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ROM Exercise Machine Review

May 7, 2007
ROM Exercise Machine Review
I recently visited the ROM Exercise Machine website at to checkout an exercise machine my dad read about in an airline magazine on his trip to Montana. I spent the entire morning pouring over the information about this "miracle exercise machine" and have written the following in-depth review about what I discovered.

***There is no image of the ROM exercise machine in this review to respect the copyright holder and owner of said images Romfab.***

The ROM exercise machine claims used in this review were taken directly from the ROM website video and were transcribed by me. Every effort has been made to make sure the quotes are accurate and representative of the reviews material and are presented on this blog for purposes of this review only.

The ROM makes some pretty bold claims on their website regarding the effectiveness of their exercise machine that sound too good to be true. Can the ROM live up to these claims? Find out in this full review and rating on this curious exercise device, which, according to their video was bought by the likes of celebrities Tom Cruise, Sylvester Stallone and Tony Robbins.

Manufacturer and Media Claims about the ROM Exerciser:

only machine to work all major muscle groups
the most revolutionary exercise device known to mankind this machine (ROM) spreads the load out over a greater group of musclesthan any other form of exercise
in 4 minutes you will pump the same amount of oxygen as working within your target heart rate zone for 20 or 30 minutes
the perfect exercise machine
The following paragraphs contain my transcription of the ROM video found on their website. The ROM claims are in “_” and my notes are in ( _ ) below each segment.

Los Angeles Morning News Reporter (no name given):
"This machine as opposed to spending an hour and a half in the exercise gym - 4 minutes, that's all it takes - 4 minutes gives you complete cardio workout, gives you muscle group - everything - and it really, really works according to professors at USC and everything.”

(What does a reporter know about exercise equipment and fitness? Next week he'll be telling you how to make pie, and the week after that he'll be telling you how to mow your lawn – not a very credible source in my eyes – he sure was whipped up about the ROM! Though, you should have seen him gushing about it and carrying on.)

Uncredited Host (ROM video)
“The most revolutionary exercise device known to mankind. You can do your whole entire workout better than you can do in 45 minutes or an hour at the gym - with this piece of exercise equipment here - 4 minutes a day, let's hear it for Alf Temme!" [Alf Temme is the designer of the ROM]

(Better workout than you can do in 45 minutes at the gym? That's a stretch. Compared to what? Walking at 2 mph on a treadmill? Weight training? Core training? Sprinting? What are you even talking about???)

John Pitre (ROM Inventor)
"A high intensity, low time workout is the best type of workout for the human body. We don't run our lives on endurance, when do you really ever have to run a mile? We run our lives, in - in spurts. This machine spreads the load out over a greater group of muscles than any other form of exercise - it is the only machine on the market giving you a complete workout… in 4 minutes you will pump the same amount of oxygen as working within your target heart rate zone for 20 or 30 minutes - or running a 6 and a half minute mile. The only way you reach all your major muscle groups is through a full range of motion, which the ROM gives you. No matter how hard you run, no matter how hard you pedal a bike, you're not going to reach all your major muscle groups in your lower body - In other words what we're talking about here is the perfect exercise machine."

(I don't even know where to begin in response to these claims. They're so far off base and all encompassing I could write an entire blog about it. How do you reach a muscle group? Is he saying that my life is made up of 4 minute spurts? What if I want to go skiing or play soccer? Do I have to quit after 4 minutes because I have no endurance? How about if I go hiking? Should I plan my hike for 4 minutes? If we run our lives in spurts, maybe I should just do sprint intervals because all I ever need to do is give a short burst of energy, then go lay on the couch and take a nap.)

I think you can get a pretty good idea about where this review of the ROM is headed. I'm not in the least convinced that the “the most revolutionary exercise device known to mankind” is all it's cracked up to be.

Sure there are benefits to the ROM, but not any greater than most other forms of exercise if done correctly at the proper intensity for a specific goal. The proposed benefits of the ROM are certainly not as great as the claims represented on their website. There are also inherent weaknesses to any form of exercise where you're relying purely on a machine for strength training such as:

A machine like the ROM Exercise Machine puts your body in a fixed plane of motion throughout the entire range of the movement. The fixed plane of motion eliminates the stabilizer muscles from the movement, removing one of the primary benefits of strength training which is improved stability and balance.

