US20080280734A1 - Folding treadmill - Google Patents

Folding treadmill Download PDF

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Publication number
US20080280734A1
US20080280734A1 US11801229 US80122907A US2008280734A1 US 20080280734 A1 US20080280734 A1 US 20080280734A1 US 11801229 US11801229 US 11801229 US 80122907 A US80122907 A US 80122907A US 2008280734 A1 US2008280734 A1 US 2008280734A1
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Prior art keywords
treadmill
section
defined
frame
front
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Abandoned
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US11801229
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Robert G. Dickie
Steve A. Copeland
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Spark Innovations Inc
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Spark Innovations 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
    • A63B22/0015Exercising 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
    • A63B22/0023Exercising 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 the inclination of the main axis of the movement path being adjustable, e.g. the inclination of an endless band
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A63SPORTS; GAMES; AMUSEMENTS
    • A63BAPPARATUS FOR PHYSICAL TRAINING, GYMNASTICS, SWIMMING, CLIMBING, OR FENCING; BALL GAMES; TRAINING EQUIPMENT
    • A63B2210/00Space saving
    • A63B2210/06Space saving incorporated in cabinets
    • 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 electrically driven, continuous track treadmill having a frame comprising a first section with a second section pivotably connected to a rear end thereof. The treadmill is adjustable between an operational position where the first and second sections are substantially horizontally aligned, and a folded position where the second section is pivoted onto said first section, such that an upper surface of the second section abuts an upper surface of the first section. A handle is pivotally connected to the first section of the frame and extends upwardly away therefrom when the treadmill is in the operational position. The handle pivots into abutting contact with a lower surface of the second section when the treadmill is in the folded position. The treadmill preferably is also provided with an inclination adjustment assembly that is selectively activatable to move the frame between a neutral position, a positively inclined position and a negatively inclined position relative to the floor surface. The treadmill is further provided with a shell configured to resemble a coffee table which is positioned over or around the treadmill when in the folded position. The treadmill therefore can be stored in plain sight.

Description

    BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
  • 1. Technical Field
  • This invention generally relates to exercise equipment. More particularly, the invention relates to treadmills. Specifically, the invention relates to an electrically driven treadmill which includes an inclination adjustment mechanism, is foldable and includes a storage box that resembles a coffee table.
  • 2. Background Information
  • There is a growing trend in the fitness industry for equipment that is suitable for use in the home, especially pieces of equipment such as treadmills. One of the key issues that people face when treadmills and similar pieces of equipment are brought into their homes is that of space. A good quality treadmill will provide a runner with a running deck that is in the order of at least 20 inches wide by 57 inches in length. In order to provide this adequate running deck, the actual machine itself will range from around 65 inches in length to 91 inches in length and have a width of 32 to 34 inches. Obviously, the treadmill also needs to be provided with a floor clearance space surrounding the actual machine in order to allow a person to get safely on to and off from the running deck.
  • If the home owner has sufficient space, in a basement for example, a fixed track and frame type of treadmill may be the most suitable form in that they tend to be the most stable. However, exercising alone in a basement away from the center of activity in the home tends to be tedious. Additionally, because the treadmill is out of sight, it is easy for one to forget to exercise on a regular basis. Bringing this type of space-utilizing device into a living room or family room causes two problems. Firstly, these pieces of equipment are not aesthetically pleasing and would be considered to be an eyesore in such a communal type of room. Secondly, the space in the room that is occupied by such devices is unacceptable.
  • Consequently, many manufacturers have attempted to address these issues by providing home-use treadmills that are foldable so that they will take up less space. Many of these foldable treadmills are also movable so they can be stored in a closet or under a bed and brought out only when needed. The home-use models tend to have a main base that contains the motor and a front frame and which supports the handles. The track is typically pivotally connected to the front frame. An additional motor may be provided to raise and lower the track. This frame must be stable as the track is not rigidly connected to the base so that it can pivot upwardly to reduce the horizontal footprint of the treadmill. The home-use models may also be provided with wheels or gliders so that the treadmills can be wheeled under beds or into closets, even though they may weigh well over 150 lbs.
  • An additional problem caused by these home-use models is that they do not come preassembled. The track, base and handles are disconnected to keep the size of the shipping container to a minimum. A homeowner must therefore assemble the treadmill themselves or must have the retailer do the assembly for them. The machines must also be broken down and reassembled if the homeowner moves.
