United States Patent 3658327

A collapsible exercise device includes a pair of deck portions selectably disposed in extended end-to-end relation for use, and which may be stored or shipped in adjacent relation. One end of the extended deck is supportable on the ground or floor with the opposite end thereof detachably engaging a selectable rung of a support ladder. A carriage travels along rails on the extended deck, and the carriage is movable with respect to the deck by means of pulleys connected thereto.

Application Number:
Publication Date:
Filing Date:
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
182/116, 238/10R, 482/133
International Classes:
A63B21/068; A63B21/00; (IPC1-7): A63B23/02; A63B23/00; A63B23/04
Field of Search:
View Patent Images:
US Patent References:
3446503PULL TYPE EXERCISING DEVICE1969-05-27Lawton
3010720Exercise rack1961-11-28Allard
2924456Exercising machines1960-02-09Miller
2825563Exercising machine1958-03-04Lawton
2783045Push and pull exerciser1957-02-26Bosch

Foreign References:
Primary Examiner:
Pinkham, Richard C.
Assistant Examiner:
Browne, William R.
Parent Case Data:

This application is a continuation in part of applicant Ser. No. 864,771, filed Oct. 8, 1969 and since abandoned.
What is claimed is

1. An exercise device comprising,

2. The device according to claim 1 further including,

3. The device according to claim 1 wherein,

4. The device according to claim 1 provided with hinges comprising,

5. The device according to claim 1 wherein,

6. The device according to claim 1 wherein,

7. The device according to claim 1 wherein,

8. The device according to claim 1 wherein,

9. The device according to claim 1 further including,

10. An exercise device according to claim 1 wherein,

11. An exercise device according to claim 10 which comprises,

12. An exercise device according to claim 1 wherein,


Various available in-place exercise machines are designed to provide beneficial exercise to different muscles of the body. One example is a rowing machine having frictionally restrained oars. Another machine comprises a weight and pulley apparatus attached to the wall, wherein the individual exercising grasps handles connected with lines for moving the weights. Other machines in this general category will occur to those familiar with the art. The major disadvantage with most apparatus of this type is the permanency of the installation generally required. The equipment is usually heavy and cumbersome and likely to be quite expensive in initial cost and installation. If weights are involved, these weights necessarily add to the expense, size, permanency, and overall weight of the device. Apparatus has been proposed previously by means of which an individual pulls or rows against his own weight for avoiding a permanent installation on a wall, floor, or the like. However, most apparatus heretofore proposed is still inclined to be very heavy and cumbersome, and is not of a size, shape, or weight which one usually associated with being portable.


According to the present invention, an exercise device comprises a pair of light weight deck portions which together form a substantially reinforced deck. The deck portions are either hinged together or are detachably joined together employing reinforcing structural members disposed in aligned sockets in the deck portions. In the case of a hinged construction, the hinge axis is located at a distance from the surface of the deck so as to provide enhanced structural support for the deck in its extended relation. The resulting deck is provided with slots engageable with rungs of a support ladder whereby the deck may be inclined at a predetermined angle. The deck portions are suitably of channel-shaped, molded plastic or metal construction having aligned rail portions along which a light weight molded plastic or metal carriage is adapted to travel. The carriage and extended deck are interconnected by pulley means whereby a person, supported on the carriage, can move himself along the inclined deck, pulling against the weight of this own body. Innumerable exercises are possible with this device, as determined by the relation of the user's body with the apparatus. The device is quite portable, is of low weight, and can easily be shipped or stored. The deck portions are foldable into adjacent relation, and the aforementioned support ladder is also collapsible into a generally flat configuration. Together with a relatively short carriage, these components together form a relatively short, flat, low weight package for transporting or storage without difficulty.

It is accordingly an object of the present invention to provide an improved exercise device of low weight and collapsible construction by means of which a relatively large number of body exercises may be performed.

It is a further object of the present invention to provide an improved exercise device of maximum versatility, minimum weight and expense, and which requires no permanent installation, but which can be easily transported from place to place.

It is another object of the present invention to provide an improved exercise device wherein an individual exerts muscle force against the weight of his own body by pulling or otherwise propelling his body along an inclined deck on a carriage mechanism, wherein said exercise device is portable in nature, being easily collapsible for shipment or storage.

