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Publication numberUS20030017918 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 10/161,766
Publication dateJan 23, 2003
Filing dateJun 4, 2002
Priority dateJun 20, 2001
Publication number10161766, 161766, US 2003/0017918 A1, US 2003/017918 A1, US 20030017918 A1, US 20030017918A1, US 2003017918 A1, US 2003017918A1, US-A1-20030017918, US-A1-2003017918, US2003/0017918A1, US2003/017918A1, US20030017918 A1, US20030017918A1, US2003017918 A1, US2003017918A1
InventorsGregory Webb, Gary Mitchell
Original AssigneeWebb Gregory M., Gary Mitchell
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Multi-functional weight training machine with horizontal and vertical axes of rotation
US 20030017918 A1
Abstract
An exercise machine includes a frame, a pair of arm assemblies, a pair of handle units, a coupling unit, and a resistance-imparting unit. Each of the arm assemblies has an arm and a mounting unit connected with the frame and the proximal end of the arm. The mounting units are configured such that the arm can pivot relative to the frame about a first generally vertical axis and about a second generally horizontal axis, the movement about the first axis being over a range of at least 50 degrees. The handle units are associated with a respective one of the distal ends of the arms and are moveable away from that distal end. The coupling unit is attached to each of the pair of handle units. The resistance-imparting unit is attached to the coupling unit and resists movement of the handle units away from the distal ends of the arms.
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Claims(33)
That which is claimed is:
1. An exercise machine, comprising:
a frame;
a pair of arm assemblies, each having:
an arm having a proximal and a distal end; and
a mounting unit connected with the frame and the proximal end of the arm, the mounting unit being configured such that the arm is free to pivot relative to the frame about a first generally vertical axis and about a second generally horizontal axis, the movement about the first axis being over a range of at least 50 degrees;
a pair of handle units, each of the handle units being associated with a respective one of the distal ends of the arms and being moveable away from that distal end;
a coupling unit attached to each of the pair of handle units; and
a resistance-imparting unit attached to the coupling unit that resists movement of the handle units away from the distal ends of the arms.
2. The exercise machine defined in claim 1, wherein the mounting units are configured such that the arms move between preselected locking positions about their respective first axes.
3. The exercise machine defined in claim 2, wherein the mounting units are configured such that the arms move between preselected locking positions about their respective second axes.
4. The exercise machine defined in claim 1, wherein the mounting units are configured such that the arms move about their respective first axes over a range of at least 50 degrees.
5. The exercise machine defined in claim 2, wherein each of the mounting units includes a generally horizontally-oriented plate with a series of apertures, the series of apertures defining the preselected locking positions to which the arm may move about its respective first axis.
6. The exercise machine defined in claim 3, wherein each of the mounting units includes a generally vertically-oriented plate with a series of apertures, the series of apertures defining the preselected locking positions to which the arm may move about its respective second axis.
7. The exercise machine defined in claim 1, wherein the resistance-imparting unit comprises a weight stack.
8. The exercise machine defined in claim 1, wherein the coupling unit comprises a flexible member attached to at least one of the handle units and operatively associated with the resistance-imparting unit.
9. The exercise machine defined in claim 8, wherein the flexible member is attached to both handle units.
10. The exercise machine defined in claim 1, wherein each arm includes a handle bracket rotatably attached to its respective distal end for rotation about a longitudinal axis of the arm defined between the proximal and distal ends of the arm.
11. An exercise machine, comprising:
a frame;
a pair of arm assemblies, each having:
an arm having a proximal and a distal end; and
a mounting unit connected to the frame and the proximal end of the arm, the mounting unit being configured such that the arm is free to pivot relative to the frame about a first generally vertical axis and about a second generally horizontal axis;
a pair of handle units, each of the handle units being associated with a respective one of the distal ends of the arms and being moveable away from that distal end;
the mounting units further being configured such that when both arms are moved to substantially horizontal positions, the handle units are free to move to inwardmost positions that are no more than 10 inches from each other;
a coupling unit attached to each of the pair of handle units; and
a resistance-imparting unit attached to the coupling unit that resists movement of the handle units away from the distal ends of the arms.