  • The prior art includes numerous versions of folding treadmills. Allemand, U.S. Pat. No. 4,757,987, for example, teaches a portable, manually-operable treadmill that includes a housing comprising two sections that are pivotally connected together. Each section of the housing includes a plurality of rollers. A continuous-loop track extends around the rollers of both sections of the housing and when a user walks on the upper surface of the belt, both the track and rollers are caused to move. A telescoping handle is pivotally mounted at a front end of the housing. The treadmill further includes a first support leg that is pivotally mounted to the front end of the housing. A second support leg is pivotally connected to the rear end of the front section of the housing, and a third support leg is pivotally connected to the front end of the back section of the housing. The treadmill disclosed in this patent has several disadvantages including the fact that it is not motorized and is instead manually driven. Additionally, the track and rollers form a fairly rigid and inflexible surface that will not act as an effective shock absorbent running surface. This lack of shock absorbence will also be enhanced by the nature of the support legs provided on the machine and may lead to shin-splints and other related injuries of the user. Furthermore, as seen most clearly from FIG. 4 of the patent, the support legs are pivotally connected to the housing. As such, there is a risk that at least the front support leg might collapse under vigorous use of the treadmill, once again leaving the exerciser open to potential injury. When the treadmill is to be stored, the handle is collapsed and rotated downwardly onto the upper surface of the front section of the housing. The back section of the housing is then pivoted forwardly to cover both the handle and the front section. In view off the fact that the folded treadmill is designed to be carried from one place to another by way of a handle, this treadmill is unlikely to be of sufficient strength and durability to be used by a runner or walker of any substantial weight.
  • Hammer et al discloses a low-profile folding treadmill that is motorized in his U.S. Pat. No. 6,471,622. This treadmill is more rugged in its design and includes an elongated base with a handle pivotally mounted at a front end thereof. A continuous loop track is retained around a forward and a rearward roller mounted in the base. A motor is operationally connected to the forward roller to rotate the same and thereby drive the belt. The treadmill also includes inclination legs proximate the front end of the treadmill for selectively lifting the front end of the treadmill upwardly so that the runner can run up an incline. One or more castors and/or gliders are provided on the lower surface of the base to enable the user to move the treadmill across a surface in order to store the same. The treadmill is folded up by collapsing the handle over the base. The unit is designed to be a low profile treadmill having a total height of no more than 8 inches from the surface upon which the base stands. The treadmill may therefore be slid across the surface and under a bed for example.
  • Finally, U.S. Pat. No. 6,830,540 to Watterson et al, teaches a motorized treadmill that comprises a frame onto which is mounted a telescoping handle and a two-section tread base. A front end of a first section of the base is pivotally connected at a first pivot point to the frame. The second section of the base is pivotally connected to a rear end of the first section at a second pivot point. During operation, the first and second sections of the base are coplanar and preferably are locked together by a pair of locking pins. The treadmill also includes a motorized mechanism for lifting the front end of the treadmill upwardly so that the runner can run up an incline. The treadmill may be folded for storage in one of two ways. Firstly, the first and second sections of the base are kept in a locked planar orientation relative to each other. The locked and elongated base is then rotated out of contact with the floor surface and toward the handle. Secondly, the first and second sections may be unlocked from each other. The base is then lifted upwardly in the region of the second pivot point. This causes the second section to pivot inwardly toward the first section until the lower surfaces of the first and second sections come into abutting contact with each other. The folded base is now pivoted about the first pivot point to lift the entire base off the floor surface and toward the handle. Some of the disadvantages of this design are that the locking pins are provided in a region where the runner's feet will habitually be landing. The repetitive impact may tend to lead to early deterioration of these locking pins and subsequent sagging of the base in its mid-section. While the treadmill may be folded up and the handles telescoped inwardly, the overall size and configuration of the device are still bulky. The treadmill is, however, provided with a pair of wheels to allow it to be wheeled across a surface for storage purposes.
  • It is, however, more likely that if a person has wheeled their treadmill into some sort of storage location to keep it out of the way, they will be less inclined to retrieve the treadmill in order to exercise because of the effort involved in setting the treadmill back in an appropriate location. There is therefore a need in the art for a treadmill that is substantial and sturdy in construction that is foldable to reduce the amount of space it occupies when not in use, but which does not need to be placed in storage in order to enhance the aesthetic appearance of the room.
  • SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
  • The device of the present invention comprises an electrically driven, continuous track treadmill. The treadmill has a frame that includes a first section with a second section pivotably connected to a rear end thereof. The treadmill is adjustable between an operational position where the first and second sections are substantially horizontally aligned, and a folded position where the second section is pivoted onto said first section such that an upper surface of the second section abuts an upper surface of the first section. A handle is pivotally connected to the first section of the frame and extends upwardly away therefrom when the treadmill is in the operational position and pivots into abutting contact with a lower surface of the second section when the treadmill is in the folded position. The treadmill preferably is also provided with an inclination adjustment assembly that is selectively activatable to move the frame of the treadmill between a neutral position, a positively inclined position and a negatively inclined position relative to the floor surface upon which the treadmill rests. The treadmill is further provided with a shell configured to resemble a coffee table that is positionable over/or around the treadmill when in the folded position. The treadmill therefore can be stored in plain sight.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • The preferred embodiments of the invention, illustrative of the best mode in which applicant has contemplated applying the principles, are set forth in the following description and are shown in the drawings and are particularly and distinctly pointed out and set forth in the appended claims.
