United States Patent 3638941

A stationary frame carries one or more actuating members which are forcibly movable with reference to the frame from a normal inactive position to a plurality of active positions in response to the application of requisite force upon an engagement portion provided. Springs are associated with the members and oppose their movement to active positions. Adjusting arrangements permit the opposing force offered by the springs to be varied.

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International Classes:
A63B21/04; A63B21/00; A63B21/055; (IPC1-7): A63B21/02; A63B21/10
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US Patent References:
3467374SKI SIMULATOR APPARATUS1969-09-16Auer
3207512Exercise apparatus1965-09-21Kinsey
3174343Pneumatic exerciser with pressure gauge1965-03-23Kasulis
3128094Exerciser with hydraulically interconnected chinning bar and foot support1964-04-07Wolk
2932509Body exercising apparatus1960-04-12Zinkin
2673737Apparatus for postural correction1954-03-30Daniels

Primary Examiner:
Pinkham, Richard C.
Assistant Examiner:
Dror, Richard
I claim

1. A physical exercise apparatus, comprising a stationary frame; at least one elongate actuating lever having two spaced end portions and an arcuate intermediate portion curved to one side of the elongation of said lever; connecting means connecting one of said end portions to said frame for pivotal movement of said lever relative thereto; a plurality of recesses provided in and spaced longitudinally of said arcuate intermediate portion spaced longitudinally of said arcuate intermediate portion of said lever at said one side; an engaging bracket supported on said lever at said one side; movable longitudinally of said lever and being engageable with respective ones of said recesses; and expansion spring means connected intermediate the other side of said lever and said frame with the latter and said bracket, respectively, for opposing pivotal movement of said lever towards said one side with a force whose magnitude varies in dependence upon the engagement of said bracket with a respective recess and the pretension thereby selected for said spring means.

2. An apparatus as defined in claim 1, said spring means being a mechanical expansion spring having opposite ends connected with said frame and said bracket, respectively.

3. An apparatus as defined in claim 1, said spring means comprising fluid spring means.

4. An apparatus as defined in claim 3, wherein said fluid spring means comprises a hydraulic cylinder and piston unit.

5. An apparatus as defined in claim 3, wherein said fluid spring means comprises a pneumatic cylinder and piston unit.

6. An apparatus as defined in claim 3, wherein said fluid spring means comprises a cylinder member and a fluid-operable piston member slidably received in said cylinder member; and further comprising throttling means for throttling the flow of fluid during relative movement of said piston and cylinder members.


The present invention relates to physical exercise apparatus, particularly of the type used by athletes for training purposes.

Exercise apparatus of this general type is of course already known. It comprises a stationary frame which can be set up at a desired location, and in or on this frame the actuating elements are mounted which are to be moved by the user, hereafter for the sake of convenience designated as "the athlete." The latter stands, sits, lies or otherwise disposes himself exteriorly of the frame and displaces the actuating element or elements in well known manner, for instance by gripping them and exerting pull. The counterforce is supplied in the known apparatuses of this type by weights which are suspended in the frame and connected via ropes or the like with the actuating elements which may be levers or may be of other construction. In the case of levers, the weights may also be directly mounted on the levers themselves.

In any case, these known apparatuses have certain disadvantages. Firstly, the weights are of course constantly connected with the actuating elements when the apparatus is in use which means that during this time at least they must be supported by the frame. This constant loading of the frame evidently either results in damage--as by bending or twisting--to the frame and/or the actuating elements, or it necessitates that the frame and/or the actuating elements be given such strength as to be able to withstand such damage. In the latter case the construction of the frame and/or actuating elements is evidently more expensive than would otherwise be necessary. A further disadvantage is the fact that a change in the counterforce can be effected only by adding or removing weights, which is clearly not only time consuming but also a potential source of accidents. Aside from this, it is necessary to maintain a large number of different weights available at all times in order to assure that the apparatus can be used to its fullest potential. Finally, there is the fact that such prior art apparatus utilizing weights to supply the counterforce is inevitably very noisy, a factor which can become highly objectionable, particularly during prolonged training periods.


