US20070117683A1 - Exercising apparatus with varying length arms - Google Patents

Exercising apparatus with varying length arms Download PDF

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Publication number
US20070117683A1
US20070117683A1 US11285230 US28523005A US2007117683A1 US 20070117683 A1 US20070117683 A1 US 20070117683A1 US 11285230 US11285230 US 11285230 US 28523005 A US28523005 A US 28523005A US 2007117683 A1 US2007117683 A1 US 2007117683A1
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Prior art keywords
exercise apparatus
drive mechanism
connection point
arm member
portion
Prior art date
Legal status (The legal status is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the status listed.)
Abandoned
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US11285230
Inventor
Gaylen Ercanbrack
William Dalebout
Henry Howell
Robert Alleman
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ICON IP Inc
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ICON Health and Fitness Inc
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    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A63SPORTS; GAMES; AMUSEMENTS
    • A63BAPPARATUS FOR PHYSICAL TRAINING, GYMNASTICS, SWIMMING, CLIMBING, OR FENCING; BALL GAMES; TRAINING EQUIPMENT
    • A63B22/00Exercising apparatus specially adapted for conditioning the cardio-vascular system, for training agility or co-ordination of movements
    • A63B22/06Exercising apparatus specially adapted for conditioning the cardio-vascular system, for training agility or co-ordination of movements with support elements performing a rotating cycling movement, i.e. a closed path movement
    • A63B22/0664Exercising apparatus specially adapted for conditioning the cardio-vascular system, for training agility or co-ordination of movements with support elements performing a rotating cycling movement, i.e. a closed path movement performing an elliptic movement
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A63SPORTS; GAMES; AMUSEMENTS
    • A63BAPPARATUS FOR PHYSICAL TRAINING, GYMNASTICS, SWIMMING, CLIMBING, OR FENCING; BALL GAMES; TRAINING EQUIPMENT
    • A63B22/00Exercising apparatus specially adapted for conditioning the cardio-vascular system, for training agility or co-ordination of movements
    • A63B22/0002Exercising apparatus specially adapted for conditioning the cardio-vascular system, for training agility or co-ordination of movements involving an exercising of arms
    • A63B22/0005Exercising apparatus specially adapted for conditioning the cardio-vascular system, for training agility or co-ordination of movements involving an exercising of arms with particular movement of the arms provided by handles moving otherwise than pivoting about a horizontal axis parallel to the body-symmetrical-plane
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A63SPORTS; GAMES; AMUSEMENTS
    • A63BAPPARATUS FOR PHYSICAL TRAINING, GYMNASTICS, SWIMMING, CLIMBING, OR FENCING; BALL GAMES; TRAINING EQUIPMENT
    • A63B22/00Exercising apparatus specially adapted for conditioning the cardio-vascular system, for training agility or co-ordination of movements
    • A63B22/0002Exercising apparatus specially adapted for conditioning the cardio-vascular system, for training agility or co-ordination of movements involving an exercising of arms
    • A63B22/001Exercising apparatus specially adapted for conditioning the cardio-vascular system, for training agility or co-ordination of movements involving an exercising of arms by simultaneously exercising arms and legs, e.g. diagonally in anti-phase
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A63SPORTS; GAMES; AMUSEMENTS
    • A63BAPPARATUS FOR PHYSICAL TRAINING, GYMNASTICS, SWIMMING, CLIMBING, OR FENCING; BALL GAMES; TRAINING EQUIPMENT
    • A63B22/00Exercising apparatus specially adapted for conditioning the cardio-vascular system, for training agility or co-ordination of movements
    • A63B22/06Exercising apparatus specially adapted for conditioning the cardio-vascular system, for training agility or co-ordination of movements with support elements performing a rotating cycling movement, i.e. a closed path movement
    • A63B22/0664Exercising apparatus specially adapted for conditioning the cardio-vascular system, for training agility or co-ordination of movements with support elements performing a rotating cycling movement, i.e. a closed path movement performing an elliptic movement
    • A63B2022/0676Exercising apparatus specially adapted for conditioning the cardio-vascular system, for training agility or co-ordination of movements with support elements performing a rotating cycling movement, i.e. a closed path movement performing an elliptic movement with crank and handles being on the same side of the exercising apparatus with respect to the frontal body-plane of the user, e.g. crank and handles are in front of the user
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A63SPORTS; GAMES; AMUSEMENTS
    • A63BAPPARATUS FOR PHYSICAL TRAINING, GYMNASTICS, SWIMMING, CLIMBING, OR FENCING; BALL GAMES; TRAINING EQUIPMENT
    • A63B21/00Exercising apparatus for developing or strengthening the muscles or joints of the body by working against a counterforce, with or without measuring devices
    • A63B21/005Exercising apparatus for developing or strengthening the muscles or joints of the body by working against a counterforce, with or without measuring devices using electromagnetic or electric force-resisters
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A63SPORTS; GAMES; AMUSEMENTS
    • A63BAPPARATUS FOR PHYSICAL TRAINING, GYMNASTICS, SWIMMING, CLIMBING, OR FENCING; BALL GAMES; TRAINING EQUIPMENT
    • A63B21/00Exercising apparatus for developing or strengthening the muscles or joints of the body by working against a counterforce, with or without measuring devices