12. The exercise machine defined in claim 11, wherein the arms are free to rotate about their respective first axes over a range of at least 50 degrees.
13. The exercise machine defined in claim 11, wherein the mounting units are configured such that the arms move between preselected locking positions about their respective first axes.
14. The exercise machine defined in claim 11, wherein the mounting units are configured such that the arms move between preselected locking positions about their respective second axes.
15. The exercise machine defined in claim 11, wherein the mounting units are configured such that the arms move about their respective first axes over a range of at least 80 degrees.
16. The exercise machine defined in claim 13, wherein each mounting unit includes a generally horizontally-oriented plate with a series of apertures, the series of apertures defining positions to which the arms may move about their respective first axes.
17. The exercise machine defined in claim 14, wherein each mounting unit includes a generally vertically-oriented plate with a series of apertures, the series of apertures defining positions to which the arms may move about their respective second axes.
18. The exercise machine defined in claim 11, wherein the resistance-imparting unit comprises a weight stack.
19. The exercise machine defined in claim 11, wherein the coupling unit comprises a flexible member attached to at least one of the handle units and operatively associated with the resistance-imparting unit.
20. The exercise machine defined in claim 19, wherein the flexible member is attached to both handle units.
21. The exercise machine defined in claim 11, wherein each arm includes a handle bracket rotatably attached to its respective distal end for rotation about a longitudinal axis defined between the proximal and distal ends of the arm.
22. An exercise machine, comprising:
a frame;
a pair of arm assemblies, each having:
an arm having a proximal and a distal end; and
a mounting unit connected to the frame and the proximal end of the arm, the mounting unit being configured such that the arm is free to pivot relative to the frame about a first generally vertical axis and about a second generally horizontal axis, the mounting unit including a generally horizontally-oriented plate with a series of apertures, the series of apertures defining preselected locking positions to which the arm may move about the first axis, and a generally vertically-oriented plate with a series of apertures, the series of apertures defining preselected locking positions to which the arm may move about the second axis;
a pair of handle units, each of the handle units being associated with a respective one of the distal ends of the arms and being moveable away from that distal end;
a coupling unit attached to each of the pair of handles; and
a resistance-imparting unit attached to the coupling unit that resists movement of the handles away from the distal ends of the arms.
23. The exercise machine defined in claim 22, wherein the mounting units are configured such that the arms move about their respective first axes over a range of at least 50 degrees.
24. The exercise machine defined in claim 22, wherein the resistance-imparting unit comprises a weight stack.
25. The exercise machine defined in claim 22, wherein the coupling unit comprises a flexible member attached to at least one of the handle units and operatively associated with the resistance-imparting unit.
26. The exercise machine defined in claim 25, wherein the flexible member is attached to both handle units.
27. The exercise machine defined in claim 22, wherein each arm includes a handle bracket rotatably attached to its respective distal end.
28. An exercise machine, comprising:
a frame;
a pair of arm assemblies, each having:
an arm having a proximal and a distal end, and further including a handle bracket rotatably attached to its distal end about an axis defined by the proximal and distal end of the arm; and
a mounting unit connected to the frame and the proximal end of the arm, the mounting unit being configured such that the arm is free to pivot relative to the frame about a first generally vertical axis and about a second generally horizontal axis;
a pair of handle units, each of the handle units being associated with a respective one of the handle brackets and and being moveable away from that handle bracket;
a coupling unit attached to each of the pair of handle units; and
a resistance-imparting unit attached to the coupling unit that resists movement of the handles away from the distal ends of the arms.
29. The exercise machine defined in claim 28, wherein the resistance-imparting unit comprises a weight stack.
30. The exercise machine defined in claim 28, wherein the coupling unit comprises a flexible member attached to at least one of the handle units and operatively associated with the resistance-imparting unit.
31. The exercise machine defined in claim 30, wherein the flexible member is attached to both handles.
32. The exercise machine defined in claim 30, wherein each handle bracket includes two pulleys, and the flexible member passed between the two pulleys.
33. The exercise machine defined in claim 32, wherein the two pulleys are distally offset from each other.
Description
FIELD OF THE INVENTION

