Device for exercise optimization
Kind Code:

An exercise monitoring system that measures movement of a person during an exercise and provides a signal to indicate that a particular movement is being performed too rapidly. The exercise system provides a feedback mechanism and a regulator of exercise speed that may be helpful to persons seeking to engage in safe and productive exercise.

Bocchicchio, Vincent J. (Scottsdale, AZ, US)
Foster, Robert F. (Mesa, AZ, US)
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International Classes:
A63B22/00; A63B23/00
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What is claimed is:

1. A method for measuring an exercise movement by a person, comprising: performing an exercise movement; measuring the rate of the exercise movement; generating a signal responsive to the rate exceeding a predefined limit; and providing a limit indication to the person responsive to the signal.

2. The method of claim 1 further comprising performing the exercise movement at a slow rate of movement.

3. The method of claim 1 wherein the measuring comprises sensing the exercise movement using an accelerometer.



This application is a non-provisional application claiming benefit under 35 U.S.C. sec. 119(e) of U.S. Provisional Application Ser. No. 60/613,649 filed Sep. 23, 2004 (titled Device for Exercise Optimization by Bocchicchio et al.), which is incorporated in full by reference herein.


1. Field

This invention relates in general to exercise systems and methods. More specifically, the present invention relates to an exercise system and method for the measurement of an exerciser's motion during exercise.

2. General Background

Productive exercise requires some mechanism for overload or exposure to mechanical work that stimulates a metabolic threshold that precipitates a cascade of events commonly defined as positive adaptation. In most instances, a higher (i.e., higher than normal) level of muscle fiber or motor unit recruitment is required to stimulate the aforementioned threshold level of metabolic response.

Historically, there have been two common practices applied in order to achieve exercise programs. The first method has been an increase in the volume of exercise. That method is usually unsuccessful since an increase in the volume of exercise comes at the price of a corresponding decrease in the intensity of the exercise. The second commonly applied method is an increase in the force production of the muscle contractions. This method does, in fact, crudely increase intensity in many of the exercise scenarios. Unfortunately, it also increases the likelihood and the occurrence of stress-induced trauma or injury.

Accordingly, it would be desirable to have an improved exercise system and method.


The following description describes specific embodiments sufficiently to enable those skilled in the art to practice it. Other embodiments may incorporate structural, process and other changes. Examples merely typify possible variations. Individual components and functions are optional unless explicitly required, and the sequence of operations may vary. Portions and features of some embodiments may be included in or substituted for those of others. The scope of the invention encompasses the full ambit of the claims and all available equivalents.

The exercise monitoring system described herein is a device that generally measures (e.g., using one or more sensors) acceleration and/or other movement of a person during an exercise movement and in response to this measurement provides a signal to the person corresponding to the movement (e.g., to indicate that a particular movement is being performed too rapidly by the person based on the desired exercise program). The signal may be, for example, light or sound-based and may be used to direct the person as to the proper regime for maximum benefit of any particular exercise or exercise program. The exercise system and method provide a feedback mechanism and a regulator of exercise speed that may be helpful to persons seeking to engage in safe and productive exercise.

The measurement value corresponding to a too rapid or too fast exercise motion is typically set or defined by the manufacturer/developer of or trainer for an exercise program (e.g., in accordance with the principles set forth in the definition of the one or more individual exercises comprising a workout session). In general, one or more monitoring devices may be attached to an exercise machine and/or directly to the person. The monitoring devices may be, for example, used at home or at a gym and may be, for example, mechanically-based or electronic.

The exercise system and method described herein may be used to increase motor unit and muscle fiber recruitment by sustaining substantially constant tension (i.e., during exercise) in a dynamic or moving mode in order to accumulate and sustain threshold levels of metabolites corresponding to stimulatory events. Since the system desirably employs a particularly-governed and slow speed of movement, the forces of the exercise are drastically reduced. That reduction typically allows for safe and efficient exercise. Mechanical risks to the body are largely reduced or eliminated, and the positive metabolic threshold is typically achieved through a very brief exposure by the person exercising.

The exercise monitoring system and method may be implemented in various embodiments. Some specific, non-limiting exemplary embodiments are described below.

A first mechanical embodiment is typically simple and inexpensive to manufacture. For example, a pulley-based system may be used in which a cord is wound around a center at which a mechanical accelerometer is operatively coupled to measure movement of a person's exercise. The free end of the cord may be, for example, attached to the exercise equipment in such a way that when the equipment is operated for a particular exercise, the cord extends. If the cord extends too rapidly, the mechanical accelerometer senses the movement and may, at substantially the same time, complete a circuit by mechanical means to send a signal. The measuring device may be attached permanently or temporarily to the exercise equipment.

In a second optical embodiment, relative motion is measured between a fixed portion of the exercise equipment and a moving component. For example, a light source and a detector may be mounted on the equipment, and the moving part may have a series of holes through which light can pass. If as a result of the movement of the equipment during exercise the resulting signal pattern of on/off light detection is different than that corresponding to the optimum rate of movement of a person's exercise or exercise equipment, a signal is sent to to the person exercising. This arrangement may in some cases work for a pulley (i.e., circular motion) or on a cord or other linear-moving component. The appropriate signal comparison and logic functions may be resident in software in a conventional chip set used for these purposes.

In a third electronic embodiment, a gyroscopically-corrected electronic accelerometer that is surface mounted on a circuit board may be used. The entire device with supporting integrated circuit devices (e.g., an analog/digital converter), signal conditioning and comparison, along with the supporting software, may be designed to, for example, be incorporated into a watch-like device with a suitable wristband. One or more devices may, for example, fit on the arm or leg of a person exercising and/or on the exercise equipment itself. The accelerometer may perform the necessary measurement directly, and the appropriate signal may be sent to an alarm. This device often may be more flexible than non-electronic embodiments in that a larger number of motion values and settings may be implemented for any given device. Also, events may be stored in memory and downloaded to some central location (e.g., for later analysis).

By the foregoing description, an improved exercise monitoring system and method have been described. The foregoing description of specific embodiments reveals the general nature of the system and method sufficiently that others can, by applying current knowledge, readily modify and/or adapt it for various applications without departing from the generic concept. Therefore, such adaptations and modifications are within the meaning and range of equivalents of the disclosed embodiments. The phraseology or terminology employed herein is for the purpose of description and not of limitation. Accordingly, the system and method embrace all such alternatives, modifications, equivalents and variations as fall within the spirit and scope of the appended claims.