Title:
Dumbbell Supporting Device
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A dumbbell supporting device comprises a cradle for supporting a dumbbell therein and a frame adjustably supporting the cradle thereon at a selected one of various heights above the ground. A worm gear driven lift mechanism safely raises the dumbbells from ground level to the user's desired starting position for the exercise they are performing. The device eliminates the need for unnecessary lifting, making for a safer and more efficient workout.



Inventors:
Chaulk, Mark Edward (Winnipeg, CA)
Application Number:
11/737804
Publication Date:
03/20/2008
Filing Date:
04/20/2007
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63B21/16
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
ROLAND, DANIEL F
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
ADE & COMPANY INC. (WINNIPEG, MB, CA)
Claims:
1. A dumbbell supporting device comprising: a cradle for supporting a dumbbell therein; and a frame adjustably supporting the cradle thereon at a selected one of various heights above the ground.

2. The device according to claim 1 wherein the frame includes an upright track along which the cradle is supported for sliding movement.

3. The device according to claim 1 wherein a motor is provided for controlling the movement of the cradle in relation to the frame between the various heights.

4. The device according to claim 3 wherein the cradle is coupled to the motor through a worm gear.

5. The device according to claim 3 wherein there is provided a pair of cradles for supporting dumbbells respectively thereon and wherein each cradle is coupled to a respective motor for displacing the cradle between the respective various heights above the ground, in which the motors are commonly actuated.

6. The device according to claim 3 wherein the motor is actuated by a foot pedal.

7. The device according to claim 3 wherein the motor is actuated by a control which can be located at various positions remotely from the motor.

8. The device according to claim 1 wherein the frame comprises a pair of uprights each supporting a cradle thereon for adjustment between various heights above the ground.

9. The device according to claim 8 wherein the two uprights are joined at respective top ends thereof by a cross member.

10. The device according to claim 8 wherein the cradles are moveable along the respective uprights commonly with one another.

11. The device according to claim 8 wherein the uprights are spaced apart in a lateral direction and wherein the cradles are oriented to support the dumbbells in a longitudinal direction oriented perpendicularly to the lateral direction of spacing between the uprights.

12. The device according to claim 1 wherein the cradles comprises two cupped portions for supporting weighted end portions of a dumbbell thereon in which the cupped portions are spaced apart from one another by a distance suitable for receiving a hand of a user therebetween.

13. The device according to claim 12 wherein an inner end of each cupped portion nearest to the opposing cupped portion includes an upwardly projecting divider member fixed thereon.

14. The device according to claim 1 wherein each cradle comprises two plates which are spaced from one another in a longitudinal direction along a common axis, each plate including a lower portion for supporting a respective weighted end portion of a dumbbell thereon and extending upwardly from the lower portion to respective spaced apart free edges which are higher in elevation than the lower portion and which are located in opposing radial directions in relation to the common axis.

15. The device according to claim 1 wherein the cradle comprises a pair of cupped portions which are curved about a common axis, with the cupped portions being spaced apart from one another in the direction of the common axis.

16. The device according to claim 15 wherein an inner end of each cupped portion nearest to the opposing cupped portion includes a divider plate which is oriented generally perpendicularly to the common axis.

17. The device according to claim 1 in combination with a dumbbell comprising a handle suitably sized for gripping in a single hand of a user, the handle spanning between a pair of weighted members.

Description:

This application claims the benefit under 35 U.S.C. 119(e) of U.S. provisional application Ser. No. 60/793,651, filed Apr. 21, 2006.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to a device for supporting dumbbells thereon for conveniently placing the dumbbells in relation to a user performing exercises, and more particularly the invention relates to a device for placing the dumbbells at a selected height. The device includes a lifting mechanism using a worm gear to provide a safer and more effective way of placing the dumbbells.

BACKGROUND

Users of dumbbells currently have to use three steps in their workout routine just for preparation purposes. For example, in performing presses, the dumbbells must first be removed from their housing racks, and then transported to the weight bench. Second, while seated, the user has to reach down and lift the dumbbells up to their knees, which places an abnormal amount of strain on the users lower back. Third, the user must lift the dumbbells from their knees to shoulder heights, which risks injury to the lower back and shoulder. In these three steps, whether the user is doing a bench press, shoulder press, incline or decline press, they risk injury due to unnatural motions.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

According to one aspect of the invention there is provided a dumbbell supporting device comprising:

a cradle for supporting a dumbbell therein; and

a frame adjustably supporting the cradle thereon at a selected one of various heights above the ground.

The dumbbell supporting device solve the problems of the prior art by positioning dumbbells ready for use before any one of a plurality of different exercises is performed by the user. The device may utilize a worm gear driven lift mechanism to safely raise the dumbbells from ground level to the user's desired starting position for the exercise they are performing. The device eliminates the need for unnecessary lifting, making for a safer and more efficient workout.

