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Publication numberUS20060166791 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 11/040,378
Publication dateJul 27, 2006
Filing dateJan 21, 2005
Priority dateJan 21, 2005
Publication number040378, 11040378, US 2006/0166791 A1, US 2006/166791 A1, US 20060166791 A1, US 20060166791A1, US 2006166791 A1, US 2006166791A1, US-A1-20060166791, US-A1-2006166791, US2006/0166791A1, US2006/166791A1, US20060166791 A1, US20060166791A1, US2006166791 A1, US2006166791A1
InventorsHung-Mao Liao, Te-Chang Huang
Original AssigneeHung-Mao Liao, Te-Chang Huang
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Elliptical exercise machine with adjustable elliptical path
US 20060166791 A1
Abstract
An exercise machine includes a pair of reciprocating slide members each having a pivotal end connected to a rotating mechanism and a sliding end slidable on a support. A foot plate 43 is mounted slidably on a corresponding slide member. A linkage unit is connected to each foot plate and the rotating mechanism, and a control mechanism is associated with the linkage unit and the foot plate for actuating the foot plate to move forward when the slide member moves forward and to move rearward when the slide member moves rearward. An elliptical path of the exercise machine can be enlarged due to the slidable foot plate and the control mechanism.
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Claims(14)
1. An exercise machine comprising:
a support extending in a front-to-rear direction and having a rotating mechanism mounted thereon;
a pair of slide members mounted on said support for reciprocating movement and each having a pivotal end connected to said rotating mechanism and a sliding end slidable on said support;
a foot plate mounted movably on one of said slide members;
a linkage unit connecting said foot plate to said rotating mechanism for reciprocating said foot plate on said one of said slide members; and
a control mechanism associated with said linkage unit for actuating said foot plate to move forward when said one of said slide members moves forward and to move rearward when said one of said slide members moves rearward.
2. The exercise machine as claimed in claim 1, wherein said linkage unit includes at least first and second arms which are connected pivotally to each other, said first arm being connected pivotally to said pivotal end of said one of said slide members, said second arm connected pivotally to said foot plate.
3. The exercise machine as claimed in claim 2, wherein said control mechanism is connected to said pivotal end and said first arm for turning said first arm and said pivotal end in opposite directions.
4. The exercise machine as claimed in claim 3, wherein said control mechanism includes a gear assembly.
5. The exercise machine as claimed in claim 4, wherein said gear assembly includes a first gear mounted coaxially with said pivotal end, and a second gear mounted coaxially with said first arm, said first and second gears interlocking each other.
6. The exercise machine as claimed in claim 3, wherein said control mechanism includes a pair of pulleys which are coaxial with said pivotal end of said one of said slide members and said first arm, respectively, and a cross belt extending over said pulleys.
7. The exercise machine as claimed in claim 3, wherein said control mechanism includes a pair of rubber rollers which are in contact with each other and which are respectively coaxial with said pivotal end of said one of said slide members and said first arm.
8. The exercise machine as claimed in claim 2, further comprising an adjustment mechanism associated with said linkage unit for adjusting the distance of the stroke of said foot plate on said one of said slide members.
9. The exercise machine as claimed in claim 8, wherein said first arm has a first end connected pivotally to said pivotal end of one of said slide members, and a second end opposite to said first end, said second arm having a first end connected to said first arm through said adjustment mechanism.
10. The exercise machine as claimed in claim 9, wherein said adjustment mechanism includes a plurality of retaining holes provided in said first arm at intervals between said first and second ends of said first arm and along the length of said first arm, and a pivot unit for connecting said first end of said second arm to a selected one of said retaining holes.
11. An exercise machine comprising:
a support extending in a front-to-rear direction and having a rotating mechanism mounted thereon;
a pair of slide members mounted on said support for reciprocal movement and each having a pivotal end connected pivotally to said rotating mechanism;
a foot plate mounted movably on one of said slide members;
a linkage unit connecting to said foot plate to said rotating mechanism for reciprocating said foot plate on said one of said slide members; and
a control mechanism associated with said linkage unit for actuating said foot plate to move forward when said one of said slide members moves forward and to move rearward when said one of said slide members moves rearward.
12. The exercise machine as claimed in claim 11, wherein said linkage unit includes at least first and second arms which are connected pivotally to each other, said first arm being connected pivotally to said pivotal end of said one of said slide members, said second arm connected pivotally to said foot plate.
13. The exercise machine as claimed in claim 12, wherein said control mechanism is connected to said pivotal end and said first arm for turning said first arm and said pivotal end in opposite directions.
14. The exercise machine as claimed in claim 13, wherein said pivotal end is turnable about a first axis, and said first arm is turnable about a second axis adjacent said first axis, said control mechanism being connected to said first and second axes.
Description
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

This invention relates to an exercise machine, more particularly to an elliptical exercise machine which permits the user to exercise by moving his/her feet along an elliptical path.

