Rom Machine

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A complete workout in just 4 minutes a day? That’s what the makers of the ROM cross trainer claim is possible with their piece of exercise equipment, while admitting that it sounds too incredible to believe. On their website it reads: The biggest problem is that 4 minutes sounds too good to be true for a complete non-impact cardio, resistance- and flexibility workout. The common maxim goes: “If such a machine really existed, then obviously everybody in the world would know about it.” The website also mentions the difficulty they have in getting endorsements from fitness experts: The third problem are so called “experts” (personal trainers, doctors, etc.) when asked for their opinion about our 4 minute ROM machine, they will not even bother to inform themselves, read anything about it or try it out before giving their negative opinion or even ridiculing our ROM. Most of these “experts” are so closed minded that they cannot even be educated as to the logical insights that are embodied in the very intelligent ROM design and function.

Is it true that fitness experts are too close minded to even consider the claims of the ROM cross trainer, or is this a case of “attack is the best form of defense” on the side of the ROM machine distributor?

On the web, one can find quite a few blog entries and other articles written by people giving their opinion on the ROM machine. They claim varying degrees of expertise in health and fitness related topics. One blog called “Exercise Equipment Expert” writes a review of the machine after reading information at the website, however not trying out the machine in person, and concludes: “You can get a better workout on a rowing machine, doing squats and dumbbell bench presses.” Jim Fiore, a science professor and a blogger at, writes of the ROM machine makers: “[…] one of their basic claims is that if you workout harder, you don’t have to workout as long to achieve the same benefits. Apparently, their lack of knowledge of the body’s energy systems makes them eminently qualified to assess the value of this “new excellent idea”. That doesn’t exactly sound like a ringing endorsement either. When the ROM cross trainer’s makers posted a link to his article and criticized that he had never tried the machine, he rebutted: […] I really DON’T have to try it to find out that it cannot possibly do what they claim it does BECAUSE my education does indeed tell me that it would be a total waste of time.” Todd Bublitz is a health and fitness writer at and was asked what his opinion of the ROM machine was. His answer was short but sweet: “The only thing more ridiculous than the suggestion that you can get a good workout in 4 minutes is the price tag. I did a thorough investigation of this machine a month ago and I could find no legitimacy.”

So the question begs…is there any fitness expert out there who thinks that the ROM machine can provide the high intensity, short duration full body workout that it promises? The ROM cross trainer’s website has a page called Studies with various studies regarding the benefits of high-intensity interval training. Three of the studies were done with the ROM machine. One study dates back to 1995, but two more recent studies were published in May 2007 in the Official Journal of the American College of Sports Medicine. Both those studies claim to have found results that study participants exhibited significant results and positive improvements in whole body strength and body composition after training on the ROM machine. Thus, those fitness experts concluded that the ROM cross trainer does give a user a workout in 4 minutes.

Although the ROM machine manufacturer’s negative smearing of experts does seem like a sour grapes reaction to negative reviews of the ROM cross trainer, it does become quite clear that there is a lot of expert opinion about the ROM machine which doesn’t come from first hand experience. One thing becomes quite clear when reading the different testimonials, blog entries and studies on the ROM machine: you should probably try the machine out yourself, to see if it’s all it’s cracked up to be.

The ROM machine is a cross trainer that promises to deliver a workout in just 4 minutes a day. ROM stands for Range of Motion, and the ROM cross trainer is thus called, because of the range of motion a user goes through when performing exercise on the machine. The ROM machine is made by ROMFab, located in Southern California and has been manufactured by the company for almost 20 years.

The ROM cross trainer has two stations: an upper body workout and a lower body workout. On the upper body station, at the front of the machine, the user is seated. One upper body repetition consists of pulling the side arms towards the chest, opening the side arms out about 10 inches from the body in a reverse V shape, pulling the opened side arms around the upper torso until the side arms hit their stop and can go no further. Without stopping the reverse motion is made, the side arms are brought together again in a reverse V movement and the user pushes the side arms forward, engaging the abdominal muscles and stretches all the way forward without letting their bottom lift from the seated position, until the side arms hit the front stop of the ROM machine. All this movement is done under constant resistance. There is resistance in the pull element as well as in the push element.

The lower body workout is performed on the rear of the ROM cross trainer. There are two pedals extending from the rear of the machine. It resembles a stair climber, but that is where the similarity between the two exercises stops. The user steps onto the rear pedals using the rear side arms for support, and pushes one foot down as far as possible. At the same time the opposite foot will raise to the user’s chest. Depending on the user’s flexibility the range of motion that can be attained on the rear of the ROM machine is quite astounding. Usually a user won’t be able to perform the full range of motion right away, but after a few weeks of regular use on the machine, a user’s flexibility improves.

The most important component of the ROM machine is its 80 lb flywheel which is mounted on a hub and nestled into a stainless steel hoop. On the side of the flywheel there is a centrifugal brake that engages once the flywheel hits a certain RPM, creating friction with the hoop, which creates resistance. When the ROM machine user performs either of the exercises the fly wheel will start to spin as both stations are connected to the flywheel through a transmission and a series of chains. The faster the exercise is performed, the faster the flywheel spins. The faster the flywheel spins the further the centrifugal brake is engaged, and the more resistance is created. The more resistance created, the more difficult the workout, which means: the stronger the Rom cross trainer user is, or the more strength and effort put into the workout, the harder the workout will be. Although there are two stations on the ROM machine, there is only one flywheel, and thus only one user can use the ROM cross trainer at a time.

The ROM machine is built to last. It is made of chromed and powder coated steel and stainless steel components. The majority of the ROM cross trainer’s components are custom made for the machine with enduring quality in mind. To prevent distortion and bending over time from users’ yanking, the side arms are made of solid steel bar, whereas on the majority of exercise machinery the structures are made of tubing, as it is more lightweight, and thus cheaper. But the ROM machine’s quality does come with a price tag: a hefty $14,615. But if you want an exercise machine that gives you a complete workout in just 4 minutes, it might just be worth it.


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