Title:
Cantilever Springboard Exercise Station
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An exercise station is provided and includes a horizontally disposed base architecture and a pair of springboards mounted in parallel at one end of each of the springboards to a mounting location on the architecture. The ends of the springboards opposite the mounted ends are free ends that may be displaced from their at rest positions by applied force during exercise causing bowing of the springboards and resistance to the force applied.



Inventors:
Turnquist, Mark (Moss Landing, CA, US)
Application Number:
11/773584
Publication Date:
01/08/2009
Filing Date:
07/05/2007
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63B5/08
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:



Primary Examiner:
BIDDER, ALLANA LEWIN
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Central Coast Patent Agency, LLC (Aromas, CA, US)
Claims:
1. An exercise station comprising: a horizontally disposed base; a pair of cantilevered springboards mounted in parallel at one end of each of the springboards to a mounting location on the base; and a slidably-adjustable fulcrum mounted to the base plate extending upwards to Support the underside of each springboard; characterized in that the ends of the springboards opposite the mounted ends are free ends that may he displaced from their at-rest positions by applied force during exercise, causing bowing of the springboards and resistance to the force applied, and the fulcrum is adjustable to vary resistance to the force applied.

2. The exercise station of claim 1, wherein the springboards are disposed horizontally and are adjustable at the mounting location relative to height from the ground.

3. The exercise station of claim 1, wherein the springboards are disposed at an angle relative to horizontal and are adjustable at the mounting location relative to the degree or angle.

4. The exercise station of claim 1, wherein the applied force is marching in place on the springboards.

5. The exercise station of claim 1, further including a handrail system for providing a balance stabilization point for a user.

6. The exercise station of claim 5, further including an information display system and sensor system for displaying information about exercise results to a user.

7. The exercise station of claim 1, wherein the springboards have bow features built in.

8. The exercise station of claim 1, further including a pair of adjustable compression cartridges for adding resistance to the springboards.

9. The exercise station of claim 1, wherein the springboards have one of toeholds or boot clasps installed thereon for facilitating securing of user's feet onto the springboards.

10. The exercise station of claim 6, wherein the sensor system includes one or more optical sensors.

11. The exercise station of claim 8, further comprising one or more load sensors installed on the compression cartridges for recording and relaying data about compression amount and frequency of compression of the cartridges.

12. 12-13. (canceled)

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

NA

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention is in the field of exercise equipment including exercise stations for developing strength and cardiovascular benefit, and pertains more particularly to a cantilever exercise station.

2. Discussion of the State of the Art

In the field of exercise stations designed to provide cardiovascular benefit and develop strength, there are a number of different mechanical variations available for facilitating jogging, walking, or some other repetitive leg motion. The Stairmaster™ is a very popular one of the variety of stations available.

The Stairmaster™ is designed around a mechanism wherein a user may step on surfaces simulating climbing stairs, and the surfaces move alternatively up and down in response to the user's motion. Another type of exercise station, the NordicTrack™, is designed to facilitate a sliding motion of the legs similar to cross-country skiing. A user steps up on the system and secures his or her feet into position on sliding track apparatus. The device includes opposing poles located on either side of the station, the poles levered to the tracks such that when a user slides the tracks, the poles simulate cross-country ski poles.

These types of devices are very good at creating an elevated heart rate and provide cardiovascular exercise to people without requiring them to move from point A to point B. One problem, however, with these particular systems and others like them is that they contain many complex moving components that are used to create the motion simulations they use to elevate the heart rate. Other systems for cardiovascular exercise contain similar complex moving components that must be maintained and occasionally break down due to normal wear and tear. Moreover, these systems and others like them are relatively expensive.

What is clearly needed in an efficient cardio vascular exercise station that contains few or no moving parts and that is not expensive to purchase or maintain.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

According to an embodiment of the present invention an exercise station is provided. The exercise station includes a horizontally disposed base architecture, and a pair of springboards mounted in parallel at one end of each of the springboards to a mounting location on the architecture. The ends of the springboards opposite the mounted ends are free ends that may be displaced from their at-rest positions by applied force during exercise causing bowing of the springboards and resistance to the force applied.