The ROM Exerciser isn't ergonomic for all users. Not to pick on the ROM machine, that statement is true of any machine used for strength training, cardio or stretching. Machines are made for the “typical” user and not a good fit for the other 50-60% of the general population.

The ROM only compares itself to cardio exercise in its' comparison models and not to a combination of cardio and resistance training that is proven to be more beneficial for weight reduction and gaining lean muscle mass (doesn't compare apples to apples).

The ROM costs a whopping $14,615 dollars plus another $185 for crating. For that kind of dough you could get a kick-butt treadmill or elliptical trainer, a home gym, hot tub and plasma TV – and still have money left over to spend frivolously.

I read the entire ROM website, read the reports and watched the videos. Although the claims are bold, and the reasoning looks sound to the layman, I found no hard data that supports the claims they're making about the device.

For example, the USC study said, "There was a trend for improvement in body composition." That's not exactly a ringing endorsement. I would have thought they would say, “subjects gained 15% strength over 3 weeks, or subjects lost an average of 5 pounds.” The thing about the USC study I found most interesting was they used a control group in their testing that did not exercise at all over the course of the study. How is comparing a group using the ROM to a control group of non-exercising adults a valid measurement of effectiveness?

The other studies and papers on the website were even more vague about showing the benefits of using the ROM than the USC study was. They primarily centered around HIIT (high intensity interval training) vs. cardio training at 70% of VO2 max and didn't use the ROM exercise machine for the study. So again, I seem to be missing the point of all these “studies” that suggest the ROM is the ultimate piece of exercise equipment the manufacturer claims it is. I've gone through the facts and they don't add up on my scorecard.

Here's the bottom line on the ROM Exercise Machine

You can get a better workout on a rowing machine, doing sqauts and dumbbell bench presses. By using free weights and dumbbells for strength training, you'll get the advantage of recruiting stabilizer muscles, and increasing your coordination and balance. And as far as the cardio portion of your workout goes, it's tough to beat the benefits of rowing for overall cardiovascular conditioning. If that isn't enough to convince you, the ROM will set you back almost 15 grand and take up an entire room in your home – that is, if you have one to spare.

Following is a comment that I left on the website. Lets see whether they will publish it.

Anybody out there with an opinion that is based on having actually used the ROM machine?

Read to understand why experts are 98% of the time right with their opinions. That leaves of course the 2% when they are not right.

90% of the time experts are consulting on things they actually have knowledge about and 10% of the time they are expressing their opinions about things they know nothing about, mainly new ideas. New ideas must necessarily be different from what experts believe in because, logically, if they were not different they would not be new. Everything that is different from what expert believe in will swiftly be dismissed as nonsense by experts (nonsense meaning that they make no sense to them). Of all new ideas 80% are most likely useless and 20% are from good to brilliant. These 20% have to endure the relentless pummeling by experts. Not a bad lot these experts. They mean well and they do a useful service to society by also pummeling the other 80% of new ideas that are actually bad and in so doing they protect the public from all those bad ideas. The 20% then just have to suffer the expert abuse and those that survive it most likely are brilliant ideas that prevail and will slowly convert the experts one by one.

The ROM has endured this strange expert elimination process since 1990 and is gaining expert converts one at a time by them actually using the ROM and after that starting to question their firmly held but incorrect beliefs. That is the slow process that drives change in matters of expertise over sometimes many years. As long as there are experts in any branch of knowledge, the truth has not as yet been established. As soon as the final truth has been established about anything, experts disappear, not needed anymore, because things that everybody believes in do no longer have need of experts. Who questions round Earth any longer or that the sun is at the center of our solar system? Plenty of experts about these matters in times past.

We are posting all expert opinions we can find on our website no mattter whether they are positive or negative.

Yours is posted already.

I appreciate experts more than you might think. See why at

Experts give me a hard time with another idea I have created because it also drastically differs with their current beliefs


Alf Temme, ROM Manufacturer