7. The exercise device according to claim 1, wherein the first connector is a two axis universal joint.

8. The exercise device according to claim 1, wherein the third connector includes a joint with three degrees of freedom.

9. An exercise system for use in combination with furniture, of the type comprising a chair including a base portion, a seat portion, a backrest portion and at least one armrest portion, the device further comprising: a handle arm pivotally mounted to the at least one armrest portion about a first axis and a second axis, the second axis disposed substantially orthogonal to the first axis; and a resistance element with a first end pivotally mounted to the at least one armrest portion about a third axis and a fourth axis, the fourth axis disposed substantially orthogonal to the third axis and a second end pivotally mounted to the handle arm about a fifth axis and a sixth axis, the sixth axis disposed substantially orthogonal to the fifth axis.

10. The exercise system according to claim 9, wherein the handle arm includes a handle end received by the handle arm base.

11. The exercise system according to claim 10, further comprising a handle resistance mechanism mounted to the handle end and the handle arm, thereby offering resistance to movement of the handle end relative to the handle arm base.

12. The exercise system according to claim 11, further comprising a band clip that is adapted to receive the handle resistance mechanism and be releasably engaged with the handle arm, thereby enabling selective engagement of one or more handle resistance mechanisms.

13. The exercise system according to claim 9, wherein the resistance element is a device selected from the group consisting of a two-way hydraulic damper, a one-way hydraulic damper, a pneumatic cylinder and an elastic spring device.

14. The exercise system according to claim 9, further comprising a foot frame including at least one frame band receiver, the foot frame mounted to the base portion; a foot support moveably mounted to the foot frame and including at least one support band receiver; and at least one resistance band adapted to be received by the frame band receiver and the support band receiver.

15. The exercise system according to claim 14, wherein said at least one resistance band is a device selected from the group consisting of an elastic spring, a pneumatic cylinder and a hydraulic damper.

16. The exercise system according to claim 9, wherein the first axis and the second axis are adjacently spaced pivoting joints.

17. The exercise system according to claim 9, wherein the fifth axis and the sixth axis include a ball and socket joint including a seventh axis.

18. An exercise system for use in combination with furniture, of the type comprising a chair including a base portion, a seat portion, a backrest portion and at least one armrest portion, the device further comprising: a foot frame including at least one frame band receiver, the foot frame mounted to the base portion; a foot support including at least one support band receiver, the foot support moveably mounted to the foot frame; and at least one resistance band with a first end adapted to be attached to the frame band receiver and a second end adapted to be attached to the support band receiver allowing movement in at least one degree of freedom.

19. The exercise system according to claim 18, further comprising a handle arm pivotally mounted to the at least one armrest portion about a first axis and a second axis, the second axis disposed substantially orthogonal to the first axis.

20. The exercise system according to claim 19, further comprising a resistance element with a first end pivotally mounted to the at least one armrest portion about a third axis and a fourth axis, the fourth axis disposed substantially orthogonal to the third axis and a second end pivotally mounted to the handle arm about a fifth axis and a sixth axis, the sixth axis disposed substantially orthogonal to the fifth axis.

21. The exercise system according to claim 19, wherein the handle arm includes a handle end received by the handle arm.

22. The exercise system according to claim 21, further comprising a handle resistance mechanism mounted to the handle end and the handle arm, thereby offering resistance to movement of the handle end relative to the handle arm.

