Title:
Resistance Selector for Exercise Apparatus
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An exercise apparatus includes a frame, a guide member coupled with a portion of the frame, a weight stack including a plurality of weight plates associated with the guide member and a lifting mechanism. The lifting mechanism has a first end attached to a pull handle and a second end being attached to a weight attachment mechanism. Further, a resistance selector has a pin coupled to the weight attachment mechanism and is displaceable between a first position and a second position relative to the weight attachment mechanism. When the pin is in the first position the weight attachment mechanism is interlocked with a plate of the weight stack and when the pin is in the second position the weight attachment mechanism is freed from the weight plate and the pin has an engagement structure that is shaped to interlock with a profile of an edge of the plate.



Inventors:
Workman, Ryan (Logan, UT, US)
Application Number:
14/876290
Publication Date:
04/14/2016
Filing Date:
10/06/2015
Assignee:
ICON Health & Fitness, Inc. (Logan, UT, US)
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63B21/062; A63B21/00; A63B23/12
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
20060052221Rope arrangementMarch, 2006Cohen
20060058161Adjustable rock arm of a climbing treadmillMarch, 2006Cheng
20170165552PORTABLE PADDLEBOARD EXERCISE APPARATUSJune, 2017Martin
20020094919Energy-efficient running aidJuly, 2002Rennex et al.
20120165161FOLDING TREADMILL POSITIONING STRUCTUREJune, 2012Chen et al.
20020042330Leg stretching and kick exercise deviceApril, 2002Pemjean
20150246259TRAINING CUSHIONSeptember, 2015Stoesslein
20060234837Bicycle exerciser having adjustable handleOctober, 2006Kuo
20130137553WALKING TRAINING APPARATUSMay, 2013Kim et al.
20020128122Compact exercise deviceSeptember, 2002Miller
20100240500Handle for skipping rope and method for making the sameSeptember, 2010Kim



Foreign References:
WO2003105968A12003-12-24
Primary Examiner:
NGUYEN, NYCA T
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
ICON Health & Fitness, Inc. (Logan, UT, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. An exercise apparatus, comprising: a frame; at least one guide member coupled with a portion of the frame; a weight stack including a plurality of weight plates associated with the at least one guide member; a lifting mechanism, the lifting mechanism having a first end attached to a pull handle and a second end being attached to an weight attachment mechanism; and a resistance selector having a pin coupled to the weight attachment mechanism and configured to be displaced between at least a first position and a second position relative to the weight attachment mechanism, wherein when the pin is in the first position the weight attachment mechanism is interlocked with at least one plate of the weight stack and when the pin is in the second position the weight attachment mechanism is freed from the weight plates and wherein the pin comprises an engagement structure that is shaped to interlock with a profile of an edge of the at least one plate.

2. The exercise apparatus of claim 1, wherein the profile of the edge has a cutout complementary to a shape of the engagement structure.

3. The exercise apparatus of claim 1, wherein the engagement structure is shaped to connect with an angled face of the edge.

4. The exercise apparatus of claim 1, wherein the engagement structure is shaped to connect with an overhang of the edge.

5. An exercise apparatus, comprising: a frame; at least one guide member coupled with a portion of the frame; a weight stack including a plurality of weight plates associated with the at least one guide member; a lifting mechanism, the lifting mechanism having a first end attached to a pull handle and a second end being attached to an weight attachment mechanism; and a resistance selector having a pin coupled to the weight attachment mechanism and configured to be displaced between at least a first position and a second position relative to the weight attachment mechanism, wherein when the pin is in the first position the weight attachment mechanism is interlocked with at least one plate of the weight stack and when the pin is in the second position the weight attachment mechanism is freed from the weight plates and wherein an engagement structure connected to the pin is configured to be rotated within the opening of the at least one plate to interlock with the at least one plate.

6. The exercise apparatus of claim 5, wherein the engagement structure is positioned to be lowered and raised through the opening formed through the weight stack.

7. The exercise apparatus of claim 5, wherein the engagement structure is configured to be rotated about an axis that is aligned with a length of the pin.

8. The exercise apparatus of claim 5, wherein the engagement structure is configured to be rotated about an axis that is transverse with a length of the pin.

9. An exercise apparatus, comprising: a frame; at least one guide member coupled with the frame; a weight stack including a plurality of weight plates associated with the at least one guide member; a lifting mechanism, the lifting mechanism having a first end attached to a pull handle and a second end being attached to an weight attachment mechanism; and a resistance selector having a pin coupled to the weight attachment mechanism and configured to be displaced between at least a first position and a second position relative to the weight attachment mechanism; the pin being rigidly secured to at least a portion of a rail; wherein when the pin and the rail move collectively into the first position the weight attachment mechanism is interlocked with at least one plate of the weight stack and when the pin and the rail collectively move into the second position the weight attachment mechanism is freed from the weight plates.

10. The exercise apparatus of claim 9, wherein the rail is shaped to interlock with a second plate of the weight stack when the pin is interlocked with the at least one plate.

11. The exercise apparatus of claim 10, wherein the second plate is a top plate of the weight stack.

12. The exercise apparatus of claim 11, wherein the at least the portion of the rail is configured to telescopically extend and retract.

13. The exercise apparatus of claim 11, wherein at least one feature of the rail and the pin are positioned to interlock with plates of the weight stack simultaneously.

14. The exercise apparatus of claim 11, wherein the pin comprises an engagement structure that is shaped to interlock with a profile of an edge of the at least one plate.