  • FIG. 1 is a perspective view of the folding treadmill in accordance with the present invention shown in a fully folded position;
  • FIG. 2 is a side elevational view of the treadmill of FIG. 1;
  • FIG. 3 is a cross-sectional side elevational view of the treadmill in the fully folded position, and having the motor cover removed for clarity;
  • FIG. 4 is a cross-sectional perspective view of the treadmill shown in FIG. 3;
  • FIG. 5 is a top view of the treadmill in the fully folded position and with the entire cover removed therefrom;
  • FIG. 6 is a side elevational view of the treadmill in the fully folded position with the cover entirely removed;
  • FIG. 7 is a perspective view of the treadmill in the operational position;
  • FIG. 8 is a side elevational view of the treadmill of FIG. 7;
  • FIG. 9 is a side elevational view of the treadmill with the side panel removed to view the track and pivotable legs;
  • FIG. 10 is a side elevational view of the treadmill with the front end elevated for simulation of running up an incline;
  • FIG. 11 is a side elevational view of the treadmill with the rear end elevated for simulation of running down an incline;
  • FIG. 12 is a perspective view of only the elevation system of the treadmill with one of the side panels removed for the sake of clarity;
  • FIG. 13 is a side elevational view of the elevation system of the treadmill;
  • FIG. 14 is a side perspective view of a second embodiment of the treadmill in a partially-folded or partially-unfolded position; and
  • FIG. 15 is a rear perspective view of the treadmill of FIG. 14 in the partially folded or partially-unfolded position.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION
  • Referring to FIGS. 1 to 5, there is shown a folded treadmill in accordance with the present invention. The folded treadmill is shown in a folded or storage position and is generally indicated at 10. Folded treadmill 10 includes an outer shell 12 which is configured to have the appearance of a piece of furniture and, most specifically, a coffee table. Shell 12 has a top 14, four side walls 16 extending outwardly therefrom and defining an interior cavity 18 (FIG. 3). A treadmill 20 in accordance with the present invention is folded up and stored within cavity 18 of shell 12. At least one of the side walls, namely 16 a, may include trim pieces that are configured to create the illusion of a drawer 22. Handles 24 are applied to side wall 16 a to complete the illusion. Any other decorative features may be provided on shell 12 to create an aesthetically appealing piece of furniture. Shell 12 may be formed from any suitable material including wood, plywood with a wood veneer and melamine-laminated particle board. Preferably, shell 12 is around 20″ high×36″ long×20″ wide and ways around 15 lbs so that it is easily lifted off and placed over treadmill 20. Shell 12 is designed to not only hide treadmill 20 in plain view, but is also designed to serve as a useful and decorative piece of furniture.
  • Referring to FIGS. 3 to 8, treadmill 20 comprises a frame 26, a handle 28, a console 30, a motor assembly 32 and a tread track 34. The front region of treadmill 20, which includes motor assembly 32 and linear actuator 116, is usually covered with a plastic cover to both protect the components and provide a more finished appearance to the treadmill. This cover has been omitted from the Figures for the sake of clarity. FIG. 5 shows treadmill 20 in a folded position. Motor assembly 32 includes an electric motor, a steel flywheel, a transformer and other electronics. Apart from the electric linear actuator assembly 116, the other components have not been numbered herein as they are known in the art.
  • Still referring to FIGS. 3-8, frame 26 comprises two spaced-apart frame members 26 a and 26 b that preferably are manufactured from steel to provide strength and stability to treadmill 20. The following describes frame member 26 a, but it will be understood that frame member 26 b is substantially identical thereto. Frame member 26 a comprises a first section 36 and a second section 38 that are pivotally connected together by a first pivot pin 40.
  • In accordance with a specific feature of the present invention, first section 36 is substantially L-shaped, having a generally vertical first leg 36 a and a generally horizontal second leg 36 b. First and second legs 36 a, 36 b preferably are integrally formed, but may alternatively be fixedly connected to each other by welding, for example. First leg 36 a terminates in an upper end 42 that includes an angled slot 44. Slot 44 is sized to receive a spring-loaded locking pin 46 that extends outwardly from handle 28. A second pivot pin 48 is provided to pivotally connect handle 28 to first leg 36 a.
  • Second leg 36 b of first section 36 includes an upper surface 50, a lower surface 52 and a rear end 54. As shown in FIG. 3, rear end 50 includes a flange 56 that extends rearwardly beyond rear end 54. First pivot pin 40 extends through an aperture (not shown) in flange 56. First section 36 has a first height “A” measured from upper surface 50 to lower surface 52, and a second height “B” measured from the bottom of flange 56 to lower surface 52. Second leg 36 b also includes a bore 58 (FIG. 10) through which a first linkage rod 60 of an inclination assembly 61 extends. A rear end 62 (FIG. 3) of said linkage rod 60 protrudes outwardly through an aperture (not shown) in rear end 54 of second leg 36 b. An electric safety switch 55 also extends outwardly from rear end 54 of second leg 36 b. If second section 38 is not rotated downwardly into abutting contact with second leg 36 b, i.e., into an operational position, safety switch 55 disables treadmill 20 so that no movement of track 34 is possible. When second section 38 is rotated into an operational position, switch 55 is depressed and movement of track 34 can be initiated.