The subject matter which I regard as my invention is particularly pointed out and distinctly claimed in the concluding portion of this specification. The invention, however, both as to organization and method of operation, together with further advantages and objects thereof, may best be understood by reference to the following description taken in connection with the accompanying drawings wherein like reference characters refer to like elements.


FIG. 1 is a perspective view of an exercise device according to the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of a first and second deck portions of the FIG. 1 device in folded together relation;

FIG. 3 is a detail drawing of a line and pulley system forming a part of the exercise device of the present invention;

FIG. 4 is a toe strap employed with the present invention;

FIG. 5 is a perspective drawing of a support ladder forming a part of the exercise device according to the present invention;

FIG. 6 is a detail drawing of a portion of FIG. 5 supported ladder;

FIG. 7 is a plan view of a deck portion according to the present invention;

FIG. 8 is a side view of the FIG. 7 deck portion;

FIG. 9 is a cross-sectional view of a deck portion according to the present invention taken at 9--9 in FIG. 8;

FIG. 10 is an endview of a deck portion according to the present invention taken at 10--10 in FIG. 8;

FIG. 11 is a cross-sectional view taken at 11--11 in FIG. 9;

FIG. 12 is a partial lower view of the aforementioned deck portion taken at 12--12 in FIG. 11;

FIG. 13 is a side view of hingedly connected deck portions according to the present invention;

FIG. 14 is an underneath view of the FIG. 13 hinged connection, looking upward in FIG. 13;

FIG. 15 is a partial side view of the extended deck according to the present invention provided with a traveling carriage thereupon;

FIG. 16 is a top view of a cushion for the carriage according to the present invention;

FIG. 17 is a partially broken away edge view of the FIG. 16 cushion;

FIG. 18 is an end view of the carriage according to the present invention;

FIG. 19 is a cross-sectional view of a carriage and deck according to the present invention taken at 19--19 in FIG. 15;

FIG. 20 is a longitudinal cross-sectional view of a carriage and deck according to the present invention with the carriage engaging a deck bumper;

FIG. 21 illustrates a foot bar which may be employed with the present exercise device;

FIG. 22 is a partial cross-sectional view of an alternate deck construction according to the present invention;

FIG. 23 is a detail of the FIG. 22 construction taken at 23--23 in FIG. 22; FIG. 24 is a perspective view similar to FIG. 1, of a modified exercise device embodying the invention;

FIG. 25 is an enlarged fragmentary view of a hinge arrangement constituting a part of the FIG. 24 structure;

FIG. 26 is another enlarged fragmentary view, taken along line 26--26 of FIG. 24; and

FIG. 27 is an enlarged sectional view of a hinge arrangement of the support ladder taken along line 27--27 of FIG. 24.


Referring to the drawings, the exercise device according to the present invention comprises a deck formed of a pair of light weight, extensible deck portions 10 and 12, which are hinged together in the embodiment of FIG. 1 through 21. When not in use, the deck portions may be folded together as illustrated in FIG. 2 as for shipping, storage, and the like. The deck portions 10 and 12 are desirably identical and may be molded from fiber glass plastic material or the like to provide a generally flat overall top shape or may be formed of light weight pressed aluminum. Although flat in general, the deck portions are individually contoured or channeled for reinforcing purposes and for providing rail portions upon which a movable carriage may travel. Thus, deck portion 10 is indented or dished out in channel fashion toward its hinged end form it opposite end as illustrated at 14 in FIG. 2, and is also channeled to provide upraised side rails 16 and 18. The side rails are straight except for additionally upraised bumpers 22 at the non-hinged end of the deck portion. The elements of deck portion 12 are substantially identical to those of deck portion 10 and referred to herein employing primed reference numerals.

