US 3747924 A
Leg exercising device for improving a person's balance having two pedals for accepting the feet, each pedal being hinged on a four-bar mechanism. The pedals are interconnected by a cable passing over a pulley combination so that, by transferring weight from one pedal to the other the pedals oscillate in a vertical plane in 180 DEG out-of-phase relationship, the pedals remaining horizontal throughout oscillation. Change in length of the cable changes the amplitude of oscillation.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
OUT-OF-PIIASE PEDALS OSCILLATED EXERCISING DEVICE BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION 1. Field of the Invention The invention relates to an exercising device particularly adapted for, but not limited to, exercising legs and improving balance of players of ball games.
2. Prior Art Many types of exercising devices are available, some of these being used to strengthen particular muscles by permitting the muscles to work against a controllable force. Rehabilitation exercisers, such as those described in US. Pat. Nos. 3,316,898, issued to J.W. Brown in 1967, and 2,892,455 issued to L.L. Hutton in 1959, include devices having pedals to carry feet of a person exercising, the pedals being powered by an electric motor for oscillation through a particular motion between fixed limits. These are ingenious and effective devices, however, they are not easily portable, are relatively expensive, and limits of movement are not easily adjustable to persons of different sizes.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION The invention reduces difficulties and disadvantages of prior art exercisers knownto the present inventor, by providing an exercising device, operable by the person to be exercised, thus not requiring external power, and having limits of pedal travel that are easily adjustable for persons of different sizes. The device is relatively compact, portable and inexpensive, and is intended primarily for improving balance and leg coordination.
One embodiment of the invention includes a flat horizontal base and a pair of pedals, each pedal being supported by, and forming, one link of a four-bar mechanism. The mechanisms are inter-connected by a cable running over pulleys. The pedals are restricted to swing in a vertical plane, in limited arcs about the base, reinaining parallel to the base and oscillating in a 180 out-of-phase relationship.
A detailed description following, related to drawings, gives exemplification of apparatus according to the invention which, however, is capable of expression in structure other than that particularly described and illustrated.
DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is a simplified fragmented side elevation of an exercising device according to the invention,
FIG. 2 is a simplified plan of the exercising device, one pedal being removed,
FIG. 3 is a perspective of the device.
DETAIL DISCLOSURE FIGS. 1 and 2 An exercising device according to the invention has a horizontal base 11 having a central longitudinal axis 12. The base has a vertical frame 13 at a forward end, the frame being supported by inclined braces 14, 15, and 16 extending from longitudinal stiffeners 17, 18 and 19, respectively. The vertical frame 13 has transverse members 20 and 20.1 to provide support for a plurality of pulleys, described with reference to FIG. 3.
Left and right pedals 21 and 22 accept left and right feet 23 and 24, shown in broken outline, of a person coupled to the base 11 by left and right fourbar mechanisms 26 and 27.
The left mechanism 26 is describedas follows. The left pedal 21 has on a lower face a forward pedal hinge 31 on a pedal axis 32, and spaced rear pedal hinges 33 and 34 straddling the pedal axis, the pedal hinges being secured to lower face of the pedal. A forward link 36 is hinged at an upper end of the forward hinge 31, and is hinged at a lower end on a forwa'rd'base hinge 37 se cured to the base 11. Spaced parallel rear links39 and 40 are hinged at upper ends to the' rear hinge 33 and 34, and are hinged at lower ends to rear base hinges 42 and 43 respectively, the rear links appearingpartially to straddle the forward link when 'vi'ewedfrom above as seen in FIG. 2. The basehinges are secured to an upper face of the base. The forward and rearhinges at opposite ends of the links are pin joints providing sufficient articulation to permit swinging of the links through arcs of about 30. I
The forward and rear links 36, 39, and 40 have equal lengths, and horizontal spacing between pinsofthe for ward and rear hinges of the'pedal and forward and rear hinges on the base are also equal,'thus forming a closed four-bar mechanism having opposite'sides or links of equal length i.e., arranged as a parallelogram. The four-bar mechanism serves as a hinge'means for the pedal, a portion of the pedal between 'thepedal'hinges forming one link, and a portion of-the base between the base hinges forming an opposite linkfW-hen'the pedal 21 swings aboutthe base it describes an are about the forward and rear hinges on the base,the"pedal 21'being maintained parallel to the base. Loci of hinge pins of the hinges 31, 33 and 34 are shownas'broken lines-46 and47 (FIG. 1 only). A cable-48 (brokenline)-secured to the pedals has upper and lower portions 50 and 49, and passes around a roller means*5l ('broken outline) on the frame 13, the cable 48-serving asa flexible tension link coupling the pedals together (see'FIG. 3).