The present invention is designed to cater to the fitness world. It is specifically intended to assist people who use dumbbells to achieve their fitness goals. This machine is able to accommodate a wide variety of styles and levels of fitness. It is able to support weights of up to 350 pounds per side. It will raise the dumbbells to a usable height in a safe and efficient manner, thereby eliminating the present problems caused by manually bringing heavy dumbbells into the starting position for several exercises.

The frame may include an upright track along which the cradle is supported for sliding movement.

A motor may be provided for controlling the movement of the cradle in relation to the frame between the various heights.

The cradle may be coupled to the motor through a worm gear.

There may be provided a pair of cradles for supporting dumbbells respectively thereon, wherein each cradle is coupled to a respective motor for displacing the cradle between the respective various heights above the ground, in which the motors are commonly actuated.

The motor is preferably actuated by a foot pedal. In addition, the motor is preferably actuated by a control which can be located at various positions remotely from the motor.

The frame may comprise a pair of uprights each supporting a cradle thereon for adjustment between various heights above the ground. The two uprights may be joined at respective top ends thereof by a cross member.

In this instance, the cradles are preferably moveable along the respective uprights commonly with one another.

When the uprights are horizontally spaced apart in a lateral direction, the cradles are preferably oriented to support the dumbbells in a longitudinal direction oriented generally horizontally and perpendicular to the lateral direction of spacing between the uprights.

The cradles comprises two cupped portions for supporting weighted end portions of a dumbbell thereon in which the cupped portions are spaced apart from one another by a distance suitable for receiving a hand of a user therebetween.

An inner end of each cupped portion nearest to the opposing cupped portion preferably includes an upwardly projecting divider member fixed thereon.

Each cradle preferably comprises two plates which are spaced from one another in a longitudinal direction along a common axis, wherein each plate includes a lower portion for supporting a respective weighted end portion of a dumbbell thereon and extends upwardly from the lower portion to respective spaced apart free edges which are higher in elevation than the lower portion and which are located in opposing radial directions in relation to the common axis.

The cradle may comprise a pair of cupped portions which are curved about a common axis, with the cupped portions being spaced apart from one another in the direction of the common axis.

An inner end of each cupped portion nearest to the opposing cupped portion may includes a divider plate which is oriented generally perpendicularly to the common axis.

The device may be provided in combination with a dumbbell supported on the cradle in which the dumbbell comprising a handle suitably sized for gripping in a single hand of a user, the handle spanning between a pair of weighted members.

Some embodiments of the invention will now be described in conjunction with the accompanying drawings in which:

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of the dumbbell support device

FIG. 2 is a front elevation view of the device.

FIG. 3 is a bottom plan view of the device.

FIG. 4 is top plan view of the device.

FIG. 5 is an end elevation view of the device.

FIG. 6 is a perspective of view one of the cradles for supporting the dumbbell therein.

FIG. 7 is an exploded perspective view of the cradle according to FIG. 6.

FIG. 8 is an exploded view of one of the carriage blocks which supports the cradle on the frame.

FIG. 9 is a partly sectional side elevational view of the components of the lift mechanism.

FIG. 10 is a front view of a second embodiment of the dumbbell support device.

FIG. 11 and FIG. 12 are top plan and side elevational views respectively of the device according to FIG. 10.

In the drawings like characters of reference indicate corresponding parts in the different figures.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

Referring to the accompanying Figures there is illustrated a dumbbell supporting device generally indicated by reference numeral 10. The device 10 is particularly suited for supporting dumbbells 11 thereon in a desirable position prior to a user performing exercises. Typical dumbbells 11 supported on the device comprise a handle which is suitably sized for gripping in a user's hand and which spans between a pair of weighted members mounted at opposing ends of the handle.

The device includes a frame 12 comprising two uprights 14 which are vertically oriented parallel to one another and spaced part in a lateral direction. Each upright comprises an elongate hollow tube having a square cross section.

A base member 16 is provided at the bottom end of each upright 14 which is larger in a horizontal dimension than the upright for supporting the uprights in their vertical orientation. Each base member 16 spans in the lateral direction only outwardly from the uprights so as to be flush with the upright at the inner side. The base members are also wider than the uprights in both longitudinal directions, in which the longitudinal directions are oriented perpendicularly to lateral direction of spacing between the uprights. The base 16 comprises an enclosed housing defining an interior chamber therein.

Braces 18 are provided which span from the respective base members 16 at positions spaced laterally outwardly from the respective uprights to top ends which are joined to the uprights adjacent the top end thereof.