23. A method of exercise including the steps of: providing a chair including a base portion, a seat portion, a backrest portion and at least one armrest portion; providing an exercise device incorporated into the chair, the device including: a handle arm pivotally mounted to the at least one armrest portion about a first axis and a second axis, the second axis disposed substantially orthogonal to the first axis; and a resistance element with a first end pivotally mounted to the at least one armrest portion about a third axis and a fourth axis, the fourth axis disposed substantially orthogonal to the third axis and a second end pivotally mounted to the handle arm about a fifth axis and a sixth axis, the sixth axis disposed substantially orthogonal to the fifth axis; and positioning a user in the chair, grasping the handle arm and displacing it relative to the armrest portion, thereby actuating the resistance element and exercising the muscles of the user.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention generally relates to exercise devices and, more particularly, to exercise devices adapted to be used with furniture.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

As our population ages it is important that the quality of life is maintained for the more mature population. Part of the formula to achieve that is providing exercise. Many are not ambulatory and therefore even walking is not an exercise option. For this and other sedentary populations, a device is needed that allows the user to exercise while in a comfortable and safe surrounding. In addition, when the exercise capability is readily available, the likelihood of use in greatly increased. This is analogous to someone living in close proximity to a health club. The excuse of long commute times is not valid given the potential patron has fewer excuses to avoid the gym. Providing an exercise device in a comfortable chair has a similar benefit. By minimizing the potential for avoidance, the potential for use increases. Any exercise device is only beneficial if it is used.

It should, therefore, be appreciated that there is a need for fitness equipment that is adapted for home use. The present invention fulfills this need and others.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention includes a chair with a base portion, a backrest portion and at least one arm portion, the chair incorporating an exercise device. This exercise device includes a handle arm with a handle arm base mounted to the armrest portion by a first connector. This first connector includes a first axis and a second axis disposed substantially orthogonal to the first axis. The device also includes a resistance element with a first end attached to the armrest portion by a second connector that has a third axis and a fourth axis disposed substantially orthogonal to the third axis. A second end of the resistance element is attached to the handle arm by a third connector that includes a fifth axis and a sixth axis being disposed substantially orthogonal to the fifth axis. Multiple axis joints may include a two axis universal joint or a three degree of freedom joint such as a ball and socket joint.

The resistance element can take on a variety of forms. This includes a two-way hydraulic damper, a one-way hydraulic damper, a pneumatic cylinder, an elastic spring or any of a number of other devices common in the art.

The invention may also include a handle end that is received by the handle arm. A handle resistance band may be mounted to the handle end and the handle arm thereby offering resistance to movement of the handle relative to the handle arm. This resistance mechanism may be releasably engaged with handle arm base by a band clip, thereby selectively engaging one or more resistance mechanisms to alter the resistance to the user.

In a presently preferred embodiment of the invention, the exercise device includes a foot frame that is mounted to the base portion and includes at least one frame band receiver, a resistance band adapted to be received by the frame band receiver. The foot frame includes a foot support that is moveably mounted to the foot frame and includes at least one support band receiver adapted to receive the resistance band. The resistance band enables resistance to movement of the foot support relative to the foot frame.

An exemplary method for exercise is provided including the elements of the chair as listed above and including the handle arm mounted to the armrest portion with the resistance element providing resistance to movement of the handle arm relative to the armrest portion. The multi axis joint enables multiple degrees of freedom to accommodate a variety of user types and builds but a great exercise variety. The device may also include the foot support adapted for engagement by the feet of the user and moveably mounted to the foot frame as noted. The method further includes positioning a user in the chair, grasping the handle arm and displacing it relative to the armrest portion, thereby actuating the resistance element and exercising the muscles of the user. The method may also include the user placing one or more feet on the foot support and extending the foot support relative to the foot frame and thereby extending the resistance band and exercising the leg muscles of the user.

For purposes of summarizing the invention and the advantages achieved over the prior art, certain advantages of the invention have been described herein above. Of course, it is to be understood that not necessarily all such advantages can be achieved in accordance with any particular embodiment of the invention. Thus, for example, those skilled in the art will recognize that the invention can be embodied or carried out in a manner that achieves or optimizes one advantage or group of advantages as taught herein without necessarily achieving other advantages as may be taught or suggested herein.

