Title:
Adjustable hand grip for exercise machine
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An adjustable hand grip assembly is provided for treadmills that provides variable height positioning of vertical grips immediately forward of the exerciser's lower chest wall.



Inventors:
Van Waes, Richard (Jackson, TN, US)
Application Number:
10/939543
Publication Date:
12/15/2005
Filing Date:
09/13/2004
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
482/62
International Classes:
A63B22/02; A63B22/12; A63B69/16; A63B71/04; A63B22/00; (IPC1-7): A63B22/12; A63B22/02; A63B69/16
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
LONG, ROBERT FRANKLIN
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Miller & Martin PLLC (CHATTANOOGA, TN, US)
Claims:
1. A pivotable hand grip assembly for use of a treadmill of the type having a base with an endless belt supported thereon and a support frame extending upward from the base comprising: (a) first and second mounting brackets on the support frame; (b) a first hand rail assembly with a mount for pivotable attachment to the first mounting bracket, a lateral extension from the mount, and a vertical grip section; (c) a second hand rail assembly with a mount for pivotable attachment to the second mounting bracket, a lateral extension from the mount, and a vertical grip section.

2. The pivotable hand grip assembly of claim 1 wherein the first and second hand rail assemblies are pivotable between an extended position where the vertical grip sections are located over the endless belt, and a retracted position.

3. The pivotable hand grip assembly of claim 1 wherein the first and second hand rail assemblies are adjustable vertically to a desired height above the endless belt.

4. The pivotable hand grip assembly of claim 1 wherein the vertical grip sections of the first and second hand rail assemblies further comprise a padded grip surface.

5. The pivotable hand grip assembly of claim 1 wherein the lateral extensions of the first and second hand rail assemblies further comprise a grip section with a padded grip surface.

6. The pivotable hand grip assembly of claim 2 further comprising a locking mechanism for selectively locking the first and second hand rail assemblies in the extended position and the retracted position.

7. The pivotable hand grip assembly of claim 1 wherein the first and second mounting brackets comprise vertical tubular sections having a first diameter and extending upward from the support frame.

8. The pivotable hand grip assembly of claim 7 wherein the mounts of the first and second hand rail assemblies comprise vertical tubular sections having a second diameter that engage the mounting bracket vertical tubular sections and are rotatable with respect thereto.

9. The pivotable hand grip assembly of claim 8 wherein the both mounting bracket vertical sections of first diameters and the hand rail assembly tubular sections of second diameter have apertures defining bisecting passages across such sections, and a pin inserted through the apertures of a mounting bracket vertical section and a tubular section of second diameter engaged therewith acts to lock the position of the hand rail assembly relative to the mounting bracket.

10. The pivotable hand grip assembly of claim 1 wherein the first hand rail assembly comprises a first tubular section forming a mount for pivotable engagement to the first mounting bracket, a first corner section connected to and forming a right angle with the first tubular section, a second tubular section with a first end connected to the first corner section, said second tubular section forming a lateral extension and having a padded grip surface thereon, and said second tubular section having a second end connected to a second corner section forming a right angle with the second tubular section, a third tubular section with a first end connected to the second corner section, said third tubular section forming a vertical grip section and having a padded surface thereon and extending to a second end.

11. The pivotable hand grip assembly of claim 10 wherein the first tubular section and the third tubular section are substantially parallel in orientation.

12. The pivotable hand grip assembly of claim 10 wherein the first hand rail assembly further comprises a flange on the first corner section at a connection with the first tubular section.

13. The pivotable hand grip assembly of claim 10 wherein the first mounting bracket comprises a vertical tubular section having a first diameter and extending upward from the support frame.

14. The pivotable hand grip assembly of claim 13 wherein the first tubular section of the first hand rail assembly has a second diameter that engages the vertical tubular section of the first mounting bracket and is rotatable with respect thereto.

15. A hand rail assembly comprising a first tubular section, a first corner section connected to and forming a right angle with the first tubular section, a second tubular section with a first end connected to the first corner section, said second tubular section forming a lateral extension and having a padded grip surface thereon, and said second tubular section having a second end connected to a second corner section forming a right angle with the second tubular section, a third tubular section with a first end connected to the second corner section, said third tubular section forming a vertical grip section and having a padded surface thereon and extending to a second end.

16. The hand rail assembly of claim 15 further comprising a flange on the first corner section at a connection with the first tubular section.

17. The hand rail assembly of claim 15 further comprising pairs of apertures spaced at predetermined increments on the first tubular section defining bisecting passages across said tubular section.

