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Publication numberUS20060166799 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 11/259,375
Publication dateJul 27, 2006
Filing dateOct 26, 2005
Priority dateOct 26, 2004
Publication number11259375, 259375, US 2006/0166799 A1, US 2006/166799 A1, US 20060166799 A1, US 20060166799A1, US 2006166799 A1, US 2006166799A1, US-A1-20060166799, US-A1-2006166799, US2006/0166799A1, US2006/166799A1, US20060166799 A1, US20060166799A1, US2006166799 A1, US2006166799A1
InventorsKevin Boland, Cornell Marschalko
Original AssigneeBoland Kevin O, Marschalko Cornell S
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Abdominal exercise apparatus
US 20060166799 A1
Abstract
A multidirectional abdominal exercise apparatus is disclosed herein. In one embodiment, the exercise apparatus includes a frame having an upright member, a bench or seat, and a pair of arm members connected to at least two pivoting members. The first pivoting member pivots in a first direction about a first axis substantially perpendicular to the floor. The second pivoting member is pivotally connected to the first pivoting member and pivots in a second direction about a second axis substantially perpendicular to the first direction and substantially perpendicular to a forward direction. Thus, a user can pivot the arm members in the first direction, the second direction, and both the first and second direction concurrently.
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Claims(24)
1. A multidirectional abdominal exercise apparatus comprising:
a frame configured to rest upon a floor surface, the frame including an upright member;
a bench connected to the upright member of the frame, the bench defining a forward direction;
at least two pivoting members, including a first pivoting member and a second pivoting member, wherein
the first pivoting member is pivotally connected to one of the bench and the upright member, the first pivoting member being configured to pivot in a first direction about a first axis that is substantially perpendicular to the floor surface and
the second pivoting member is pivotally connected to the first pivoting member, the second pivoting member being configured to pivot in a second direction about a second axis that is substantially parallel to the floor surface, substantially perpendicular to the first direction, and substantially perpendicular to the forward direction; and
a pair of arm members connected to the second pivoting member and configured to be engaged by a user, wherein the user can pivot the arm members in the first direction, the second direction, and both the first and second direction concurrently.
2. The apparatus of claim 1, further comprising at least one resistance member that is connected to the upright member of the frame and the pair of arm members.
3. The apparatus of claim 2, wherein the at least one resistance member includes at least one piston and cylinder assembly.
4. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the second pivoting member includes a sleeve and the arm members are attached to a slideable member having spaced apart apertures configured to receive a locking mechanism, wherein the slideable member is configured to be moved to a plurality of different positions within the sleeve and locked into place by the locking mechanism.
5. The apparatus of claim 1, further comprising a third pivoting member that is pivotally connected to the arm members and is configured to pivot in a third direction about a third axis that is parallel to the forward direction.
6. The apparatus of claim 5, wherein the second pivoting member includes a sleeve and the third pivoting member has a plurality of spaced apart grooves configured to receive a locking mechanism, wherein the third pivoting member is inserted into the sleeve and is configured to be rotated within the sleeve and slideably moved to a plurality of different positions within the sleeve and locked into place by the locking mechanism.
7. The apparatus of claim 1, further comprising at least one foot support member connected to the forward member of the frame.
8. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the bench is configured to be connected to the upright member of the frame at a plurality of different heights, so as to accommodate users of different heights.
9. An abdominal exercise apparatus comprising:
a support assembly configured to support a user in at least a sitting position;
a pair of arm members connected to the support assembly via an omni-directional pivot such that the pair of arm members are pivotal in a direction substantially perpendicular to the ground and in a transverse direction; and
a pair of resistance members having one end connected to the support assembly and one end connected to a respective arm member.
10. The apparatus of claim 9, wherein the omni-directional pivot includes at least two pivoting members, wherein a first pivoting member is configured to pivot in a direction substantially perpendicular to the ground and a second pivot member is configured to pivot in a transverse direction.
11. The apparatus of claim 9, wherein the omni-directional pivot includes at least three pivoting members, wherein a first pivoting member is configured to pivot in a first direction that is substantially perpendicular to the ground, a second pivot member is configured to pivot in a second direction that is transverse to the first direction, and third pivoting member is configured to pivot in a third direction that is transverse to both the first and second direction.