It is, accordingly, an object of the present invention to overcome the aforementioned disadvantages.

More particularly it is an object of the present invention to provide a physical exercise apparatus of the general type mentioned before which is not possessed of these drawbacks.

An additional object of the invention is to provide such a physical exercise apparatus which dispenses entirely with the need to use weights to produce the requisite counterforces.

A concomitant object of the present invention is to provide such an exercise apparatus which is much less noisy during operation than the apparatuses known from the prior art.

Still a further object of the invention is to provide such an apparatus which, because of the elimination of weights, does not present an accident hazard resulting from the presence of such weights.

Yet a further object of the invention is to provide such an apparatus wherein the frame and/or actuating element are not subjected to the load of weights.

Still another object of the invention is to provide such an apparatus wherein the counterforce opposed to the force applied by an athlete using the apparatus can be readily varied at the will of the user.

Yet an additional object of the invention is to provide such an apparatus wherein the athlete has the option of performing his training movements rapidly for dynamic training, as well as performing them slowly for an almost static training reminiscent of isometric exercises.

A final object of the invention is to provide such an apparatus wherein a plurality of different training stations can readily be accommodated on one and the same frame.

In pursuance of the above objects, and others which will become apparent hereafter, one feature of the invention resides in the provision of a physical exercise apparatus which, briefly stated, comprises a stationary frame and an actuating element having an engaging portion for engagement by a user. The actuating element is forcibly movable with reference to the frame from a normal inactive position to a plurality of active positions in response to the application of requisite force to the engaging portion. Opposing means is connected with the frame and the element and serves to oppose movement of the element to respective ones of the active positions with a counterforce whose magnitude is a function of the force applied to the engaging portion of the actuating element.

In certain instances, for example if the operation of the actuating element by a user simulates pushing or throwing movements, it is advantageous that the actuating element be connected with the opposing means not directly but rather indirectly via a flexible element such as a rope or the like. In such cases it may be advantageous, according to one embodiment of the invention, to pivot the opposing means to a motion-transmitting lever which is tiltably mounted on the frame and which in turn is connected with the actuating element to be tilted by the latter, for example via the aforementioned flexible element.

The opposing means may be in form of a mechanical spring which may be a compression spring or an expansion spring. This, of course, is a particularly lightweight and space-saving construction and permits the accommodation of a plurality of different actuating elements and associated opposing means on one and the same frame. However, fluid springs, that is pneumatically or hydraulically actuated piston and cylinder units, may also be used instead of mechanical springs.

According to the invention it is also advantageous to provide connecting means which releasably connects the opposing means with the actuating element, or with a lever which is connected with the actuating element, in such a manner that the connection may be effected at a plurality of spaced locations of the actuating element or the aforementioned lever, whereby the lever arm may be changed and thereby the counterforce obtainable from one and the same spring be varied without having to actually substitute a different spring or having to vary the force characteristics of the spring when a different counterforce is desired. If the spring is in form of a hydraulic or pneumatic piston and cylinder unit, the construction is also very lightweight and space saving, and there is the further advantage that a simple, reliable and precise adjustment of the counterforce is afforded by the use of suitable and well known throttling means in association with the respective cylinder and piston unit.

The novel features which are considered as characteristic for the invention are set forth in particular in the appended claims. The invention itself, however, both as to its construction and its method of operation, together with additional objects and advantages thereof, will be best understood from the following description of specific embodiments when read in connection with the accompanying drawing.


FIG. 1 is somewhat diagrammatic elevational view of an apparatus according to the present invention; and

FIG. 2 is a similarly diagrammatic elevational view of an apparatus incorporating a further embodiment of the invention;

FIG. 3 is a diagrammatic elevational view of a modification of the opposing means.


Discussing firstly FIG. 1 it will be seen that this Figure illustrates an apparatus according to the present invention which is provided with three training stations, that is with three actuating elements which may evidently be used by three persons simultaneously, or for instance by one person successively. Each of these training stations is associated with a support located exteriorly of the frame 1, and only at the right-hand side of FIG. 1 is such a support shown. The body of a user is in part shown in broken lines to show how the user may position himself both with respect to the support and to the frame 1. A similar support is fragmentarily suggested at the left-hand side of the frame 1, and still a third support would be located in front of the frame 1, that is between the same and a person viewing FIG. 1.

