Hansen, Benedict J. M. (Schleppegrellsgate 28B, Oslo, N-0556, NO)
Mollat, Torbjørn (Åsenveien 8C, Oppegård, N-1415, NO)
Badarneh, Ziad (Carl Kjelsensvei 34, Oslo, N-0874, NO)
Hansen, Benedict J. M. (Schleppegrellsgate 28B, Oslo, N-0556, NO)
Mollat, Torbjørn (Åsenveien 8C, Oppegård, N-1415, NO)
|1.||12) 2. An exercise apparatus, preferably in the form of an exercise bench, which is primarily for strengthening the muscles of a person's back when the person is lying on his stomach and/or from that position moves the upper part of his body upwards, whilst his knees, lower legs and feet or parts thereof rest against a firm surface, for example a floor, and his thighs form an angle with his lower legs, wherein the exercise apparatus has a support surface on which the person's chest and/or stomach can rest and which is adjustably movable by tilting about the longitudinal axis of the support surface, characterised in that in one mode of operation the support surface has instability which is adjustable in that the support surface has an adjusting mechanism for adjusting the freedom of motion and resistance to motion of the support surface which is steplessly adjustable, and wherein the freedom of motion and the resistance to motion either have separate adjusting mechanisms or have a common adjusting mechanism. (Figs. 1. 12) 3. An exercise apparatus as disclosed in claim 1 or 2, characterised in that the adjusting mechanism is designed and positioned so that adjustment can be carried out whilst the person is lying in a resting position on the support surface. (Fig. 6) 4. An exercise apparatus as disclosed in claim 1,2 or 3, characterised in that the adjusting mechanism comprises a torsion bar; and . that the degree of twisting of the torsion bar is adjustable. (Figs. 3. 4) 5. An exercise apparatus as disclosed in claim 4, characterised . by a block that is movable in the longitudinal direction of the torsion bar and which encircles the torsion bar and by its position on the torsion bar determines the degree of twisting of the torsion bar. (Figs. 3. 4) 6. An exercise apparatus as disclosed in claim 5, characterised in . that said block is by means of a locking mechanism lockable at a chosen position along the torsion bar. (Figs. 3. 4) 7. An exercise apparatus as disclosed in claim 6, characterised in . that said block is connected to handles for operating the locking mechanism and for moving the block into the chosen position. (Figs. 1. 3) 8. An exercise apparatus as disclosed in one or more of claims 1. 6, characterised in . that the adjusting mechanism comprises a controllable mechanical device for movement of the block along the torsion bar. (Figs. 4. 5) 9. An exercise apparatus as disclosed in claim 8, characterised in that the mechanical device is connected to a motor, optionally with a transmission, wherein the device, when activated, positions the block on the torsion bar. (Figs. 4. 5) 10. An exercise apparatus as disclosed in claim 8 or 9, characterised in that the mechanical device comprises a threaded rod that is in threaded engagement with said block and is rotatable for movement of said block. (Figs. 4. 5) 11. An exercise apparatus as disclosed in claim 8 or 9, characterised in . that the mechanical device comprises a rack that is fastened to said block and where a driving motor is in threaded engagement with the rack. (Figs. 4. 5) 12. An exercise apparatus as disclosed in one or more of claims 1. 11, characterised in that the adjustment mechanism is wholly or partly inside a non. moving part of the exercise apparatus frame; that the frame is tubular ; . and that the frame has at least three legs for support against the firm surface. (Figs. 1. 2 and 11. 12) 13. An exercise apparatus as disclosed in one or more of claims 1. 12, characterised in that in a second mode of operation the support surface of the apparatus is lockable against motion relative to the apparatus frame when the exercise apparatus is not in use or when the person at a start phase positions himself on the support surface. (Fig. 4) 14. An exercise apparatus as disclosed in one or more of claims 1. 13, characterised in . that a switch or sensor located in connection with the support surface is designed to control the adjusting mechanism to give the support surface a fixed and stable position. (Figs. 4 and 6b) 15. An exercise apparatus as disclosed in claim 13 or 14, characterised in that the support surface is lockable at a desired angle relative to the firm surface. (Figs. 1. 5) 16. An exercise apparatus as disclosed in one or more of claims 1. 15, characterised in that the angle of the support surface relative the firm surface, when the support surface is not subjected to tilting motion, is adjustable by adjusting the angle of the support surface relative to the torsion bar and fastening position on the frame. (Fig. 5) 17. An exercise apparatus as disclosed in claim 1 or 2, characterised in that the adjusting mechanism for regulating the freedom of motion comprises two rods placed on either side of said axis, whose stroke length is adjustable, each rod at an upper end being articulatedly connected to the support surface and at a lower end cooperating with a portion of the frame. (Figs. 10. 