[0001] The present invention relates generally to exercise equipment, and relates more particularly to weight training equipment.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0002] Exercise devices, and in particular weight training machines, typically include a mechanical member that the user repeatedly moves along a prescribed path for exercise. Conventionally, movement of the mechanical member is resisted in some fashion (often by weights) to render the movement more difficult and thereby intensify the exercise. The movement of the mechanical member determines what muscle or muscle groups are to be involved in the exercise.

[0003] One exercise device that has become prevalent in recent years is the multi-functional exercise machine, which enables the user to position components of the machine in different locations in order to perform different exercises. These machines have proven to be particularly popular for serious exercisers and for exercisers that work with personal trainers, as the machines can be adjusted to provide the exerciser with numerous exercises that work different muscle groups. One example of such a machine is illustrated in International Publication No. WO 01/66195 A2 to Sechrist et al. (hereinafter “the Sechrist publication”). This machine includes two arms that extend from a frame generally in the same direction. The arms are able to pivot approximately 180 degrees about a horizontal axis (termed “rotation” in the Sechrist publication) to different locked positions (separated by 20 degree increments), such that their ends are very close together at the top and bottom of their arcs (when the arms are generally vertical) and are widely spread when the arms are in the middle of their arcs (when the arms are essentially horizontal). The arms are also pivotable to three positions separated by 15 degrees about another horizontal axis (termed “reach” in the Sechrist publication) that is normal to the first pivot axis. Cables extend through the arms and to a weight stack that resides within the frame. Handles are attached to the cables at the ends of the arms. To exercise, the exerciser selects positions for each arm (which may differ), then positions himself in a position, posture and orientation and begins pulling on one or both of the handles with his hands or feet. The handles separate from the arms, with resistance being provided by the weights through the cables.

[0004] One of the reasons machines like that described in the Sechrist publication are popular is that the exerciser can perform a large number of exercises with the same machine simply by varying his position, posture and/or orientation and by varying the positions of the arms. For example, for any position of the arms, during exercise the exerciser may choose to face toward or away from the frame, or may stand sideways relative to the frame; any of these positions would exercise different muscles or portions thereof. Similarly, the exerciser may stand, sit, kneel, or lie on the ground (prone, supine, or on his side), or lie on a bench and achieve different results. The exerciser may also choose to work with one or both hands, or with one or both feet, engaging the handles. Similar variability in exercise can be achieved with alternative positions of the exercise arms.

[0005] A shortcoming of the machine described in the Sechrist publication is that the machine has limitations on the positions its arms can take. More specifically, when the arms are more vertically oriented, the ends of the arms can be positioned relatively close to one another; however, when the arms are generally vertically oriented, the ends of the arms can only move to within about 72 inches of each other. As a result, the machine is not suitable for exercises that require the ends of the arms to be relatively close together and at about waist height for the exerciser (such as a typical rowing movement).

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0006] The present invention is directed to a multi-functional exercise machine that provides, inter alia, arms that can be positioned adjacent to one another irrespective of their height. The exercise machine comprises a frame, a pair of arm assemblies, a pair of handle units, a coupling unit, and a resistance-imparting unit. Each of the arm assemblies has: an arm having a proximal and a distal end; and a mounting unit connected with the frame and the proximal end of the arm. The mounting units are configured such that the arm is free to pivot relative to the frame about a first generally vertical axis and about a second generally horizontal axis, the movement about the first axis being over a range of at least 50 degrees. The handle units are associated with a respective one of the distal ends of the arms and are moveable away from that distal end. The coupling unit is attached to each of the pair of handle units. The resistance-imparting unit is attached to the coupling unit and resists movement of the handle units away from the distal ends of the arms. In this configuration, the arms may be positioned in inwardmost positions such that their distal ends are no more than about 10 inches of each other, even when the arms are generally horizontally disposed; consequently, a full range of exercise movements can be performed.

[0007] In some embodiments, each of the mounting units includes a generally horizontally-oriented plate with a series of apertures, the series of apertures defining preselected locking positions to which the arm may move about the first axis, and a generally vertically-oriented plate with a series of apertures, the series of apertures defining preselected locking positions to which the arm may move about the second axis. Ordinarily, the apertures are spaced at circumferentially equal increments.

[0008] As another aspect of the invention, the exercise machine described above may include a handle bracket rotatably attached to the distal end of each arm. Each of these handle brackets may include two pulleys through which a cable attached to the resistance-imparting unit (typically a weight stack) travels. In this configuration, the resultant ease of grasping the handle units may facilitate exercise movements.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE FIGURES

[0009]FIG. 1 is a perspective view of an embodiment of the exercise machine of the present invention, with the arms in a generally horizontal disposition.