  • In accordance with another specific feature of the present invention, a support foot 64 is fixedly secured to and extends downwardly from lower surface 52 of section leg 36 b. Support foot 64 projects for a distance rearwardly from rear end 54 of second leg 36 b, thus creating a platform 66 upon which a portion of second section 38 may rest. The bottom surface 68 of support foot 64 is formed to have a gentle arcuate shape (FIG. 3). This shape ensures that when tread track 34 is positively inclined or negatively inclined, as will be hereinafter described, support foot 64 maintains a stable footing on the surface 70 (FIG. 6) upon which the treadmill 20 rests.
  • Second section 38 of frame member 26 a has an upper surface 72, a lower surface 74, a front end 76 and a rear end 78. FIG. 8 shows that second section 38 has a height “B” that is the same as the second height of first section 36. Second section 38 nests under flange 56 on first section 36. Consequently, upper surface 50 of first section 36 is elevated with respect to upper surface 72 of second section 38. Lower surface 52 of first section 36 is, however, coplanar with lower surface 74 of second section 38. Although not shown, second section 38 also includes a flange proximate front end 76 thereof. This flange extends outwardly from upper surface 72 to matingly be received within flange 56 on second leg 36 b. Pivot pin 40 extends through aligned apertures (not shown) in flange 56 and the flange from second section 38. FIG. 8 also shows that pivot pin 40 is off-center with respect to the joint 80 between second section 38 and second leg 36 b. Because pivot pin 40 is off-center with respect to joint 80, first and second sections 36, 38 are biased into an open condition where track 34 is available for running.
  • Second section 38 also includes a bore 82 (FIG. 10) through which a second linkage rod 84 of linkage assembly 61 extends. An aperture (not shown) is provided in front end 76 of second section 38 and a portion of second linkage rod 84 may, at times, extend therethrough as will be hereinafter described. First and second linkage rods 60, 84 are in end-to-end abutting contact with each other.
  • Several crossbars 86 extend between first and second frame members 26 a, 26 b at spaced intervals to provide rigidity, stability and strength to frame 26 of treadmill 20. The most rearward of these crossbars, being crossbar 86 a (FIG. 7) is also provided with a handle 88. Handle 88 is used to lift and rotate second section 38 between the operational position (FIG. 7) and the folded position (FIG. 3). Handle 88 preferably does not extend outwardly beyond rear ends 78 of second sections 38.
  • Tread track 34 is mounted between a first roller 90 (FIG. 10) and a second roller 92 as is commonly known in the art. First roller 90 is positioned proximate motor assembly 32 and second roller 92 is positioned proximate rear ends 78 of second sections 38. First and second rollers 90, 92 are mounted for rotation at right angles to the longitudinal axis “Y” (FIG. 8) of first and second sections 36, 38 respectively. Although not illustrated, first roller 90 is operationally connected to motor assembly 32 and is rotated thereby. As first roller 90 rotates, track 34 is driven rearwardly causing second roller 92 to rotate. A support deck (not shown) is provided beneath track 34 to provide a support surface upon which the user may run. The track 34, first and second rollers 90, 92, support deck and operational connection to a motor assembly 32 are all known in the art and may be of any suitable design.
  • In accordance with another specific feature of the present invention, an inclination assembly 61 is provided on treadmill 20. Inclination assembly 61 functions to adjust the angle of frame 26 relative to the surface 70 upon which treadmill 20 rests. Inclination assembly 61 may maintain frame 26 in a neutral position shown in FIG. 8; in a positively inclined position shown in FIG. 11, or in a negatively inclined position shown in FIG. 12. When inclination assembly 61 is in the neutral position, a runner on track 34 will be running on a substantially horizontal surface. When inclination assembly 61 is in a positively inclined position, the runner will be effectively running uphill. When inclination assembly 61 is in a negatively inclined position, the runner will be effectively running downhill.
  • Inclination assembly 61 is shown in greater detail in FIGS. 9-13, and most clearly in FIG. 12. FIG. 12 shows frame member 26 b in its entirety. The structural portion of frame member 26 a has been removed to reveal the various components of the inclination assembly 61 that are retained therein. Inclination assembly 61 includes a front rod 100, a back rod 102, a pair of spaced apart first linkage rods 60, a pair of spaced apart second linkage rods 84, and pairs of front adjuster arms 104 and rear adjuster arms 106. Front rod 100 extends between the first sections 36 of first and second frame members 26 a, 26 b. Back rod 102 extends between the second sections 38 of first and second frame members 26 a, 26 b. Each end of front rod 100 is fixedly secured to an inner surface of one of front adjuster arms 104. Each end of back rod 102 is fixedly secured to an inner surface of one of rear adjuster arms 106. A bracket 101 is secured between the steel of each of first and second frame members 26 a, 26 b and an outer surface of the associated front adjuster arm 104. Each bracket 101 is fixedly secured to the steel and is pivotally secured to front adjuster arms 104. Thus, any motion in front adjuster arms 104 is translated via brackets 101 to first and second frame members 26 a, 26 b. A bracket 103 is positioned between the steel of each of first and second frame members 26 a, 26 b and the associated rear adjuster arm 106. Each bracket 103 is fixedly secured to the steel and is pivotally secured to rear adjuster arms 106. Thus, any motion in rear adjuster arms 106 is translated via brackets 103 to first and second frame members 26 a, 26 b.
