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Publication numberUS3387493 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateJun 11, 1968
Filing dateMay 12, 1965
Priority dateMay 12, 1965
Publication numberUS 3387493 A, US 3387493A, US-A-3387493, US3387493 A, US3387493A
InventorsWallace S Strittmatter
Original AssigneeWallace S. Strittmatter
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Motor-operated exercising device with load responsive indicating means
US 3387493 A
Abstract  available in
Previous page
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

June 11, 1968 w. s. STRITTMATTER 3,337,493

MOTOROPERATED EXERCISING DEVICE WITH LOAD RESPONSIVE INDICATING MEANS Filed May 12. 1965 INVENTOR WALLACE S. STRITTMATTER ATTORNEY United States Patent 3,387,493 MOTGR-QIERATED EXEECHSENG DIEVHQE WITH-l LUAD RESPQNSEVE ENDICATENG lldlEANS Wallace S. fitrittmntter, 330 Scout Drive, Belleville, Ill. 62221 Filed May 12, 1965, Ser. No. 455,212 8 Claims. (Cl. 73-379) ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE The present invention relates generally to improvements in exercising apparatus, and more particularly to an exercise therapy unit wherein the speed, direction, and resistive force at chosen points in an exercise cycle may be readily and independently varied.

Three types of muscular contractions are encountered in basic muscle exercise; they are eccentric, isometric, and concentric contractions. Of these, the eccentric and com centric contractions produce joint motion by the lengthening and shortening of the muscle fibers, respectively. Eccentric contractions occur, for example in an arm biceps muscle, when a weight is lowered from the shoulder, While concentric contractions in this same muscle occur when a weight is raised to the shoulder. Isometric contraction of a muscle occurs when it is placed in tension and joint movement is prevented, for example by the muscle exerting force against an immovable object.

Heretofore, various weights and weight-pulley devices have been used for exercise and muscle building. No single such device, to my knowledge, has made it possible to accurately and conveniently administer all of the three basic muscle exercises employed by a physical therapist, especially those of the eccentric and isometric type, by readily and independently controlling the rate of the exerelse, the range of movement, and the resistance to be overcome.

Therefore, among the objects of the present invention are the provisions of an exercise therapy unit wherein:

The three basic muscle exercises, and especially the eccentric type, may be conveniently administered independent of gravity-operational apparatus and in any selected or programmed sequence;

The administering of muscle exercise may be readily varied as to speed, resistance and kind;

It is assured that at any time during the exercise when the person exercising experiences pain or muscle strain, the contracted muscle may be relaxed without fear of injury to them or damage to the apparatus;

Instantaneous indications of the muscle force being exerted during an exercise are displayed to effectively administer the exercise and motivate the person exercising; and

The versatility of the apparatus permits the application of muscle exercise to a plurality of individual muscles or muscle groups and to persons Who are restricted to exercise in certain positions only.

These objects (as well as others apparent herein) are achieved generally by providing an exercise therapy unit having an electric motor which is controllable for reversibly rotating a winding drum at precise speeds. Upon the winding drum there is provided a nylon cable that is paidout from or return-wound upon the winding drum in response to the direction and driving speed of the electric motor. The cable connects through a deflectance-type force-measuring unit, where muscle force applied to the cable by the exercising of a person is sensed and converted into an electrical signal indicative of such force. The electric signal then in turn is converted into a visual display observable by the person exercising at the same instant that his muscles apply the force to the cable. Means are provided so that the person exercising or someone administering the exercise can selectively control the starting, stopping, direction of rotation, and speed of the electric motor.

