US 3861215 A
An exercising apparatus simulating weight lifting in which a pair of cables is wound on reels mounted on a base on which the person using the apparatus stands or otherwise applies his weight. The reels on which the cables are wound are controlled by a device which limits the rate of rotation essentially independently of the force applied to the ends of the cables. A bar is preferable attached to the ends of the cables and the cables preferably extended upward from the base so that a lifting force can be applied effectively by a person standing or otherwise applyling his weight to the base. An escapement device or a centrifugal responsive friction mechanism may be used to control the unwinding speed of the reel as the person using the device applies different forces to the cable in a weight lifting type of exercise.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent  Bradley 1 Jan. 21, 1975 EXERCISING APPARATUS SIMULATING WEIGHT LIFTING  Inventor: Robert F. Bradley, c/o
Micro-Circuits Company, New Buffalo, Mich. 49117  Filed: Oct. 28, 1970  Appl. No. 84,757
 U.S. Cl. 73/379, 272/79 R  Int. Cl. G01] 5/04  Field of Search 73/379 R, 380 R, 381 R; 272/79 R, 83 R, 83 A, 82 R, 79 C  References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 5l8,967 5/1894 Poole 272/83 R 1,650,417 ll/1927 Benniger 272/83 A 2,068,578 l/1937 Stronach 272/79 C 3,387,493 6/l968 Strittmatter.. 73/379 3,460,392 8/1969 Kolbel 73/379 3,465,592 9/1969 Perrine 73/379 3,48l,l98 12/1969 Williams 73/38] 3,495,824 2/1970 Cuinier 73/379 3,544,105 12/1970 Latta 272/83 A 3,550,449 12/1970 Henson 73/379 3,640,530 2/1972 Henson ct al 73/379 Primary ExaminerHerbert Goldstein Attorney, Agent, or Firm-Hobbs & Green  ABSTRACT An exercising apparatus simulating weight lifting in which a pair of cables is wound on reels mounted on a base on which the person using the apparatus stands or otherwise applies his weight. The reels on which the cables are wound are controlled by a device which limits the rate of rotation essentially independently of the force applied to the ends of the cables. A bar is preferable attached to the ends of the cables and the cables preferably extended upward from the base so that a lifting force can be applied effectively by a person standing or otherwise applyling his weight to the base. An escapement device or a centrifugal responsive friction mechanism may be used to control the unwinding speed of the reel as the person using the device applies different forces to the cable in a weight lifting type of exercise.
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' sun-:1 GDP 6 Fi r 24 e. 3 z .520 236 I 238 INVENTOR. RUBERT E BRADLEY ATTORNEYS EXERCISING APPARATUS SIMULATING WEIGHT LIFTING In the sport of weight lifting, it is necessary, as in many physical fitness and body development exercises, to practice at frequent and regular intervals in order to improve and maintain the level of physical development and ability and it has been necessary in the past to use standard, relatively heavy weight lifting equipment such as barbells. Improvement in muscular development entails, in part, increasing the weight load of the barbell from time to time as the physical condition improves and muscular strength grows. As the improvement continues, more plates are added to the bar so that in time the apparatus used for the exercises is heavy and bulky and difficult to move, handle and transport from place to place, and to take on trips for people who travel and are away from the places where they normally reside. Further, even in homes and gymnasiums where the equipment is often kept and used, it is inconvenient to move the heavy plates between the storage place and the practice area each time the barbells are used. The heavy weight and bulk create both a safety hazard and storage problem, and the relatively large number of plates required for the more strenuous exercises often when changed and used creates objectionable noise and time consuming inconvenience. It is, therefore, one of the principal objects of the present invention to provide a physical fitness and body devel-' opment apparatus which simulates in operation and performance the movements and exertion obtained from manipulation of barbells, and which adjusts automatically to the weight or force required for each exeruse.
Another object of the invention is to provide body development apparatus which responds to the movements of the body muscles in essentially the same manner as barbells, and which permits the user to perform substantially all of the movements normally performed with barbells to develop body muscular structure.
