FIELD OF THE INVENTION
The present application claims priority to U.S. provisional application Ser. No. 60/575,676 filed on May 28, 2004.
- BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
The present invention relates to exercising devices, and particularly to an adjustable hand grip system adapted for use with treadmills.
Treadmill exercising machines are well known and basically consist of an endless belt mounted in a base. By walking or running on this belt, one may obtain an aerobic level of exercise. Treadmill machines come in wide variety of configurations with most modern models now being powered by electric motors and providing a variety of controls to set the speed and perhaps incline of the belt at a desired position for exercise. Less expensive models have fewer features and may even be manually powered. The general objective of treadmill devices is to provide the cardiopulmonary benefits of walking, jogging or running. The walking, jogging or running exercise on a treadmill works the large gludimous maximus and deltoid muscle groups, thereby providing aerobic level exercise and corresponding cardiovascular benefits.
While it is possible to exercise on a treadmill machine without utilizing hand grips, hand grips are usually provided for exercisers who prefer or require such grips. Perhaps the most common grip position is that of a horizontal crossbar located directly in front of the exerciser toward the forward end of the treadmill as typified by bars shown in Lynch, U.S. Pat. No. 5,000,440, and in Fisher, et al., U.S. Pat. No. 5,110,117 in phantom. A common alternative position is a side grip such as that shown FIG. 2 of Lynch, and the final common option is a pivoting exercise enhancing grip such as shown in Fisher, et al. that allows the exerciser to also work upper body muscle groups.
While the aforementioned grip configurations have proved suitable for most treadmill users, there remain inadequacies for the use of treadmills in cardiac rehabilitation. After open heart surgery, the recovering patients are instructed to engage in light exercise as a part of their cardiac rehabilitation, and treadmill exercise devices are well suited for this purpose. However, patients are instructed to tuck their arms close to their body with hands positioned directly against the frontal lower chest wall directly beneath their pectoral muscles. When utilizing a horizontal crossbar, the exerciser's hands are necessarily rotated to a horizontal position and in the best case, hands extend somewhat forward from the exerciser's abdomen. Obviously, the use of side grips or pivoting grips moves the exerciser's hands even further away from the desired position, and also causes the arms to be moved away from the sides of the body.
Accordingly, it is a general object of the invention to provide a hand grip assembly that may be adapted for use by exercisers engaged in cardiac rehabilitation, or who need or desire aid with stability and balance while exercising.
It is another object of the invention to provide a hand grip assembly suitable for use in cardiac rehabilitation that when not needed for such purpose may be easily moved out of the way so that traditional grip locations are available.
- SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
It is yet a further object of the present invention to provide a hand rail that supplies vertical grips that may be positioned immediately forward of the exerciser's lower chest wall and that also provides grips in the location of a horizontal crossbar.
DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
The above recited objects of the invention and others which will become apparent upon a reading of the following specification and claims are achieved by the present invention which provides for two pivotably mounted hand rails that are rotatable into position, such that each hand rail provides both a horizontal section and a vertical section for gripping immediately forward of the exerciser and that may be adjusted vertically to the desired height for a particular individual. When not in use, the hand rails may be pivoted out of position so that the treadmill may be utilized with its ordinary hand rail configuration.
The invention may be described with greater clarity and particularity by reference to the accompanying drawings in which like reference numerals are used to indicate like parts in the various views.
FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a treadmill equipped with hand rails according to the present invention.
FIG. 2 is a side plan view of a single hand rail according to the present invention located in retracted position.
FIG. 3 is an end view of a left hand rail according to the present invention located in extended position for use.
FIG. 4 is a fragmentary perspective view of the rib and hand rail assembly of the present invention.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION
FIG. 5 is a rear perspective view of hand rails of the present invention located in extended position for use.
Referring now to the drawings in more detail, a treadmill exercise device 10 is illustrated comprised generally of base 11 in which an endless belt 12 is supported longitudinally and upon which the exerciser 17 jogs or walks. Also shown is a display 15 set at the top of display support 14 extending upward from base 11. The display 15 typically provides user controls to adjust speed and incline of the belt 12 and may also provide visual readouts of elapsed time, estimated caloric consumption, heart rate and other information. The features of treadmills vary widely, and the present invention is not restricted to use on any particular model or features other than as set forth in the claims. Of principal interest in the present invention is the support frame, in the illustrated embodiment of FIG. 1 comprised of left frame 21 and right frame 31 on either side of the endless belt 12. Left and right frames 21, 31 are each respectively comprised of front leg sections 22, 32, horizontal bar sections 23, 33, and rear leg sections 24, 34. On each of the left and right frames 21, 31 is a mounting bracket such as channeled rib 25 which receives a hand rail assembly such as S-bar 40 that provides an adjustable grip in the form of a vertical section 48 that may be positioned against the exerciser's 17 front lower chest wall.
