BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
The present invention relates to a standup exercise apparatus that simulates walking, jogging and climbing with arm exercise. More particularly, the present invention relates to an exercise machine having separately supported pedals for the feet and arm exercise coordinated with the motion of the feet. Pedal stride and lift are adjustable.
2. State of the Art
The benefits of regular exercise to improve overall health, appearance and longevity are well documented in the literature. For exercise enthusiasts the search continues for safe apparatus that provides full body exercise for maximum benefit in minimum time.
Recently, a new category of exercise equipment has appeared on the commercial market called elliptical cross trainers. These cross trainers guide the feet along a generally elliptical shaped curve to simulate the motions of jogging and climbing. Generally they are large exercise machines using long cranks to generate a long foot stride. There is a need for a more compact elliptical exercise machine capable of a similar long stride using a linkage to modify the crank.
Recently, there has been an effort to improve the up and down motion of stair climbers by the addition of horizontal movements. Habing in U.S. Pat. Nos. 5,299,993 and 5,499,956 offers an articulated linkage controlled through cables by motor to move pedals through an ovate path. Both pedal pivots follow basically the same guidance path curve directed by a motor controller. Stearns in U.S. Pat. Nos. 5,290,211 and 5,299,993 shows a stair stepping exercise machine which incorporates horizontal movement using a combination of vertical parallelogram linkage and horizontal parallelogram linkage to guide the foot pedals. The parallelogram linkages serve to maintain the pedal at a constant angle relative to the floor during a pedal cycle. The pedal pivots move through similar undefined guide paths.
Standup cycling is described in various patents such as U.S. Pat. No. 3,563,541 (Sanquist) which uses weighted free pedals as load resistance and side to side twisting motion. Also U.S. Pat. Nos. 4,519,603 and 4,477,072 by DeCloux describe standup cycling with free pedals in a lift mode to simulate body lifting. Eschenbach in U.S. Pat. No. 5,279,529 shows several embodiments of elliptical pedal motion configured to maintain the heel of the user on the pedal during a substantial portion of the pedal cycle.
Standup pedal exercise is shown in U.S. Pat. No. 4,643,419 (Hyde) and by Jarriel et al. In U.S. Pat. No. D330,236 where pedal platforms move by dual crank motion but remain parallel to the floor. Knudsen in U.S. Pat. No. 5,433,680 shows an elliptical path generating mechanism with pedals having only one pivot allowing the pedal to rotate unconstrained about the pivot as in a bicycle crank.
Standup pedal exercise combined with arm levers attached to the pedals is shown in Kummerlin et al. German Pat. No. 2,919,494 and in Geschwender U.S. Pat. No. 4,786,050. Standup pedal exercise coupled with oscillating swing arms is shown in Miller U.S. Pat. Nos. 5,242,343 and 5,383,829 and in Eschenbach U.S. Pat. No. 5,423,729. All of these exercise machines use pedals having two pedal pivots which are guided by a first circular guide path curve generated by a crank which rotates through one full revolution during a pedal cycle and a second arc guide path curve generated by a rocker link or track.
Recently, numerous elliptical exercise machines have appeared in the patent literature. Rogers, Jr. in U.S. Pat. Nos. 5,527,246, 5,529,555, 5,540,637, 5,549,526, 5,573,480, 5,591,107, 5,593,371, 5,593,372, 5,595,553, 5,611,757, 5,637,058, 5,653,662 and 5,743,834 shows elliptical pedal motion by virtue of various reciprocating members and geared linkage systems. Miller in U.S. Pat. Nos. 5,518,473, 5,562,574, 5,611,756, 5,518,473, 5,562,574, 5,577,985, 5,755,642 and 5,788,609 also shows elliptical pedal motion using reciprocating members and various linkage mechanisms along with oscillating guide links with control links to determine pedal angles. Ryan et al. in U.S. Pat. No. 5,899,833 shows an elliptical cross trainer having a forward crank driving a pedal linkage underneath the operator.
Chang in U.S. Pat. No. 5,803,872 and Yu et al. in U.S. Pat. No. 5,800,315 show a pedal supported by a rocker link and driven with a pair of links located under the pedal pivotally connected to a crank. Maresh et al. in U.S. Pat. No. 5,792,026 show a foot support member supported by a rocker link and driven by a double crank mechanism. Maresh in U.S. Pat. No. 5,897,463 shows a foot platform with parallel movement as the the foot platform follows an oval path. Lee in U.S. Pat. No. 5,779,598 and Chen in U.S. Pat. No. 5,823,914 show a pedal link driven by two separate cranks. Lin et al. in U.S. Pat. No. 5,769,760 offers elliptical foot and hand motion. Sands et al. U.S. Pat. No. 5,755,643 shows elliptical foot motion with folding front post.
Lee in U.S. Pat. No. 5,746,683 shows a foot support member supported on one end with a compound rocker wherein a slider and handle lever support the rocker. Kuo in U.S. Pat. No. 5,836,854 offers a linear foot support member connected on one end to a crank and guided along an arcuate curve under the pedal by a linkage on the other end. Wang et al. U.S. Pat. No. 5,830,112 shows a foot support member sliding on a pivot on one end and attached to a crank on the other that can fold. Chen U.S. Pat. No. 5,823,917 shows a foot support member driven by a crank on one end and supported by a stationary roller on the other. Chen U.S. Pat. No. 5,820,524 offers a slider crank mechanism having a pedal pivotally attached with a control link to articulate the pedal angle.
