Many people use inversion tables to get a little temporary relief from back pain. With the table, they can safely hang themselves head down, either completely or at some angle, to take pressure off their spine. These tables can also be used in some pretty intensive workouts. The inverted position helps with stretching in ways that are difficult to achieve otherwise, and the difficulty of exercises increases exponentially, with a corresponding benefit.
The Top Ten
It’s hard to know exactly what to look for in an inversion table if you’ve never used one before. However, the top ten options have all been rated highly by other users.
What Is An Inversion Table And Why Do You Need One?
An inversion table is exactly what it sounds like. It has a flat table or cradle that you can strap into and then flip yourself upside down. You might ask yourself why you would choose to do this. There are a couple reasons. Inversion therapy is used by some people to help alleviate back pain. By hanging head down, their spine is elongated, and pressure is taken off vertebrae that might otherwise be compressed. The relief that results is temporary, as the underlying problems that create back pain are not addressed by inversion therapy. However, any relief is welcome, and it can allow other remedies to be more effective.
In the fitness world, an inversion table is used to supercharge some workouts. Something as simple as a sit up can become a major accomplishment. The head down posture along means that the full weight of your body is added to whatever exercise you do. Inversion tables are particularly effective for working the core, and a strengthened core can often help with the causes of back pain.
Most inversion tables allow the user to invert at a variety of angles, rather than going straight to the completely inverted head down position. This allows you to control the difficulty of the exercises, and increase them over time. Some strength training and muscle building exercises also can be improved by working on an inversion table.
Inversion Table Basics
An inversion table is a pretty straightforward piece of equipment. There is a flat padded space where the user lies down. It is connected by a metal rod to a pair of footrests and ankle braces. The whole set up is on a stand with an axle that the table turns on and allows the user to invert. They will also usually fold up for easier storage.
There are a few refinements that are often available. Many tables come with an adjustable lumbar pillow that provides support for your lower back. There are also some refinements when it comes to the foot straps and stand. Also, not all tables allow you to invert a full 180 degrees.
When you start thinking about using an inversion table for a workout, there are a couple things to be aware of.
- An inversion table that has ankle cushions that will brace your feet rather than straps might be a good idea. They will allow you a greater range of motion, which will make some exercises easier.
- Always check the height and weight limits for the table you buy. You want to find something that will be safe for you to use and will allow you to take advantage of the full range of the table’s motion.
- When you start exercising, always begin at an angle, partially inverted. Working out fully inverted will put a heavy strain on your muscles. Even if you are strong enough to do the exercises fully inverted, it is possible to strain muscles or otherwise injure yourself if you don’t acclimate your body to the exercises.
- As with any exercise, stretching first is a good idea. There are a number of exercises that take advantage of your inverted position. If using the inversion table is part of a treatment for back pain, then stretching is particularly helpful.
It’s important to get checked out by your doctor before beginning any exercise program. However, it’s particularly important when it comes to working out on an inversion table. Anyone with glaucoma, a heart condition, high blood pressure or any serious medical condition should not exercise on an inversion table.
Common Problems of Bad Inversion Tables
Inversion means, in plain language, hanging head down while being suspended by your feet. The potential for injury or even just embarrassment is high if the table is faulty in some way. Some common problems include:
- Foot Brace Locking. It is vitally important that your feet are securely fastened when you are using an inversion table. Falling on your head is not a part of any medically approved workout program. Any table where the locking mechanism has a history of failing should be avoided. Many higher end tables have a several locking mechanisms to prevent any problems.
- Secure Inversion. Particularly if you plan on exercising on the table, you want to be sure it is stable in whatever position you are working at. Most tables allow you to choose the angle before you get on the table.
These are the two most common complaints with inversion tables. Either can result in an unpleasant experience.
Inversion Table Prices
An average inversion table is about $100. This is a straightforward piece of equipment that allows up to hang upside safely and comfortably. A more basic model will be closer to $60 or $70. These simpler models are fine for simple inversion therapy, but you might want to invest in a more expensive model if you plan on using it work out.
Inversion tables can be more expensive. These costlier models are can be between $300 and $400, and are usually better for working out with, and may be designed with this use in mind. They might have longer handles for securing your ankles, so there is no need to bend over to lock or unlock your feet. A more expensive table might also have adjustable ankle braces to accommodate people with larger or smaller feet. Better and sturdier methods for securing the table at an inverted angle is also a good thing to look for on these more expensive models, as it increases stability when exercising
What Do Our Reviews Have To Say?
This inversion table is one of the better values for its cost. It is constructed of steel for strength and stability and has foam padding for the table and ankle braces. There is also an adjustable pillow for lumbar support. The steel construction does add considerably to its weight, and while it does fold up, even in its folded state it is still quite large. The weight can also occasionally lead to damage in shipping, and it should be inspected on arrival before use.
This inversion table is solid and well made. The inversion is controlled by a nylon strap, and so the table can be set to hang at any angle. Some users report that the strap can break suddenly, with the result that the user is suddenly and completely inverted. The strap should be inspected before use, or potentially replaced with a heavier duty strap. It can also be difficult to assemble. A socket wrench is helpful with this.
This is a less expensive inversion table, and, as a result, there are some sacrifices in quality. The bed is a nylon mesh rather than foam padding, and the bed frame can sometimes be in an awkward or painful place when the user is inverted. Some parts are made of plastic that can fail at inopportune moments. It can be folded up, and is light for a piece of exercise equipment. It is still large when folded, and can be difficult to store conveniently.
This is one of the cheapest of the inversion tables available. The bed is nylon mesh over a metal frame. It uses a strap to keep the table from completely inverting. Some people have complained that the padding on the ankle braces is not very comfortable. However, it is constructed of steel and is, therefore, strong and stable. The table folds for storage. It is stable enough to use for exercising, however the users body weight is what keeps the table in the inverted position. Crunches or sit-ups will bring you back to an upright position.
Teeter inversion tables are among the most expensive on the market. They also have the reputation for being the highest quality. It uses a strong nylon strap to control the angle of inversion. There is no lock on the table, and the user’s body weight swings it from upright to inverted. It is sturdy enough to use for exercising, but it is really only able to be used for this in the completely inverted position.