Scholarly Communications Project



Dana Joseph Coombs

Master's Thesis submitted to the Faculty of the Virginia Tech in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of

Master's of Science


Mechanical Engineering


Charles F. Reinholtz, Chair
Larry D. Mitchell, member
Paul H. Tidwell, member

February 7, 1997
Blacksburg, Virginia


This thesis describes the process of designing exercise machines that raise the weight of the user as the primary source of resistance. Most strength training machines use weight stacks or springs as the source of resistance. While such machines are highly evolved and provide an excellent workout, they typically have a number of disadvantages including high cost, and large size and weight. A user weight-based exercise design will reduce the cost, size and weight of the machine. The design process considers some important issues. Parallelogram linkages are implemented to provide non-rotary motion without the disadvantage of linear bearings. The user input is located with respect to the user providing correct relative motion for the exercise. The design also considers proper resistance curves during the design process. Specific examples are given for each step of the design process. These examples include the evolution of ideas and the creation and use of kinematic and automatic tools.

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