Utilization of the invention will become apparent to those skilled in the art from the disclosures made in the following description of a preferred embodiment of the invention as illustrated in the accompanying drawings, in which:

FIG. 1 is a front elevational view of an embodiment of the exercise therapy apparatus of the present invention, shown with a front panel partly broken away, the phantom lines illustrating the force-transmitting cable utilized in an alternative exercise position;

FIG. 2 is a sectional view taken along line 22 of FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is an enlarged cross-sectional view of the forcemeasuring deflectance unit of the present inventioin taken along the line 3-3 of FIG. 2; and

FIG. 4 is an enlarged cross-sectional view thereof taken along line 4-4 of FIG. 3.

Referring now to the drawings wherein like reference characters designate like or corresponding parts throughout the several views, there is shown in FIGS. 1 and 2 an exercise therapy unit generally designated 10. It includes a flat platform 12 having four angles 14, 14 and 16, 16 secured at its front and rear edges 18 and 20 respectively. The angles 14, 14, 16 and 16 may be fitted under four joggled plates 21, 21 23 and 23 which are in turn fastened to a floor or some other immovable base. By means of these angles and plates the platform 12 may b moved from one location to another and conveniently mounted with assurance that it will not slide when in use.

Mounted toward the rear edge 20 of the flat platform 12 is a reversible, variable speed electric motor 22. Preferably the electric motor 22 is of the type which operates from direct current supplied from a rectifier unit 24 supported by the motor 22. The rectifier unit 24, converts alternating current supplied from a conventional wall outlet (not shown) to direct current which powers the motor 22. It has been found that a DC. motor rated at HP. will afford the power required over the desired range of resistive exercises to be undertaken with the apparatus it as well as providing a sufficient range of precise speeds. It should be understood, however, that an AC. motor may be used where appropriate speed regulation devices are provided therewith.

Forward of the motor 22, its drive shaft is coupled to a speed reduction unit 26 which is mounted on the platform 12. The speed reduction unit 26 has a conventional gear train (not shown) which serves to step-down the speed and increase the torque developed at the motor 22. As may best be seen in FIG. 2, a Winding drum 28 having flanged edges 30, 32 is connected to and extends laterally from the output shaft of the speed reducton unit 26. The winding drum 28 is spaced above the platform 12; it may be freely rotated in either the paying-out (counter 3 clockwise as viewed in FIG. 2) or rewind (clockwise as viewed in FIG. 2) directions.

Toward the front edge 18 of the platform 12 a vertically-extending front wall panel 34 is secured to the platform 12 by means of two vertical, spaced-apart posts 35. Near its lower edge 36 the front wall panel 34 is provided with a cable-exit aperture 38 bounded by a system of four-friction-minimizing rollers 40, which are suspended in the plane of the front wall panel 34 by means of four roller-shaft bearing members 42.

Above the aperture 38 two brackets 44 extend rearward from the vertical posts to mount a muscle-forcemeasuring deflectance unit 46. The deflectance unit 46 includes a box-like housing 48 whose top wall 50 has two spaced anchor hooks 52, 52' secured to it and presented to the housing interior as shown in FIG. 3. Suspended from the anchor hooks 52, 52' are two coil springs 54, 54' which are secured at their lower ends to a flat plate member 56. The coil spring 54' is enclosed within a tubular rack member 58 whose one side 59 is provided with gear-like teeth and whose lower end 61 is welded to the lower surface of the flat plate member 56. A connecting rod is welded to the flat plate member 56 and extends downward through a collared guide opening 62 in the botom wall 64 of the deflectance unit housing 48. It terminates in an inverted U-shaped bracket 66 which rotatably supports a pulley-support rod 68 upon which is mounted a pulley 70.

A disk 72 of insulating material having ten inlaid, electrically conductive contact strips '74, spaced at selected intervals, is spacedly mounted from the rear wall 76 of the housing 46. An opening 78 through the disk 72 is provided with a bearing 80 so that an electrically conductive shaft 82 may extend from its journalled end at the rear wall 76 and, through the opening 78. At its inner end the shaft 82 has a conductive pinion gear 84 presented in meshing engagement with the gear teeth of the rack member 58. An electrical conductive wiper leaf 79 is fixed to the pinion gear 84 and rotates with it to contact the inlaid contact strips 74 when so rotated. Except for the leaf 79, the shaft 82, the gear 84, and the inlaid strips 76, the various other parts of the deflectance unit 46 are appropriately rendered non-conductive by insulating them from the indicating circuit, now to be described.