2. Description of the Related Art

Referring to FIG. 1, a typical elliptical exercise machine includes a frame 11 which carries a pair of swinging arms 16, a pair of foot members 14 connected to a rotating mechanism 12 through cranks 13, and a pair of reciprocating members 17 each of which is connected to one of the swinging arms 16. The foot members 14 are provided respectively with foot platforms 15. The bottom ends of the foot members 14 are slidable along rails provided on the frame 11. When the user stands on the foot platforms 15 and exercises by moving the foot platforms 15 with his feet, the foot members 14 move forward and rearward, and the cranks 13 rotate about the axis of the rotating mechanism 12 so that each foot platform 15 ascends and descends along an elliptical path.

In such an exercise machine, the length of the elliptical path along a front-to-rear direction or the stroke of the foot platforms 15 is limited by the length of the cranks 13 and thus is not changeable or adjustable. Thus, the length of the stroke may be insufficient for a user who is tall and requires a longer stroke, and may be unduly long for a user who is short and needs a smaller stroke to avoid overstressing his feet. If the length of the stroke is to be increased, the length of the cranks 13 must be increased to enlarge the circular path along which the cranks move, thereby increasing the volume of the exercise machine. In addition, the lengthening of the cranks 13 increases not only the length of the elliptical path along the front-to-rear direction but also the height of the elliptical path along a top-to-bottom direction. The increase in height of the elliptical path can result in overstressing of the knees of the user as the user must lift his knees too much when making an ascending movement.

Furthermore, since the foot platforms 15 are mounted fixedly on the respective foot members 14, they are not changeable in angular position relative to the foot members 14. As the user's feet will incline upward and downward alternately during their ascend and descend movements, the foot platforms 15 which are fixed to the foot members 14 are ergonomically unfavorable to the user's feet.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

An object of the present invention is to provide an elliptical exercise machine which permits foot plates to move along an elliptical path having a prolonged length along a front-to-rear direction without increasing the height of the elliptical path along a top-to-bottom direction.

Another object of the present invention is to provide an elliptical exercise machine with foot plates which are movable on respective reciprocating slide members so that the length of an elliptical path along which the foot plates move is adjustable.

Accordingly, the present invention provides an exercise machine which comprises: a support extending in a front-to-rear direction and having a rotating mechanism mounted thereon; a pair of slide members mounted on the support for reciprocating movement and each having a pivotal end connected to the rotating mechanism and a sliding end slidable on the support; a foot plate mounted movably on one of the slide members; a linkage unit connecting the foot plate to the rotating mechanism for reciprocating the foot plate on the one of the slide members; and a control mechanism associated with the linkage unit for actuating the foot plate to move forward when the one of the slide members moves forward and to move rearward when the one of the slide members moves rearward.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Other features and advantages of the present invention will become apparent in the following detailed description of the preferred embodiments of the invention, with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which:

FIG. 1 is a schematic view of a conventional elliptical exercise machine;

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of a first preferred embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 3 is a plan view of the first preferred embodiment;

FIG. 4 is a fragmentary view of the first preferred embodiment;

FIG. 5 is a fragmentary sectional view of the first preferred embodiment;

FIG. 6 is a side elevation view of the first preferred embodiment;

FIG. 7 is the same view as FIG. 6 but with a second arm connected to one of retaining holes farther from a first end of a first arm;

FIG. 8 is the same view as FIG. 6 but with a pivotal end of one of slide members moving to a different position;

FIG. 9 is the same view as FIG. 8 but with a second arm connected to one of retaining holes farther from a first end of a first arm;

FIG. 10 is a fragmentary view showing an alternative control mechanism of the first preferred embodiment;

FIG. 11 is a fragmentary view showing another alternative control mechanism of the first preferred embodiment;

FIG. 12 is a perspective view of the second preferred embodiment; and

FIG. 13 is a side elevation view of the second preferred embodiment.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

Before the present invention is described in greater detail, it should be noted that same reference numerals have been used to denote like elements throughout the specification.

