Title:
ADJUSTABLE FRICTION TYPE EXERCISING DEVICE
United States Patent 3759511


Abstract:
A device for exercising the muscles of the legs, which simulates the striding movement which occurs during actual running. A body support frame is provided having a pair of foot engaging pendulum arms mounted thereon for movement through predetermined arcuate paths of travel with an adjustable friction developing mechanism being operatively associated with an arcuate sector to offer resistance to movements of the arms. The device offers substantially a constant resistive force throughout the entire range of thrust movement during extension of a user's leg and provides substantially unrestricted leg movement in the opposite direction during retraction of a user's leg.



Inventors:
Zinkin, De Wayne (Sacramento, CA)
Coker, Cliff J. (Huntington Beach, CA)
Gustafson, Kenneth A. (Villa Park, CA)
Application Number:
05/128982
Publication Date:
09/18/1973
Filing Date:
03/29/1971
Assignee:
GUSTAFSON K,US
DE WAYNE ZINKIN,US
COKER C,US
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
297/423.1, 482/63, 482/115, 482/142
International Classes:
A63B21/015; A63B23/04; A63B23/035; (IPC1-7): A63B23/04
Field of Search:
272/26,58,69,71,73,79R,80,DIG
View Patent Images:
US Patent References:
3572699BICYCLE EXERCISER WITH INTERCONNECTED HAND AND FOOT PEDALS1971-03-30Nies
3528653ROWING MACHINE AND BRAKE UNIT THEREFOR1970-09-15Stuckenschneider
3259385Portable exercising device1966-07-05Boren
3216722Exercise machine1965-11-09Odom
3103357Resistance exercising apparatus1963-09-10Berne
3074716Swimming instructing machine and exerciser1963-01-22Mitchel et al.
1902694Gymnastic apparatus1933-03-21Edwards
0326247N/A1885-09-15



Primary Examiner:
Pinkham, Richard C.
Assistant Examiner:
Browne, William R.
Claims:
Having described our invention, what we claim as new and desire to secure by Letters Patent is

1. An exercising device comprising:

2. The device of claim 1, wherein said confining means includes a pair of depending arms supported for independent oscillation about said axis.

3. The device of claim 2, wherein said restraining means includes unidirectional force dissipating means for dissipating said thrusting forces.

4. The device of claim 2, wherein said confining means further includes a pair of stirrups for separately securing a user's feet to the distal end portions of said pair of arms.

5. The device of claim 4, wherein said support means is disposed forwardly and above said stirrups so that the instantaneous included angle defined by a line extended from the hips to the feet of the user and thence to the axis about which the arms are oscillated is an acute angle.

6. The device of claim 2, wherein said support means includes a support pad for said torso inclined from horizontal at approximately 60° and a pair of upright handles fixed forwardly of said plate and adapted to be grasped by the user.

7. The device of claim 6, wherein said support pad includes a pivotal portion adapted to be pivoted in a vertical plane about a horizontal axis.

8. The device of claim 2, wherein said support means includes a support pad for said torso inclined from the horizontal.

9. The device of claim 2, wherein said support means includes a pair of rigidly supported handles adapted to be grasped by the user.

Description:
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

The benefits of participating in a regular exercise program in order to maintain good hea th and improve muscle tone are well-known. Jogging is becoming an increasingly popular form of exercise to strengthen the muscles of the body, particularly in the legs. Of course, when jogging, one extends and lifts each of his legs in an alternating fashion. When extending one's legs, there is a distinct tendency to stress a group of muscles frequently referred to as the extensor muscles, while in lifting one's legs, there is a tendency to stress an opposed muscle group, known as the flexor muscles. Included in the extensor muscle group are the muscles identified as gluteus muscles. medium and maximus, sartoris, rectus femoris, vastus intermedius, vastus latralis, gastrocnemius, and soleus, while within the flexor muscle group there is included the tensor fascia lata, biceps femoris, semitendinous, semimembranousus, and tibialis anterior muscles. Thus, that through running or jogging, the extensor and flexor muscles are cyclically stressed in an alternating fashion. Outdoor jogging is not always possible because of adverse weather conditions, limitations on time or lack of sapce in the more crowded urban areas. This is a particularly onerous problem during travel in outer space with the increased duration of such space flights. Furthermore, it is contemplated that the occupants of the proposed space platforms may spend months and even years in an environment where normal exercise such as running is not possible. Under such conditions where running cannot be conveniently accomplished, many people merely run in place indoors which, although better than no exercise at all, does not precisely simulate actual running. The substantially straight, vertical movement of the legs produces a detrimental impact shock upwardly through the legs and throughout the entire body and does not permit any desirable stretching of the leg muscles which normally occurs with the striding movement during actual running. The preferred running exercise, however, can only be accomplished by relatively healthy people and is, of course, impossible for many persons having some type of muscle damage, disease, atrophy, or the like which frequently can be improved by a therapeutically graded exercise program. No exercise device presently available is capable of permitting the user precisely to duplicate the striding movements of natural running or precisely to vary the amount of resistance imposed upon the legs during such movement. Accordingly, none of the prior devices is adapted for universal use over the varied and wide range of exercise programs attainable with the device of the present invention.