Each contact strip 74 has a wire 81 leading from it through an electrical conduit 83 to an indicating light 77 provided at a video display unit 85. The electrical circuit including the wires 81 and the lights 77 further includes a pair of wires 87 connected at the rectifier 24 to .a source of current, one of the wires 87 leading to a wiper contact (not shown) provided against the pinion shaft 82 and the other serving as a common return wire from the display lights 77. The precise electrical circuit connections are not shown; such conventional switching circuits being well known to those skilled in the art. The display lights 77 are shown as being graduated to read convenient increments of force. It has been found that a range of from zero to 250 pounds is adequate for the desired exercises to be performed with the exercise therapy unit 10.

A force-transmitting nylon cable 86 is provided for transmitting the forces exerted by the person exercising to the measuring and display apparatus just described. Although the cable 86 may be connected at its end to various well known force application devices (for example, handles, bars, cuffs or sprockets of an everciser bicycle), is is shown connected to a gripping ring 88. From the ring 88 the cable 86 passes through the front panel aperture 38, over the pulley 76 of the deflectance unit 46, and to the winding drum 28 upon which it is wound.

A foot operated control unit 90 is connected by an electrical cable 92 to the DC. motor 22. The control unit 90 is provided with three pedal-operated control switches 94, 96 and 98. The control switch 94 serves to close a circuit for driving the motor 22 in its forward direction, the control switch 98 closes a similar circuit for driving the motor 22 in its reverse direction, and the switch 96 opens the forward and reverse drive circuits to stop the motor 22. A combination on-off switch and rheostat 1% for varying the speed of the electrical motor 22 is also provided. As the circuit connections between such switches and rheostat and a motor are well known, they are not shown in schematic detail.

Often it is desirable to greatly increase the height at which the cable 86 is paid-out and rewound. For such cases two vertical rails 102, 104 are secured to the platform 12. just forward of the front wall panel 34. Aligned notches are provided along the rails 162, 104 so that a roller 106 may be positioned above the front panel aperture 38 at different levels. Thus, the cable 86 may be threaded through the aperture 38 and over the roller 106 so that the height of the cable 86 may be adjusted for particular exercises (see the phantom lines of FIGS. 1 and 2).

In using the exercise therapy apparatus 10, either the person exercising or a person administering the exercise (e.g., a physical therapist) may operate the foot-operated control unit 90. Initially the circuits for energizing the display lights 77 and the DC. motor 22 are actuated by turning the combination on-off switch and rheostat 1% to its on position. Next the speed at which the cable 86 is to be paid out is set by adjusting the rheostat 160. A simple curl exercise for strengthening the biceps muscle may be executed by grasping the ring 83 in the hand and pulling against the cable 86, the movement occurring at the elbow. By pressing the control switch 94 the motor 22 is energized and driven so that the winding drum 28 pays out the cable 86 from the drum. The concentric force exerted by the biceps of the person exercising is transmitted to the pulley 76 of the muscle-force-measuring defiectance unit 46. This applied force produces elastic deflection of the springs 54 proportionate to the muscle force applied at the gripping ring 88.

Deflectance of the springs 54, 54' causes the rack member 58 to rotatably drive the pinion gear 84 which in turn sweeps the wiper leaf 79 over the contact strips 74. The electrical circuit energizes the display light 77 associated with the contact strip 74 contacted by the wiper leaf 79, thus a visual display is read out to the person exercising at the precise moment that he is applying the force to the cable 86.

It should be noted that the rollers 40 allow the cable 86 to pass through the aperture 38 and extend at varying angles from the apparatus 10 without undue frictional resistance.