15. The exercise apparatus of claim 14, wherein the profile of the edge has a cutout complementary to a shape of the engagement structure.

16. An exercise apparatus, comprising: a frame; at least one guide member coupled with a portion of the frame; a weight stack including a plurality of weight plates associated with the at least one guide member; a lifting mechanism, the lifting mechanism having a first end attached to a pull handle and a second end being attached to an weight attachment mechanism; a resistance selector having a pin coupled to the weight attachment mechanism and configured to be displaced between at least a first position and a second position relative to the weight attachment mechanism; and a handle connected to the pin, the handle comprising a hinge joint and cam surface; wherein when the pin is in the first position the weight attachment mechanism is interlocked with at least one plate of the weight stack and when the pin is in the second position the weight attachment mechanism is freed from the weight plates.

17. The exercise apparatus of claim 16, wherein when the pin is in the first position the handle is in a substantially vertical position and when the pin is in the second position the handle is in a substantially horizontal position.

18. The exercise apparatus of claim 16, wherein the pin comprises an engagement structure that is shaped to interlock with a profile of an edge of the at least one plate.

19. The exercise apparatus of claim 18, wherein the profile of the edge has a cutout complementary to a shape of the engagement structure.

20. The exercise apparatus of claim 18, wherein the engagement structure is shaped to connect with an angled face of the edge.

Description:

RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application claims priority to U.S. Patent Application Ser. No. 62/063,284 titled “Resistance Selector for Exercise Apparatus” and filed on 13 Oct. 2014, which application is herein incorporated by reference for all that it discloses.

BACKGROUND

There are numerous types of apparatuses and devices that are configured to help individuals exercise and maintain a desired level of health and fitness. Some of such apparatuses and devices are more specifically used for strength training. Many strength training apparatuses are configured to provide selective resistance so that a user of the apparatus may appropriately alter and tailor their exercise regimen. For example, when the apparatus is used by multiple users, each individual using the apparatus may be at a different strength level and need to adjust the resistance according to their specific capabilities. Also, as an individual gets stronger, they often desire to increase the resistance provided by the apparatus so as to maintain or increase the intensity of their workout.

Additionally, many strength training apparatuses are configured to accommodate different types of exercises so that a user can target different muscle groups based on the selection of exercises the user participates in. For example, a strength training apparatus may enable an individual to alternate between presses, curls, pull-downs or a variety of other exercises while using the same basic resistance mechanism. In order to accommodate such a variety of exercises, the resistance mechanism is typically configured to provide selective resistance because most users do not perform, for example, presses, curls and pull downs using the same amount of resistance for each exercise.

A relatively popular type of apparatus used for strength training includes those which employ a plurality of stacked weight plates. Each weight plate conventionally weighs a specified denomination (e.g., 5 pounds or 10 pounds). Thus, for example, assuming that each weight plate is 10 pounds, selection of a single weight plate results in a resistance of 10 pounds, while selection of 4 weight plates results in a resistance of 40 pounds.

In these exercise devices, a cable is led through a pulley, or often a series of pulleys, and is attached to one or more of the weight plates. Conventionally, the free end of the cable is coupled to a handle or other apparatus for engagement by a user during exercise. The pulley and cable assembly is also coupled with a structure, such as a selector rod associated with the weight stack, that enables the user to define the level of desired resistance. The selector rod conventionally passes through a channel that is collectively defined by aligned apertures formed in each of the plurality of stacked weight plates. The selector rod also conventionally has a plurality of longitudinally spaced apertures extending transversely through the rod that are configured to align with corresponding channels or openings formed in each weight plate. A selector pin is placed through a selected weight plate and engages the corresponding aperture of the selector rod such that, when the selector rod is displaced by the attached cable and pulley system, the selector pin causes the engaged weight plate, as well as any weight plates disposed thereabove, to be displaced along with the selector rod. Thus, by inserting the selector pin in the aperture of a specific weight plate, the desired level of resistance is selected.

The use of selector pins with weight stacks of an exercise apparatus has been relatively efficient and effective in terms of enabling multiple users to use the same machine as well as enabling individual users to use a single machine for a variety of different exercises. In certain situations, however, the use of a selector pin such as described above may pose a hazard to the user of the exercise apparatus. For example, sometimes a user of the apparatus may only partially engage the selector pin with the selector rod. In such instances, the selector pin may become disengaged during an exercise routine causing the weight plates to fall and essentially eliminating all resistance instantaneously. Such a situation may potentially result in injury to the user of the equipment, damage to the equipment itself or both. In other instances, when the selector pin is only partially engaged, it may unduly protrude from the weight stack such that it impacts a portion of the exercise equipment (e.g., a structural support member) and bends or otherwise damages the selector pin.

Additionally, strength training apparatuses using weight stacks and selector pin arrangements are popular in gyms and fitness centers where multiple types and multiple brands of such strength training apparatuses are used. Oftentimes, the selector pins used in these various apparatuses get lost, essentially rendering the exercise equipment useless. When a selector pin for one piece of equipment is missing, a user may “borrow” a selector pin from another apparatus. However, not every exercise apparatus utilizes a common selector pin. Thus, selector pins may vary in size, shape and strength from one apparatus to another. While, to a user of the exercise equipment, it may seem logical to “borrow” a selector pin from one apparatus for use with another, the use of a selector pin that is an improper size or shape, or which may be designed to withstand a lesser exertion of force than will be imposed on it when employed with an unmatched apparatus, poses potential hazards including those described above.