All of these embodiments are intended to be within the scope of the invention herein disclosed. These and other embodiments of the present invention will become readily apparent to those skilled in the art from the following description of the preferred embodiments and drawings, the invention not being limited to any particular preferred embodiments disclosed.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Embodiments of the present invention will now be described, by way of example only, with reference to the following drawings, in which:

FIG. 1 is an isometric view of an exercise device incorporated into a chair with a linearly retractable leg platform produced in accordance with the present invention.

FIG. 2 is an isometric upper view of an exercise device of FIG. 1 with the exercise elements positioned for use.

FIG. 3 is an isometric upper left view of an exercise device of FIG. 2.

FIG. 4 is side view of the exercise device of FIG. 2.

FIG. 5 is an isometric rear view of exercise device of FIG. 2 with the leg platform fully extended.

FIG. 6 is a side view of the exercise device of FIG. 5.

FIG. 7 is a bottom isometric view of an exercise device incorporated into a chair with a linkage extendable leg platform produced in accordance with the present invention.

FIG. 8 is a left rear isometric view of the device of FIG. 7 with the leg platform fully extended.

FIG. 9 is a left rear isometric view of the device of FIG. 8 with the foot platform positioned for use.

FIG. 10 is a left rear isometric view of the device of FIG. 9 with the foot platform in a fully extended position.

FIG. 11 is the leg platform assembly of FIG. 1 in a closed and retracted position.

FIG. 12 is the leg platform assembly if FIG. 11 in an open position.

FIG. 13 is a detail of the locking device of the leg platform assembly of FIG. 12.

FIG. 14 is a detail of the resistance cord of the leg platform assembly of FIG. 12.

FIG. 15 is an isometric front view of the leg platform assembly of FIG. 12 in a fully extended orientation.

FIG. 16 is an isometric rear view of the leg platform assembly of FIG. 15.

FIG. 17 is the right side arm assembly of the exercise device in FIG. 2 with the handle bar extended.

FIG. 18 is the arm resistance system of FIG. 17 partially disassembled to show detail of some of the components.

FIG. 19 is a detail of a portion of the resistance system of FIG. 18.

FIG. 20 is a partial isometric view of the resistance system of FIG. 18 showing the ball and socket joint.

FIG. 21 is a cutaway of the ball and socket joint of FIG. 20.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

With reference to the illustrative drawings, and particularly to FIG. 1, there is shown a chair 22 that includes a base portion 24, a seat portion 26, a backrest portion 28, two armrest portions shown as a right armrest portion 30, and a left armrest portion 32. In this form of the embodiment the right armrest portion 30 and left armrest portion 32 both include a handle arm 34. Chairs come in a variety of forms, some of which are paired seating, in that one common armrest divides two seats, and is therefore shared by adjacent occupants. In that form, a “chair” may include only one armrest portion. In this situation, multiple adjacent “chairs” would have only one armrest portion and one end “chair” would have two armrest portions. In the embodiment as shown, for a stand alone chair, the unit would have two armrest portions one on either side of the seat portion 26.

A foot frame 36 is provided that is movably mounted to the base portion 24 by a pair of support rails 38. In this form, the support rails 38 allow the foot frame 36 to be stored under the seat portion 26 when not in use. A pair of casters 40 may be used to aid in the support of the foot frame 36.

With reference to FIG. 2 and FIG. 3, the chair 22 of FIG. 1 is shown with the foot frame 36 extended in front of the base portion 24. The foot frame 36 carries a foot support 42 that is movably mounted to the foot frame 36. In this, the starting position, a portion of the foot support is movably positioned to enable contact with the user. This can be accomplished in a variety of ways, including providing a tilt-up foot platform 44 to provide contact with the user's feet. This is more clearly shown in the overhead view of FIG. 3. The foot platform 44 is preferably a substantially solid platform and may include a pliable cover 46. The pliable cover 46 may be added to increase the comfort to the user, especially if the user uses the device 22 without shoes on their feet by sitting on the seat portion 26 with their back against the backrest portion 28 and one or more feet on the foot platform 44 of the foot support 42. The user then moves the foot support by extending the legs of the user.