    • A63B21/012Exercising apparatus for developing or strengthening the muscles or joints of the body by working against a counterforce, with or without measuring devices using frictional force-resisters
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A63SPORTS; GAMES; AMUSEMENTS
    • A63BAPPARATUS FOR PHYSICAL TRAINING, GYMNASTICS, SWIMMING, CLIMBING, OR FENCING; BALL GAMES; TRAINING EQUIPMENT
    • A63B21/00Exercising apparatus for developing or strengthening the muscles or joints of the body by working against a counterforce, with or without measuring devices
    • A63B21/22Resisting devices with rotary bodies
    • A63B21/225Resisting devices with rotary bodies with flywheels
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A63SPORTS; GAMES; AMUSEMENTS
    • A63BAPPARATUS FOR PHYSICAL TRAINING, GYMNASTICS, SWIMMING, CLIMBING, OR FENCING; BALL GAMES; TRAINING EQUIPMENT
    • A63B22/00Exercising apparatus specially adapted for conditioning the cardio-vascular system, for training agility or co-ordination of movements
    • A63B22/0015Exercising apparatus specially adapted for conditioning the cardio-vascular system, for training agility or co-ordination of movements with an adjustable movement path of the support elements
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A63SPORTS; GAMES; AMUSEMENTS
    • A63BAPPARATUS FOR PHYSICAL TRAINING, GYMNASTICS, SWIMMING, CLIMBING, OR FENCING; BALL GAMES; TRAINING EQUIPMENT
    • A63B2210/00Space saving
    • A63B2210/50Size reducing arrangements for stowing or transport

Abstract

An exercise apparatus, such as a front end or an upright elliptical trainer, includes a drive mechanism connected to a first reciprocating member and a second reciprocating member. Each reciprocating member includes a footpad that travels in an elliptical path. The exercise apparatus also includes a first arm member and a second arm member connected to the drive mechanism. Each arm member includes a first portion having a handle that travels in a back and forth path and a second portion having at least a part of which that travels in a circular or elliptical path. To convert the circular motion of the second portion to the back and forth motion of the handle, the second portion has an effective variable length that permits the distance between a first connection point and a second connection point of the arm members to change as the drive mechanism is actuated.

Description

    BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
  • The present invention relates generally to stationary exercise equipment. More specifically, the present invention relates to front end and upright elliptical trainers that coordinate the elliptical foot motion normally associated with walking and running with a back and forth hand motion. In other words, the present invention permits a user to exercise both their upper body and lower body in a coordinated fashion. Of course, this invention may be applied to other types of exercise equipment.
  • Generally, elliptical trainers are exercise machines where a user's feet travel in diametrically opposed elliptical paths that roughly simulates the natural path the user's feet would follow while running or walking. Elliptical trainers provide the advantage of permitting a user to exercise their lower body without the jarring effects normally associated with running and walking.
  • Typically, elliptical trainers provide resistance to the motion of the user via a drive mechanism. Elliptical trainers are generally classified into three general categories according to where the drive mechanism is located in relation to a user actuating the exercise apparatus. For example, back end or rear elliptical trainers have their drive mechanism positioned in back of the user. Conversely, front end and upright elliptical trainers have the drive mechanism positioned in front of the user. The front end and upright elliptical trainers provide the advantage of appearing to occupy less room than comparable rear elliptical trainers. Additionally, front end and upright elliptical trainers may be easier to store and move.
  • The front end and upright elliptical trainers also provide an added measure of safety because many of the moving parts of the elliptical trainer are placed within the view of a user and thus, the user is more aware of the moving parts. Consequently, the user of a front end or upright elliptical trainer is better able to prevent children or pets from becoming entangled in or harmed by the moving parts of the elliptical trainer.
  • However, not all of the moving parts of currently available elliptical trainers are positioned in front of the user. For example, the reciprocating supports of the reciprocating members are disposed beneath or behind the footpad and move back and forth on a track that may pinch the fingers of curious children. Consequently, a need exists for an elliptical trainer that has fewer moving parts positioned outside of the view of the user, in order to prevent accidental injury to curious children and pets that may be caught in pinch points.
  • The inputs of the drive mechanism of an elliptical trainer travel in a circular path. Two reciprocating members, which each include a footpad, are connected to the drive mechanism at diametrically opposed positions on the circular path and on opposite sides of the drive mechanism. The reciprocating members are used to convert the circular motion of the drive mechanism into the elliptical path that is followed by the footpads. Thus, as a user moves his or her feet about an elliptical path, the drive mechanism rotates and provides resistance to the movement of the user. This resistance helps to strengthen the user.
