United States Patent 3643943

Exercise apparatus such as a treadmill, rowing machine, pedaling device or the like which includes an indicator arranged to be driven at a rate in proportion to the degree of difficulty of the exercise expended for recording work done. The apparatus in its embodiment employs an operating member on which the person exercises and adjustable controls for varying the difficulty of the exercise. The indicator is driven by the operating member through a drive connection, and the apparatus includes adjustment means incorporated in the drive connection which is connected directly to the adjustable controls so that the rate of operation of the indicator is in proportion to the degree of difficulty of the exercise.

Erwin Jr., Curtis L. (Portland, OR)
Fosdick, Gene D. (Portland, OR)
Application Number:
Publication Date:
Filing Date:
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
73/379.06, 73/379.07, 482/54, 482/63, 482/72
International Classes:
A61B5/22; A63B22/02; A63B24/00; A63B69/06; A63B22/08; (IPC1-7): A63B23/06; A63B69/06; A63B69/16
Field of Search:
272/73,72,69 73
View Patent Images:
US Patent References:
3395698Physiologically paced ergomeric system1968-08-06Morehouse
3266801Fluid operated rowing machine1966-08-16Johnson
3192772Work-calibrated exercising apparatus1965-07-06Tarter
1916714Self contained training and exercising oar1933-07-04Burke

Primary Examiner:
Pinkham, Richard C.
Assistant Examiner:
Dror, Richard
Having thus described our invention, we claim

1. Exercise apparatus comprising

2. The exercise apparatus of claim 1 including

3. The exercise apparatus of claim 1 wherein said adjustment means comprises a gear ratio mechanism.

4. The exercise apparatus of claim 1 wherein said movable indicating means is calibrated to show an equivalent of distance traveled.

5. The exercise apparatus of claim 1 wherein said movable indicating means is calibrated to show an equivalent of calories expended.

6. The exercise apparatus of claim 1 including

7. The exercise apparatus of claim 1 wherein

8. The exercise apparatus of claim 7 wherein

9. The exercise apparatus of claim 7 wherein

10. The exercise apparatus of claim 1 wherein

11. The exercise apparatus of claim 1 wherein

12. The exercise ratio of claim 1 wherein


Exercising apparatus has heretofore been employed with means for varying the degree of difficulty of the exercise. For example, treadmills have been provided which can be elevated at one end so that the difficulty of running thereon is dependent upon the inclination of the treadmill. Exercise apparatus has also been provided with indicating mechanism for showing the amount of work done. For example, treadmills have odometers driven by the treadmill to show how far the runner has progressed. It may be the desire, however, of the person exercising to lessen the time required to expend a certain amount of energy, and the energy indicating means of the prior devices fail to show true work expended even though there is a change in the degree of difficulty of the exercise. For example, the odometer on a treadmill of existing devices will register the same distance regardless of the angle of tilt thereof. Thus, the true work expended is not accurately measured.


Accordingly, it is a primary objective of the present invention to provide workout indicating mechanism for exercising apparatus which is arranged to measure the amount of exercise expended in proportion to the degree of difficulty of such exercise.

Another object of the invention is to provide indicating mechanism of the type described which is applicable to different types of exercising apparatus and which in connection with any one of the different types of structure not only measures the energy expended such as calories, but also has a speed of movement in proportion to the degree of difficulty of the exercise, exemplary exercising apparatus on which the indicating mechanism may be used comprising treadmills, rowing machines, pedaling machines, and others.

Another object of the invention is to provide indicating mechanism of the type described utilizing an indicator for illustrating the energy expended, such indicator being adjustable to operate from a set position and return to a start position and having a structural combination of a timer arranged such that upon setting of the exercise indicating means the timer is returned to a start position.

The invention will be better understood and additional objects and advantages will become apparent from the following description taken in connection with the accompanying drawings which illustrate preferred forms of the device.


