Upper Body Workout Device

Designers: Olivia Chang, Rish Sinha, Kevin Story, Prashant Swaminathan

Client Coordinator: Nancy Curtis

Supervising Professor: Larry Bohs


Our client was a 21- year-old man with cerebral palsy.  He wanted to exercise his upper body to gain strength and improve his range of motion.  The Upper Body Workout Device consists of a steel frame with a cable and pulley system on each side, allowing him to exercise each arm individually.  Forearm sleeves attach in three different positions to allow workouts targeting the biceps, triceps, and deltoid muscles.  Resistance is varied using free weights.  The device also includes a repetition counter to provide motivation and track progress.


The Upper Body Workout Device enables the client to exercise either arm in three different ways, complimenting the lower body exercises he can perform using a previously constructed device.  The client’s mother commented, “The possible positive ramifications of this device are immeasurable.”


The Upper Body Workout Device (Figure 1) consists of a steel frame, two upper pulleys, two lower pulleys, two drawer glides, two weight platforms and weight poles, three sets of tension cables, two metal hooks, two forearm sleeves and a repetition counter.

The steel frame is constructed from 2.5”x1.5” steel tubing, and weighs 150 lbs. The frame is 72” tall, 40” wide, and 48” long.  The frame is split in half at the top and bottom crossbeams, held together by two 24’’ angle braces bolted at 8 locations on each brace.  At the top crossbeam, two 1” square holes provide clearance for the tension cables.

Two 2” diameter pulleys reside at the top of the frame. Two additional 1.5” diameter pulleys mount on the vertical beams,  6” from the ground. Two 24” x 1.5” drawer glides are mounted on the outside of the vertical beams, 10” off the ground. Two 4.5” x 5” L-brackets attach to the drawer glides, each holding a 6” x 7” High Density Polyethylene platform to hold weights.  Solid aluminum rods, 6” long x 1” diameter, provide mounting pins to stabilize the weights, each having a circular hole in the center.

Vinyl-coated 1/8” steel tension cables secure to the top of the drawer glides. These main cables loop around the top of the frame, over the upper pulleys, and through the clearance holes.  At the user-end of each cable is a loop, created using standard cable hardware. Two additional sets of 20” long cables are used for the shoulder-fly exercises.  Additionally, two 78” tension cables are permanently looped through the lower pulleys for the bicep exercise.  For the shoulder fly and bicep exercises, the appropriate cables attach to the main cable using karabiners

The forearm sleeves are modified from Ossur brand 10” Vinyl Wrist Cock-Ups  Two nylon straps made from seat-belt material, sewn on near the wrist area and forearm area of the brace, provide attachment points for quick-link threaded connectors, each  6.25” long  x 7/32” diameter.  These connectors attach to the ends of the appropriate cables using karabiners.

A repetition counter, consisting of a microcontroller, LCD display and magnetic sensors, provides the user with a count of the number of repetitions for each exercise.

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