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Publication numberUS20040077463 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 10/374,761
Publication dateApr 22, 2004
Filing dateFeb 26, 2003
Priority dateFeb 26, 2002
Publication number10374761, 374761, US 2004/0077463 A1, US 2004/077463 A1, US 20040077463 A1, US 20040077463A1, US 2004077463 A1, US 2004077463A1, US-A1-20040077463, US-A1-2004077463, US2004/0077463A1, US2004/077463A1, US20040077463 A1, US20040077463A1, US2004077463 A1, US2004077463A1
InventorsRobert Rodgers
Original AssigneeRodgers Robert E.
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Stationary exercise apparatus with pivoting foot platforms
US 20040077463 A1
Abstract
In certain embodiments, an apparatus for exercising may include a frame and a first movable member and/or a second movable member. The first movable member may translatably move along a first roller coupled to the frame. The second movable member may translatably move along a second roller coupled to the frame. The exercise apparatus may include a crank system having a crankshaft axis. Ends of the movable members may be pivotally coupled to the crank system such that the movable members move in a substantially orbital path about the crankshaft axis during use of the apparatus. First and second pivotal linkage assemblies may be used to orient the feet of a user of the apparatus during operation of the apparatus such that each foot of the user follows a closed path.
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Claims(39)
What is claimed is:
1. An apparatus for exercising, comprising:
a frame;
a first movable member and a second movable member, each comprising a first end and a second end;
a first roller coupled to the frame, wherein the first movable member is configured to translatably move along the first roller during use, and a second roller coupled to the frame, wherein the second movable member is configured to translatably move along the second roller during use;
a crank system comprising a crankshaft axis, wherein the first ends of the movable members are pivotally coupled to the crank system, and wherein the first ends of the movable members are configured to move in a substantially orbital path about the crankshaft axis during use; and
first and second pivotal linkage assemblies for orienting the feet of the user of the apparatus so that each foot of the user follows a closed path during operation of the apparatus.
2. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the closed path of each foot of the user is substantially elliptical.
3. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the closed path of each foot of the user is relatively pointed at one end.
4. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the first pivotal linkage assembly is pivotally coupled to the first movable member and the second pivotal linkage assembly is pivotally coupled to the second movable member.
5. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the pivotal linkage assemblies are configured to be grasped or held by the hands of the user.
6. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the first pivotal linkage assembly comprises a first foot member and a first pivotal member and the second pivotal linkage assembly comprises a second foot member and a second pivotal member.
7. The apparatus of claim 6, wherein each foot member is pivotally coupled to each movable member at a selected point on the movable member.
8. The apparatus of claim 7, wherein the selected point on each movable member is adjusted to control the shape of the closed path of each foot of the user.
9. The apparatus of claim 7, wherein the foot members are coupled to the movable members at the selected point on the movable members such that the shape of the closed path of the foot members simulates walking, striding, and/or jogging foot motion during use.
10. The apparatus of claim 6, wherein the pivotal members are pivotally coupled to the foot members proximate one end of the foot members, and wherein the pivotal members are pivotally coupled to the frame at a selected point on the pivotal members.
11. The apparatus of claim 6, wherein the pivotal members comprise arm members.
12. The apparatus of claim 6, wherein the pivotal linkage assemblies are configured so that the points of coupling of the pivotal members to the foot members move in an arcuate path.
13. The apparatus of claim 12, wherein the point of coupling of the pivotal members to the frame coincides with the center of the arcuate path.
14. The apparatus of claim 6, wherein the foot members are substantially flat along their length.
15. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the crank system comprises a first crank member and a second crank member, and wherein the crank members are configured to rotate about the crankshaft axis during use.
16. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the crank system comprises a first crank member and a second crank member, and wherein the first crank member is pivotally coupled to the first end of the first movable member and the second crank member is pivotally coupled to the first end of the second movable member.
17. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the crank system is supported by the frame.
18. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the crank system comprises a pulley.
19. The apparatus of claim 18, wherein the pulley is coupled to a brake/inertia device.
20. The apparatus of claim 18, wherein the pulley is coupled to a brake/inertia device, wherein the crank system comprises a first crank member and a second crank member, and wherein the brake/inertia device rotates as the first crank member and the second crank member move during use.
21. The apparatus of claim 18, wherein the pulley is coupled to a brake/inertia device, wherein the crank system comprises a first crank member and a second crank member, and wherein the brake/inertia device intermittently causes the first crank member and the second crank member to move during use.
22. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the pivotal linkage assembly is configured to provide a selected articulation to the user's feet during motion of the user's feet in the closed path.
23. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the pivotal linkage assembly is configured to provide a selected articulation to the user's feet during rearward motion of the user's feet in the closed path.
24. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the pivotal linkage assembly is configured to cause the user's heel to rise relative to the user's toe during rearward motion of the user's feet in the closed path.
25. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the pivotal linkage assembly is configured to cause the user's heel to fall relative to the user's toe during rearward motion of the user's feet in the closed path.
26. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the pivotal linkage assembly is configured to cause the user's heel to remain at substantially the same height as the user's toe during rearward motion of the user's feet in the closed path.
27. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein a height of at least one roller is adjusted to control an orientation of the closed path of the foot members relative to the ground.
28. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein at least one roller supports a majority of the weight of the user of the apparatus during use.
29. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the shape of the movable members is adjusted to control an orientation of the closed path of the foot members relative to the ground.
30. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the movable members comprise a shape with at least one bend.
31. An apparatus for exercising, comprising:
a frame;
a first movable member and a second movable member, each comprising a first end and a second end;
a crank system comprising a crankshaft axis, wherein the first ends of the movable members are pivotally coupled to the crank system, and wherein the first ends of the movable members are configured to rotate in a substantially orbital path about the crankshaft axis during use;
a first foot member pivotally coupled to the first movable member and a second foot member pivotally coupled to the second movable member, wherein the foot members are pivotally coupled to the movable members at a selected point on the movable members, wherein the foot members are configured to move in a closed path to simulate walking, jogging, and/or running foot motion during use;
first and second pivotal members, wherein an end of the first pivotal member is pivotally coupled to an end of the first foot member and an end of the second pivotal member is pivotally coupled to an end of the second foot member, wherein the pivotal members are pivotally coupled to the frame at a selected point on the pivotal members; and
