Title:
Velocity weight training devices and method
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An exercise training device for enabling a user to practice velocity weight training includes a frame, a weight support associated with the frame and a dampening assembly associated with the weight support. The dampening assembly may be configured to retard movement of the weight support through a reverse range of motion.



Inventors:
Slyter, Matt (Louisville, KY, US)
Application Number:
10/921611
Publication Date:
02/23/2006
Filing Date:
08/19/2004
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
482/97
International Classes:
A63B21/06; A63B21/08
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
DONNELLY, JEROME W
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
DINSMORE & SHOHL LLP (CINCINNATI, OH, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. An exercise training device for velocity weight training, said training device comprising: a frame; a weight support associated with said frame; a dampening assembly associated with said weight support, said dampening assembly configured to selectively retard movement of said weight support through a reverse range of motion.

2. The exercise training device of claim 1, further comprising a base and wherein said dampening assembly is secured to said base.

3. The exercise training device of claim 2, wherein said dampening assembly is interposed between said base and said weight support.

4. The exercise training device of claim 1, wherein said dampening assembly is interposed between said frame and said weight support.

5. The exercise training device of claim 1, wherein said dampening assembly comprises a velocity assembly and a dampener.

6. The exercise training device of claim 5, wherein said velocity assembly comprises a base lever pivotally associated with a weight lever.

7. The exercise training device of claim 6, wherein said base lever is pivotally associated with a base and said weight lever is associated with said weight support.

8. The exercise training device of claim 7, wherein said weight lever is pivotally associated with said weight support.

9. The exercise training device of claim 5, wherein said dampener comprises a hydraulic speed controller.

10. The exercise training device of claim 1, wherein said reverse range of motion comprises substantially the full distance between an apex of a working range and a starting point.

11. The exercise training device of claim 1, wherein said reverse range of motion comprises a lift range of motion.

12. An exercise training device for velocity weight training, said training device comprising: a frame; a variable weight resistance associated with said frame; a dampening assembly associated with said weight resistance, said dampening assembly configured to retard movement of said weight resistance from the apex of a working range of motion through a reverse range of motion.

13. The exercise training device of claim 12, wherein said working range comprises a lift range of motion and a throw range of motion.

14. The exercise training device of claim 13, wherein said lift range comprises a distance between a starting point and a point that said weight resistance effectively enters said throw range of motion.

15. The exercise training device of claim 13, wherein said throw range comprises a distance between a point that said weight resistance effectively enters said throw range of motion and an apex of said throw range.

16. The exercise training device of claim 12, wherein said reverse range of motion comprises the distance between an apex of a working range and a starting point.

17. The exercise training device of claim 12, wherein said reverse range of motion comprises a lift range of motion.

18. The exercise training device of claim 12, further comprising a base and wherein said dampening assembly is secured to said base.

19. The exercise training device of claim 18, wherein said dampening assembly is interposed between said base and said weight resistance.

20. The exercise training device of claim 12, wherein said dampening assembly is interposed between said frame and said weight resistance.

21. A dampening assembly for use with exercise training equipment comprising: a base lever configured to be supported on a stationary surface; a weight lever configured to be secured to a weight support; and a dampener operably associated with said base lever and said weight lever, said dampener configured to retard movement of said weight support through a reverse range of motion.

22. The exercise training device of claim 21, wherein said base lever is pivotally associated with a weight lever.

23. The exercise training device of claim 21, wherein said base lever is pivotally associated with a base and said weight lever is associated with said weight support.

24. The exercise training device of claim 23, wherein said weight lever is pivotally associated with said weight support.

25. The exercise training device of claim 21, wherein said dampener comprises a hydraulic speed controller.

26. The exercise training device of claim 21, wherein said reverse range of motion comprises the distance between an apex of a working range and a starting point.

27. The exercise training device of claim 21, wherein said reverse range of motion comprises the distance between an apex of a throw range and a starting point.