18. The hand rail assembly of claim 15 further comprising an end cap on the end of the third tubular section.

19. A hand rail assembly for use in a treadmill of the type having a base with an endless belt supported therein for longitudinal movement and having a first support frame extending upward from the base on a first side of the endless belt and a second support frame extending upward from the base on a second opposite side of the endless belt, comprising: (a) a first tubular rib extending upward from the support frame; (b) a first S-bar having a tubular lower section pivotably engaging the first tubular rib, a horizontal section extending from the lower section, and a vertical grip section; (c) a first locking mechanism engaging the first tubular rib and the first S-bar tubular lower section and locking the S-bar at least in an extended position with the horizontal section normal to the longitudinal axis of the endless belt such that the vertical grip section is above the endless belt, and in a retracted position with the vertical grip section positioned off of the endless belt; (d) a second tubular rib extending upward from the support frame; (e) a second S-bar having a tubular lower section pivotably engaging the second tubular rib, a horizontal section extending from the lower section, and a vertical grip section; and (f) a second locking mechanism engaging the second tubular rib and the second S-bar tubular lower section and locking the S-bar at least in an extended position with the horizontal section normal to the longitudinal axis of the endless belt such that the vertical grip section is above the endless belt, and in a retracted position with the vertical grip section positioned off of the endless belt.

20. The hand rail assembly of claim 19 wherein the horizontal section of the first S-bar and the horizontal section of the second S-bar are each adapted to provide a horizontal hand grip.

Description:

The present application claims priority to U.S. provisional application Ser. No. 60/575,676 filed on May 28, 2004.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to exercising devices, and particularly to an adjustable hand grip system adapted for use with treadmills.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Treadmill exercising machines are well known and basically consist of an endless belt mounted in a base. By walking or running on this belt, one may obtain an aerobic level of exercise. Treadmill machines come in wide variety of configurations with most modern models now being powered by electric motors and providing a variety of controls to set the speed and perhaps incline of the belt at a desired position for exercise. Less expensive models have fewer features and may even be manually powered. The general objective of treadmill devices is to provide the cardiopulmonary benefits of walking, jogging or running. The walking, jogging or running exercise on a treadmill works the large gludimous maximus and deltoid muscle groups, thereby providing aerobic level exercise and corresponding cardiovascular benefits.

While it is possible to exercise on a treadmill machine without utilizing hand grips, hand grips are usually provided for exercisers who prefer or require such grips. Perhaps the most common grip position is that of a horizontal crossbar located directly in front of the exerciser toward the forward end of the treadmill as typified by bars shown in Lynch, U.S. Pat. No. 5,000,440, and in Fisher, et al., U.S. Pat. No. 5,110,117 in phantom. A common alternative position is a side grip such as that shown FIG. 2 of Lynch, and the final common option is a pivoting exercise enhancing grip such as shown in Fisher, et al. that allows the exerciser to also work upper body muscle groups.

While the aforementioned grip configurations have proved suitable for most treadmill users, there remain inadequacies for the use of treadmills in cardiac rehabilitation. After open heart surgery, the recovering patients are instructed to engage in light exercise as a part of their cardiac rehabilitation, and treadmill exercise devices are well suited for this purpose. However, patients are instructed to tuck their arms close to their body with hands positioned directly against the frontal lower chest wall directly beneath their pectoral muscles. When utilizing a horizontal crossbar, the exerciser's hands are necessarily rotated to a horizontal position and in the best case, hands extend somewhat forward from the exerciser's abdomen. Obviously, the use of side grips or pivoting grips moves the exerciser's hands even further away from the desired position, and also causes the arms to be moved away from the sides of the body.

Accordingly, it is a general object of the invention to provide a hand grip assembly that may be adapted for use by exercisers engaged in cardiac rehabilitation, or who need or desire aid with stability and balance while exercising.

It is another object of the invention to provide a hand grip assembly suitable for use in cardiac rehabilitation that when not needed for such purpose may be easily moved out of the way so that traditional grip locations are available.

It is yet a further object of the present invention to provide a hand rail that supplies vertical grips that may be positioned immediately forward of the exerciser's lower chest wall and that also provides grips in the location of a horizontal crossbar.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The above recited objects of the invention and others which will become apparent upon a reading of the following specification and claims are achieved by the present invention which provides for two pivotably mounted hand rails that are rotatable into position, such that each hand rail provides both a horizontal section and a vertical section for gripping immediately forward of the exerciser and that may be adjusted vertically to the desired height for a particular individual. When not in use, the hand rails may be pivoted out of position so that the treadmill may be utilized with its ordinary hand rail configuration.

DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The invention may be described with greater clarity and particularity by reference to the accompanying drawings in which like reference numerals are used to indicate like parts in the various views.

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a treadmill equipped with hand rails according to the present invention.

FIG. 2 is a side plan view of a single hand rail according to the present invention located in retracted position.

FIG. 3 is an end view of a left hand rail according to the present invention located in extended position for use.

FIG. 4 is a fragmentary perspective view of the rib and hand rail assembly of the present invention.

