$15,000 For WHAT?!?


ROM Quick Gym

Product Review: ROM QuickGym

Time is money, right?  So how much would it be worth if you really could get an effective workout in only 4 minutes a day?  The creators of the ROM QuickGym would like you to believe it’s worth over $15,000.  A club in California (where else?) thinks it’s worth $40/month for a membership.  On the other hand, the so-called “experts” will often discount it’s value simply by looking at it.

Who’s right? (by the end of this post, I will be – but I’m sure you already knew that)

First, we need to consider these important principles:

Specificity: If your goal is to get really good at doing 4 minutes of exercise on the ROM, then by all means, you need to train with the ROM.

Will it help you shoot better free throws?  Make more tackles? Run a faster 5k?
No. Uh-uh and certainly not.

Progression:Once you adapt to your initial stressor(s), to make further adaptations, you need to do more and/or work at a higher intensity. 

Variety: One of the arguments of the ROM is that it has a life-span of 30+ years.  Therefore the “actual cost” is only $1.25 PLUS 4 minutes per day.  This may be good in theory, but if you plan on doing the same activity/duration/relative intensity for 30+ years, there’s a good chance you’ll hit a plateau sometime in the first 6 months (if not sooner).  So for much of the next 29.5 years, you’ll have to do something other than the ROM.  This means you’ll still have the expense of $1.25/day to let the ROM sit there, in addition to whatever your other form(s) of exercise may cost.

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ROM’s Strengths:
Even the ThighMaster has a useful purpose – and because I like to think I’m a li’l smarter than the “experts” ROM says “will feel threatened by such a perfect machine” (can it really put personal trainers out of business?) I’ll give ’em the benefit of the doubt by focusing on its strengths first.

Tony Robbins owns one.  So does Sly.  Even Tom “top-gun” Cruise has one.  The marketing DVD is packed with testimonials from various experts and “lay people”, all (presumably) first time users at a bodybuilding/trade show. 

Upon completion of 4 minutes, when asked if they’ve ever experienced such a workout, everyone breathlessly agrees it’s the toughest workout they’ve ever done. 

For the uninitiated, although BIG, bodybuilders aren’t typically recognized for their knowledge of training.  Flip through an issue of Flex magazine and you’ll discover most of ’em are still doing ever-so-slight variations of the workouts Arnie was doing back in the ’70s (plus a little chemical “help”, if you know what I mean).

Getting to the point, the greatest strength of the ROM Quick Gym is it’s marketing strategy.  They do a fair job explaining why all the “experts” are wrong.

To their credit, while I was reviewing the ROM DVD, I did hear one  of their “experts” admit that ‘the best exercise is the one you’ll do.’  If the ROM truly is better than any other form of exercise, it’s only because the price tag can be a strong motivator. 

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ROM’s Weaknesses:
From what I can tell, the ROM is limited to a single dominant plane of movement (in the real-world, we move in all 3)

Plus, it separates the muscles of the upper body from the lower body.  Ever try running with just your legs?  Or how about walking with only your arms?

Like most machine-based exercise, the ROM is incredibly concentric dominant.  While the ability to produce force is great, we also need the ability to reduce and stabilize forces.

And for $15,000, you could buy a cheap car and a weight set.

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Believe it or not, I would recommend this machine IF…

  • You’re an actor in need a quick way to get that hot & sweaty look before shooting an action/love scene.
  • You’re a bodybuilder preparing to go onstage and pose for the judges (of course you’ve spent countless hours doing “real” training up to this point).
  • Space and time are both limited and you recognize that ‘something is better than nothing’ in the short term (as in a hotel stay).

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Bottom line:
Can the ROM QuickGym be a useful tool under the right circumstances?  Sure, but those circumstances are limited.

If a person was currently doing NOTHING, would 4 intense minutes of SOMETHING cause something to change?  Of course.

I’d rather deadlift, sprint or do push-ups for 4 minutes and save the 15 grand for shiny new car.