Of course, it is to be understood that these supports could conceivably be omitted, or could be replaced by other types of support, and that they do not form a part of the present invention and have been shown and discussed herein only to facilitate a better understanding of the use of the apparatus.

As already pointed out, reference numeral 1 identifies a frame of the apparatus. The frame 1 may consist of tubular or profiled elements which are suitably connected with one another. Its construction per se forms no part of the invention.

Pivotably mounted in the frame 1 are three actuating elements 2, 3 and 4 which are each in form of levers. Each of the elements 2, 3 and 4 is provided with handles 5 which are to be gripped by a user, as suggested at the right-hand side of frame 1.

The actuating elements 2, 3 and 4 are each connected with opposing means according to the present invention, here shown as expansion springs 6. In the illustrated embodiments one end of each of the expansion springs 6 is connected with a rod 9 which in turn is rigid with the frame 1. Each of the actuating elements 2, 3 and 4 is provided intermediate its free end which has the hand grip 5 and its connected end with which it is pivotably connected to the frame 1 as illustrated, with a curved portion 7 in the region of which the springs 6 are releasably secured to the respective actuating elements. As shown, the end of each of the springs 6 which is connected with the respective actuating element 2, 3 and 4 has pivotably secured thereto a bracket member 8 which surrounds or at least straddles the respectively associated actuating element 2, 3 and 4. The portions 7 are provided for instance with detents in the form of recesses 7a and the brackets 8 are provided with cooperating detent means which may be in form of a pin 8a, spring biased in known manner inwardly so as to engage with the respective recesses 7a. Thus, to change the point at which a respective bracket 8, and its associated spring 6, engages the associated actuating element 2, 3 or 4, it would simply be necessary to withdraw the pin 8a outwardly until it becomes disengaged from the recess 7a in which it had been lodged, thereupon to move the bracket 8 to another location of the respective portion 7, and to let the pin 8a move inwardly under the influence of spring bias until it engages another one of the recesses 7a. In fact, the spring bias may be provided by the spring 6 itself, rather than by a separately provided spring, because the spring 6 may serve to draw the bracket 8 down against the portion 7 so that the pin 8a will engage with whatever recess 7a with which it is in registry. By providing this adjustment it is evident that the counterforce opposed by the spring 6 can be varied at will simply by shifting the brackets --along the portion 7 of the actuating element.

The rods 9, it should be pointed out, may also be tiltable connected with the frame 1 if this is desired; if they are rigid, as shown, the connection between the respective spring 6 and the associated rod 9 should be of pivotable nature.

It will be clear that if in the illustrated embodiment an upward force is exerted upon the hand grips 5 of the element 2, this force will be resisted by the spring 6 associated with the element 2. The same is true of the elements 3 and 4. Evidently, it is a simple matter to so modify the apparatus that the springs 6 would oppose a downward force exerted upon the respective actuating elements, and of course actuating elements of different types and different functions may all be accommodated in one and the same frame, meaning that one such actuating element may for instance be constructed so that the user pushes upwardly as shown with respect to the element 2, whereas another one requires the user to pull downwardly, and still a further one requires different type of force application.

Of course, as pointed out before, the springs 6 may not only be expansion springs they may also be compression springs, for instance if the actuating elements 2, 3 and 4 were constructed so as to require force application by a user in downward direction--opposite to what is actually shown in FIG. 1--the springs 6 would be of the compression type which would be compressed as a result of movement of the actuating elements, or they would of course have to be located above the elements 2, 3 and 4 instead of below as shown. In the latter case they would naturally continue to be expansion springs.