wherein a distance between the selected point on the pivotal members and the ends of the pivotal members coupled to the ends of the foot members and a position in space of the selected point on the pivotal members are configured such that the heel of the user's foot rises relative to the toe of the user's foot during rearward motion of the foot members.
32. The apparatus of claim 31, wherein the distance between the selected point on the pivotal members and the ends of the pivotal members coupled to the ends of the foot members and the position in space of the selected point on the pivotal members are configured such that the heel of the user's foot rises relative to the toe of the user's foot during an approximately forward lower quarter of the closed path of the foot members.
33. An apparatus for exercising, comprising:
a frame;
a first movable member and a second movable member, each comprising a first end and a second end;
a crank system comprising a crankshaft axis, wherein the first ends of the movable members are pivotally coupled to the crank system, and wherein the first ends of the movable members are configured to rotate in a substantially orbital path about the crankshaft axis during use;
a first foot member pivotally coupled to the first movable member and a second foot member pivotally coupled to the second movable member, wherein the foot members are pivotally coupled to the movable members at a selected point on the movable members, wherein the foot members are configured to move in a closed path to simulate walking, jogging, and/or running foot motion during use;
first and second pivotal members, wherein an end of the first pivotal member is pivotally coupled to an end of the first foot member and an end of the second pivotal member is pivotally coupled to an end of the second foot member, wherein the pivotal members are pivotally coupled to the frame at a selected point on the pivotal members; and
wherein a distance between the selected point on the pivotal members and the ends of the pivotal members coupled to the ends of the foot members and a position in space of the selected point on the pivotal members are configured such that the heel of the user's foot falls relative to the toe of the user's foot during rearward motion of the foot members.
34. The apparatus of claim 33, wherein the distance between the selected point on the pivotal members and the ends of the pivotal members coupled to the ends of the foot members and the position in space of the selected point on the pivotal members have been selected so that the heel of the user's foot falls relative to the toe of the user's foot during an approximately forward lower quarter of the closed path of the foot members.
35. An apparatus for exercising, comprising:
a frame;
a first movable member and a second movable member, each comprising a first end and a second end;
a crank system comprising a crankshaft axis, wherein the first ends of the movable members are pivotally coupled to the crank system, and wherein the first ends of the movable members are configured to rotate in a substantially orbital path about the crankshaft axis during use;
a first foot member pivotally coupled to the first movable member and a second foot member pivotally coupled to the second movable member, wherein the foot members are pivotally coupled to the movable members at a selected point on the movable members, wherein the foot members are configured to move in a closed path to simulate walking, jogging, and/or running foot motion during use;
first and second pivotal members, wherein an end of the first pivotal member is pivotally coupled to an end of the first foot member and an end of the second pivotal member is pivotally coupled to an end of the second foot member, wherein the pivotal members are pivotally coupled to the frame at a selected point on the pivotal members; and
wherein a distance between the selected point on the pivotal members and the ends of the pivotal members coupled to the ends of the foot members and a position in space of the selected point on the pivotal members are configured such that the heel of the user's foot remains at a substantially similar height as the toe of the user's foot during rearward motion of the foot members.
36. The apparatus of claim 35, wherein the distance between the selected point on the pivotal members and the ends of the pivotal members coupled to the ends of the foot members and the position in space of the selected point on the pivotal members have been selected so that the heel of the user's foot remains at a substantially similar height as the toe of the user's foot during an approximately forward lower quarter of the closed path of the foot members.
37. An apparatus for exercising, comprising:
a frame;
a first movable member and a second movable member, each comprising a first end and a second end;
a crank system comprising a crankshaft axis, wherein the first ends of the movable members are pivotally coupled to the crank system, and wherein the first ends of the movable members are configured to rotate in a substantially orbital path about the crankshaft axis during use;
a first foot member pivotally coupled to the first movable member and a second foot member pivotally coupled to the second movable member, wherein the foot members are pivotally coupled to the movable members at a selected point on the movable members, and wherein the foot members are configured to move in a closed path during use;
first and second pivotal members, wherein an end of the first pivotal member is pivotally coupled to an end of the first foot member and an end of the second pivotal member is pivotally coupled to an end of the second foot member, wherein the pivotal members are pivotally coupled to the frame at a selected point on the pivotal members; and
wherein a distance between the selected point on the pivotal members and the ends of the pivotal members coupled to the ends of the foot members and a position in space of the selected point on the pivotal members are configured such that the selected points on the movable members fall at a substantially identical rate as the ends of the pivotal members coupled to the foot members in a rearward direction.
38. An apparatus for exercising, comprising:
a frame;
a first movable member and a second movable member, each comprising a first end and a second end;
a crank system comprising a crankshaft axis, wherein the first ends of the movable members are pivotally coupled to the crank system, and wherein the first ends of the movable members are configured to rotate in a substantially orbital path about the crankshaft axis during use;
a first foot member pivotally coupled to the first movable member and a second foot member pivotally coupled to the second movable member, wherein the foot members are pivotally coupled to the movable members at a selected point on the movable members, and wherein the foot members are configured to move in a closed path during use;
first and second pivotal members, wherein an end of the first pivotal member is pivotally coupled to an end of the first foot member and an end of the second pivotal member is pivotally coupled to an end of the second foot member, wherein the pivotal members are pivotally coupled to the frame at a selected point on the pivotal members; and
wherein a distance between the selected point on the pivotal members and the ends of the pivotal members coupled to the ends of the foot members and a position in space of the selected point on the pivotal members are configured such that the selected points on the movable members fall at a faster rate than the ends of the pivotal members coupled to the foot members in a rearward direction.
39. An apparatus for exercising, comprising:
a frame;
a first movable member and a second movable member, each comprising a first end and a second end;
a crank system comprising a crankshaft axis, wherein the first ends of the movable members are pivotally coupled to the crank system, and wherein the first ends of the movable members are configured to rotate in a substantially orbital path about the crankshaft axis during use;
a first foot member pivotally coupled to the first movable member and a second foot member pivotally coupled to the second movable member, wherein the foot members are pivotally coupled to the movable members at a selected point on the movable members, and wherein the foot members are configured to move in a closed path during use;
first and second pivotal members, wherein an end of the first pivotal member is pivotally coupled to an end of the first foot member and an end of the second pivotal member is pivotally coupled to an end of the second foot member, wherein the pivotal members are pivotally coupled to the frame at a selected point on the pivotal members; and
wherein a distance between the selected point on the pivotal members and the ends of the pivotal members coupled to the ends of the foot members and a position in space of the selected point on the pivotal members are configured such that the selected points on the movable members fall at a slower rate than the ends of the pivotal members coupled to the foot members in a rearward direction.
Description
PRIORITY CLAIM