FIG. 5 is a rear perspective view of hand rails of the present invention located in extended position for use.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

Referring now to the drawings in more detail, a treadmill exercise device 10 is illustrated comprised generally of base 11 in which an endless belt 12 is supported longitudinally and upon which the exerciser 17 jogs or walks. Also shown is a display 15 set at the top of display support 14 extending upward from base 11. The display 15 typically provides user controls to adjust speed and incline of the belt 12 and may also provide visual readouts of elapsed time, estimated caloric consumption, heart rate and other information. The features of treadmills vary widely, and the present invention is not restricted to use on any particular model or features other than as set forth in the claims. Of principal interest in the present invention is the support frame, in the illustrated embodiment of FIG. 1 comprised of left frame 21 and right frame 31 on either side of the endless belt 12. Left and right frames 21, 31 are each respectively comprised of front leg sections 22, 32, horizontal bar sections 23, 33, and rear leg sections 24, 34. On each of the left and right frames 21, 31 is a mounting bracket such as channeled rib 25 which receives a hand rail assembly such as S-bar 40 that provides an adjustable grip in the form of a vertical section 48 that may be positioned against the exerciser's 17 front lower chest wall.

FIG. 2 is a fragmentary side view of right side rail 31 with rib 25 and S-bar 40 shown in its retracted position. Bracket 25 may be permanently welded to horizontal section 33 of side rail 31 or may have a removable mounting section such as horizontal tube 28, the channel of which is securely but removably mounted to horizontal section 33. Bracket 25 preferably has a vertical tubular section 26 with pairs of apertures 27 extending through the tube wall. The S-bar 40 has a mount such as lower section 41, that in the use of the illustrated tubular embodiments may be overfitting or interfitting as shown with the bracket provided having vertical tubular section 26, to permit pivoting movement. Illustrated lower section 41 also has apertures 42 at predetermined increments to form a part of an adjusting and locking assembly. In order to set the height of the S-bar 40 and thereby set the height of the vertical section 48 above the endless belt of the treadmill, a set of desired lower section apertures 42 is aligned with a pair of vertical tube apertures 27 and a mounting pin 36 extended therethrough. From lower section 41, S-bar 40 of the illustrated hand rail assembly proceeds to corner 44 making a right angle, a lateral extension such as horizontal section 45, a second corner 47 also making a right angle, vertical section 48 and end cap 50. Horizontal section 45 and vertical section 48 each preferably have padded grip sections 46, 49 which may be formed from hard foam rubber, or similar suitable materials, to provide a softer gripping area and to minimize the chance of injury if bumped against. The two right angled corners 44, 47 cause the lower section 41 and the vertical section 48 to be substantially parallel, but offset by the distance attributable to the lateral extension.

FIG. 3 is an end view of side member 23 of the left frame 21 having upstanding tubular section 26 with S-bar 40 rotated into its extended position for use. Mounting pin 36 is shown with head 37 and distal end 38 so that the post section of pin 36 extends through apertures 27 in tubular section 26 and apertures 42 in lower section 41 of S-bar 40. In this fashion, the pin 36 fixes the position of the lower section 41 and indeed the entire handrail assembly of S-bar 40, relative to the tubular section 26. It will be seen that flange 43 just above lower section 41 prevents corner 44 of S-bar 40 from entering tubular section 26 and becoming wedged in that position.

As better shown in FIG. 4, it can also be seen that rather than simply having pairs of apertures 27 extending on opposite sides of vertical tube 26, the lower section 41 of S-bar 40 has sets of four apertures 42 evenly spaced about the circumference of the lower section 41 at each predetermined increment so that the S-bar 40 may be rotated in 90° increments with respect to tubular section 26. This enables the S-bar 40 to be positioned in both retracted and extended positions at each height.

FIG. 5 illustrates a rear perspective view of the central horizontal sections 23, 33 of left and right side rails 21, 31. S-bars 40 are shown in their extended positions with vertical sections 48 positioned over the forward portion of the endless belt. Arrows A and B show how S-bars 40 may be rotated 90° to retracted positions to position central horizontal sections 45 generally above and parallel to left and right horizontal sections 23, 33. It will also be seen in FIG. 5 that S-bars 40 present both vertical grip sections 48 with grips 49 that may be easily positioned against the front lower chest wall of an exerciser, and horizontal sections 45 providing grips in the positions with padding 46 in the fashion of the customary horizontal crossbars. Thus the S-bars 40 of the present invention provide the ability to convert the support frame of a treadmill machine to both a horizontal crossbar grip and to a vertical cardiac rehabilitation friendly grip configuration.

It will be understood that there are numerous methods that may be utilized to provide mounting brackets on the frame of a treadmill and to pivotably attach a hand rail assembly to such mounting points, and similarly that there are many alternatives for lockingly engaging a hand rail assembly in a selected vertical and rotational position.

Although preferred embodiments of the present invention have been disclosed in detail herein, it will be understood that various substitutions and modifications may be made to the disclosed embodiment described herein without departing from the scope and spirit of the present invention as recited in the appended claims.