  • The drive mechanism also conserves the momentum of the user's movements. Specifically, as a person runs or walks, their body has a certain momentum. The drive mechanism of an elliptical trainer may use a flywheel to imitate the effects of a person's running or walking momentum to provide a more natural exercise experience.
  • Additionally, to provide a more natural exercise experience, various devices have been developed which permit a user to exercise their upper body while using an elliptical trainer. However, because of the circular motion of the drive mechanism, these devices use complicated linkages to convert the circular motion of the drive mechanism into a back and forth hand motion. Additionally, these linkages do not coordinate well with the elliptical motion of the footpads. Furthermore, these linkages may have catch points and may not effectively coordinate the exertion of the upper body with the exertion of the lower body of the user to actuate the drive mechanism. These linkages may also be unattractive and costly to manufacture and assemble because of the plurality of parts and time required to assemble each part into the linkages.
  • In other currently available elliptical trainers, the handles are directly linked to the elliptical motion of the feet, causing the user's hands to follow an elliptical path. However, elliptical hand motion may feel uncomfortable and unnatural to many users. Additionally, users tend to move their feet further than their hands so that the elliptical hand motion is too long and thus, may cause muscle strain.
  • Therefore, a need exists for an elliptical trainer that efficiently and more naturally coordinates a user's back and forth hand movements with his or her foot movements to impel the drive mechanism. A need also exists for an elliptical trainer that provides for back and forth hand movements through mechanisms that are more aesthetically pleasing, include fewer parts, and are less expensive to manufacture.
  • BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
  • The apparatus and system of the present invention has been developed in response to the present state of the art, and in particular, in response to the problems and needs in the art that have not been fully solved by currently available exercise equipment. Thus, the present invention provides an exercise apparatus that coordinates the exercise of the lower body with the upper body. Specifically, the exercise apparatus of the present invention better imitates the natural motion of both the upper body and lower body while walking and running.
  • In accordance with the invention as embodied and broadly described herein, an exercise apparatus is provided. In one embodiment of the exercise apparatus of the present invention is an elliptical trainer. The elliptical trainer includes a frame shaped to stably rest on a surface such as the floor of a building.
  • The elliptical trainer also includes a drive mechanism known in the art that is mounted to the frame. The drive mechanism provides resistance to the movement of the user and conserves the momentum generated by the movement of the user. The drive mechanism may comprise a belt, a flywheel, a crank, an axle, a frictional element, a motor or any other component known in the art that may be used in a drive mechanism for an exercise machine.
  • Two spaced reciprocating members are connected to the drive mechanism so that they move out of phase with each other to actuate the drive mechanism. The reciprocating members include footpads that travel in an elliptical path. Each footpad is shaped to receive and grip a user's shoe or foot to prevent the user from slipping off of the reciprocating member as it moves about an elliptical path. Typically, the footpad is disposed at an angle so that the heel kick that normally accompanies walking or running is accommodated by the foot pad as it travels about the elliptical path.
  • Additionally, the reciprocating members include a reciprocating support that helps the reciprocating member convert the circular motion of the drive mechanism into the elliptical motion of the footpad. As the reciprocating member is actuated by a user, the reciprocating support moves back and forth on a track of the frame of the exercise apparatus.
  • Because the reciprocating support moves back and forth on a track, a potential pinch point is created. Thus, to help prevent accidents and in accordance with the invention, the reciprocating support is positioned in front of the footpad. By positioning the reciprocating support between the drive mechanism and the footpad, a user can better monitor this pinch point and prevent related accidents from occurring.
  • To exercise the upper body in a coordinated fashion with the lower body, the exercise apparatus of the invention includes arm members that are directly connected to the drive mechanism. Specifically, the arm members are attached to the crank so that they are diametrically opposed about the circular output path of the drive mechanism. The arm members include handles and are designed to convert the circular motion of the drive mechanism into a back and forth motion of the handles.
  • Each arm member includes a first portion having a fixed length. In other words, the length of the first portion does not change as the exercise apparatus is actuated. The first portion includes the handle of the arm member and is pivotally attached to the frame at a first connection point.
  • To convert the circular motion of the drive mechanism into the back and forth motion of the handles, each arm member also includes a second portion having an effective variable length. An effective variable length is the length of the arm member that actually varies as the exercise apparatus is actuated or a component of the arm that permits the arm to act as if its length actually varies. For example, the second portion of the arm members may include telescoping parts that slide within each other so that the length of the second portion actually varies as the exercise apparatus is actuated.
  • Alternatively, the second portion of the arm members may include a slot in which an engagement member moves back and forth to permit the second portion of the arm member to act as if it actually varies in length. Thus, the engagement member may be attached to the drive mechanism so that as the crank of the drive mechanism rotates, the engagement member slides within the slot causing the first portion of the arm member to travel in a back and forth path.