[0001] This application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 60/359,761 entitled “Striding Simulator”, filed on Feb. 26, 2002.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0002] 1. Field of the Invention

[0003] The present invention generally relates to an improved stationary exercise apparatus. Certain embodiments include structures and methods for controlling foot articulation and/or the shape and orientation of a path of a user's foot during foot motion while the exercise apparatus is in use.

[0004] 2. Description of Related Art

[0005] Walking, striding, and/or jogging are popular forms of outdoor exercise that provide both muscular and cardiovascular benefit. Walking, striding, and/or jogging indoors, and in some cases outdoors, may directly or indirectly stress joints (e.g., knees or ankles). Outdoor exercise may also prove to be difficult due to environmental conditions such as inclement weather. An exercise device for indoor use may need to provide a realistic simulation of walking, striding, and/or jogging while limiting stress on one or more joints of the body. Different indoor exercise apparatus have been developed in attempts to provide an apparatus that simulates walking, striding, and/or jogging movements for a beneficial muscular and cardiovascular workout.

[0006] U.S. Pat. No. 3,316,898 to Brown, which is incorporated by reference as if fully set forth herein, discloses an exercise apparatus for exercising legs and hips of a user. The exercise apparatus may move the legs of the user by power means. The apparatus has a pair of parallel, reciprocating plates upon which the feet of the user are placed. The apparatus may also have adjustment means for changing the degree of reciprocation as desired.

[0007] Miller U.S. Pat. Nos. 5,242,343 and 5,383,829, each of which is incorporated by reference as if fully set forth herein, disclose an exercise device that includes a pair of foot engaging links. The first end of each link is supported for rotational motion about a pivot axis and a second end of each link is guided in a reciprocal path of travel. The combination of these foot link motions may permit a foot of the user of the exercise device to travel in an inclined, oval path.

[0008] Miller U.S. Pat. Nos. 5,518,473 and 5,755,642, each of which is incorporated by reference as if fully set forth herein, disclose an exercise device with a frame that supports a pair of foot links so that a first end of each foot link is pivotably coupled to the frame for motion about an arcuate path. A guide, which is supported by the frame, engages each foot link and directs a second end of each foot link along a closed, curved, generally teardrop shaped path of travel. The combination of motions in the exercise device defined by the foot link may provide a running and stepping motion in which the heel of a user's foot initially rises faster than the toe as the foot begins to move forward and in which the heel of the user's foot subsequently falls faster than the toe as the foot begins to move backwards.

[0009] Miller U.S. Pat. Nos. 5,577,985; 5,611,756; and 5,911,649, each of which is incorporated by reference as if fully set forth herein, disclose an exercise device that includes a frame having a set of guide links pivotally supported on the frame. Each guide link supports a foot engaging link at one end. The guide links may be reciprocated back and forth by a set of intermediate links that engage a set of cranks that rotate about a second pivot point. A control link joins the foot link to the intermediate link and operates to vary the angle between the guide links and the foot links as the guide links reciprocate.

[0010] U.S. Pat. No. 6,045,487 to Miller, which is incorporated by reference as if fully set forth herein, discloses an exercise apparatus with a set of guide links pivotally supported on the apparatus. Each guide link supports a foot link at one end. A control member engages each foot link. The apparatus also includes a reciprocating assembly that engages and reciprocates the control members so as to move the associated foot links up and down as the guide link pivots back and forth.

[0011] U.S. Pat. No. 6,398,695 to Miller, which is incorporated by reference as if fully set forth herein, discloses an exercise device with a frame having a pair of crank arms pivotally supported on the frame. Each crank arm engages a drive link and each drive link engages a guide member. A foot link is pivotally connected to each guide member. A control link pivotally connects each foot link to the drive link. During operation, the drive links and the crank arms cooperate to cause the reciprocal motion of the guide members and the control link operates to vary the angle between each foot link and its associated guide member as the guide member reciprocates.

[0012] U.S. Pat. No. 6,190,289 to Pyles et al., which is incorporated by reference as if fully set forth herein, discloses a foldable and transportable elliptical exercise machine. The exercise machine includes pedal arms and optional corresponding load bearing rails that are folded to an upright position for storage and transportation.

