US20140024499A1 - Elliptical Exercise Device with Vibration Capabilities - Google Patents

Elliptical Exercise Device with Vibration Capabilities Download PDF

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Publication number
US20140024499A1
US20140024499A1 US13/950,085 US201313950085A US2014024499A1 US 20140024499 A1 US20140024499 A1 US 20140024499A1 US 201313950085 A US201313950085 A US 201313950085A US 2014024499 A1 US2014024499 A1 US 2014024499A1
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Prior art keywords
exercise
vibration
reciprocating foot
swing arm
foot support
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Abandoned
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US13/950,085
Inventor
Scott R. Watterson
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Ifit Health and Fitness Inc
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Icon Health and Fitness Inc
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Priority to US201261674483P priority Critical
Priority to US201261676486P priority
Priority to US201261678066P priority
Priority to US13/948,045 priority patent/US9289648B2/en
Application filed by Icon Health and Fitness Inc filed Critical Icon Health and Fitness Inc
Priority to US13/950,085 priority patent/US20140024499A1/en
Publication of US20140024499A1 publication Critical patent/US20140024499A1/en
Assigned to ICON HEALTH & FITNESS, INC. reassignment ICON HEALTH & FITNESS, INC. ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST (SEE DOCUMENT FOR DETAILS). Assignors: WATTERSON, SCOTT R.
Assigned to BANK OF AMERICA, N.A., AS ADMINISTRATIVE AGENT reassignment BANK OF AMERICA, N.A., AS ADMINISTRATIVE AGENT SECURITY AGREEMENT Assignors: ICON HEALTH & FITNESS, INC., ICON IP, INC.
Assigned to ICON IP, INC., FREE MOTION FITNESS, INC., ICON HEALTH & FITNESS, INC, HF HOLDINGS, INC., ICON INTERNATIONAL HOLDINGS, INC., UNIVERSAL TECHNICAL SERVICES, ICON - ALTRA LLC, ICON DU CANADA INC. reassignment ICON IP, INC. RELEASE OF SECURITY INTEREST IN PATENTS Assignors: BANK OF AMERICA, N.A., ACTING IN ITS CAPACITY AS AGENT FOR THE LENDERS
Abandoned legal-status Critical Current

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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
    • A63B22/04Exercising apparatus specially adapted for conditioning the cardio-vascular system, for training agility or co-ordination of movements with movable multiple steps, i.e. more than one step per limb, e.g. steps mounted on endless loops, endless ladders
    • 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
    • A63B21/00196Exercising apparatus for developing or strengthening the muscles or joints of the body by working against a counterforce, with or without measuring devices using pulsed counterforce, e.g. vibrating resistance means
    • 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
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A63SPORTS; GAMES; AMUSEMENTS
    • A63BAPPARATUS FOR PHYSICAL TRAINING, GYMNASTICS, SWIMMING, CLIMBING, OR FENCING; BALL GAMES; TRAINING EQUIPMENT
    • A63B24/00Electric or electronic controls for exercising apparatus of preceding groups; Controlling or monitoring of exercises, sportive games, training or athletic performances
    • A63B24/0087Electric or electronic controls for exercising apparatus of groups A63B21/00 - A63B23/00, e.g. controlling load
    • 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
    • A63B2022/067Exercising 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 opposite sides of the exercising apparatus with respect to the frontal body-plane of the user, e.g. the crank is behind 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
    • 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
    • A63B22/0046Details of the support elements or their connection to the exercising apparatus, e.g. adjustment of size or orientation

Abstract

An exercise device includes a frame having a base support and an upright support structure. Connected to the frame is a drive assembly. One or more link arm are connected between the drive assembly and the frame. The one or more link arms include first and second reciprocating foot supports and first and second swing arms. One or more vibration assemblies are connected to the exercise device at various locations in order to vibrate desired portions of the exercise device, such as the foot supports or swing arms. The vibrations from the vibration assemblies are transferred to a user during the performance of exercise to provide various physiological benefits to the user.

Description

    CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS
  • This application claims priority to U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 61/676,486 filed on Jul. 25, 2012, U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 61/678,066 filed on Jul. 31, 2012, and U.S. patent application Ser. No. 13/948,045 filed Jul. 22, 2013 which claims priority to U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 61/674,483 filed on Jul. 23, 2012.
  • TECHNICAL FIELD
  • This disclosure relates generally to systems, methods, and devices for exercise. More particularly, the disclosure relates to exercise devices with vibration capabilities.
  • Background
  • Physical exercise provides exercisers with numerous benefits, including aerobic conditioning, strength enhancement, weight loss, and rehabilitation. These benefits can be realized through various types of exercise, including elliptical- and strider-type exercises. Additionally, recent research indicates that vibration therapy can also provide numerous benefits. Such benefits can include improved muscle strength and performance, increased bone density, stamina, flexibility, mobility, and coordination, enhanced critical blood flow throughout the body, relief of aches and pains, enhanced explosive strength, accelerated weight loss, decreased cortisol levels, increased production of serotonin and neurothrophine, and improved injury recovery.
