Title:
REAR MOUNTED PIVOTING TREADMILL CUSHIONING
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A treadmill is described herein that utilizes a simple mechanism that absorbs impacts delivered to the treadmill by a user during use. The treadmill includes a frame for supporting an endless belt. A forward structure supports a first end of the frame. A pivoting structure supports and the second end of the frame and provides impact absorption. The pivoting structure includes a pivot arm that is pivotally affixed to an underside of the frame. A roller is mounted on a roller axle proximate the free end of the pivot arm. A spring is provided that has a first end in communication with the frame and has a second end in communication with the pivot arm for biasing the pivot arm away from the frame. Preferably, the spring surrounds a limiter that limits the maximum amount of travel that the pivot arm can extend away from the frame.



Inventors:
Erlandson, John A. (Flanders, NJ, US)
Application Number:
11/754668
Publication Date:
12/04/2008
Filing Date:
05/29/2007
Assignee:
SPORTCRAFT, LTD. (Mt. Olive, NJ, US)
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63B22/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
CROW, STEPHEN R
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Fellers Snider (Oklahoma City, OK, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A treadmill comprising: a frame for supporting an endless belt, said frame having a first end and a second end; a forward structure for supporting said first end of said frame; a pivoting structure proximate said second end of said frame, said pivoting structure having a pivot arm having a secured end and a free end, said secured end pivotally affixed to said frame; a resilient member located between said frame and said pivot arm for biasing said pivot arm away from said frame.

2. The treadmill according to claim 1 further comprising: said frame having a pivot anchor and a limiter anchor, each proximate said second end and extending from an underside of said frame.

3. The treadmill according to claim 1 further comprising: a forward structure for supporting said first end of said frame, said forward structure comprising a base structure, a vertical member attached to said base structure, and a console attached to said vertical member.

4. The treadmill according to claim 1 wherein: said pivot arm has a left flange and a right flange, said left flange and said right flange connected via a spanning member, said spanning member defining an orifice.

5. The treadmill according to claim 1 wherein said resilient member is a spring.

6. The treadmill according to claim 1 wherein said resilient member is an elastomeric member.

7. The treadmill according to claim 4 further comprising: a limiter threadably received within said limiter anchor and passing through said orifice of said spanning member, said limiter having a head engaging said spanning member for limiting travel of said pivot arm away from said frame.

8. The treadmill according to claim 7 wherein: said resilient member is a spring; and said spring surrounds said limiter for biasing said pivot arm away from said frame.

9. The treadmill according to claim 7 wherein: said resilient member is an elastomeric sleeve; and said elastomeric sleeve surrounds said limiter for biasing said pivot arm away from said frame.

10. The treadmill according to claim 7 wherein: said limiter may be rotated to adjust an amount of travel of said pivot arm.

11. The treadmill according to claim 1 further comprising a roller mounted on a roller axle proximate said free end of said pivot arm.

12. A treadmill comprising: a frame for supporting an endless belt, said frame having a first end and a second end; a forward support proximate said first end of said frame; and a compressible support extending from said second end of said frame for providing cushioning support of said second end of said frame.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to exercise treadmills, and more particularly to a treadmill utilizing cushioning members that cushion the impact caused by users when exercising on the treadmill.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

It is well established that regular exercise is beneficial. Many exercise enthusiasts, especially those who are older, prefer low impact exercise that results in reduced foot impact shocks to the legs and leg joints as compared to running on a hard surface.

Treadmills allow individuals to walk or run indoors by moving a continuous belt about two rollers. The user walks or runs on the belt, which passes over the supporting deck that supports the user's body weight. The speed of the belt may be controlled by a motor.

Early treadmill designs used supporting decks that were rigidly attached to a frame. Typically, the frame was not provided with a shock absorber for absorbing the shock of foot impact. Recently, treadmills have been introduced that utilize a mechanism to absorb some of the impact generated by a user striking the treadmill while running or walking. Various mechanisms have been implemented for impact absorption.

It is desirable to provide a treadmill cushion mechanism that is simple and low cost, yet effective for reducing impact.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

A treadmill is described herein that includes a frame for supporting an endless belt. A forward structure is provided for supporting a first end of the frame. The forward structure preferably includes a base structure, a vertical member attached to the base structure, and a console attached to the vertical member. Examples of typical treadmills include “fold on roller” types, wherein a frame may be pivoted upwardly, but wherein the motor remains in its original position. An example of another type of treadmill is a type wherein an entire unit pivots upwardly with respect to the forward structure, including the motor. For purposes of this application, in each embodiment, the first end of the frame is defined as the end nearest the forward structure, while the second end of the frame is defined as the opposite end, which is raised when the frame is folded into an upright configuration.

