Title:
Vibrating exercise apparatus
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An exercise device has a motor rotating an eccentric weight to cause a vibration. The motor is powered by a power source external to the exercise device and has at least one handle is sized and configured to be gripped by a user for exercise. A pair of opposing end frames are connected to the motor on opposite ends of the motor with the handle extending between the end frames in a straight line of sufficient length so a user can grab the handle with both hands at once. The handle optionally extends beyond the end frames so weights can be added thereto. A speed control is connected to the motor to vary the vibration speed. A first connector is fastened to the device and configured to releasably fasten to a flexible member which is preferably connected to a variable resistance such as a weight stack. Thus, a portable vibrating handle can be connecting to existing exercise devices to provide vibrational exercise. A second connector allows the portable device to be interposed between the handle and the adjustable resistance of the exercise device.



Inventors:
Charnitski, Richard (Mission Viejo, CA, US)
Application Number:
12/001535
Publication Date:
06/12/2008
Filing Date:
12/12/2007
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63B21/00
View Patent Images:
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20090062088Portable exercise machineMarch, 2009Ismail et al.
20070287612Maximum muscle strengthening resistance deviceDecember, 2007Cha
20040018922Resistance training method and apparatusJanuary, 2004Maiuri
20090247369HYGIENIC EXERCISE EQUIPMENT AND MANUFACTURING METHOD THEREOFOctober, 2009Chang
20090098981Virtual TrainerApril, 2009Del Giorno
20030119632Appliance to prevent locked fingers during sleep and for exercising gripJune, 2003Archuleta
20020169057Variable resistance abdominal benchNovember, 2002Forcillo
20080312052DYNAMIC VARIABLE RESISTANCE DUAL CIRCLING EXERCISE METHOD AND DEVICEDecember, 2008Krietzman



Primary Examiner:
HWANG, VICTOR KENNY
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
STETINA BRUNDA GARRED & BRUCKER (ALISO VIEJO, CA, US)
Claims:
1. A portable exercise device, comprising: a motor rotating an eccentric weight to cause a vibration below about 200 Hz with an amplitude of about 3 mm to 8 mm, the motor being powered by a power source external to the device; at least one handle sized and configured to be gripped by a user for exercise; a pair of opposing end frames on opposite ends of the motor with the handle extending between the end frames in a straight line of sufficient length so a user can grab the handle with both hands at once, the handle extending beyond the end frames so weights can be added thereto; a speed control connected to the motor to vary the vibration speed; and a first connector fastened to the device and configured to releasably fasten to a flexible member adapted to be connected to a variable resistance device during use.

2. (canceled)

3. (canceled)

4. The portable exercise device of claim 1, wherein the power source is electrical an electrical cord connects the speed control to the motor.

5. The portable exercise device of claim 1, wherein the connector is a separate part threadably connected to the exercise device.

6. The portable exercise device of claim 1, further comprising an elastic member connected to the first connector or to a flexible member that is connected to the first connector.

7. (canceled)

8. (canceled)

9. (canceled)

10. (canceled)

11. A portable exercise device, comprising: an elongated barbell bar having gripping areas configured to be grabbed by weight lifters; an electric motor fastened to the bar, the motor having an eccentric weight thereon to vibrate the bar, the motor connected to the bar to vibrate the bar as the eccentric rotates, the motor being powered by a power source external to the exercise device.

12. The portable exercise device of claim 11, wherein the bar passes through the motor.

13. (canceled)

14. The portable exercise device of claim 11, further comprising at least one weight on each opposing end of the bar.

15. The portable exercise device of claim 11, further comprising an electric power connected to the motor which is an electric motor.

16. The portable exercise device of claim 11, further comprising an electric power cord connected to a variable speed control and to the motor which is an electric motor.

17. The portable exercise device of claim 11, further comprising a first connector connected to the portable exercise device, the first connector adapted to releasably connect to a flexible member.

18. The portable exercise device of claim 11, wherein the motor is contained in a housing with end frames connecting the housing to the bar, and further comprising a first connector connected to the motor housing or to the end frames, the first connector adapted to releasably connect to a flexible member.

19. The portable exercise device of claim 18, wherein the connector comprises one of a hook, eyelet, or U-shaped connector.

20. (canceled)

21. The portable exercise device of claim 17, further comprising a variable resistance exercise device connected to the first connector through a flexible member and further connected to a device engageable by a person exercising connected to the second connector.