  • Various devices have been developed to vibrate a person's body in an effort to realize the above noted benefits of vibration therapy. There have also been efforts made to incorporate vibration into more traditional exercise devices. U.S. Pat. No. 3,205,888, U.S. Pat. No. 4,958,832, U.S. Pat. No. 6,918,859, U.S. Pat. No. 7,166,067, U.S. Pat. No. 7,322,948, U.S. Pat. No. 7,871,355, U.S. Patent Publication No. 2007/0190508, U.S. Patent Publication No. 2008/0207407, U.S. Patent Publication No. 2008/0214971, U.S. Patent Publication No. 2008/0279896, U.S. Patent Publication No. 2009/0118098, U.S. Patent Publication No. 2010/0210418, and U.S. Patent Publication No. 2010/0311552 disclose examples of such vibration exercise devices.
  • SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
  • In one example embodiment of the disclosure, an exercise device includes a frame, first and second reciprocating foot supports linked to the frame, and one or more vibration assemblies. Each of the first and second reciprocating foot supports is movable in a generally predefined path. At least one vibration assembly of the one or more vibrations assemblies is connected to the first reciprocating foot support or the second reciprocating foot support. The at least one vibration assembly selectively creates vibrations to cause the first reciprocating foot support or the second reciprocating foot supports to vibrate.
  • In another aspect that may be combined with any of the aspects herein, the exercise device also includes a first swing arm pivotally connected to the frame and the first reciprocating foot support.
  • In another aspect that may be combined with any of the aspects herein, the exercise device also includes a second swing arm pivotally connected to the frame and the second reciprocating foot support.
  • In another aspect that may be combined with any of the aspects herein, the one or more vibration assemblies include at least one vibration assembly connected to the first swing arm or the second swing arm to cause the first swing arm or the second swing arm to vibrate.
  • In another aspect that may be combined with any of the aspects herein, the one or more vibration assemblies comprise a vibration assembly connected to each of the first and second swing arms to selectively vibrate each of the first and second swing arms.
  • In another aspect that may be combined with any of the aspects herein, the one or more vibration assemblies comprise a vibration assembly connected to the first reciprocating foot support and a vibration assembly connected to the second reciprocating foot support to selectively vibrate each of the first and second reciprocating foot supports.
  • In another aspect that may be combined with any of the aspects herein, each of the first and second reciprocating foot supports comprises a footpad
  • In another aspect that may be combined with any of the aspects herein, the vibration assemblies connected to the first and second reciprocating foot supports are connected adjacent to the footpads.
  • In another aspect that may be combined with any of the aspects herein, at least one of the one or more vibration assemblies comprises a motor, a shaft rotatable by the motor about an axis of rotation, and one or more eccentric weights mounted on the shaft.
  • In another aspect that may be combined with any of the aspects herein, each of the one or more eccentric weights comprises a center of mass that is offset from the axis of rotation.
  • In another aspect that may be combined with any of the aspects herein, rotation of the shaft about the axis of rotation causes the centers of mass of the one or more eccentric weights to revolve around the axis of rotation, thereby creating the vibrations.
  • In another aspect that may be combined with any of the aspects herein, an intensity or frequency of the vibrations may be selectively controlled by adjusting the speed at which the centers of mass of the one or more eccentric weights revolve around the axis of rotation.
  • In another aspect that may be combined with any of the aspects herein, the exercise device also includes a control panel mounted on the frame.
  • In another aspect that may be combined with any of the aspects herein, the control panel has one or more user inputs.
  • In another aspect that may be combined with any of the aspects herein, the control panel is in electrical communication with the one or more vibration assemblies such that the one or more vibration assemblies are controllable by activating the one or more user inputs.
  • In another aspect that may be combined with any of the aspects herein, an intensity or frequency of the vibrations is related to the speed at which the first and second reciprocating foot supports move.
  • In another aspect that may be combined with any of the aspects herein, the generally predefined path in which each of the first and second reciprocating foot supports moves is at least one of a generally elliptically shaped path, a generally arcuately shaped path, and a generally linearly shaped path.
  • In another aspect that may be combined with any of the aspects herein, the exercise device includes a drive assembly mounted on the frame.
  • In another aspect that may be combined with any of the aspects herein, the first and second reciprocating foot supports are movably connected to the drive assembly.
  • In another aspect that may be combined with any of the aspects herein, the drive assembly comprises a resistance mechanism that regulates the movements of the first and second reciprocating foot supports.
  • In another aspect that may be combined with any of the aspects herein, an intensity or frequency of the vibrations is related to a resistance level of the resistance mechanism.
