US 20040235623 A1
The pulley machine counter is a weight lifting machine repetition counter that may be easily installed on, and removed from, a weight lifting machine. The pulley machine counter has a counting mechanism that includes a pushrod that increments the repetition count each time the pushrod is depressed. When mounted on a weight lifting machine, each complete weight lifting repetition causes the weights to contact and depress the pushrod, thereby incrementing the repetition count. When the pulley machine counter is properly positioned at the maximum vertical travel of the weights during a complete lift, the pulley machine counter will count only complete repetitions. A clamp, used to hold the pulley machine counter in place, has a friction-enhancing member to facilitate proper positioning.
1. A pulley machine counter, comprising:
a housing, the housing having a viewing window formed therein;
a counting assembly contained within said housing, the counting assembly having:
a number displaying means for displaying a count, the count being visible through said viewing window; and
an incrementing means for incrementing the count; and
a slidable clamp assembly disposed on said housing.
2. The pulley machine counter according to
a first semi-cylindrical clamp collar;
a second semi-cylindrical clamp collar pivotally attached to said first semi-cylindrical clamp collar, the second clamp collar having an internally threaded bore defined therein; and
a thumbscrew disposed in said first semi-cylindrical clamp collar, the thumbscrew releasably engaging the bore.
3. The pulley machine counter according to
4. The pulley machine counter according to
a shaft; and
a counting wheel disposed on said shaft, the counting wheel bearing visual indicia of integers in a counting sequence.
5. The pulley machine counter according to
a ratchet wheel disposed on said shaft, the ratchet wheel having a plurality of ratchet teeth formed uniformly around the ratchet wheel;
a pushrod having a ratchet driving end and a pushing end, the pushrod being disposed in a tangential relation to said ratchet wheel, the ratchet driving end being engageable with said ratchet teeth; and
bias means for biasing said pushrod away from said ratchet wheel;
wherein pushing said pushrod against said bias means causes said ratchet driving end to engage with one of said ratchet teeth causing said ratchet wheel, said shaft, and said counting wheel to turn a single increment.
6. The pulley machine counter according to
 The present invention is a pulley machine counter, designated generally as 10 in the drawings. The pulley machine counter is designed to count weight-lifting repetitions on a weight-lifting machine such as the pulley machine type of weight lifting machine seen in FIG. 1. In use, the pulley machine counter 10 is mounted on a weight guide rail, or a similar member of the weight lifting machine, near the point of the maximum travel of the weights during a complete lifting repetition.
 Referring to FIG. 2, the pulley machine counter 10 has a sliding clamp assembly 40 for attaching the pulley machine counter 10 to the weight lifting machine. The sliding clamp assembly 40 is attached to a housing 20 that contains a counting mechanism. The counting mechanism includes a counting wheel 50, visible through a window 22 formed in the housing 20. Visual indicia of integer numbers are arranged on the counting wheel 50 in a counting sequence. A pushrod 30 extends from the housing 50. When depressed, the pushrod 30 causes the counting mechanism to advance, bringing the next number in the counting sequence into view through the window 22 thereby incrementing the count. When the pulley machine counter 10 is positioned on the weight lifting machine, the pushrod 30 is depressed by the weights as the weights are raised during a weight lifting repetition, causing the count to increment.
 To encourage a workout session of maximum benefit, it is desirable to count only a complete weight lifting repetition, where the weight is lifted to the maximum height for the weight lifter. Proper placement of the pulley machine counter 10 on the weight lifting machine achieves this goal. The sliding clamp assembly 40 is designed to facilitate proper placement of the pulley machine counter 10 on the weight lifting machine.
 The sliding clamp assembly 40 is comprised of first and second semi-cylindrical clamp collars 42, 44. The first and second semi-cylindrical clamp collars 42, 44 are pivotally joined to one-another. A threaded thumbscrew 46 is disposed in the second semi-cylindrical clamp collar 44, and is engages an internally threaded hole defined in the first semi-cylindrical clamp collar 42 so that first and second semi-cylindrical clamp collars 42, 44 can be joined together and tightened around a weight guide rail, or a similar member of the weight lifting machine. A friction-enhancing member 48 is disposed on an inner surface of each of the first and second semi-cylindrical clamp collars 42, 44. The friction enhancing members 48, formed of a rubber o-ring material, rubber or cloth strips, or another suitable material, allow the sliding clamp assembly 40 to be loosely tightened to hold the pulley machine counter 10 in place while allowing the sliding clamp assembly 40 to slide along the weight guide rail when pushed.
