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Publication numberUS20080139366 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 11/726,147
Publication dateJun 12, 2008
Filing dateMar 21, 2007
Priority dateDec 12, 2006
Publication number11726147, 726147, US 2008/0139366 A1, US 2008/139366 A1, US 20080139366 A1, US 20080139366A1, US 2008139366 A1, US 2008139366A1, US-A1-20080139366, US-A1-2008139366, US2008/0139366A1, US2008/139366A1, US20080139366 A1, US20080139366A1, US2008139366 A1, US2008139366A1
InventorsLawrence L. Born, Richard C. Disler
Original AssigneeBorn Lawrence L, Disler Richard C
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Recumbent elliptical exercise device with apparatus for elongated stride
US 20080139366 A1
Abstract
An aerobic exerciser with elongated stride comprising a frame, a seat supported from the frame, a bell crank, a left telescoping pedal rail rotatably attached to the left side of the bell crank at one end and pivotally attached to the frame at the other end, and a right telescoping pedal rail rotatably attached to the right side of the bell crank at one end and pivotally attached to the frame at the other end.
In operation, under the weight of the user, each pedal, supported by a pedal rail follows a generally elliptical path in response to rotation of the bell crank. Vertical movement of a telescoping pedal rail is accommodated by the pivot and horizontal movement of the pedal rail results in extension and retraction of the pedal rail.
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Claims(12)
1. An aerobic exerciser comprising:
a frame;
a seat supported from said frame;
a bell crank having a left side and a right side, said bell crank rotatably mounted to said frame;
a left pivot mounted to said frame;
a right pivot mounted to said frame;
a left telescoping pedal rail having a front end and a back end, said front end of said left telescoping pedal rail being rotatably attached to said left side of said bell crank such that said front end of said left telescoping pedal rail moves in a circular path in response to rotational movement of said bell crank, and said back end of said left pedal rail is pivotally attached to said left pivot; and
a right telescoping pedal rail having a front end and a back end, said front end of said right telescoping pedal rail being rotatably attached to said right side of said bell crank such that said front end of said right telescoping pedal rail moves in a circular path in response to rotational movement of said bell crank, and said back end of said right pedal rail is pivotally attached to said right pivot.
2. The aerobic exercise apparatus of claim 1 further comprising:
a left pedal, said left pedal being attached to said back portion of said left telescoping pedal rail; and
a right pedal, said pedal being attached to said back portion of said right telescoping pedal rail.
3. The aerobic exercise apparatus of claim 1 wherein
said left telescoping pedal rail includes a front portion and a back portion, said back portion in sliding engagement with said front portion, and
said right telescoping pedal rail includes a front portion and a back portion, said back portion in sliding engagement with said front portion.
4. The aerobic exercise apparatus of claim 3 further comprising:
a left pedal, said left pedal being attached to said back portion of said left telescoping pedal rail; and
a right pedal, said pedal being attached to said back portion of said right telescoping pedal rail.
5. The aerobic exercise apparatus of claim 1 wherein said telescoping pedal rail further includes:
a front portion having a top and a bottom;
a rear portion having a top and a bottom, said rear portion in sliding engagement with said front portion;
at least one roller, said roller rotatably supported by either said front portion or said rear portion and in rolling contact with the other of said front portion or said rear portion.
6. A telescoping pedal rail for an aerobic exercise apparatus comprising:
a front portion having a top and a bottom;
a rear portion having a top and a bottom, said rear portion being in sliding engagement with said front portion;
at least one roller, said roller rotatably supported by either said front portion or said rear portion and in rolling contact with the other of said front portion or said rear portion.
7. The telescoping pedal rail of claim 6 further comprising:
a pedal support; and
a pedal attached to said support.
8. The telescoping pedal rail of claim 6 further comprising:
at least a second roller, said second roller rotatably supported by either said front portion or said rear portion and in rolling contact with the other of said front portion or said rear portion,
wherein, said first roller is in rolling contact with the top of said other of said front portion or said rear portion and wherein said second roller is in rolling contact with the bottom of said other of said front portion or said rear portion.
9. The aerobic exercise device of claim 1 wherein said bell crank is rotatably mounted to said frame beneath said seat.
10. The aerobic exercise device of claim 1 wherein said seat is capable of adjustment.
11. The aerobic exercise device of claim 10 wherein said frame includes a rail and said seat includes rollers attached thereto such that said rollers attached to said seat engage said rail.
12. The aerobic exercise device of claim 11 further including means for securing said seat at a predetermined position along said rail.
Description
CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION

