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12th May 2007, 01:42 PM    #1 
Robert Pfefferkorn
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My Profile controversial high intensity short duration exercise

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Most exercise "experts" endorse "single thread" methods - aerobics, flexibility,
or resistance training. The ROM Machine (fastexercise.com) combines all three methods into a daily four minute, highly intense exercise of the upper or lower body. Proponents of the ROM machine claim metabolic benefits equivalent to 45-90 minutes of daily conventional exercises. Generally, experts dismiss this claim without further consideration. While there is some scientific evidence supporting the ROM machine, additional study is needed.

I am a retired research scientist writing a proposal for a one year empirical study of the effectiveness of the ROM Machine vis a vis conventional methods. This study will be conducted in Green Valley Arizona, a retirement community. Subjects will be age 55 or older. I need suggestions,
especially from skeptics, for what should be covered in the study to help settle the controversy and establish the utility of daily, highly intense four minute combined aerobic, flexibility and resistance workouts compared with separate conventional workouts over longer time periods.
 
         

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 12th May 2007, 03:23 PM    #2 
jsfisher
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My Profile Your opening post reads more like an advertisement than a serious query.

Are you sure you are a research scientist? Wouldn't an experienced research scientist understand the basics of what constituted quality research? By the way, you suggested that


Quote:
there is some scientific evidence supporting the ROM machine

I challenge you to provide a single citation in a peer-reviewed scientific journal to support that claim.

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 12th May 2007, 05:02 PM    #3 
casebro
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My Profile An intense four minute workout in a retirement community? Does the machine come with paramedics included?

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 12th May 2007, 06:30 PM    #4 
jsfisher
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An intense four minute workout in a retirement community? Does the machine come with paramedics included?

After paying the $15,000 for the device, it's unlikely anyone could afford paramedics. 

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 12th May 2007, 06:32 PM    #5 
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My Profile Oh, and welcome to the forums, Robert Pfefferkorn. 
   

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 12th May 2007, 06:40 PM    #6 
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 I, too, would like to see a link to some evidence that anyone could get any long-term benefit from only 4 minutes of cardio activity, however intense. I realize that one of the prime ways to build up cardiovascular endurance is to alternate lower-intensity with higher-intensity cardio workouts (i.e., intervals), but to the best of my knowledge, you have to do at least 20 minutes of continuous cardio activity to get any benefit.

So yes, please, some citations would be nice. Otherwise, my skeptical input to your query would be "sounds too good to be true. Probably is." 
 

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 12th May 2007, 06:49 PM    #7 
knot
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My Profile "Weight lifting, including curls and bench presses, is a beneficial activity Dancing, stair-climbing and brisk walking are all weight-bearing exercises, which promote (good) mechanical stress in the skeletal system, contributing to the placement of calcium in bones. Aerobic exercises such as biking, rowing and swimming do not strengthen the bones (we may be able to add your machine here)," writes Gary Null in Power Aging.

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 12th May 2007, 07:21 PM    #8 
jon
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My Profile Originally Posted by Robert Pfefferkorn 
Most exercise "experts" endorse "single thread" methods - aerobics, flexibility,
or resistance training.
Do they? - I thought most would at least advise doing both aerobic exercise (for cardiovascular etc. benefits) and resistance training (to maintain bone strength, build/maintain muscle mass, etc).

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 12th May 2007, 07:24 PM    #9 
ChristineR
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My Profile I spent some time looking into this thing. As I recall, my conclusions were that the benefits (as found by the studies) were those that you would get from a 20 minute, 3 times a week weight training plan with low reps and high weights.

The ROM did have the advantage that the ROM lets you work multiple muscles groups at high intensity. For example, you could do arm curls while you do squats, but the weight will either be very high for the arm curls or very low for the squats, or both.

Also the ROM requires no spotters, and the set up time is supposedly very low.

If you think of a typical minimal time weight plan with 1 set of 6-8 reps, 15 exercises repeated twice a week, then spread it over six days, you will see that you are actually only spending 5 minutes a day moving weights.

The studies on the ROM website talked about benefits compared to aerobic exercise, but I didn't see any evidence of the usual benefits of aerobic exercise. People can get minimal aerobic benefits from weight training, especially if they are out of shape. Likewise people can get minimal strength gains from aerobic exercise. To me the studies seemed to be comparing apples to oranges.

