ROM (Rip Off Machine)

Today I had somebody tell me about a piece of workout equipment. That in and of itself doesn’t really warrant any special attention, however, this particular piece of equipment does. It’s called the Range of Motion machine (ROM) and it retails for approximately $16,000. That is correct, $16,000. While I believe that the marketing of the ROM in terms of product positioning is valid (I imagine the initial brainstorming session went something like “Hey guys, lets weld a rowing machine with a stair stepper, tell people that they only need to work out for 4 minutes, and make it ridiculously expensive!”), as a piece of equipment it is so much snake-oil and false promises.

Celebrity endorsements notwithstanding (Anthony Robbins and Sylvester Stallone each purportedly own TWO!) there is no magic to be found in a particular piece of exercise equipment. Even the tackiest “As Seen on T.V.” Ab_______ (fill in the blank) does something. Whether that something is exclusive to that particular piece of plastic and metal (if you're lucky) is another matter. Elaborate flywheels, cams, and resistance bands, at the end of the day, do nothing that cannot be supplied by standard weights or even your own body.

Working out on a regular basis is what will create results (see my previous blog on “making it happen”) and there are no shortcuts. And, even if there were, in all likelihood the end result would be unsatisfactory. Although this example may solidify my geek heritage, I’d like to bring up something called the Game Genie. If you played video games in the early 1990’s then you probably know about the Game Genie. Available for the popular gaming consoles of that golden era, the Genie interfaced between a game cartridge and the system itself, allowing various cheat codes to be entered (it also had the side benefit of eliminating the traditional blow, smack, blow ritual required to get games to play properly). Whether it was for super jumps, invincibility, unlimited lives, or free money, if you asked (by inputting the proper code) the Genie made it happen.

In my own opinion (and based on numerous conversations over the years, that of many others) the Game Genie had another unforeseen side-effect. After the initial giddy delight of cheating the system, the game took on an irreversible suckiness. Winning, which previously took skill, practice, and serious thumb calluses (I think the “d” pad on an old Nintendo controller was actually sharpened on the edges), was reduced to a simple matter of punching in a code. Eventually, the Game Genie went out of style, but the lesson remained. Shortcuts = suckiness.

Getting great results after paying in blood, sweat, and tears is infinitely more satisfying than any quick-fix because you payed for it in blood, sweat, and tears. It is the mind, body, spirit journey that lends relevance to the results and enriches your life, not pulling out your pocketbook.

Park Bench Blast: High-intensity workout that only requires you and a sturdy bench

Warm-up: walk or jog ~1mi. followed by dynamic flexibility (swinging the arms and legs, bending forward and backward at the hips, and twisting from side to side.)

Protocol: 15-20 repetitions x 3 supersets (perform exercises back to back)

Step-ups & Push-ups (off edge of bench)

Squat jumps (onto bench seats) & Push-aways (like a push-up, but push hard so that your hands come up off of the edge during each repetition)

Pike push ups (place feet on bench seats and hands on the ground bending at the waist so your body makes an “L” shape) & Tricep dips

Run 1mi. for speed followed by .5mi. walking cool down

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About Unknown

Tony is the host of the Paleo Magazine Radio podcast, author of "Paleo Grilling: A Modern Caveman's Guide to Cooking with Fire", and Cofounder of Powerful PT, an innovative information resource for Fitness Professionals. He has appeared on numerous local and national television and radio broadcasts and regularly hosts healthy cooking workshops and informational lectures. He is also a full-time Personal Trainer and Wellness Consultant who lives in Jacksonville Florida with his wife Jamie.
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  1. Hey Tony. I must have missed the part where you say
    "I NEVER USED IT". To solidify an opinion I would have to use it first. But all the "experts" I see on line bashing it haven't used it. It sure seems to cause a lot of anger I checked out the price online. Your opinion of the price "approximately $16,000" is off by $1385.00. How "approximate" are your opinions of the ROM. Please post an honest opinion after using it and seeing if there are any benefits for those that won't exercise for hours like you enjoy. I do high intensity exercise 10 minutes every other day that would have you crawling out of the gym and get a better cardio, strength and flexibility than the "Park Bench Blast". My time and health is too valuable to waste all that time. My family is too important to waste all that time for what I can do in minutes a week. So who knows? maybe it does do all they claim. Who knows? Certainly not someone that hasn't used it. Sorry to be so harsh but it's really disheartening when the so called "experts" critique something so hard with out trying it.

  2. The whole point, (and factoring in your correction to my "approximately $16,000" figure) is that the ROM machine is a rip off. As a point of comparison, the ROM's sticker price is equal to the price of membership at Planet Fitness for the next one hundred and twenty one years or, working with a $50.00/hr personal trainer 3 times a week for 97 weeks.

    To be sure, I am not disputing whether or not there is benefit in working out at a high intensity for 4 minutes (ROM claim), or 10 minutes (like you do), but it doesn't have to cost $14,615. I illustrated this point by including the "park bench blast" workout, which costs approximately $0.00, takes anywhere from 25-30 minutes to accomplish, and develops total body strength, power, and endurance.

    After spending the past 15 years immmersed in the fitness industry, I have found that my personal goal is to empower clients, readers, etc, by sharing the truth (as I see it). That truth (with a lower case "t") is that getting "in shape" requires nothing that you weren't born with.

    A child running, jumping, skipping, climbing, etc. in the back yard lives this, adults could do well to rememeber it.