A pivoting structure is provided proximate a second end of the frame for supporting the second end of the frame and for cushioning impacts delivered to the frame by running or walking on the belt. The pivoting structure includes a pivot arm having a secured end and a free end, wherein the secured end is pivotally affixed to the frame. The pivot arm preferably has a left flange and a right flange. A roller is mounted on a roller axle proximate the free end of the pivot arm. The pivoting structure is preferably mounted on a pivot anchor provided on an underside of the frame. The left flange and the right flange of the pivot arm are connected via a spanning member that defines an orifice.

A spring is provided that has a first end in communication with the frame and has a second end in communication with the pivot arm for biasing the pivot arm away from the frame. A limiter anchor is provided proximate the second end of the frame that extends from an underside of the frame. A limiter is received within the limiter anchor and passes through the orifice of the spanning member. Preferably, the spring surrounds the limiter. The limiter preferably has a head that engages the spanning member for limiting the maximum amount of travel that the pivot arm can extend away from the frame.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is an elevational view of a treadmill utilizing the pivot support structure of the invention.

FIG. 2 is an enlarged perspective view of the pivoting support structure shown extending beneath a treadmill frame of the treadmill of FIG. 1.

FIG. 3 is an enlarged elevational view of the pivot support structure of FIG. 1.

FIG. 4 is an enlarged partial cross-sectional elevation view of the pivoting support structure of FIG. 1.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

Referring first to FIG. 1, an elevational view of a treadmill is shown, designated generally 10. Frame 12 is provided for supporting an endless belt 11 that functions as a moving surface upon which an exerciser may run or walk. The endless belt is typically mounted on forward roller 14 and rearward roller 16. Frame 12 has a first end 18 and a second end 20. Frame 12 is provided with a pivot anchor 22 and a limiter anchor 24, each of which are proximate second end 20 of frame 12. Pivot anchor 22 (FIGS. 1-7) and limiter anchor 24 (FIGS. 1-6) each extend from an underside of frame 12.

A forward structure, as shown in FIG. 1, is designated generally 26. Forward structure 26 is provided for supporting first end 18 of frame 12. Forward structure 26 includes a base structure 30. Vertical member 32 extends upwardly from base structure 30. Typically, a console 34 is provided on an upper end of vertical member 32. Hand grips 36 may be provided that extend from forward structure 26. A plurality of feet 38 are typically provided to support forward structure 26.

Rear support or pivoting structure 40 (FIGS. 1-7) is provided to support second end 20 of frame 12. Pivoting structure 40 includes a pivot arm 42. Pivot arm 42 (FIGS. 1-7) has a secured end 44 and a free end 46. Secured end 44 is pivotally affixed to pivot anchor 22 by pivot axle 48. Pivot arm 42 is provided with a left flange 50 and a right flange 52. Left flange 50 and right flange 52 are connected to one another via spanning member 54. Spanning member 54 (FIGS. 4 and 7) defines an orifice 56 (FIGS. 4 and 7). A limiter such as bolt 58 is preferably threadably received within limiter anchor 24. Bolt 58 passes through orifice 56 of spanning member 54. Bolt 58 includes a head 60 (FIGS. 2-6) that engages spanning member 54 for limiting travel of pivot arm 42 away from frame 12. Spring 62 surrounds bolt 58 for biasing pivot arm 42 away from frame 12. A roller 64 is mounted on roller axle 66 on free end 46 of pivot arm 42.

In one embodiment (FIGS. 5-7), spring 62 is surrounded with elastomeric sleeves 68 to assist in resisting compression of spring 62.

In use, a user stands on the endless belt mounted on frame 12. During exercise, spring 62, which supports frame 12 and the weight of the user, will be compressed, allowing for movement of pivoting structure 40 on a right and left side of frame 12. Spring 62 and/or polymer sleeves 68 absorb some of the impact of the user's weight on frame 12, thereby absorbing energy and decreasing the amount of impact stress on a user's feet and legs.

The amount of compression resistance may be adjusted by rotating bolt 58 to either increase or decrease compression of spring 62. Roller 64 allows for pivot arm 42 to pivot freely about pivot axle 48, which permits frame 12 to be easily flexed, which in turn allows second end 20 of frame 12 to move toward and away from a floor surface as required to absorb impact.

Thus, the present invention is well adapted to carry out the objectives and attain the ends and advantages mentioned above as well as those inherent therein. While presently preferred embodiments have been described for purposes of this disclosure, numerous changes and modifications will be apparent to those of ordinary skill in the art. Such changes and modifications are encompassed within the spirit of this invention as defined by the claims.