Hinge 24, best illustrated in FIGS. 13 and 14, includes an axle pin 26 engaging both deck portions 10 and 12, wherein the axis of the pin 26 is disposed below the rail portions 18 and 16' in FIG. 13, and preferably below the longitudinal center line of deck portions 10 and 12 with the deck portions extended in unfolded and aligned relation. In particular, the hinge axis is located at the lower edge of the deck, and the deck portions are thicker, that is their sides are wider, toward the hinge location to place the hinge axis at a distance from the rail portions. The deck portions 10 and 12 include end walls 28 and 30, respectively, which disposed in abutting relation when the deck portions are unfolded, whereby the structural construction comprising hinge 24 and end walls 28, 30 may hold the deck portions in aligned and rigid relation in truss fashion as illustrated in FIGS. 1 and 13 even through the deck is upraised from a flat supporting surface.

End wall 28 and end wall 30 are provided with interlocking male and female aligning extensions, 60 and 62 respectively, which additionally engage when the deck members are in their extended position. These members are employed for aligning rail portions 16, 18', 16', 18 and for additional reinforcement.

Deck portion side walls, for example, side wall 32 of deck portion 10, cooperate with pin 26 to form a part of hinge 24. Sidewall 32 extends downwardly at the location of the hinge and somewhat beyond end wall 28 to provide a first hinge tap 34 which apertured to provide a bearing for pin 26. Tab 34 increases in thickness at this point and is suitably rounded. An inner hinge tap 36 similarly extends from side wall 32 at a point farther from end wall 28 and is also apertured for journaling shaft 26. Also, similar tabs 38 and 40 extend from side wall 42 of deck portion 12 and are apertured for journaling pin 26. Tabs 38 and 40 are interleaved with tabs 34 and 36 as illustrated in FIG. 14 for maximum support strength. The deck portions 10 and 12 are substantial duplicates of one another in the hinge area, with each of these end portions having a construction exemplified by tabs 34 and 36 on one side thereof and a construction exemplified by tabs 38 and 40 on the other side thereof. Then, when the deck portions are placed in end to end relation, with the rail portions 16, 18, 16', 18' thus reversed with respect to one another, it is seen that a hinged relation such as illustrated in FIG. 14 will always result. The hinges 24 here provide means for complementarily joining the deck portions together.

Each of the deck portions is provided with transverse slots 44 at the end thereof opposite the hinge. As will hereinafter become more evident, these slots are employed for engaging the complete deck at one end thereof for upraising the same. The deck portions are also provided with longitudinal sockets 46 at either side thereof at the end opposite the hinged end. A foot bar 48 as illustrated in FIG. 21 may be secured to the deck portion with the legs 52 and 54 of bar 48 inserted into sockets 46. The same ends of the deck portions are also provided with a boss 56 at either side thereof having a hole 58 for receiving pulley eyebolts for purposes hereinafter described.

The deck in extended or unfolded position is supportable at one end thereof on the ground or floor, while the opposite end thereof is supportable upon a ladder 64 illustrated in FIGS. 1, 5 and 6. This support ladder is hinged at points 66 so the same may be collapsed for shipping or storage. The support ladder comprises a front ladder frame 68 and a rear ladder frame 70 which are angularly related with respect to each other and with respect to the vertical when unfolded and supported on the ground or floor in step ladder fashion as illustrated in FIG. 5. The sides of frame 68 extend to a peak and are then turned downwardly to the location of hinges 66. The ladder frames are formed of tubular members, with frame 70 fitting within frame 68 at the location of hinges 66, whereby, when the ladder is unfolded, the tubular construction of frame 68 prevents frame 70 from unfolding further than illustrated in FIG. 5. Ladder frame 68 includes horizontal rungs 72, while frame 70 includes a single reinforcing rung 74 at the lower end thereof. Rungs 72 are spaced along frame 68 in ladder fashion and may be selectively employed for supporting one end of the unfolded deck as illustrated in FIG. 1. Thus, the deck 10, 12 is angularly supported with slots 44 engaging a selected rung 72 for procuring a desired degree of slant.

The exercise device according to the present invention also includes a demountable carriage 76 provided with nylon rollers 78 for engaging deck rail portions 16, 18', and 16' and 18 which are properly aligned with the deck in the unfolded position. The shafts of rollers 78 are supported in matching apertures in sides 80 of carriages 76 and downward extensions 82 which protrude downwardly from the top of the carriage. Carriage 76 is substantially flat in overall construction, but is contoured by means of reinforcing corrugations 84 for enhancing the rigidity thereof. The carriage includes edge rails 86 within which a cushion 88 is located, this cushion suitably being formed of upholstered material attached to a three-sixteenth inch masonite back which is accommodated within rails 86 upon the upper face of carriage 76. For clarity of illustration, the cushion is not shown specifically mounted upon the carriage except in FIG. 18. Rubber stops 85 (FIG. 20) are provided at least at the lower carriage end for engaging bumpers 22, the latter forming the lower limit for carriage movement.

