Title:
Weight lifting spotting device
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A portable self spotting weight lifting safety apparatus comprising uprights positioned on either side of a weight lifting bench. Barbell support arms extending from the uprights and into the pathway of barbells. Rotating screws located in the uprights raise and lower the support arms. When assistance is necessary, the exerciser presses a foot actuated switch which in turn operates a motor to rotate the screws to raise the support arms.



Inventors:
Andrews, Wasim (West Palm Beach, FL, US)
Application Number:
11/235971
Publication Date:
03/29/2007
Filing Date:
09/26/2005
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
482/94
International Classes:
A63B21/06; A63B21/078
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
GANESAN, SUNDHARA M
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
MCHALE & SLAVIN, P.A. (PALM BEACH GARDENS, FL, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. An self-spotting apparatus for supporting a barbell above a weight lifting bench comprising: first and second uprights positionable on opposite sides of a weight lifting bench; each of said uprights having a vertically adjustable barbell support, said barbell supports having a raised position and a lowered position; means to move said barbell supports in between said raised and lowered position; said means to move said barbell supports comprising a screw positioned within said uprights; a motor constructed and arranged to rotate said screws upon activation of said motor; said means to move said barbell supports is actuatable by a user.

2. The self-spotting apparatus of claim 1 wherein means are provided for translating rotary motion of one of said screws to the other said screw.

3. The self-spotting apparatus of claim 2 wherein said means for translating rotary motion comprises a shaft and bevel gears connecting said shaft and said screws.

4. The self-spotting device of claim 2 wherein said means for translating rotary motion comprises sprockets positioned on said screws and a chain connecting said sprockets.

5. The self-spotting device of claim 1 wherein base members are connected to the lowermost portions of said uprights.

6. The self-spotting device of claim 5 wherein said base members have wheels mounted thereon to support said device.

7. The self-spotting device of claim 6 wherein said wheel are retractable up and into said base members.

8. An self-spotting apparatus for supporting a barbell above a weight lifting bench comprising: first and second uprights positionable on opposite sides of a weight lifting bench; each of said uprights having a vertically adjustable barbell support, said barbell supports having a raised position and a lowered position; means to move said barbell supports in between said raised and lowered position; said means to move said barbell supports comprising a screw positioned within said uprights; a motor constructed and arranged to rotate said screws upon activation of said motor; said means to move said barbell supports is actuatable by means positioned on said barbell supports.

9. The self-supporting apparatus of claim 8 wherein said means positioned on said barbell supports comprises pressure sensor switches.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates generally to the field of exercise and weight lifting equipment. More particularly, this invention relates to devices for assisting individuals during the performance of weight lifting exercises which will prevent injury and increase the benefit of the exercise.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

A significant and common problem for free weight lifters is that without a spotter it is difficult to obtain the maximum benefits from these exercises. In order to obtain the maximum benefits the exercises should be performed to the point of fatigue. At this point the lifter may not have the ability to return the weights to their support racks. A person lifting alone must therefore stop the exercise when any doubt enters their mind whether they can complete the next repetition or not.

The greatest danger exists when the lifter is performing bench presses. The lifter is lying on a bench underneath the free weights. Should he or she be unable to perform the next repetition or improperly perform the exercise, the barbell will drop on the lifter seriously injuring them. Even in exercises such as the curl, if the exercise isn't properly performed the danger exists that a muscle could be overly extended and injured.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PRIOR ART

Devices used in place of spotters for weight lifters are known in the art. For example U.S. Pat. No. 6,746,379 to Brawner discloses a self spotting bench press composed of an adjustable bench and uprights located on either side of the bench. Lifting arms extend from the uprights into the barbells pathway and have the ability to slide up and down to contact the barbell and decrease the weight exerted on the lifter. Hydraulic cylinders provide force to each lifting arm, which is depressed below the barbells path before use. When assistance is needed, the lifter releases a hydraulic restrictor valve causing the lifting arms to ascend removing a user-determined amount of weight from the barbell while permitting the user to continue performing repetitions. A second restrictor valve can allow only upward movement should the lifter fail to complete a repetition. A third flow restrictor valve adjusts the rate of lifting arm travel. Hydraulic systems are susceptible to premature seal failure if the hydraulic ram is not clean and if too much weight is rapidly applied. Failure of the hydraulic system presents a grave risk to the lifter since nothing will prevent the barbell from coming down and injuring the lifter. This device also cannot be used with existing weight benches.