I'd like to see the supposed aerobic benefits of the ROM go head to head against a running program. I'd also like to see the ROM compared to the
minimal weight training program I mentioned above. It will take longer to execute, but it will cost about 1/1000 as much as a ROM.

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 12th May 2007, 09:07 PM    #10 
blutoski
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My Profile Originally Posted by Robert Pfefferkorn 
Most exercise "experts" endorse "single thread" methods - aerobics, flexibility,
or resistance training. The ROM Machine (fastexercise.com) combines all three methods into a daily four minute, highly intense exercise of the upper or lower body. Proponents of the ROM machine claim metabolic benefits equivalent to 45-90 minutes of daily conventional exercises. Generally, experts dismiss this claim without further consideration. While there is some scientific evidence supporting the ROM machine, additional study is needed.

I am a retired research scientist writing a proposal for a one year empirical study of the effectiveness of the ROM Machine vis a vis conventional methods. This study will be conducted in Green Valley Arizona, a retirement community. Subjects will be age 55 or older. I need suggestions, especially from skeptics, for what should be covered in the study to help settle the controversy and establish the utility of daily, highly intense four minute combined aerobic, flexibility and resistance workouts compared with separate conventional workouts over longer time periods.
What are you looking for, exactly? Your post seems kind of vague. "metabolic benefits" - ?

I'm unaware of any controversy. Experts are convinced it doesn't work because people have tried this before. An aerobic process doesn't even start for several minutes after exercise begins. A 4-minute workout may have between 1.5 to 2 minutes of aerobic challenge. There is no evidence of benefit from such a small challenge. There *is* evidence of risk, especially for those with cardiovascular contraindicators.

The further problem is that even if the body adapts to this 1.5 minute aerobic demand, improvement could only be achieved by extending the workout duration, so the claim that this short workout would be anything but an introductory duration would be misleading.

I think you are also misrepresenting conventional fitness programs. Most focus on what's called "functionality," whose endpoint is improved every-day capacity. Circuit training is the most common 'beginner' approach, because it provides a good mix of resistance and endurance in the same exercise, with good core focus. Flexibility is not achieved through exercise, but through post-exercise stretching, or indirect resistance on warm muscles.

Lastly, no resistance workout should be initiated without an appropriate warmup. That alone will take ten minutes. Longer, in the case of seniors. This is just basic injury avoidance.

To answer your question about research in good faith, I would ask you to define your metrics. What is the purpose of the exercise? Strength improvement? Aerobic capacity improvement? Flexibility improvement? All three?

Regardless, just explicitly state in advance what you want to compare, divide your community into two groups, and monitor progress. Also monitor the disqualifiers, of course. eg: if 90% of the ROM group drops out with injuries and 10% of the circuit-training group drops out with injuries, that's very relevant. Also the adherence should be confirmed with supervision: participants cannot be relied upon to self-report their adherence to a program. Exercise research that is based on self-reporting should not be publishable, in my opinion.

To get a p<.05 in the three abovementioned metrics, you'd need at least 60 people to complete the year in each group (120 total). Realistically, if you're considering seniors, who get injuries and unexpected medical contingencies unrelated to their exercise routine, with a high frequency, I think you should consider a starting base of 1,000 clients, divided into two 500-client cohorts. If you want to do a 6-month longitudinal study (this should be acceptable, as cardio results will show convincingly by 6 months into a program), you can probably get away with 500 (250+250).

Incidentally: why a retirement community? That sounds like people who should be involved in low-resistance, low-intensity, reduced range-of-motion exercise routines, if their medical situation even permits it. This looks like a recipe for injury.

-----
My fitness background is 20 years of sport coaching (swimming, triathlon) and athlete and "third age" (65+) personal fitness training. My academic research speciality (unrelated to personal fitness training) is research methodology design, specializing in immune disorders. 
 

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 13th May 2007, 07:40 AM    #11 
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 Another controversial short-duration fitness regime.

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 13th May 2007, 08:19 AM    #12 
Meadmaker
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My Profile Originally Posted by Robert Pfefferkorn 
Most exercise "experts" endorse "single thread" methods - aerobics, flexibility,
or resistance training. The ROM Machine (fastexercise.com) combines all three methods into a daily four minute, highly intense exercise of the upper or lower body. Proponents of the ROM machine claim metabolic benefits equivalent to 45-90 minutes of daily conventional exercises. Generally, experts dismiss this claim without further consideration. While there is some scientific evidence supporting the ROM machine, additional study is needed.