FIG. 1 is a side elevational view of a treadmill in combination with which features of the present invention are embodied;

FIG. 2 is an enlarged fragmentary sectional view taken on the line 2--2 of FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is a fragmentary sectional view taken on the line 3--3 of FIG. 2;

FIG. 4 is an enlarged sectional view taken on the line 4--4 of FIG. 1;

FIG. 5 is a wiring diagram of electrically operated apparatus which may be used for driving a treadmill and for operating indicating mechanism of the present invention;

FIG. 6 is an enlarged fragmentary top plan view of an instrument panel having indicating mechanism of the present invention incorporated therein, said view being taken on the line 6--6 of FIG. 1;

FIG. 7 is a fragmentary plan view of a modified form of exercise indicating means for indicating the amount of energy expended;

FIG. 8 is a top plan view, partly diagrammatic, of a rowing machine in combination with which features of the present invention are embodied;

FIG. 9 is an enlarged fragmentary sectional view taken on the line 9--9 of FIG. 8;

FIG. 10 is a fragmentary diagrammatic view showing a valve structure utilized in the embodiment of FIG. 8;

FIG. 11 is a side elevational view of another form of exercising apparatus in the form of a pedaling machine and showing features of the present invention embodied therein;

FIG. 12 is a fragmentary sectional view taken on the line 12--12 of FIG. 11; and

FIG. 13 is a wiring diagram of a second form of control means for the present exercising apparatus.


FIGS. 1 through 6 show the invention as associated with a treadmill 10 having a base frame 12 on which an endless belt 14 operates over end rollers 16. One of the rollers is driven by an electric motor 18 to operate the belt 14 in the direction of arrows 20, FIG. 1. The base frame 12 has an integral upright frame 22 including longitudinal hand rails 24 secured thereto. Frame 12 is pivotally connected at 26 to upright lugs 27 on one end of a floor engaging base 28. An electric motor 30 is secured on a crosspiece 32 secured pivotally to the other end of the base 28 by end stub shafts 34. The motor 30 has a gearbox 36 mounted thereon the mechanism of which is driven by the output shaft of the motor. This gear mechanism drives an upright screw 38 comprising an end support for the treadmill capable of changing the angle of the treadmill.

The frame 12 of the treadmill has a pair of forwardly projecting side frame portions 40, best seen in FIG. 2, between which a frame member 42 is pivotally supported, as by means of stub shafts 44 integrated with the frame portions 40. The elevating screw 38 projects freely through the frame member 42 and has threaded engagement with a sleeve 46 integral with a frame extension 48 in turn integral with the frame member 42. A hub 50 has a key connection 52 on the shaft, FIG. 3, thus providing rotation of the hub with the shaft but permitting relative axial movement between the hub and shaft. The hub 50 has an integral pulley which drives a laterally extending belt 56 engageable with a pulley 58 keyed or otherwise secured on a shaft 60 journaled in a housing 62 secured to one forward frame portion 40. A worm gear 64 is secured on the shaft 60 within the housing 62 and is in mesh with a pinion gear 66 on a shaft 68 also journaled in the housing 62 and projecting both forwardly and rearwardly from the housing 62. FIG. 1, secured to the side of the bottom frame 12 of the treadmill. An upright output shaft 74 extends from the gear box 72 and is driven from a shaft 76 which comprises the shaft of the front roller 16. Gearbox 72 is of a well-known construction having arrangement of gearing and change speed construction such that upon selective rotative positioning of shaft 68 the gear ratio drive between the shaft 76 and the shaft 74 is varied. That is, the gearing and change speed mechanism of gearbox 72 and the operation of shaft 68 thereon is such that the rotative speed of shaft 74 in relation to the rotative speed of shaft 68 is increased proportionately as the treadmill is raised by screw 38. Mechanism 72 may comprise any type of ratio change mechanism or transmission and need not be a gearing arrangement as described. The upper end of shaft 74 comprises the drive shaft of an instrument 78 which shows work done. Such instrument is shown in FIG. 6 and is mounted in an instrument panel 80, also seen in FIG. 1, secured to the upright frame 22 of the treadmill. Instrument, 78 has a pointer 82 driven by the shaft 74 but capable of being set manually. This instrument has designations or calibrations 84, such as calory designations, which show the extent of exercise to be expended. In order to provide hand setting of the pointer 82 and yet provide a driving connection with the shaft 74, such pointer is connected to the said shaft by a friction clutch 86.