[0013] Whan-Tong et al. U.S. Pat. Nos. 5,685,804 and 6,146,313, each of which is incorporated by reference as if fully set forth herein, disclose an exercise device with a pair of foot engaging links. The rearward ends of the foot links are supported for arcuate motion about a pivot axis. The forward ends of the foot links travel back and forth along a guide. The combination of these two link motions permits a user's feet to travel along an elliptical path. The inclination of the foot links may be selectively altered to vary the nature of the stepping motion experienced by the user.

[0014] U.S. Pat. No. 6,123,650 to Birrell, which is incorporated by reference as if fully set forth herein, discloses an exerciser with a floor engaging frame and a forward upright post structure. Near the rear of the frame are attached left and right axle mount supports that house a transverse axle. The axle is bifurcated to allow the two halves to rotate independently and connect the left and right drive wheels, respectively. Left and right foot link members rollably engage the drive wheels at the link member's rear end portions. The forward end portions of the foot link members rollably engage left and right inclinable guide ramps. The inclinable guide ramps are biased rotationally upwardly by biasing members (e.g. springs) to resist downward forces. Left and right foot support portions are mounted on the foot link members. As the foot link members reciprocate forwardly and rearwardly along the inclinable guide ramps, the interaction of the oscillating weight of a running or walking user, together with the independently upwardly biased inclinable guide ramps, causes the foot support portions to travel along an elliptical path.

[0015] U.S. Pat. No. D 408,477 to Arnold et al., which is incorporated by reference as if fully set forth herein, discloses a stationary exercise device.

[0016] U.S. Pat. No. 5,529,555 to Rodgers, Jr., which is incorporated by reference as if fully set forth herein, discloses a crank assembly for use within an exercising device. The crank assembly employs a dual coupler system, which is interconnected for synchronized rotation. Linkage assemblies are provided that define a predetermined path having an anatomical pattern for foot movement of the user. The crank assembly may be used in an exercising device that promotes leg exercise primarily, or may be combined with two additional linkage assemblies to provide a combined hand motion and leg movement.

[0017] Rodgers, Jr. U.S. Pat. Nos. 5,573,480; 5,683,333; 5,738,614; 5,924,962; and 5,938,567, each of which is incorporated by reference as if fully set forth herein, disclose a stationary exercising device. The stationary exercising device includes a base frame that supports a pair of reciprocating members which reciprocate at one end and move in an orbital motion at the other end through a coupling system attached to the frame. Each foot of the user is allowed to move in a generally elliptical path during exercise. The device may include linkage to facilitate a corresponding upper body exercise involving movement of the arm.

[0018] Rodgers, Jr. U.S. Pat. Nos. 5,527,246; 5,591,107; and 5,611,757, each of which is incorporated by reference as if fully set forth herein, disclose a mobile exercising device. The mobile exercising device includes a frame that support a pair of reciprocating members which are displaced generally horizontally along the frame at one end and move in a circular motion at the other end through a coupling system attached to the frame. Each foot of the user is allowed to move in a generally elliptical path during exercise. The device may include linkage to facilitate a corresponding upper body exercise involving movement of the arm.

[0019] Rodgers, Jr. U.S. Pat. Nos. 5,549,526; 5,593,371; 5,595,553; 5,637,058; and 5,772,558, each of which is incorporated by reference as if fully set forth herein, disclose a stationary exercising device. The device includes a frame that supports a linkage assembly having at least one linkage member with a camming surface. The linkage assembly is in turn connected to a coupling system attached to the frame. Each foot of the user is allowed to move the linkage assembly in such a manner as to generate a closed path movement for the foot in an anatomical pattern.

[0020] Rodgers, Jr. U.S. Pat. Nos. 5,540,637; 5,593,372; 5,766,113; and 5,813,949, each of which is incorporated by reference as if fully set forth herein, discloses a stationary exercising apparatus. The stationary exercising apparatus includes a base frame that supports a pair of reciprocating members which reciprocate at one end and move in an orbital motion at the other end through a coupling system attached to the frame. Each foot of the user is allowed to move in a generally elliptical path during exercise. Each foot platform, or a predetermined reference plane for each foot platform, remains substantially parallel with the floor through at least a portion of the lower half of the elliptical path. The device may include linkage to facilitate a corresponding upper body exercise involving movement of the arm.

[0021] U.S. Pat. No. 5,690,589 to Rodgers, Jr., which is incorporated by reference as if fully set forth herein, discloses a stationary exercising device. The stationary exercising device includes a base frame that supports a pair of reciprocating members which reciprocate at one end circular and move in an orbital motion at the other end through a coupling system attached to the frame. Each foot of the user is allowed to move in a generally elliptical path during a climbing exercise and also pivot while moving through the elliptical path. The device may include linkage to facilitate a corresponding upper body exercise involving movement of the arm.

[0022] U.S. Pat. No. 5,743,834 to Rodgers, Jr., which is incorporated by reference as if fully set forth herein, discloses a stationary exercise apparatus. The exercise apparatus includes a base structure that supports a pair of reciprocating members that are displaced in a generally reciprocating manner at one end and orbit at the other end through a coupler assembly attached to the frame. The coupler assembly includes a mechanism to variably adjust the radius of the arcuate motion while the device is in use. Each foot of the user is allowed to move in a generally closed path during the exercise. By being able to continuously variably adjust the size of the orbit, the user can fine-tune the height and length of the closed path.