  • These and other features and advantages of the present invention will become more fully apparent from the following description and appended claims, or may be learned by the practice of the invention as set forth hereinafter.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE SEVERAL VIEWS OF THE DRAWINGS
  • In order that the manner in which the above-recited and other features and advantages of the invention are obtained will be readily understood, a more particular description of the invention briefly described above will be rendered by reference to specific embodiments thereof which are illustrated in the appended drawings. Understanding that these drawings depict only typical embodiments of the invention and are not therefore to be considered to be limiting of its scope, the invention will be described and explained with additional specificity and detail through the use of the accompanying drawings in which:
  • FIG. 1 is a partially cut away side view of an exercise apparatus of the invention;
  • FIG. 2 is a side view of another exercise apparatus of the invention;
  • FIG. 3 is a side view of an alternative exercise apparatus of the invention;
  • FIG. 4 is a side view of still another alternative exercise apparatus of the invention;
  • FIG. 5 is a side view of yet another alternative exercise apparatus of the invention; and
  • FIG. 6 is a side view of yet a further alternative exercise apparatus of the invention.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION
  • The presently preferred embodiments of the invention will be best understood by reference to the drawings, wherein like parts are designated by like numerals throughout. It will be readily understood that the components of the present invention, as generally described and illustrated in the figures herein, could be arranged and designed in a wide variety of different configurations. Thus, the following more detailed description of the embodiments of the exercise apparatus of the present invention, as represented in FIGS. 1 through 6, is not intended to limit the scope of the invention, as claimed, but is merely representative of presently preferred embodiments of the invention.
  • Referring to FIG. 1, a partially cut away side view illustrates an exercise apparatus 100 of the invention. As shown, the exercise apparatus 100 is an upright elliptical trainer that includes a frame 102 shaped to be stably supported by a floor 104.
  • A drive mechanism 110 is mounted to the frame 102 and provides both resistance to the movement of the user and conserves the momentum generated by the movement of the user. In this embodiment, the drive mechanism 110 includes a crank 112 connected to an axle 114 that is rotatably attached to the frame 102. A flywheel 116 is connected to the crank 112 by a belt 118 to help conserve the momentum imparted to the drive mechanism 110 by the user.
  • Additionally, a frictional element 120 of the drive mechanism 110 is used to provide resistance to the movement of the user. As shown, the frictional element 120 is a device 122 that engages the belt 118. As the device 122 is moved within a slot 124, the tension and thus, the friction between the belt 118 and the device 122 increases or decreases. The user can adjust the degree of friction encountered by moving the device 122 within the slot 124.
  • The drive mechanism 110 may also include a generator 126 that converts a portion of the movement of the user into electrical power. The electrical power generated is used to power a control console 128. The control consol 128 may be one that is well known in the art that may be used to monitor and provide feedback to the user during use of the exercise apparatus 100.
  • The exercise apparatus 100 of the invention also includes a first arm member 130 and a second arm member 132 that are connected to the drive mechanism 110. As used herein, an “arm member” is a structure whose portions do not pivot position relative to each other when in use. In contrast, currently available elliptical trainers have complicated linkages whose links pivot position relative to other links of the linkages while in use.
  • The arm members 130, 132 coordinate the exercise of a user's upper body with the exercise of their lower body. Each arm member 130, 132 includes a first portion 134 having a fixed length 136 and a second portion 138 having an effective variable length 140.
  • The arm members 130, 132 are pivotally attached to the frame 102 at a first connection point 142 which is disposed intermediate the first portion 134 and the second portion 138. The first portion 134 includes a handle 144 to be gripped by the user as the exercise apparatus 100 is actuated. Because the first portion 134 is pivotally attached to the frame 102 at the first connection point 142, the handles 144 travel in a back and forth path 146, such as a convex arc.
  • As shown, the second portion 138 is directly connected to the crank 112 of the drive mechanism 110 at a second connection point 152. The second connection point 152 travels in a circular path 148 as crank 112 revolves around the axle 114. Thus, at least a part of the second portion 138 travels in a circular path 148. Additionally, the second connection points 152 of the arm members 130, 132 are positioned so that they are diametrically opposed to each other about the circular path 148 and on opposite sides of the crank 112 such that the arm members 130, 132 are out of phase with each other.
  • For the second portions 138 of the arm members 130, 132 to have an effective variable length 140 between the first connection point 142 and the second connection point 152, the second portions 138 include telescoping parts 154. Specifically, the second portions 138 include a male extension 156 that slides within a female bearing surface 158 as a distance 160 between the first connection point 142 and the second connection point 152 changes. The male extension 156 of the second portion 138 is attached to and extends from the first portion 134.
  • The female bearing surface 158 is pivotally attached to the crank 112 of the drive mechanism 110 at the second connection point 152 and is disposed remotely from the first connection point 142. Because the second portion 138 has an effective variable length 140, the arm members 130, 132 are able to convert the circular motion 148 of the second portion 138 into the back and forth motion 146 of the handles 144 along an arc as the drive mechanism 110 is actuated.