Referring to FIGS. 2 and 3, a first embodiment of an exercise machine according to the present invention is shown at (A) which specifically designates an elliptical exercise machine. The elliptical exercise machine (A) comprises a support body 2 which includes a base 21, an upstanding frame 22 extending upward from a front end of the base 21, a pair of slide rails 23 provided in the base 21, and a rotating mechanism 20 mounted on the base 21 in front of the slide rails 23. The rotating mechanism 20 may be any rotating mechanism which is used conventionally in elliptical exercise machines. In this embodiment, the rotating mechanism 20 includes a flywheel 201 and a pair of rotary members 24 which are mounted coaxially on the base 21. While the rotary members 24 as shown are circular discs, the configuration of the rotary members 24 should not be limited thereto according to the present invention.

A pair of slide members 31 are mounted on the base 21 on two sides of the rotating mechanism 20. Each slide member 31 has a pivotal end 311 connected pivotally to one of the rotary members 24 and a sliding end 312 mounted slidably on the corresponding slide rail 23. A U-shaped seat 32 is attached to a top face 313 of each slide member 31.

A pair of foot support members 4 are pivoted respectively to the slide members 31 at front ends 411 thereof. Specifically, each foot support member 4 has a foot support seat 41 which has a front end 411 connected pivotally to the corresponding slime member 31. The front end 411 extends into the U-shaped seat 32 of the corresponding slide member 31. A pivot member 42 is inserted into the U-shaped seat 32 and the front end 411 to interconnect each foot support seat 41 to the corresponding slide member 31. A guide rail 414 is provided on each foot support seat 41 to extend in a direction from the front end 411 to the rear end 412 of each foot support seat 41 and to receive a plurality of rollers 431 as shown in FIG. 4. Each foot support member 4 further includes a foot plate 43 which is mounted movably on each foot support seat 41 and is connected to the rollers 431.

According to the present invention, the foot plates 43 are connected to the respective rotary members 24 through linkage units for reciprocating the foot plates 43 when the slide members 31 move forward and backward. Each linkage unit may be made up of two or more interconnected arms. Referring to FIGS. 6 and 7 in combination with FIGS. 2 and 3, each linkage unit in this embodiment includes first and second arms 51 and 53 which are pivoted to each other. The first arm 51 has opposite first and second ends 511 and 512. The first end 511 is connected to the corresponding rotary member 24 by being pivoted to the pivotal end 311 of the corresponding slide member 31. The second arm 53 has a first end 531 connected pivotally to the first arm 51 and a second end 532 connected pivotally to the corresponding foot plate 43. The position of the first end 531 of the second arm 53 relative to the first end 511 of the first arm 51 may be adjusted to increase or decrease the length of the stroke of each foot plate 43.

Referring to FIG. 5 in combination with FIG. 2, an adjustment mechanism for adjusting the length of the stroke of each foot plate 43 includes a plurality of retaining holes 513 formed in the first arm 51 at intervals along the length of the first arm 51 between the first and second ends 511 and 512, and an adjustment piece 521 which is mounted slidably on the first arm 51. Particularly, the adjustment piece 521 straddles on the first arm 51 and includes two legs 5211 engaged slidably with the first arm 51. An internally threaded hollow member 522 is integral with the adjustment piece 521 and projects from the adjustment piece 521 opposite to the legs 5211. The threaded hollow member 522 is inserted into a pivot hole 533 in the first end 531 of the second arm 53. A pivot member 52 is threadedly inserted into the threaded hollow member 522 and has an end tip 524 extending into a selected one of the retaining holes 513, thereby holding fixedly the adjustment piece 521 relative to the selected retaining hole 513 in the first arm 51 and connecting pivotally the first end 531 of the second arm 53 to a selected one of the retaining holes 513 in the first arm 51. If the position of the first end 531 of the second arm 53 is to be changed, the pivot member 52 may be turned outward so that the end tip 524 of the pivot member 52 disengages from the first arm 51. An enlarged head 523 of the pivot member 52 extends outwardly of the threaded hollow member 522 to facilitate turning of the pivot member 52 by the user. By turning the enlarged head 523, the end tip 524 of the pivot member 52 can engage and disengage from the selected retaining hole 513.

Referring once again to FIGS. 2 and 3, the first end 511 of each first arm 51 is pivoted to the pivotal end 311 of the corresponding slide member 31 about an axis (p) which is parallel and adjacent to an axis (q) about which the pivotal end 311 of the corresponding slide member 31 is pivoted to the rotary member 24. The axis (p) is located on one side of the axis (q) opposite to the sliding end 312 of the slide member 31. A control mechanism includes a first gear 54 which is mounted on one of the rotary members 24 in a coaxial relationship with the pivotal end 311 of the corresponding slide member 31. The first gear 54 interlocks with a second gear 55 which is mounted rotatably on the pivotal end 311 of the slide member 31 in a coaxial relationship with the first end 511 of the first arm 51. The first gear 54 is fixed to the pivotal end 311 of the corresponding slide member 31, and is turnable together with the pivotal end 311. When the rotary member 24 rotates, the first gear 54 will drive the second gear 55 to rotate in a direction opposite to that of the first gear 54. On the other hand, the number of teeth of the first gear 54 is equal to that of the second gear 55. When the first gear 54 makes one revolution, the second gear 55 together with the first arm 51 turns by an angle of 360 degrees in an opposite direction.