22. (canceled)

23. (canceled)

24. (canceled)

25. The portable exercise device of claim 17, further comprising a flexible member connected to the first connector and to a variable resistance exercise device.

26. (canceled)

27. (canceled)

28. (canceled)

29. (canceled)

30. (canceled)

31. (canceled)

32. (canceled)

33. (canceled)

34. (canceled)

35. (canceled)

36. (canceled)

37. (canceled)

38. (canceled)

39. (canceled)

40. (canceled)

41. (canceled)

42. (canceled)

43. A method for exercising, comprising: providing a motor rotating an eccentric to cause vibration, the motor having an electric power cord with an electrical plug and having a variable speed control; fastening the motor to a flexible member and to a device engageable by a person exercising so the motor vibrates the device engageable by the person and vibrates the flexible member as the motor rotates.

44. The method of claim 43, wherein the device engageable by the person is a handle connected by end frames to a housing for the motor.

45. The method of claim 43, wherein the motor is in a housing having end frames which are fastened to a handle, with the flexible member fastened to the housing or an end frame.

46. (canceled)

47. The method of claim 43, further comprising an elastic member connected to the flexible member.

48. The method of claim 43, further comprising a variable resistance device connected to the flexible member.

49. The method of claim 43, wherein the flexible member is fastened to a non-moving structure.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

The application claims the benefit under 35 U.S.C. § 119(e), of application Ser. No. 60/874,461, filed Dec. 12, 2006, the contents of which are incorporated herein by reference.

STATEMENT RE: FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH/DEVELOPMENT

Not Applicable

BACKGROUND

Vibrating platforms are used for exercise because the vibration provides neuromuscular stimulation that results in increased blood flow, flexibility, muscle fiber contractions. Existing vibrating strength platforms are fixed in position and the person using the vibrating platform has to perform exercise movements with respect to the machine. Vibrating platforms are expensive. Some specific vibrating dumbbells are known, but they are limited to specific dumbbell type exercises, are battery powered and are not readily usable with other exercise equipment. Exercise equipment exists having eccentric motors mounted to large exercise devices to vibrate the cable between the user and the weights, but that limits the portability of the equipment and types of equipment to which the vibration can be applied. An improved exercise apparatus is thus needed, especially an apparatus to allow the user to engage in vibration exercise while performing free body movements in space.

BRIEF SUMMARY

A portable electric motor with an offset or eccentric weight is powered by a 110 volt current. A speed control varies the vibration frequency. A frame holds opposing ends of the motor and one or two handles for the user to grab for exercise. A connector, such as a loop, hook or eyelet is provided that releasably engages a rope, cable or chain that typically passes over one or more pulleys fastened to a variable resistance device such as adjustable springs or a variable frictional resistance or an adjustable stack of weights. More than one connector can be used to interpose the entire portable vibrating device along a length of a flexible cable, etc. The handle can be short, like a dumbbell, or elongated for use as a barbell or lifting bar. Advantageously, two eyelet connectors are located on opposing sides of the device, preferably 180° apart on the vibrating frame or the housing, so any exercise resistance device can be connected to one eyelet and any style exercise handle or strap can be connected to the other connector.

There is thus advantageously provided a portable exercise device having a motor rotating an eccentric weight to cause a vibration below about 200 Hz with an amplitude of about 3 mm to 8 mm with an amplitude of 5 mm being preferred. The motor is powered by a power source external to the exercise device. At least one handle is sized and configured to be gripped by a user for exercise. A pair of opposing end frames are connected to the motor on opposite ends of the motor with the handle extending between the end frames in a straight line of sufficient length so a user can grab the handle with both hands at once. The handle optionally extends beyond the end frames so weights can be added thereto. The exercise device also has a speed control connected to the motor to vary the vibration speed, and a connector fastened to the device and configured to releasably fasten to a flexible member.

In further variations, this portable exercise device has weights releasably fastened to opposing ends of the handle. Further, the motor is preferably electrically powered and there can be two handles located on opposing sides of the exercise device. Additionally, a speed control is connected to the motor to vary the vibration. In further variations, there are two connectors on opposing sides of the exercise device, and the connectors optionally comprise a separate part threadably connected to the exercise device.