[0010]FIG. 2 is an enlarged perspective view of a mounting bracket and pulley support of the exercise machine of FIG. 1.

[0011]FIG. 3A is a top section view of an upper positioning plate of the mounting bracket of FIG. 2 (taken along lines 3A-3A thereof) with a locking pin shown to be engaged in a first aperture.

[0012]FIG. 3B is a top view of the upper positioning plate of FIG. 3A with the locking pin shown to be engaged in a second aperture.

[0013]FIG. 4 is a side view of the exercise machine of FIG. 1 with both arms in a lowered position.

[0014]FIG. 5 is a side view of the exercise machine of FIG. 1 with both arms in a raised position.

[0015]FIG. 6 is a side view of the exercise machine of FIG. 1 with one arm shown in a raised position and the other arm shown in a lowered position.

[0016]FIG. 7 is a top view of the exercise machine of FIG. 1 with both arms in a widened position.

[0017]FIG. 8 is a top view of the exercise machine of FIG. 1 with both arms in a narrowed position.

[0018]FIG. 9 is a schematic partial front view of the weight stack and pulley train of the exercise machine of FIG. 1.

[0019]FIG. 10 is a partial exploded perspective view of the weight stack of the exercise machine of FIG. 1.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

[0020] The present invention will now be described more fully hereinafter, in which preferred embodiments of the invention are shown. This invention may, however, be embodied in different forms and should not be construed as limited to the embodiments set forth herein. Rather, these embodiments are provided so that this disclosure will be thorough and complete, and will fully convey the scope of the invention to those skilled in the art. In the drawings, like numbers refer to like elements throughout. Thicknesses and dimensions of some components may be exaggerated for clarity.

[0021] Referring now to the drawings, an exercise machine, designated broadly at 20, is illustrated in FIG. 1. The exercise machine 20 includes a frame 22, a pair of arm assemblies 60 a, 60 b, a pair of handle units 110 a, 110 b, a coupling unit 120, and a weight stack 40. These components are described in greater detail below.

[0022] In describing the exercise machine 20, it will be assumed for the purposes of description that the terms “front”, “forward”, and derivatives thereof refer to the horizontal direction the arm assemblies 60 a, 60 b extend away from the frame 22 (i.e., to the left as shown in FIG. 4). The term “rear” and derivatives thereof refer to the horizontal direction that is opposite the “forward” direction (i.e., to the right as shown in FIG. 4). Together, the “forward” and “rear” directions comprise the “longitudinal” dimension of the machine 20. The terms “outward”, “outer” and derivatives thereof refer to the horizontal direction defined by a vector beginning at the center of the machine 20 and extending perpendicularly to the longitudinal dimension; conversely, the terms “inner”, “inward” and derivatives thereof refer to the horizontal direction opposite the “outward” direction. Together, the “inward” and “outward” directions comprise the “transverse” dimension of the machine 20.

[0023] Referring again to FIG. 1, the frame 22 includes two longitudinally-extending base members 24 that rest on the underlying surface, and a lower cross-member 26 that spans the distance between the base members 24. An arch 28 is mounted to and rises from the base members 24. The arch 28 has two generally upright sections 28 a, 28 b and a spanning section 28 c that extends between the upper ends of the upright sections 28 a, 28 b. Each of two lower arm supports 30 a, 30 b extends inwardly from a central portion of a respective arch upright section 28 a, 28 b and each of two upper arm supports 32 a, 32 b extends inwardly from an upper portion of a respective arch upright section 28 a, 28 b.

[0024] Those skilled in this art will recognize that the frame 22 illustrated herein is exemplary and can take many configurations that would be suitable for use with the present invention. The frame 22 provides a strong, rigid foundation to which other components can be attached at desired locations, and other frame forms able to serve this purpose may also be acceptable for use with this invention.