I am a retired research scientist writing a proposal for a one year empirical study of the effectiveness of the ROM Machine vis a vis conventional methods. This study will be conducted in Green Valley Arizona, a retirement community. Subjects will be age 55 or older. I need suggestions,
especially from skeptics, for what should be covered in the study to help settle the controversy and establish the utility of daily, highly intense four minute combined aerobic, flexibility and resistance workouts compared with separate conventional workouts over longer time periods.
I saw some advertising for such a machine, and I was extremely dubious. I concluded (based on pure speculation plus personal experience, so take that for what it's worth) that there are three possibilities.

1. It's pure flim-flam. There are no benefits.

or

2. It's a placebo. The act of working out for four minutes makes people feel like they've done something, and then they get less sedentary overall, and the other activities that they do make them healthier.

or

3. It has very significant benefits in flexibility. This, in turn, lowers the pain level in older people that is associated with other activity. Since physical activity then hurts less, people are more inclined to do physical activity which they would otherwise avoid. In other words, they might be more inlined to walk or pull weeds if it didn't hurt so much, and this four minute workout makes it hurt less.

Your study should monitor other physical activity performed by study participants, and determine if those who used the machine are more likely to get higher exercise levels in the course of an ordinary day.

"Before I criticize a man, I like to walk a mile in his shoes. That way, when you do criticize him, you are a mile away, and you have his shoes."-Jack Handy 
         

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 13th May 2007, 08:49 AM    #13 
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 Originally Posted by Robert Pfefferkorn 
I need suggestions,
especially from skeptics, for what should be covered in the study to help settle the controversy and establish the utility of daily, highly intense four minute combined aerobic, flexibility and resistance workouts compared with separate conventional workouts over longer time periods.


I don't think you'll ever "settle the controversy" if you are already assuming your study will "establish the utility" of what you seek to study.

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 13th May 2007, 11:35 AM    #14 
blutoski
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My Profile My concern is that the adherence will be self-reported. The two groups will do what they always do - nothing. People rarely stick to their program.

At the end of the study, both groups will have acheived zero benefit.

I can already see the spin: "Subjects using the Jumbotron 2000 three times a week for four minutes each achieved identical results to those on a more time-consuming program involving weight lifting, treadmill, and yoga, which in contrast required six two-hour workouts per week. The results are statistically significant, p<.05. This should settle the controversy once and for all: Jumbotron 2000 is just as effective as conventional training, at a significant time savings."

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 13th May 2007, 11:38 AM    #15 
jon
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My Profile Originally Posted by blutoski 
My concern is that the adherence will be self-reported. The two groups will do what they always do - nothing. People rarely stick to their program.

At the end of the study, both groups will have acheived zero benefit.

I can already see the spin: "Subjects using the Jumbotron 2000 three times a week for four minutes each achieved identical results to those on a more time-consuming program involving weight lifting, treadmill, and yoga, which in contrast required six two-hour workouts per week. The results are statistically significant, p<.05. This should settle the controversy once and for all: Jumbotron 2000 is just as effective as conventional training, at a significant time savings."
I would assume that, for this type of study, you would want to monitor the training sessions -- for example, gets the subjects to train with a personal trainer (which would make sure that they are doing exercises right, as well as that they are doing them). Or don't studies in this kind of area necessarily do this? 
    

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 13th May 2007, 01:35 PM    #16 
blutoski
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I would assume that, for this type of study, you would want to monitor the training sessions -- for example, gets the subjects to train with a personal trainer (which would make sure that they are doing exercises right, as well as that they are doing them). Or don't studies in this kind of area necessarily do this?
You'd think.

The good ones do. 99% don't. Publish or perish, I guess.

Diet research works this way, too, unfortunately. Ask the participant to write down their meals in a journal. They're not going to admit they broke down and ate that triple-decker burger, so the results are always "best effort".

The worst are the ones that ask subjects to reach back in time and 'recall' what they were eating during a specific timeframe.

There's a study published recently like this about the relationship between meat eating and a specific type of condition in children that doesn't develop until they're about six years old. They were asking the mothers to 'recall accurately' how much meat they were eating while pregnant with the kid seven years ago. Ridiculous, but it got published anyway, and the 'results' were front page news. Now some pregnant women are worried about their meat intake, unaware that the study's methodology is crap.