It is preferred that the designations 84 include a start position, namely a zero position, FIG. 6, and various other increments of work done. For example, FIG. 6 illustrates the instrument 78 divided into increments of 100 calories. The person exercising can set the pointer to the amount of calories which he wishes to expend, and when the pointer has returned to zero, he knows that the amount of work desired has been done. Preferably, the pointer is manually set in a counterclockwise direction, as designated by the arrow 88 in FIG. 6, and returns with the shaft 74 in a clockwise direction. The designations 84 may be in other types of units of work expended. For example, in FIG. 7 the instrument comprises an odometer, having distance designations 84' such as miles or fractions thereof. Pointer 82' of the instrument 78' is operated by the shaft 74 similar to the pointer 82 in the embodiment of FIG. 6.

In the operation of the device, the operator sets the pointer 82 or 82' to the desired position as determined by the extent of energy he wishes to expend. That is, the operator sets the pointer 82 to the amount of calories he wishes to expend. The speed of movement of the return pointer 82 is determined by the inclined position of the treadmill since as explained hereinbefore, the change speed gearbox 72 is arranged such that the shaft 68 controls the output speed of shaft 74 as determined by the tilt of the treadmill. The parts are arranged such that the more steeply that the treadmill is inclined the faster the speed of output shaft 74. In other words, the harder the operator works, the faster the return of pointer 82 will be and the quicker he will get done, the relationship of work done and return speed of the pointer 82 being empirically determined to provide substantially accurate results.

The forward end of shaft 68 which projects from housing 62, FIGS. 1 and 4, has a reversely turned pointer 90 integral therewith. Graduations 92 are provided on a block 94 secured to the housing 62 and the pointer 90 operates thereover. By means of pointer 90 and the graduations 92, the runner can determine the tilted position of the treadmill and thus can set the angle of tilt as desired.

The instrument panel 80 also includes a timer 96 having a pointer 98 associated with time designations 100 which may comprise minutes as an example.

The structure and operation of the electrical system is shown in the wiring diagram of FIG. 5. Referring in detail to such FIG., a pair of line wires 102 and 104 feed the system. One of the line wires has a master switch 106 for the system therein, such switch being located on the instrument panel 80, FIGS. 1 and 6. The treadmill operating motor 18 is connected into the line wires by suitable wires 107 and 108 and the treadmill elevating motor 30 is similarly connected into the line wires 102 and 104 by wires 110 and 112, the motor 30 being a reversible-type motor and having a reversing switch 114 in its circuit mounted on the instrument panel 80 for raising or lowering the treadmill.

The timer 96 is driven by an electric motor 116 connected to the line wires 102 and 104 by wires 118 and 120. It is preferred that the timer be of a construction such that it can be reset to its start position by the actuation of a button 122 thereon, as in common timer structure, and a solenoid 124 is included in the circuit having an operating plunger 126 arranged to engage the button and reset the timer upon closing of the circuit to the solenoid. The solenoid is connected in the circuit by wires 128 and 130, the latter wire being associated with control means for the solenoid 124. Such control means comprises a contact 132 at one terminal end of the wire 130 and a rotatable electrical connection 133 connected to the base of a switch arm 134 having a contact end 136 arranged for engagement with the contact 132. Contact arm 134 is secured to and rotates with the pointer 82. The circuit to the solenoid is thus closed upon engagement of the switch arm 134 with the contact 132 but as seen in FIG. 5 contact 132 is placed such that the circuit to the solenoid is not closed when the pointer 82 has returned to start or zero, assuming of course that the arm 134 is driven in return movement in a clockwise direction. Thus, the timer will not be reset unless the pointer 82 travels a small distance past the zero position or else the said pointer is rotated counterclockwise almost a full revolution to engage the contact 132. Although the system herein shown comprises an electric resetting of the timer, it is to be understood that such may be accomplished by mechanical connection between the pointer 82 and the timer.