In one embodiment, the springboards are disposed horizontally and are adjustable at the mounting location relative to height from the ground. In another embodiment, the springboards are disposed at an angle relative to horizontal and are adjustable at the mounting location relative to the degree or angle. In one embodiment, the applied force on the springboards is marching in place on the springboards.

In one embodiment, the exercise station includes a handrail system for providing a balance stabilization point for a user. In a variation of this embodiment, the exercise station also includes an information display system and sensor system for displaying information about exercise results to a user. In one embodiment, the springboards have bow features built into them.

In one embodiment with or without the handrails and information display system, the exercise station further includes a pair of adjustable compression cartridges for adding resistance to the springboards. In one embodiment, the springboards have one of toeholds or boot clasps installed thereon for facilitating securing of user's feet onto the springboards.

In one embodiment where an information display system and a sensor system are used, the sensor system includes one or more optical sensors. In another embodiment where compression cartridges are used, the exercise station further includes one or more load sensors installed on the compression cartridges for recording and relaying data about compression amount and frequency of compression of the cartridges.

In one embodiment of the present invention, the exercise station of claim 1, further including a seat mounted to the architecture at the end where the springboards are mounted and a pair of hand extensions with cords or ropes mounted to the free ends of the springboards. In this embodiment, a user seated on the seat and gripping the extensions may pull back on the hand extensions causing the springboards to bow up and toward the user. Also in this embodiment, foot placements are provided in the base plate of the architecture to act as points of leverage for keeping the user seated when pulling on the hand extensions.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING FIGURES

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a cantilever exercise station basic architecture according to an embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 2 is an elevation view of a cantilever exercise station including the basic architecture of FIG. 1 according to an embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 3 is an elevation view of a cantilever of the station of FIG. 2 according to one embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 4 is an elevation view of a cantilever of the station of FIG. 2 according to an alternative embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 5 is an elevation view of a cantilever of the station of FIG. 2 according to a further embodiment of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a cantilever exercise station 100 showing basic architecture according to an embodiment of the present invention. Station 100 includes the basic support components that comprise the cantilever exercise station of the present invention. Station 100 includes a left rail foot 101 and a right rail foot 102. Rail foot 101 and rail foot 102 are elongate rectangular rails that are oriented in parallel and in the same plane. Rail feet 101 and 102 are spaced apart from one another a specified distance. Rail foot 101 and rail foot 102 may be manufactured of aluminum, heavy plastic, steel or any other rigid or semi-rigid materials having sufficient weight to support the rest of the components and features of the system, and the weight of a user in operation. In one embodiment, aluminum is used because it has a sufficient stabilizing weight and because it is easily worked and shaped during manufacturing.

Rail foot 101 and rail foot 102 support a base plate 103 in this embodiment. Base plate 103 is rectangular and resides directly on top of feet 101 and 102 for added support. Base plate 103 may be manufactured of aluminum or some other metal or heavy plastic. Base plate 103 attaches to rail feet 101 and 102 to keep the rail feet parallel to one another in a spaced-apart configuration and to lend additional support to the construction of the architecture. In this configuration rail feet 101 and 102 rest on the ground on their broad rectangular surfaces. The upward facing rectangular surfaces support base plate 103, which is also rectangular in this example.

Architecture 100 includes in this embodiment a left side rail 104 and a right side rail 105. Side rails 104 and 105 are elongate rectangular rails that are attached in parallel and in a spaced-apart configuration to rail feet 101 and 102 such that each side rail lies adjacent to an outer edge of base plate 103. Side rails 104 and 105 lend additional support to architecture 100 and form a vertical base for attaching other components or features described below.

Rail feet 101 and 102, base plate 103, and side rails 104 and 105 form an elongate platform for supporting a cantilever anchor block 107. Anchor block 107 is affixed onto the upward facing surface of base plate 103 in-between rails 104 and 105 and toward the rearward edge of base plate 103. In this example anchor block 107 is rectangular and relatively thick for providing sufficient weight and strength for anchoring cantilever springboards 106a and 106b. Block 107 may be manufactured of aluminum, heavy plastic or some other material that is sufficiently heavy and strong to serve as an anchor.