Still another object of the invention is to provide an apparatus simulating barbell usage, which is so constructed and designed that it automatically adjusts to an infinite number of weights or forces, including the weight of any plate combination on barbells, and which provides the equivalent of a wide range of weights covering all of those normally used on barbells.
A further object is to provide an exercising apparatus of the aforesaid type which can easily be lifted, carried and transported from place to place and quickly set up for use, and thereafter readily taken down for storage, and which can be adjusted readily and used effectively by persons of different ages and sizes and of various degrees of physical development.
Another object is to provide a sturdy and efficient apparatus of simple and economical design, construction and operation for use in achieving and maintaining physical fitness, which is safe for the-inexperienced as well as the experienced person in weight lifting, and which is quiet to use, handle and move, and which is suitable for use in maintaining barbell skill and fitness for professional and amateur weight lifters and physical training classes and instructions.
Additional objects and advantages of the invention will become apparent from the following description and accompanying drawings, wherein:
FIG. 1 is a perspective view of the present exercising apparatus showing an example of how it may be used;
FIG. 2 is a perspective view of the apparatus shown in FIG. 1 illustrating the manner in which it is foldable into a compact portable form;
FIG. 3 is a vertical cross sectional view of the apparatus shown in the preceding figures illustrating one embodiment of the invention;
FIG. 4 is a vertical cross sectional view of the apparatus, the section being taken on line 4-4 of FIG. 3;
FIG. 5 is an enlarged elevational view of the operating or control mechanism shown in FIG. 4, the section being taken on line 5-5 of the latter figure;
FIG. 6 is a partial cross sectional and top plan view of the mechanism shown in FIG. 5;
FIG. 7 is a fragmentary vertical cross sectional view of the mechanism shown in FIGS. 5 and 6, the section being taken on line 7-7 of FIG. 6;
FIG. 8 is a vertical cross sectional and elevational view of a portion of the mechanism shown in the preceding figures, the section being taken on line 8-8 of FIG. 4;
FIG. 9 is a vertical cross sectional view taken on line 9-9 of FIG. 4;
FIG. 10 is a fragmentary vertical cross sectional view of the elements shown in FIG. 9, the section being taken on line 10-10 of the latter figure;
FIG. 11 is a cross sectional view of a modified form of the present invention, the section generally corresponding to that shown in FIG. 3 of the first embodiment;
FIG. 12 is a cross sectional and bottom view of the mechanism shown in FIG. 11, the section being taken on line 12-12 of the latter figure; and
FIGS. 13, 14 and 15 show a modification.
Referring more specifically to the drawings and to FIG. 1 in particular, numeral 12 indicates generally the present exercising apparatus, having a base of 14 and standards 16 and 18 secured to the ends of the base by connecting means 20 and 22. The standards are preferably extensible and contractable and, as shown in the drawings, consist of three adjustable sections held in the adjusted position by pins extending through holes therein. The standards may be removed from the connecting means 20 and 22 and folded into a compact position and mounted on the base in an easily carried position. The upper surface 24 of base 14 forms a floor for the person using the exercising apparatus and is sufficiently rigid and strong that it will support the person in various positions and while he is applying force to operate the mechanism. The base is essentially a housing consisting of four sidewalls and top 24, and is designed to seat firmly on the floor or other supporting surface. The shape is preferably such that it can be easily handled, transported and stored in the compact form illustrated in FIG. 2. The base may be constructed of any suitable material such as plate aluminum or plywood. Since this apparatus is intended to be an effective substitute for barbells, the standards contain upper and parts 26 and 28 for receiving the ends of bar 30, which is preferably of standard or conventional size and weight.
The bar is connected to an internal mechanism generally indicated by numeral by two cords or cables 42 and 44 attached to the bar by any suitable connecting means such as those shown at numerals 46 and 48. The particular connecting means shown in the drawings contain force indicating gauges 50 and 52, each having a dial 54 and hand 56 for indicating the amount of force or weight being lifted by the individual using the apparatus. The two cables 42 and 44 are wound on a dual reel, indicated generally by numeral 60, having a drum section 62 on which cable 42 is wound and a drum section 64 on which cable 44 is wound. The two sections are separated by a partition 66 and end flanges 67 and 68, and are mounted on a rotatable shaft 69 journalled in bearings 70 and 72 supported by brackets 74 and 76, respectively. The two brackets are attached to and supported by a support means 78 connected to the underside of floor 24 and containing a plurality of bolts 80 securing brackets 74 and 76 to the underside. The mechanism 40 is fully enclosed by the base, housing walls and floor 24 and is preferably constructed of light metal so that the entire apparatus can be easily transported.