28. The exercise training device of claim 21, wherein said reverse range of motion comprises a lift range of motion.

29. A method for facilitating velocity weight training, comprising the steps of: providing an exercise training device having a base, a variable weight resistance configured to allow training movement relative to said base through a working range of motion, and a dampening assembly interposed between said weight resistance and said base, said a dampening assembly associated with said weight resistance, said dampening assembly configured to selectively retard movement of said weight resistance through a reverse range of motion; setting a predetermined effective load for a particular user and exercise; moving the weight resistance through a working range including a throw range of motion; and automatically dampening said weight resistance for controlled return from an apex of said throw range of motion to a starting position.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates generally to exercise training devices. In particular, the present invention relates to exercise training devices configured to allow a user to perform velocity weight training exercises.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Velocity weight training is a form of exercise founded on the physics principle: Power=Force×Velocity. Most weight lifters concentrate on “force” (e.g. total amount of weight to be lifted), and not much attention is given to the “velocity” portion of the equation. A velocity weight training regimen enables a weight lifter to use both aspects of the equation by, in effect, “throwing” or accelerating the weight away from their body, therefore placing more emphasis on the velocity portion of the above-referenced equation.

Conventional velocity weight training techniques present certain problems. First, because the weight lifter requires a wide-open space for a “thrown” weight to travel and land, velocity weight training is not practical for most gymnasiums. Secondly, because the weight lifter in the conventional techniques literally throws the weight away from his/her body, he/she must gather and “reload” with another weight. These efforts dramatically increase time between repetitions and create difficult facility and equipment demands, therefore hindering the training process.

To solve these problems, weight lifting machines have been developed for velocity weight training. For example, some machines are configured to “catch” the weight through claws associated with the weight support or electronic cable systems in close proximity to the release point or height of the repetition. The problem with such machines is that the lifter must rotate the bar carrying the weight or perform some other “release” action in order to literally release the weight support and prepare for another repetition. Again, such efforts hinder the training process. Moreover such mechanisms are expensive to manufacture and are subject to failure due to the relative stresses resulting from physical release and “catching” of the weight apparatus.

Accordingly, there is a need for an exercise training device configured to allow a user to effectively throw weight through a working range of motion and to controllably and automatically dampen and direct the return of the weight to a convenient starting position.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

It is an object of the present invention to provide exercise training devices that address the problems associated with prior velocity weight training devices in practical and reliable manners.

To achieve the foregoing and other objects in accordance with the exemplary embodiments of the present invention, an exercise training device for enabling a user to perform velocity weight training includes a frame, a weight support associated with the frame and a dampening assembly associated with the weight support. The dampening assembly may be configured to retard movement of the weight support through a reverse range of motion.

To still further achieve the foregoing and other objects in accordance with the exemplary embodiments of the present invention, an exercise training device for enabling a user to perform velocity weight training includes a frame, a variable weight resistance associated with the frame and a dampening assembly associated with the weight resistance configured to retard movement of the weight resistance from the apex of a working range of motion through a reverse range of motion.

To yet further achieve the foregoing and other objects in accordance with the exemplary embodiments of the present invention, a dampening assembly for use with exercise training equipment includes a base lever configured to be mounted on a stationary surface, a weight lever configured to be secured to a weight support and a dampener operably associated with the base lever and weight lever. The dampener may be configured to retard movement of the weight support through a reverse range of motion.