In the use of the treadmill, the operator first closes the master switch 106. Such closes the circuit to the treadmill motor 18 and to the timer motor 116 and thus each of these motors is in continuous operation until the switch 106 is again opened. Switch 114 is operated to energize the motor 30 in the desired direction for raising or lowering the treadmill. The operator sets the pointer 82 on the instrument 72 to a position indicating the amount of exercise he wishes to expend. This is accomplished first by rotating the pointer counterclockwise to a point to cause engagement of contact 136 with contact 132 for resetting the timer 96 and then returning the pointer to the position desired. The operator can then step on the treadmill and commence his exercise. The rate at which the pointer 82 returns is dependent upon the degree of difficulty of the exercise, i.e., such rate of return of said pointer depends upon the angle of tilt of the treadmill. As explained hereinbefore, such return of the pointer is controlled by the speed of output shaft 74 and the speed of shaft 74 is controlled by the speed setting of gearbox 72 as determined by the elevation of the one end of the treadmill. The gear ratio is such that when the treadmill is in a down or level position, the instrument 78 shows true lineal travel of the belt 14.

FIGS. 8, 9 and 10 show a second embodiment of the invention, wherein the principles thereof are applied to a rowing machine 140. Only the primary elements of such rowing machine are illustrated since such machines are of conventional construction. For the purpose of illustration, such rowing machines have a base frame 142, a seat 144 slidable longitudinally on the frame, outrigger frames 146 on the frame 142, and oars or arms 148 pivotally connected to the outriggers by pivot means 150. It is desired that the work required to pivot the arms 148 be varied, and for this purpose fluid cylinders 152 have plunger 154 operative therein which are integrated with rods 156. Cylinders 152 are secured to the outriggers 146 by suitable brackets 158, and the rods 156 have a pivot connection 160 with respective arms 148. Conduits 162 lead from one end of the cylinders 152 and conduits 164 lead from the opposite ends of said cylinders, the two conduits 162 and 164 leading through a valve 166 which as is apparent in FIG. 10 controls the flow between conduits 162 and 164. FIG. 10 shows the valve in fully open position wherein fluid can flow freely through the valve with a minimum of resistance; however, if the valve is rotated it is apparent that the inlet of fluid from conduits 162 is restricted an amount depending upon the position of the valve core, the two inlets for conduits 162 having symmetrical association with the core for equal control of the oars.

According to the present invention means are associated with the valve 166 which upon setting of the valve changes the return speed of exercise indicating means. More particularly, an instrument panel 168 is secured to the frame 142 and has a timer 170, exercise indicating means 172 such as an odometer or calorie measuring instrument, and adjustable control means 174 for varying the degree of difficulty of the exercise. The adjustable control means 174 comprises a shaft 176, FIG. 9, which leads upwardly from the core of valve 166 and which is rotatable therewith. The shaft projects through the instrument panel 168 and has an operating knob 178 at its upper end associated with graduation marks 180 on the instrument panel. Secured to the shaft 176 and rotatable therewith is an arm 182 connected at its outer end to one end of a flexible shaft 184 extending at its other end into a gearbox 186. Gearbox 186 has an input shaft 188 having a pinion gear 190 secured thereto and engaged by a rack 192 having a pivot connection 194 at one end with one of the arms 148 and having slidable movement through a guide 195. Rack 192 is adapted to drive the shaft 188 in one direction only, namely in the strike direction of the oars. The output of gearbox 186 comprises a flexible shaft 196 which extends to and drives the odometer 172.

The gearbox 186 is thus driven by the rack 192 upon reciprocating movement of the one arm 148 and the output from such gearbox drives the odometer. The flexible shaft 184 connected to the adjustable control means 174 is arranged to change the gear ratio of the gearbox such that upon selected positioning of the knob 178 with the valve 166 the output of the gearbox 186 is varied. The parts are connected and arranged such that as the valve is adjusted to make the oars harder to pull, the ratio of the gearbox is changed to increase the output of speed of the shaft 196. Thus, even though the oars are operated at the same rate of speed the odometer returns proportionately faster as the degree of difficulty of exercise increases. The graduations 180 show set positions of the knob 178 for controlled operation. The timer 170 of the FIG. 8 embodiment may be mechanically or electrically driven and may be resettable by means similar to that shown in FIG. 5. The odometer has a slip clutch connection 186 with its shaft.