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16 thoughts on “$15,000 For WHAT?!?

  1. If memory serves, the ROM’s marketing is based on research around the Tabata protocol, which prescribes 4 minutes of intense work broken up into eight 30-second segments consisting of 20-second bursts of effort followed by 10-second periods of rest. A Japanese coach started using this protocol on some highly conditioned speed skaters about ten years ago, and it succeeded in further amping up their conditioning. But, uhm–he wasn’t using the ROM. His athletes were–get this–SPEED SKATING. ANYONE can use the Tabata protocol using virtually ANY equipment. Or none: an empty street, a stopwatch and some running shoes work great too. Puke bucket optional.

  2. I stumbled across the ROM on a forum (the post must have been spam). I could not believe the claims that they were making. Stating that all “so called” experts in fitness have got it wrong, and that you do not need 30-45 minutes of exercise a day to keep fit, it just crazy. In the UK we have the Trading Standards Authority which would put a stop to such claims. Does such a thing not exist in the USA. Can’t fitness experts get together and just say “hey, so some interval training in the park, it’ll cost you nothing!”. I don’t get it. Maybe it is ONLY the movie stars that own them. Maybe it is really just a gimmick to have – they are bought by people that want to be seen to be exercising, but in reality they never use the machines after the first month. But hey, it looks cool, it’s a talking point at parties, and Tom Cruise owns one!

  3. That’s a lot of money, even if it was top rated.

    A guy in my area opened some “Quick Gym” franchise locations; they use they machines.

    At least one location closed within the year.

    After a decent enough free weight oriented setup, my fun purchase would be a Concept II. If the wife let me . . .

  4. One of your arguments AGAINST the ROM was that of “Progression :Once you adapt to your initial stressor(s), to make further adaptations, you need to do more and/or work at a higher intensity”. Haven’t the ROM people addressed this argument by stating how the flywheel automatically adjusts resistance to meet the user’s strength/ability. ie. less fit users experience a lower intensity workout while more fit users experience higher intensity.

    Also, no one has sufficiently explained to me WHY 4 minutes of excercising a higher % of muscles to a far greater % Range of Motion will not work? I mean, I am NO expert, however it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that you can shorten the amount of time needed to exercise by increasing the intensity, ie. 30 minutes of running = 60 minutes of walking. Is it so far fetched to believe that there is a workout that could further improve efficiency to further compress the time needed to acheive equal results?

    I am not trying to be argumentative, I just really have found the so-called experts to be rather stubborn on these points. The answer I always hear is: “it doesn’t work because we SAY it doesn’t work and we are the experts”, no explanation given of WHY it won’t work. I am looking for cold, hard facts please, otherwise I begin to suspect motives.

    After all, if people really CAN get the benefits of 45 mins strength, 20-45 mins cardio and 15 mins stretching all in one 4 minute workout, who needs a personal trainer? If I was a personal trainer, or had invested hours and years into studying my stuff I can see how I would feel very threatened by the ROM if it is as effective as it’s developers say it is.

    On the other hand, if I was one of these experts, I would hope I could better answer the claims of the ROM people than just sasying “because I said so, that’s why”.

    Thank you for your consideration.

  5. The idea is not to buy one !.. It is to use one. Many studios like ours offer the ROM at about $5 bucks per session.

    We augment all of our Pilates workouts with the ROM and also offer ROM walk ins for our non Pilates Customers. They all love it. 15k is not much for Fitness equipment for a Professional Studio / Gym. But for the home users its a bit spendy.

    So don’t go buy one. Support your local Fitness Studios and your over all Health you will not be disappointed.

    Anyone in the Santa Barbara Area is welcome to come try ours for Free.

    Just call or email us so we know your coming.

    Santa Barbara Pilates and Fitness.

    Real world Rom Studies
    http://sbpilates.com/studies/

    Rom Video and info,
    http://sbpilates.com/rom/

    ROM Blog
    http://sbpilates.com/category/rom-machine/

    1. I use this machine and i love it in a wierd way lol 8 minutes and im on the go…i have so much energy and the inches that im losing keeps me motivated!!