There is also provided a portable exercise device having an elongated barbell bar with gripping areas configured to be grabbed by weight lifters. An electric motor is fastened to the bar, with the motor having an eccentric weight thereon to vibrate the bar. The motor is connected to the bar to vibrate the bar as the eccentric rotates. The motor is powered by a power source external to the exercise device, with an electrical power source and electric motor being preferred, and pneumatic power being one alternative.

In further variations, the portable exercise device has the bar passing through the motor. Further, opposing ends of the bar can be configured to receive removable weights, and thus there can also be at least one weight on each opposing end of the bar. Moreover, the motor is preferably an electric motor connected to a variable speed control.

The portable exercise device preferably includes an electric power cord connected to a variable speed control and to an electric motor. Preferably, but optionally, the motor is contained in a housing with end frames connecting the housing to the bar. The exercise device can further optionally include a connector connected to the motor housing or end frames, the connector adapted to releasably connect to a flexible member. The connector preferably, but optionally, comprises one of a hook, eyelet, or U-shaped connector. In any of the above embodiments having a connector, a spring can be connected to one of the connector, or to a flexible member that is connected to the connector, to provide a softer resistance.

There is also advantageously provided a method for exercising using an exercise machine having an adjustable resistance connected to a flexible member that is also connected to a handle which a user grabs to exert a force against the adjustable resistance. The method includes providing a motor rotating an eccentric to cause vibration, where the motor is powered by a power source external to the handle. The method further includes fastening the motor to the handle so the vibration from the eccentric vibrates the handle. In further variations, the method uses a handle that is connected to a connector which releasably connects to the flexible member. Moreover, the motor is preferably, but optionally placed in a housing having end frames which are fastened to the handle and the flexible member is connects to the housing or an end frame. In further variations, the motor is cylindrical and the handle comprises an elongated bar, with the bar passing through the motor and the eccentric rotating around the bar. Advantageously, the bar has opposing ends adapted to releasably fasten to weightlifting weights, and weights can be placed on that bar. Moreover, there can also be two connectors placed on opposing sides of the portable exercise device so the device can be interposed along a length of a flexible member. Advantageously, the two connectors are placed on opposing sides of the housing.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

These and other features and advantages of the various embodiments disclosed herein will be better understood with respect to the following description and drawings, in which like numbers refer to like parts throughout, and in which:

FIG. 1 is a front plan view of a hand held vibrating exercise device with a single handle and a U-shaped connector;

FIG. 2 is a right side plan view of the exercise device of FIG. 1, with the left side being substantially a mirror image thereof except for a power cord;

FIG. 3 is a cross-sectional view of the device of FIG. 2

FIG. 4 is a perspective view of a portable vibrating exercise device applied to barbells;

FIG. 5 is a schematic view of the exercise device of FIG. 1 used with a first variable resistance device;

FIG. 6 is a schematic view of the exercise device of FIG. 1 used with a second variable resistance device;

FIG. 7 is a front plan view of the exercise device of FIG. 1 with two handles;

FIG. 8 is a right side plan view of the device of FIG. 7, with the left side view being a mirror image thereof except for the addition of a power cord;

FIG. 9 is a side plan view of the exercise device of FIG. 1 connected to a flexible tension member of an exercise device having a pulley and using an elastic member;

FIG. 10 is a side plan view of the exercise device of FIG. 1 connected to an elastic member;

FIG. 11 is a side plan view of the exercise device of FIG. 1 without a handle and connected to two elongated members through the end frame; and

FIG. 12 is a side plan view of the exercise device of FIG. 1 without a handle and connected to two elongated members connected to the housing.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

Referring to FIGS. 1-3, the portable exercise device 18 has a motor 20 with a shaft 22 having an eccentric 24 at one or both ends of the shaft. The motor 20 is electrically powered through cord 26 connected to a control box 28 that varies the rotational frequency of rotation of motor 20. The cord 26 plugs in to a wall outlet, e.g., a 110 volt outlet. The motor 20 is preferably mounted to a housing, typically cylindrical, having at least one mounting flange 42. The motor mounting flange 42 is fastened to exercise frame 32 having opposing end frames 34a, 34b and handle 36. The motor 20 is preferably, but optionally enclosed within housing 38 that is preferably cylindrical and extends between the opposing and optionally parallel end frames 34a, 34b. The motor can be fastened various ways to the motor frame 32 but preferably the motor 20 is held between end frames 34a, 34b. In the illustrated embodiment, bolts 40 fasten the flange(s) 42 on the end of the motor 20 to one or preferably both, of the end frames 34a, 34b using threaded fasteners such as nuts 41.