[0025] Referring again to FIG. 1 and also to FIGS. 9 and 10, the weight stack 40 includes a set of weights 44 arranged in a vertical stack that rests upon the cross-member 26. A lifting rod 48 extends vertically through apertures in the weights 44 and is configured to receive a pin 46 inserted between individual weights 44 that enables the user to select the number of weights to be used in the exercise. The weight stack 40 also includes guide rods 42 a, 42 b that extend vertically from the cross-member 26 through the weights 44 and to the spanning section 28 c of the arch 28. The guide rods 42 a, 42 b guide the weights 44 along a vertical path during exercise. Weight stacks of this variety are well known to those skilled in this art and need not be described in detailed herein. In addition, the machine 20 may optionally include a set of auxiliary weights (not shown) that slide along a vertical guide rod and that can be temporarily connected with the selected weights to provide incremental weight during exercise. Again, auxiliary weight systems of this type are well known to those skilled in this art and need not be described in detail herein. An exemplary machine having such a weight stack is a leg extension machine available from Nautilus HPS, Inc. (Independence, Va.) under the trade name NITRO™.

[0026] Those skilled in this art will recognize that, although a weight stack is the preferred structure for providing resistance to the exerciser, other resistance-imparting structures, such as friction-imparting devices, variable viscosity devices, air drag-based resistance devices, and the like, may also be employed with an exercise machine of the present invention. Exemplary resistance devices include those illustrated in U.S. Pat. Nos. 5,810,096, 4,708,338; 4,720,093; 5,033,733; 4,542,897; 4,298,893; 4,805,901; 4,790,528; 4,786,049; 5,031,900; 4,775,145; 4,589,656;and 4,659,074, the disclosures of each of which are hereby incorporated herein by reference in their entireties.

[0027] The arm assemblies 60 a, 60 b are essentially mirror images of one another about a vertical plane P (see FIG. 7) that extends longitudinally through the center of the frame 22. In the interest of clarity and brevity, only one arm assembly 60 a will be described in detail herein; those skilled in this art will appreciate that this discussion is equally applicable to the arm assembly 60 b.

[0028] Referring now to FIGS. 1, 2, 3A and 3B, the arm assembly 60 a is attached to the frame 22 via a mounting bracket 62. The mounting bracket 62 is mounted at its upper and lower ends to the upper and lower supports 30 a, 32 a and is free to rotate relative thereto about a vertical axis of rotation A1. The mounting bracket 62 includes a short inner panel 64, a rear panel 66 merging with and extending laterally from the rear edge of the inner panel 64, and an outer panel 68 merging with and extending generally forwardly from the outer edge of the rear panel 66, such that a generally U-shaped channel is formed. The outer panel 68 is generally semicircular in shape and includes near its perimeter a series of position apertures 70 arranged in a semicircle at circumferential increments of, in this embodiment, about 15 degrees, although other increments may also be suitable. A pulley 69 a is rotatably mounted to the upper ends of the inner panel 64 and outer panel 68.

[0029] Referring again to FIGS. 1,2, 3A and 3B, a horizontally-disposed, generally semicircular upper position plate 82 is fixed to the upper end of the mounting bracket 62. The upper position plate 82 includes a series of apertures 84 arranged in a semicircle about its forward perimeter edge at circumferential increments of about 15 degrees; the center of the semicircle defined by the apertures 84 is coincident with the axis A1. Other circumferential increments may also be suitable for us with this invention. A locking handle 86 is mounted to the upper arm support 32 a and is operatively connected with a pin 88 sized and positioned to extend through a selected one of the apertures 84. Thus, insertion of the pin 88 into one of the apertures 84 prevents rotation of the mounting bracket 62 about the axis A1.

[0030] Referring now to FIGS. 1 and 2, the arm assembly 60 a also includes a pulley support 72 comprising a pair of opposed plates 72 a, 72 b, between which is rotatably mounted a pulley 80. The pulley support 72 is pivotally attached at its rear end between the inner panel 64 and the outer panel 68 of the mounting bracket 62 at a pivot 73, such that the pulley support 72 is pivotable about a horizontal axis A2 (note that the axis A2 is coincident with the center of the semicircle defined by the apertures 70 located on the mounting bracket 62). A handle 76 is mounted on the plate 72 a and is operably connected to a pin 78 (see FIGS. 4-6) that extends through apertures 74 in the plates 72 a, 72 b. The pin 78 is sized and configured such that it can be received in one of the position apertures 70. Insertion of the pin 78 into one of the position apertures 70 prevents rotation of the pulley support 72 about the axis A2.