Chen U.S. Pat. Nos. 5,779,599 and 5,762,588 shows an elliptical pedal movement with a roller interface between the foot support member and crank. Chen in U.S. Pat. No. 5,759,136 shows a foot support member with a moving pedal for adjustable elliptical motion wherein a link from the pedal to the crank can be repositioned to change the pedal stroke length. Kuo U.S. Pat. No. 5,846,166 shows a foot support member guided on one end by a roller and driven on the other end by a four bar linkage. Stearns et al. in U.S. Pat. No. 5,848,954 offers a foot support member pivoted on one end with a lift crank on the other and a pedal moving on the foot support member to generate elliptical type foot motion.
Maresh et al. in U.S. Pat. Nos. 5,893,820 and 5,997,445 shows an adjustable lift elliptical cross trainers. Kuo U.S. Pat. No. 5,836,854 shows a foot support member driven by a crank and guided on one end by a linkage hanging from a “Z” shaped bar that may be adjusted. Whan-Tong et al. in U.S. Pat. Nos. 5,685,804 and 6,146,313 shows a foot support member driven by a simple crank having an adjustable ramp to vary pedal lift. Eschenbach in U.S. Pat. No. 5,692,994 shows an elliptical cross trainer which has an adjustable upright support member which allows variable pedal motion.
There is a need for a pedal operated exercise machine that can be safely operated in the standup position whereby the arms and legs can be exercised with the feet moving through a generally elliptical movement that can be fully adjusted.
It is one objective of this invention to provide an elliptical pedal movement with a crank linkage that provides both a pedal stride and pedal lift adjustment that may be independently varied. Another object of this invention is to provide an oblong pedal path that can be adjusted during operation of the exercise machine by a control system. Yet another object of this invention is to provide arm exercise that is coordinated with the pedal movement.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
The present invention relates to the kinematic motion control of pedals which simulate running, climbing and cycling during several modes of operation. More particularly, apparatus is provided that offers variable intensity exercise through a leg operated cyclic motion in which the pedal supporting each foot is guided through successive positions during the motion cycle while a load resistance acts upon the mechanism.
The pedals are guided through an oblong or elongate curve motion while pedal angles vary during the pedal cycle to maintain the heel of the foot generally in contact with the pedal. As the foot is raised, the heel of the foot remains generally in contact with the inclining pedal for safer operation. Arm exercise is by arm levers coordinated with the mechanism guiding the foot pedals.
In the preferred embodiment, the apparatus includes a separate pedal for each foot, each pedal being extended by a foot support member and partially supported by an oblong guide path curve for the first foot support member portion at a foot support pivot. The oblong guide path generating mechanism has a rotary crank which completes one full revolution during a pedal cycle and is phased generally opposite the crank for the other pedal through a crankshaft bearing housing attached to the framework.
A rocker link is pivotally connected to the framework. A coupler link is connected to the crank at a crank pivot and the rocker link is connected to the coupler link at a rocker pivot to form a path generating mechanism. The coupler link is connected to the foot support member at a foot support pivot in the portion that follows an elongate guide path curve. The rocker pivot is offset relative to a line connecting the crank pivot and foot support pivot on the coupler link.
The foot support member is supported at a second foot support member portion with a pivot by foot support guides configured as rollers supported by curved tracks supported by the framework. As the crank is driven by foot motion, the pedal follows an elongate curve approximating an ellipse.
Arm exercise is provided with handles pivotally connected to the framework. A connector link is pivotally connected to each handle and each coupler link between the foot support member and the crank pivot to coordinate the arm movement with the foot. The connector link pivot can also coincide with the crank pivot. When the foot is forward, the handle corresponding to that foot is generally rearward.
An actuator is connected to each coupler link to move a rocker pivot collar containing the rocker pivot closer or further away from the crank pivot to change the pedal stride. A control system positioned near the operator can adjust the actuators during operation to reposition the rocker pivot collars for a change in pedal stride length.
The curved tracks are are movable back and forth relative to the framework by an actuator pivotally connected to the framework. A control system positioned near the operator can adjust the actuator during operation to reposition the curved tracks for a change in pedal lift height.
Load resistance is imposed upon the crank through pulleys and belt engaged with a flywheel. A jackshaft is intermediate the crank and flywheel to increase flywheel speed. An alternator is connected to the flywheel. A control system within easy reach of the operator can adjust the alternator load resistance during operation of the exercise machine. Other forms of load resistance such as friction belt, magnetic, air, belt, etc. may also be used.
In an alternate embodiment, the curved tracks are pivotally connected to the framework at the rear ends of the tracks. An actuator controlled lever arm supports the forward end of the tracks. The tracks can also be pivoted at the forward end or intermediate the track ends and be within the scope of the present invention. The remainder of the exercise machine is similar to the preferred embodiment.
In summary, this invention provides the operator with stable foot pedal support having motions that simulate running, jogging and climbing with very low joint impact and upper body exercise. The pedal motion is adjustable during operation to independently change the pedal stride length and pedal lift height. Arm exercise is coordinated with the pedal motion but changes very little with pedal motion adjustment.