FIGS. 11 and 12 show still another application of the present invention wherein it may be associated with an exercise machine in the form of a pedaling apparatus 200. Such machine comprises a frame 202 supported on legs 204, a seat 206 and a handlebar assembly 208. Such machines have bicycle pedals 210 which operate a sprocket wheel 212 engaged by a sprocket chain 214 driving a rearwardly disposed sprocket wheel 216. Sprocket wheel 216 drives a shaft 218 which operates a brake 220 for controlling the degree of difficulty of the sprocket rotation. Such brake is well known in the art and is operated by a lever 224 pivotally connected at one of its ends to the frame at 226 and pivotally connected at its other end to an adjusting handle 228 movable through the frame 202 to different positions for adjusting the braking effect on the sprocket wheel 216. Adjusting handle 228 has setting indicia 230 thereon for positioning the handle to a selected position of braking.

Sprocket shaft 218 is connected into a gear box 232 having an output shaft 234 which drives an odometer or other exercise indicating means 236 on an instrument panel 238 secured to the handlebar assembly 208. Instrument panel 238 also has a timer 240, and the structure of such timer and odometer as well as the drive means for the latter are of similar operation and structure to that illustrated in the previous embodiments. Handle 228 is pivotally connected at its inner end to a lever 244 which comprises a shaft lever for the gearbox and the parts are arranged such that as the adjusting handle 228 is moved inwardly to increase the resistance of rotation to the sprocket wheel 216 the gear ratio is stepped up to increase the speed of shaft 234 and thus the return speed of odometer 236. Thus, the more difficult the exercise the faster the return of the exercise indicating means 236 as in other embodiments.

FIG. 13 illustrates an embodiment wherein the exercise indicating means may be totally electrical in that the instrument which shows the amount of exercise to be expended comprises a milliammeter 246 and the operating structure therefor comprises a potentiometer 248. The circuit is similar to the circuit shown in FIG. 5 to the extent that it has line wires 102 and 104, circuit wires 107 and 108 for the motor 18, circuit wires 110 and 112 for the motor 30, a reversing switch 114 in the circuit to motor 30, a motor 116 for driving the timer 96, circuit wires 118 and 120 for the timer motor, a timer reset button 122, a solenoid 124 which operates the timer reset button by means of its plunger 126, circuit wires 128 and 130 for the solenoid, and the solenoid operating contact 132.

The circuit of FIG. 13, similar to FIG. 5, also has a switch arm 250 having a contact end 252 which is engageable with the contact 132 for resetting the timer. The milliammeter and potentiometer are in series circuit with the lines 102 and 104 comprising wires 254 and 256. The shaft on which arm 250 is mounted comprises the driven shaft from the exercise machine, such as the shaft 74 of FIG. 1, or the shafts 196 and 234 of FIGS. 8 and 12, respectively, and it is apparent that with a setting of the arm 250 on the potentiometer 248 a reading of resistance will appear on the milliammeter 246. Thus, such electrical components have been adapted to the present purpose wherein the milliammeter which will show the amount of work to be completed will have a reading depending upon the position of arm 250. As the arm 250 returns, the milliammeter will designate exercise accomplished the same as a mechanical connection. Contact 132 is provided on the far side of the start or set position of the potentiometer whereby when the system is set up for exercise the arm 250 must be turned counterclockwise an amount sufficient to engage the contact 132 to energize the solenoid and thus reset the timer. After the timer has been reset, the potentiometer is positioned to the amount of exercise desired. The milliammeter readings may comprise distance or calories, or any other appropriate exercise indicating means.

The circuit of FIG. 13 includes a signal 258 which may be in the form of a bell arranged to ring when the exercise has been completed. For this purpose, the bell is in a circuit having a wire 260 connected to wire 256 and a wire 262 terminating in a contact 264 adjacent to the start position and arranged such that when the arm 250 has returned to a start position, the contact end 252 completes a circuit to the bell and the bell will sound until the master switch 106 is opened.

According to the present invention there is provided in combination with means for indicating an amount of exercise accomplished means to vary the speed of such indicating means in proportion to the degree of difficulty of exercise. By such means, the operator can perform a given amount of exercise in a lesser time by increasing the difficulty of the exercise, the indicating means showing the extent of exercise accomplished as the latter progresses.

It is to be understood that the forms of our invention herein shown and described are to be taken as preferred examples of the same and that various changes in the shape, size and arrangement of parts may be resorted to without departing from the spirit of our invention.