  • In another aspect that may be combined with any of the aspects herein, the elliptical exercise device includes a base support, a generally upright support structure connected to the base support, a drive assembly connected to the base support, a first reciprocating foot support, a second reciprocating foot support, a first swing arm, a second swing arm, and one or more vibration assemblies.
  • In another aspect that may be combined with any of the aspects herein, the first reciprocating foot support ha a first end movably connected to the drive assembly.
  • In another aspect that may be combined with any of the aspects herein, the second reciprocating foot support has a first end connected to the drive assembly and offset from the first end of the first reciprocating foot support.
  • In another aspect that may be combined with any of the aspects herein, the first reciprocating foot support and the second reciprocating foot support are each movable in a generally predefined path.
  • In another aspect that may be combined with any of the aspects herein, the first swing arm is pivotally connected to the frame and the first reciprocating foot support.
  • In another aspect that may be combined with any of the aspects herein, the second swing arm is pivotally connected to the frame and the second reciprocating foot support.
  • In another aspect that may be combined with any of the aspects herein, the one or more vibration assemblies selectively create vibrations to cause at least one of the first reciprocating foot support, the second reciprocating foot support, the first swing arm, and the second swing arm to vibrate.
  • In another aspect that may be combined with any of the aspects herein, at least one of the one or more vibration assemblies includes a motor, a shaft rotatable by the motor about an axis of rotation, and one or more eccentric weights fixedly mounted on the shaft such that rotation of the shaft causes the one or more eccentric weights to rotate about the axis of rotation.
  • In another aspect that may be combined with any of the aspects herein, each of the one or more eccentric weights has a center of mass that is radially offset from the axis of rotation.
  • In another aspect that may be combined with any of the aspects herein, an intensity or frequency of the vibrations created by the one or more vibration assemblies is related to at least one of a speed of the drive assembly or the first and second reciprocating foot supports.
  • In another aspect that may be combined with any of the aspects herein, the one or more vibration assemblies comprise a vibration assembly connected to each of the first reciprocating foot support and the second reciprocating foot support.
  • In another aspect that may be combined with any of the aspects herein, each of the first and second reciprocating foot supports comprises a footpad.
  • In another aspect that may be combined with any of the aspects herein, the vibration assemblies are connected to the first and second reciprocating foot supports adjacent to the footpads.
  • In another aspect that may be combined with any of the aspects herein, the one or more vibration assemblies comprise a vibration assembly connected to the first swing arm and a vibration assembly connected to the second swing arm.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • FIG. 1 illustrates a perspective view of an exercise device according to one example embodiment of the present invention.
  • FIG. 2 is a side elevation view of the exercise device of FIG. 1.
  • FIG. 3 is a close up view of a vibration assembly connected to the exercise device of FIG. 1.
  • FIG. 4 illustrates the vibration assembly of FIG. 3 separate from exercise device of FIG. 1.
  • FIG. 5 illustrates a user performing an exercise on the exercise device of FIG. 1.
  • FIG. 6 is a side elevation view of an exercise device according to another example embodiment of the present invention.
  • FIG. 7 is a review perspective view of an exercise device according to yet another example embodiment of the present invention.
  • FIG. 8 is a side elevation view of an exercise device according to still yet another example embodiment of the present invention.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION
  • The present disclosure is directed to systems, methods, and devices for exercise that include vibration capabilities. Depicted in FIGS. 1 and 2 is a representation of one illustrative exercise device 100, which may incorporate the novel features of the present invention, including various novel devices, functionalities, hardware and software modules, and the like. As shown in FIGS. 1 and 2, exercise device 100 is depicted as an elliptical exercise device. Exercise device 100 includes a frame 102 that has a base support 104 and a generally upright support structure 106. A drive assembly 108 is mounted on frame 102. More specifically, drive assembly 108 is mounted on base support 104 near a rear end of exercise device 100. Accordingly, the illustrated exercise device may be referred to as a “rear mechanism” or “rear drive” elliptical exercise device. Upright support structure 106 has a console or control panel 110 mounted thereon.
  • Connected between drive assembly 108 and upright support structure 106 are a plurality of link arms. The plurality of link arms include a first reciprocating foot support 112 (also referred to herein as first foot support 112), a second reciprocating foot support 114 (also referred to herein as second foot support 114), a first swing arm 116, and a second swing arm 118. First foot support 112 includes a first end 120, a second end 122, and a footpad 124. Similarly, second foot support 114 includes a first end 126, a second end 128, and a footpad 130. First swing arm 116 includes a lower end 132, an upper end 134, and an intermediate portion 136. Likewise, second swing arm 118 includes a lower end 138, an upper end 140, and an intermediate portion 142. Upper ends 134, 140 may include or take the form of handles that a user may hold while exercising.