[0023] U.S. Pat. No. 5,611,758 to Rodgers, Jr., which is incorporated by reference as if fully set forth herein, discloses a stationary recumbent exercise apparatus. The stationary recumbent exercising apparatus includes a base frame that supports a chair adapted to place the user in a recumbent position. The frame also supports a pair of reciprocating members supported within. The foot of the user is positioned on foot pads generally at one end of the reciprocating members. The pivotal linkage assemblies also include arm members that are operatively associated with the reciprocating movement of the foot portion of each reciprocating member. The arm members also provide for a corresponding upper body exercise.

[0024] U.S. Pat. No. 5,653,662 to Rodgers, Jr., which is incorporated by reference as if fully set forth herein, discloses a stationary exercise apparatus. The stationary exercising apparatus includes a frame that supports a linkage assembly having at least one linkage member with a camming surface. The linkage assembly is in turn connected to a coupling assembly attached to the frame. Each foot of the user is allowed to move the linkage assembly in such a manner as to generate a closed path movement for the feet and an arcuate path for the hands.

[0025] U.S. Pat. No. 5,989,163 to Rodgers, Jr., which is incorporated by reference as if fully set forth herein, discloses a stationary exercise apparatus. The stationary exercising includes an inertia system that enables the apparatus to accelerate each reciprocating pedal up to a predetermined velocity. In this manner, the exercise workout may be more natural since the user only has to expend energy normally associated with walking or running and not the operation of the apparatus.

SUMMARY

[0026] In an embodiment, an exercise apparatus includes a frame and one or more movable members. One or more rollers may be coupled to the frame. The movable members may engage the rollers such that the movable members may move translatably along the rollers during use of the exercise apparatus by a user. The exercise apparatus may include a crank system. Ends of the movable members may be coupled to the crank system. The ends of the movable members may move in a substantially orbital path about a crankshaft axis of the crank system. The exercise apparatus may further include pivotal linkage assemblies that orient the feet of a user of the apparatus during operation of the apparatus by the user. The feet of the user may follow a closed path during operation of the apparatus. In some embodiments, a closed path of each foot of the user may be a substantially elliptical path. In certain embodiments, a closed path of each foot of the user is relatively pointed at one end.

[0027] In certain embodiments, the foot of the user may be controllably oriented in the closed path by a pivotal linkage assembly. A pivotal linkage assembly may provide a selected articulation to a user's foot during motion of the user's foot in a closed path. In certain embodiments, the pivotal linkage assembly provides a selected articulation to the user's foot during rearward motion of the user's foot in the closed path. In one embodiment, the pivotal linkage assembly causes the user's heel to rise relative to the user's toe during rearward motion of the user's foot in the closed path. In other embodiments, the pivotal linkage assembly may cause the user's heel to fall relative to the user's toe during rearward motion of the user's foot in the closed path. In yet other embodiments, the pivotal linkage assembly may cause the user's heel to remain at substantially the same height as the user's toe during rearward motion of the user's foot in the closed path.

[0028] In certain embodiments, a pivotal linkage assembly includes a foot member and/or a pivotal member. A foot member may be coupled to a movable member at a selected point on the movable member. The selected point on the movable member may be adjusted to control the shape of the closed path of the foot of the user. In an embodiment, the selected point on the movable member is selected so that the shape of the closed path of the user's foot simulates walking, striding, and/or jogging motion during operation of the apparatus.

[0029] A pivotal member may be coupled to a foot member proximate one end of the foot member. In certain embodiments, a point of coupling between the pivotal member and the foot member may move in an arcuate path. The pivotal member may be coupled to the frame at a selected point on the pivotal member. In an embodiment, the selected point on the pivotal member coincides with the center of the arcuate path of the point of coupling between the pivotal member and the foot member.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0030] Advantages of the present invention may become apparent to those skilled in the art with the benefit of the following detailed description and upon reference to the accompanying drawings in which:

[0031]FIG. 1 depicts an elevation drawing of an embodiment of an exercise apparatus.

[0032]FIG. 1A depicts a detail view of an embodiment of a foot path.

[0033]FIG. 2 depicts a plan view of an embodiment of an exercise apparatus.

[0034]FIGS. 3A and 3B depict schematics of embodiments of the effects of linkage geometry on a foot path.

[0035]FIGS. 4A, 4B, and 4C depict schematics of embodiments of the effects of linkage geometry on foot articulation.

[0036]FIG. 5 depicts an elevation drawing of an embodiment of an exercise apparatus.

[0037] While the invention is susceptible to various modifications and alternative forms, specific embodiments thereof are shown by way of example in the drawings and may herein be described in detail. The drawings may not be to scale. It should be understood, however, that the drawings and detailed description thereto are not intended to limit the invention to the particular form disclosed, but on the contrary, the intention is to cover all modifications, equivalents, and alternatives falling within the spirit and scope of the present invention as defined by the appended claims.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

[0038] Turning to the drawings, FIG. 1 depicts an elevation drawing of an embodiment of exercise apparatus 100. FIG. 2 depicts a plan view of the embodiment of exercise apparatus 100 depicted in FIG. 1. Exercise apparatus 100 may include frame 101. Frame 101 may include a base portion and one or more upper appendages coupled to the base portion. In some embodiments, the base portion and the upper appendages may be portions of one continuous piece that forms frame 101. In other embodiments, the base portion and the upper appendages may be separate pieces coupled together (e.g., welded or bolted) to form frame 101. Generally, frame 101 is a single unit constructed from one or more pieces that can support the weight and movement of a user on exercise apparatus 100. Frame 101 may be placed on the floor or on the ground.

[0039] In an embodiment, a crank system is coupled to frame 101. The crank system may include both right and left crank members 102. Crank members 102 may be coupled to crankshaft 107. Crankshaft 107 may be coupled to the crank system on a crankshaft axis of the crank system. The crankshaft axis may pass through the center of crankshaft 107. Crankshaft 107 may be coupled to frame 101. One or more bearings may be used at the coupling of crankshaft 107 and frame 101. The bearings may be used to support crankshaft 107 on frame 101. Crank members 102 may rotate about the crankshaft axis of the crank system during use of exercise apparatus 100.