The handle arms 34 are shown extended from the right armrest portion 30 and the left armrest portion 32. The handle arms 34 are moveably mounted to the respective armrest portions (30 and 32) with a joint that allows two degrees of freedom. This can be done by use of a first connector 48 which in this case is a two-axis universal joint. This joint 48 allows movement of the handle arm 34 toward and away from the foot support 42 as well as in toward the user. The combination enables easy storage in the armrest portions (30 and 32) and access by the user there from. Also, the freedom of movement provides a variety of exercises to be performed and allows for a more functional adaptation to the various body types attributed to different sizes, shapes and physical capabilities of individuals. In doing so, the multi-degree of freedom joints 40 help provide much needed versatility.

Referring to FIG. 4, a side view of the chair 22 of FIG. 2 and FIG. 3 is shown. In this view of the invention, the positioning of the foot support 42 to be used by the user, as well as the handle arms, 34 can be clearly seen. It is understood, that in all views many of the cushions of the chair 22 have been removed for illustration sake to better show the novelty and detail of the invention. In some forms, it is intended that this device 22 be similar in outside appearance to a common chair.

In FIG. 5 and FIG. 6 the chair 22 is shown with the foot support 42 fully extended distally from the base portion 24 of the chair 22. This position illustrates the foot support 42 position as the user extends their legs while seated in the chair 22. A pair of slide rails, 50 allows linear displacement of the foot support 42 relative to the foot frame 36. A resistance system is provided to bias the foot support 42 toward the foot frame 36 that will be later discussed in detail.

An alternative foot support storage and retrieval system is illustrated in FIGS. 7- 10. The leg rest chair 52 also includes a base portion 24, a seat portion 26, a backrest portion 28, a right armrest portion 30 and a left armrest portion 32 as previously noted. In this embodiment, the foot frame 36 is movably mounted to the base portion 24 by a foot rest linkage 54. The linkage 54 is connected to an actuator arm 56 that when moved back 58 the foot frame 36 extends from a stored position to an extended position as illustrated by the arrow 60. The extended foot frame 36 is shown in FIG. 8. In FIG. 9 the foot support 42 of the foot platform 44 is rotated up as designated by the arrow 62, thereby revealing the cover 46 for contact with the user's feet. In FIG. 9, the foot support 42 is in a retracted or relaxed position and in FIG. 10 the foot support 42 is in an extended position. The movement of the foot support 42 relative to the foot frame 36 is designated by the double arrows 64.

The foot frame 36 and foot support 42 are shown alone in FIG. 11. In this view the foot support 42 is closed down in the foot frame 36 in a stored position, as was shown in FIGS. 1 and 8. In this simplified view of the foot frame 36 and foot support 42, a frame band receiver 66 is shown mounted to the foot frame 36. The frame band receiver 66 supports a first end 68 of one or more resistance bands 70. This can be done in a variety of methods and as such the disclosure is not intended to be limiting. The combination shown is one embodiment of the invention. The frame band receiver 66 includes at least one and preferably a plurality of recesses 72. These recesses 72 allow a secure and yet removable attachment of the first end 68 of one or more resistance bands 70. It is not mandatory that the magnitude of the tension be varied to the user, but it is highly desirable. As such, a plurality of recesses 72 is shown allowing for one, some, or all of the recesses 72 to support a band 70 of any tension. This capability provides versatility to allow exercise tensions to fit various fitness types as well as to increase resistance for those that progress, become stronger and desire more tension as the result of the exercise.