Carriage 76 is provided at its upper end with a strap 90 to which lines 92 and 94 are attached. (See FIG. 3) Each of these lines passes through a pulley 96 attached to an eye bolt 98 which is secured in a hole 50 of boss 56 in deck portion 12. After passing through a pulley 96, each of the lines extends back toward the carriage where handles 100 are connected at the line ends. These handles are grasped by a person 102 supported upon carriage 76 for operating the exercising device of the present invention. A tow strap 104, provided with clips 106 at either end, is also suitably connected between eye bolts 98.

The general use of the exercise device according to the present invention is exemplified by FIG. 1. With the extended deck 10, 12 placed in hooked relation with one of the rungs 64, person 102 moves his own weight on carriage 76 up the rails of the exercise board. Thus, he may grasp handles 100 pulling them backward for moving the carriage 76 up the plane of the deck. Alternatively, exertion may be expended against foot bar 48 for moving the carriage 76 up the incline, for example, with one's feet placed against foot bar 48. Sit-ups can be performed employing toe strap 104, at which time, of course, the exerciser inserts his heet under such toe strap. Different exercises can be accomplished with the individual facing either ladder 64 or foot bar 48, in a sitting, kneeling, or lying position on one's back or stomach. Innumerable exercises are made possible by the present device for developing the arms, abdominal regions, legs, etc.

The present invention is based upon the principles of dynamic tension, using the body weight as the substance of resistance against which the muscles are exerted. By hooking the deck on different rungs of the ladder, the force required to move the body weight can be adjusted. The rung setting on the ladder can be such that an exercise is not too strenuous, but is correct for the individual involved. The deck may be nearly level, and is useful in therapeutic rehabilitation of people suffering from accidents or sickness. The device may be adjusted so that even an incapacitated person can exercise to a limited degree.

Many exercises are accomplished with the present device while one is in a sitting or prone position. This has an advantage over many exercise regimes in that no energy is required to maintain balance. All the needed energy is concentrated on the exact muscles that one is trying to strengthen, develop, or contour. There is less exertion on the heart muscles because, in the relaxed position, the heart has no additional burden in forcing the blood to upraised extremities.

An alternative construction for joining deck portions of the exercise device according to the present invention is illustrated in FIGS. 22 and 23. Here, deck portions 10' and 12' are substantially flat except for rail portions 112 and 118, respectively, at the sides thereof. Although only one side is illustrated In FIGS. 22 and 23, it is understood that the remaining side is substantially identical. The rail portions comprise closed channels, suitably rectangular in cross section, providing a rectangular inner socket 110 in the case of rail portion 112, and socket 116 in the case of rail portion 118, for receiving a structural member 120. Structural member 120 is suitably an aluminum bar of rectangular cross section closely received within sockets 110 and 116 for rigidly joining the deck portions 10' and 12' together in end-to-end relation. For collapsing the exercise device, the deck portions are pulled apart longitudinally. The structural members 120 may be either removed, or left in the sockets of one or the other of the deck portions. As in the previous embodiment, a carriage, here numbered 76', travels along rail portions 112 and 118 upon nylon rollers 78'. This embodiment corresponds to the previous embodiment in respect to the use thereof for exercising purposes.

A yet lighter and simpler structure constituting a third embodiment of the invention is shown in FIGS. 24 through 27. With initial reference to FIG. 24, both deck portions 130, 132 take the form of open tubular frames formed of aluminum or other metallic tubing having relatively light weight characteristics. More particularly, the lower deck portion 130 is formed by a single piece of appropriately bent tubing of generally U-shaped configuration, the lowermost end being bent upwardly to form a transversely extending foot bar 134. Adjacent the open end of the U, a tubular cross-brace 136 is welded between the tubular legs to add rigidity to the structure without the necessity of a central planar deck portion as in the other embodiments of the invention. Thus, weight is minimized.