Another automatic spotting device is disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 6,558,299 to Slattery. This consists of a frame having a vertically movable center section that supports two horizontal spotter arms which spot the barbells. The movable center section is mechanically engaged to an electric motor by a lead screw. A computerized drive controller regulates the operation of the electric motor thereby moving the spotter arms between upper and lower spot positions preselected by the user. As a result, the position of the spotting arms does not have to be changed by the user after each exercise.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to a safety device for supporting a barbell above a weightlifting bench. The device comprises first and second spaced uprights positioned on opposite sides of the head end of a weightlifting bench. Each of the uprights includes a lead screw onto which is mounted a barbell support. An electric motor is mounted on one of the uprights and drives the lead screw in that upright. Means connecting the lead screws in each upright convey the rotary motion of the driven lead screw to the other lead screw. The barbell supports are positioned just below the lowermost position of the barbell during the exercise. If the lifter cannot lift the barbell by themselves the motor is activated and the barbell supports will engage the barbell, lifting it to a safe position.

Accordingly, it is a primary objective of the instant invention to provide a safety device which can be used with conventional weightlifting benches and other equipment.

It is a further objective of the instant invention to provide a safety device which is operable by the weight lifter alone. Thus eliminating the need of another person to act as a spotter.

It is yet another objective of the instant invention to provide a device which can be adjusted quickly and easily to different positions for different exercises.

It is a still further objective of the invention to provide a device which upon activation will not permit any downward movement of the barbells.

Other objects and advantages of this invention will become apparent from the following description taken in conjunction with any accompanying drawings wherein are set forth, by way of illustration and example, certain embodiments of this invention. Any drawings contained herein constitute a part of this specification and include exemplary embodiments of the present invention and illustrate various objects and features thereof.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE FIGURES

FIG. 1 is a front perspective view of the device.

FIG. 2 is a vertical cross sectional view taken along lines 2-2 of FIG. 1.

FIG. 3 is a horizontal cross sectional view taken through the uprights and transverse member of FIG. 1 of an alternative embodiment.

FIG. 4 is a front elevated perspective view of the motor control.

FIG. 5 is a front perspective view of the device with an alternative activation means.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

Referring to the drawings and in particular to FIG. 1 there is illustrated a preferred albeit non-limiting embodiment. A weight lifting spotting device 10 is shown which comprises a pair of uprights 12a and 12b connected by a transverse member 14. The uprights have horizontally extending base members 16a and 16b located at their lowermost portions. The base members provide support to maintain the uprights in their vertical position. They can also be provided with wheels 18a and 18b located on the bottom portion of the base members. The wheels may be fixedly mounted, as shown, or retractable. The wheels enable the spotting device to be easily moved to different pieces of weight lifting equipment. Handles 15a and 15b located on the upper portion of the uprights are used to help move the device. The uprights have screws 20a and 20b mounted inside. Attached to the screws are barbell supports 22a, 22b. Slots are provided in the front faces of uprights 12a and 12b. These slots allow the barbell supports to travel vertically up and down the uprights. A nut is attached to an end portion of the barbell supports 22a and 22b and is threaded onto the screw. The slots prevent the barbell supports and nuts from rotating so when the screw is rotated the nut and attached support move vertically up or down. The internal threads of the nut and the external threads of the screw are identical in pitch and thread profile, to allow these two members to be in mating rotational contact. As the screws rotate the nut and barbell support is driven either up or down. The screws can have threads with profiles including square threads, modified square threads, Acme threads, stub Acme threads, 60-degree threads, or national buttress threads. Both the nut and screw should have the same direction of thread, either right-handed or left-handed. Thus, it is critical that the nut and the screw have both the same pitch, the same thread profile, and the same right or left handedness of the thread.