[0040] Pulley 114 may be coupled to crankshaft 107. Pulley 114 may rotate with crankshaft 107 during use of exercise apparatus 100. Pulley 114 may be coupled to brake device 104 with belt 113. In an embodiment, brake device 104 may be a brake/inertia device. In certain embodiments, brake device 104 is coupled to pulley 114 such that rotation of the brake device causes orbital motion of crank members 102 or orbital motion of crank members 102 causes rotation of the brake device. Brake device 104 may operate as is well known in the art to increase or decrease the load on pulley 114 so that the workload of a user of exercise apparatus 100 increases or decreases accordingly.

[0041] Crank members 102 may be coupled to movable members 105 at couplings 115. In certain embodiments, movable members 105 include orbital portions 124. Orbital portions 124 may be coupled to crank members 102 at couplings 115. During use of exercise apparatus 100, ends of movable members 105 or ends of orbital portions 124 coupled to crank members 102 may move in a substantially orbital path around crankshaft 107 and the crankshaft axis of the crank system. The substantially orbital path of the ends of movable members 105 may include, but is not limited to, a circular path, an elliptical path, or any other substantially orbital path around the crankshaft axis. In an embodiment, couplings 115 are pivotal couplings. In other embodiments, couplings 115 may be other types of couplings such as, but not limited to, a scotch yoke, a multi-bar linkage, or other types of multi-component connection methods that produce a substantially orbital path for the ends of movable members 105 about the crankshaft axis. In some embodiments, a position of couplings 115 may be variable or adjustable. For example, there may be multiple positions for couplings 115 on crank members 102 or a servo controller may move the position of couplings 115 on crank members 102.

[0042] In one embodiment, movable members 105 may have a bent shape with one bend, as shown in FIG. 1. A shape of movable members 105, however, is not limited to the shape shown in FIG. 1. Other embodiments of movable members 105 may have more than one bend or no bends. For example, a movable member may have a gradually curved shape, may be straight, or may include a combination of sections and/or shapes as desired by a designer, builder, or user of exercise apparatus 100. In FIGS. 1 and 2, movable members 105 have orbital portions 124 and distal portions 125. Orbital portions 124 are the portions of movable members 105 proximate the crank system. Distal portions 125 may be portions of movable members 105 distal from the crank system.

[0043] Movable members 105 or distal portions 125 may be translatably coupled to frame 101. In an embodiment, movable members 105 are translatably coupled to one or more rollers 109 coupled to frame 101. Rollers 109 may be fixably coupled to frame 101 such that the rollers are free to rotate, but the axis of the roller does not change position relative to the frame 101. In an embodiment, first movable member 105 is translatably coupled to a first roller 109 and a second movable member 105 is translatably coupled to a second roller 109. Coupling individual movable members 105 to individual rollers 109 may allow for independent motion of the movable members along the rollers (e.g., a first movable member may be moving in the forward direction while a second movable member is moving in the rearward direction on exercise apparatus 100). Movable members 105 may translatably move along rollers 109 (e.g., in a back and forth motion along the rollers). In some embodiments, rollers 109 may provide support for movable members 105. In certain embodiments, a point of coupling between rollers 109 and frame 101 may be a substantial weight-bearing point for exercise apparatus 100 (i.e., the point of coupling supports a substantial portion of the weight of a user of the exercise apparatus). Having rollers 109 support a substantial portion of the weight of the user may improve reliability and durability of exercise apparatus 100. Transferring the weight of the user through the rollers to the frame rather than through other joints (e.g., pivotal joints) may reduce stresses on and deflection of these other joints.

[0044] One or more pivotal linkage assemblies may be coupled to movable members 105 and/or frame 101. The pivotal linkage assemblies may be coupled to movable members 105 and frame 101 at couplings 121 and couplings 112, respectively. The pivotal linkage assemblies may include foot members 123 and pivotal members 110, as shown in FIGS. 1 and 2. In certain embodiments, a length of foot members 123 is substantially flat. Foot members 123 may be foot platforms for the user's feet. Foot members 123 and/or pivotal members 110 may include shapes other than those shown in FIG. 1. For example, foot members 123 and/or pivotal members 110 may be curved, straight, or a combination of sections and/or shapes as desired by a designer, builder, or user of exercise apparatus 100. Foot members 123 may include foot plates 106. Foot plates 106 may engage feet of a user of exercise apparatus 100. In some embodiments, foot plates 106 may be adjustable on foot members 123. For example, foot plates 106 may be placeable at one or more angles and/or one or more locations on foot members 123. Foot members 123 and pivotal members 110 may be coupled at couplings 122. In certain embodiments, pivotal members 110 are arm members or arm linkage members. Pivotal members 110 may be coupled to frame 101 at couplings 112. In an embodiment, foot members 123 are coupled to movable members 105 at couplings 121. Couplings 112, 121, and/or 122 may be pivotal couplings or any other suitable types of couplings.

[0045] A user may engage the exercise apparatus by placing the user's feet on foot plates 106. The user may also grasp or hold pivotal members 110. The user may grasp or hold upper portions 128 of pivotal members 110. To begin exercise on exercise apparatus 100, the user may initiate a walking, striding, or jogging motion with the user's feet on foot plates 106 and/or the user's hands and arms grasping pivotal members 110. The components of exercise apparatus 100 described herein may work in unison to provide motion for the user that follows a foot path simulating walking, striding, or jogging and may include arm or upper body motion during the simulation of walking, striding, or jogging. As the user's foot moves through the foot path, the pivotal linkage assemblies (i.e., foot members 123) may cause movable members 105, or distal portions 125, to translate along rollers 109 in a back and forth motion. During movement of movable members 105, the ends of the movable members (i.e., orbital portions 124) coupled to crank members 102 may move in the substantially orbital path about the crankshaft axis of the crank system.