[0031] Those skilled in this art will recognize that other configurations may provide a mounting unit suitable for rotatably mounting the arm assembly 60 a to the frame 22. For example, the generally vertical arrangement of the mounting bracket 62 may be changed to a transverse horizontal disposition, such that it rotates relative to the frame about a horizontal axis, and the pulley support rotates relative to the mounting bracket about a vertical axis. In addition, although the pin and aperture configuration described herein is preferred, other mechanisms for selecting desired positions of the mounting bracket relative to the frame and the pulley support relative to the mounting bracket may also be employed. For example, a series of detents rather than apertures may be used, or the mounting bracket and pulley support may be retained in position through the tightening of a clamp, bolt, or other fastener. Those skilled in this art will recognize other configurations that may be employed.

[0032] Referring now to FIG. 1, the arm assembly 60 a further includes an arm 90, which is fixed at its proximal end 91 to the front end of the pulley support 72. In the illustrated embodiment, the arm 90 is tubular and hollow and extends forwardly away from the pulley support 72. At its distal end 93, the arm 90 has a finger 96 that is smaller than the remainder of the arm 90. A fin 92 extends downwardly from an intermediate portion of the arm 90. A pneumatic cylinder unit 94 is attached at one end to the fin 92 and at its opposite end to the lower portion of the mounting bracket outer plate 68. Preferably, the arm 90 is between about 24 and 60 inches in length, and is mounted between about 30 and 60 inches from the underlying surface.

[0033] The ordinarily skilled artisan will recognize that other configurations for the arm 90 may also be employed. For example, the arm may not be hollow, but instead may be an open channel, or even a solid member that includes structure to allow the passage of a cable 118 (see description of the cable below). Also, the arm 90 and pulley support 72 may be formed as an integral unit, such that the arm 90 attaches directly to the mounting bracket 62 (if this configuration is employed, the discussion above regarding the interaction between the pulley support and the mounting bracket would apply to the arm itself).

[0034] Referring still to FIG. 1, and also to FIGS. 4-8, the arm assembly 60 a also includes a handle pulley assembly 100, which is rotatably mounted to the finger 96 of the arm 90 such that it is free to rotate relative to the arm 90 about an axis A3 that is parallel with the longitudinal axis of the arm 90 (ie., the axis extending between the proximal and distal ends 91, 93 of the arm 90). The handle pulley assembly 100 includes opposed side walls 102 a, 102 b that are fixed to a sleeve 104 (see FIGS. 7 and 8 for views of the side walls 102 a, 102 b). The sleeve 104 is mounted over the finger 96 and is rotatable relative thereto. Two pulleys 106, 108 are rotatably mounted between the side walls 102 a, 102 b in locations that permit the passage of the cable 118 therebetween. The pulleys 106, 108 are distally offset from one another, with the pulley 106 being positioned between about 0 and 3 inches closer to the sleeve 104 than the pulley 108.

[0035] Referring now to FIGS. 1 and 4-6, the handle unit 110 a will be described, with the understanding that the description is equally applicable to the handle unit 110 b. The handle unit 110 a is positioned forwardly of the handle pulley assembly 100. The handle unit 110 a includes a handle 112, a flexible strap 114 attached to each end of the handle 112 and formed into a loop, and a ring 116 that is fitted over the strap 114 and attached to the end of the aforementioned cable 118. The ring 116 is configured to abut the handle pulley assembly side walls 102 a, 102 b; the strap 114 and the handle 112 depend from the ring 116 and dangle therefrom until grasped by an exerciser.

[0036] Referring now to FIGS. 1 and 9, the coupling unit 120, which includes the cable 118, couples both of the handle units 110 a, 110 b with the weight stack 40. The cable 118 extends from the handle unit 110 a, through one of the handle pulley assemblies 100 (passing between the pulleys 106, 108), through one of the arms 90, through a series of pulleys that comprise a pulley train 121 (described in detail below), through the other arm 90, through the other handle pulley assembly 110 (again passing through the pulleys 106, 108 thereof), and to the other handle unit 110 b. Thus, a single cable 118 couples both of the handles 112 with the weight stack 40. The details of the pulley train configuration are set forth below.