This application relies upon provisional application Ser. No. 60/784,279 filed in the United States Patent Office on Mar. 21, 2006.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

This invention relates generally to an aerobic exercise machine. More particularly, but not by way of limitation, the present invention relates to a recumbent elliptical exercise apparatus with elongated stride.

2. Background

Although offered by various manufacturers under a variety of generic names, generally speaking, an elliptical exerciser is an aerobic exercise machine wherein the user's feet travel in a generally elongated elliptical path while the user walks, jogs, runs, or climbs. Many elliptical exercisers include a feature for simultaneously exercising the upper body.

There are many advantages to using a mechanical device to aerobically train rather than simply running or jogging. For example, such machines typically provide the user with meaningful feedback in regard to the exercise performed. For example, a typical aerobic exercise machine may provide the user with a real-time display of power produced by the user (i.e. Watts), as well as totalizing displays of information such as calories expended or equivalent miles run. In addition, properly designed equipment reduces the risk of injury, and, as part of a rehabilitation program, allows easy monitoring by a therapist.

Elliptical exercisers have proven to provide a quantifiable, low impact workout with meaningful results, and are, therefore, a viable alternative to treadmills, stationary bicycles, stair climbers, rowing machines, and the like. In that regard, elliptical exercisers have thus far been very popular in relation to other aerobic machines.

In a typical elliptical exerciser, the user's feet rest on individual pedals which are mounted on rails. A first end of each rail is attached to a bell crank such that the first end of each rail travels in a circular path. The left end of the bell crank is 180 degrees out of phase with the right end of the bell crank such that as one foot moves forward, the other foot moves backward and as one foot moves up, the other foot moves down. The second end of each rail, depending on the particular machine, is constrained to move in a track, over a fixed roller, or guided by a swing arm, thereby producing backward and forward motion in response to the movement of the bell crank. The resulting stride of each foot of the user follows a generally elliptical path. The exact dimensions of the ellipse are dependant on a variety of variables such as the length of the rail, the position of each pedal on its rail, the diameter of the circle traveled by the bell crank, and the path traversed by the end of the rail opposite the bell crank. The perceived level of difficulty in using an elliptical exerciser and the comfort of the user are also dependant on these variables.

A limitation of a typical elliptical exerciser is the amount of floor space occupied by the machine. Whether in a home, a health club, or a rehabilitation facility, ideally, an exercise machine will occupy as little floor space as possible, especially where such floor space is rented by the square foot. The size of an elliptical exerciser is dictated by, among other things, the length of the pedal rails and the space required to allow the horizontal movement of the rails in response to the motion of the bell crank.

Another related limitation arises from the hazzard produced by the movement of the rail end opposite the bell crank. This is especially true with elliptical exercisers where the rails move outside the footprint of the frame of the machine. A person walking near the machine may be struck by a rail or trip over a rail. Accordingly, many manufacturers provide a cover over the end of the rails, adding cost and further occupying floor space.

A further limitation of many elliptical exerciser designs is that some machines have a roller on the free end of the pedal rail or a pivot on a swing arm very close to the floor. It has been a common practice for some health clubs to place exercise machines near a swimming pool. In addition, some facilities pour excessive water on the floor during cleaning. Either of these situations will subject rollers and pivots placed near the floor to potential water damage.

It is thus an object of the present invention to provide an elliptical exerciser wherein, the back end of the pedal rails pivot from a fixed position, rather than swinging in an arc, traversing a fixed roller, or moving in a track, while still allowing the front end of the rails to traverse a circular path.

It is a further object of the present invention to locate rotating or oscillating components of the pedal rails a sufficient distance above the floor to avoid subjecting such components to water in a typical commercial or institutional environment.