The extremities of the tubular leg portions of the U-shaped lower deck portion 130 are bent downwardly and flattened and provided with an opening for reception of a hinge pin 138, as best shown in FIG. 25, which pin also passes trough an aligned opening in the downwardly bent and flattened end portion of the adjacent extremity of one of the two tubular legs forming the upper deck portion 132 of the apparatus. The legs of the deck portion 132 are joined by a cross-brace 140 closely adjacent the hinge and are joined by eye bolts 143 adjacent their upper remote extremities to the transversely bent portion 142 formed integrally with tubular side rails 144 to be described hereinafter. The extremities of the two legs of the upper deck portion are each flattened and bent downwardly to form a hook 146 arranged to provide support on one rung 147 of the support ladder 148 to be described hereinafter, and as best shown in FIG. 26.

From the integral transversely bent portion 142, the tubular side rails 144 extend over the top of the deck forming tubular legs and are welded thereto at intervals, each tubular side rail terminating above the described hinge pin 138, as clearly shown in FIG. 25. Similar tubular side rails 150 are welded along the top of the tubular legs of the lower deck portion 130 and accordingly are in substantially alignment with the side rails 144 when the deck portions 130, 132 are brought to their extended operative disposition illustrated in FIG. 24 and in full lines in FIG. 25. To assure precise rail alignment, an alignment member in the from of a short cylindrical metal plug 152 is pressed into each side rail 150 and an integral shoulder 154 of the same exterior diameter as the tubular side rails 144, 150 is interposed between their extremities. In turn, a conical extension 156 of the plug is inserted into the open end of the adjacent side rail 144 thus to accomplish the alignment function but at the same time permit its withdrawal when the deck portions 130, 132 are pivoted about the hinge pin 138 to their parallel collapsed, folded disposition indicated in phantom lines in FIG. 25.

Reverting to FIG. 24, the side rails 144, 150 are engaged by concave rollers 158 under the four corners of a flat carriage 160 which corresponds otherwise to the carriages of the first and second embodiments of the invention. Lines 162 are connected to such carriage 160 and extend through the eye-bolts 143 and thence return for connection to handles 164 at their extremities. Operation is the same as the other embodiments of the invention so it will not be repeated.

The support ladder 148 includes a plurality of rungs 147 on one section 166 which join straight tubular frame members 168 pivotally joined at their upper extremities by a pivot pin 170 bridging the interior side walls of a cap 172 whose end walls are angularly disposed to restrict the pivotal outward movement of the frame members 168 through abutting contact indicated at 174 in fIG. 27. The other section 176 of the ladder 148 includes upright frame members 178 which are similarly pivotally joined to the cap 172 by another pivot pin 170 and similarly restricted in the amount of its pivotal opening. The lower end of the frame members 178 is joined by an integral transverse section 182 to add rigidity while retaining the desired light weight characteristics of the structure. Furthermore, the described pivot arrangement permits the ladder 148 to be folded to a flattened collapsed form as indicated in phantom lines in FIG. 27, thus to minimize requisite storage area.

In the case of either embodiment, the exercise device according to the present invention is readily collapsible for shipping, storage, or movement from place to place in the owner's home or gymnasium. The deck portions may be collapsed and suitably disposed in adjacent relation as illustrated in FIG. 2. The pulley system is disengaged, and the carriage, which is suitably about the same length as one of the deck portions, is placed in juxtaposition therewith. The ladder is also of similar width and is completely collapsible whereby it may be placed adjacent the foregoing mentioned members to provide a flat package which is easily received within a flat container for shipping or storage purposes. In a particular constructed embodiment, each of the deck portions was approximately 44 inches in length, thus establishing the total length of the overall container at slightly more than 44 inches. When the deck portions are extended end-to-end for use, the overall length is suitably appreciably longer than the height of a human being, but is shown to be collapsible into a package of much shorter length for easy transport by a human being.

While I have shown and described embodiments of my invention, it will be apparent to those skilled in the art that many changes and modifications may be made without departing from my invention in its broader aspects.