  • A first reciprocating member 170 and a second reciprocating member 172 are indirectly connected to the drive mechanism 110. As shown, each reciprocating member 170, 172 is rotatably attached to a respective arm member 130, 132 at a third connection point 174. As the crank 112 of the drive mechanism 110 moves about the circular path 148, the third connection point 174 follows an elliptical path 175 so that a part of each reciprocating member 170, 172 follows the third connection point 174 about the elliptical path 175.
  • Because the reciprocating members 170, 172 are indirectly connected to the crank 112 through a respective arm member 130, 132 at the third connection point 174, the horizontal movement of the third connection point 174 is greater than the horizontal movement of the second connection point 152 while the vertical movement is the same for both the third connection point 174 and the second connection point. In other words, the arm members 130, 132 magnify the horizontal travel of the drive mechanism 110 so that the drive mechanism 110 may be smaller while providing the reciprocating members 170, 172 the horizontal travel necessary for a user to exercise his or her lower body comfortably. This is accomplished because the first connection point 142 is pivotally fixed to the frame and the third connection point 174 is disposed further from the first connection point 142 than the second connection point 152. Thus, the movement of the third connection point 174 about the first connection point 142 is greater than the movement of the second connection point 152 about the first connection point 142.
  • Each reciprocating member 170, 172 includes a footpad 176 that travels in a second elliptical path 178. The footpads 176 are shaped to receive and grip a user's shoe or foot to prevent the user from slipping off of the reciprocating members 170, 172 as the footpads 176 move about the second elliptical path 178. For example, the footpads 176 may be covered by an elastomer to improve the traction between a user's shoe and the footpad 176.
  • The footpads 176 are positioned on the reciprocating members 170, 172 such that as each footpad 176 moves to its most rearward position, the heel of a user is lifted above the toes. This positioning of the footpads 176 helps replicate a more natural heel kick that normally accompanies walking and running.
  • Each reciprocating member 170, 172 also includes a reciprocating support 180. As shown, the reciprocating support 180 is a roller 182 moving back and forth on a track 184 of the frame 102 of the exercise apparatus 100. The reciprocating support 180 is positioned forward of the footpad 176 so that a user can better monitor the potential pinch point between the reciprocating support 180 and the track 184 of the frame 102. Thus, injury may be prevented by placing the reciprocating support 180 forward of the footpad 176 so that a user may visually monitor the pinch point during use of the exercise apparatus 100. Additionally, by positioning the reciprocating support 180 forward of the footpad 176, the second elliptical path 178 is flatter and thus, the movement of the footpads 176 are better able to imitate the natural movement of a user's foot while running or walking.
  • Referring to FIG. 2, a side view illustrates another exercise apparatus 200 that is similar to the exercise apparatus 100 of FIG. 1 in many ways. For brevity, only the differences between the exercise apparatus 200 of FIG. 2 and the exercise apparatus 100 of FIG. 1 are discussed in detail. As shown, the exercise apparatus 200 includes a first arm member 202 and a second arm member 204. Each arm member 202, 204 includes a first portion 206 having a fixed length 208 and a second portion 210 having an effective variable length 212.
  • The arm members 202, 204 are pivotally attached to a frame 214 of the exercise apparatus 200 at a first connection point 216 disposed intermediate the first portion 206 and the second portion 210. The first portion 206 includes a handle 218 whose orientation may be adjusted relative to the second portion 210 and travels in a back and forth path 220. By adjusting the orientation of the handle 218, the back and forth path 220 may be reoriented to be a convex arcuate path 222, a concave arcuate path 224, or a substantially vertical path 226. This permits a user to exercise different muscles of his or her upper body while using the exercise apparatus 200. Additionally, the handle 218 may be oriented to better imitate the natural movement of the arm while running or walking.
  • The handle 218 may be adjusted relative to the second portion 210 by loosening the fasteners 227 while not in use. Once the fasteners 227 are loosened, the handle 218 is moved to the desired orientation. Finally, the fasteners 227 are retightened to fix the handle 218 into the desired orientation for use. Thus, the position of the handle 218 may be pivotally adjusted relative to the second portion 210, but while in use by a user, the first portion 206 does not pivot position relative to second portion 210. Of course, the handle 218 may be adjusted using other methods that would be readily apparent to those of skill in the art from the description contained herein.
  • The second portions 210 of the arm members 202, 204 include a male extension 228 extending from the first portions 206, a female bearing surface 230 that slides over the male extension 228, and a linkage 232 attached to the female bearing surface 230. The linkage 232 is offset from the female bearing surface 230 so that the male extension 228 slides parallel to the linkage 232 through the female bearing surface 230. Additionally, the linkage 232 is pivotally attached to a crank 234 of a drive mechanism 236 at a second connection point 238 and to a respective first reciprocating member 240 or second reciprocating member 242.
  • Referring to FIG. 3, a side view shows an alternative configuration of the invention in exercise apparatus 300. As shown, the exercise apparatus 300 includes a smaller frame 302 than the frames 102, 214 of FIGS. 1 and 2. A drive mechanism 304 is attached to the frame 302 and includes a flywheel 308 rotatably attached to the frame 302 and a frictional element 310. The frictional element 310 of this embodiment may be a pad that can be moved into engagement with the flywheel 308 or any other device known in the art to partially resist the actuation of the exercise apparatus 300 by the user.