12) 18. An exercise apparatus as disclosed in claim 1 or 2, characterised in that the adjusting mechanism for regulating resistance to motion has a spring member which at its upper end is fastened to the support surface and where a downward projecting part of the spring member is partly encircled by a block that is movable in the longitudinal direction of the spring member; and . that the block is in adjustable mechanical engagement with the frame of the exercise apparatus. (Fig. 11) 19. An exercise apparatus as disclosed in claim 18, characterised in that the block is in threaded engagement with a cylindrical part that can be turned relative to the frame, wherein turning the cylindrical part is designed to cause movement of the block along the spring and wherein the position of the block along the spring determines the resistance to motion of the support surface. (Fig. 11) 20. An exercise apparatus as disclosed in one or more of claims 1. 19, characterised in that the supporting surface has two handles which the person or user can hold whilst performing push. ups. (Figs. 10. 12).|
The invention comprises adjusting mechanism systems for the control of freedom of motion and resistance to motion in an exercise apparatus.
Norwegian Patent Application NO 20006619 or the corresponding PTC application, Publ. No. W002/05679, describes, inter alia, an exercise bench for controlled exercise with an element of instability during physical exertion. According to one of the embodiments, this exercise apparatus is based primarily on strengthening a person's abdominal muscles when the person is lying on his back and/or from that position moves the upper part of his body upwards, whilst his feet rest against a firm surface, for example, a floor, and his thighs form an angle with his lower legs. The support surface against which the person's back and/or buttocks rest is unstably supported, the support surface having at least one support bearing arranged in the longitudinal direction thereof. An alternative solution is that the exercise apparatus is used, or is especially shaped for strengthening a person's back muscles when the person is lying on his stomach and optionally tries to raise the upper part of his body, whilst his knees, lower legs and feet, or parts thereof rest against a firm surface.
The exercise apparatus described is based on instability due to the tilting of a part of the apparatus on which the performer of the exercise or the user lies or sits when performing various exercises. In the embodiment where the user or person is to do so- called sit-ups on a bench that tilts transverse to the direction of exercise or spinal column, that is to say diagonally, this will cause all muscles in the abdominal region to be active, not only the large anterior abdominal muscles, but also muscles in the back, and will stimulate the body's balance system.
The technical solutions for adjusting the degree of tilt and resistance as described in the said previous application are not particularly user-friendly as they will be difficult to adjust, especially during use. Nor does it appear to be easy to set the apparatus accurately, and in some solutions degree of tilt and resistance are split between two units.
The invention seeks to solve the problem of how resistance to motion and freedom of motion or degree of tilt of an exercise apparatus in the form of an exercise bench can easily be adjusted. The invention allows the user to become used to instability adjustments gradually as the mechanism is steplessly adjustable.
The invention will now be described in more detail with reference to the attached drawings.
Figs. la and lb are a perspective top view and a perspective bottom view of an exercise apparatus, respectively.
Fig. 2a is a sectional view taken along the line IIa-IIa through the exercise apparatus, whilst Figs. 2b and 2c are a front view and a top view of the exercise apparatus, respectively.
Figs. 3a and 3b show the mechanism for adjusting resistance to motion and freedom of motion.
Figs. 4a-4d show the exercise apparatus equipped with a motorised adjusting mechanism.
Figs. 5a-5c show the mechanism for locking the angle of the support surface.
Figs. 6a and 6b show the use of the settings of the exercise apparatus.
Figs. 7a, 7b and 8 show typical use of the exercise apparatus during exercise.
Figs. 9a-9h show different embodiments of a top part of the support surface.
Figs. 1 Oa and 1 Ob are a side view and an end view of an exercise apparatus.
Figs. 11 a and 1 lb show a detail and a section of the adjusting mechanism for resistance to motion.
Figs. 12a and 12b show the underside of a bench in perspective and an enlarged detail of the adjustment mechanism for freedom of motion.
The characteristic features of the invention are set forth in attached independent patent claims 1 and 2, subsidiary patent claims 3-20 associated therewith, and in the following description with reference to the attached drawings.