The right four-bar mechanism is also as above. FIGS. 2 and 3 The roller means 51 has four pulleys, disposed-so-as to turn the cable 48 through 180 in a'horizontal plane and about 30 in a vertical plane without derailing the roller means. With reference to" FIG. 3,-a first upper pulley 52 has a horizontal'axis 'disposed'perpendicularly to the axis 12 of the base, and isspaced'above a first lower pulley 53 having a horizontal-"axleparallel with the axis 12. Thus the upper pulley is journalled for rotation in a plane perpendicular to the-'base andcontaining the lower portion'49 of thecable, andthe lower pulley is journalled for rotation in a plane-perpendicular to the base and perpendicularto the plane of the upper pulley. As seen in FIG.2, the'pulley'52 isaligned with the lower portion49 of the cable' 48, one portion of the cable passing over the pulley.
Peripheries of the upper and lower pulleys are aligned thus permitting a taut cable' to extend between the pulleys, such alignmenthereinafter being referred to as peripheral alignment.
A similar pair of second upper and lowerpulleys 55 and 56 are mounted on the frame 13, the pulley 55 being aligned with the upper portion50 of the cable'48 using the device. The pedalsare supported above and extending from the pedal 21. 'All four pulleys are mounted on undesignated brackets. One end59 of the cable 48 is secured to the pedal 2l andpasses over the upper pulley 55, downwards and around the lowerpulley 56, then extends parallel to the frame 13to thepulley 53 and upwards to the pulley 52 as shown in FIG. 3. An opposite end 62 of the cable 48 is secured to a turnbuckle 63 which is hinged to the pedal 22.
Coupling of the platforms by the cable 48 results in simultaneous oscillation of the pedals about the limited arcs, movement being 180 out of phase, the pedals moving in opposite directions. The turnbuckle 63 is used to change effective length of the coupling cable, adjustment of the turnbuckle changes amplitude of motion of the pedals, which amplitude is between two limits of travel. A lower limit of travel of a particular pedal is governed by contact of the pedal with the base 11, and an upper limit, when the pedal is weighted, is set by length of the cable and relative position of the roller means 51. Within limits set mainly by the base and the relative positions of the pulleys 52 and 55, when the cable 48 is shortened, the amplitude of oscillation of each pedal is increased. This permits the device to be easily adjusted for use by persons of different sizes.
Best results have been attained when the upper pulleys 52 and 55 are in a position about half way between a maximum upper limit of the pedal stroke and the base, which serves as a lower limit of the pedal stroke. This results in the pedals describing arcs, disposed essentially equally above and below a horizontal plane (not shown) passing through the axles of the upper pulleys.
OPERATION The base 11 is placed on level ground and the person using the device faces the frame 13 and stands with one foot, for example his right foot 24, on the pedal 22 which is resting on the base. The left foot 23 is then lifted and placed on the left pedal 21 which is at an upper limit on its stroke. The person's weight is then transferred from the right foot to the left foot and the left pedal then descends, causing the right pedal simultaneously to rise in the out-of-phase relationship described. The left pedal contacts the base at the end of its downward stroke, simultaneously the right pedal reaching an upper limit of its stroke. The above procedure is reversed by transferring the weight back onto the right foot, which causes the right pedal to descend to the base again. Thus, by transferring weight alternately from one pedal to the next, the pedals oscillate over the limited arcs and the person exercising maintains balance. In this manner, the person practices a technique of maintaining balance when positions of the feet oscillate speed of oscillation being controlled by the person exercising.
