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The Patents Behind The Smith Machine

The smith machine has been utilized since its invention in the 1950s by Jack Lalanne. It is a common piece of fitness equipment in commercial and home gyms which allows users to perform a wide array of exercises such as squats, bench press, rows, seated overhead press, and drag curl. If you are not familiar with this type of equipment, it is a barbell system where the bar is attached to the steel frame of the equipment. Many fitness enthusiasts use the smith machine because it allows self-spotting while performing various exercises because the barbell is attached to the rails. It also features a safety system because it has pegs in every couple of inches where you can lock the bar in place. Furthermore, the weight present at the base of the smith machine allows users to perform exercises with more body control and better body posture because it counterbalances the heavyweight users lift.

Indeed, the smith machine is a revolutionary invention in the fitness world. With that, the designers and producers of traditional and modern smith machines have made sure to patent their technology. In addition to that, the modern smith machine itself is uniquely designed based on different patented exercise equipment. Thus, this article is written in order to give you an idea on the patents behind the smith machine.

Patent No. US20060252615A1

This patent is named Physical Exercise Machine with application filed by Sofun in May 4, 2005. The present invention is concerned with an exercise machine and more specifically the Smith Machine and its improvement.

This patent covers for a Smith Machine that consists of barbell moveable between a pair of generally parallely extending guide rails, wherein said barbell comprises one or more grip-arms laterally extending therefrom. Also with the invention, during executing various exercises, the smith machine suggests a pair of arms fitted on the barbell for gripping.

With this patented technology, the user can conveniently grip the bar of the smith machine because the Smith Machine consists of a barbell having a longitudinal axis that is displaceable between a pair of parallely extending guide rails. With the barbell consisting of a pair of grip-arms laterally extending therefrom and spaced apart from one another, users are able to extend the arms with good grip in various exercises.

Moreover, this patent highlights the locking/unlocking or arresting/un-arresting technology of the grip-arms. The smith machine is able to do it because of its locking pins associated with one or two supporting frame members of the machine

In addition to that, there is also a second aspect of this patented technology of the smith machine. The barbell of the smith machine has a pair of parallely extending guide rails which slide in order to support the barbell. A pair of grip-arms laterally extending therefrom and spaced apart from one another supports the barbell in order to let individuals conveniently grip the bar while performing exercises.

A third aspect of this patented technology includes a grip-arm for articulately positioning over a barbell of a Smith Machine such that it laterally extends therefrom. Generally, articulated on the barbell at a spaced apart relationship, these two are utilized in order for users to conveniently grip the bar.

Lastly, this patented technology of the smith machine has several modifications that include: (1) the barbell may be fitted with one or two grip-arms; (2) the barbell may be slidingly articulated to the guide rails, e.g. by linear bearings, or it may be otherwise supported, as known per se; (3) the grip-arms may be fixedly articulated to the barbell such as it is integrated therewith; (4) the grip-arms may be slidingly displaceable over the barbell, about its longitudinal axis, in order to permit adjustment of the distance there between so as to fit ergonomic requirements of different individuals; (5) over the barbell, the grip-arms may be slidingly displaceable, about its longitudinal axis, between an exercising position where they are relatively distanced from each other for comfortably being gripped by an individual extending between the grip-arms, and a stand by position where the grip-arms are located adjacent the frame members of the Smith Machine; (6) the grip-arms may be fitted with a hand grip such as that of a padding or it may be roughened, for example by knurling; (7) the grip-arms may be fitted for fast release or mounting over and from the barbell by a fast release attachment mechanism; (8) the grip-arms may be fitted for articulating to a barbell by a mechanism suited for engaging over barbells of different diameters; (9) the grip-arms may be used in a variety of exercises, such as lunge exercise, squat exercise, bench pressing, parallel bar dips, and the likes, for substantially vertical displacement of the barbell or about an inclined plane; (10) the grip-arms may be articulated to the barbell at a front or rear orientation, or at any intermediate angular position (i.e. angularly shifted about the longitudinal axis of the barbell); (11) the grip-arms may be properly articulated to the barbell so as to extend substantially parallel thereto when not in use; and (12) the grip-arms may be fitted at their free ends such as the remote from the barbell, with a gripping segment extending offset from a longitudinal axis of the grip-arms, for better gripping.

Patent No. US20090124469A1

This patent is named Dual action weightlifting machine with an application filed by Hoist Fitness Systems Inc on November 14, 2007. The present invention is generally concerned with weightlifting exercise machines. This patent is specifically concerned with dual action exercise machines which have a guided exercise bar or weight bar in order to simulate free weight barbell exercise movements.

The background of this patent focuses on the smith machines which have been a fitness club staple for many years. Moreover, because traditional Smith machines were manufactured in a way that had vertical guides which run perpendicular to the floor, this worked well for some exercises including squats, however it hindered the natural chest-to-chin arcing movement of a bench press. With that, many companies started designing and manufacturing smith machines that positioned the vertical guides at a slight angle of five to seven degrees. These new designs worked better for exercises which involved travel in a slight arc, however not as effective for other exercise motions which needed to follow a vertical line.

With that, this patented technology of dual action smith machines was invented in order to provide simultaneous horizontal and vertical exercise motion. This patented technology permitted the smith machine to follow a natural front-to-back exercise motion, however it still made sure that the side-to-side balancing worries were eliminated. Moreover, this dual action smith machine technology provided a halfway point between the balance and coordination required to perform free weight exercises and the security of a traditional Smith machine. These designs also provided the capacity to execute exercises including lunges which needed greater horizontal movement.

This patented dual action weightlifting smith machine is comprised of:

  1. A stationary main frame assembly which consists of a lower end and an upper end. This frame assembly is composed of a right side frame and a left side frame on opposite sides of an exercise area.
  2. A traveling frame movably supported on the stationary frame assembly and having right and left sides each having a lower end and an upper end, each side having a vertical guide;
  3. A weight bearing exercise bar attached on the traveling frame for support. This has a user engaging portion. For vertical sliding movement relative to the frame in a vertical travel paths, this bar is spaced first and second vertical slides slidably mounted on the right and left vertical guides;
  4. A horizontal slide assembly which is connected slidably to the traveling frame and to the right and left side frames of the stationary frame assembly. The horizontal slide assembly being positioned in a lower portion of the stationary frame assembly fully below the vertical travel path of the user engaging portion of the weight bearing exercise bar. When in an exercise ready position, the traveling frame have no connection to the stationary frame assembly above the horizontal slide assembly; and
  5. The horizontal slide assembly which is composed of a pair of parallel, first and second horizontal guides related with a lower portion of each side frame, first and second horizontal slides on the right side of the traveling frame slidably connecting the corresponding first and second horizontal guides on the right side frame, and first and second horizontal slides on the left side of the traveling frame slidably engaging the respective first and second horizontal guides on the left side frame.

References:
1. Google Patents. 2007. Dual Action Weightlifting Machine. Retrieved from: https://patents.google.com/patent/US20090124469A1/en. Retrieved on 30 August 2020
2. Google Patents. 2005. Physical Exercise Machine. Retrieved from: https://patents.google.com/patent/US20060252615A1/en. Retrieved on 30 August 2020.
3. Justia Patents. 2007. Support frame for weight lifting exercise machine. Retrieved from: https://patents.justia.com/patent/D590032. Retrieved on 30 August 2020.

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