US 20040077468 A1
The present invention consists of a flat, rectangular metal frame that would measure approximately 5 feet long. The front of the frame would be fitted with a pair of handles or handgrips that would be connected on top of the padded elbow. The padded elbow and knee rests would roll back and forth along the frame. The knee rest would include a variable resistance mechanism that could be adjusted to make it harder to move the knee rest. The user would place the machine on the floor, kneel down on the knee rest, lean forward on their elbows and hold the handgrips with their elbows on the elbow rest, and exercise by using his abdominal muscles to move the elbow and knee rests back and forth along the frame. As the user pulls the knee rest up toward the handgrips, his abdominal muscles would contract and receive a good workout.
1. The “AB Cruncher Machine” is used solely for exercise purposes.
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 The present invention relates generally to exercise machines, more particularly, to exercise machines adapted for utilization for abdominal and upper and lower back exercises, as well as, for strength exercises against the body weight of the user.
 A variety of exercise machines have been developed for exercising particular muscles of the human body, and the popularity of exercise apparatuses has increased in light of the recognition of the significant benefits that can result from exercising muscles of the human body. Of the exercise machines that have been developed, a number of them are adapted for exercising the muscles of the abdomen in what is commonly referred to as a “sit-up” exercise. Such exercise machines have typically permitted various types of abdominal flexion exercises requiring a user's upper torso to flex in a curling and uncurling manner for particular exercise of abdominal muscles. Other exercise machines that have been developed utilize a user's own body weight at least as a part of the load weight and/or resistance of the machine during performance of a variety of strength exercises. Unfortunately, exercise machines adapted for abdominal exercise typically do not also provide for strength exercises.
 U.S. Pat. No. 5,779,607 to Harris—Abdominal Exercise Machine Adapted For Strength Exercises, a novel abdominal exercise machine is provided which is adaptable for a variety of strength exercises utilizing at least some of the weight of a user for resistance. The exercise machine includes a first frame having laterally spaced and parallel side arms adapted for at least partially receiving a user in a supine position there between for abdominal exercise. A second frame is pivotally attached to one side of the first frame and includes a support member of at least partially supporting a user's weight thereon during utilization of the exercise, the support member can support a user's head thereon. When utilized for a variety of strength exercises, the weight of a user thereon wherein the user can stand, sit, or kneel on the support member. The amount of resistance encountered during strength exercises can be selectively adjusted. The exercise machine additionally includes a handlebar pivotally attached to the same side of the first frame as the second frame but on an opposite end of the first frame from the location of attachment of the second frame to the first frame.
 U.S. Pat. No. 4,198,044 to Holappa—Exercise Board, an exercise board of generally rectangular form adapted to support the body of a person thereon characterized in that the sides and ends of the board have a plurality of laterally projecting eye bolts there along and in that the leg end of the board has a longitudinally extending ladder-like slot between the person's legs, the eye bolts and rungs of the slots being selectively engaged by hooks at the ends of flexible elastically stretchable belts for embracing selected portions of the body for exercising the muscles of the legs, groin, abdomen, back, arms, shoulders, neck and including torso or trunk twisting exercises. The exercise board herein is further characterized in that the head end has an extension there from which provides a cross bar longitudinally spaced from and laterally offset from the head end of the board to provide a handgrip for performing body-stretching exercises.
 U.S. Pat. No. 3,947,023 to Martin—Exercise Board, a torso-centric exercise board consisting of a padded rectangular board with a padded headrest and a removable crossbar in two pieces, extending beyond the borders of the board, which crossbar is assembled by inserting one piece into a metal casing which encloses the other piece and bolting the assembled crossbar into a recessed cut in the board. In the extremities of the crossbar on each side in a series of orifices, symmetrical and equidistant, for the adjustment of a pair of handgrips, which consist of a post on a platen base, which base, when the posts or handgrips are adjusted in the orifices, supports the crossbar above the floor. The board is provided with a handle for carrying and straps on the back for storage of the crossbars and the handgrips. The whole is of such mechanical simplicity as to avoid the problems of malfunction common in more complex mechanical devices and to make for greater economy of manufacture, without sacrificing any features necessary to its purpose which is to provide the gymnast with a necessary means of support while performing exercises which reduce the abdomen, waist and hips, strengthen the muscles of the back and abdomen and improve the circulation of blood and lymph through the body.