  • It will be understood that the connection of front rod 100 and each front adjuster arm front adjuster arm is offset relative to the connection of front adjuster arms 104 and brackets 101. Similarly, the connection of back rod 102 and each rear adjuster arm 106 is offset relative to the connection of rear adjuster arms 106 and brackets 103.
  • Referring to FIG. 10, each front adjuster arm 104 is a generally open-L-shaped member that has a smaller flange 110 at one end and a larger flange 111 at the other end. A wheel 108 is pivotally secured to the floor-engaging end of each flange 111. Bracket 101 is pivotally attached to front adjuster arm 104 in the region of the apex between flanges 110, 111. Front adjuster arms 104 are mounted on rod 100 such that flange 111 extends forwardly toward first leg 36 a of first section 36.
  • Still referring to FIG. 10, each rear adjuster arm 106 is a generally open-L-shaped member that has a smaller flange 112 at one end and a larger flange 113 at the other end. Wheel 108 is pivotally secured to the floor-engaging end of flange 113. Bracket 103 is pivotally attached to rear adjuster arm 106 in the region of the apex between flanges 112, 113. Rear adjuster arms 106 are mounted on rod 102 such that flange 113 extends rearwardly toward back end 115 of treadmill 20. Flanges 111 and 113 of front and rear adjuster arms 106 therefore extend downwardly from frame 26 and in opposite directions relative to each other.
  • Referring to FIG. 12, front and rear adjuster arms 104, 106 are connected to each other via first and second linkage rods 60, 84. First and second linkage rods 60, 84 are situated for reciprocal travel within an interior cavity 37 of each of first and second sections 36, 38 of the treadmill frame. Each of front and rear adjuster arms 104, 106 are designed and situated to operate in response to movement of first and second linkage rods 60, 84. One end of each first linkage rod 60 is pivotally connected to one of front adjuster arms 104 at flange 110. One end of each second linkage rod 84 is pivotally connected to one of rear adjuster arms 106 at flange 112. The other ends of first and second linkage rods 60, 84 interlock with each other and push on each other in the vicinity of joint 80. The shape of arms 104, 106 works together with gravity to constantly force the ends of the first and second linkage rods 60, 84 together.
  • Linkage assembly 61 further includes a motorized linear actuator 116 which is mounted onto a support bar 114 that extends between first and second frame members 26 a, 26 b. Linear actuator 116 is a “push-pull” type actuator and is operationally connected to front rod 100 by an actuator arm 118. Actuator arm 118 causes front rod 100 to move through a shallow arc, being moved either slightly downwardly and rearwardly toward end 115 of treadmill 20 or downwardly and forwardly toward first leg 36 a, depending on the direction that linear actuator 116 moves actuator arm 118. Linear actuator 116 is engaged to cause movement in actuator arm 118 by pressing an appropriate control button (not shown) on console 30. When rod 100 is moved by actuator arm 118, rod 100 causes front adjuster arms 104 to move in unison therewith.
  • In FIG. 9, treadmill 20 is shown in a neutral position with first and second sections 36, 38 being substantially parallel to floor surface 70 and having an inclination of 0° relative to floor surface 70. When linear actuator 116 is engaged to cause actuator arm 118 to move forwardly toward first leg 36 a of treadmill 20, front adjuster arms 104 are rotated by rod 100 in the direction of arrow “F”. This causes flange 110 to move toward first leg 36 a and flange 111 to move toward support foot 64. The movement of flange 111 toward support foot 64 is aided by wheel 108 moving across surface 70. As a result of this movement, front adjuster arms 104 push the front end 117 (FIG. 10) of treadmill 20 upwardly away from floor surface 70 in the direction of arrow “D”. The movement of flange 110 also causes first linkage rod 60 to be drawn forwardly toward front end 117 of treadmill 20 in the direction of arrow “C” (FIG. 9). Because of the nature of the contact between first linkage rod 60 and second linkage rod 84, second linkage rod 84 also moves forwardly in the direction of arrow “C”. Second linkage rod 84 is pivotally connected to flange 112 of rear adjuster arm 106. Consequently, movement of second linkage rod 84 toward front end 117 causes flange 112 and therefore rear adjuster arm 106, to be rotated in the direction of arrow “G”. Flange 114 is rotated upwardly toward the lower surface 74 of second section 38 and thus rear end 115 is lowered downwardly toward floor surface 70. The movement of front end 117 and rear end 115 of treadmill 20, for all intents and purposes, happens simultaneously. Treadmill 20 is therefore moved from a neutral position (FIG. 9) to a positively inclined position (FIG. 10). The angle of positive inclination of treadmill 20 may range anywhere from between 0° and 4° relative to floor surface 70. The treadmill 20 will therefore enable the runner to effectively run up a slope of up to 4° relative to floor surface 70. Note that as the treadmill 20 is inclined in this manner, handles 28 are lifted in unison with frame 26 and thus the effective height of handles 28, relative to the upper surface 50 of second section 36 b, remains unchanged.