  • The exercise apparatus 300 includes a first arm member 312 and a second arm member 314. Each arm member 312, 314 includes a first portion 316 and a second portion 318 having an effective variable length 320. Additionally, each arm member 312, 314 is pivotally attached to a frame 302 of the exercise apparatus 300 at a first connection point 322 and to the drive mechanism 304 at a second connection point 324.
  • To provide the effective variable length 320, the second portions 318 of the arm members 312, 314 each include a slot 326. The exercise apparatus 300 includes an engagement member 330 that pivotally attaches the second portion 318 to the drive mechanism 304 at the second connection point 324 and slides within the slot 326. Thus, the effective variable length 320 of the second portion 318 changes as the engagement member 330 and the second connection point 324 moves back and forth within the slot 326.
  • The arm members 312, 314 are pivotally attached to a respective first reciprocating member 332 and a second reciprocating member 334. The reciprocating members 332, 334 each include a footpad 336 and a reciprocating support 338 disposed in front of the footpad 336. In this configuration of the invention, the reciprocating support 338 is a roller 340 that contacts and moves over a surface 342, such as the surface of a floor.
  • Because the reciprocating supports 338 do not contact the frame 302, the frame 302 may be smaller. Furthermore, the reciprocating members 332, 334 may be rotated up to a substantially vertical position for storage. Thus, exercise apparatus 300 may require less space when not in use.
  • Referring to FIG. 4, a side view illustrates another alternative exercise apparatus 400 that is similar to the exercise apparatus 300 of FIG. 3 in many ways. For brevity, only the differences between the exercise apparatus 400 of FIG. 4 and the exercise apparatus 300 of FIG. 3 are discussed in detail. As shown, the exercise apparatus 400 includes a first arm member 402 and a second arm member 404. Each arm member 402, 404 includes a first portion 406 having a handle 407 and a second portion 408 having an effective variable length 410. Each arm member 402, 404 is pivotally attached to a frame 412 of the exercise apparatus 400 at a first connection point 414. More specifically, the first connection point 414 rotatably attaches the first portion 406 to the frame 412.
  • The second portion 408 includes a female bearing surface 416 disposed adjacent to the first connection point 414 and extending from the first portion 406. The second portion 408 also includes a male extension 418 that slides within the female bearing surface 416. The male extension 418 is pivotally attached to a drive mechanism 420 of the exercise apparatus 400 at a second connection point 422 and to a respective reciprocating member 424, 426 at third connection points 428.
  • As the exercise apparatus 400 is actuated, the drive mechanism 420 moves the second connection point 422 about a circular path 430 causing the male extension 418 to slide within the female bearing surface 416. Because the first portion 406 is pivotally attached to the frame, the handles 407 pivot about the first connection point 414 in a back and forth path 432 as the second connection point 422 travels in the circular path 430. Thus, the arm members 402, 404 of the invention convert the circular motion 430 of the drive mechanism 420 into the back and forth motion 432 of the handles 407.
  • Further, as the second connection point 422 travels in the circular path 430, the third connection points 428 between the arm members 402, 404 and the reciprocating members 424, 426 travels in a first elliptical path 434. The reciprocating members 424, 426 are curved so that as the third connection points 428 travel about a first elliptical path 434, each footpad 438 of the reciprocating members 424, 426 moves out of phase with each other about a second elliptical path 436. Additionally, the footpads 438 are disposed on the reciprocating members 424, 426 so that as they move about the second elliptical path 436, the heel kick normally associated walking and running is imitated.
  • Referring to FIG. 5, a side view shows yet another alternative configuration of the invention as exercise apparatus 500. As shown, the exercise apparatus 500 is a front end elliptical trainer. The exercise apparatus 500 includes a frame 502 shaped to stably support the exercise apparatus 500 on a surface 504, such as a floor of a building, and a drive mechanism 506 mounted on the frame 502.
  • The exercise apparatus 500 includes a first arm member 510 and a second arm member 512 pivotally connected to the frame 502 at a first connection point 514 and to the drive mechanism 506 at a second connection point 516. Each arm member 510, 512 includes a first portion 518 and a second portion 520 having an effective variable length 522 that changes as the distance between the first connection point 514 and the second connection point 516 varies when the exercise apparatus 500 is actuated. The effective variable length 522 of the second portion 520 changes by permitting a male extension 524 extending from the first portion 518 to slide within a female bearing surface 526 that is disposed adjacent the second connection point 516 and remotely from the first connection point 514.
  • As shown, the arm members 510, 512 are directly and pivotally connected to the drive mechanism 506 and to a respective first reciprocating member 530 and second reciprocating member 532 at the second connection points 516. Thus, the reciprocating members 530, 532 are also directly and pivotally connected to the drive mechanism 506. Consequently, the arm members 510, 512 of the exercise apparatus 500 do not include third connection points as have been described in the embodiments of FIGS. 1, 2, 3, and 4.