 The present invention is an exercise machine that would provide a fitness enthusiast with a safe, effective way to tone and strengthen his or her abdominal and back muscles while utilizing their own body weight to strengthen their muscles. Harris' U.S. Pat. No. 5,779,607 machine only exercises the upper and middle abdominal muscles. If the user suffers with low back problems, he would be unable to use this machine comfortably. Holappa' U.S. Pat. No. 4,198,044 machine where the user has to lie flat on the on their back and use resistance to complete leg raises exercises to work the abdominal muscles. Once again, if the user has low-back problems, he would not be able to comfortably use this machine either. Martin' U.S. Pat. No. 3,947,023 machine is another product where the user is lying flat on their back and while rotating your hips from side to side to exercise your abdominal (and waistline) muscles. Yet again, a position that is not comfortable for the user with low back problems.
 The present invention is designed for any user types, and more specifically it addresses the user with low back problems. The user is not lying on their back to exercise their abdominal muscles and the present invention works to strengthen the upper and low back muscles.
 The present invention consists of a flat, rectangular metal frame that would measure approximately 5 feet long. The front of the frame would be fitted with a pair of handles or handgrips that would be mounted on the on top of the upper padded elbow rest. The back of the frame would be fitted with a padded knee rest that would roll back and forth along the frame. The knee rest would include a variable resistance mechanism that could be adjusted to make it harder to move the knee rest. The machine could also be offered in a deluxe model that would include a timer, pulse rate monitor, and adjustable handgrips, and locking devices to the lock either the upper or lower part padded rests, while independently working the unlocked portion for a more isolated/concentrated abdominal and back workout. The user would place the machine on the floor, kneel down on the knee rest, lean forward on their elbows and hold the handgrips, and exercise by using his abdominal muscles to move the knee rest back and forth along the frame. As the user pulls the elbow and knee rests together toward the each other, his abdominal muscles would contract and flex to receive a good workout. The upper abdominals would be isolated at the start of each repetition and the lower abdominals would be isolated, as the user's knees get closer to his hands. Conversely, the focus would shift from the user's lower abdominals to his upper abdominals as he pushes the knee rests back away from his hands. The movement would also strengthen the user's upper and lower back.
 The frame for the present invention could be produced from extruded steel channel stock. The handles could be produced from short lengths of steel rod stock or tubing, and each handle could be covered by a rubber or foam handgrips to increase the user's comfort. The elbow and knee rests could have plywood or plastic frame that would be covered by a foam pad that would be encased in vinyl. The elbow and knee rests would be mounted on small wheels that would fit inside the channel stock of the frame. For the deluxe model, the timer/pulse rate monitor would be produced from standard components, and the display could be mounted at the front of the frame so that it would be easy for the user to view his progress as he exercises. The present invention could also be offered in a super deluxe model to include an adjustable sliding bar to accommodate a taller user and inclination features to raise the front and rear independently for increased resistance for greater strength building. The deluxe model could also be produced from stronger, higher quality components so that it operates smoother and lasts longer.
 Drawing sheet 1 consists of Figure A, Figure B, and Figure C, which are provided as visual aids to show how the user would use the machine. Figure A is the skeleton side view of the machine. Figure B is the user in the elongated full body stretch. Figure C is the user in the contraction position with no pressure on the back.
 Drawing sheet 2 consists of Figure D and Figure E, which are provided as views while standing in front of the machine; and Figure F is a skeleton view of the invention while standing over it. Figure D is the skeleton view and Figure E allows viewers to see the user using the machine from the frontal view. Figure F allows you to view the coiled and wire mechanisms, wheels, frame and pulley system.