  • When linear actuator 116 is engaged to cause actuator arm 118 to move rearwardly toward rear end 115 of treadmill 20, front adjuster arms 104 are rotated by rod 100 in the opposite direction to arrow “F”. This causes flange 110 to move away from first leg 36 a and toward rear end 115 and causes flange 111 to move away from support foot 64 and toward front end 117 of treadmill 20. The movement of flange 111 away from support foot 64 is aided by wheel 108 moving across surface 70. As a result of this movement, wheel 108 is moved upwardly toward motor assembly 32. The first section 36 of the frame is lowered relative to floor surface 70 in the opposite direction to arrow “D”. The movement of flange 110 causes first linkage rod 60 to be pushed rearwardly toward rear end 115 of treadmill 20 in the opposite direction to arrow “C” (FIG. 9). First linkage rod 60 pushes on second linkage rod 84, thereby causing rotation of rear adjuster arm 106, via flange 112, in the opposite direction to arrow “G”. Rotation of rear adjuster arm 106 causes flange 117 to move away from rear end 115 and toward support foot 64. This movement is facilitated by wheel 108a rolling across floor surface 70. If linear actuator 118 is activated to a first extent, treadmill 20 will return to a neutral position. However, if linear actuator 118 is activated to a second extent, treadmill 20 will become negatively inclined. In this second instance, rear end 115 is raised away from floor surface 70 and front end 117 is lowered toward floor surface 70 anywhere between 0° and −3°. The treadmill 20 will therefore enable the runner to effectively run down a slope of up to −3° relative to floor surface 70. Once again, handles 28 move with frame 26 and therefore their effective height, relative to the upper surface 50 of second leg 36 b, remains unchanged.
  • The support foot 64 acts as a fulcrum for the movement between a neutral, positively inclined and negatively inclined position. When treadmill 20 is moved back and forth between a positively inclined position and neutral position and negatively inclined position, support foot 64 remains constantly in engagement with floor surface 70 and the height of pivot 40 above joint 80 remains substantially constant.
  • One of the key measurements of a good treadmill is the stability when running on the track. For this reason, most treadmills have thick steel sides and are well supported at both ends. Most adjustable incline treadmills known in the prior art have a movable incline assembly provided as part of the base platform that supports the handles. As the track is inclined by the incline assembly, the handles become lower with respect to the track surface.
  • This is not the case with the present invention. The support foot 64 which extends outwardly from lower surface 52 of first section 36 provides a fixed center support for treadmill 20. This provides stability to the center of the track 34 where most people run. Furthermore, arms 104, 106 of inclination assembly 61 are designed to work together in tandem or substantially simultaneously. When the front adjuster arms 104 are moved to raise the front end of treadmill 20, the rear adjuster arms 106 automatically are reoriented to lower the back end of treadmill 20. Inclination assembly 61 therefore acts much like a child's seesaw or teeter-totter. The treadmill 20 pivots about support leg 64 and provides for a continually stable running surface.
  • The treadmill 20 in accordance with the present invention is used as follows. The shell 12 is lifted upwardly and removed from over the folded treadmill 20 (FIG. 4). The user grasps handle 28 anywhere along its length, but preferably in a region proximate to console 30 and rotates the same upwardly in the direction of arrow “X” (FIG. 6). Handle 28 is rotated until locking pin 46 is received within slot 44 and locks handle 28 in place. The user then grasps handle 88 on second section 38 and pulls the same upwardly, thereby causing second section 38 to rotate in the opposite direction to arrow “X”. Second section 38 is rotated in this manner until adjuster arm 106 rests on surface 70. At this point, treadmill 20 is ready for use. If the user wants to run uphill, the inclination assembly 61 is activated to raise the front end of treadmill 20 and lower the rear end thereof as previously described. If the user wants to run downhill, the inclination assembly 61 is activated to lower the front end of the treadmill and raise the rear end thereof as previously described.
  • When the user has finished his/her exercise routine and wishes to store treadmill 20, they return the frame 26 to a neutral position. Once off the treadmill 20, they grasp handle 88 and pull second section 38 of frame 26 upwardly and rotate the same forwardly toward first leg 36 a of first section 36. This causes second section 38 to pivot about pivot pin 40 and fold over second leg 36 b of first section 36. The movement is continued until upper surface 74 of second section 38 rests on upper surface 50 of second leg 36 b. Treadmill 20 is movable between the operational and folded positions without pre-loosening of track 34. The pre-loosening of track 34 is not required as the lower portion 34a (FIG. 9) of track 34 may travel upwardly toward the undersurface of the platform (not shown) and provide the necessary slackness to allow track 34 to pivot. The user then slides locking pin 46 upwardly out of slot 44 in first leg 36 a and rotates handle 28 in the opposite direction to arrow “X” thereby causing handle 28 to come to rest at least partially on lower surface 74 of second section 38. At this point the outermost part 28 a of handle 28 is substantially aligned with upper end 42 of first leg 36 a of first section. Outer shell is then lowered over the folded treadmill until the bottom edge 12 a (FIG. 3) thereof, rests on surface 70. FIG. 2 shows that at this point only a small section of support foot 64 and actuator arm 104 and wheel 108 may be visible from the side of shell 12. At this point, for all intents and purposes, the user has his/her treadmill stowed away and their living room or family room restored in an orderly fashion. The treadmill may therefore be made readily available and stored away with fairly minimal effort. Furthermore, instead of an unsightly piece of exercise equipment gracing the room, the user has a decorative and functional piece of furniture that may be used for other purposes.