A cross member 20 is provided for joining between the top ends of the uprights 14 by spanning in the lateral direction between the uprights. The cross member is arch shaped so as to be bowed upwardly to be higher through a central portion than the height of the uprights 14.

Each upright 14 includes an elongate vertical slot 22 along the inner side thereof which faces the opposing upright.

A carriage block 24 is slidably mounted along each upright 14 for movement therealong in the vertical direction within the hollow interior of the tube defining the upright. The carriage block 24 is square in cross section having dimensions which are only slightly less then the interior dimension of the uprights for fitting in close tolerance therein. Rollers 26 are mounted on each side of the block 24 for engaging all four inner surfaces of the respective upright for rolling movement of the carriage block along the upright. Each side of the block includes at least one set of vertically spaced rollers. The inner and outer sides however, each include two sets of vertically spaced rollers in which the two sets are spaced horizontally from one another. A vertical opening 28 is provided through the center of the carriage block.

A cradle 30 is supported on each carriage block for movement therewith along the respective uprights. Each block 24 includes a mounting post 32 projecting horizontally inwardly therefrom to extend through the slot 22 defined in the respective upright for sliding movement of the post along the slot as the carriage post is slidably displaced along the respective upright. The mounting post 32 is telescopic in length and mounts the cradle 30 on the free end thereof for adjustment of the spacing between the cradle 30 and the respective carriage block upon which it is carried. A suitable locking pin 34 is received in cooperating apertures in the post 32 for selectively restricting the length thereof once a desired spacing of the cradle 30 from the carriage block is selected.

The cradle 30 comprises two cupped portions 36, each of which includes an upper concave surface for supporting a portion of the dumbbell thereon. Each cupped portion 36 has a central portion upon which the dumbbell is supported and side portions extending upwardly and outwardly from the central portion to spaced apart upper free edges 38 of the cradle. The cupped portions 36 are aligned with one another so as to be curved about a common axis oriented horizontally in a longitudinal direction which is perpendicular to the lateral direction of the spacing between uprights 14. The cupped portions 36 are spaced apart from one another in the axial direction of the common axis about which the cupped portions are curved to define a gap 40 between the cupped portions having suitable dimensions for receiving the hand of the user therethrough.

A divider plate 42 is provided at the inner end of each cupped portion 36 nearest the corresponding adjacent cupped portion to axially locate the dumbbell in the axial direction on the cradle. The divider plates are each oriented vertically and perpendicular to the axial direction of the cradles so as to be spaced from one another by the distance of the gap 40 between the cupped portions. The upper free edges 38 of the cradles are spaced approximately two inches above the central portion at the inner side while the divider plates have a height in the order of approximately one inch from the central portion of the cradle.

A mounting plate 44 is provided at the outer sides of the cradles respectively for mounting the cradles on the mounting posts 32. The upper free edges 38 at the outer sides of the cradles are preferably much higher in elevation than the respective inner sides. The mounting plates are joined to the upper free edges 38 at the outer sides. When the mounting plates 44 are mounted adjacent their top ends to the mounting post 32, the cradles are suspended below the elevation of the mounting posts.

A lift mechanism is provided for lifting and placing the dumbbells with respect to the user with minimal effort required by the user. The lifting mechanism includes a vertical rod 46 mounted within each upright to extend the full length thereof through the vertical opening 28 in the respective carriage block 24. Each rod 46 is externally threaded to define a worm gear which carries the carriage blocks 24 threadably thereon. The carriage block thus includes an internally threaded portion 48 which mates with the threads of the rod 46 so that the carriage blocks are displaced upwardly and downwardly as the respective vertical rods 46 are rotated about their respective elongate axes extending vertically with the uprights 14.

A motor 50 is mounted within each of the base members 16 which serve to drive rotation of the verticals rods 46. The motors 50 comprise electric motors which are wired together for commonly displacing the carriage blocks responsive to common actuation thereof. A foot pedal 52 is provided for activating the motors using the foot of the user. The foot petal 52 is coupled to one of the base members by an elongate flexible cable 54 which permits remote positioning of the foot pedal 52 in a plurality of positions relative to the base members and permits activation of both motors 50 commonly with one control.

In use, the spacing between the cradles 30 is first adjusted using the telescoping mounting posts 32 depending upon the desired exercise by the user. The cradles are then lowered to be positioned adjacent the ground prior to mounting the dumbbells thereon. The dumbbells are positioned on the cradles respectively such that the weighted end portions of the dumbbell are supported on the two cupped portions of the cradle respectively with the handle extending between the weighted end portions to be aligned with the gap 40 in each cradle for gripping with the hands of the user.