[0046] During user exercise, the pivotal linkage assemblies, which include foot members 123 and/or pivotal members 110, may orient the feet of the user so that the feet move in a prescribed path. Couplings 121 may follow path 131 during use of exercise apparatus 100, as shown in FIG. 1. Thus, the feet of the user may follow path 131 during use of exercise apparatus 100. A detailed view of path 131 is shown in FIG. 1A. Path 131 may be a closed path. In some embodiments, path 131 may be a substantially elliptical path. A substantially elliptical path may be defined, in embodiments described herein, as a closed path with major and minor axes. Path 131 may be relatively pointed at one end (e.g., front end or rear end) of the path. In certain embodiments, path 131 is a substantially elliptical path with a relatively pointed front end, as shown in FIG. 1A. Path 131 may be divided into approximately four quadrants by major axis 142 and minor axis 141. Major axis 142 may be oriented generally lengthwise in path 131 and minor axis 141 may be oriented generally perpendicularly to the major axis. Minor axis 141 may intersect major axis 142 at, or about at, a midpoint of the major axis.

[0047] An orientation of major axis 142 relative to the ground is referenced by the angle “a” in FIG. 1A. A magnitude of angle “a” may be controlled by the shape of movable member 105 and/or a height of roller 109 relative to frame 101. Angle “b”, as shown in FIG. 1, may represent the relative angle between distal portion 125 and orbital portion 124 of movable member 105. Generally, an increase in angle “b” increases angle “a”. Increasing the height of roller 109 relative to frame 101 also generally increases angle “a”. Thus, a designer, builder, or user of exercise apparatus 100 may select or adjust angle “b” and/or the height of one or more rollers 109 relative to frame 101 to control the orientation of path 131 relative to the ground.

[0048] In certain embodiments, a designer, builder, or user of exercise apparatus 100 may control the shape of path 131 by adjusting the geometry of linkages in the exercise apparatus. FIG. 3A depicts a schematic of the embodiment of the linkage geometry of exercise apparatus 100, as shown in FIGS. 1 and 2. FIG. 3B depicts a schematic of an embodiment of linkage geometry that has been modified from the embodiment of FIG. 3A. In FIG. 3A, “x” denotes a distance between coupling 115 and coupling 121. In FIG. 3B, the distance between coupling 115 and coupling 121 has been reduced and is denoted by “x′”. Reducing the distance between coupling 115 and coupling 121 generally produces a more rounded path 131, as shown in FIG. 3B compared to FIG. 3A. Thus, the geometry of exercise apparatus 100 (e.g., the distance between coupling 115 and coupling 121) may be adjusted to produce a selected shape of path 131. In certain embodiments, the distance between coupling 115 and coupling 121 is adjusted by selecting the point or location of coupling 121 on movable member 105.

[0049] In certain embodiments, a designer, builder, or user of may adjust the geometry of exercise apparatus 100 to control foot articulation during use of the exercise apparatus. The geometry of exercise apparatus 100 may be adjusted to control the articulation of foot plates 106, thus providing articulation to the user's feet. Foot articulation may be defined as the relative angle or orientation of the foot (i.e., relative position of the toe versus the heel of the foot) during foot motion. In certain embodiments, foot articulation is controlled during movement of the user's feet through one or more portions of path 131.

[0050] In an embodiment, foot articulation may be controlled by the geometry of a pivotal linkage assembly (i.e., the geometry of foot member 123 and/or pivotal member 110). FIG. 4A depicts a schematic of the embodiment of the effect of exercise apparatus 100 linkage geometry, as shown in FIGS. 1 and 2, on foot articulation. Arc “A” with center “C” and radius “R” may be created in space such that arc “A” drops away from the lower quadrants of path 131 (i.e., the lower quadrants of path 131 shown in FIG. 1A). Arc “A” is created so that arc “A” passes through coupling 121 at the front end of path 131, as shown in FIG. 4A. Center “C” and radius “R” of arc “A” may then be transposed forward so that center “C” coincides with coupling 112 on frame 101. This transposition of center “C” and radius “R” defines a corresponding geometry for pivotal member 110 and foot member 123. Thus, coupling 122 will follow an arcuate path the same shape and orientation as arc “A”. As shown in FIG. 4A, during rearward motion of foot member 123 (i.e., the lower portion of path 131), coupling 121 falls slower, as shown by the lower portion of path 131, than coupling 122, as shown by arc “A”, and the user's heel will rise relative to the user's toe during rearward motion of the foot. In certain embodiments, the user's heel may rise relative to the user's toe during portions of the rearward motion of the foot. For example, the user's heel may rise relative to the user's toe during an approximately front lower quarter of path 131 (i.e., the front lower quadrant shown in FIG. 1A).