When, during the exercise cycle, it is desired to perform an eccentric contraction, the control switch 98 may be pressed to reverse the direction of the motor 22. If desired, the speed may be changed too by re-positioning the rheostat 100. The person exercising then resists the pull of the motor 22 as it is rewound on the drum 28. The degree of resistance is governed by the person himself who watches the graduated indicating lights 77 and maintains suflicient resistance to light the prescribed light. I An isometric contraction can be performed at any point in the exercise cycle by stopping the motor 22 by means of the control switch 94 and pulling against the cable 86. Since the cable 86 cannot be paid-out with the motor 22 stopped, the force applied to the cable 86 by the person exercising is the same as that applied to an immovable obect, i.e., an isometric contraction is performed. The magnitude of the contraction is readily observed at the video display unit 35 and directly controlled by the person exercising.

Although the amount of deflectance in the springs 54, 54 may be fairly small, the feel which accompanies their increase in deflection with applied force lends a livemess to the exercising process, which is believed to be most desirable.

Many modifications and variations of the invention are possible in view of the above teachings. For example, an audio indicating device could be employed instead of the visual display, and various safety devices could be incorporated to insure that the cable would never be rewound too far. Furthermore, it should be understood that the curl exercise described herein is merely illustrative of one use of the invention and numerous other uses will be apparent to those skilled in the art. Therefore, it is to be understood that, within the scope of the appended claims, the invention may be practiced otherwise than as specifically described.

I claim:

1. Exercise therapy apparatus, comprising:

a support member,

a reversible variable speed electric motor mounted to said support member,

a winding drum mechanically connected to and rotatably driven by said electric motor,

control means electrically connected to said reversible motor for selectively starting, stopping, reversing and varying the speed at which the winding drum is driven by said motor,

a force-transmitting cable wound around and extending from said winding drum and having gripping means on the cable end remote from said drum,

deflectance means affixed to said support member and having a deflecting end engaged by said force-transmitting cable for elastic deflection proportionate to the muscle force applied to said cable, and

display means electrically connected to said defiectance means for displaying the amount of muscle force applied to said force-transmitting cable.

2. The exercise therapy apparatus of claim 1, wherein:

the deflectance means includes a coil spring secured at one end and having at its other end a pulley over which said cable is drawn.

3. The exercise therapy apparatus as described in claim 1, further comprising:

friction-minimizing cable guide means mounted forward of said winding drum for receiving therethrough said force-transmitting cable,

whereby said force-transmitting cable may be extended from said guide means at varying angles.

4. The exercise therapy apparatus as defined in claim 3,

together with:

vertically-adjustable support means for said cable guide means.

5. A motor-operated exercise device, comprising:

a reversible, variable speed electric motor,

a winding drum mechanically connected to and rotatably driven by said electric motor,

control means electrically connected to said reversible motor for selectively starting, stopping, reversing and varying the speed at which the winding drum is driven by said motor,

a force-transmitting cable Wound around and extending from said winding drum and having gripping means on the cable end remote from said drum, and

means for measuring and indicating the measurement of the muscle forces applied by the user to said end gripping means,

said means measuring and indicating engaging said force-transmitting cable intermediate its said gripping means and said winding drum, and including deflectance means defiectable elastically proportionate to the muscle force applied thereto by said cable and restorable to its initial position when such force is removed,

said muscle force measuring and indicating means further including graduated electrical indicator means for indicating the amount of muscle force applied to said force-transmitting cable, and

electrical circuit means, connecting said indicating means to said deflectance means, for correlating the indications of said indicator means with the deflecting movement of said defiectance means.