12. The apparatus of claim 9, wherein the support assembly includes a frame and a seat.
13. The apparatus of claim 9, wherein the pair of resistance members includes a pair of piston and cylinder assemblies.
14. The apparatus of claim 9, wherein the pair of resistance members includes a pair of elastic bands.
15. The apparatus of claim 9, further comprising a resistance adjustment mechanism.
16. The apparatus of claim 15, wherein the resistance adjustment mechanism includes:
a sleeve portion;
an elongated member slideably inserted into the sleeve portion, the elongated member having a plurality of spaced apart grooves; and
a locking member adapted to be received in a selected groove of the elongated member to lock the elongated member into a selected position.
17. The apparatus of claim 16, wherein the sleeve portion is connected to the omni-directional pivot and the elongated portion is connected to the pair of arm members.
18. The apparatus of claim 16, wherein the sleeve portion is connected to the pair of arm members and the elongated portion is connected to the omni-directional pivot.
19. A multidirectional exercise machine comprising:
a frame assembly configured to rest on a floor surface; and
a pair of arms connected to the frame assembly via at least two pivotal connections, the at least two pivotal connections including at least a first pivotal connection configured to allow the arms to pivot in a first direction substantially perpendicular to the floor surface, and a second pivotal connection configured to allow the arms to pivot in a second direction substantially perpendicular to the first direction.
20. The multidirectional exercise machine of claim 19, wherein the pair of arms are connected to the frame assembly via a third pivotal connection configured to allow the arms to pivot in a third direction that is substantially perpendicular to both the first and second direction.
21. The multidirectional exercise machine of claim 19, wherein the frame assembly includes a bench defining a forward direction.
22. The multidirectional exercise machine of claim 20, wherein the second direction is substantially perpendicular to the forward direction.
23. The multidirectional exercise machine of claim 19, further comprising at least one resistance providing member provided between the frame assembly and the pair of arm members.
24. The multidirectional exercise machine of claim 23, further comprising means for adjusting the resistance providing member.
Description
    CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION
  • [0001]
    This application claims the benefit of priority of U.S. Provisional Application No. 60/621,648 filed on Oct. 26, 2004.
  • FIELD OF INVENTION
  • [0002]
    The present application relates to an exercise machine for exercising various muscle groups by employing a resistive force against a range of bodily movement. More particularly, the present application is a versatile exercise machine for exercising the main and lower abdominals, the internal and external obliques, the quadratus lumborum, and the triceps.
  • BACKGROUND
  • [0003]
    Many types of machines have been designed for exercising stomach, side, and lower back muscles. Some of these employ springs, bows, weights, elastic, and body weight as resistance and utilize stretching, pulling, twisting, bending, and tucking motions applied against this resistance to achieve the desired effect.
  • [0004]
    Generally, these machines are either unidirectional, enabling the user to work in only one plane of motion, or multi-directional, but with limited range of movement. Most often, adjustments are necessary to facilitate various modes of exercise, requiring the user to stop exercising in order to disconnect and reconnect the operative parts of the apparatus between modes.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF DRAWINGS
  • [0005]
    In the drawings and description that follows, like elements are identified with the same reference numerals. The drawings are not to scale and the proportion of certain elements may be exaggerated for the purpose of illustration.
  • [0006]
    FIG. 1 is a simplified perspective view of one embodiment of an exercise machine 100;
  • [0007]
    FIG. 2 is a simplified side view of the exercise machine 100;
  • [0008]
    FIG. 3A is a simplified side view of one embodiment of a multidirectional pivot assembly 140 of the exercise machine 100;
  • [0009]
    FIG. 3B is a simplified top view of one embodiment of a multidirectional pivot assembly 140 of the exercise machine 100; and
  • [0010]
    FIG. 4A-E are simplified views of a user performing various exercises on the exercise machine 100.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION
  • [0011]
    This application describes an exercise machine for exercising various muscle groups by employing a resistive force against a range of bodily movement. FIG. 1 illustrates a simplified perspective view of one embodiment of an exercise machine 100. The exercise machine 100 is a multi-directional abdominal exercise apparatus. However, as described below, it may be employed for exercising abdominal, back, and arm muscles, including the main and lower abdominals, the internal and external obliques, the quadratus lumborum, and the triceps.
  • [0012]
    As shown in FIG. 1, the exercise machine 100 includes a frame assembly, or support assembly, 105 configured to support a user in at least a sitting position. The frame assembly 105 includes at least a bench or a seat 110 and an upright member 115. In the illustrated embodiment, the upright member 115 is an angled post. In alternative embodiments (not shown), the frame assembly may employ a vertical post, an A-frame, a plurality of legs, or any other appropriate member.
