So you’re curious about buying an inversion table? Me too! No, it’s not a torture device, and no it’s not some sort of Nasa anti-gravity astronaut training device. But that would be kinda cool, huh? An inversion table is actually an effective resource to elongate the spine, stretch the back muscles and alleviate ongoing back pain. Sounds great to me! Inversion therapy boasts a range of other ‘magical’ benefits too (did someone say anti-ageing?), but enough with the talking and on with the shopping. The most basic requirement of an inversion table is to tilt your body at various angles, positioning your head lower than your feet to relieve the pull of gravity – that’s all you need to start feeling back relief.
Now you’re probably thinking: Which is the best inversion table? Which one do I buy? Well, I’m wondering the same thing. I always look at safety and stability first, since I don’t want to invest in something that’s going to drop me while I’m upside-down. Ouch. Some other points to consider when it comes to inversion table shopping are the price, the comfort on both back and ankles and ease of use.
Our Selection of The 5 Best Inversion Tables:
If you’ve ‘been there, done that’ with inversion therapy and you’re looking to expand your inversions with more advanced workouts and stretches, you might want to take a look at tables with special accessories and features to help you customize your therapy. Luckily, the wide range of inversion tables out there means there is something for everyone.
To help us in our inversion table shopping, here’s a collection of inversion table reviews. I’ve searched far and wide to come up with this list of the best inversion tables – each one features a different benefit. Let’s find the right one for you!
1. Most Affordable Inversion Table: Pro Deluxe Fitness Inversion Table
Ringing in at a substantially lower price than competing inversion tables, the Pro Deluxe Fitness Inversion Table is remarkably affordable and still avoids being cheap. Don’t look for any flashy features or unique designs on this baby, but this basic model does boast an extremely sturdy frame. The Pro Deluxe Fitness Table holds up to 300 lbs (that’s more than other budget inversion tables) and comfortably accommodates anyone up to 6’6” with its adjustable height feature. The tubular steel frame sits on stabilizing rubber feet, so you’re not going to slip or slide or wobble.
While The Pro Deluxe Fitness Inversion Table beats others in price, where it does lack somewhat is in comfort. It’s no torture chamber, but you just won’t find much padding on the stretched nylon backrest. You’ll probably want to wear sturdy shoes or add some cushion to the ankle supports. I wouldn’t say this table is ‘not-comfortable,’ just not as comfy as others. But if you’re looking for basic inversion therapy a few times a day, you can rely on this Pro Deluxe to get the job done. There’s no reason you shouldn’t feel the same great results on your back with the Pro Deluxe Fitness and for less than half the price of most other tables.
Available at: Amazon
Runner Up for Affordable Inversion Tables that still pack some quality:
- Exerpeutic Inversion Table with Comfort Foam Backrest – completely wobble-free, this sturdy and affordable table even adds a layer of padded foam on the backrest.
2. Best Inversion Table with Bang – for – Your – Buck: Innova ITX9600 Heavy Duty Inversion Therapy Table
This is a really great inversion table that comes at a pretty affordable cost. While it is quite basic and doesn’t come with a series of fancy gimmicks, it is undeniable that this is a high-quality table that can really get the job done. The headrest of this table is detached from the body and can be adjusted to suit your unique requirements.
Unlike most other inversion tables, this table does not feature the regular safety straps, but rather an adjustable pin that is not only innovative, but it is stronger and easier to use. The table also features a True Balance system that allows for easy inverting with an ergonomic ankle holding system.
This table is constructed of heavy gauge steel tubing and features an extra long and extra wide backrest support, which is fully padded for additional comfort and support. In terms of weight and length, this table can hold a person of up to 300lb and anybody between the height of 4ft-10 inches to 6ft-6 inches.
Overall this table is very comfortable and the headrest is a definite plus, its sturdy frame gives you the support and reassurance that you need when you when you are in the inverted position and the ankle holding system is both effective and does not place too much strain on your ankles. If you are looking for an inversion table that does not have countless extra features but is still very comfy and effective, the Innova ITX9600 is perfect for you.
Available at: Amazon
Runner Up for Best Mid-Range Inversion Tables:
- Ironman Gravity 1000 – this inversion table hits the low/mid price range and reflects the quality of the Ironman brand – decent ankle supports and a sturdy structure.