Conventional leg exercise devices are generally of two types, the first of which is commonly known as a leg press which employs weights to provide a resistive force during repetitive extensions of the legs. These devices do not even attempt to simulate leg movement during running and, while weights can be added or subtracted, the geometry of the connecting linkage between the user and the weights is usually such that the force imposed upon the user varies somewhat from the beginning of the stroke or press to near the end thereof. Furthermore, the weights are gravity-returned which imposes an additional force on the user's legs unlike running wherein during upward retraction of the legs there is no force imposed thereon other than their own weight. Because of the weight problem, such devices cannot be used in space travel vehicles and are, of course, completely useless in the non-gravitational environment encountered in space. Other types of leg exercise devices generally include bicycle and treadmills that attempt to simulate normal leg movement during running. Bicycle pedaling, however, only involves a substantially vertical movement of the legs similar to running in place while treadmills afford only a substantially linear shuffling movement and are unable to supply the usual resistance encountered during actual running. Therefore, the various devices heretofore employed in exercising the legs do not cause the extensor and flexor muscle groups to be stressed in a manner which duplicates the stressing of these muscles encountered when running or jogging.

Accordingly, it is the purpose of the instant invention to provide an exercising device which can be employed for stressing the major leg muscle groups in a manner consistent with the manner in which they are stressed when performing an act of running or jogging.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

Accordingly, it is an object of the present invention to provide an improved exercise device.

Another object is to provide such an improved exercise device which is particularly adapted for use in exercising the muscles of the legs.

Another object is to provide an exercise device of the character described which is versatile and readily adapted for virtually all exercise programs involving the legs.

Another object is to provide an improved exercise device which substantially simulates the striding movement occurring during running.

Another object is to provide an improved exercise device which is capable of precisely adjusting the resistance imposed upon the legs of the user during such striding movement without the use of weights.

Another object is to provide an improved exercise device in which the resistance imposed upon the legs of the user is substantially constant throughout the entire range of leg movement.

Another object is to provide an improved exercise device which utilizes a body support frame on which the user can assume a forwardly inclined position to simulate the attitude of the body when running.

Another object is to provide an improved exercise device which may be quickly and conveniently converted to support the body of the user in a seated position.

Another object is to provide an improved exercise device which is safe, convenient in use, and which may be economically manufactured.

Other objects and advantages of the present invention will subsequently become more clearly apparent upon reference to the following description and accompanying drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of an exercise device embodying the principles of the present invention with the body of a user disposed thereon in a forwardly inclined dashed-line position.

FIG. 2 is a side elevation of the exercise device of FIG. 1 with the user shown in an alternate dashed-line sitting position.

FIG. 3 is a top plan view of the exercise device of the present invention.

FIG. 4 is a transverse vertical section through the exercise device, taken on line 4--4 of FIG. 2.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

Referring more particularly to the drawings, an exercise device embodying the principles of the present invention provides a body support frame generally indicated by the reference numeral 10 which is adapted to be rested upon any suitable substantially flat support surface such as a floor 11 in a gymnasium or other exercise room. A user 12 employing the exercise device of the present invention is shown in dashed lines in a forwardly inclined position in FIG. 1 simulating the attitude of the user's body when running and in a seated position in FIG. 2. The exercise device is quickly and conveniently converted for use in either position with substantially no modification of the structure.