Still other embodiments, combinations, advantages and objects of the present invention will become apparent to those skilled in the art from the following descriptions and illustrations wherein there are shown and described alternative exemplary embodiments of this invention for illustration purposes. As will be realized, the invention is capable of other different aspects, objects and embodiments all without departing from the scope of the invention. Accordingly, the drawings, objects, and description should be regarded as illustrative and exemplary in nature only and not as restrictive.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

While the specification concludes with claims particularly pointing out and distinctly claiming the present invention, it is believed the same will be better understood from the following description taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings in which:

FIG. 1 is a perspective front view of a velocity training device in accordance with an exemplary embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a side view of the dampening assembly of FIG. 1 in accordance with an exemplary embodiment of the present invention; and

FIG. 3 is a front view of the exercise training device of FIG. 1 illustrating exemplary ranges of motion in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Turning now to the drawings in detail, wherein like numbers indicate the same or corresponding elements throughout the views, FIG. 1 illustrates an exemplary embodiment of an exercise training device 10 including a frame 20, a variable weight resistance or weight support 40 and a dampening assembly 60. The frame 20 and weight support 40 of exercise training device 10 may comprise any variety of variable weight resistance setups, such as conventional weight lifting equipment, for example, comprising a Smith machine, bench press, shoulder press, lateral pull down, rowing, etc. Thus, although the present invention has been described for use with a Smith machine, the exercise training device 10 and associated dampening assembly 60 according to the present invention are not limited to a Smith machine and could comprise any machine or combination of machine, such as, for example, a bench press, shoulder press, leg press, lateral pulldown, rowing, or any other leverage or plate loaded equipment. Variable weight resistance could similarly be provided with weight stacks in the form of one or more plates which can be engaged, along with an appropriate pulley system connected to user handles or a bar, hydraulic or pneumatic resistance arrangements or the like.

As illustrated, a weight support 40 may be associated with frame 20. As illustrated in FIG. 1, frame 20 may comprise a Smith machine assembly comprising left and right vertical posts 22a-c and 24a-c, respectively, supported on horizontal surface 26. Vertical posts 22a-c and 24a-c may be secured at top and bottom via beam assemblies 28 and 30, respectively. In such an example, a weight bar 44 may be freely moveable between left and right vertical posts 22a-b and 24a-b and rest on arms 50. Weight bar 44 may support any amount of plated weight 46 or load. It should be understood, however, that in another embodiment wherein exercise training device comprises something other than a Smith machine, weight support 40 may comprise any apparatus configured to support any physical weight, including weight plates and/or an apparatus configured to apply resistance such as plastic or rubber rods commonly used with a BOWFLEX® machines or other machine incorporating rubber bands. In FIG. 1, weight bar 44 may comprise a standard 45 lb. bar made from solid steel, chrome, and/or aluminum.

As will be discussed later herein, and as shown in FIG. 3, exercise training device 10 may comprises a variety of ranges of motion to enable performance of velocity weight training. For example, training device may comprise a working range of motion 90 including a lift range of motion 92 and a throw range of motion 94. At the top of the throw range 94 (or working range 90) is the apex 96. Training device 10 may also comprise a reverse range of motion 98 from the apex 96 to a starting point 50. As will be discussed, dampening assembly 60 may be configured to limit, retard and/or dampen weight support through the reverse range of motion 98.

As discussed, the exercise training device 10 is illustrated as comprising a dampening assembly 60 interposed between the weight support 40 and a base mounted on a horizontal surface 26. As discussed later herein, while dampening assembly 60 is illustrated in FIG. 1 as being interposed between the weight support 40 and a horizontal surface 26, dampening assembly 60 may similarly be interposed between weight support 40 and frame 20 or any other location so as to retard and control the reverse range of motion of the weight support 40.

As illustrated in FIGS. 1 and 2, dampening assembly 60 comprises a velocity assembly 62 and a control arrangement or dampener 80. The velocity assembly 62 may include, for example, a weight lever 64 having first and second ends 65 and 66, respectively, and a base lever 68 similarly having first and second ends 69 and 70, respectively. First ends 65 and 69 of weight lever 64 and base lever 68 may be pivotally mounted to or associated with one another at point C. As discussed later herein, first end 65 of weight lever 64 may further comprise plate 59 for pivotal mounting of piston arm 84 of dampener 80. Second end 66 of weight lever 64 may comprise a collar 55 with ball bearings, a bushing arrangement or similar bearing setup, and can be configured to pivotally receive a portion of the variable weight resistance such as weight bar 44. In addition, second end 70 of base lever 68 may be pivotally mounted to or associated with stationary base 72 at point D for support on exercise surface 26.