3. Best Inversion Table for Advanced Inversion Therapy: Teeter Hang Ups EP-560 Ltd Inversion Table
A name-brand inversion table for a reason, the Teeter Hang Ups EP-560 spikes in price but offers a selection of unique features and accessories to help you expand your inversion practice for years to come. You’ll notice a lot of ‘bonuses’ included in this table, like a bonus lumbar support arch, bonus acupuncture nodes for customizable pressure on your back muscles and a bonus DVD with follow-along workout instructions. I do love me some good bonus prizes. Plus, the Teeter Hang Ups model offers special design features that are totally unique to Teeter: the table uses a secure lock to remain stable in inversion so you can easily practice inverted crunches and more. Plus, in a full 90-degree inversion, you’re left free to hang completely away from the table for a fully-realized inversion stretch – this is unique to the Teeter Hang Ups tables.
Besides all the bonus, the Teeter Hang Ups EP-560 is a sturdy, quality table for users of up to 300 lbs and as tall as 6’6”. The Ergo-Embrace ankle supports are a major bonus with this model since they’re designed to relieve as much pressure as possible during inversion. Plus, the Teeter performs well in smooth movement and accurate balance, so returning to upright is as easy as lowering your arm.
The Teeter Hang Ups EP-560 is definitely one of the pricier products, but the quality, technology, and range of advanced accessories prove that you’re paying more for a reason.
Available at: Amazon
Runner Up for Best Inversion Tables
- When it comes to add-ons, accessories, and bonuses, the Teeter Hang Ups is in a league of its own.
4. Most Comfortable Inversion Table: Ironman Gravity 4000
Memory foam back cushions, lumbar support, ergonomically shaped ankle cups – the Ironman Gravity 4000 makes effective efforts toward comfort to improve your inverting experience. Relaxation is a major benefit of inversion, after all, so why should you sacrifice comfort? This table comes at a slightly higher cost than other models, but you’ll see the difference in comfort and convenience of use.
If the 2.5-inch memory foam back cushion isn’t considerate enough, this table also features a convenient ratchet design for your ankle supports – the long handle means less bending to adjust your ankles. The sturdy metal frame supports 300lbs, padded foam handlebars help you return to upright and nylon sidings protect your fingers from getting pinched.
While slightly more expensive than competitors, the thoughtful design of the Ironman Gravity 4000 takes obvious efforts to improve the quality and comfort of your inverting experience.
Available at: Amazon
Runner Ups for Comfortable Inversion Tables:
- Teeter Hang Ups EP-560 Ltd Inversion Table – while this table is more expensive than the Ironman 4000, it has to be mentioned in the comfort section because of those beloved Ergo-Embrace ankle supports.
The Benefits of Inversion Tables
It seems a little kooky if you’re new to the idea, but inversion therapy has actually been around for thousands of years. People used to be tied up by their ankles as a yoga practice to re-balance the body and improve the positioning of internal organs. Luckily, modern inversion tables are a little less ‘medieval torture’ and a lot more comfortable. So what are you going to get out of bringing an inversion table into your home?
Think about popular yoga poses like Down Dog that positions your head below your heart. The same idea applies to inversion tables. Proponents say that even just a few minutes a day in an inverted position reduces lower and middle back pain. An inversion table is not an upside-down roller-coaster, and you control how fast and how far you tilt. The main goal of inversion is not to make you nauseous, but to help you relax, to relieve back pain, naturally, balance the body and even to strengthen your core.
An inversion table safely tilts you upside-down, but why is that so great? Well, many studies have shown that reversing the pull of gravity on your spine successfully stretches and separates your vertebrae – this is called spinal decompression. The study took x-rays of individual’s spines while upright, and while inverted and saw a trend that users experienced increased space between vertebrae while inverted. Many chiropractors practice spinal decompression in their regular office treatments as a way to relieve the discs between our spinal bones.
Just remember that these studies show that inversion therapy performs spinal decompression, but that doesn’t mean that spinal decompression is a definite relief for back pain. Proponents of spinal decompression claim that this extra space between vertebrae allows discs to regain moisture and flexibility. All these findings have peaked my interest – let’s talk more about specific inversion table benefits.
Relieves Back Pain
Ever measured yourself in the morning and then again at night? You’ll notice that you sort of shrink throughout the day. This is partly due to gravity and exertion working on the discs between your vertebrae, compressing and squeezing the fluids out into the surrounding soft tissue. Well, lying in a position with your feet above your head means gravity is now pulling on you from the opposite direction.