The two cables 42 and 44 are spaced apart and approach reel sections 62 and 64, respectively, from the opposite ends of base 14. The two cables are trained over pulleys 82 and 84 supported by brackets 86 and 88 connected to the underside of floor 24.
In the embodiment shown in FIGS. 1 through 10, the standard barbell function is simulated by the use of an escapement device shown in detail in FIGS. 3 through 7, consisting of a wheel 90 mounted on and keyed to shaft 69 and pallets 92 and 94 connected to control arm 96. The pallets and arm are formed integrally with one another and are pivoted on a shaft pin 98, which in turn is supported by a bracket attached to the underside of support means 78 by a plurality of bolts. The escapement contains a force or energy absorber means 102 slidably mounted on arm 96 in order to regulate the cycle of operation of the escapement device. The time interval between interruptions of the escapement device may be varied by shifting weight 102 longitudinally on arm 96. This is accomplished by a lever 104 having tines 106 and 108 disposed on opposite sides of weight 102. The lever is slidably mounted on a rod 110 which is supported on the front side of the base by brackets 112 and 114. The lever is attached to a sleeve 116 which slides longitudinally on shaft 110, thereby moving the weight along arm 96. The outer end 118 of lever 104 can easily be grasped by the user of the apparatus to shift the weight to any desired position along arm 96.
The escapement device permits the person using the present apparatus to apply a steady and prolonged force on the bar, and this force may be increased or decreased as desired without substantially changing the rate of unwinding of cables 42 and 44 from the respective reels 62 and 64. The desired force can be easily maintained equivalent to a preselected weight on the conventional barbells by the users observing the hand 56 on the respective dials. The gradual release of the cables by the escapement mechanism simulates the lifting of the conventional barbells and permits a prolonged effort which increases substantially the effectiveness of the exercise performed on the apparatus. The rate of unwinding is substantially constant with regard to the force applied for any given setting of weight 102 on arm 96. Thus, the user can start with the position near his ankles and gradually lift the bar upwardly to an extended position above his head, the operation being performed at a substantially constant rate of movement.
One of the advantages of the present weight lifting apparatus is its relatively compact and light structure as compared to the conventional barbell apparatus. The apparatus can be folded to the position illustrated in FIG. 2 and the escapement device locked, thus holding the cables on their respective reels in bound conditions. A locking mechanism 120 is illustrated in FIGS. 3 and 5, consisting of a lever 122 pivoted by a pin 124 on a bracket 126, the lever having a series of teeth 128 which engage the teeth on wheel 90 when lever 130 is rotated in the clockwise direction as viewed in FlGS. 3 and 5 by rod 132 journalled in bracket I26 and the front sidewall of the base. A hand operating lever 134 is secured to the outer end of rod 132 for moving lever 130 from the position shown in full lines in FIG. 5 to the locked position shown in broken lines. Spring 136 connected at one end to the lever and at the other end to bracket 126 retains the lever in its unlocked position when the control arm 134 is moved to the unlocked position.
As shown in FIGS. 4 and 8, the reel is rotated in the direction to wind the cables 42 and 44 on reel sections 62 and 64, respectively by a coil spring 140 connected at its inner end to shaft 69 and at its outer end by a pin 144 to a ring 142 which in turn is connected to flange 67 of the reel. The spring is relatively light but constantly urges the reel into the direction to wind the cables thereon. Thus, when the user releases or decreases the force applied to bar 30, the spring winds the cables on the reel, thus lowering the bar to the starting position. Reel 60 is connected to shaft 69 by a clutch or ratchet mechanism generally indicated by numeral which prevents movement of the reels independently of shaft 69 when the force is being applied to cables 42 and 44 so that the escapement device will effectively perform its function, yet permit the reels to wind the cable independently of the escapement device, so that the rewinding operation can be performed in a relatively short period of time compared with the unwinding controlled by the escapement device. Various types of escapement devices may be used in place of the type shown which would perform the controlled release rate of the cables from reel sections 62 and 64.