In this example, dampener 80 is similarly illustrated as being pivotally secured or associated with between plate 59 of weight lever 64 and extension 67 of base lever 68 such as at points E and F, respectively. As seen best in FIGS. 1 and 3, a dampening assembly 60 can be secured to both sides of the exercise training device for enhanced stability, however, it is possible to have but one dampening assembly 80 secured to one side of training device 10. In addition, it should be understood that dampening assembly 60 may be similarly secured between base lever 68 and weight lever 64 such as at any location such as at or around angle α, or simply attached between first end 65 of weight lever 64 and base 72 or surface 26.

In one embodiment, dampener 80 comprises a hydraulic speed controller such as those produced by Ace Controls, Inc and/or Enidine, Inc. Sizes and models may vary depending on the relative weight resistance ranges and the exercise training device. In such an arrangement, the dampener 80 comprises an outer body 82 and a piston rod 84. Such hydraulic speed controls are self-contained, sealed units designed for precise control of speed in both directions of travel. In the Ace device contemplated in this example, travel speed can be adjusted independently in each direction (e.g. compression speed and extension speed) with compression speed knob 88 and piston speed knob 89. Accordingly, as applied to the present invention, compression speed may be freely fluid (e.g., as will be described in further detail below, when a weight lifter accelerates weight bar 44 through a working range of motion), whereas extension speed may be hindered (e.g., when weight lifter effectively releases weight bar 44 for the “throw” portion of the exercise, and weight bar 44 thereafter returns through a reverse range of motion).

While the present invention has thus far been described with the use of a velocity assembly 62 and a dampener 80 comprising a dual velocity hydraulic control, it should be understood that dampening assembly 60 may comprise any assembly of mechanisms configured to dampen and appropriately control the weight resistance during a reverse range of motion. For example, dampening assembly may simply comprise dampener 80 described above configured to be secured to a frame and weight support of any conventional weight training device, including, but not limited to, leverage or plate loaded equipment. In such embodiment (not shown), plate 59 and extension 67 may be substituted for weight and base levers 64 and 68, respectively. More specifically, plate 59 may be secured to a weight support, while extension 67 may be secured to a horizontal or vertical surface and/or frame of a training device with dampener 80 interposed between. In another embodiment, weight bar 44 may comprise a collet system configured to be telescopingly secured to vertical posts 22b and 24b. In such a system (not shown), vertical posts 22b and 24b may be slightly conical in shape with the narrowest end upward. Weight may be freely moveable through a working range of motion (e.g. as weight travels up vertical posts 22b and 24b) and hindered through the reverse range of motion starting at the apex of the working range (e.g. as weight travels down vertical posts 22b and 24b, collet system engages conical vertical posts 22b and 24b to dampen the speed of travel). Collet system may also be used with dampening assembly as illustrated in FIG. 2 in which collet system could be configured to arrest weight bar at the apex of the throw range of motion and allow dampening assembly to lower weight bar after collet is manually disengaged. In yet another embodiment, dampening assembly 60 may comprise one or more tension shocks, pneumatic shocks, compression shocks and/or spring assemblies connected between a weight support and a stationary surface. It should be understood that all of these systems can be applied to a multitude of conventional exercise training devices. So as to selectively retard and control movement of the variable weight resistance through a reverse range of motion.