Station 100 has two cantilevered springboards 106a and 106b to provide exercise motion and resistance typical of a cardiovascular exerciser. Springboards 106a and 106b are elongate, rectangular members that, like all leaf springs, may be displaced by a force acting against them but retain their original un-sprung state when no force is present. Springboards 106a and 106b may be manufactured using a relatively thin but durable spring steel, epoxy-fiberglass laminate, fiberglass, or some other flexible material that may provide the strength to support the body weight of an average to heavy user without cracking or breaking, and a suitable spring rate to allow the user to repeatedly flex the members.

In this example cantilever springboards 106a and 106b are affixed at one end to anchor plate 107 using bolt and nut pairs 108. In another embodiment alternate mechanisms for attachment may be used, such as slotted housing, welding, clamping, etc. In one embodiment, the upper surface of the angle block may be angled down from the front edge toward the rear edge of the block so that cantilever springboards 106a and 106b may be presented at an upward angle.

In practice of the present invention using station 100, a user may step up onto the free ends (left and right) of springboards 106a and 106b and may endeavor to march in place while suspended above the ground. The natural resistance of the springboard provides a resisting force to downward leg extension and a reciprocal force to leg retraction. Another exercise a user may accomplish with station 100 is deep knee bends where both legs are extended against the spring force simultaneously. The architecture of the present invention may also be used to work a user's arms in a fashion similar to the legs. For example, a user may place both hands onto the free ends of the springboards and alternately extend and retract the arms, operating from the position associated with push-ups. Likewise, pushups may be performed where both arms extend simultaneously.

In one embodiment of the present invention the cantilever spring resistance may be leveraged in the opposite direction, more particularly by pulling up and to the rear from the fulcrum of anchor plate 107. For example, a seat may be installed over anchor plate 107 and foot saddles may be provided in base plate 103 as points of leverage against pull resistance. Hand extensions like ropes or cords with handle grips may be installed at the free end of the boards on the upper surface. In this embodiment the resistance may be similar to a rowing machine or a weight-pulling machine. The user may pull back and bow the springboards up and toward the rear against the resistance and carefully return the boards back to their original state against the resistance. The foot placements provide leverage for the user against the resistance of the springboards when being pulled.

FIG. 2 is an elevation view of a cantilever exercise station 200 including basic station 100 of FIG. 1 according to an alternative embodiment of the present invention. Exercise station 200 includes basic station 100 described with reference to FIG. 1. Individual components of that station that were already introduced and described above will not be reintroduced in the description of this alternative embodiment.

Station 200 includes handrails 203 (one each side) adapted to enable a user to exercise on station 200 with the added balance support. Handrails 203 are supported at a specified height in a parallel configuration by a plurality of upright support members 201 and 202. Handrails 203 and support members 201 and 202 may be provided in the form of aluminum tubes cut and machined to be assembled together to form the required handrail support. In one embodiment, the rails and support members may be steel or some other durable material. Cross braces (not illustrated) may also be provided to enhance stability of the handrail system.

In one embodiment station 200 also includes an information display system 209 that is adapted to display computed informational results of exercise activity to a user. In this example, one or more optical sensors 206 may be provided and mounted to the insides of upright members 202. Optical sensor 206 may use a laser or some other optical proximity-sensing technology known in the art for recording displacement during operation. In one embodiment, each springboard would be monitored by one optical sensor. In another only one would be monitored on the assumption that they will be used alternatively.

In this example data from the sensor may include enough information to calculate the amount and frequency of springboard displacement for each board. The information may be sent to a connected micro controller 207 provided in this case inside a display system mounting base 208. Mounting base 208 is adapted to mount securely about one of rails 203. Micro controller 207 controls the display of information to display 209, which may be a liquid crystal display (LCD) or some other known type.