Axial displacement of the dumbbells relative to the respective cradles is prevented by the divider plates which ensure that the weighted end portions of the dumbbells remain positioned on the cupped portions outwardly in the axial direction in relation to the divider plates. Using the foot pedal, the user then activates the motors which rotate the rods and effectively lift the carriage blocks together with the cradles and any weight supported thereon. The pedal is a two way pedal permitting both upward and downward controls from the same pedal. Once in a desired position, discontinuing activation of the motor or a failure of the motor does not result in the weight falling in anyway as the use of the worm gear ensures that the weight on the cradles remains well supported in position until the vertical rods 46 are again rotated.

As described herein, the device 10 uses two worm gear mechanisms, each capable of lifting 350 pounds, to lift the dumbbells. The worm gears are made from steel, and are driven by electric motors hidden in the base of the machine. A single foot switch operates both mechanisms simultaneously to control the upward and downward motion of the worm gears that are driven by the motors.

The dumbbells will rest in a dumbbell support rack or cradle 30. These support racks are made of formed steel, rolled to the same diameter as a standard dumbbell. This round shape holds the dumbbell securely. The rack extends to 2 inches from the bottom in front at the inner side, and up to the midpoint of the dumbbell in the rear at the outer side, in order to prevent the dumbbell from rolling out. The dumbbell support rack is attached to a drop plate or mounting plate 44, to bring it to a lowered height of 1 inch. above ground level. This drop plate, in turn, is attached to a sliding arm or telescoping mounting post 32, secured by a pull-pin 34, to allow the user to set their preferred width.

A safety shield surrounds the worm gear lifting mechanism. This shield wraps around the worm gear, leaving only a narrow gap in the front through which the dumbbell support rack will attach. A plastic accordion shield covers the slots 22 in the uprights 14 above and below the dumbbell support rack.

The base of device, which houses the drive motors, is 8 inches in height to allow clearance for the motors. The worm gear extends through a hole in the base up the safety shield.

The two safety shields are joined by an overhead arch, which stabilized the assembly. For further stability, the safety shields are also supported by bracing rails, attached partway up the shield and extending to the base, about 20 inches away from the safety shield.

Turning now to the embodiment of FIGS. 10 through 12, a further embodiment of the dumbbell supporting device is illustrated in which the cradles 30 are displaced along the uprights 14 using a manually driven mechanical lifting mechanism. This embodiment works on a similar principle to the previously described powered one; however, instead of a motor, a hand crank 60 operates the lifting mechanism. This crank 60 is situated 2 feet (24 inches) from the bottom of the side rail, and about 3 feet above the floor. This puts it at a convenient position for manual cranking. The crank inserts into a gear and chain setup, and each side of the lifting mechanism is operated independently. A protective guard surrounds the gears and chain. The crank handle turns the upper gear, which in turn drives a lower gear using the chain. The lower gear transfers the rotational motion to the worm screw, encased in the side rail. The worm screw works the same as in the powered lift, and when it turns lifts the dumbbell holder. The gear drive has a locking mechanism (hereafter referred to as a safety lock) that locks out all motion of the gears, the chain, and the worm screw. In order to raise or lower the dumbbells, this safety lock must be disengaged. The safety lock is spring loaded, and will automatically re-engage when released. Since each side is operated independently, there is an identical mechanism and safety lock on each side rail of the machine. As noted above, the dumbbell supports are mounted on a telescopic pin-locked arm, to allow them to be moved closer together or farther apart, to suit the user's preferences.

In a further embodiment which is not illustrated, the device 10 comprises a manual dumbbell lift and is a simpler application of the dumbbell lift idea. There are no gears, no worm screws, and no drive mechanisms. The side rail 14 is a rigid beam, with holes drilled laterally through it (from the front of the machine to the back, all the way through the side rail). These holes are placed vertically up the side of the machine, and are spaced about 1 inch apart, The dumbbell support is attached to a slider that fits around the side rail. There is a spring-loaded pin in each side of the slider (front and back). In order to lift the dumbbell support to a raised position, the dumbbell support must first be emptied. Both pins must be pulled back, and the slider then lifted to the desired height. The spring-loaded pull pins return to their closed position when released. They insert through the lateral holes in the side rail, and secure the dumbbell support in place. Each side of the apparatus will be raised independently. After being secured in position, the supports will hold the dumbbells at the user's desired height. As in previous embodiments, the dumbbell supports are mounted on a telescopic pin-locked arm, to allow them to be moved closer together or farther apart, to suit the user's preferences.

Since various modifications can be made in my invention as herein above described, and many apparently widely different embodiments of same made within the spirit and scope of the claims without department from such spirit and scope, it is intended that all matter contained in the accompanying specification shall be interpreted as illustrative only and not in a limiting sense.