The present invention, as described below, provides an exercise apparatus having a resistance selector mechanism that reduces or eliminates the ability of users to interchange components of one machine with another. Additionally, components are provided that reduce or eliminate the likelihood of interchanging components of one exercise apparatus with another in an undesirable manner. Further, a selector mechanism is provided that helps to ensure that a selector pin or structure is more fully engaged with the desired components prior to a user operating the associated exercise apparatus.

SUMMARY

In one aspect of the invention, an exercise apparatus includes a frame.

In one aspect of the invention, the exercise apparatus includes at least one guide member coupled with a portion of the frame.

In one aspect of the invention, the exercise apparatus includes a weight stack including a plurality of weight plates associated with at least one guide member.

In one aspect of the invention, the exercise apparatus includes a lifting mechanism, the lifting mechanism having a first end attached to a pull handle and a second end being attached to an weight attachment mechanism.

In one aspect of the invention, the exercise apparatus includes a resistance selector having a pin coupled to the weight attachment mechanism and configured to be displaced between at least a first position and a second position relative to the weight attachment mechanism.

In one aspect of the invention, when the pin is in the first position the weight attachment mechanism is interlocked with at least one plate of the weight stack and when the pin is in the second position the weight attachment mechanism is freed from the weight plate and wherein the pin comprises an engagement structure that is shaped to interlock with a profile of an edge of at least one plate.

In one aspect of the invention, the profile of the edge has a cutout complementary to a shape of the engagement structure.

In one aspect of the invention, the engagement structure is shaped to connect with an angled face of the edge.

In one aspect of the invention, the engagement structure is shaped to connect with an overhang of the edge.

In one aspect of the invention, an exercise apparatus includes a frame.

In one aspect of the invention, the exercise apparatus includes at least one guide member coupled with a portion of the frame.

In one aspect of the invention, the exercise apparatus includes a weight stack including a plurality of weight plates associated with at least one guide member.

In one aspect of the invention, the exercise apparatus includes a lifting mechanism, the lifting mechanism having a first end attached to a pull handle and a second end being attached to an weight attachment mechanism.

In one aspect of the invention, the exercise apparatus includes a resistance selector having a pin coupled to the weight attachment mechanism and configured to be displaced between at least a first position and a second position relative to the weight attachment mechanism.

In one aspect of the invention, when the pin is in the first position the weight attachment mechanism is interlocked with at least one plate of the weight stack and when the pin is in the second position the weight attachment mechanism is freed from the weight plate and wherein the engagement structure is configured to be rotated within the opening to interlock with at least one plate.

In one aspect of the invention, the engagement structure is positioned to be lowered and raised through an opening formed through the weight stack.

In one aspect of the invention, the engagement structure is configured to be rotated about an axis that is aligned with a length of the pin.

In one aspect of the invention, the engagement structure is configured to be rotated about an axis that is transverse with a length of the pin.

In one aspect of the invention, an exercise apparatus include a frame.

In one aspect of the invention, the exercise apparatus includes at least one guide member coupled with a portion of the frame.

In one aspect of the invention, the exercise apparatus includes a weight stack including a plurality of weight plates associated with at least one guide member.

In one aspect of the invention, the exercise apparatus includes a lifting mechanism, the lifting mechanism having a first end attached to a pull handle and a second end being attached to an weight attachment mechanism.

In one aspect of the invention, the exercise apparatus includes a resistance selector having a pin coupled to the weight attachment mechanism and configured to be displaced between at least a first position and a second position relative to the weight attachment mechanism.

In one aspect of the invention, the pin is rigidly secured to at least a portion of the rail.

In one aspect of the invention, when the pin and the rail move collectively into a first position the weight attachment mechanism is interlocked with at least one plate of the weight stack and when the pin and the rail collective move into a second position the weight attachment mechanism is freed from the weight plate.

In one aspect of the invention, the rail is shaped to interlock with a second plate of the weight stack when the pin is interlocked with at least one plate.

In one aspect of the invention, the second plate is a top plate of the weight stack.

In one aspect of the invention, at least a portion of the rail is configured to telescopically extend and retract.

In one aspect of the invention, at least one feature of the rail and the pin are positioned to interlock with plates of the weight stack simultaneously.

In one aspect of the invention, the pin comprises an engagement structure that is shaped to interlock with a profile of an edge of at least one plate.

In one aspect of the invention, the profile of the edge has a cutout complementary to a shape of the engagement structure.

In one aspect of the invention, an exercise apparatus includes at least one guide member coupled with a portion of the frame.

In one aspect of the invention, the exercise apparatus includes a weight stack including a plurality of weight plates associated with at least one guide member.

In one aspect of the invention, the exercise apparatus includes a lifting mechanism, the lifting mechanism having a first end attached to a pull handle and a second end being attached to an weight attachment mechanism.

In one aspect of the invention, the exercise apparatus includes a resistance selector having a pin coupled to the weight attachment mechanism and configured to be displaced between at least a first position and a second position relative to the weight attachment mechanism.

In one aspect of the invention, the exercise apparatus includes a handle connected to the pin, the handle comprising a hinge joint and cam surface.

In one aspect of the invention, when the pin is in the first position the weight attachment mechanism is interlocked with at least one plate of the weight stack and when the pin is in the second position the weight attachment mechanism is freed from the weight plate.

In one aspect of the invention, when the pin is in the first position the handle is in a substantially vertical position and when the pin is in the second position the handle is in a substantially horizontal position.