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 13th May 2007, 01:38 PM    #17 
blutoski
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My Profile Originally Posted by jon 
I would assume that, for this type of study, you would want to monitor the training sessions -- for example, gets the subjects to train with a personal trainer (which would make sure that they are doing exercises right, as well as that they are doing them). Or don't studies in this kind of area necessarily do this?
One reason it's unlikely that they will be under the supervision of a PFT is that they're so expensive: typically $50/hr. To do this study for a year with a minimum of 120 people, you're looking at PFT wages of $936,000.

Not going to happen.

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 13th May 2007, 01:43 PM    #18 
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My Profile interesting - some really crappy studies out there. That one relying on 7yr memory of meat consumption got published, too 

If you were doing a year long study, couldn't you employ a PFT - wages (as opposed to paying by the hour) aren't nearly as much, are they  If they are, I think I should look at retraining  
         

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 13th May 2007, 02:03 PM    #19 
Robert Pfefferkorn
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Do they? - I thought most would at least advise doing both aerobic exercise (for cardiovascular etc. benefits) and resistance training (to maintain bone strength, build/maintain muscle mass, etc).
You are absolutely correct, Jon. However, there are many experts that specialize in cardiovascular, or flexibility or weight training. That's what I meant by single thread. A balance of all three training methods is necessary for optimum metabolism and fitness. The ROM machine is unique in the high percentage of muscle cells that can be stretched and stressed with self-determined resistance in a single upper body or lower body exercise. One question to be answered is how effectively the ROM machine provides benefits otherwise achieved by a combination of methods, e.g, elliptical trainer, pilates, and free weights.

Thank you for your interest and contribution.
 
         

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 13th May 2007, 02:06 PM    #20 
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My Profile Originally Posted by Robert Pfefferkorn 
The ROM machine is unique in the high percentage of muscle cells that can be stretched and stressed with self-determined resistance in a single upper body or lower body exercise.

Again you sound like a commercial. 
  

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 13th May 2007, 02:07 PM    #21 
blutoski
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interesting - some really crappy studies out there. That one relying on 7yr memory of meat consumption got published, too 
There was another one recently about male fertility and whether the mother ate red meat while pregnant. That would be asking the mother to reach back maybe twenty years for diet details.

* Link between beef consumption during pregnancy and reduced sperm quality in sons

From the article:

Quote:
Prof Swan and her colleagues recruited couples to the study when the pregnant women attended prenatal clinics between 1999 and 2005. As well as asking questions about the couples themselves (medical histories, lifestyle factors such as smoking, alcohol consumption and diet), the researchers requested the men to ask their mothers to fill in a brief questionnaire about their diet while pregnant with their sons.

Originally Posted by jon 
If you were doing a year long study, couldn't you employ a PFT - wages (as opposed to paying by the hour) aren't nearly as much, are they 
I don't think you'd need a certified PFT to do this supervision. Just have a minimum wage hack monitor the subjects when they come in to do their circuit or ROM. And he could monitor several simultaneously, if you have several pieces of equipment.

Say, for example, that the circuit training has ten stations, and you have five ROMs in the same room. That's fifteen simultaneous workouts. Considering the ROMs are a four-minute workout... give them a 1-minute window for (dis)mounting... you could handle 60 ROMs per hour and 20 circuit trainers.

One fulltime observer could be sufficient. The next concern would be his neutrality. What I'd do is just record the room on videotape to ensure that at least these data points were legit. It doesn't prevent cheating in the sense that the ROM group could be getting additional conventional training outside the facility.


Originally Posted by jon 
If they are, I think I should look at retraining 
The catch is that PFTs are usually self-employed, and have overhead such as certification, insurance, equipment&facility purchase or rental, transportation, and advertising. $50/hr doesn't look like enough when Mabel breaks her hip on the Stairmaster and sues for $2Million.

I charge a much lower hourly rate because I work out of a facility that takes care of all the overhead. 

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 13th May 2007, 02:25 PM    #22 
Robert Pfefferkorn
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My Profile My bias showed, thanks for pointing this out. The study will report the facts
utility or lack thereof.
 
         

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 13th May 2007, 02:41 PM    #23 
blutoski
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My bias showed, thanks for pointing this out. The study will report the facts
utility or lack thereof.
Duly noted. Robert: does the retirement community have a fitness room with a set of circuit training stations and floor mats for stretching? 
  

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 13th May 2007, 02:43 PM    #24 
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My Profile Another thought: you might want to have a third group for baseline that does not participate in any type of program. This will allow you to record the background injury rate in this cartel.