The exercise machine (A) further includes a pair of swinging arms 61 mounted pivotally on the upstanding frame 22, a pair of handles 611 respectively connected to the swinging arms 61, and a pair of reciprocating rods 62. Each reciprocating rod 62 has a front end connected pivotally to a lower end of the corresponding swinging arm 61 and a rear part connected fixedly to the corresponding foot support seat 41 through first and second pins 63. The movement of the foot support seat 41 is therefore related to the movement of the corresponding reciprocating rod 62 in addition to the movement of the corresponding slide member 31.

Referring again to FIGS. 6 and 7, the pivotal end 311 of one of the slide members 31 rotates to a position corresponding to a nine o'clock position. In FIGS. 8 and 9, the pivotal end 311 of the slide member 31 rotates to a position corresponding to a three o'clock position.

When the user stands on the foot plates 43 and exercises by moving his/her legs, the pivotal ends 311 of the slide members 31 rotates about an axis (L) along with the rotary members 24, and the sliding ends 312 of the slide members 31 slide on the base 21. When the pivotal end 311 of one of the slide members 31 moves upward and forward from the position shown in FIGS. 6 and 7, the first gear 54 connected thereto turns clockwise and the corresponding second gear 55 rotates counterclockwise. As the second gear 55 rotates in a direction opposite to the direction of the first gear 54, the first arm 51 is turnable in a direction opposite to the rotating direction of the pivotal end 311 of the slide member 31.

Due to the movements of the slide members 31 and the reciprocating rods 62, the foot support seats 41 can move along an elliptical path. In addition, because of the opposite direction rotation of the first arms 51 relative to the pivotal ends 311 of the slide members 31, each foot plate 43 moves forward when the corresponding slide member 31 moves forward and rearward when the corresponding slide member 31 moves rearward. When each slide member 31 reaches its rearmost position, the corresponding foot plate 43 arrives at its rearmost position. When each slide member 31 reaches its frontmost position, the corresponding foot plate 43 arrives at its frontmost position. As such, the length of the stroke of each foot plate 43 is prolonged or the length of the elliptical path along a front-to-rear direction of the exercise machine (A) is increased without increasing the height of the elliptical path in a bottom-to-top direction.

Note that, when one of the slide members 31 moves forward, the corresponding first arm 51 extends in a direction substantially the same as that of the slide member 31 and is moved forwardly of the slide member 31 as shown in FIG. 9. In this state, the second end 532 of the second arm 53 will pull the corresponding foot plate 43 to the frontmost position. When the slide member 31 moves rearward, the first arm 51 extends in a direction substantially the same as that of the slide member 31 and is moved rearward as shown in FIG. 7. In this state, the second end 532 of the second arm 53 pushes the corresponding foot plate 43 to its rearmost position relative to the corresponding foot support seat 41.

The rearmost and frontmost positions of the foot plates 43 may be varied by moving the adjustment pieces 521 along the respective first arms 51. Referring once again to FIGS. 2, 6 and 8, the first end 531 of the second arm 53 is connected to the first arm 51 through one of the retaining holes 513 proximate to the first end 511 of the first arm 51. In FIGS. 7 and 9, the first end 531 of the second arm 53 is connected to one of the retaining holes 513 farthest from the first end 511 of the first arm 51. The rearmost position of the foot plate 43 shown in FIG. 6 is changed by a distance D in FIG. 7. The frontmost position of the foot plate 43 shown in FIG. 8 is changed by a distance D in FIG. 9. This means that the length of the elliptical path in the front-to-rear direction is increased in FIGS. 7 and 9. The length of the elliptical path is therefore variable through an adjustment using the adjustment piece 521 and the retaining holes 513.

According to the present invention, the first and second gears 54 and 55 used in the first embodiment may be replaced by a belt-and-pulley assembly as shown in FIG. 10, or a friction roller assembly as shown in FIG. 11. The belt-and-pulley assembly includes a cross belt 58 and a pair of first and second pulleys 56 and 57 which are coaxial with the pivotal end 311 of the slide member 31 and the first arm 51, respectively. The friction roller assembly includes a pair of rubber rollers 59 which are in contact with each other and which are respectively coaxial with the pivotal end 311 and the first arm 51. Both of the belt-and-pulley assembly and the friction roller assembly are able to turn the first arm 51 in a direction opposite to that of the slide member 31, like the first and second gears 54 and 55.