  • First end 120 of first foot support 112 is rotatably connected to drive assembly 108. Similarly, first end 126 of second foot support 114 is rotatably connected to drive assembly 108. As illustrated, the locations where first end 120 and first end 126 are connected to drive assembly 108 are offset from one another by about 180°. As a flywheel 144 in drive assembly 108 rotates about axis A, first end 120 and first end 126 revolve around axis A in a generally predefined path, such as a generally circular path.
  • Second end 122 of first foot support 112 is pivotally connected to lower end 132 of first swing arm 116 and second end 128 of second foot support 114 is pivotally connected to lower end 138 of second swing arm 118. Intermediate portion 136 and intermediate portion 142 are pivotally connected to upright support structure 106 at pivots 146, 148, respectively. Accordingly, swing arms 116, 118 can swing back and forth in the directions of arrows A and B. As a result of the pivotal connections between swing arms 116, 118 and upright support structure 106, lower ends 132, 138 and upper ends 134, 140 move back and forth along generally predefined paths, such as arcuate paths.
  • The swinging of swing arms 116, 118 may be associated with the movement about axis A of first ends 120, 126 of first and second foot supports 112, 114. That is, as first ends 120, 126 revolve about axis A, second ends 122, 128 of first and second foot supports 112, 114 are forced to move. Since second ends 122, 128 are connected to lower ends 132, 138, the movements of second ends 122, 128 are generally limited to the same arcuate paths along which lower ends 132, 138 move. The generally circular movements of first ends 120, 126 about axis A and the generally arcuate movements of second ends 122, 128 combine to cause footpads 124, 130 to move in generally predefined paths, such as generally elliptically shaped paths.
  • The swinging of swing arms 116, 118 may be offset from one another. For instance, as upper end 134 of swing arm 116 swings in the direction of arrow A (e.g., away from drive assembly 108), upper end 140 of swing arm 118 may swing in the direction of arrow B (e.g., toward drive assembly 108). The offset swinging motion of swing arms 116, 118 may be a result of the offset connections between first ends 120, 126 and drive assembly 108.
  • Drive assembly 108 may optionally include a resistance mechanism 150 for regulating the rotation of flywheel 144 and or first ends 120, 126. Resistance mechanism 150 may include a mechanical, frictional, electric, electromechanic, magnetic, electromagnetic, or other type of brake. Resistance mechanism 150 may be selectively adjustable in order to adjust a braking force applied to flywheel 144 or first ends 120, 126. Increasing or decreasing the braking force increases or decreases the resistance to the rotation of flywheel 144 and/or first ends 120, 126, thereby affecting the rotational speed thereof.
  • As is common with electric exercise devices, resistance mechanism 150 may be connected to a controller 152 that controls the operation of resistance mechanism 150, and thus the resistance applied to flywheel 144 or first ends 120, 126. The resistance to the rotation of flywheel 114 or first ends 120, 126 is one example of an adjustable operating parameter of exercise device 100.
  • Controller 152 can be incorporated within control panel 1110, resistance assembly 150, or another portion of exercise device 100. Controller 152 may take the form of a computer, a processor, a microprocessor, a microcontroller, state machine or other similar device that includes circuitry for controlling the operation of one or more features on exercise device 100, including the operating parameter(s) of the movable elements (e.g., first and second foot supports 112, 114, swing arms 116, 118, flywheel 144). Controller 152 may also include one or more computer readable media or devices that have computer executable instructions stored thereon.
  • Exercise device 100 may also have the capability to vibrate certain portions of exercise device 100. For instance, exercise device 100 may include one or more vibration assemblies 154 connected thereto and which vibrate one or more parts of exercise device 100. In the embodiment illustrated in FIG. 1, for instance, exercise device 100 includes six vibration assemblies 154. More specifically, a vibration assembly 154 a is connected to first foot support 112, a vibration assembly 154 b is connected to second foot support 114, a vibration assembly 154 c is connected to swing arm 116 near pivot 146, a vibration assembly 154 d is connected to swing arm 116 near upper end 134, a vibration assembly 154 e is connected to swing arm 118 near pivot 148, and a vibration assembly 154 f is connected to swing arm 118 near upper end 140.
  • When activated, vibration assemblies 154 a-154 f may cause all or certain portions of exercise device 100 to vibrate. For instance, vibration assembly 154 a may cause first foot support, including first footpad 124, to vibrate, which vibrations may be transferred to a user's left foot and leg. Similarly, vibration assembly 154 b may cause second foot support 114, including second footpad 130, to vibrate, which vibrations may be transferred to the user's right foot and leg. Likewise, vibration assemblies 154 c, 154 d may cause first swing arm 116 to vibrate, which vibrations may be transferred to the user's left hand and arm. Also, vibration assemblies 154 e, 154 f may cause second swing arm 118 to vibrate, which vibrations may be transferred to the user's right hand and arm. Accordingly, vibration assemblies 154 a-154 f may vibrate individual parts of exercise device 100. In other embodiments, one or more of vibration assemblies 154 a-154 f may vibrate specific areas of exercise device 100. For instance, one or more of vibration assemblies 154 a-154 f may vibrate upright support structure 106 and components connected thereto (e.g., swing arms 116, 118, foot supports 112, 114). In still other embodiments, one or more of vibration assemblies 154 a-154 f may vibrate the entirety of exercise device 100. Thus, exercise device 100 may include a vibration assembly that vibrates a specific portion of exercise device 100, multiple vibration assemblies that vibrate multiple specific portions of exercise device 100, or one or more vibration assemblies that vibrate all or a substantial portion of exercise device 100.