Also, it should be further understood that dampening assembly 60 can be retrofit onto conventional exercise training devices to effectively convert the conventional training device into a velocity training device. For example, if frame 20 and weight support 40 were conventional exercise equipment existing in a gymnasium, such as a Smith machine, a dampening assembly 60 may be secured to a base 72 and to the weight support 40 on both sides of the exercise training device 10 so that the reverse range of motion (described below) may be hindered or retarded. If desired, the dual velocity control dampener described above allows a retrofitted velocity strength training device to act as a conventional device by simply adjusting the extension speed (discussed above) and allowing the working range of motion and the reverse range of motion to be free flowing. Retrofit of the dampening assembly may not work with certain conventional weight training devices that only provide a path of travel for normal repetitions (e.g. no throw range discussed below because stop members preventing the weight support from traveling past a normal repetition range of motion). In such circumstances, frames may be custom designed to provide desired ranges of motion and to work with the dampening assemblies contemplated by the present invention. However, as previously discussed, it is contemplated that dampening assembly 60 or variations thereof may be retrofit onto any conventional exercise equipment such as, for example, a bench press, shoulder press, leg press, lateral pulldown, rowing, or any other leverage or plate loaded machine. In addition, it is contemplated that a concealment assembly (not shown) may be utilized with the dampening assembly to shield moving parts from users.

As previously suggested, in order to provide a functioning velocity weight training exercise device, certain ranges of exercise motion are contemplated by the present invention. As illustrated in FIG. 3, one aspect of the present invention is to provide an exercise training device having a working range of motion to allow a weight lifter to effectively accelerate or “throw” the weight away from their body. More particularly, in order to properly utilize velocity weight training, a weight lifter must accelerate and effectively throw weight from his/her body. Thus, the exercise training device must provide a range of motion (path of travel) for a normal repetition and a range of motion (path of travel) for the weight to continue once the lifter accelerates the weight and effectively releases the weight at the end of the repetition. As will be understood, due to the relative weight resistance, there may be no physical separation at all between the user's hand and the weight resistance or weight support during the “throw” range of motion. More particularly, only a difference in effective weight resistance (e.g. as opposed to complete release of the weight) might be experienced as a result of the acceleration of the weight and the end of the user's muscle extension.

Still referring to FIG. 3, the velocity weight training device of the present invention is configured to provide for a working range of motion 90. More particularly, the working range of motion 90 is comprised of a lift range of motion 92 and a throw range of motion 94. The lift range 92 includes the distance from the starting point 52 (where the lifter begins his/her repetition) to the full extension of the weight support 40 with associated weight 40 for a particular user (e.g. a repetition). It should be understood that the starting point and the full extension of the user may vary according to the type of exercise and the user lifting the weight, as well as the muscle extension of the user, and the user's form. For example, the starting point 52 for the device illustrated in FIGS. 1 and 3 is where arms or rest pins 50 are located. In another embodiment, rest pin 50 may be selectively positioned at any location along vertical posts 22a-b and 24a-b, and therefore, starting point 52 may move accordingly. Moreover, it is possible that rest pin may be removed so that start point is surface 26. In addition, as mentioned the extension of the user may have an effect on the lift range 92 because taller user's may have a higher extension that a shorter user, and thus, the lift range 92 may be extended. The user's stature, strength, preferred stance and/or preferred lift range can also effect the throw range as discussed below.

The throw range 94 includes the distance from the location where the weight has been accelerated by the user to effectively leave the user's body and travels to the apex 96 of travel. “User's Body” is used herein because as discussed above, exercise training devices of the present invention are not limited to the exercise training device illustrated in FIGS. 1 and 2, but rather may comprise bench press, leg press, etc. Thus, weight could effectively leave a user's hand, leg, foot, back, shoulder, head, elbow, etc. In the illustrated example, throw range 94 may commence at the point where the weight bar 44 pulls away from the user's shoulders because of the upward force and explosion “through” (e.g. from beginning to the end) the repetition. As mentioned, depending on the user's strength, weight 46 associated with weight support 40, repetition number, and relative acceleration, weight bar 44 may never fully disengage the user's shoulders (e.g., the user may not be fresh or strong enough to accelerate weight completely from their body). Accordingly, the throw range 94 in such example may be very minimal. In fact, where the user is fatigued, apex 96 of throw range 94 may be the point where the weight is no longer traveling upward/outward or through a working range of motion. Should the same user decrease the weight, it is contemplated that the user will move through the working range with such force so as to thrust the weight bar 44 further and/or completely away from the shoulders. In this example, the weight would continue upward until gravity stops the upward motion. The furthest point of travel is the apex 96 of the throw range of motion, or more broadly, the limit of the working range of motion. Of course, the apex 96 level may vary based on the user's strength, the amount of weight and/or the repetition number in the set.