In the operation of the present apparatus, the person stands on the floor 24 and places bar 30 at any location, such as for example near floor 24. Thereafter, with wheel 90 unlocked, the person raises the bar steadily and forcefully, watching the hand 56 on dial 50 to obtain the desired weight provided by the operation of the escapement mechanism. The steady pulling operation causes the escapement device to operate, thus permitting the cables to unwind from their respective reels 62 and 64 to any position desired by the user. The bar may be rested on standards 16 and 18 between the different exercises which can be performed on the apparatus, including dead lifts, squats curls, presses and bench presses. The user may assume various positions as he performs one exercise or another. Substantially, all of the exercises capable of being performed with the conventional barbell can be performed on this apparatus. When the bar is to be lowered, the spring 140 rotates the two reels in the direction to wind cables 42 and 44 on their respective reel sections, and to keep the cables taut after they have been rewound. Gauges 50 and 52 preferably have a hand which indicates the maximum weight obtained and remains there after completion of an exercise, so that the user can easily determine the force exerted in the exercise.
While two cables 42 and 44 are shown in the drawing, the apparatus will operate with only one cable, with the other cable removed or with it merely remaining idle. The apparatus can be constructed with only one cable. In this modification, the reel, escapement device, and rewind mechanism are essentially the same as those shown in the drawings on which the two cables are wound.
The embodiment illustrated in FIGS. 11 and 12 utilizes the same general apparatus as that shown in the preceding figures; however, the type of control mechanism is somewhat different. The control mechanism consists of a reel 170 rotatably mounted on a vertical shaft 172 supported by the top and bottom walls of base 174. The cables 176 and 178 extend downwardly into the base over pulleys 180 and 182 to the reel 170. Connected to reel 170 are arms 184 and 185 which swing angularly along with the rotation of reel 170, and mounted on the underside of floor 186 is a brake drum 188 having a groove 190 therein for receiving friction element 192. The friction element moves inwardly to the drum 188 by a centrifugal force responsive member 194 having a weight 196 mounted on lever 198 which in turn is connected to the respective arm by a pivot pin 200 at the outer end of the respective arm 184 or 185. The friction element is swung outwardly away from drum 188 by spring 202 connected at its outer end to member 194 and at its inner end to a collar 204. The tension on the spring is varied by moving the collar upwardly on shaft 172 to increase the tension and downwardly to decrease the tension, the movement being accomplished by a lever 206 the inner end of which seats in groove 208. By increasing or decreasing the tension on the spring, the force required to seat the friction element on the brake drum is increased or decreased. The friction element and weight control mechanism at the end of each arm 184 and 185 are identical to one another and consequently only one mechanism will be described in detail herein. Rotation of the reel causes the weights 196 to swing outwardly, thus forcing the friction element 192 inwardly against the surface of drum 188, thereby applying a restraining force on the reel to permit it to have a controlled unwinding operation.
Two cables 176 and 178 are rewound on the reel when the user releases the force on bar 30 by a coil spring 212 connected at its outer end to the lower flange of the reel by a pin 209 and connected at its inner end to stationary shaft 172 by the inner end of the spring extending into slot 210 in the shaft. The shaft, being non-rotatable, permits the spring to apply a sufficient force to cause the reel to rotate in the direction to wind the cables.
In the operation of the embodiment illustrated in FIGS. 11 and 12, as the cables are pushed upwardly, the reel 170 rotates, moving arms 184 and 185 in an angular motion. The movement of the arms carrying the two friction elements 192 causes weights 196 to move outwardly and the friction elements to move inwardly against the surface of drum 188, thereby limiting the rate at which the cables can unwind from reel 70. In this structure, with an increase in force, there is a tendency for reel 170 to move more rapidly; however, as it endeavors to move more rapidly, the centrifugal force on weights 196 causes a greater force of elements 192 on drum 188, thereby restraining the rotation of the reel.