  • FIGS. 3 and 4 illustrate vibration assembly 154 a in greater detail. It is understood that vibration assemblies 154 b-154 f may be similar or identical to vibration assembly 154 a. Accordingly, the following discussion of vibration assembly 154 a is equally applicable to vibration assemblies 154 b-154 f. In FIG. 3, a close up view of vibration assembly 154 a is shown mounted to the underside of first foot support 112. Vibration assembly 154 a is illustrated directly below first footpad 124. Such a location may maximize the amount of vibration transferred to a user's foot on footpad 124. As can be seen in FIG. 3, vibration assembly 154 a is connected to first foot support 112 with a bracket 156 and bolts 158. In FIG. 4, vibration assembly 154 a is shown separate from exercise device 100.
  • According to the illustrated embodiment, vibration assembly 154 a includes a motor 160, a shaft 162, and eccentric weights 164, 166. Shaft 162 extends through motor 160 such that motor 160 is able to rotate shaft 162 about a longitudinal axis A of shaft 162. Each of eccentric weights 164, 166 has a center of mass that is offset from shaft 162 and axis A. For instance, eccentric weights 164, 166 may have centers of mass 168, 170, respectively.
  • In the illustrated embodiment, eccentric weights 164, 166 are fixedly mounted on opposing ends of shaft 162. As a result, when shaft 162 is rotated by motor 160, eccentric weights 164, 166 likewise rotate about axis A. For instance, in FIG. 4, eccentric weights 164, 166 are shown in solid lines in a first position. Eccentric weights 164, 166 are also shown in dashed lines in a second position after eccentric weights 164, 166 are rotated partially about axis A. As can be seen, as eccentric weights 164, 166 rotate, centers of mass 168, 170 revolve about axis of rotation A. The movement of centers of mass 168, 170 about axis A causes vibration assembly 154 a to vibrate. Because vibration assembly 154 a is mounted to first foot support 112, the vibrations from vibration assembly 154 a are transferred to first foot support 112, thereby causing first foot support 112, including first footpad 124, to vibrate. Likewise, the vibrations from vibration assemblies 154 b-154 f are transferred to the parts of exercise device 100 to which they are attached (e.g., second foot support 114, swing arm 116, swing arm 118).
  • The intensity and frequency of the vibrations are a result of a number of different variables, including the speed at which the eccentric weights 164, 166 rotate, the distance between axis A and centers of mass 168, 170, and the size of eccentric weights 164, 166. The intensity and/or frequency of the vibrations can be increased by increasing the rotational speed of eccentric weights 164, 166, increasing the distance between axis A and centers of mass 168, 170, and/or increasing the size of eccentric weights 164, 166. Conversely, the intensity and/or frequency of the vibrations can be decreased by decreasing the rotational speed of eccentric weights 164, 166, decreasing the distance between axis A and centers of mass 168, 170, and/or decreasing the size of eccentric weights 164, 166.
  • Vibration assemblies 154 a-154 f may also be connected to controller 152 and/or control panel 110. For instance, as shown in FIG. 3, vibration assembly 154 a is connected to controller 152 and/or control panel 110 via wires 172. Connecting vibration assemblies 154 a-154 f to controller 152 enables controller 152 to control the operation of vibration assemblies 154 a-154 f, including such things as turning vibration assemblies 154 a-154 f on and off, controlling the speed at which the eccentric weights are rotated, and which direction the eccentric weights are rotated. Similarly, connecting vibration assemblies 154 a-154 f to control panel 110 enables a user of exercise device 100 to selectively control the operation of vibration assemblies 154 a-154 f at control panel 110. For instance, a user may activate one or more inputs on control panel 110 to turn one or more of vibration assemblies 154 a-154 f on or off, adjust the speed at which the eccentric weights of each vibration assembly are rotated, and/or alter the direction the eccentric weights rotate.
  • Attention is now directed to FIG. 5 which illustrates a user 174 exercising on exercise device 100 with the vibration capabilities activated. More specifically, user 174 is exercising on exercise device 100 as a person would on a traditional elliptical exercise device. More specifically, user 174 stands on footpads 124, 130 and moves first and second foot supports 112, 114 with his legs and holds upper ends 134, 140 to move his arms back and forth as swing arms 116, 118 swing. As noted, activation of vibration assemblies 154 a-154 f causes vibration assemblies 154 a-154 f and, in turn, parts of exercise device 100 to vibrate, as illustrated with the vibration lines near vibration assemblies 154 a-154 f. As user 174 exercises on exercise device 100, the vibrations are transferred to user 174.