  • The reciprocating members 530, 532 each include a footpad 534 and a reciprocating support 536 disposed behind the footpad 534. Because the reciprocating support 536 travels in a linear back and forth path 540, the footpads 534 travel in an elliptical path 542 as the second connection point 516 travels in a circular path 544 about the drive mechanism 506. Thus, the reciprocating members 530, 532 convert the circular motion 544 of the drive mechanism 506 into the elliptical motion 542 of the footpads 534.
  • Referring to FIG. 6, a side view illustrates yet a further alternative exercise apparatus 600 that is similar in many ways to the exercise apparatus 500 of FIG. 5. For brevity, only the differences between the exercise apparatus 600 of FIG. 6 and the exercise apparatus 500 of FIG. 5 are discussed in detail. As shown, the exercise apparatus 600 includes a first arm member 602 and a second arm member 604 pivotally connected to a frame 606 of the exercise apparatus 600 at a first connection point 608. Additionally, each arm member 602, 604 is directly attached to both a drive mechanism 610 of the exercise apparatus 600 and a respective reciprocating member 612 at a second connection point 614. The arm members 602, 604 are attached to opposite sides of the drive mechanism 610 at diametrically opposed positions about its circumference so that the arm members 602, 604 are out of phase with each other.
  • Each arm member 602, 604 includes a first portion 620 having a fixed length 622 and a second portion 624 having an effective variable length 626 that changes as the distance 628 between the first connection point 608 and the second connection point 614 changes as the drive mechanism 610 is actuated. The second portion 624 extends between the first connection point 608 and the second connection point 614.
  • As shown, the first portion 620 is attached to a female bearing surface 630 of the second portion 624 and includes a handle 632. The second portion 624 includes a male extension 634 that slides within the female bearing surface 630 to change the effective variable length 626 of the second portion 624 as the drive mechanism 610 is actuated. In this configuration, the handle 632 travels in a generally concave arcuate back and forth path 636.
  • In summary, exercise apparatus having variable length arm members according to the invention have been provided. The exercise apparatus may be made of metal, plastic, composite, or any other material known in the art. The arm members may include telescoping parts or a slot for providing an effective variable length that permits the arm members to be directly connected to the drive mechanism while permitting the handles of the arm members to travel in a back and forth path. Thus, the exercise apparatus according to the invention better coordinates the exercising of the upper body with the exercise of the lower body to actuate the drive mechanism of the exercise apparatus. Additionally, the arm members feel more natural and comfortable to use, include fewer parts, and are more aesthetically pleasing than the complicated linkages used previously.
  • Because the arm members of the invention have an effective variable length, they may be attached to other parts of an exercise apparatus and effectively convert circular, elliptical, and other closed loop shapes into a desired back and forth motion of the handles. Thus, if the arm members of the invention were connected directly to the reciprocating member and not the drive mechanism, the arm members would be equally effective in converting the motion of any part of the reciprocating members into the desired back and forth motion of the handles.
  • The present invention may be embodied in other specific forms without departing from its structures, methods, or other essential characteristics as broadly described herein and claimed hereinafter. The described embodiments are to be considered in all respects only as illustrative, and not restrictive. The scope of the invention is, therefore, indicated by the appended claims, rather than by the foregoing description. All changes that come within the meaning and range of equivalency of the claims are to be embraced within their scope.

Claims (22)

1. An exercise apparatus comprising:
a drive mechanism;
a first reciprocating member and a second reciprocating member connected to the drive mechanism;
a first footpad connected to the first reciprocating member and a second footpad connected to the second reciprocating member; and
a first arm member and a second arm member connected to the drive mechanism, wherein each arm member comprises a first portion having a fixed length and each arm member further comprises a second portion having an effective variable length.
2. The exercise apparatus of claim 1, wherein the second portion of the first arm member comprises telescoping parts.
3. The exercise apparatus of claim 1, wherein the second portion of the first arm member comprises a slot, the exercise apparatus further comprising an engagement member slidable within the slot.
4. The exercise apparatus of claim 1, wherein the exercise apparatus further comprises a frame and the first arm member comprises a first connection point, wherein the first arm member is pivotally attached to the frame at the first connection point.
5. The exercise apparatus of claim 4, wherein second portion comprises a second connection point, wherein the effective variable length is the distance between the first connection point and the second connection point such that the distance changes as the drive mechanism is actuated.
6. The exercise apparatus of claim 5, wherein the second connection point travels in a circular or an elliptical path as the drive mechanism is actuated.
7. The exercise apparatus of claim 1, wherein the first reciprocating member comprises a reciprocating support disposed forward of the footpad.
8. The exercise apparatus of claim 1, wherein the first arm member is directly connected to the drive mechanism.
9. The exercise apparatus of claim 8, wherein the first arm member is also directly connected to the first reciprocating member.