FIG. 2 is a fragmentary side view of right side rail 31 with rib 25 and S-bar 40 shown in its retracted position. Bracket 25 may be permanently welded to horizontal section 33 of side rail 31 or may have a removable mounting section such as horizontal tube 28, the channel of which is securely but removably mounted to horizontal section 33. Bracket 25 preferably has a vertical tubular section 26 with pairs of apertures 27 extending through the tube wall. The S-bar 40 has a mount such as lower section 41, that in the use of the illustrated tubular embodiments may be overfitting or interfitting as shown with the bracket provided having vertical tubular section 26, to permit pivoting movement. Illustrated lower section 41 also has apertures 42 at predetermined increments to form a part of an adjusting and locking assembly. In order to set the height of the S-bar 40 and thereby set the height of the vertical section 48 above the endless belt of the treadmill, a set of desired lower section apertures 42 is aligned with a pair of vertical tube apertures 27 and a mounting pin 36 extended therethrough. From lower section 41, S-bar 40 of the illustrated hand rail assembly proceeds to corner 44 making a right angle, a lateral extension such as horizontal section 45, a second corner 47 also making a right angle, vertical section 48 and end cap 50. Horizontal section 45 and vertical section 48 each preferably have padded grip sections 46, 49 which may be formed from hard foam rubber, or similar suitable materials, to provide a softer gripping area and to minimize the chance of injury if bumped against. The two right angled corners 44, 47 cause the lower section 41 and the vertical section 48 to be substantially parallel, but offset by the distance attributable to the lateral extension.
FIG. 3 is an end view of side member 23 of the left frame 21 having upstanding tubular section 26 with S-bar 40 rotated into its extended position for use. Mounting pin 36 is shown with head 37 and distal end 38 so that the post section of pin 36 extends through apertures 27 in tubular section 26 and apertures 42 in lower section 41 of S-bar 40. In this fashion, the pin 36 fixes the position of the lower section 41 and indeed the entire handrail assembly of S-bar 40, relative to the tubular section 26. It will be seen that flange 43 just above lower section 41 prevents corner 44 of S-bar 40 from entering tubular section 26 and becoming wedged in that position.
As better shown in FIG. 4, it can also be seen that rather than simply having pairs of apertures 27 extending on opposite sides of vertical tube 26, the lower section 41 of S-bar 40 has sets of four apertures 42 evenly spaced about the circumference of the lower section 41 at each predetermined increment so that the S-bar 40 may be rotated in 90° increments with respect to tubular section 26. This enables the S-bar 40 to be positioned in both retracted and extended positions at each height.
FIG. 5 illustrates a rear perspective view of the central horizontal sections 23, 33 of left and right side rails 21, 31. S-bars 40 are shown in their extended positions with vertical sections 48 positioned over the forward portion of the endless belt. Arrows A and B show how S-bars 40 may be rotated 90° to retracted positions to position central horizontal sections 45 generally above and parallel to left and right horizontal sections 23, 33. It will also be seen in FIG. 5 that S-bars 40 present both vertical grip sections 48 with grips 49 that may be easily positioned against the front lower chest wall of an exerciser, and horizontal sections 45 providing grips in the positions with padding 46 in the fashion of the customary horizontal crossbars. Thus the S-bars 40 of the present invention provide the ability to convert the support frame of a treadmill machine to both a horizontal crossbar grip and to a vertical cardiac rehabilitation friendly grip configuration.
It will be understood that there are numerous methods that may be utilized to provide mounting brackets on the frame of a treadmill and to pivotably attach a hand rail assembly to such mounting points, and similarly that there are many alternatives for lockingly engaging a hand rail assembly in a selected vertical and rotational position.
Although preferred embodiments of the present invention have been disclosed in detail herein, it will be understood that various substitutions and modifications may be made to the disclosed embodiment described herein without departing from the scope and spirit of the present invention as recited in the appended claims.