In one aspect of the invention, the pin comprises an engagement structure that is shaped to interlock with a profile of an edge of at least one plate.

In one aspect of the invention, the profile of the edge has a cutout complementary to a shape of the engagement structure.

In one aspect of the invention, the engagement structure is shaped to connect with an angled face of the edge.

Any of the aspects of the invention detailed above may be combined with any other aspect of the invention detailed herein.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The accompanying drawings illustrate various embodiments of the present apparatus and are a part of the specification. The illustrated embodiments are merely examples of the present apparatus and do not limit the scope thereof.

FIG. 1 illustrates a side view of an exercise apparatus according to one embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 2 illustrates a perspective view of a weight stack and resistance selector according to an embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 3A illustrates an elevational side view of a portion of a resistance selector in accordance with various embodiments of the present invention with resistance selector in engaged.

FIG. 3B illustrates an elevational side view of a portion of a resistance selector in accordance with various embodiments of the present invention with resistance selector in disengaged.

FIG. 4A illustrates a perspective view of a portion of a resistance selector in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention wherein the selector is in an engaged state.

FIG. 4B illustrates a perspective view of a portion of a resistance selector in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention wherein the selector is in an disengaged state.

FIG. 5 illustrates a perspective view of a weight plate used with a resistance selector in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 6A illustrates a perspective view of a resistance selector and weight stack, from beneath, in an engaged state in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 6B illustrates a perspective view of a resistance selector and weight stack, from beneath, in an engaged state in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 7 illustrates a side view of an exercise apparatus according to one embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 8 illustrates a partial side view of an engagement member interlocking with an edge of a plate according to one embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 9 illustrates a partial side view of an engagement member interlocking with an edge of a plate according to one embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 10 illustrates a side view of a pin and a rail according to one embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 11 illustrates a perspective view of a portion of a resistance selector in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention wherein the selector is in an engaged state.

FIG. 12A illustrates a perspective view of a pin and a weight stack in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 12B illustrates a top view of a pin and a weight stack in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 13 illustrates a side view of a pin and a weight stack in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 14 illustrates a side view of an exercise apparatus according to one embodiment of the present invention.

Throughout the drawings, identical reference numbers designate similar, but not necessarily identical, elements.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

Referring to FIG. 1, an exercise apparatus 100 is shown that includes a frame 102 having a base configured to support the apparatus 100 on an underlying surface. A cable and pulley system 106 is coupled with the frame. In one embodiment, the cable and pulley system 106 may be operably associated with a resistance selector 110. The resistance selector 110 is configured to be selectively coupled with one or more components of a variable, selective resistance system which may include a weight stack 112 as shall be discussed in further detail herein below. The weight stack 112 may include a plurality of individual weight members, such as plates 114, having a desired mass. For example, in one embodiment, each of the plates 114 may weigh approximately 10 pounds (lbs.). In another example, each of the plates 114 may weigh approximately 5 lbs. In another embodiment, some of the plates 114 may be one weight (e.g., 5 lbs.) while others have a different weight (e.g., 10 lbs.).

In the embodiment shown in FIG. 1, the cable and pulley system 106 includes a first cable 116 having a handle 118 or other structure attached to one end thereof. The first cable 116 extends through a first pulley 120A and is coupled with a fixed structure 122 associated with the frame 102. The first pulley 120A is coupled with a linear bearing structure 124 positioned on a guide member 126 that is coupled to the frame 102. A second cable has a first end that is coupled with the linear bearing structure 124, extends through additional pulleys 120B and 120C, and has a second end coupled with the resistance selector 110. In the embodiment depicted in FIG. 1, the resistance selector 110 is disposed, at least partially, within an open channel formed by the alignment of individual apertures of each weight plate 114 as shall be described in further detail below.

The weight plates 114 are each slidably coupled with one or more guide members 130, such as guide rods, that are coupled with the frame 104. As will be apparent upon further reading of the description of the operation of the resistance selector 110, when the resistance selector 110 is engaged with one or more weight plates 114 of the weight stack 112, the resistance selector 110 and the engaged weight plates 114 can be displaced along the path defined by the guide members 130 concurrently with the displacement of any engaged weight plates 114 along the path defined by their associated guide members 130.

It is noted that, in the various example embodiments, two guide members 130 are shown and described as being associated with the weight stack 112. However, a single guide member 130, or a plurality of guide members 130 greater than two, may be associated with the weight stack 112 in other embodiments of the present invention.

During use of the apparatus 100, a user pulls on the handle 118 to actuate the cable and pulley system 106. When the handle 118 is displaced sufficiently downwardly or laterally away from the frame 104 (or both downwardly and laterally away from the frame 104), the first cable 116 causes the linear bearing structure 124 to be downwardly displaced along its associated guide member 130. This in turn causes the second cable 128 to be displaced causing the resistance selector 110, with which it is coupled, and any weight plates 114 of the weight stack 112 that are engaged by the resistance selector 110, to be displaced upwardly along their associated guide members 130.

It is noted that the apparatus 100 described with respect to FIG. 1 is merely an example and that the present invention may be used in conjunction with a variety of configurations, regardless of the number of pulleys and cables or the specific arrangement of the various components. Additionally, rather than a handle 118, a connecting structure may be coupled to the first cable 116 such that the first cable may be coupled with an actuation device. As such, and as will be appreciated by those of skill in the art, the apparatus 100 described with respect to FIG. 1 should not be considered limiting to the practice of the presently disclosed invention.

