From roller armor to a weight helmet, these patented pieces of exercise equipment came and went
It’s February, which research suggests is a prime month for giving up on your New Year’s resolutions. If your now-defunct goal involved fitness, you’re not alone: the most popular resolutionsrelate to physical health and weight loss. People have been inventing—and abandoning—new ways to exercise for centuries. We’ve gathered some of history’s most bizarre exercise equipment patents, which may make you grateful for your boring old exercise bike (whether or not you’re actually using it).
Rollerblading on your feet is so 1994. This full-body roller suitallows the user to glide on their knees, their elbows, even their stomach. The patent’s stick figure illustrations demonstrate the infinite possibilities: crab walk rollerblading, side-crawl rollerblading, squat position rollerblading. “The object of the present invention is to propose a new sport involving skill and speed in which the user can move at high speed by rolling on the ground and/or any hard and smooth surface in all positions while constantly varying his 30 bearing points,” the 1999 patent reads. The suit did go into production: check out this videoof the inventor, Jean-Yves “Rollerman” Blondeau, flying down a mountain road in full roller armor.
itness buffs have been looking for a good full-body workout since Victorian times. This 1900 patentfor a combo bicycle and rowing machine promises to “develop the muscles of the arms and body as well as those of the legs,” writes inventor Louis S. Burbank. The user perches atop the seat of the pedal-less bike and pumps a pair of wing-like sculls. The rowing motion turns the wheels via a set of pulleys. We’re not sure how it’s meant to stop: the patent makes no mention of the word “brakes.”
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