  • FIG. 6 illustrates a side view of an exercise device 180. Exercise device 180 is illustrated as a front mechanism elliptical device. In other words, exercise device 180 includes a drive assembly 182 disposed near a front end of exercise device 180. Like with exercise device 100, drive assembly 182 includes a flywheel 184 to which first and second foot supports 186, 188 are connected. Unlike exercise device 100, first and second foot supports 186, 188 are connected to drive assembly 182 at second ends thereof. First and second foot supports 186, 188 include first and second footpads 190, 192, respectively. Additionally, first and second foot supports 186, 188 include rollers 194, 196, respectively, which ride along rail 198 as first and second foot supports 186, 188 move in generally elliptically shaped paths. Exercise device 180 also includes first and second swing arms 200, 202 that swing back and forth as a user exercises on exercise device 180.
  • Like exercise device 100, exercise device 180 may also include one or more vibration assemblies 204 for vibrating one or more parts of exercise device 180. For instance, as illustrated in FIG. 6, exercise device 180 includes a vibration assembly 204 a connected to first foot support 186 near first footpad 190, a vibration assembly 204 b connected to second foot support 188 near second footpad 192, a vibration assembly 204 c connected to first swing arm 200, and a vibration assembly 204 d connected to second swing arm 202.
  • FIG. 7 illustrates a perspective view of another exercise device 220. Exercise device 220 is illustrated as a mid-mechanism elliptical exercise device. In other words, exercise device 220 includes a drive assembly 222 disposed between the front and rear ends of exercise device 220. Operatively associated with drive assembly 222 are first and second foot supports 224, 226. First and second foot supports 224, 226 include first and second footpads 228, 230, respectively, which move in generally elliptically shaped paths. Exercise device 220 also includes first and second swing arms 232, 234 that swing back and forth as a user exercises on exercise device 220.
  • Exercise device 220 may also include one or more vibration assemblies 236 for vibrating one or more parts of exercise device 220. For instance, exercise device 220 includes a vibration assembly 236 a connected to first foot support 224 near first footpad 228, a vibration assembly 236 b connected to second foot support 226 near second footpad 230, a vibration assembly 236 c connected to first swing arm 232, and a vibration assembly 236 d connected to second swing arm 234.
  • FIG. 8 illustrates a side view of an exercise device 250. Exercise device 250 is illustrated as a strider exercise machine. A first link arm 252 supports a first footpad 254. First link arm 252 is rotatably connected to a first swing arm 256 and to a drive assembly 258. First link arm 252 moves during the performance of an exercise such that first footpad 254 move is a generally arcuate path. Although not shown, exercise device 250 may also include a second link arm 260, a second footpad 262, and a second swing arm 264 that are similar to first link arm 252, first footpad 254, and first swing arm 256.
  • Exercise device 250 may also include one or more vibration assemblies 266 for vibrating one or more parts of exercise device 250. For instance, exercise device 250 includes a vibration assembly 266 a connected to first link arm 252 near first footpad 254 and a vibration assembly 266 b connected to first swing arm 256.
  • INDUSTRIAL APPLICABILITY
  • In general, embodiments of the present disclosure relate to systems and devices that impart vibrations to a user's body. More particularly, the systems and devices of the present disclosure impart vibrations to a user's body during the performance of an exercise. The exercise and the imparted vibrations can provide numerous benefits to the user, including aerobic conditioning, improved muscle strength and performance, increased bone density, stamina, flexibility, mobility, and coordination, enhanced critical blood flow throughout the body, relief of aches and pains, enhanced explosive strength, accelerated weight loss, decreased cortisol levels, increased production of serotonin and neurothrophine, and improved injury recovery.
  • The systems and devices of the present disclosure may include an exercise device in the form of an elliptical- or strider-type exercise device. The exercise devices may include a frame having an upright support structure connected to a base support. The upright support structure may support a control panel. Also mounted on the frame may be a drive assembly that can include a flywheel and/or a resistance mechanism.
  • Connected between the frame and the drive assembly may be one or more link arms. The link arms may include one or more foot supports and one or more swing arms. For instance, a first end of a first foot support may be connected to the drive assembly and a second end of the first foot support may be connected to a first swing arm. The first swing arm may be pivotally connected to the frame so that the first swing arm can swing back and forth. The first end of the first foot support may revolve about an axis in a generally circular path while the second end of the first foot support moves in a generally arcuate path. The combination of the circular and arcuate paths may result in a footpad moving in a generally elliptical path. The link arms may also include a second foot support and a second swing arm that are similar to the first foot support and first swing arm.