Referring to FIGS. 2, 3A, 3B, 4A and 4B, a resistance selector 110 is shown in greater detail. FIG. 2 shows a perspective view the of the resistance selector 110 in relationship to a weight stack 112. FIGS. 3A and 3B show a side view of the resistance selector in two different states of operation. FIGS. 4A and 4B are enlarged perspective views of certain components of the resistance selector 110 in different states. As previously noted, the weight stack 112 may include a plurality of discrete plates 114 that are slidably coupled to guide members 130. For example, two guide members 130 (FIG. 1) may each extend through corresponding openings 132 in the weight plates 114. In this manner, the guide members 130 act as linear bearings for the displacement of the weight plates 114.

The resistance selector 110 may include a body portion 134 configured to slide or be displaced relative to one or more rails 136. In one particular embodiment, a pair of rails 136 may be configured to fit within a longitudinal extending channel formed in the rail or between multiple rails. The body portion 134 may be positioned between the rails 136 and configured to slide within the longitudinal extending channel. The body portion 134 of the resistance selector 110 may be moved along the longitudinal extending channel to a desired location that corresponds with a desired amount of resistance. At such a location the resistance selector 110 may have components that interlock with the weight plate 114 at the desired location. In some examples, the components of the resistance selector 110 may interlock with both the rail 136 and the corresponding weight plate 114 simultaneously. Thus, as the user applies a force to the cable and pulley system 106, the rail 136 and the interlocked weight plate, and the other plates superjacent the interlocked plate move together.

A bracket 138, bracket assembly or other structure may be coupled to the rails 136 and may also be coupled to the uppermost weight plate 114 of the stack of weight plates 114. In one embodiment, a pulley 140 may be rotationally coupled to the bracket 138 and configured to engage a cable of the cable and pulley system 106 such that, when the cable and pulley system 106 is actuated, the resistance selector 110 (and any weight plate engaged thereby) is displaced by such actuation.

A pin 142 or other structure may be slidably coupled with the body portion 134. For example, in one embodiment, the pin 142 may slide relative to the body 134 in a direction that is substantially transverse to the direction which the body 134 slides relative to the rail or rails 136. In other embodiments the pin 142 may slide relative to the body 134 at other angles relative to the sliding direction of the body 134.

A handle 144 may be coupled with the pin 142 to accommodate selective displacement of the pin 142 by a user of the exercise apparatus 100. For example, a user may apply a force to the handle 144 to effect displacement of the pin 142 from a first position, which may be referred to as an engaged position or state (see FIGS. 3A and 4A), to a second position, which may be referred to as an retracted or disengaged position or state (see FIGS. 3B and 4B).

The rails 136 of the resistance selector 110 may each include a plurality of teeth 146 which define or otherwise help to provide a plurality of notches 148 therebetween. When more than one rail 136 is used, the rails 136 are positioned to align corresponding notches 148 with one another. When the pin 142 is in the engaged position, an engagement structure 150, which extends laterally from the pin 142, is positioned within, and generally cooperatively engages, a pair of aligned notches 148. Further, the engagement structure 150 is also interlocked with the weight plate 114 simultaneously with the notches 148 of the rail when the engagement structure 150 is in the engaged state. When a user applies a force to the handle 144 to displace the pin 142 to the retracted or disengaged state, the engagement structure 150 is withdrawn from the notches 148 and is positioned in a slot 152 that extends generally along the length of the rail 136. Also, the engagement structure 150 is also disengaged from the weight plate 114 when the engagement structure 150 is in the disengaged state.

Thus, when the resistance selector 110 is in an engaged position or state, the engagement structure 150 is positioned within a notch of a rail 136 (or a corresponding pair of notches of the rails 136 when multiple rails 136 are utilized) such that the engagement structure 150 abuts a surface of one or both of the teeth 146 helping to define the notch 148. Thus, the abutment of the engagement structure 150 with the teeth 146 prevent the body 134 from being displaced in a direction “Y” generally along the length of the slots 152. However, when the resistance selector 110 is in a disengaged position or state, the engagement structure 150 no longer abuts any of the teeth 146 and is position within the slot 152 (or corresponding slots) such that the body 134 is free to be displaced in the Y direction.

The resistance selector 110 may also include a biasing structure or mechanism to maintain the pin 142 (and, thus, the engagement structure 150) in a desired position relative to the body 134. For example, in one embodiment, one or more magnets 154 may be formed in, or otherwise associated with, the handle 144. A face structure 156 or surface may be coupled to, or integrally formed with, the rails 136, wherein the face structure 156 is formed of a ferrous material such that the magnets 154 are attracted to the face structure 156. Thus, the handle 144 may be continually biased toward the face structure 156, maintaining the pin 142 and engagement structure 150 in an engaged state unless a sufficient force is applied (such as by a user) to overcome the magnetic attraction between the magnets and the face structure. In such an embodiment, the resistance selector 110 will be biased to an engaged state requiring user action to disengage the resistance selector 110 from the weight stack 112. As will be appreciated by those of ordinary skill in the art, in another embodiment the face structure 156 may be formed of one or more magnets and the handle 144 may include a ferrous material.

In another embodiment, a different biasing member or mechanism may be utilized. For example, a spring mechanism (not shown) may be used to bias the pin 142 and engagement structure 150 to desired position requiring application of a specified force to the pin 142 (such as by way of the handle 144) to displace the pin 142 relative to the body 134.