It is a still further object of the present invention to provide a seat on the exercise apparatus for the user to sit upon whereby the apparatus becomes a recumbent elliptical exercise device.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention provides an elliptical exerciser which incorporates a telescoping rail mechanism wherein, the back end of the rail merely pivots, rather than moving linearly or swinging in an arc. The horizontal component of the motion created by the bell crank is accommodated by the telescopic rail. The vertical component of the motion is accommodated by the pivot.

In the inventive elliptical stepper, a front portion of each rail connects to the corresponding end of a bell crank. The back end of each rail connects to a pivot which is provided on the frame, preferably several inches above the floor surface. The front portion of the rail is in sliding engagement with the rear portion the rail such that the rail is rigid in regards to vertical forces but will telescopically extend or retract in response to tensile or compressive forces, respectively.

Further objects, features, and advantages of the present invention will be apparent to those skilled in the art upon examining the accompanying drawings and upon reading the following description of the preferred embodiments.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 depicts the inventive aerobic exercise apparatus in its general environment.

FIG. 2 provides a perspective view of the inventive aerobic exercise apparatus.

FIG. 3 provides a partial side view of the inventive aerobic exercise apparatus showing the left pedal rail in its maximum upward position and the right pedal rail in its maximum downward position.

FIG. 4 provides a partial side view of the inventive aerobic exercise apparatus showing the left pedal rail in its fully extended position and the right pedal rail in its fully retracted position.

FIG. 5 provides a cross sectional view of a left pedal rail as incorporated in the inventive aerobic exercise apparatus.

FIG. 6 provides a cutaway side view of the right pedal rail in its fully retracted position as incorporated in the inventive aerobic exercise apparatus.

FIG. 7 provides a cutaway side view of the right pedal rail in its fully extended position as incorporated in the inventive aerobic exercise apparatus.

FIG. 8 provides a side view of the distal end of the front rail portion of a pedal rail as incorporated in the inventive aerobic exercise apparatus.

FIG. 9 provides a top view of the distal end of the front rail portion of a telescopic pedal rail as incorporated in the inventive aerobic exercise apparatus.

FIG. 10 provides an end view of the back end of a pedal rail as incorporated in the inventive aerobic exercise apparatus.

FIG. 11 provides a partial end view of the back of the inventive aerobic exercise apparatus showing a pivot, pedal rail, and pedal.

FIG. 12 provides a partial top view of the inventive aerobic exercise apparatus showing the left pedal rail in its fully extended position and the right pedal rail in its fully retracted position.

FIG. 13 provides a top view of the rear portion of a telescopic pedal rail as incorporated in the inventive aerobic exercise apparatus.

FIG. 14 provides a side view of the rear portion of a telescopic pedal rail as incorporated in the inventive aerobic exercise apparatus.

FIG. 15 provides a partial top view of the end of the rear portion of a telescopic pedal rail as incorporated in the inventive aerobic exercise apparatus.

FIG. 16 provides a partial cutaway side view of an alternate embodiment of a telescopic side rail as incorporated in the inventive aerobic exercise apparatus.

FIG. 17 is a view similar to FIG. 1 but showing details of a preferred recumbent embodiment of the invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

The preferred embodiment of the inventive aerobic exercise apparatus 20 with elongated stride is shown in its general environment in FIGS. 1 and 2. Aerobic exercise apparatus 20 comprises: frame 22 supported by front leg 24 and rear leg 26; left cover 28 enclosing the left side of the upright portion of frame 22; likewise, right cover 30 enclosing the right side of the upright portion of frame 22; bell crank 32 extending through an aperture (not shown) provided in left enclosure 28 and aperture 34 provided in right cover 30; handrail 36 secured to frame 22; electronic console 38; left telescoping pedal rail 40; and right telescoping pedal rail 42.

Bell crank 32 is in mechanical communication with a brake assembly under the control of electronic console 38. Such breaking systems are known in the art and not a part of the present invention.

Preferably, right telescoping pedal rail 42 includes front portion 44 and rear portion 46. As best seen in FIGS. 3 and 4, bushing 48 extends through front portion 44 for rotatably attaching telescopic pedal rail 42 to bell crank 32. Similarly, as best seen in FIGS. 13 and 14 in combination with FIG. 1, rear portion 46 includes bushing 50 for pivotally attaching telescopic rail 42 to a pivot 52 on rear leg 26.