Also: the selection process should be noted in the protocol, and should be blinded and randomized, preferably with the commonly-used USDA randomization tables.

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 13th May 2007, 03:02 PM    #25 
Robert Pfefferkorn
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Duly noted. Robert: does the retirement community have a fitness room with a set of circuit training stations and floor mats for stretching?
Yes, we have 12 satellite recreation centers, with fully equipped exercise facilities. It is planned that a ROM machine will be installed in a brand new recreation center currently under construction. This machine will be dedicated for study purposes.
 
         

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 13th May 2007, 03:06 PM    #26 
blutoski
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Yes, we have 12 satellite recreation centers, with fully equipped exercise facilities. It is planned that a ROM machine will be installed in a brand new recreation center currently under construction. This machine will be dedicated for study purposes.
From a statistical power point of view, I suspect one may not be enough. You'll need hundreds of people at the start of the program period (knowing that only a fraction will complete a year).

Even with 20-minute, 3x/wk programs, there is less than a 1% adherence by the 12-week point. This is for non-appointment programs. Adherence is much higher for appointment-based programs, such as one-on-one training sessions. 
   

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 13th May 2007, 03:46 PM    #27 
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My Profile Thank you all. Stimulating help to me. Keep the dialogs going. As you might expect from a neophyte, I'm having trouble replying to all your fine inputs. I write something only to lose it because I have to sign in again and start over. One solution would be to think and type faster, alas I'm maxed out in both departments. At this point, I plan to prepare responses separately and paste them in the reply screens, unless someone has a better suggestion.
 
         

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 13th May 2007, 05:34 PM    #28 
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My Profile Originally Posted by Robert Pfefferkorn 
Thank you all. Stimulating help to me. Keep the dialogs going. As you might expect from a neophyte, I'm having trouble replying to all your fine inputs. I write something only to lose it because I have to sign in again and start over. One solution would be to think and type faster, alas I'm maxed out in both departments. At this point, I plan to prepare responses separately and paste them in the reply screens, unless someone has a better suggestion.
Click "Remember me" when you log in. And use the quote button, it makes life easier. 
  

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 Yesterday, 03:56 PM    #29 
Robert Pfefferkorn
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--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I appreciate very much your suggestions and help and have the following additional replies:

Re: previous relevant studies: The small business manufacturer of the ROM, i.e., ROMFAB, funded a small study at USC several years ago. The findings were positive and supported the ROMFAB's claims. Since ROMFAB is usually behind in filling orders, there is little financial incentive to fund additional studies.

To my knowledge, there are no pertinent peer-reviewed studies.. After our study is completed, I do intend to submit the research findings to an appropriate peer-reviewed journal for publication.

While researching the literature for supporting evidence prior to deciding to acquire a ROM machine, I found limited academic interest in study of the benefits of high intensity, short duration exercise. I was surprised, because biochemically, this approach makes perfect sense to me. There was one small scale study in Japan, while reinforcing, did not employ the ROM machine for tests. Similarly, there is a Dutch study about to be published in English.

Meanwhile, as daily users of a ROM machine, my wife and I continue to witness its benefits and we are highly motivated that others have an opportunity to share our experience. As retirees, we have the time and the means to volunteer for the proposed study.

In proposing the study, we will ask the manufacturer to loan us a ROM machine for one year for demonstration and study purposes. We will ask Green Valley Recreation to sponsor the study and install the ROM machine in a brand new recreation center now under construction. The study will be organized, performed/supervised and reported on a volunteer basis at no cost.

Why study the ROM machine in a retirement community?

First, my wife and I believe the 55+ population most needs the ROM machine. We retired to Green Valley in 1984. We are very familiar with the health and fitness needs of an aging population. We believe the ROM offers a more efficient and safer approach to help them attain metabolic fitness than other exercise choices. Our study will allow us the opportunity to support or refute this belief.

We believe the ROM machine is safe because of the short duration of the exercise and the design of the machine. Resistance is determined by a flywheel equipped with a centrifugal brake that engages as the flywheel speeds up. Unlike a motor-driven treadmill, the user continuously controls the degree to which resistance is applied. We believe that even the infirmed will be able to use the machine safely to gradually develop muscle and strength. For this purpose, the machine would be set for the brake to start engaging at a higher flywheel speed and the flywheel would be started moving by the exercise supervisor to overcome inertia prior to the subject starting the exercise.