In the modification illustrated in FIGS. l3, l4 and 15, a mechanism 220 is included which absorbs the force applied to cables 42 and 44 thereby protecting the reel 60 and the escapement or other control mechanism for the reel. Duplicate mechanisms are provided for both cables 42 and 44 and are preferably mounted on the underside of floor 24. The mechanism 220 normally referred to as a snubber, consists of a drum 222, journalled on a shaft 224 supported by a bracket 226 having downwardly extending side walls 228 and 230. The drum has two generally disc shaped end portions 232 and 234, and is permitted to turn freely in the direction to unwind cable 42 and 44 and is restrained in the rewind direction by one or two ratchet mechanism 236 and 238, each consisting of teeth 240 on end members 232 and 234 and a pawl 242 mounted on bracket 244 on the respective side wall 228 or 230. The cable is shown trained over a rod 246 which assists in restraining the movement of the cable in the unwind direction; however, it may be omitted if desired. In the operation of the apparatus with mechanism 220 incorporated therein, as the force is applied to cables 42 and 44, the drum 222 is prevented from rotating by the ratch mechanism and consequently the cables must slip on the surface of the drum to unwind from reel 60. Thus most of the force is absorbed by mechanism 220, thereby protecting the reel and escapement mechanism for the reel from excessive forces. When the force is relieved on the cable and the rewind mechanism is in operation the drum rotates freely without any interference from the ratchet mechanism to permit the cables to move in the rewinding direction. The snubber mechanism can be controlled by means other than a ratchet to permit drum to move freely in the rewind direction and to absorb the forces in the unwind direction.
While only two embodiments of the present exercising apparatus have been disclosed herein, various changes and modifications may be made without departing from the scope of the invention.
1. A body exercising apparatus simulating weight lifting, comprising a base for supporting the body thereon, a reel means connected to said base, a cable wound on said reel means and being extendable upwardly and retractable downwardly with respect to said base, a body engaging means connected to the upper end of said cable for pulling said cable upwardly and unwinding said cable from said reel, and a mechanically actuated escapement control mechanism connected to said reel means and including an escapement wheel and means for controlling the rate of rotation of said wheel, said mechanism being operated by the force exerted by the one using the apparatus for automatically limiting the rate of rotation of said reel means and the rate of unwinding of said cable when a force is applied to said cable in the unwinding direction.
2. A body exercising apparatus as defined in claim 1 in which two cables are wound on said reel means and extend upwardly from said base in spaced relation to one another.
3. A body exercising apparatus as defined in claim 2 in which a snubber is interposed along each cable between the reel and the end of the respective cable.
4. A body exercising apparatus as defined in claim 1 in which said escapement mechanism is connected to said reel means and has a toothed wheel and a pallet mechanism.
5. A body exercising apparatus as defined in claim 4 in which an arm is connected to said pallets and a weight is mounted on said arm, the weight being movable along said arm to vary the rate of operation of said escapement device.
6. A body exercising apparatus as defined in claim 5 in which said reel and said wheel are mounted on the same rotatable shaft.
7. A body exercising apparatus as defined in claim 4 in which a spring means rewinds the reel when the force is relieved on said cables.
8. A body exercising apparatus as defined in claim 1 in which said control means limits the rotation of said reel to a substantially constant maximum rate independently of the degree of force applied to said cable.
9. A body exercising apparatus as defined in claim 1 in which a housing encloses said reel and control mechanism and contains an opening in the top through which said cable extends from and retracts into said housing.
10. A body exercising apparatus as defined in claim 9 in which a lock means is provided for preventing rotation of said reel to retain said cables in a predetermined position.
11. A body exercising apparatus as defined in claim 1 in which a gauge means is provided on the free end of cable to indicate the degree of force applied to the cable.
12. A body exercising apparatus as defined in claim 1 in which a snubber is interposed along the cable between the reel means and the end of the cable.
13. A body exercising apparatus as defined in claim 12 in which each snubber includes a drum around which the cable is wound, said drum rotating freely in the cable rewind direction and resists rotation in the cable unwinding direction.