ALTERNATIVES AND EQUIVALENTS The roller means 51 as described and illustrated has four pulleys 52, 53, 55, 56, disposed so as to permit the cable extending between the pedals to be turned through l80 in a horizontal plane and a limited angle of about 30 in a vertical plane in order to accommodate l80 out-of-phase oscillations of the pedals as described. Other roller means adapted to attain the same result are known.
Other means to change lengths of cable are known, such as an eye screw provided with a swivel to reduce twisting of the cable. The cable can be secured to the links instead of the pedals, and, if desired, semipermanent cable securing means such as cable clamps can be used.
1. An exercising device adapted primarily for use by a person for leg exercise and balance improvement, the device having a base having a longitudinal axis, right and left pedals to accept right and left feet of the person exercising, each pedal being supported above and coupled to the base through a hinge means including:
a. forward and rear pedal hinges secured to a lower face of the pedal,
b. forward and rear base hinges secured to an upper face of the base,
c. forward and rear links extending between and journalled on the forward and rear pedal and base hinges respectively, the forward and rear links forming opposite links of a closed mechanism, the device further including:
(1. a roller means secured to a portion of the device fixed relative to the base,
e. a flexible tension link having one end secured to one pedal and an opposite end secured to the other pedal, the tension link passing around the roller means, the hinge means being adapted so that when weight of the person is transferred from one foot to the other, the pedals oscillate within parallel planes extending normally to the base, the pedals oscillating in a out-ofphase relationship.
2. An exercising device as claimed in claim 1 in which:
f. the roller means has a pulley combination disposed so as to permit the flexible tension link extending between the pedals to be turned through an angle of about 180 in a horizontal plane, and through an angle of about 30 in a vertical plane, in order to accommodate the 180 out of phase oscillations of the pedals.
3. An exercising device as claimed in claim I in which:
g. the pedals have upper and lower limits of travel and h. the roller means is positioned so as to be between the upper and lower limits of travel.
4. An exercising device as claimed in claim 3 in which:
i. the roller means is positioned half way between the I upper and lower limits of travel on the pedals.
5. An exercising device as claimed in claim 1 in which:
j. the flexible tension link is a cable, and the roller means includes:
k. a first upper pulley journalled for rotation in a plane perpendicular to the base and containing a portion of the cable extending from a first pedal to the upper roller,
1. a first lower pulley journalled for rotation in a plane perpendicular to the base and perpendicular to the plane of the upper pulley, the lower pulley being peripherally aligned with the upper pulley,
m. a second lower pulley, coplanar with, and spaced from, the first lower pulley,
n. a second upper pulley peripherally aligned with the second lower pulley and journalled for rotation in a plane perpendicular to the base and containing a portion of the cable extending from a second pedal, the pulleys being aligned so that the cable extending from the first pedal passes over the first upper pulley, around the first lower pulley, extends transversely to the second lower pulley, and passes upwards over the second upper pulley, after which it is secured to the second pedal, thus coupling the 8. An exercising device as claimed in claim I, in pedals together for oscillation in a 180 out-ofhi h the hin e means has:
q. a forward link having upper and lower ends hinged 6. An exercising device as defined in claim 5 includto the forward pedal hinge and the forward base ing: 5 l
0. length adjustment means of the cable to vary hmge. respecuve length of the cable to permit change in length of r. a pair of spaced parallel rear links having upper cable for adjustment of the stroke of the pedals. and lower ends. lunged to l rear Pedal hlllges and 7. An exercising device as defined in claim 6 ln which a rear base hmges respectlvely, the rear links p the length adjustment means includes: 10 tially straddling the forward llnk. p. a turnbuckle.