The body support frame 10 is constructed of a plurality of elongated tubular bars of substantially rigid lightweight metal material such as aluminum or the like although it is apparent that any suitable rigid material of other configurations such as round tubing or the like can be employed. The frame includes a pair of spaced substantially parallel uprights 16 and 17 respectively disposed at a head end 18 and a foot end 20 of the frame. The uprights provide lower ends 22 and 23, respectively, which are individually secured, as by welding or the like, in upstanding relation from a pair of base members 25 which are disposed in spaced substantially parallel relation and have spaced lower pads or glides 26 secured thereto for engagement with the floor 11. The upright 16 at the head end 18 of the frame 10 has an upper end 28 cut at an angle of approximately 30° from the horizontal. The upright 17 at the foot end 20 of the frame has an upper end 30 which is displaced toward the upright 16 from the main body portion of the upright by an upper bent section 32 which is disposed at an angle of approximately 45° from the horizontal. The uprights are rigidly interconnected by an elongated tie bar 35 which is secured at its ends to the uprights as by welding, bolting or the like in a substantially horizontal position in closely spaced adjacent relation to the base members 25.

A bicycle-type handlebar assembly 40 is disposed at the head end 18 of the body support frame 10 and includes a pair of spaced upturned handle grips 42 which are connected through a continuous bar 43 having a bight portion 44. A mounting flange 46 is secured to the bight portion 44 of the bar and is rigidly secured to the upright 16 substantially intermediate its ends by a pair of mounting bolts 47 or the like.

An elongated substantially flat rectangular plate 50 is secured to the upper end 28 of the upright 16, as by welding, on which is disposed an elongated, substantially rectangular chest engaging body support pad 52. The pad has a relatively soft upper surface 53 which is adapted to engage the chest of the upper torso portion of the user 12 when disposed in the running position of FIG. 1. The pad is mounted for limited swinging movement relative to the frame by a hinge 55 between the lower edge of the plate and the pad. Accordingly, the pad can be quickly and conveniently swung to the position shown in FIG. 2 in order to provide a backrest for the user 12 when disposed in a seated position upon the body support frame 10. In such latter position, the user's posterior portion is rested upon an elongated, substantially rectangular seat 60 substantially similar to the pad 52 which is secured to the tie bar 35 by a pair of outwardly extended ears 62 with suitable bolts 63 extended therethrough closely adjacent to the upright 16 at the head end 18 of the frame.

An elongated pivot shaft 65 is extended through the upper end 30 of the upright 17 at the foot end 20 of the body support frame 10. The shaft includes opposite outer ends 66 on which are individually mounted a pair of hand gripping sleeves 67 employed by the user 12 in the seated position of FIG. 2. A pair of elongated pendulum arms 70 are individually pivotally mounted on the pivot shaft 65 on opposite sides of the upper end 30 of the upright 17. Each of the arms includes a lower end 72 terminating in spaced relation above the base member 25 on which is mounted a foot receiving pedal or plate 73 and a foot constraining stirrup 75 for limited rotation through an arc of approximately 10° to 15°. The foot receiving plate is mounted for such limited movement on a stub shaft 76 outwardly extended from the lower end of the arm. It is noted that the user's foot is receivable within the stirrup 75 from either direction in order to accommodate the user in either of the two positions shown in FIGS. 1 and 2.

Secured to the inner surface of each of the pendulum arms 70 is an elongated, substantially flat, arcuate saber blade 80 which extends outwardly upwardly therefrom past the adjacent side of the upright 17. The blade has an enlarged mounting end 82 secured, as by bolting or the like, to its associated arm and an opposite end 84. The arc of the blades is precisely concentrically disposed with respect to the pivot shaft 65 and with the arcuate path of travel traversed by the lower end 72 of the arm. The arcuate path of the lower end of the arm 70 has a radius extending to the oscillatory axis of the shaft 65 about which the arm 70 oscillates.