  • [0013]
    The seat 100 defines a forward direction F. In other words, in the illustrated embodiment, the seat 100 is configured to orient a user towards the forward direction F under normal operation of the exercise machine. As will be described in more detail below, most of the exercises performed on the exercise machine 100 require a user to sit in the seat 100 facing the forward direction F. In the illustrated embodiment, the seat 110 is a contoured seat mounted parallel to a floor surface. In alternative embodiments (not shown), the frame assembly may employ an oblong bench or any other known structure for supporting a user. In other alternative embodiments (not shown), the seat may be mounted to the upright member at an angle, or the angle of the seat may be adjustable to accommodate different preferences of a user or to allow a user to perform additional exercises. In yet another alternative embodiment (not shown), the height of the seat may be adjustable to accommodate users of different sizes.
  • [0014]
    With continued reference to FIG. 1, the frame assembly 105 further includes an elongated body member 120 and front and rear members 125 a,b configured to rest upon a floor surface. The frame assembly 105 also includes an optional foot support member or members, such as a foot plate 130. In one embodiment, the frame assembly 105 is constructed of metal tubing, such as 4-inch elliptical tubing. In other embodiments, the frame assembly may be constructed of a polymeric material or other suitable material.
  • [0015]
    The exercise machine 100 further includes a pair of arm members 135 connected to a pivot assembly 140, such that the arm members 135 may be engaged by a user and pivoted in a first direction, a second direction, and the first and second directions concurrently, as will be described in more detail below. In the illustrated embodiment, the arm members 135 include ergonomically designed handlebars to provide a comfortable grip for a user. The arm members 135 are connected to each other via a rigid connection 145, such that both arm members must be moved together. In an alternative embodiment (not shown) the arm members may be connected to separate pivots so that each arm member may be moved independently of the other. In another alternative embodiment (not shown), the arm members may part of a unitary component.
  • [0016]
    The exercise machine 100 further includes at least one resistance mechanism, as will be further described below. In the illustrated embodiment, the exercise machine 100 employs a pair of piston and cylinder assemblies 150. The piston and cylinder assemblies may be adjustable or non-adjustable. In an alternative embodiment (not shown), the exercise machine employs a single piston and cylinder assembly. In other alternative embodiments (not shown), the exercise machine may employ elastic bands, springs, weights, or any other known resistance mechanisms.
  • [0017]
    FIG. 2 illustrates a simplified side view of the exercise machine 100. As shown in FIG. 2, the piston and cylinder assemblies 150 are disposed between the frame assembly 105 and the arm members 135. In the illustrated embodiment, the piston and cylinder assemblies 150 are pivotally connected to the upright member 115 via pivoting connections 155 a,b. The piston and cylinder assemblies 150 would thus provide resistance in any direction the arms 135 are moved. In an alternative embodiment, the piston and cylinder assemblies 150 may be connected via ball and joint connections. In other alternative embodiments (not shown), the exercise machine may employ a resistance mechanism that is connected to a seat or another member of a frame assembly. In another alternative embodiment (not shown), the resistance mechanism may be directly connected to the pivot assembly 140.
  • [0018]
    The exercise machine 100 also employs a resistance adjustment mechanism 160, as will be described in more detail below. For example, in the illustrated embodiment, the resistance mechanism 160 is configured to adjust a distance X measured from the pivot assembly 140 to the pivoting connection 155 b between the piston and cylinder assembly 150 and the arm members 135. As this distance X is increased, the user will have to move the piston and cylinder assembly 150 through a greater range of motion and thus feel more resistance. In other embodiments (not shown) the resistance may be adjusted by adjusting the internal resistance of a piston and cylinder assembly, or by adding or subtracting elastic bands, springs, weights, or other resistance members.
  • [0019]
    With continued reference to FIG. 2, the frame assembly 105 includes front and rear floor guides 165 a,b. The floor guides 165 a,b are constructed of a material softer than metal and having a low coefficient of friction so that the exercise machine 100 may be easily moved across a floor surface and the exercise machine will not damage a floor surface. Exemplary materials include nylon or other polymeric materials.
  • [0020]
    FIG. 3A illustrates a side view of the pivot assembly 140 of the exercise machine 100 and FIG. 3B illustrates a top view of the pivot assembly 140. The pivot assembly 140 may be a multi-directional, or omni-directional pivot assembly that has the ability to move about an x-axis, a y-axis, and a z-axis. A multi-directional pivot assembly has at least two pivoting members.