  • It will be understood therefore that, at all times, first section 36 remains stationary and does not move. Only the second section 38 is moved when the treadmill is adjusted between the operational position and the folded position.
  • FIGS. 14 and 15 show a second embodiment of the treadmill in accordance with the present invention, and generally indicated at 210. All component parts of treadmill 220 are substantially identical with treadmill 20, except that the shell is differently structured. In this second embodiment, treadmill 220 is housed within a shell 212 that has a top 214, side walls 216 and a base 217. Top wall 214 is secured, such as by an adhesive, to handle 228 of treadmill 220. Top wall 214 is provided with a mechanism (not shown) to receive and retain the upper ends of side walls 216 therein so as to form a complete box therearound.
  • To unfold treadmill 220, top wall 214 is grasped and is rotated upwardly. This frees side walls 216 which may be then laid open on the surface surrounding the treadmill. The second section 238 of treadmill 220 is unfolded in the manner described with reference to treadmill 20. When treadmill 220 is in the operational position, actuator arms 206 clear the edge of side wall 216 a.
  • When the user has finished exercising, treadmill 220 is collapsed again by rotating second section 238 back onto first section 326. The side walls 216 are raised, top wall 214 is rotated downwardly into engagement with side walls. Treadmill 220 is then completely enclosed within the boxlike shell 212.
  • It will be understood that various modifications may be made to the device of the present invention. For instance, support feet 64 may be replaced by a single foot that extends from first frame member 26 a to second frame member 26 b. Similarly, actuator arms 104 may be connected together by a roller that extends between the two arms 104 instead of each having an individual wheel 108 mounted thereon. Likewise, actuator arms 106 may be connected together by a roller instead of each having individual wheels mounted thereon.
  • In the foregoing description, certain terms have been used for brevity, clearness, and understanding. No unnecessary limitations are to be implied therefrom beyond the requirement of the prior art because such terms are used for descriptive purposes and are intended to be broadly construed.
  • Moreover, the description and illustration of the invention are an example and the invention is not limited to the exact details shown or described.

Claims (24)

  1. 1. A foldable treadmill comprising:
    a frame having:
    a first section having a rear end;
    a second section pivotably connected to the rear end of said first section,
    a continuous track mounted for movement on said frame;
    a motor assembly mounted on the frame and being operationally connected to the track to drive the same;
    a handle extending upwardly from the first section; and wherein said treadmill is adjustable between an operational position where the first and second sections are substantially horizontally aligned, and a folded position where the second section is pivoted onto said first section such that an upper surface of the second section abuts an upper surface of the first section.
  2. 2. The folding treadmill as defined in claim 1, wherein the first section remains stationary and only the second section moves when the treadmill is adjusted between the operational and folded positions.
  3. 3. The folding treadmill as defined in claim 2, wherein the treadmill is movable between the operational and folded positions without requiring pre-loosening of the track.
  4. 4. The folding treadmill as defined in claim 1, wherein the first section of the frame comprises:
    a substantially vertical first leg; and
    a substantially horizontal second leg that is fixedly connected to said first leg; wherein said handle extends outwardly away from said first leg, and wherein the second section of the frame is pivotably connected to the second leg.
  5. 5. The folding treadmill as defined in claim 4, wherein the handle has a first position where the handle extends upwardly away from the first leg when the treadmill is in the operational position; and a second position where the handle is in one of abutting contact with and in proximity to a lower surface of the second section when the treadmill is in the folded position; and wherein the handle is movable between the first and second positions.
  6. 6. The folding treadmill as defined in claim 1, further comprising:
    a joint between the rear end of the first section and a front end of the second section; and
    a support foot fixedly secured to a lower surface of the first section proximate the joint.
  7. 7. The folding treadmill as defined in claim 6, wherein the support foot extends for a distance rearwardly from the rear end of the first section and abuts a portion of a lower surface of the second section when the treadmill is in the operational position.
  8. 8. The folding treadmill as defined in claim 6, wherein the support foot has a floor-engaging wall; and wherein said floor-engaging wall is arcuate in shape.
  9. 9. The folding treadmill as defined in claim 6, further comprising:
    a pivot at a top end of said joint for pivotably connecting said first and second sections.
  10. 10. The folding treadmill as defined in claim 1, further comprising an outer shell that is selectively positionable around the frame when the treadmill is in the folded position so as to hide the same from view.
  11. 11. The folding treadmill as defined in claim 10, wherein the outer shell has the appearance of a piece of furniture.
  12. 12. The folding treadmill as defined in claim 11, wherein the outer shell comprises a top wall and a plurality of side walls that extend outwardly away from the top wall; and wherein the top wall is fixedly secured to the side walls to form a box that defines an interior cavity into which the treadmill in the folded position is received.
  13. 13. The folding treadmill as defined in claim 12, wherein the shell further includes a bottom wall and two or more side walls are pivotally secured thereto and are movable to engage the top wall of the shell.