Only one of the screws is directly driven by motor 28. In FIG. 1 it is the screw on the left side. The rotary motion of the screw 20a is translated to screw 20b. One method of accomplishing this is with the use of bevel gears as shown in FIG. 2. Bevel gears 30a and 30b are located on screws 20a and 20b respectively. Shaft 34 extends between the screws, through transverse member 14, and has bevel gears 32a and 32b attached to either end thereof. With the gears arranged as shown in FIG. 2, both screws 20a and 20b will rotate in the same direction. An alternative method of translating the motion from one screw to the other is shown in FIG. 3. Sprocket 26a is attached to screw 20a and sprocket 36b is attached to screw 20b. Chain 38 extends around both sprockets and through transverse member 14. As screw 20a is driven, sprocket 36a turns, driving chain 38 which in turn drives sprocket 36b and screw 20b. In addition, other well known alternative methods of translating rotary motion from one element to another could also be employed. For example, bevel gear 30b could be located above bevel gear 32b. In this case screw 20b would rotate in the opposite direction as screw 20a and therefore would have to have a left hand thread to operate properly.

The barbell supports are also provided with forward vertical protrusions 24a, 24b and rearward vertical protrusions 26a, 26b. The forward vertical protrusions 24a, 24b prevent the barbell from rolling off of the support. The rearward vertical protrusions 26a, 26b prevent the barbell from hitting the rests which hold the barbell on a conventional weight lifting bench.

Referring now to FIG. 4 a motor and controls are located in a housing 28 which is mounted on a lowermost portion of an upright. The motor and controls could be mounted on either of the screws 20a or 20b. The motor rotatable drives the screw either clockwise or counterclockwise. The motor control 40 has three positions “up”, “down” and “activate”. In the “up” position the screws are rotated so that the barbell supports are raised to a desired height. In the “down” position the screws are rotated so that the barbell supports are lowered to a desired height. In the “active” position the barbell supports will raise the barbell to a preset position if the lifter fails to complete the exercise and steps on the emergency pedal 42. There are also two lights on the motor housing. Light 44 is green which indicates that everything is operative. Light 46 is red which indicates that there is a problem and the device should not be operated.

In FIG. 5 an alternative system for activating the motor is shown. Barbell supports 22a and 22b are provided with pressure sensor switches 40a and 40b between the forward vertical protrusions 24a, 24b and the rearward vertical protrusions 26a, 26b. If the lifter fails to complete the exercise and the barbell falls onto the barbell supports, the pressure sensor switches 40a, 40b will activate the motor and raise the barbell to a preset position.

All patents and publications mentioned in this specification are indicative of the levels of those skilled in the art to which the invention pertains. All patents and publications are herein incorporated by reference to the same extent as if each individual publication was specifically and individually indicated to be incorporated by reference.

It is to be understood that while a certain form of the invention is illustrated, it is not to be limited to the specific form or arrangement herein described and shown. It will be apparent to those skilled in the art that various changes may be made without departing from the scope of the invention and the invention is not to be considered limited to what is shown and described in the specification and any drawings/figures included herein.

One skilled in the art will readily appreciate that the present invention is well adapted to carry out the objectives and obtain the ends and advantages mentioned, as well as those inherent therein. The embodiments, methods, procedures and techniques described herein are presently representative of the preferred embodiments, are intended to be exemplary and are not intended as limitations on the scope. Changes therein and other uses will occur to those skilled in the art which are encompassed within the spirit of the invention and are defined by the scope of the appended claims. Although the invention has been described in connection with specific preferred embodiments, it should be understood that the invention as claimed should not be unduly limited to such specific embodiments. Indeed, various modifications of the described modes for carrying out the invention which are obvious to those skilled in the art are intended to be within the scope of the following claims.