  • [0021]
    In the illustrated embodiment, the pivot assembly 140 includes a first pivoting member, a second pivoting member, and a third pivoting member. For example, and as shown in
  • [0022]
    FIG. 3A, the first pivoting member includes an upright shaft 170 having a U-shaped component. The upright shaft 170 is disposed in an aperture (not shown) in the upright member 115 of the frame assembly 105. The upright shaft 170 has an axis A1 that is substantially perpendicular to the floor surface. The upright shaft 170 is configured to rotate within the aperture about its axis A1 in a first direction D1.
  • [0023]
    As shown in FIG. 3B, the second pivoting member of the pivot assembly 140 includes, for example, a pin 175 disposed in the U-shaped portion of the upright shaft 170 and a sleeve 180 configured to pivot about the pin 175. The pin 175 has an axis A2 that is substantially perpendicular to both the first axis A1 and the forward direction F. The sleeve 180 is configured to pivot about the axis A2 of the pin 175 in a second direction D2.
  • [0024]
    As shown in FIGS. 3A and 3B, the third pivoting member of the pivot assembly 140 includes, for example, an elongated shaft 185 that is telescopically received within the sleeve 180. The elongated shaft 185 has an axis A3. When the exercise machine 100 is in a rest position, the axis A3 of the elongated shaft 185 is substantially parallel to the forward direction F. The elongated shaft 185 is configured to rotate about its axis A3 within the sleeve 180 in a third direction D3.
  • [0025]
    Thus, the omni-directional pivot assembly 140 allows a user to engage the arm members 135 and move the arms in a forward direction F, twist the arms in a sideways direction, or move the arms in a forward direction while simultaneously twisting the arms in a sideways and/or up-and-down direction. When the arm members are so moved, the piston and cylinder assemblies 150 provide resistance in all directions.
  • [0026]
    In the illustrated embodiment, the sleeve 180 is pivotally connected to the upright shaft 170 and the elongated shaft 185 is rigidly connected to the arm members 135. In an alternative embodiment (not shown), the sleeve 180 is rigidly connected to the arm members 135 and the elongated shaft 185 is pivotally connected to the upright shaft 170. In another alternative embodiment (not shown), the sleeve 180 is rigidly connected to the upright shaft 170 and the elongated shaft 185 is pivotally connected to the arm members 135. In yet another alternative embodiment, the sleeve 180 is pivotally connected to the arm members 135 and the elongated shaft 185 is rigidly connected to the upright shaft 170.
  • [0027]
    In an alternative embodiment (not shown), the exercise machine employs a pivot member having only the first and second pivoting members, such as an upright shaft and a pin. In this embodiment, the user could manipulate the arms to move them in a forward direction and a sideways direction.
  • [0028]
    In another alternative embodiment (not shown), the exercise machine employs separate, distinct pivots rather than a single pivot having multiple pivoting members.
  • [0029]
    FIGS. 3A and 3B further illustrate the resistance adjustment mechanism 160. In the illustrated embodiment, the resistance adjustment mechanism 160 includes the sleeve 180 of the pivot assembly 140 and the elongated shaft 185. As described above, the elongated shaft 185 is telescopically received within the sleeve 180, such that it can be moved within the sleeve 180 in a forward direction F or in a backward direction. Additionally, the rod 185 is rotatable in the third direction D3 as described above.
  • [0030]
    The resistance adjustment mechanism 160 further includes a locking mechanism 190. The locking mechanism may be a pin, a plunger, or other appropriate locking device. The locking mechanism 190 is inserted into an aperture (not shown) in the sleeve 180 and is received in one of a plurality of spaced apart grooves 195 in the elongated shaft 185. Thus, the elongated shaft 185 can be moved to a desired position within the sleeve 180 and locked into position by the locking member 190. This changes the distance X between the pivot assembly 140 and the pivoting connection 155 b between the piston and cylinder assembly 150 and the arm members 135, thereby adjusting the resistance provided by the piston and cylinder assembly 150.
  • [0031]
    In an alternate embodiment (not shown), in which the exercise machine only employs two pivoting members, an elongated member having a plurality of spaced apart apertures is inserted into the sleeve 180 such that it can be slidably moved within the sleeve 180 in a forward or backward direction. A locking mechanism can be inserted in on of the plurality of apertures to lock the elongated portion in a preferred position. In this embodiment, the elongated member does not rotate within the sleeve 180.