A more detailed view of the foot frame 36 and foot support 42 is shown in FIGS. 12-14. In FIG. 12, the foot support 42 is in an open position as previously shown in FIGS. 2 and 9. In this view, a means of releasably securing the portion of the foot support 42 in an open position and a closed position is illustrated. Regarding the closed position, a pair of magnets 74 is mounted to the foot frame 36. A pair of tabs 76 is mounted to the foot support 42 such that when in a closed position (as in FIG. 11) the tabs 76 are placed in close proximity to the magnets 74. This holds the foot support 42 onto the foot frame 36 but allows the user to pull the foot support up and into the open position as shown in FIG. 12. A pair of adjustment rails 78 is mounted to the foot platform 44 of the foot support 42 portion adjacent to the cover 46. A pair of corresponding support tabs 80 is mounted to the foot frame 36 and positioned to interfere with the movement of the adjustment rails 78 when the foot platform 44 is in the proper position. This detail is shown in FIG. 13. The result is a two position foot platform 44, one position for storage (FIG. 11) and one position for exercise (FIG. 12).

With reference to FIG. 15, the foot support 42 is fully extended from the foot frame 36, as it would be when used in exercise. This position is as illustrated in FIGS. 5 and 10 as part of chairs 22 and 52 respectively. The slide rails 50 allow the foot platform 44, as part of the foot support 42, to move in a controlled manner relative to the foot frame 36. To provide resistance to movement and recoil of the foot support 42 from this position to a retracted or starting position, the resistance bands 70 are used. The bands 70 have a first end 68 that is received by the frame band receiver 66 mounted to the foot frame 36. There is also a support band receiver 82 that is adapted to support a second end 84 of the resistance band 70.

The resistance band 70 can take a variety of forms. Any device that provides resistance will work. The most common would be any elastic material such as rubber, polyurethane or any metal spring or any other elastic spring device. In addition, a pneumatic cylinder such as a gas spring will also work in this application.

The back side of the assembly of FIG. 15 is shown in FIG. 16. From this perspective the support band receiver 82 can be seen including a series of recesses 86 that is adapted to receive the second end 84 of the resistance bands 70. These bands 70 provide a force resistant to movement of the foot support 42 away from the foot frame 36 in the direction as shown in FIG. 16. This force must be overcome by the user with their feet on the foot platform 44 and exercising the hip and knee extensor muscles of the user. This is important, especially for elderly or other people that are not ambulatory in that this can offer a means of strengthening those muscles that are used in walking but allow the user to do so in a progressive manner that is safe and convenient.

Referring to FIG. 17, a right side armrest portion 30 with the handle arm 34 and associated resistance system is shown. In this embodiment, the handle arm 34 is comprised of a handle base 88 that receives a handle end 90. The handle end 90 can be placed in a variety of positions relative to the handle base 88 to facilitate greater exercise variety, or as shown in more detail later in this disclosure, the handle end 90 can be coupled to the handle base 88 in a resistive manner to add another element of exercise resistance.

The movement of some of the connectors of the handle arm 34 is shown by arrows to illustrate the degrees of freedom of some of the connectors. The handle end 90 is moveably mounted to the handle base 88 allowing axial rotation 92 and linear displacement 94. As noted, this linear displacement 94 can be under load in one or more directions. For example, an elastic spring mechanism can be used to provide resistance to extension of the handle end 90 relative to the handle base 88. A gas spring, pneumatic cylinder, one-way hydraulic damper or any other resistance means could be used to accomplish a uni-directional resistance. In a similar manner, a two-way hydraulic damper, or comparable system could be used to provide resistance in two directions, offering resistance to push and pull the handle end 90 relative to the handle base 88.