6. A motor-operated exercise therapy device, comprising:

a frame,

a reversible, variable speed power driven motor,

a winding drum mechanically connected to and rotatably driven by said motor,

control means to start, stop, reverse and vary the speed at which the winding drum is so driven, and

a force-transmitting cable wound around and extending from said winding drum and having means on the cable end remote from said drum for a user to apply a single force thereto,

said device further having, positioned along said cable intermediate the drum and the force-application means at its remote end,

means for measuring and indicating the measurement of the single force so applied by the user and resisted by the drum, and

cable guide means mounted, in a position fixed by the frame, between said force measuring means and said force application means,

whereby the accuracy of measurement of the force exerted by the user will not be substantially alfected by the angle at which it is exerted and concentric, eccentric and isometric muscle contractions may be exerted by the user as a single force at selected positions and angles from said guide means for resistance by the winding drum.

7. A motor-operated exercise therapy device as defined in claim 6, wherein:

said means for measuring and indicating the measurement includes deflectance means interposed against said cable,

whereby to lend a live feel to the resistance of the drumheld cable.

8. A motor-operated exercise therapy device as defined in claim 6, wherein:

the control means is adjustably positionable forwardly RICHARD C. PINKHAM, Primary Examiner. F. BARRY SHAY, Examiner.

W. R. BROWNE, Assistant Examiner.

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Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3465592 *Sep 14, 1965Sep 9, 1969James J PerrineIsokinetic exercise process and apparatus
US3861215 *Oct 28, 1970Jan 21, 1975Robert F BradleyExercising apparatus simulating weight lifting
US3869121 *Jul 5, 1973Mar 4, 1975Evan R FlavellProportioned resistance exercise servo system
US3874659 *Apr 30, 1973Apr 1, 1975Benjamin M AharoniExercising machine
US3989240 *May 6, 1975Nov 2, 1976Victor Bernard JElectrically timed exercising device
US4184678 *Jun 21, 1977Jan 22, 1980Isokinetics, Inc.Programmable acceleration exerciser
US4501148 *Jan 5, 1982Feb 26, 1985Nicholas James AManual muscle tester
US4607841 *Dec 16, 1982Aug 26, 1986Gala Jeffrey AIsometric exercise apparatus
US4979733 *Jan 23, 1989Dec 25, 1990Merobel-Societe Anonyme FrancaiseApparatus for training, investigation and re-education in particular for the neuro-muscular function
US5260870 *Nov 20, 1990Nov 9, 1993Combi CorporationApparatus for measuring instantaneous power by leg-stretching power
US5277674 *Jan 16, 1992Jan 11, 1994Combi CorporationLeg extension apparatus with pivotal foot section for measuring instantaneous power generated by a leg extending force
US5401224 *Jul 19, 1993Mar 28, 1995Combi CorporationMethod for measuring instantaneous power generated by a leg extending force
US5588938 *Nov 18, 1994Dec 31, 1996Fritz Gegauf Ag Bernina NahmaschinenfabrikStrength of a muscle training apparatus
EP0148671A1 *Dec 6, 1984Jul 17, 1985AREMO Société à Responsabilité LimitéeExercise and rehabilitation apparatus
EP0267071A1 *Sep 29, 1987May 11, 1988MerobelApparatus for training, investigation and rehabilitation, especially of the myoneural function
EP0430067A1 *Nov 22, 1990Jun 5, 1991Combi CorporationApparatus for measuring instantaneous power by leg-stretching power
EP0655264A1 *Nov 14, 1994May 31, 1995Fritz Gegauf Ag Bernina-NähmaschinenfabrikForce resp. muscle exercise machine
WO1986000024A1 *Jun 14, 1985Jan 3, 1986Albertus Daniel OosthuizenAn exercise apparatus
U.S. Classification482/7, 482/91, 73/862.471
International ClassificationA61B5/22, A63B21/00, A63B24/00, A63B21/005
Cooperative ClassificationA63B2220/51, A63B21/0058, A61B5/221, A61B5/224, A63B21/153
European ClassificationA63B21/15F4, A61B5/22B, A63B21/005F, A61B5/22D