 The pulley machine counter 10 may be positioned optimally to count only a full weight lifting repetition for an individual weight lifter by using the sliding clamp assembly 40 to clamp the pulley machine counter 10 to a weight guide rail, somewhat lower than desired, without fully tightening the sliding clamp assembly 40. The weight lifter then performs a single weight lifting repetition, lifting to his fullest extension. This first full repetition will push the pulley machine counter 10 into position. The sliding clamp assembly 40 is then fully tightened for the duration of the workout set or session.
 Turning now to FIGS. 3 and 4, the counting mechanism includes a shaft 54, supported by-the housing 20. A counting wheel 50 and a ratchet wheel 52 are disposed on the shaft. The ratchet wheel 52 has a plurality of ratchet teeth 56 formed uniformly around the ratchet wheel 52. The number of ratchet teeth 56 formed in the ratchet wheel 52 determines the number of count increments that may be registered. For the purpose of counting repetitions in a weight lifting set, a counting range from 0 to 15 is preferred. Thus, a preferred embodiment will have 16 ratchet teeth 56 formed in the ratchet wheel 52. A reset knob 58 is connected to an end of the shaft 54 to allow the counting wheel to be returned to a starting position.
 The pushrod 30 has a ratchet wheel-engaging end 34 and a pushing end 36, and is disposed in a spring cylinder 24 that is formed in the housing 20. The pushing end 36 extends from the spring cylinder 42. The ratchet wheel-engaging end 34 extends from the spring cylinder 24 into the housing 20. A flange 32 is formed on the pushrod 30, and the flange is contained within the spring cylinder 24, with a spring helically disposed around the pushrod 30 and biased against the flange 32 to bias the pushrod in an extended position. The pushrod is tangentially aligned with the ratchet wheel 52 so that, when the pushrod is depressed, the ratchet wheel-engaging end 34 engages with one of the ratchet teeth 56 and turns the ratchet wheel, causing the counting wheel to turn a single increment. Each full weight lifting repetition will cause the weight to contact, and depress, the pushrod 30, causing the count to increment.
 It is to be understood that the present invention is not limited to the embodiment described above, but encompasses any and all embodiments within the scope of the following claims.
FIG. 1 is an environmental, perspective view of a pulley machine counter according to the present invention.
FIG. 2 is a perspective view of a pulley machine counter according to the present invention.
FIG. 3 is a side elevational view of the pulley machine counter according to the present invention, cut away to show the counter mechanism.
FIG. 4 is a top elevational view of the pulley machine counter according to the present invention, cut away to show the counter mechanism.
 Similar reference characters denote corresponding features consistently throughout the attached drawings.
 1. Field of the Invention
 The present invention relates to exercise and fitness equipment. More specifically, the invention is a pulley machine counter for counting exercise repetitions on a weight-lifting machine.
 2. Description of the Related Art
 Numerous kinds of exercise and fitness equipment have come into popular use to facilitate a workout session. Weight machines of all shapes and sizes are seen in gyms, fitness centers, and homes. Many such machines use a stack of weights that are lifted by the athlete, through some mechanical assembly, to exercise a particular muscle or muscle group. The weights are typically flat plates, arranged in a stack. A lifting mechanism allows the user to vary the weight by selecting one or more of the weights to be lifted. One or more guide rails keep the weights together in a uniform stack.
 Common among weight machines are “pulley machines” where a cord, attached to a pulling bar or handle, is routed through one or more pulleys to the weights. The weights are lifted by pulling on the pulling bar or handle. An advantage of pulley machines is that, by adding or repositioning a pulley to change the pull angle of the cord, many different kinds of weight-lifting exercise may be performed with a single machine. Regardless of their configuration, pulley machines are in widespread use in gyms and fitness centers.