To optimize the capability of the handle arm 34, movement is important. Therefore the ability to position the grip 96 of the handle end 90 in a variety of positions relative to a user is necessary. This has been accomplished by the use of more than one connector comprised of multi-axis joints. The first connector 48 mounts the handle base 88 to the arm frame 98. A second connector 100, in this embodiment, also a two-axis universal joint mounts one end of the resistance element 102 to the arm frame 98. The opposite end of the resistance element 102 is mounted to the handle arm 34 by a third multi-axis joint. Each two-axis universal joint has two axes that are substantially orthogonal to each other. The first connector 48 allows a first axial rotation 104 and a second axial rotation 106 about a corresponding first and second axis. The second connector 100 provides a third axial rotation 108 and a fourth axial rotation 110 about a respective third axis and a fourth axis. The resistance element 102 is shown here as a cylinder provides directional 112 resistance to movement in one or more directions. The resistance element 102 can be of the form of a one-way hydraulic damper, a pneumatic cylinder, an elastic spring or any other form of resistance. In addition, a two-way hydraulic damper or other system that provides resistance in extension and compression of the element 102 can also be used.

The handle arm 34 is shown in more detail in FIGS. 18 and 19. The first connector 48 is comprised of a first shaft 114 that provides a first axis and a second shaft 116 that defines a second axis. This first connector 48 is coupled to the handle base 88. The handle end 90 is adapted to be received by the handle base 88 with a handle resistance mechanism 118 housed therein. The handle resistance mechanism can be any form of resistance including a one-way hydraulic damper, a two-way hydraulic damper, a pneumatic cylinder, an elastic spring or any of a number of other forms of resistance. In this version, an elastic spring 120 is provided that is mounted at a first end 122 to a handle pin 124 on the handle end 90. The spring 120 has a second end 126 that is releasably secured to the handle base 88 by way of a clip 128. The clip 128 is secured to the handle base 88 by a slot 130 provided in the handle base 88.

The second connector 100 has a third shaft 132 that provides a third axis and a fourth shaft 134 that provides a fourth axis. The second coupling 100 mounts one end of the resistance element 102 to the arm frame 98, in this case by use of an arm bracket 136. The specific details of this bracket 136 are subject to design variation and are not intended to be limiting.

With reference to FIGS. 20 and 21, a partial view of the handle arm 34 is shown with particular attention to the third connector 138. The third connector :138 couples the end of the resistance element 102 opposite to the second connector 100, to the handle arm 88. In this embodiment, the third connector 138 is comprised of a ball 140 that is received by a right socket half 142 and a left socket half 144, each including a cavity half 146, together forming a socket for a “ball and socket” joint. To be functional, the third connector 138 may be a two-axis universal joint as previously noted. A ball and socket joint offers the same two degree of freedom that a two-axis universal joint does with the addition of a third axis of rotation orthogonal to the plane that includes the first two axes of that joint. This is illustrated by the arrow 148 designating rotation about the fifth axis and the arrow 150 defining rotation about the sixth axis. As noted, the ball and socket joint allows rotation about an additional axis. Here the final arrow 152 shows rotation about the seventh axis. This can be important, depending on the specifics of the resistance element 102.

In this embodiment, the resistance element 102 is a two-way hydraulic damper. This element 102 is comprised of a cylinder rod 154 and a cylinder body 156. Attached to the cylinder rod 154 is a piston (not shown) and the balance of the cylinder body 156 is filled with a non-compressible fluid such as oil. Friction, and therefore resistance to movement, is created by forcing the fluid to travel through one or more openings or orifices in the piston. Some dampers 102 allow the size or number of holes to be altered by rotation of the cylinder body 156 relative to the cylinder rod 154. In this embodiment the cylinder rod 154 is not allowed to rotate about the axis defined by arrow 152. By using a ball and socket joint for the third connector the freedom of movement of the cylinder body 156 is provided about the axis defined by the arrow 152, thereby allowing the resistance in the cylinder to be changed by the user without the need to remove the cylinder from the frame 98. This provides greater versatility to exercise resistance for the user with ease of adjustment to enable the user to get a better exercise session and change the resistance to better suit more individuals with different strength capabilities.

The foregoing detailed description of the present invention is provided for purposes of illustration and it is not intended to be exhaustive or to limit the invention to the particular embodiment shown. The embodiments may provide different capabilities and benefits, depending on the configuration used to implement key features of the invention.