  • An elliptical exercise device may be a rear mechanism, front mechanism, or mid-mechanism device. That is, a drive assembly may be positioned toward the rear of the device, toward the front of the device, or between the front and rear of the device. In any case, foot supports may be movable in generally elliptically shaped paths during the performance of exercise.
  • In other embodiments, the exercise device may be a strider or stepper exercise device. In the case of a strider exercise device, the foot supports or foot pads may move in generally arcuate paths during the performance of exercise. In the case of a stepper exercise device, the foot supports or foot pads may move in generally arcuate or linear paths during the performance of exercise.
  • The systems and devices of the present disclosure may also include one or more vibration assemblies that create vibrations that are imparted to the user during the performance of the exercise. Each of the one or more vibration assemblies may include a motor, such as a rotary motor, that rotates a shaft about an axis of rotation. The axis of rotation may be generally parallel to or collinear with a longitudinal axis of the shaft. One or more eccentric weights may be mounted on the shaft such that rotation of the shaft causes the one or more eccentric weights to rotate about the axis of rotation. Each of the one or more eccentric weights may have a center of mass that is offset from the axis of rotation. As a result of the offset between the centers of mass and the axis of rotation, rotation of the one or more eccentric weights creates vibrations that are transferred through the exercise device and into the user. In other embodiments, the vibration assembly motor may directly rotate the one or more eccentric weights without requiring the weights to be mounted on a shaft.
  • The one or more vibration assemblies may be connected to the exercise device such that the vibrations created by the one or more vibration assemblies are transferred to specific parts or the entirety of the exercise device. For instance, the one or more vibration assemblies may be rigidly connected to specific locations on the exercise device. Such locations may include on or near one or more of the foot supports, the footpads, the swing arms, and the handles. Accordingly, one or more vibration assemblies may be connected to the exercise device to vibrate one or more portions of the exercise device. The number of vibration assemblies used may depend on the size of the vibration assemblies used, the placement of the vibration assemblies on the exercise device, and/or the portions of the exercise device that are to be vibrated.
  • For instance, one relatively large vibration assembly may be connected to the frame. This arrangement may allow for the vibrations to spread through the frame and into the user by way of the foot supports and the swing arms. Alternatively, one or more vibration assemblies may be connected to the foot supports or footpads to vibrate just the foot supports or footpads. Similarly, one or more vibration assemblies may be connected to the swing arms to vibrate just the swing arms. Likewise, one or more vibration assemblies may be connected to drive assembly to vibrate the drive assembly. Still further, multiple vibration assemblies may be connected to the exercise device at various locations to vibrate one or more portions of the exercise device.
  • In cases where multiple vibration assemblies are used, the vibration assemblies may be coordinated with one another to create vibrations with desired characteristics. For instance, the rotational speed and/or direction of the vibration assemblies may be coordinated to create vibrations with desired intensities and/or frequencies. More specifically, the rotational speed and/or direction of each vibration assembly may be controlled to generate the desired vibrations where the user contacts the exercise device. In other words, the rotational speed and/or direction of each vibration assembly may be controlled so that the vibrations from each vibration assembly either add to or partially cancel the vibrations from the other vibration assemblies to achieve the desired vibrations.
  • In addition or as an alternative to having rotating eccentric weights that create vibrations, the one or more vibration assemblies may include one or more rotating cams or other movable members that periodically engage, hit, or tap the exercise device or components thereof in order to create the vibrations in the exercise device.
  • In addition to the above-noted physiological benefits, adding vibration to the disclosed devices can increase the enjoyment associated with using the disclosed devices. For instance, a user that uses a typical elliptical or strider exercise device may find it uncomfortable or boring. In contrast, vibrating the exercise device can provide a sensation to the user that is similar to running on a road, trail, or other outdoor surface as well as providing a softer ride for the user.
  • In some embodiments, the intensity and/or frequency of the vibrations may be tied to other operating parameters of the exercise device. By way of non-limiting example, the intensity and/or frequency of the vibrations may be tied to speed of the foot supports and/or swing arms or the resistance level of the resistance mechanism. For instance, the intensity and/or frequency of the vibrations may increase or decrease as the speed of the foot supports increases or decreases. Similarly, the intensity and/or frequency of the vibrations may increase or decrease as the resistance level of the resistance mechanism increases or decreases.

Claims (20)

What is claimed is:
1. An exercise device, comprising:
a frame;
first and second reciprocating foot supports linked to the frame, each of the first and second reciprocating foot supports being movable in a generally predefined path; and
one or more vibration assemblies, at least one vibration assembly of the one or more vibrations assemblies being connected to the first reciprocating foot support or the second reciprocating foot support, wherein the at least one vibration assembly selectively creates vibrations to cause the first reciprocating foot support or the second reciprocating foot supports to vibrate.