The apparatus shown in FIG. 2 is somewhat analogous to that of FIG. 1. The frame is again identified with reference numeral but this apparatus comprises only one training station for purposes of illustration. Mounted on one or more inclined rails 2a is a slide 2 which is movable in the direction of the double-headed arrow, guided by the rails 2a. The particular construction of the rails 2a and of the element 2 is immaterial. Connected to the slide element 2 is a flexible motion-transmitting means in form of a rope or the like identified with reference numeral 3 which is guided around a reversing roll 4 and connected to one end of a lever 7 whose other end is pivoted at 5 to a brace 6 which in turn is rigid with the frame 1.

Mounted on the lever 7 extending longitudinally thereof in parallelism with it, is a screw spindle 8. The manner in which it is mounted is immaterial for purposes of the present invention, but it is pointed out that the spindle 8 may be rotated in suitable manner, for instance by a motor drive, by a handwheel or the like. This, again, is of no consequence for the purposes of the present invention.

The spindle 8 is embraced by a nut means 9 which moves lengthwise of the spindle 8 in one or the opposite longitudinal direction, depending upon the direction in which the spindle 8 is rotated. Connected to the nut means 9 via a connecting plate 11 which is pivotably secured to the nut means 9, is a tension spring 10 whose opposite end is secured to the frame 1, or to an element which is in turn mounted on the frame 1. The lever 7 is provided with graduations 12 providing a scale, and a portion 13 of the nut means 9 may extend laterally of the spindle 8 so as to provide an indicating means for the scale 12. The portion 13 may also straddle the lever 7 or otherwise be so located with reference to the lever 7 as to prevent rotation of the nut means 9 with respect to the lever 7 and to the spindle 8. Of course, instead of the portion 13 the nut means 9 may be provided with a separate indicator.

It is clear that by turning the spindle 8 and thereby shifting the nut means 9 lengthwise thereof and of the lever 7, the point of connection between the spring 10 and the lever 7 can be changed, that is the point of connection can be moved closer to or farther away from the pivot point 5. Thereby, the lever arm is lengthened or shortened and the force exerted by the spring 10, which is transmitted to the lever 7, the element 3 and thereby the element 2, can thus be varied and is adjustable. The scale 12 of course permits the user to readily select the desired force.

It is clear that in the embodiment of FIG. 2 the arrangement of the various components is such as to require little space so that the apparatus may be small, and so that two or several of these stations may be accommodated on one and the same frame.

It has been pointed out before and is shown diagrammatically in FIG. 2 that the mechanical springs may be replaced with pneumatic or hydraulic springs. These utilize cylinder and piston units in well known manner and are therefor not believed to require detailed description. The fluid flow in these units may be regulated by throttling means interposed in the flow path FIG. 3, and such throttling means which of course must be adjustable to provide for setting of the counterforce according to the preference of the user, is also well known and is not believed to require detailed description.

It goes without saying that the springs may be directly connected with the frame, rather than via any intermediaries as the rods 9 in FIG. 1.

It is of particular advantage if the desired counterforce is available from the very beginning of movement of the actuating element, for instance the actuating element 2 in FIG. 1. This provides for even and uniform exertion of force on the muscles of the user. To assure this the spring or springs in question may be pretensioned so as to be in a state of pretension even when the respective actuating element is in its inactive position in which no force is being applied to it by a user. It is also advantageous if the respective spring engages the respective actuating element at such an angle that at the beginning and throughout the further movement of the actuating element the desired counterforce remains the same, that is that it will remain constantly proportional to the force being applied to the actuating element by the user. In this manner the counterforce obtained corresponds substantially to the actual load which obtains for instance when a weight is lifted by an athlete. It is hardly necessary to emphasize that the present invention lends itself to the construction of physical exercise apparatus capable of simulating a great variety of actual physical exercises, such as weight pushing, throwing, rowing, and the like. It is simply necessary to construct the actuating elements, or at least their engaging portions, differently in accordance with the manner in which force is to be applied to them by a user.

It will be understood that each of the elements described above, or two or more together, may also find a useful application in other types of constructions differing from the types described above.

While the invention has been illustrated and described as embodied in a physical exercise apparatus, it is not intended to be limited to the details shown, since various modifications and structural changes may be made without departing in any way from the spirit of the present invention.