[0051] In an embodiment, the geometry of exercise apparatus 100 may be adjusted so that the user's heel remains at a substantially similar height as the user's toe during rearward motion of the foot. FIG. 4B depicts a schematic of an embodiment of an effect of exercise apparatus 100 linkage geometry on foot articulation such that the user's heel remains at a substantially similar height as the user's toe during rearward motion of the foot. Arc “A′” with center “C′” and radius “R′” may be created in space such that arc A′ generally coincides with the lower quadrants of path 131 (i.e., the lower quadrants of path 131 shown in FIG. 1A). Arc A′ is created so that arc A′ passes through coupling 121 at the front end of path 131, as shown in FIG. 4B. Center C′ and radius R′ of arc A′ may then be transposed forward so that center C′ coincides with coupling 112 on frame 101. This transposition of center C′ and radius R′ defines a corresponding geometry for pivotal member 110 and foot member 123. Thus, coupling 122 will follow an arcuate path the same shape and orientation as arc A′. As shown in FIG. 4B, during rearward motion of foot member 123 (i.e., the lower portion of path 131), coupling 121 falls at substantially the same rate, as shown by the lower portion of path 131, as coupling 122, as shown by arc A′, and the user's heel will remain at the substantially same height as the user's toe during rearward motion of the foot. In certain embodiments, the user's heel may remain at the substantially same height as the user's toe during portions of the rearward motion of the foot. For example, the user's heel may remain at the substantially same height as the user's toe during an approximately front lower quarter of path 131 (i.e., the front lower quadrant shown in FIG. 1A).

[0052] In an embodiment, the geometry of exercise apparatus 100 may be adjusted so that the user's heel falls at a faster rate than the user's toe during rearward motion of the foot. FIG. 4C depicts a schematic of an embodiment of an effect of exercise apparatus 100 linkage geometry on foot articulation such that the user's heel falls at a faster rate than the user's toe during rearward motion of the foot. Arc A″ with center C″ and radius R″ may be created in space such that arc A″ rises relative to the lower quadrants of path 131 (i.e., the lower quadrants of path 131 shown in FIG. 1A). Arc A″ is created so that arc A″ passes through coupling 121 at the front end of path 131, as shown in FIG. 4C. Center C″ and radius R″ of arc A″ may then be transposed forward so that center C″ coincides with coupling 112 on frame 101. This transposition of center C″ and radius R″ defines a corresponding geometry for pivotal member 110 and foot member 123. Thus, coupling 122 will follow an arcuate path the same shape and orientation as arc A″. As shown in FIG. 4C, during rearward motion of foot member 123 (i.e., the lower portion of path 131), coupling 121 falls at a faster rate, as shown by the lower portion of path 131, than coupling 122, as shown by arc A′, and the user's heel will fall relative to the user's toe during rearward motion of the foot. In certain embodiments, the user's heel may fall relative to the user's toe during portions of the rearward motion of the foot. For example, the user's heel may fall relative to the user's toe during an approximately front lower quarter of path 131 (i.e., the front lower quadrant shown in FIG. 1A).

[0053] In some embodiments, a pivotal linkage assembly may include one or more components other than foot member 123 and pivotal member 110. These components may be additional components in the pivotal linkage assembly or components used in lieu of foot member 123 and/or pivotal member 110. These components may be designed so that the components alone, or in combination with foot member 123 and/or pivotal member 110, can be used to control foot articulation in exercise apparatus 100 as described herein.

[0054] As shown in the embodiments described above, a designer, builder, or user of exercise apparatus 100 may advantageously be able to selectively control desired parameters (e.g., a shape of path 131, an orientation of path 131, and/or foot articulation) of the exercise apparatus by controlling the geometry of the exercise apparatus. Selectively controlling these desired parameters may allow a designer, builder, or user of exercise apparatus 100 to better simulate foot and/or body patterns involved with walking, striding, and/or jogging. Improved simulation of these patterns may make an exercise apparatus more comfortable for a user to exercise with and less stressful on joints in the body. The improved simulation exercise apparatus may provide a better cardiovascular workout experience for the user.

[0055] In some embodiments, a user, technician, or trainer may adjust parameters described above (i.e., a shape of path 131, an orientation of path 131, and/or foot articulation) after exercise apparatus 100 has been designed and constructed. These parameters may be adjusted by allowing the location of any one of the couplings (e.g., couplings 112, 121, and/or 122) and/or the height of one or more rollers 109 relative to frame 101 to be adjusted. For example, a pin may fix the location of coupling 121 on movable member 105. Movable member 105 may include one or more holes to allow the pin to fix the location of coupling 121 at any one of the hole positions. A user, technician, or trainer may be allowed to remove the pin, adjust the location of coupling 121, and replace the pin to reaffix the position of coupling 121 at the new location.

[0056]FIG. 5 depicts an elevation drawing of an alternative embodiment of exercise apparatus 100. Movable member 105 may be coupled to pivotal member 110 with block 111. In an embodiment, block 111 is a pivotal slider block. Block 111 may pivot at point 113 and allow pivotal member 110 to slide in a bore of block 111. In the embodiment depicted in FIG. 5, foot plates 106 are placed on movable members 105. Foot plates 106 may move in a closed path as described herein.

[0057] In this patent, certain U.S. patents, U.S. patent applications, and other materials (e.g., articles) have been incorporated by reference. The text of such U.S. patents, U.S. patent applications, and other materials is, however, only incorporated by reference to the extent that no conflict exists between such text and the other statements and drawings set forth herein. In the event of such conflict, then any such conflicting text in such incorporated by reference U.S. patents, U.S. patent applications, and other materials is specifically not incorporated by reference in this patent.

[0058] Further modifications and alternative embodiments of various aspects of the invention will be apparent to those skilled in the art in view of this description. Accordingly, this description is to be construed as illustrative only and is for the purpose of teaching those skilled in the art the general manner of carrying out the invention. It is to be understood that the forms of the invention shown and described herein are to be taken as the presently preferred embodiments. Elements and materials may be substituted for those illustrated and described herein, parts and processes may be reversed, and certain features of the invention may be utilized independently, all as would be apparent to one skilled in the art after having the benefit of this description of the invention. Changes may be made in the elements described herein without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention as described in the following claims.

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Classifications
U.S. Classification482/52, 482/57
International ClassificationA63B23/04, A63B23/035
Cooperative ClassificationA63B2022/067, A63B22/0015
European ClassificationA63B22/00B