2. The exercise device of claim 1, further comprising:
a first swing arm pivotally connected to the frame and the first reciprocating foot support; and
a second swing arm pivotally connected to the frame and the second reciprocating foot support.
3. The exercise device of claim 2, wherein the one or more vibration assemblies comprise at least one vibration assembly connected to the first swing arm or the second swing arm to cause the first swing arm or the second swing arm to vibrate.
4. The exercise device of claim 2, wherein the one or more vibration assemblies comprise a vibration assembly connected to each of the first and second swing arms to selectively vibrate each of the first and second swing arms.
5. The exercise device of claim 1, wherein the one or more vibration assemblies comprise a vibration assembly connected to the first reciprocating foot support and a vibration assembly connected to the second reciprocating foot support to selectively vibrate each of the first and second reciprocating foot supports.
6. The exercise device of claim 5, wherein each of the first and second reciprocating foot supports comprises a footpad, wherein the vibration assemblies connected to the first and second reciprocating foot supports are connected adjacent to the footpads.
7. The exercise device of claim 1, wherein at least one of the one or more vibration assemblies comprises a motor, a shaft rotatable by the motor about an axis of rotation, and one or more eccentric weights mounted on the shaft, each of the one or more eccentric weights comprising a center of mass that is offset from the axis of rotation.
8. The exercise device of claim 7, wherein rotation of the shaft about the axis of rotation causes the centers of mass of the one or more eccentric weights to revolve around the axis of rotation, thereby creating the vibrations.
9. The exercise device of claim 8, wherein an intensity or frequency of the vibrations may be selectively controlled by adjusting the speed at which the centers of mass of the one or more eccentric weights revolve around the axis of rotation.
10. The exercise device of claim 1, further comprising a control panel mounted on the frame, the control panel having one or more user inputs, the control panel being in electrical communication with the one or more vibration assemblies such that the one or more vibration assemblies are controllable by activating the one or more user inputs.
11. The exercise device of claim 1, wherein an intensity or frequency of the vibrations is related to the speed at which the first and second reciprocating foot supports move.
12. The exercise device of claim 1, wherein the generally predefined path in which each of the first and second reciprocating foot supports moves is at least one of a generally elliptically shaped path, a generally arcuately shaped path, and a generally linearly shaped path.
13. The exercise device of claim 1, further comprising a drive assembly mounted on the frame, the first and second reciprocating foot supports being movably connected to the drive assembly.
14. The exercise device of claim 12, wherein the drive assembly comprises a resistance mechanism that regulates the movements of the first and second reciprocating foot supports.
15. The exercise device of claim 14, wherein an intensity or frequency of the vibrations is related to a resistance level of the resistance mechanism.
16. An elliptical exercise device, comprising:
a base support;
a generally upright support structure connected to the base support;
a drive assembly connected to the base support;
a first reciprocating foot support and a second reciprocating foot support, the first reciprocating foot support having a first end movably connected to the drive assembly, the second reciprocating foot support having a first end connected to the drive assembly and offset from the first end of the first reciprocating foot support, the first reciprocating foot support and the second reciprocating foot support each being movable in a generally predefined path;
a first swing arm and a second swing arm, the first swing arm being pivotally connected to the frame and the first reciprocating foot support, the second swing arm being pivotally connected to the frame and the second reciprocating foot support; and
one or more vibration assemblies, wherein the one or more vibration assemblies selectively create vibrations to cause at least one of the first reciprocating foot support, the second reciprocating foot support, the first swing arm, and the second swing arm to vibrate, at least one of the one or more vibration assemblies comprising:
a motor;
a shaft rotatable by the motor about an axis of rotation; and
one or more eccentric weights fixedly mounted on the shaft such that rotation of the shaft causes the one or more eccentric weights to rotate about the axis of rotation, each of the one or more eccentric weights having a center of mass that is radially offset from the axis of rotation.
17. The exercise cycle of claim 16, wherein an intensity or frequency of the vibrations created by the one or more vibration assemblies is related to at least one of a speed of the drive assembly or the first and second reciprocating foot supports.
18. The exercise cycle of claim 16, wherein the one or more vibration assemblies comprise a vibration assembly connected to each of the first reciprocating foot support and the second reciprocating foot support.
19. The exercise cycle of claim 18, wherein each of the first and second reciprocating foot supports comprises a footpad, and wherein the vibration assemblies connected to the first and second reciprocating foot supports are connected adjacent to the footpads.
20. The exercise cycle of claim 16, wherein the one or more vibration assemblies comprise a vibration assembly connected to the first swing arm and a vibration assembly connected to the second swing arm.
US13/950,085 2012-07-23 2013-07-24 Elliptical Exercise Device with Vibration Capabilities Abandoned US20140024499A1 (en)

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US13/948,045 US9289648B2 (en) 2012-07-23 2013-07-22 Treadmill with deck vibration
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