Referring now to FIG. 5, a weight plate 114 is shown according to one embodiment of the present invention. The weight plates 114 are configured to be selectively engaged and disengaged by the resistance selector 110 and, more particularly, by the engagement structure 150. The weight plates 114 may include a first surface 160, a second opposing surface 162 and a peripheral surface 164 or edge. The peripheral surface 164 includes a portion that is generally concave, defining an opening 166, and which may exhibit a peripheral geometry that substantially mates with a cross sectional geometry of the resistance selector 110 taken in a direction substantially transverse to the Y direction and including the body portion 134, rails 136, pin 142 and engagement structure 150. Thus, in the presently described embodiment, a peripheral geometry of the opening 166 is substantially T-shaped.

When a plurality of weight plates 114 are stacked upon one another to form a stack 112 (see, e.g., FIG. 2), the T-shaped openings 166 are aligned such that they define a channel that exhibits a substantially T-shaped cross-sectional geometry. The T-shaped channel is configured to receive the resistance selector 110 and to enable sliding or displacement of the body 134 (and associated pin 142 and engagement structure 150) relative to the rails 136 and weight stack 112 when the resistance selector is in a disengaged state.

Still referring to FIG. 5, the weight plate also includes an abutment shoulder 168 formed in the lateral portions 170 of the T-shaped opening 166. In other words, the abutment shoulder 168 of weight plate 114 includes a surface disposed within the T-shaped peripheral opening that is not coplanar with the first and second surfaces 160 and 162 but, rather, lies between such surfaces. The abutment shoulders 168 provide a surface with which the engagement structure 150 (FIGS. 3A, 3B, 4A and 4B) may abut when in the engaged state or position. Such a structure may be made, for example by casting the weight plate 114 with a recessed abutment shoulder 168, by machining the abutment shoulder 168 from a mass of material, or by coupling together two separate bodies or weight plates with the two bodies having slightly different geometries for the T-shaped opening 166.

Thus, referring specifically to FIGS. 6A and 6B while maintaining general reference to all the drawing figures, when the resistance selector 110 is in an engaged position (i.e., FIGS. 3A, 4A and 6A), the engagement structure 150 is positioned within a notch 148 such that, if displaced upwards in the Y direction, it will contact an adjacent tooth 146, as has been described above. Additionally, the engagement structure 150 will contact the abutment shoulders 168 of the weight plate 114 adjacent the notch 148 while in the engaged state. Thus, the engagement structure 150 interlocks with both the weight plate 114 though engagement shoulder 168 and the rail 136 through the notch 148 in the engaged state. As a result, the weight plate 114 and the rail 136 are locked together such that the rail 136 moves with the interlocked weight plate 114 as the cable and pulley system is actuated.

With the engagement structure 150 in the engaged state with the teeth 146 of the rails 136 and the abutment shoulders 168 of a selected weight plate 114, when the cable and pulley system is actuated, the resistance selector 110 will be displaced upwards (based on the orientation shown in FIG. 1) causing the weight plate 114 that is abutted by the engagement structure 150, and any superjacent weight plates 114 to be displaced in a like manner.

When the resistance selector 110 is in a disengaged position or state, the engagement structure 150 is withdrawn from the abutment shoulders 168 and the notches 148 such that the body 134 (and associated pin 142, handle 144 and engagement structure 150) may slide within the slots 152 and be displaced in the Y direction and so that a newly selected weight plate 114 may be engaged by the engagement structure 150 of the resistance selector 110. It is noted that the open sections of the lateral portions 170 of the T-shaped opening 166 (i.e., the sections in the lateral portions 170 adjacent the abutment shoulders 168) align with the slots 152 formed in the rails 136 so as to define channels through which the engagement structure 150 may be selectively displaced such as has been described above.

Thus, the described embodiments of the invention provide an efficient means of selecting a desired amount of resistance in an exercise apparatus. Additionally, the described embodiments provide a resistance selection mechanism that does not allow a selector key or pin to be removed from the exercise apparatus (and, thus, become lost or used with an incompatible apparatus) or become damaged or the potential for injury to a user due to misuse or partial engagement.

FIG. 7 illustrates a side view of an exercise apparatus according to one embodiment of the present invention. In this example, the body portion 134 of the resistance selector 110 is arranged to travel in the Y direction along the length of the rail 136. In the illustrated example, the rail 136 provides a structure to guide the body 134, but does not include the teeth 146 and notches 148 described in the examples above.

The edges 180 of the weight plates 114 are shaped with a profile into which the engagement structure 150 can interlock. For example, when the pin 142 is moved forward into the first position, the engagement structure 150 is likewise moved forward to abut against the weight plates' profile. In the example of FIG. 7, the profile includes an angled underside surface 184. When the pin 142 is in the first position, the engagement structure 150 abuts against the angled underside surface 184. A sufficient surface area of the engagement structure 150 contacts with the angled underside surface 184 of the weight plate 114 such that when the rail 136 and thereby the resistance selector 110 are moved in an upward direction, the weight of the interlocked weight plate and the other plates superjacent the interlocked weight plate are loaded to the resistance selector 110. Thus, as the resistance selector 110 moves upward, the interlocked weight plate and the superjacent weight plates also move upward with the resistance selector 110.

