BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
The present invention relates to a variable configuration exercise machine, that is to say, an exercise machine that can be adjusted in accordance with the characteristics of the user and/or exercises performed by the user on the machine. For the performance of physical activities such as, for example, different types of exercises in gymnasiums, rehabilitation centers and similar locations, the traditional type of devices, such as barbells, dumb-bells, etc., have been coupled to more complex exercise machines and correlated to their use.
The latter envisage a basic frame to which means are connected for physical effort by the user, such as for example a bar or handles or levers, connected to a load that supplies a resistance to the physical effort.
The user sits on a seat or other support (a bench for example) and from this position the user performs a series of exercises tailored to the type of sport or rehabilitative movement performed. Currently the seat can be adjusted by the user, for example in height, so that the distance between the seat and bar or handles can be suitably changed. Basically this adjustment is a manual one and must be carried out each time in accordance with a change of exercise or for a different user.
This characteristic can considerably affect the positive effects of the exercises because in order to perform them properly the seat must be adequately positioned (or other machine parts that are also adjustable, such as levers) in accordance with the individual's measurements. For this reason an instructor may need to follow the different phases of a training session step by step in order to explain to the user how to keep correct posture while performing the exercises. This also holds true if the same user performs different exercises with the same machine.
- SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
Moreover, having to adjust the seat or other exercise machine parts may be a nuisance, especially bearing in mind that gym activities are usually recreational and relaxing activities.
These and other aims are all achieved by the present invention which provides an exercise machine designed to position the machine in its most suitable configuration for performing an exercise both automatically and by means of the reading of data relative to the user and/or the exercises to be performed, memorized on a portable medium.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
One of the advantages of the present invention is that the machine is self-adjusting, thanks to the fact that specific protocol data are linked with a specific user and/or a specific exercise (or series of exercises), so that the machine adapts the relative positioning between its posture portion and its machine portion in accordance with a specific protocol relative to the user and/or to the exercise to be performed.
Further characteristics and advantages of the invention are apparent from the detailed description which follows, with reference to the accompanying drawings, which illustrate preferred embodiments of the invention by way of example and in which:
FIG. 1 is a side view of an embodiment of the present invention, in which an exercise machine is shown with parts cut away and portions shown schematically or by blocks;
DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS
FIG. 2 is a schematic side view of another embodiment of the present invention.
With reference to FIG. 1, the numeral 1 indicates an exercise machine that comprises a basic structure 1′ fitted with a seat 20 for the user and a vertical guide 10 designed to slide a counterweight consisting of a series of small bricks 11 connected, by means of a chain or belt or cable 12 that passes through one or more pulleys 13, to a bar or hand bar 30 that is gripped by the user to perform work generated by lifting the small bricks 11 and by their sliding along the guide 10.
Therefore the exercise machine can be schematized in a posture portion 2 designed to allow the positioning of a user and which, in the preferred embodiment described here, consists basically of the seat 20, and a machine portion 3 which is represented by the hand bar 30. In other words, the hand bar provides appropriate action means 30 that can be used by the user to exert an effort designed to contrast, for the execution of the exercise, the resistance offered by the exercise machine by means of the load 10 created by the small bricks.
The exercise machine includes means 4 for reading a portable medium 5 constituting a data storage device, fitted with a portable memory designed to store the data relative to the user and/or the exercise to be performed.
The portable medium 5 can be of the type called “smart card”, that is to say it can be fitted with an electrically erasable programmable read-only type memory (E2PROM).
The medium 5 can be of the type without the need for contacts and, moreover, can consist of a waterproof enclosure that contains a memory programmed through magnetic induction.
Motor-driven means 6 are envisaged on the exercise machine 1 for adjusting the relative position between the posture portion 2 and the machine portion 3. The said means are represented in FIG. 1, by way of example only, by a piston 60 that can be extended in height so as to move the seat 20 at least along a vertical direction Y.
In particular, according to the specific embodiment illustrated, the seat 20 is supported by a mobile structure 21, which slides in two ways on a vertical upright 22, according to the direction labelled V in the figure.
Obviously, with modifications for production purposes, a movement can be envisaged even along the horizontal direction X or in another direction by means of devices that are not shown in the figure.
Moreover, control means 7 connected to the reading means 4 and to the motor-driven means 6 are present, designed to change the relative position between the posture portion 2 and the machine portion 3 in accordance with the protocol data stored on the medium 5. In other words, the exercise machine 1 can move the seat 20 in accordance with the size of the user and/or the exercise he/she must perform.
Alternatively or in addition to the movement of the posture portion 2, a movement of the machine portion 3 can be envisaged, so as to obtain in any case an adjustment of the relative position between the two portions 2 and 3. In the embodiment shown in FIG. 1, motor-driven means 6′ are envisaged consisting of a piston arranged and operating between the basic structure 1′ of the machine and an end portion 14 of it that supports the hand bar 30 and that is pivoted on the basic structure 1′ itself, around a horizontal axis 16. After the motor-driven means 6′ are enabled, the end portion 14, and the hand bar 30 supported by the said end portion, can be moved in accordance with the rotation labelled R in FIG. 1, so as to obtain a backward and forward movement between the posture portion 2 and the machine portion 3.
The control means 7 can be connected to the motor-driven means 6 through different kinds of transmission means; for example, electric conductors or electromagnetic waves such as radio waves, infrareds, etc.
A remote control transmission system can be used even between the control means 7 and the reading means 4.
In the embodiment of FIG. 2, the exercise machine 1 is represented by an exercise bike, in which the posture portion 2 is represented by a saddle 29 and by a handle-bar 28 whilst the machine portion is represented by pedals 31, connected to an electromagnetic type resistance 19 (electric motor, alternator).
In this solution, the motor-driven means consist of variable extension elements 61 and 62 envisaged at the support rods of the saddle 29 and handle-bar 28. These variable extension elements can move the saddle 29 and the handle-bar 28 at least in accordance with the substantially vertical directions labelled Y′ and Y″. Moreover, in the embodiment in FIG. 2, an adjustment is envisaged in accordance with the rotation labelled z of the rod of the handle-bar 28.
In addition to the aforementioned adjustments, an adjustment of the machine load can be envisaged. This operation is simplified in those cases in which the machine resistance can be obtained electrically. In fact, by entering parameters relative to the resistance to offer to the user, among the protocol data stored in the portable medium 5, it is also possible to change this value in accordance with the user and/or the exercises. For example, when using an alternator, as shown schematically by the numeral 19 in FIG. 2, simply change the value of the resistance supplied by the alternator 19 electrically.
For production purposes, with appropriate modifications the load can also be changed in an exercise machine in which, as in the embodiment in FIG. 1, the resistance is offered with mechanical type solutions.
For example, a selecting device may be envisaged designed to group the small bricks 11 on the relative pin 12′ automatically, in accordance with the data read by the reading means 4 and relative, in particular, to the performance techniques of the exercise. In other words, the said device allows the changing of the total load consisting of the sum of the small bricks that constitute the so-called weight pack.
In conclusion, with the present invention an exercise machine is obtained that is able to personalize its configuration in accordance with the person utilizing the machine and the exercise to be performed on it, with changes that substantially can be dimensional or that also concern the resistance value offered to the user. The present invention, thus designed for the said objects, may be subject to numerous modifications and variations, all encompassed by the original design concept. Moreover, all components may be replaced with technically equivalent parts.