Likewise, as shown in FIG. 2, left telescoping pedal arm 40 includes front portion 54 and rear portion 56. Front portion 54 rotatably attaches to bell crank 32 and rear portion 56 pivotally attaches to pivot 58 on rear leg 26.

As will be apparent to those skilled in the art, left telescoping pedal rail 40 is the mirror image of right telescoping pedal rail 42 and any discussion with reference to either rail applies equally to the other rail. For the sake of convenience, the discussion of the construction and operation of inventive telescoping pedal rails 40 and 42 will be addressed primarily with respect to the right telescoping pedal rail 42, and it is to be understood that such discussion also applies to the left telescoping pedal rail 40.

Referring now to FIGS. 8 and 9, preferably front portion 44 is tubular and includes: pedal support 60 extending upward therefrom; first roller support 61 rotatably securing rollers 62 and 64 such that roller 64 extends through notch 70 in front portion 44; and second roller support 72 rotatably supporting rollers 66 and 68 such that rollers 66 and 68 extend through aperture 74 provided in front portion 44. When telescoping pedal rail 42 is assembled, rear portion 46 is slidingly received in front portion 44 such that rollers 62-68 support rear portion 46 (FIGS. 6, 7, 8, and 10) to constrain the vertical movement of rear portion 46 relative to front portion 44.

Continuing to refer to FIG. 10, front portion 44 includes horizontal roller supports 78 which rotatably support rollers 80 such that rollers 80 will rollingly contact the sides 81 of rear member 46 when such contact occurs. Referring now to FIG. 15 in conjunction with FIG. 10, rollers 96 are rotatably supported on the end of rear portion 46 such that rollers 96 will rollingly contact the inside side wall 82 of front portion 44 to the extent such contact occurs. Rollers 96 operate in conjunction with rollers 80 to maintain horizontal gap 98 between the side walls 82 of front portion 44 and the sides 81 of rear portion 46.

As best seen in FIG. 11, preferably, pedal 84 is pivotally attached to support 60 and includes: stop 86 to limit mechanical travel of pedal 84; bottom plate 88; and pad 90 to receive the users foot.

Referring again to FIG. 1, in operation, a user prepares for operation of the inventive aerobic exerciser 20 by first stepping onto pedals 84. The user begins operation of the machine by shifting her weight to one foot which provides a downward force on that pedal which in turn presents a downward force on the bell crank 32 which causes bell crank 32 to begin rotating. As the front end of a pedal rail passes the bottom of its circular path, as shown by the position of the right telescoping pedal rail 42 in FIG. 1, the user shifts her weight to the other pedal, thereby continuing to force bell crank 32 to rotate.

As bell crank 32 rotates from the position shown in FIG. 1 to the position shown in FIG. 2, the front portion of each pedal rail is simultaneously subjected to vertical movement and horizontal movement. The vertical component of the movement causes pivotal movement of telescoping pedal rails 40 and 42 at pivots 58 and 52, respectively. The horizontal component of the movement results in the extension and retraction of telescoping pedal rails 40 and 42. As shown in FIGS. 6 and 12, when bell crank 32 is rotated to the point where the front portion 44 is at its rearmost position 92, telescoping pedal rail 42 is fully retracted. Conversely, when bell crank 32 is rotated to the point where the front portion 44 is at its most forward position 94 (FIG. 7), telescoping pedal rail 42 is fully extended. The resulting stride which is presented to the user at each pedal 84 follows a generally elliptical path.

As will be apparent to those skilled in the art, an aerobic exerciser which incorporates the inventive telescoping pedal rail does not require additional space beyond the back of the machine to accommodate motion of the pedal rail. It will also be apparent that there is no movement outside of the frame of the exerciser thereby reducing risk to other people near the machine.

In an alternate embodiment, as shown in FIG. 16, rollers 100 are rotatably supported on rear portion 102 and roll along the inside walls of front portion 104. Roller 106 maintains a gap to prevents side-to-side contact between rear portion 102 and front portion 104. Front portion 104 includes roller support 108 and roller 110 to provide additional vertical support between front portion 104 and rear portion 102.