Second, Green Valley works because of its volunteer efforts. We expect the study to be successfully completed for the same reason. Based on our experience, we don't expect compliance to be a problem with the ROM machine. We do expect compliance to be a problem with other choices to be compared, e.g., treadmills and weight machines.

The claims concerning the ROM machine understandably lead to skepticism because they fly in the face of conventional wisdom. For example, everyone knows one can burn calories and achieve a cardiovascular benefit while exercising on a treadmill. However, the training effect doesn't continue for long after the exercise because of the relatively small number of muscles engaged in the exercise and the limited range of motion and resistance applied to those muscles. With the ROM machine the training effect is reversed, i.e., not much during the exercise because of its short duration, but a great deal for hours after the exercise is completed - because of the number of muscles involved exercised through 80% of their range of motion with resistance.
 
         

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 Yesterday, 05:01 PM    #30 
jsfisher
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Join Date: Dec 2005
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My Profile There are two things you need to keep in mind in formulating your study.

First, what are you actually studying? Sounds simple, but it isn't. If you want to compare 4 minutes per day of ROM activity versus nothing, why bother? Any exercise is better than none. Some reviews have likened the ROM Machine to a combination rowing machine and stair climber. Perhaps ROM versus equivalent time on the other two would be appropriate. Maybe 4-minute ROM routine versus a conventional 30 minute or so routine is the right thing to study.

I don't claim to know the right thing to study, but maybe a reasonable thing to include in whatever it is would be the likelihood a person would stick to the routine. That is, are ROM Machine users more likely to use the device daily (with whatever benefit) then are users of the more conventional gear? If you don't use it, it doesn't matter how effective it is.

Second, how will you handle experimenter bias? You have indicated you are one satisfied ROM Machine owner. You need to keep your own biases out of the experiment so as to not contaminate the result.


However you proceed with this, I wish you luck. 
  

jsfisher
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 Yesterday, 06:21 PM    #31 
Robert Pfefferkorn
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Join Date: May 2007
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My Profile Very good points. Thank you.

In addition to comparing ROM activity with alternative methods as normally employed, I want to try to quantify the metabolic impact of comparative methods. One way to do this would be to measure basal resting metabolism four hours after the exercise.

Your point re: compliance is right on.

Re: experimenter bias. Bias is a problem. There will be no exercises without supervision, and each supervisor probably will also wish to participate as a test subject. If my experience is any guide, compliance will be difficult for the alternatives to be compared with the ROM and easy for the ROM itself. So I expect increasing bias in favor of the ROM among study participants. I plan to partly avoid bias by having evaluation done by a separate group of volunteers. We might administer a questionnaire to identify individuals more likely to be unbiased.
 
         

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 Yesterday, 06:47 PM    #32 
Meadmaker
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Join Date: Apr 2004
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My Profile Originally Posted by Robert Pfefferkorn 
With the ROM machine the training effect is reversed, i.e., not much during the exercise because of its short duration, but a great deal for hours after the exercise is completed - because of the number of muscles involved exercised through 80% of their range of motion with resistance.
Why would the number of muscles matter? Every one of those muscles is still at rest hours after the exercise. What does it matter if there are more of them?
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"Before I criticize a man, I like to walk a mile in his shoes. That way, when you do criticize him, you are a mile away, and you have his shoes."-Jack Handy 
         

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 Yesterday, 07:19 PM    #33 
Robert Pfefferkorn
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My Profile The higher the number of muscle cells exercised, the greater the impact on metabolism. One would expect recovery to the normal basal resting rate to take longer.
 
         

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 Today, 01:50 AM    #34 
Jackalgirl
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 Hi, Robert --

I'm afraid I still don't understand how only 5 minutes of cardiovascular exercise -- whatever muscles you're using at whatever intensity -- could have any benefit for cardiovascular health and/or fat burning.

The conventional wisdom is that it takes at least 20 minutes of sustained exercise at least (I believe) 65% of your max heart rate (as determined by age, for a rough ballpark guide) in order to burn fat, and at 80% for cardiovascular training. Is this incorrect? How can 5 minutes really do anything?

Mind you, I'm not arguing, say, strength or muscle-endurance benefits of a short, high-intensity workout. I wouldn't argue that especially if we were talking multiple 5 minute workouts per day (I found that I can increase my ability to do more pushups in a 2-minute period if I do, say, about 10 pushups every couple of hours). But that doesn't help my cardiovascular endurance one jot. But I'm also no expert, which is why I'm askin'. : )