[0037] The pulley train 121 includes the left and right pulleys 69 a, 69 b that are attached to their respective mounting brackets 62 of the arm assemblies 60 a, 60 b, left and right pulleys 122 a, 122 b that are rotatably mounted to the frame 22 near the ends of the spanning section 28 c of the arch 28, left and right transitional pulleys 124 a, 124 b mounted near the center of the spanning section 28 c, left and right weight stack pulleys 126 a, 126 b mounted to the uppermost weight 44, and a single central pulley 128 mounted to the frame 22 below the left and right transitional pulleys 124 a, 124 b. The cable 118 serially engages the pulleys serially in the following manner. The cable 118 extends from the left handle unit 110 a through the handle pulley assembly 100 (engaging the pulleys 106, 108) and the arm 90, then engages the pulley 69 a and travels upwardly. It then passes over and engages the left pulley 122 a, travels inwardly to pass over and engage the left transitional pulley 124 a, and travels downwardly to the left weight pulley 126 a. The cable 118 engages and passes below the left weight pulley 126 a and travels upwardly to the central pulley 128. The cable 118 then passes over the central pulley 128 and travels downwardly to pass below and engage the right weight pulley 126 b. The cable 118 then travels upwardly to the right transitional pulley 124 b, outwardly to the right pulley 122 a, downwardly to the pulley 69 b of the arm assembly 60 b, and out the arm 90 to the handle unit 110 b.

[0038] Those skilled in this art will appreciate that other units that couple the handle units 110 a, 110 b and the weight stack 40 (or other resistance-imparting unit) may also be employed with the present invention. For example, the cable 118 may be replaced with a belt, chain or other flexible member. Also, the pulley train arrangement may be varied, with the understanding that any variation should arrange the pulleys such that tension in the cable caused by exercise meets resistance (in the case of a weight stack, tension in the cable causes the selected weights to rise). Further, some or all of the pulleys themselves may be replaced with other components, (cams, diverting brackets, or the like) that can engage and redirect the cable as desired.

[0039] The exercise machine 20 can be adjusted to many different positions for exercise as desired by the exerciser. More specifically, the arms 90 can be pivoted about the axes A1 and A2 to different positions that the exerciser chooses for a particular exercise movement. Referring now to FIGS. 3A and 3B, to move either arm 90 about the axes A1, the exerciser manipulates the locking handle 86 to remove the pin 88 from the apertures 84. With the pin 88 disengaged from the apertures 84, the mounting bracket 62 (and, in turn, the arm assembly 60 a) is free to rotate about the axis A1 over an arc of approximately 75 degrees and locked into one of a series of preselected positions based on increments defined by the apertures 88. Notably, each of the arms 90 is free to move about this arc irrespective of its position on axis A2. Preferably, the arms 90 are sized and the apertures 88 are located on the upper position plate 82 so that the handle units 110 a, 110 b can, in their inwardmost positions, be positioned no more than about 10 inches of each other (preferably no more than 5 inches) when both extend forwardly of the frame 22, whether the arms 90 are raised, lowered, horizontally disposed, or at any position in between. It is preferred that the mounting bracket 62 be configured such that the arms can move about the axis A1 over a range of at least 50 degrees, and more preferably at least 80 degrees.

[0040] Referring now to FIG. 2, to move either arm 90 about the axis A2, the exerciser removes the pin 78 from any positioning aperture 70 in which it resides by manipulating the handle 76. With the pin 78 removed, the pulley support 72 (and, in turn, the arm 90) is free to pivot about the axis A2 over an arc of approximately 150 degrees (preferably at least 135 degrees) and locked into one of a series of preselected positions based on the circumferential increments defined by the apertures 70. As with movement of the arm 90 about the axis A1, movement about the axis A2 is not dependent on the position of the arm 90 along the axis A1. Once the arm 90 has been moved to the desired position, the pin 78 is released into the aperture 70 that corresponds to that position.

[0041] The arm assemblies 60 a, 60 b can be rather heavy; as such, the gas cylinder units 94 are included to provide resistance to downward movement of the arm assembly 60 a, 60 b. As can be understood by those skilled in this art, the gas cylinder units 94 retract as the arm assemblies 60 a, 60 b are lowered and extend as the arm assemblies 60 a, 60 b are raised.