FIG. 17 represents the preferred embodiments of this invention. Whereas the frame 20 of the exercise device shown in FIG. 17 is similar in many respects to the exercise frame shown in the embodiments illustrated by FIGS. 1 through 16, the preferred embodiments of FIG. 17 differs principally in that it calls for a recumbent elliptical exercise device whose main recumbent feature involves a seat 200 having a seat back 202 mounted on a seat frame 204. The seat 200 is mounted on a roller mechanism 206 which includes a plurality of rollers 208 mounted for rolling movement within a track 210 on an inclined track support 210′. The exercise machine 20 of FIG. 17 also includes a lower horizontal frame 22 connecting with a forward leg 212 and a rear leg 214. The lower frame which is supplied in the area encompassed by the lower frame 22, forward leg 212, rear leg 214 and track frame 210′ there are included a power supply 216, a fly-wheel 218 and a bell crank 220. Also shown is a dynamic braking system 222.

The system also includes a left foot bed 224 attached to a left telescoping rail 226 and a right foot bed 228 attached to a right telescoping rail (obscured by the left telescoping rail 226). Mounted at the upper end of the arcuate vertical frame is a control panel 230 and the device is provided with a right arm crank 282 and a left arm crank 284 which are connected respectively to the forward ends of the unseen obscured right telescoping rail and the left telescoping rail 226 through arms 286. Left arm crank 284 is pivotally connected intermediate its ends at 288 to a stationary arm 290 which extends from the curved vertical support 20 as shown. Similar connection is provided for the right arm crank 282. Rollers 292 are located at the forward end of the horizontal frame 22 and rear rollers 294 are mounted at the rear end of the horizontal frame member 22 to permit movement of the entire exercise device 20, if desired. The seat 200 is provided with a handle 296 to permit release of the seat when desired. Also provided are seat adjustment knobs 298.

As will be further understood by those skilled in the art, although the earlier preferred embodiments of the inventive apparatus have been discussed in regard to pedals such as pedals 84, which are pivotally attached, a rigid pedal attachment such as pedals 224 and 228 could be incorporated in the inventive device.

The terms “front” and “back’ as used herein are merely temporarily convenient descriptive terms for the purposes of a given figure or embodiment; that is, when referring to the apparatus shown in FIGS. 1 to 16, the “front” end is generally to the right on these figures as typified by the location of the console 38 and/or the bell crank 32. However, in the embodiment shown in FIG. 17, the “front” of the device is at the left as typified by the location of the console 230; in FIG. 17, the bell crank 220 is to the “back” or rear end of the device below the seat 200. Thus, the terms “front” and “back” are in fact reversed for FIG. 17. Therefore, these terms should not be considered as limiting; parts which operate on the front in one figure might very well operate on the back or rear end in another figure.

Thus, the present invention is well adapted to carry out the objects and attain the ends and advantages mentioned above as well as those inherent therein. While presently preferred embodiments have been described for purposes of this disclosure, numerous changes and modifications will be apparent to those skilled in the art. Such changes and modifications are encompassed within the spirit of this invention as defined by the appended claims.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US8562491 *Oct 6, 2010Oct 22, 2013Flatiron Design, LlcSeated exercise apparatus
US20110028277 *Oct 6, 2010Feb 3, 2011Christopher MerliSeated exercise apparatus
EP2241302A1 *Mar 25, 2010Oct 20, 2010Jorge CardileApparatus for rehabilitation of patients suffering motor dysfunction
Classifications
U.S. Classification482/52
International ClassificationA63B22/04
Cooperative ClassificationA63B2208/0238, A63B22/0664, A63B2208/0204, A63B22/16, A63B22/0046, A63B2022/0676
European ClassificationA63B22/06E
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Mar 21, 2007ASAssignment
Owner name: SCIFIT SYSTEMS, INC., OKLAHOMA
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:BORN, LAWRENCE L.;DISLER, RICHARD C.;REEL/FRAME:019095/0501
Effective date: 20070321