The angled underside surface 184 allows for a degree of misalignment between the engagement structure 150 and the weight plate 114. For example, when the engagement structure 150 abuts the weight plate's edge 180, the engagement structure 150 can slide along the slope of the angled underside surface 184 until the engagement structure 150 is properly aligned. Likewise, if the engagement structure is misaligned to such a degree that the engagement structure contacts an angled top surface 186 of the weight plate's edge 180, the slope of the angled top surface 186 can also realign the engagement structure 150 to the proper position.

FIG. 8 illustrates a partial side view of an engagement structure 150 interlocking with an edge 180 of a plate 114 according to one embodiment of the present invention. In this example, the engagement structure 150 is shaped to contact both the angled underside surface 184 and the angled top surface 186 simultaneously. The engagement structure 150 comprises a first flank 188 that has a complementary angle to the angled underside surface 184 of the plates 114 and a second flank 190 that has a complementary angle to the angled top surface 186 of the plates 114.

FIG. 9 illustrates a partial side view of an engagement structure 150 interlocking with an edge 180 of a plate 114 according to one embodiment of the present invention. In this example, the plate's edge 180 includes a cutout 192 for interlocking with the engagement structure 150. The cutout 192 includes an overhang surface 194 and an angled top surface 186. The angled top surface 186 is positioned to direct the engagement structure 150 towards the overhang surface 194 of the weight plate situated above the angled top surface 186. The weight of the interlocking plate and the plates superjacent to the interlocking plate can be loaded to the overhang surface and the engagement structure 150 such that as the resistance selector 110 moves upwards, the interlocking plate and the plates superjacent to the interlocking plate move upward with the resistance selector 110. One advantage to having the angled top surface 186 formed on the plate below the overhang surface 194 is that the overhang surface 194 can be supported by additional material of the weight plate 114.

In some examples, the cutout 192 also includes a vertical surface 196 positioned between the overhang surface 194 and the angled top surface 186. The vertical surface 196 acts as a stop that prevents the engagement structure 150 from advancing farther. The engagement structure 150 includes a profile that is complementary to the overhang surface 194, the vertical surface 196, and the angled top surface 186.

While interlocking edges of the plates in the examples above have been described with reference to specific shapes and features, any appropriate shape or feature may be integrated into the interlocking edges of the plates. In some examples, the shape of the engagement structure 150 and the shape of the weight plate's edges are complementary, while in other examples, the shape of the engagement structure 150 and the shape of the weight plate's edges are not complementary.

FIG. 10 illustrates a side view of a pin 142 and a rail 136 according to one embodiment of the present invention. In this example, the pin 142 is rigidly connected to the rail 136. When the rail 136 moves, the pin 142 moves with the rail 136. Thus, a user or another type of mechanism for moving the pin 142 will also move the rail 136. Thus, the rail is configured to move in both vertical and horizontal directions.

The pin 142 is positioned to extend beyond an engagement face 198 of the rail 136. In some examples, as the pin 142 and the rail 136 are moved towards the weight stack, the pin 142 can interlock with the desired weight plate before the engagement face 198 comes into contact with the weight stack. In some cases, the engagement face 198 does not come into contact with the weight stack. In the illustrated example, the engagement face 198 of the rail 136 includes teeth 146 and notches 148. The teeth 146 and notches 148 can be positioned and shaped such that they can interlock with at least one of the weight plates when the pin 142 interlocks with the desired weight plate. Thus, more than one weight plate can be interlocked with the rail 136 and the resistance selector 110 at a time. By interlocking multiple plates simultaneously, additional stability can be achieved during the lift. Also, by interlocking multiple plates simultaneously, the load weighted to the components of the resistance selector 110 can be reduced and distributed along multiple points throughout the weight stack. Such a more even weight distribution may increase the life of individual parts of the exercise apparatus.

In the illustrated example, the top weight plate 200 interlocks with the rail 136 when the pin 142 interlocks with the desired weight plate. However, in other examples, one or more different plates may interlock with the rail 136.

While the example in FIG. 10 depicts a specific shape of the top weight plate's edge 180, any appropriate type of edge shape may be used in accordance with the principles described herein. Further, while the teeth and notches have been depicted with a specific geometry, the teeth and notches may include any appropriate type of geometry. In some examples, the profiles of the top plate's edge (or other plates) may or may not be complementary with the profiles of the teeth and rails.

FIG. 11 illustrates a perspective view of a portion of a resistance selector 110 in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention wherein the resistance selector 110 is in an engaged state. In this example, the resistance selector's handle 144 can be used to cause the pin 142 to extend into an engaged state or retract into a disengaged state. The handle 144 is connected to the pin 142 through a pivot rod 202, and a cam surface 204 is located adjacent to the connection to the pivot rod 202. The handle 144 can rotate about the pivot rod 202 between a first position and a second position. In the first position, the handle 144 is in a generally horizontal orientation. As the handle 144 is rotated about the pivot rod 202, the cam surface 204 pushes against the body portion 134 of the resistance selector 110. As a result of the load imposed by the cam surface 204, the pin 142 is pulled outward causing the engagement structure 150 to move into a disengaged state.

A biasing mechanism may be used to cause the pin 142 and the engagement structure 150 to move back into the engaged state when the handle is returned to the first, substantially horizontal position. Such a biasing mechanism may include magnets, compression springs, tension springs, wave springs, torodial springs, other types of springs, compressed gas, other types of mechanisms, or combinations thereof. In other examples, a retention mechanism may be incorporated into the resistance selector 110 to retain the pin 142 and therefore the engagement structure 150 in the desired position. For example, a snap feature, a pin feature, a screw feature, another type of locking feature or combinations thereof may be used to lock the pin 142 and engagement structure 150 in the desired position.