  14. 14. The folding treadmill as defined in claim 1, further comprising an inclination assembly for adjusting the inclination of the frame relative to a floor surface upon which the frame rests; wherein the inclination assembly is selectively activatable to adjust the inclination of the frame between a neutral position and a positively inclined position.
  15. 15. The folding treadmill as defined in claim 14, wherein the inclination assembly is further selectively activatable to adjust the frame to a negatively inclined position.
  16. 16. The folding treadmill as defined in claim 14, further comprising:
    a joint between the first and second sections;
    a support foot disposed beneath the joint; and wherein the joint is maintained at a constant height relative to the floor surface during adjustment of the inclination of the frame.
  17. 17. The folding treadmill as defined in claim 14, wherein the inclination assembly further comprises:
    a front adjuster extending downwardly from the first section and being adapted to engage the floor surface;
    a rear adjuster extending downwardly from the second and being adapted to engage the floor surface; and wherein the support foot is disposed intermediate the front and rear adjusters; and
    a linkage operationally connecting the front and rear adjusters together.
  18. 18. The folding treadmill as defined in claim 17, wherein movement of the linkage in a first direction causes the front adjuster to move the front end of the frame upwardly away from the floor surface and causes the rear adjuster to move the rear end of the frame downwardly toward the floor surface; and movement of the linkage in a second direction causes the front adjuster to move the front end of the frame downwardly toward the floor surface and causes the rear adjuster to move the rear end of the frame upwardly away from the floor surface.
  19. 19. The folding treadmill as defined in claim 18, wherein the movement of the linkage in either one of the first and second directions causes the front and rear adjusters to move simultaneously.
  20. 20. The folding treadmill as defined in claim 17, wherein the linkage further comprises:
    a first linkage rod pivotally connected to the front adjuster at one end; and
    a second linkage rod pivotally connected to the rear adjuster at one end; and, when the treadmill is in the operational position, a second end of said first linkage rod is in abutting contact with a second end of the second linkage rod.
  21. 21. The folding treadmill as defined in claim 20, wherein the frame is positioned substantially horizontal and parallel to the floor surface when the inclination assembly is in the neutral position; is positioned at an angle of between 0° and 4° to the horizontal when the inclination assembly is in the positively inclined position; and is positioned at an angle of between 0° and −3° to the horizontal when the inclination assembly is in the negatively inclined position.
  22. 22. The folding treadmill as defined in claim 20, wherein the front adjuster comprises:
    a pair of front adjuster arms; each of said front adjuster arms being substantially an open-L-shape having a first flange and a second flange extending outwardly away from an apex;
    a wheel mounted on each of said second flanges;
    a front rod connected at each end to an inner surface of one of the front adjuster arms and in a position intermediate the first and second flanges thereof; and
    wherein the linkage is connected to the first flanges of the front adjuster arms.
  23. 23. The folding treadmill as defined in claim 22, wherein the rear adjuster comprises:
    a pair of rear adjuster arms; each of said rear adjuster arms being substantially an open-L-shape having a first flange and a second flange extending outwardly away from an apex;
    a wheel mounted on each of said second flanges of said rear adjuster arms;
    a back rod connected at each end to an inner surface of one of the rear adjuster arms and in a position intermediate the first and second flanges thereof; and
    wherein the linkage is connected to the first flanges of the rear adjuster arms.
  24. 24. The folding treadmill as defined in claim 23, further comprising a plurality of brackets; each bracket being fixedly secured to one of first and second frame members and being pivotally connecting to one of the front and rear adjuster arms.
US11801229 2007-05-09 2007-05-09 Folding treadmill Abandoned US20080280734A1 (en)

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US11801229 US20080280734A1 (en) 2007-05-09 2007-05-09 Folding treadmill
PCT/CA2008/000889 WO2008138121A1 (en) 2007-05-09 2008-05-08 Folding treadmill

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US20110111933A1 (en) * 2008-03-06 2011-05-12 Product Labs, Inc. Resistance apparatus for exercise devices
US20110124466A1 (en) * 2008-07-25 2011-05-26 Takashi Nishimura Partly-inlaid treadmill
US20130092096A1 (en) * 2011-10-12 2013-04-18 Dog Pacer Llc Apparatus for Foldable Treadmill for Pets
US20130203561A1 (en) * 2012-02-08 2013-08-08 Superweigh Enterprise Co., Ltd. Dual-purpose foldable treadmill
US20130237382A1 (en) * 2012-03-06 2013-09-12 Hsuan-Fu HUANG Liftable and foldable treadmill
WO2014153185A1 (en) 2013-03-14 2014-09-25 Icon Health & Fitness, Inc. Treadmills with adjustable decks and related methods
US20150182782A1 (en) * 2013-12-31 2015-07-02 Icon Health & Fitness, Inc. Locking Mechanism for a Vertically Storable Exercise Machine
US20150314184A1 (en) * 2012-12-07 2015-11-05 Juan MOYA SAEZ Roller table having a folding structure
US20160074701A1 (en) * 2014-09-12 2016-03-17 Ron Wiener Retractable treadmill desk
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