Preferably, but optionally, shaft the handle 36 comprises a shaft that extends through the end frames 34a, 34b so that weights W can be fastened onto the shaft by releasable fasteners 45, known in the art. The wrights are preferably fastened on the outer or exterior side of the end frames 34a, 34b. The device 18 is a portable device as a single user can lift the device, typically using a single hand. The device 18 weights under 10 pounds, advantageously under 5 pounds, and preferably under 3 pounds. Weights W are added as desired.

Fastened to the frame 32 is a connector 44. In the illustrated embodiment, the connector 44 is a U-shaped piece of metal with opposing ends fastened to the housing 38, preferably using threaded fasteners in the ends of the legs of the U-shaped connector 44. Advantageously, but optionally, the connector 32 is fastened opposite the handle 36. The connector 44 is large enough and sturdy enough so that exercise loads (several hundred pounds) can be applied to the connector 44 and exercise device 18. The connector 44 is preferably a separable item which can be removed from the exercise device 18 or added thereto, but it could comprise an opening formed in one or both of the end frames 34.

In use, electrical power is applied to the motor 20 causing it to vibrate. A user can lift the device 18 as it vibrates. The motor 18 and frame 32 typically weigh several pounds. If additional weight is desired, various weights W can be fastened to the shaft 36 using releasable fasteners 45. The amount of vibration can be varied using the control 28 to adjust the frequency of the vibration. Optionally, the amount of offset on eccentric 24, or the mass of the eccentric 24 can be adjusted to vary the amplitude of vibration for a given frequency.

As desired, the user can attach the exercise device 18 to other exercise systems using the connector 44. For example, referring to FIGS. 5-6, the connector 44 can be fastened to the end of a flexible member 48 such as a cable or rope on a weight stack. Because the vibration is provided by the motor 20 connected to the handle 36, a conventional or pre-existing static weight bench can be converted into a vibrating weight bench. The vibration is believed to provide improved muscle development compared to non-vibrating systems.

Referring to FIG. 7-8, the end frames 34a, 34b extend on opposite sides of shaft 36 and attach to a second handle 36b, with handles 36a, 36b located on opposite sides of motor 20. The connector 40 is again preferably, but optionally fastened to the housing 38, preferably at the middle and in a plane perpendicular to the plane containing handles 36. In this two-handle (or continuous handle) embodiment of exercise device 18, the connector 44 can be attached to ropes, cables or other flexible members 46 of exercise devices and used to provide vibration to those exercise devices. But as two spaced-apart handles 36 are provided, the user can perform the exercise with two-spaced apart hand-grips.

Referring to FIG. 4, the exercise device 18 has an elongated through shaft 36 to form a barbell, with the end frames 34a, 34b being fastened to the shaft 36 and the handles 36 omitted. Alternatively, the motor 20 could be mounted on one side of the shaft 36, and if so it is preferably, but optionally parallel to the shaft 36. The connector 44 is fastened to the housing 38, and through the end frames 34a, 34b is fastened to the shaft 36 to vibrate the shaft.

Still referring to FIGS. 4 and 6, the elongated handle, shaft or bar 36 allows various exercises performed with both hands on a single bar, and allows vibration to be added to existing equipment connected to the connector(s) 44. The motor 20 for this embodiment is preferably cylindrical so the handle 36 can pass through the motor, with the eccentric either encircling and rotating about the longitudinal axis along handle 36 or alternatively, located completely to one side thereof (as, for example, by extending handle 36 in the embodiment of FIG. 1 and abutting housing 38 against the handle or placing the handle within the housing). The motor housing 38 is preferably small, less than about 4-6 inches in diameter, so that it reduces potential contact with a user lifting the handle or bar 36.

Referring to FIGS. 2 and 5, two connectors 44 can be located on opposing sides of the exercising device 18 so the vibrating device 18 can be connected to two flexible members 46 and thus added to any exercise system having a flexible member 46. The connectors 44 can be fastened to various portions of the device 18, including the end frames 34a, 34b, the handle(s) 36, or the housing 38.