FIGS. 12A, 12B & 13 illustrate examples of a pin and a weight stack in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention. In this example, an opening is formed in each of the plates in the weigh stack to collective form a through hole 206 in which the engagement structure 150 can move up and down in the Y directions. An open neck 208 connects the through hole 206 to the perimeter 210 of the weight plates. The open neck 208 accommodates movement of the pin 142 in the Y directions to move the engagement structure 150 in the through hole 206.

With the engagement structure 150 positioned within the weight stack, the engagement structure 150 can be aligned with the desired weight plate and then moved to interlock with the desired weight plate. In some embodiments, the pin 142 is rotated about an axis that is transverse to the length of the engagement structure 150 such that the engagement structure is tilted to one side. As a result, the ends of the engagement structure 150 can be brought into contact with the plate 114. An overhang, cavity, lip, notch, or some other kind of interlocking feature may be formed in the inside of the plate that the ends of the engagement structure 150 can hook. In the example of FIG. 12B, the ends of the engagement structure 150 move into cavities formed in the weight plate as the engagement structure 150 is tilted.

In the example of FIG. 13, the engagement structure 150 is moved into cavities formed in a wall of the through hole 206. To interlock with the cavities, due to the cavities' shape and orientation, the pin 142 can be moved forward and also rotated about an axis that is aligned with a length of the pin 142.

While the examples above have been depicted with reference to the engagement structure 150 interlocking with the through hole through a tilt or a forward movement combined with a rotation, any appropriate manner of interlocking the engagement structure with the through hole 206 of the weight plates 114 may be used. For example, the pin 142 may be moved forward to engage a front side of the through hole 206. In other examples, the pin 142 may be moved backward to engage a back side of the through hole 206. In yet another example, the pin 142 may be slide to the right or the left to engage a right or left side of the through hole 206. Further, the pin 142 may be tilted in any direction to engage any appropriate side of the through hole 206.

FIG. 14 illustrates a side view of an exercise apparatus according to one embodiment of the present invention. In this example, a first portion 212 of the rail 136 is rigidly attached to the resistance selector 110. The first portion 212 of the rail 136 can telescopically move within a second portion 214 of the rail 136. In such an example, the resistance selector 110 can be positioned manually or through an actuator to a height of the desired weight plate 114 by telescopically moving the first portion 212 of the rail. The pin 142 of the resistance selector 110 can be moved into the engaged state to interlock with the weight plate.

In some examples, a user can manually position the height of the resistance selector 110. In other examples, an actuator can be used to position the resistance selector 110 to the appropriate height. For example, a motor may be used to position the resistance selector 110 to the appropriate height.

While the above example has been described with a specific mechanism for moving a first portion of the rail with respect to a second portion of the rail, any appropriate mechanism for moving portions of the rails with respect to each other may be used. For example, the first portion of the rail may be moved with a rack and pinion arrangement, a thread form, a hydraulic mechanism, a pneumatic mechanism, a swinging arm mechanism, a sliding mechanism, a linear actuator, a solenoid, a motor, another type of mechanism or combinations thereof.

Further, in examples where automation is used to move the resistance selector 110, an actuator an actuator may be used to move the pin 142. Such an actuator may receive commands in response to instructions from the user based on input from a user input mechanism incorporated into the exercise apparatus. In other examples, such user inputs may be incorporated into a remote device, and such features are controlled wirelessly. Any appropriate wireless protocol may be used. Also, the amount of weight selected may be recorded and sent to a remote device. In other examples, the recorded information may be processed locally at the exercise apparatus. Further, the number of lifts executed by the user and/or the speed of the lifts may also be recorded. Such records can be used to determine calories burned, force exerted during the lift, other characteristics about the lift or physiological parameters about the user, or combinations thereof.

While the invention may be susceptible to various modifications and alternative forms, specific embodiments have been shown by way of example in the drawings and have been described in detail herein. However, it should be understood that the invention is not intended to be limited to the particular forms disclosed. Rather, the invention includes all modifications, equivalents, and alternatives falling within the spirit and scope of the invention as defined by the following appended claims.

INDUSTRIAL APPLICABILITY

In general, the invention disclosed herein may provide the user with an exercise apparatus that has a resistance selector that is connected to the apparatus. Such a resistance selector may be kept with the exercise apparatus such that the resistance selector is not borrowed for another machine or lost. Further, such features as described above may prevent an unsuitable resistance selector from being used in the exercise apparatus.

The exercise apparatus may include a rail along which a resistance selector can be moved. The resistance selector can be moved to the desired to weight plate of the weight stack and be interlocked with that weight plate by moving a pin of the resistance selector to a different position. Such movement may include linear movement, rotational movement, tilting movements, multiple movements or combinations thereof. Further, in some examples, the pin carries an engagement structure that is shaped to interlock with the weight plate. Such an engagement structure may interlock with the edge of the plate, an opening formed in the plate, a through hole formed in the plate, an underside of the plate, a geometry of the plate, another feature of the plate or combinations thereof.

In some examples, the engagement structure is shaped to be complementary to the shape of at least one feature of the weight plate to be interlocked. In other examples, the interlocking features of the engagement structure and the weight plate do not have complementary shapes.

In some situations, the resistance selector moves independently of the rail that is used to lock the weight plate to the resistance selector. In other examples, the resistance selector is rigidly attached to the resistance structure such that movement of the resistance selector involves movement of at least a portion of the rail.