The basis of the exercise apparatus is that an upper part, referred to here as the support surface, against which the person's back, stomach or buttocks rest, can by simple manipulations be steplessly adjusted to be more or less unstable, tiltable transverse to the longitudinal direction of a person.
Figs. 1 a and lb show the upper part, the support surface 1, which in this case has a shape that is adapted to the back or buttocks of a normal person. This part may be shaped in another way, especially if it is to be used for back exercises, that is if a person is lying on his stomach. This will be discussed in more detail later in the description in connection with Fig. 9. The support surface 1 is secured to a tubular part 3 of a frame 2 via shaft 5 and 5'. This makes the support surface tiltable sideways as indicated by the arrow 9. Secured to the tubular frame part 3 are three legs 7-7"for support against the firm surface. As can be seen from Fig. 2, secured to frame part 11 of the support surface 1 is a torsion bar 10 in connection with the shaft 5. Movement of the support surface will thus cause twisting of the torsion bar. A cylindrical block 12 is placed inside the tubular frame part 3. As shown in Fig. 3, the block 12 has a slot 14 though which the torsion bar 10 passes. Attached to the block 12 are two fixed handles 16-16' and two spring-loaded handles 17-17'. The spring-loaded handles grip at 18 and 18' about the tubular frame part 3 under load from spring 19. By moving handles 17 and 17'as indicated by arrows 20-20', the user will release the handles'grip on the frame and the block 12 will thus be slidably movable in one direction or the other within the frame as indicated by the arrow 22. In a position as shown by Fig. 2a and Fig. 3, the torsion bar can be twisted and thus provide a tilting motion of the upper part of the exercise apparatus. By moving the handles all the way towards an end part of the shaft 5, it will be possible to stop all tilting motion of the support surface. A user can thus lie or sit on the support surface and"squeeze"the handles 17-17'towards 16-16'and push them in one direction or the other to adjust of the degree of tilt of exercise apparatus support surface. Reference numerals 24-24'in Figs. 1 and 2 indicate parts which physically limit the swing of the support surface. The reference numerals 26 and 27 point to a fastening and bearing between the support surface and the frame.
Figs. 4a-4d show a motorised version of the adjusting mechanism. Here, the handles shown in Figs. 1-3 have been removed. An electric motor 30 is connected to a gear box
or transmission 32 which in turn drives a threaded rod 34 which is in threaded engagement with block 12. The motor may per se be in direct engagement with the rod 34, but the use of a transmission will result in less dependence on the size of the motor and allow the use of a small motor. Located at each end of the range of movement of the block are switches 36 and 36'which are connected to the motor (connection not shown) and which stop the movement of the block if the user does not stop it himself.
A switch 40, as indicated in Fig. 6b, is located so as to be easily accessible to the user on one of the legs of the exercise apparatus, but could be placed elsewhere on the exercise apparatus. Fig. 4 does not show any connection to a power supply, but to the skilled person it will be obvious that power can be supplied via a cable from the mains network or other power source. It will also be obvious that the exercise apparatus could contain its own power source in the form of a battery which should of course be chargeable.
For some users it may be relevant to work on one side of the body in particular. It would then be an advantage to be able to set or lock the support surface of the bench at a specific angle. Figs. 5a-5c show a section of the exercise apparatus where located at one of the shafts of the bench is a faced part of the support surface frame part 42 which engages with a spring-loaded cup 44. The cup is in engagement with an anchor part 47 to which the torsion bar is secured. When the cup 44 is pulled out in the direction of the arrow 45, the faced part 42 is released from the cup and the support surface can thus be set and locked at the desired angle relative to the torsion bar, and consequently the firm surface, within the limitations given by the embodiment.
Another solution that is not shown in the form of a figure, but which will be relevant in connection with Figs. 1-3, is that the block 12 disengages from the torsion bar 10, so that the bench can be turned using the handles, and thus lock the support surface by engagement around the tubular frame part, which in this case would have to have a row of fixed notches for securing the desired angle. Here, it will be understood that the torsion bar will be shorter than that shown in the figure, or will have a termination at the end of the bar that is round, and thus not in engagement with the block.
As shown in Fig. 6a, a person or user will easily be able to adjust the degree of tilt whilst using the exercise apparatus. The user will grip around the handles and push the mechanism into the desired position. Fig. 6b indicates where a switch 40 could be placed for controlling a motorised adjusting mechanism.