Referring to FIGS. 6 and 9-10, the connector 44 allows the portable vibrating exercise device 18 to be connected and used with any stationary exercise device to which the connector can be fastened. Any exercise device having a flexible force member such as a rope, cable or chain 46 or pulley 49 can probably be used with the device 18. This includes exercise devices used for rehabilitation which have an elastic member 47 (e.g., a linear or torsion spring) interposed between the handles(s) griped by the user and the exercise device itself. Such an elastic member is illustrated in FIG. 6, where a spring with stiffness K can be interposed along the length of the flexible member 46 connected to handle 36.

In FIG. 9 the elastic member 47 is interposed between the vibrating device 18 and the exercise handle engaged by the user, with a pulley 49 connecting to any variable weight stack or variable resistance device. Such variable weight and resistance devices are known and not described in detail herein. In particular, first and second connectors 44 are fastened to the device 18, advantageously to opposing sides of the device 18 and preferably on opposing sides of either the housing 38 (FIG. 1) or end frames 34. An elastic member 47 such as a spring, a bungee cord, a rubber or elastomeric strip or other resilient or springy material has one end fastened to a first connector 44 and the other end fastened to an engageable device configured to be engaged by the person exercising, such as a handle, bar or foot stirrup engaged by the user. An intervening connector, such as a rope-climber's clip-hook or threaded coupling can be used to fasten various types of engaging devices to the couplings 44. The flexible member 46 of a variable resistance exercise device can be connected to the second connector 44, or alternatively, could be connected to the same connector 44 as the elastic member 47. second connector 44 on the FIG. 10 shows the portable, vibrating exercise device 18 grasped by user with an elastic member 47 interposed between the device 18 and a non-movable structure, such as a wall (shown) or floor (not shown). Specifically, one end of the elastic member 47 fastens to an eyelet (or other engaging device) in the wall and the other end of the member 47 fastens to the connector 44. A threaded connector 51 of the type used by rope climbers is shown for illustration.

If the portable, vibrating exercise device 18 is interposed along a length of flexible member 46 then the handle 36 may be omitted and the housing 38 configured to more efficiently transfer the forces in the flexible member 46 through the housing or through the end frames 34. Thus, as seen in FIGS. 11-12, the flexible member 46 (or elastic member 47) could fasten to the end frame 34 (FIG. 11) (e.g., by holes in the end frame or fasteners attached thereto), or it could fasten to connectors 44 on opposing sides of the housing 38, where the housing does not have a handle 36.

The control 28 preferably varies the speed at which the eccentric weight is rotated and thus varies the amount of vibration. The control 28 also has an on-off switch, preferably separate from the speed variation. In a still more preferred form, a simple on-off switch located within easy reach of the user is provided separate from the speed control. The on-off switch could be provided without the speed control. The controls 28 could be provided inside the housing 38 with appropriate on-off and speed control dials and switches being accessible on the housing 28 or the end frames 34a, 34b.

The motor 20 is described as an electric motor, but a pneumatic motor could be used. The motor 20 advantageously rotates the eccentric 24 at speeds of from 0 to about 80 Hz, more and preferably about 25-60 Hz, although any desired speed could be used. When used with one or more elastic members, the vibrational frequency is preferably from 10-40 Hz. There are believed to be disadvantages if rotational speeds of the eccentric 24 exceed 200 rpm, as some literature indicates such vibrational speeds may have undesirable effects on the users.

The motor 20 advantageously causes an amplitude of vibration of about 3 mm to 8 mm with an amplitude of 5 mm being preferred. Various combinations of amplitude and frequency can be achieved using the control 28. The amplitude at the motor 20 is preferably the same at the handle, but in embodiments where an elastic member is interposed between the motor and handle the amplitude at the handle will decrease.

Various motors 20 can be used. It is believed advantageous to use off-the-shelf vibrators designed for vibrating hoppers etc, and modify them for use as described herein. A motor made by Vibco for use in vibrating bins or hoppers is believed suitable for use herein when modified to provide the connectors and other applications and features as described herein.

The above description is given by way of example, and not limitation. Given the above disclosure, one skilled in the art could devise variations that are within the scope and spirit of the invention disclosed herein. For example, in the above described device various shapes of frames could be devised, as could various ways of fastening a flexible member 42 to the device 18. Further, the various features of the embodiments disclosed herein can be used alone, or in varying combinations with each other and are not intended to be limited to the specific combination described herein. Thus, the scope of the claims is not to be limited by the illustrated embodiments.