10. An exercise apparatus comprising:
a drive mechanism;
a first reciprocating member and a second reciprocating member connected to the drive mechanism;
a first footpad connected to the first reciprocating member and a second footpad connected to the second reciprocating member; and
a first arm member and a second arm member connected to the drive mechanism, wherein each arm member comprises a first portion having a handle that travels in a back and forth path and a second portion having at least a part of which that travels in a circular or elliptical path.
11. The exercise apparatus of claim 10, wherein the second portion of the first arm member comprises telescoping parts.
12. The exercise apparatus of claim 10, wherein the second portion of the first arm member comprises a slot, the exercise apparatus further comprising an engagement member slidable within the slot.
13. The exercise apparatus of claim 10, wherein the handle travels in an arc.
14. The exercise apparatus of claim 10, wherein the exercise apparatus further comprises a frame and the first arm member comprises a first connection point, wherein the first arm member is pivotally attached to the frame at the first connection point.
15. The exercise apparatus of claim 14, wherein the first connection point is disposed intermediate the first portion and the second portion of the first arm member.
16. The exercise apparatus of claim 10, wherein the first reciprocating member comprises a reciprocating support disposed forward of the footpad.
17. The exercise apparatus of claim 10, wherein the first arm member is directly connected to the drive mechanism.
18. The exercise apparatus of claim 17, wherein the first arm member is also directly connected to the first reciprocating member.
19. An exercise apparatus comprising:
a drive mechanism;
a first reciprocating member and a second reciprocating member connected to the drive mechanism;
a first footpad connected to the first reciprocating member and a second footpad connected to the second reciprocating member; and
a first arm member and a second arm member, wherein each arm member comprises a first connection point and a second connection point, wherein the distance between the first connection point and the second connection point changes as the drive mechanism is actuated.
20. The exercise apparatus of claim 19, wherein the first arm member comprises telescoping parts.
21. The exercise apparatus of claim 19, wherein the first arm member comprises a slot and the second connection point comprises an engagement member slidable within the slot.
22. The exercise apparatus of claim 19, wherein the first reciprocating member comprises a reciprocating support disposed forward of the footpad.
US11285230 2005-11-22 2005-11-22 Exercising apparatus with varying length arms Abandoned US20070117683A1 (en)

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US20080200314A1 (en) * 2007-02-20 2008-08-21 Icon Health And Fitness, Inc. One-step foldable elliptical exercise machine
US20100242246A1 (en) * 2007-02-20 2010-09-30 Icon Ip, Inc. One-step foldable elliptical exercise machine
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US7455624B2 (en) * 2007-02-23 2008-11-25 Shu-Chiung Liao Lai Low-impact exercise machine
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EP2025367A1 (en) * 2007-08-17 2009-02-18 Brunswick Corporation Handlebar mechanism
US20090124463A1 (en) * 2007-11-08 2009-05-14 Michael Lin Exerciser having adjustable moving stroke
EP2070565A1 (en) 2007-12-12 2009-06-17 Accell Fitness Division B.V. Exercise device and its arm rest
US20130303347A1 (en) * 2011-02-04 2013-11-14 Stig Malmqvist Device for physical exercise
US9968815B2 (en) * 2011-02-04 2018-05-15 Stig Malmqvist Device for physical exercise
US20160082308A1 (en) * 2013-03-15 2016-03-24 Nautilus, Inc. Exercise machine
US9987513B2 (en) * 2013-03-15 2018-06-05 Nautilus, Inc. Exercise machine
US9950209B2 (en) 2013-03-15 2018-04-24 Nautilus, Inc. Exercise machine
CN104225869A (en) * 2013-06-07 2014-12-24 山东迈宝赫健身器材有限公司 Fitness machine
US9248338B2 (en) * 2014-01-20 2016-02-02 Dk City Corporation Elliptical exercise machine
US20150202488A1 (en) * 2014-01-20 2015-07-23 Dk City Corporation Elliptical Exercise Machine
US9522300B1 (en) * 2014-05-20 2016-12-20 Larry D. Miller Trust Elliptical exercise device
US9511253B1 (en) * 2014-05-20 2016-12-06 Larry D. Miller Trust Elliptical exercise device
CN106362358A (en) * 2015-07-20 2017-02-01 赖膺州 Improved elliptical machine
US20170056717A1 (en) * 2015-08-28 2017-03-02 Icon Health & Fitness, Inc. Pedal Path of a Stepping Machine
US20170056709A1 (en) * 2015-08-28 2017-03-02 Icon Health & Fitness, Inc. Pedal Path of a Stepping Machine
US10046196B2 (en) * 2015-08-28 2018-08-14 Icon Health & Fitness, Inc. Pedal path of a stepping machine
US9974998B2 (en) 2016-03-30 2018-05-22 Larry D. Miller Trust Exercise device with elliptical stepping motion
US9468797B1 (en) 2016-03-30 2016-10-18 Larry D. Miller Trust Exercise device with elliptical stepping motion

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