Micro controller 207 may contain software or firmware and memory required to process sensor data and to calculate, using standards, exercise results like the amount of calories estimated burned at a current rate of exercise. Other information may also be deduced from placing one or more sensors on or in the proximity of springboards 106a and 106b. For example, weight of a user standing on the springboards may be determined as long as the appropriate constants are known to the system such as weight calibration data.

In one embodiment, springboards 106a and 106b may include load sensors instead of using optical sensors. There are many different ways to provide capabilities for sensing motion relative to the springboards and for recording and analyzing the information for eventual display to an exercising user. Information display system 209 may include mode buttons, an on/off control, and a plug-in to a power source (not illustrated). System 209 may also derive power from a battery source or some other source such as solar panel, for example.

In one embodiment, station 200 further includes adjustable compression spring cartridges 205 (one for each board) mounted to a cross plate 204 beneath the springboards and to the underside of the springboards. Cartridges 205 are adapted to provide adjustable spring resistance to the boards and may be adjusted to cause more or less resistance to the force applied by a user to the upper surfaces of the boards such as by marching in place, for example. In one embodiment, one or more load sensors may be provided and installed on cartridges 205 those sensors connected to micro controller 207 for analyzing and displaying information relative to cartridge spring compression frequency and amount.

In one embodiment, foot placement boot clasps or toeholds 210 may be provided to station 200 and installed on the upper surfaces of springboards to help a user secure his or her feet in a specific place on the boards. In a variation of this embodiment, such toeholds 205 may include foot straps and may be slidably adjustable forward or rearward from a default position on the board. The position along the board that a user places his or her feet determines the spring rate of the cantilevers that the user will experience. In one embodiment indicia may be placed on or written on the upper surface of the cantilevers to aid a user in where to place the feet. Toeholds 205 may be metallic or plastic in construction and the straps may be hook and loop enabled or adjustable buckle-type straps without departing from the spirit and scope of the present invention.

In one embodiment, the parallel height (H) of springboards 106a and 106b may be adjusted by adding spacer blocks to architecture 100 under where the boards are bolted to the anchor block. In addition to height, presentation angle may also be adjustable. Springboards 106a and 106b may be presented horizontally or at a slight upslope by using an angled spacer block adapted for the purpose in the height adjustment. There are many possibilities.

FIG. 3 is an elevation view of cantilever springboards 106a,b of station 200 of FIG. 2 according to another embodiment of the present invention. FIG. 4 is an elevation view of cantilever springboard 106a,b of station 200 of FIG. 2 according to an alternate embodiment of the present invention. FIG. 5 is an elevation view of a cantilever springboard 106a,b of station 200 of FIG. 2 according to a further embodiment of the present invention.

Referring now to FIG. 3, cantilever springboard 106a or 106b may be provided as a straight cantilever board that may be seated into a slot provided in an adjustable housing block or sleeve 300 attached or affixed to anchor block 107 described further above. In this way, the boards may be advanced out of or recessed back into the slot the adjustment tightened using friction or compression bolts 301 provided in the upper surface of housing 301.

Referring now to FIG. 4, springboards 106a and 106b may be provided with a specific bend profile instead of a straight profile without departing from the spirit and scope of the present invention. In this example, the boards slope down at a slight angle and back up at a slight angle at the free ends to form a foot platform 302 to better support feet placement.

Referring now to FIG. 5, springboards 106a and 106b have a bow feature 304 built in to them to provide some additional resistance. The bow may make contact in some cases with a slidably-adjustable fulcrum (not illustrated) provided to the base plate of station 100 so that resistance may be adjusted by sliding the fulcrum point forward or backward along the length of the bow feature 304. In this case, at the end of bow 304, a horizontal foot platform 303 is presented.

It will be apparent to one with skill in the art that the cantilever exercise station of the invention may be provided using some or all of the mentioned features and components without departing from the spirit and scope of the present invention. It will also be apparent to the skilled artisan that the embodiments described above are exemplary of inventions that may have far greater scope than any of the singular descriptions. There may be many alterations made in the descriptions without departing from the spirit and scope of the present invention.