  • [0032]
    FIGS. 4A-E illustrate several exemplary modes of operation of the exercise machine 100. For example, FIG. 4A illustrates a simplified side view of a user performing a forward crunch. A user performs this exercise by sitting on the seat 110 with his feet resting on the foot plate 130 and facing a forward direction F. The user then pulls forward and downward on the arm members 135 while bending his body in the same direction, causing the sleeve 180 to pivot about the pin 175 in the second direction D2. This mode of operation exercises the upper abdominal muscles.
  • [0033]
    FIG. 4B is a simplified side view of a user performing a reverse crunch on the exercise machine 100. A user performs this exercise by tilting back in the seat 110 and raising his legs towards his torso while simultaneously pulling the arm members 135 forward and downward, causing the sleeve 180 to pivot about the pin 175 in the second direction D2. This mode of operation exercises the lower abdominal muscles and thigh muscles.
  • [0034]
    FIG. 4C is a simplified front view of a user performing a side-to-side crunch on the exercise machine 100. A user performs this exercise by sitting on the seat 110 with his feet resting on the foot plate 130 and facing a forward direction F. The user then pulls the arm members 135 sideways and downwards while simultaneously bending the torso in the same direction, causing the elongated shaft 185 to rotate within the sleeve 180 in the third direction D3. This mode of operation exercises the lower back (quadratus lumborum) muscles.
  • [0035]
    FIG. 4D is a simplified top view of a user performing an oblique abdominal crunch on the exercise machine 100. A user performs this exercise by sitting on the seat 110 with his feet resting on the foot plate 130 and facing a forward direction F. The user then pulls the arm members 135 forward and sideways while simultaneously twisting the torso in the same direction, causing the upright shaft 170 to pivot in the first direction D2, while the sleeve 180 simultaneously pivots about the pin 175 in the second direction D2, and the elongated shaft 185 rotates within the sleeve 180 in the third direction D3. This mode of operation exercises the inner and outer oblique muscles.
  • [0036]
    FIG. 4E is a side view of a user performing a tricep extension on the exercise machine 100. A user performs this exercise by sitting on the seat 110 with his feet resting on the foot plate 130 and facing a forward direction F. The user pulls the arm members in a forward and downward direction while keeping his torso stationary, causing the sleeve 180 to pivot about the pin 175 in the second direction D2. This mode of operation exercises the tricep muscles. In an alternative modes of operation, the user may perform this exercise while standing and facing a forward direction F, while standing and facing the direction opposite the forward direction F, or while kneeling on the seat and facing the direction opposite the forward direction F.
  • [0037]
    A user can perform all of the exercises illustrated in FIGS. 4A-E without making adjusting the exercise machine 100. Thus, a user may proceed from one mode to the next without delay, increasing the time effectiveness of the workout.
  • [0038]
    To the extent that the term “includes” or “including” is used in the specification or the claims, it is intended to be inclusive in a manner similar to the term “comprising” as that term is interpreted when employed as a transitional word in a claim. Furthermore, to the extent that the term “or” is employed (e.g., A or B) it is intended to mean “A or B or both” . When the applicants intend to indicate “only A or B but not both” then the term “only A or B but not both” will be employed. Thus, use of the term “or” herein is the inclusive, and not the exclusive use. See, Bryan A. Garner, A Dictionary of Modern Legal Usage 624 (2d. Ed. 1995). Also, to the extent that the terms “in” or “into ” are used in the specification or the claims, it is intended to additionally mean “on” or “onto.” Furthermore, to the extent the term “connect” is used in the specification or claims, it is intended to mean not only “directly connected to,” but also “indirectly connected to” such as connected through another component or components.
  • [0039]
    While the present application has been illustrated by the description of embodiments thereof, and while the embodiments have been described in some detail, it is not the intention of the applicants to restrict or in any way limit the scope of the appended claims to such detail. Additional advantages and modifications will readily appear to those skilled in the art. Therefore, the application, in its broader aspects, is not limited to the specific details, the representative apparatus, on the illustrative embodiments shown and described. Accordingly, departures may be made from such details without departing from the spirit or scope of the applicant's general inventive concept.
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Classifications
U.S. Classification482/140, 482/111
International ClassificationA63B21/008, A63B26/00
Cooperative ClassificationA63B21/4047, A63B21/4029, A63B21/0087, A63B23/0233, A63B23/0227, A63B23/0211, A63B2023/003
European ClassificationA63B21/14M6
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Apr 6, 2006ASAssignment
Owner name: MERCHANTS OF BOSTON, INC., MARYLAND
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:BOLAND, MR. KEVIN O.;MARSCHALKO, MR. CORNELL S.;REEL/FRAME:017432/0928
Effective date: 20060404