Continuing with the example of FIG. 3, once the weight bar 44 reaches the apex 96 as described above, the weight bar 44 pauses only instantaneously before it enters a reverse range of motion 98. The reverse range of motion comprises a distance between the apex 96 of the throw range 94 (or working range), through the lift range 92, to the starting point 52. It is one aspect of the present invention for the movement of the weight support 40 (weight bar 44 in FIGS. 1 and 3) to be hindered, dampened and/or retarded through the reverse range of motion 98. In this way, a user can force weight through the working range 92 and the throw range 94 and allow the weight to passively return to the starting point in a hindered manner so as to prepare for the next thrusting repetition.

For use of the exemplary velocity exercise training device of FIGS. 1-3, the user positions himself/herself in the exercise training device 10 beneath weight bar 44 in preparation to perform squat exercises. As the user lifts and accelerates weight bar 44 and associated weight 46 upwardly, the base lever 68 rotates pivotally about base 72 and weight lever 64. The weight lever 64 in this example also rotates pivotally about weight bar 44. This action causes body 82 and piston 84 of dampener 80 to rotate about extension 67 of base lever 68 and plate 59 of weight lever 64, respectively. Piston 84 of dampener 80 generally freely compresses through the working range of motion 92 and the throw range of motion 94 without damping or adding any significant resistance. At the end of the working range 92, the weight bar 44 effectively (if not partially or completely) disengages user's shoulders into the throw range 94 (e.g. the apex). Upon downward motion of the weight bar 44 (the reverse range of motion 98), dampening assembly 60 retards the descent of weight bar 44 with associated weight 46. More particularly, the piston 84 of the dampener 80 is extended out of dampener body 82 at a predetermined rate based on position of extension knob 89. If desired, the user may additionally aid in supporting the weight bar 44 through its reverse range, may stop the reverse range and explode through another repetition, and/or may exit through the other side of the exercise training device 10 and allow the dampening assembly 60 to guide or support the weight bar 44 to its starting point 52. In this way, the dampening assembly 60 retards and/or controls the catching of the weight support adjacent its apex, then returns the associated weight and support of the device to a starting position automatically and controllably. By controllably, it is meant that the retardation or dampening can be adjusted to allow for negative exercises or unattended return of the device, support and weight to a home or start position.

It should be understood that the pivotal connections (C, D, E and F) discussed above allow a user to lift weight in a free weight fashion without obstruction in the path of travel or range of motion. However, in another embodiment, it is possible to fixedly secure weight lever 64 to weight bar 44 or any other weight support 40 so as to provide a predetermined, guided path of travel for the weight support. Such may be desired with use of nautilus type machines (e.g. weight using cables and pulleys and/or predetermined guided movements), or other selectorized weight stack machines.

The foregoing description of the various embodiments of the invention has been presented for the purposes of illustration and description. It is not intended to be exhaustive or to limit the invention to the precise form disclosed. Many alternatives, modifications and variations will be apparent to those skilled in the art of the above teaching. For example, the velocity training device in accordance with the present invention may utilize any number of assemblies to dampen weight through a reverse range of motion. Accordingly, while some of the alternative embodiments of the dampening assembly and exercise training devices have been discussed specifically, other embodiments will be apparent or relatively easily developed by those of ordinary skill in the art. Accordingly, this invention is intended to embrace all alternatives, modifications and variations that have been discussed herein, and others that fall within the spirit and broad scope of the claims.