The advantages over the prior art described in the PCT application, Publ. No.
W002/05697, are that the described adjusting mechanism allows the user lie or sit on the support surface when this is fixed in a stable position and then gradually adjust the degree of instability. This is possible because the adjusting mechanism is steplessly adjustable. This applies to both the manual version shown in Figs. 1-3 and the motorised version shown in Fig. 4.
In connection with the motorised version, it is conceivable that there is a switch or sensor in the support surface, see, e. g. , the reference numeral 50 in Fig. 6b. This switch will give a signal to a motor that the exercise apparatus is in use and that a motor control can be operated by the user. When the user gets off the exercise apparatus, the switch in the support surface will give a signal to a motor to move the adjusting mechanism so that the support surface is locked in a stable position. This will thus give the advantage that users, and in particular first-time users, will not be surprised by unstable movements when he moves a body part such as his buttocks, back or stomach onto the support surface.
Figure 7 shows sit-up exercises. Fig. 7a shows a person doing sit-ups seen from above.
It can be seen clearly from this figure that balance can be regulated by how the user places his legs on the firm surface. The reference numeral 52 indicates the exercise apparatus, shown in broken lines here. Fig. 7b is a side view of sit-up exercises.
Figure 8 shows back exercises where the support surface of the exercise apparatus will have a shape suitable for a user lying on his stomach. It is an advantage to be able to vary the shape and use of materials for the part of the support surface which comes into contact with the person or user, hereinafter referred to as the top 60. People are not all built in the same way, and each individual person will inevitably want or need to influence the shape of the top. Figures 9a-9h show alternative tops 60 for the support surface 54. The exercise apparatus will optionally be able to have a fastening mechanism on the support surface for changing top parts or tops, but this is not shown, as to the skilled person it will be obvious how this could be solved. For example, the use of press-studs or hook-and-loop fasteners are just two options.
Another solution for how the degree of tilt, that is, the freedom of motion, and resistance to motion, of the exercise apparatus can be adjusted will be described in connection with Figs. 10-12. As described above, the exercise apparatus consists of a support surface 70 that is tiltably secured to a shaft 71 which passes through a tubular
part 72 of the frame which at one end has two supporting legs 74 and 75 and one supporting leg 76 at the other end. The freedom of motion is dependent upon the length of two rods 80 and 81. Each rod is at one end fastened, e. g. , in an articulated manner, to the bottom of the movable support surface and at the other end has a through-going bolt, 82 and 83 respectively. The bolts pass through supporting legs 74 and 75. Threaded to the other end of the rods are adjusting screws 84 and 85 respectively. By turning these adjusting screws 84 and 85, a user can either tighten the support surface relative to the frame at a desired angle, or give slack for the support surface so that it can tilt relative to the frame and the firm surface. Fig. 12 shows the exercise apparatus in perspective, where detail XIIb shows how the rod 81 passes through bolt 83. The position of adjusting screw 85 relative to the bolt 83 determines the degree of motion of the support surface. Although it is shown that the bolts can pass through the supporting legs 74,75, it is of course possible to allow them to pass, e. g. , through fastenings attached to the outside of the supporting legs.
The exercise apparatus has in addition a function that provides resistance to motion against motion, i. e. , tilting of the support surface. A spring 88 is provided on the shaft 71 of the support surface. This spring is encircled by a tensioning member or block 87 that can be moved along the spring. The tensioning member and spring are located inside supporting leg 76. Around the supporting leg is a sleeve 89 that can be turned around the leg. The sleeve has threads which run in the tensioning member. Turning the sleeve will result in the tensioning member being moved about the spring up or down, as indicated by the arrow 90. When the tensioning member is at the bottom in position 91, the spring will have greatest movability and the support surface least resistance to a tilting motion. If the tensioning member is moved to position 92, the spring will not be able to move very much and the support surface will be hard to tilt.
A motor-based adjustment of the freedom of motion and resistance to motion, with reference to Fig. 4, could be implemented for the solutions shown in connection with Figs. 10-12.
The work-out apparatus is also intended to be used for performing push-ups. There are two handles 94 and 95 arranged on the support surface as shown in Figs. 10-12, and these will follow the motions and instability of the support surface. A user will thus be able to perform push-ups with an element of controlled instability.
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