A frictional-type resistance device 90 is disposed adjacent to the upper end 30 of the upright 17 in the path of blade movement. The resistance device provides a block-like housing 92 having a lower saddle mounting 94 adapted to be rested upon the angular upper section 32 of the upright 17 in embracing relation for rigid attachment thereto, as by welding, bolting or the like. A pair of spaced slots 96 are formed through the housing 92 of a size somewhat larger than the blades to permit passage of the blades individually therethrough. A pair of one-way friction devices, not shown, are disposed within the housing 92 for individual engagement with the associated blade which are operative to provide a predetermined resistance to movement of the blade therethrough during swinging movement of the arms 70 in a counterclockwise direction, as viewed in FIG. 2, and to permit substantially unrestricted, or no, resistance to such movement in the opposite direction upon swinging movement of the arms in a clockwise direction, as viewed in FIG. 2. The resistance device 90 further includes suitable controls, not shown, for adjusting the amount of resistance imposed upon the saber blades as they are extended through the slots 96 and are engaged by the friction devices therein.

OPERATION

The operation of the described embodiment of the subject invention is believed to be clearly apparent and is briefly summarized at this point. Prior to use, the control mechanism of the resistance device 90 is adjusted to provide the desired resistance to movement of the saber blades 80 through the slots 96. Such resistance is calibrated on the controls through a wide range from zero, or no resistance, to a predetermined maximum resistance against movement of the pendulum arms 70 in a counterclockwise direction, as viewed in FIG. 2. Irrespective of the setting, the resistance device 90 provides no resistance to return movement of the blades 80 when the arms 70 are swung in a clockwise direction, as viewed in FIG. 2.

The user 12 disposes himself upon the body support frame 10 in the position shown in FIG. 1 when it is desired to simulate the leg striding movement of actual running. In such position, the user is supported by engagement of his upper torso with the upper padded surface 53 of the chest receiving pad 52, his feet are slipped into the stirrups with the bottom of his feet disposed against the foot receiving plate 73. The user grasps the handle grips 42 of the handlebar assembly 40 for stability during alternate extension and retraction of his legs. During such leg movement, the pendulum arms 70 are swung in a predetermined arc with the saber blades 80 moving concentrically therewith through the slots 96 in the resistance device 90.

The foot receiving plate 73 and stirrup 75 are permitted limited rotational movement upon the stub shafts 76 as the pendulum arms are caused to swing during the described extension and retraction of the user's legs. The user's body is forwardly inclined during such leg movement so that the body attitude and striding movement of the legs permitted by the swinging pendulum arms 70 substantially simulate the body attitude and leg movement occurring during actual running. With continued use of the improved exercise device of the present invention, it is anticipated that the user may attain sufficient proficiency and balance on the body support frame to permit natural swinging or pumping of the arms to simulate natural arm movement occurring during actual running. Alternatively, the extension and retraction of the user's legs can be accomplished simultaneously to swing the pendulum arms concurrently in the same direction in the manner of a conventional leg press exercise device.

In assuming the seated position of FIG. 2, the user's posterior is disposed upon the seat 60 and the pad 52 is swung downwardly to the nearly vertical position shown in FIG. 2 for engagement with the user's back. The user's feet are slipped into the stirrups 75 on the foot receiving plates 73 from the opposite side than when utilized in the position of FIG. 1, and the user's arms are stretched forwardly from the body in order that the hands can grip the hand gripping sleeves 67 outwardly adjacent to the upper ends of the pendulum arms 70. As previously described in the operation of the exercise device of the present invention, when utilized to simulate the running motion of FIG. 1, the legs of the user may be alternately extended and retracted or concurrently moved to swing the pendulum arms 70 through their arcs of travel against the resistance of the resistance device 90. Inasmuch as the saber blades 80 are concentrically disposed with respect to the pivot axis of the pivot shaft 65 and the arc of travel of the lower ends of the arms the resistance imposed upon the user's legs is substantially constant throughout the entire range of arm movement.

In view of the foregoing, it is readily apparent that the structure of the present invention provides an improved exercise device which permits a user substantially to simulate the forwardly inclined attitude and leg striding movement occurring in actual running. The resistive force to such movement is substantially constant throughout the entire range of leg movement, which resistance may be varied from no resistance to a predetermined maximum resistance. The exercise device of the present invention is quickly and easily converted between a condition permitting the user to assume a running position to a condition permitting the user to be disposed in a seated position thereon without any modification of the structure. In both positions, the device may also be employed in the same manner as a conventional leg press. Accordingly, there is provided by the present invention an improved exercise device which may be employed for virtually any use involving exercises of Jhe legs.

Although the invention has been herein shown and described in what is conceived to be the most practical and preferred embodiment, it is recognized that departures may be made therefrom within the scope of the invention, which is not to be limited to the illustrative details disclosed.