Referring to FIGS. 12 and 13, a second embodiment of the exercise machine according to the present invention is shown to include a support 2′, two slide members 31′, and two foot support members 4′. A rotary member 24′ is mounted on a rear part of a base 21′ of the support 2′ and is connected to the slide members 31′ having lower ends 312′ sliding on the base 21′.

Foot support seats 41′ of the foot support members 4′ are mounted fixedly on the respective slide members 31′ to support foot plates 43′, respectively. Each foot plate 43′ is slidable forward and rearward along rails 411′ provided on the corresponding foot support seat 41′. A pair of reciprocating members 64′ are connected respectively to the slide members 31′ and to two swinging arms 61′ that are in turn mounted on an upstanding frame 22′ of the support 2′.

Each foot plate 43′ is connected pivotally to a second arm 53 which in turn is pivoted to a first arm 51. The first arm 51 is connected pivotally to a pivotal end 311′ of the corresponding slide member 31′. First and second gears 54 and 55 are connected respectively to the first arm 51 and the pivotal end 311′ of the slide member 31′. Since the operation of the exercise machine of this embodiment is similar to that of the previous embodiment, it will not be described herein.

Due to the provision of the foot plates 43, 43′ which are slidable relative to the slide members 31, 31′, the length of the stroke of the foot plates 43, 43′ or the length of the elliptical path along the front-to-rear direction can be adjusted or enlarged according to the need of the user.

Therefore, the exercise machine provides a wide range of stroke lengths and can accommodate ergonomically different users having varying heights and body structures. In addition, although the length of the elliptical path along the front-to-rear direction is prolonged, the height of the elliptical path along the top-to-bottom direction is not increased, thus eliminating the problem of overstressing or hurting the user's feet.

While the present invention has been described in connection with what is considered the most practical and preferred embodiments, it is understood that this invention is not limited to the disclosed embodiments but is intended to cover various arrangements included within the spirit and scope of the broadest interpretations and equivalent arrangements.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US7544152Mar 29, 2006Jun 9, 2009Unisen, Inc.Linkage based exercise machine
US7604573 *Apr 14, 2005Oct 20, 2009Icon Ip, Inc.Method and system for varying stride in an elliptical exercise machine
US7666122 *Jul 18, 2006Feb 23, 2010Unisen, Inc.Elliptical exercise machine
US7670266Jul 29, 2005Mar 2, 2010Unisen, Inc.Articulating linkage exercise machine
US7674205 *May 8, 2007Mar 9, 2010Icon Ip, Inc.Elliptical exercise machine with adjustable foot motion
US7736278 *Jun 21, 2005Jun 15, 2010Nautilus, Inc.Releasable connection mechanism for variable stride exercise devices
US7749137Nov 15, 2007Jul 6, 2010Nautilus, Inc.Variable stride exercise device
US7871356 *Jun 20, 2008Jan 18, 2011Appareils D'exercice Bodyguard Inc.Elliptical exerciser
US7883451 *Mar 29, 2007Feb 8, 2011Treadwell CorporationMethods of applying treadle stimulus
US7901330Oct 19, 2009Mar 8, 2011Icon Ip, Inc.Method and system for varying stride in an elliptical exercise machine
US7942787Dec 14, 2009May 17, 2011Nautilus, Inc.Exercise machine
US8051752Jan 27, 2009Nov 8, 2011Dyaco International, Inc.Coaxial load wheel and cranks
US8323155May 16, 2011Dec 4, 2012Nautilus, Inc.Exercise machine
US8449437 *Nov 30, 2009May 28, 2013Joseph D MareshExercise methods and apparatus
US20130045839 *Aug 18, 2011Feb 21, 2013Gee Hoo Industrial Corp.Sitting type stepper
US20130059697 *Sep 7, 2011Mar 7, 2013Yen-Chi ChuangOblong Orbital Exercising Machine Having Adjustable Trace of Movement
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Classifications
U.S. Classification482/52, 482/57
International ClassificationA63B22/04, A63B22/06
Cooperative ClassificationA63B22/0015, A63B22/0664, A63B22/203, A63B2022/067, A63B2022/0676, A63B22/001
European ClassificationA63B22/00A6, A63B22/06E, A63B22/00B
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Jan 21, 2005ASAssignment
Owner name: JOHNSON TECH, CO., LTD., TAIWAN
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:LIAO, HUNG-MAO;HUANG, TE-CHANG;REEL/FRAME:016205/0288
Effective date: 20050103