 A workout session involving lifting weights, whether free-weights or a weight machine such as a pulley machine, is typically performed in a number of sets, each set being a number of repetitions, each repetition being a single lift of the weight. For example, during a workout an athlete may perform three sets of bench presses with each set consisting of fifteen bench press lifts.
 To achieve the maximum benefit of a workout session, it is important that each repetition is complete, being a full lift of the weight utilizing the full extension of the muscle or muscle group targeted by the exercise. Thus, for a repetition to “count” toward a full set, the repetition must be complete.
 Weight lifters have relied on numerous means to count repetitions during a workout session, from personal trainers counting reps and encouraging proper form and a complete and full lift, to counters incorporated into the weight machine that register a count anytime the weight is moved. Despite the various advantages of the numerous methods and means available to count weight lifting repetitions, none has the convenience and utility of an inexpensive and simple rep counter that will count only a full and complete lift.
 U.S. Pat. No. 6,342,028, issued on Jan. 29, 2002 to J. de Sane, discloses a magnetic counter for exercise equipment. A permanent magnet affixed to the weight stack on a weight machine triggers a magnetic sensor on an electronic counter to increment a repetition count when the magnet passes in proximity to the sensor. In one embodiment, the sensor and counter are permanently attached to the weight machine. Permanently attached, the counter is not suited to record a full repetition for all users since, because of their differing physical size and arm length, users will lift the weights to differing maximum lift positions. In another embodiment, the device is temporarily and selectively attached to the weight machine. While this embodiment allows each user to place the counter according to their own needs, the device itself does not facilitate its optimal placement at the top lift position.
 U.S. Pat. No. 4,323,237, issued on Apr. 6, 1982 to B. Jungerwirth, discloses an adaptive exercise apparatus that includes a repetition counter. The repetition counter, however, is not a portable device suitable for attachment to and removal from several machines during the course of a workout session.
 U.S. Pat. No. 4,270,399, issued on Jun. 2, 1981 to E. Knief, discloses a counter drive mechanism that may be used to convert reciprocating motion into an intermittent rotary motion for driving a decimal counter. The counter drive mechanism shown is more complex than necessary for the needs of a weight machine repetition counter, and is not appropriately adapted for the task.
 None of the above inventions and patents, taken either singly or in combination, is seen to describe the instant invention as claimed. Thus a pulley machine counter solving the aforementioned problems is desired.
 The pulley machine counter is a repetition counter for use with weight lifting machines. The pulley machine counter is particularly well suited for the pulley machine type of weight lifting machine, or any other weight lifting machine having a stack of weights that are lifted along guide rails. A single number wheel is disposed on an axle along with a drive ratchet wheel. This wheel-and-axle assembly is contained within a housing, with the number wheel visible through a window in the housing. A spring-biased pushrod is contained in the housing, oriented to engage with the drive ratchet wheel. When the pushrod is depressed, it engages the drive ratchet wheel to turn the counter wheel a single increment.
 A clamp on the housing fastens the counter to the weight lifting machine. The counter will generally be fastened onto one of the weight guide rails and positioned at the top of the weight travel with the pushrod downward. A rubber grip inside the clamp allows for easy and precise placement of the counter. The counter may be attached to the guide rail loosely, somewhat lower than the desired position. The rubber grip will prevent the counter from sliding down along the rail before it is firmly clamped in position.
 The user can then perform a single weight lifting repetition, extending the weights to the user's maximum reach. The weights will push the loosely mounted counter into the correct position, where the clamp may be tightened for the duration of its use. Once positioned, the counter will record a repetition only when the weights are lifted fully into the maximum position.
 Accordingly, it is a principal object of the invention to provide a pulley machine counter to count weight lifting repetitions on a weight lifting machine.
 It is another object of the invention to provide a pulley machine counter to count only complete weight lifting repetitions on a weight lifting machine.
 It is a further object of the invention to provide a pulley machine counter that is easily installable on and removable from a weight lifting machine.
 Still another object of the invention is to provide a pulley machine counter that is easily adjustable to count only complete weight lifting repetitions on a weight lifting machine.
 It is an object of the invention to provide improved elements and arrangements thereof for the purposes described which is inexpensive, dependable and fully effective in accomplishing its intended purposes.
 These and other objects of the present invention will become readily apparent upon further review of the following specification and drawings.