  6. Please try one and then give us an opinion if it works or not.
    It would be great if all of the people who write that they cannot work would actually try one for 30 days first. I don’t own one but I used one last week for 8 minutes. First the upper body, then a short rest and then the lower body. I used to be a collegiate rower and the 4 minute workout destroyed me like a championship race. I used to own a concept 2 ( amazing piece of equipement) but it is tough to do the 20-40 minute ” peices” on the concept 2 erogometer. Again, I used this one time it would be nice for a trainer to try it for 30 days and then give us a report.

  7. We have owned the machine for about 9 years now. WE love it. Our clients love it. IT really works..!.. You really should find a Gym or Studio that owns one. Most folks don’t buy the machine they come to a gym or studio like ours that has one. WE offer packages for the ROM and also all of our Pilates clients get to use it as part of there workout.

    Its not Hype. It really does work. !

    Santa Barbara Pilates and Fitness

  8. Once again the critical-thinking-challenged American public has their say. And once again they are FOS. The ROM Quickgym is a work of art and genius. The company operates at the highest ethical level I have ever seen in any company anywhere in the world. What other company finds out that you just bought one of their products USED(!), and then proceeds to send to you, entirely at the company’s own expense, and on their own initiative, updated parts to install on your 5 year-old, used machine???? You know the answer as well as I do: NONE!

    As for the health benefits of the recommended use of the machine, well, if you are someone who has no problem exercising every day for about 45 minutes a day, pass on the ROM; you are probably just fine without it. However if you are like me: go to the gym 3 days a week for two weeks, and never go back for TWO YEARS, then the ROM is a gift from the Gods! I am slowly but surely reclaiming my nearly extinguished health.

    One of the concepts that you dunderheads need to wrap your pea brains around is that there is a difference, a profound difference between health and fitness. Fitness is the ability to perform athletic feats. Health is the sound functioning of the body. You can be both fit and healthy, but you need not be especially fit to be healthy. Conversely, you can be very fit and not be all that healthy: think of the star athletes who hobble into the locker room after practice.

    The key concept here is that training to achieve fitness may not be the best way to achieve health. It may even be counter-productive. The ROM is designed to exercise your body in a way that promotes health. If you start out as a couch potato, are you fitter as a result? Yes, of course. On the other hand, many of the exercise routines designed to promote fitness may not optimize health. They definitely don’t help health at all, WHEN YOU FAIL TO DO THEM! Hello? I’m talking to you – you know who you are. I know, ’cause I’m one of you! But when all you have to do is your four minutes of torture a day, not even I can make an excuse that holds water.

    So, if you compare the ROM’s health exercise routine to fitness exercise routines, yes, it looks different, of course it does – it has a different goal. Believe me though, it frickn’ works. I have not felt this healthy since I was 20 years old, and I have only been ROMing for about 3 months. Also, after 3 months of ROM, I am able for the first time in my 55 years on this planet to stick to a diet. Now I am losing weight as well as getting healthy. Would I have lost the weight eventually with the ROM alone? Yes, but it takes a long time that way. Could I have gone on the diet and stuck to it without the ROM? No way. Will I continue ROMing after I have lost the weight and modified my diet to maintain my new weight? Yes, for the rest of my now possibly very long life.

    If you find my arrogant tone off-putting, too bad. Don’t buy one, die off, and leave the thoughtful segment of the populace in peace!

      1. I’m not Randy, but I can tell you that I have been exercising with my ROM for well over 10 years . . . and, except from when I am out-of-town or I need to spend an hour shoveling snow in the morning (!!!) . . . and about four other times (when I was sick), I have exercised five or six days a week EVERY week–and, even today–since I got my machine. And, whoever-it-was that commented about hitting plateaus is correct: I have hit plateaus. But compared to where I was when I started, I’ll take these plateaus in my late-50s. They’re way better than where I was in my 30s and 40s!

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