[0042] The ability of the arms 90 to move into positions independently of one another and to move independently along the axes A1, A2 enables the exerciser to select a wide variety of positions for exercise, some of which are illustrated in FIGS. 4-8. In FIG. 4, both of the arms 90 have been pivoted along the axis A2 so that their distal ends 93 are relatively near the underlying surface. This configuration can be used by the exerciser for a variety of exercises, including bicep curls, seated rowing movements, seated chest press movements, squats, shoulder raises, and the like. In FIG. 5, both of the arms 90 have been moved so that their distal ends 93 are raised to an elevation near the top of the frame 22. In this configuration, the exerciser can perform exercises such as lat pulldowns, triceps extensions, and the like. In addition, the arms 90 may be moved to different heights (see FIG. 6) for other exercises. Also, the exerciser may use one handle 110 a while stabilizing himself with the arm 90 associated with the other handle 110 b, particularly when standing on one foot as he engages the handle 110 a with the other foot. Preferably, this is done when the supporting arm 90 is in a generally horizontal and inward position.

[0043] In either of these configurations, or at any position in between (the configuration illustrated in FIG. 1 is an example), the exerciser may choose to position the arms 90 close together (see FIG. 7) or much wider apart (see FIG. 8). Widening the arm positions may be desirable for exercises such as pectoral fly movements, reverse fly movements, certain rowing movements, and the like. Narrowing the arm positions may be desirable for different rowing movements, the bicep curl and tricep extension movements discussed above, and the like. Other exercises and positions desirable therefore will be apparent to those skilled in this art.

[0044] To exercise with the exercise machine 20, the exerciser selects a desired amount of resistance and inserts the pin 46 into the lifting member 48 between two weights 44 that correspond to that resistance. The exerciser then grasps one or both of the handles 112 and pulls them away from the distal ends 93 of the arms 90. The grasping can be accomplished with one or both of the exerciser's hands or feet as desired for the given exercise.

[0045] In the event that only one hand or foot is used for exercise, the handle unit 110 a, 110 b that is not grasped or engaged by the exerciser abuts its adjacent handle pulley assembly 100. The handle unit 110 a, 110 b that is grasped by the exerciser is pulled away from the handle pulley assembly 100. As the handle unit 110 moves, it is resisted by the cable 118 which, because of its engagement with the pulleys of the pulley train 120 and the anchoring provided by non-moving handle pulley unit 100, causes the selected weights 44 in the weight stack 40 to rise. The illustrated arrangement of the pulley train 121 reduces the selected resistance by 75 percent; e.g., for each 10 pounds of weights selected, the exerciser experiences 2.5 pounds of resistance.

[0046] In the event that the exerciser uses two hands or feet simultaneously during exercise, the handle units 110 a, 110 b are engaged and pulled away from their respective arms 90. This movement is resisted by the cable 118 at each end. For exercises in which the exerciser uses both hands or feet, the arrangement of the pulleys in the pulley train 121 reduces the selected resistance by 50 percent; e.g., for each 10 pounds of weights selected, the exerciser experiences 5 pounds of total resistance (typically 2.5 pounds in each handle unit 110 a, 110 b).

[0047] It should also be noted that, as the exerciser performs the exercise, it may be preferred to grasp the handle 112 horizontally, vertically, or at an oblique angle. The ability of the handle pulley units 100 to rotate freely about the axis A3 defined between the proximal and distal ends 91, 93 of the arm 90 and to engage one of the pulleys 106, 108 irrespective of the orientation of the handle pulley unit 100 to the arm 90 can facilitate the exercise.

[0048] The foregoing is illustrative of the present invention and is not to be construed as limiting thereof. Although exemplary embodiments of this invention have been described, those skilled in the art will readily appreciate that many modifications are possible in the exemplary embodiments without materially departing from the novel teachings and advantages of this invention. Accordingly, all such modifications are intended to be included within the scope of this invention as defined in the claims. The invention is defined by the following claims, with equivalents of the claims to be included therein.

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Classifications
U.S. Classification482/94, 482/99
International ClassificationA63B23/12, A63B21/062, A63B21/00
Cooperative ClassificationA63B21/154, A63B21/062, A63B23/12, A63B21/156
European ClassificationA63B21/15F6, A63B21/15F6P, A63B23/12, A63B21/062
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Aug 21, 2002ASAssignment
Owner name: NAUTILUS HUMAN PERFORMANCE SYSTEMS, INC., VIRGINIA
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:WEBB, GREGORY M.;MITCHELL, GARY;REEL/FRAME:013214/0134
Effective date: 20020731