It is suggested that the extra space created when your spine is stretched in inversion allows the discs in your spine to reabsorb moisture and nutrients. This reversed pull of gravity also relieves pressure on the nerve endings that pass through the discs in your spine – a plump, hydrated disc allows higher clearance for nerves and in turn, is believed to reduce pain. Rehydrating discs is also said to add more shock absorption and flexibility to the entire spine.
Helps Back Realignment and Posture Improvement
The spinal decompression experienced from inversion is also believed to help the spine naturally align and to help your muscles pull your spine into the correct position, without invasive surgery. Proponents of inversion claim that reducing the pressure from gravity’s constant downward pull relieves pressure on muscles that may have cramped and begun tugging our bones and joints into incorrect alignment. This should help your posture to naturally improve itself.
Relieves Joint Pain
For those with achy hips and knees, inversion also decompresses our joints. It is suggested that hanging upside-down opens up space for more lubricant to flow through your joints. Natural synovial fluid in our body helps feed our cartilage, which is what gives us our shock absorption – inversion is meant to alter the pressure in joints to allow for rehydration.
Our heart and bloodstream carry blood cells down to our feet and hands but also transports it back up again. When we’re standing and active all day, this system is working against gravity. It is believed that regular inversion helps relieve the circulatory system by reducing the tug of gravity for a while and helping blood and oxygen to easily reach all parts of the body.
Many studies claim that inversion helps our bodies and minds relax. Because inversion increases circulation and decreases pressure on our joints, backs, and shoulders, proponents claim that muscles are able to relax and more oxygen reaches the brain, allowing for comfort and stress relief.
Slows the Aging Process
You may have heard me say ‘anti-aging’ earlier. Well, you know how you get shorter as you get older – your back slouches and things start to sag? According to many sources, reversing the pull of gravity a few times a day helps with all that droopy, slouchy business. It’s also been suggested that reducing the appearance of varicose veins is another benefit of inversion therapy, due to increased blood flow.
Improves Core Strength
Many inversion tables can be used for unique inverted exercises like crunches and inverted squats. Regular strength exercises like these strengthen core muscles in the body, which improve posture and the way the torso holds the spine. Plus, proponents of these inverted exercises praise the fact that working out while inverted is low impact and reduces the strain on your joints and skeleton.
Who Can Practice Inversion Therapy?
Inversion therapy has been used on patients with lower back pain, slipped discs, pinched nerves, sciatica… and even those with no diagnosed pain at all.
However, there are some risks with inversion therapy that people with certain conditions should pay attention to. If you suffer from high blood pressure or heart disease, be sure to consult your doctor before practicing inversion. Also, going upside-down increases pressure on the eyes, so those with glaucoma should also be careful.
Do Inversion Tables Work?
Most studies reveal that inversion tables really do cause spinal decompression, allowing increased space between the vertebrae and relieving pressure on the discs in the spine. Still, spinal decompression has not been unanimously proven to relieve back pain, especially not for every individual with a unique set of aches and issues. People have always reported somewhat mixed results, but a majority claim to feel relief, even if it’s sometimes only temporary. Often, an individual on an inversion table can instantly feel the relieving stretch in their spine.
Long-term results are still debatable, but many users claim to enjoy much greater mobility and decreased pain as benefits of inversion therapy. So long as you pay attention to your body and check with your doctor before you start regular inversion, this relaxing and pressure-relieving practice will most likely do you and your back some good.
How to Safely Use Your Inversion Table
Although there are many different makes and models of inversion tables they all operate on the same basic principle. While the process is very straightforward, it is important to understand how to make safe use of your inversion table in order to achieve the best results and avoid injuries. The basic goal of an inversion table is to position your body in such a manner that your heart is higher than your head. The easiest way to accomplish this, of course, is by being upside down, which is something that an inversion table makes possible even if you are not a yoga expert. This position offers a surprising amount of health benefits, such as relieving back pain, reducing stress and even improving joint health.
Familiarize Yourself With Your Inversion Table
It might seem obvious, but the best way to learn more about your particular inversion table is to read the manual. The manual typically highlights facts and useful information about the table and how to set it up as well as operate it. Most inversion tables also come with an instructional DVD where you can find out more about the types of exercises you can perform.
Location Is Important
One of the most important decisions regarding the safe use of your inversion table is where to set it up. An open room with plenty of space is highly recommended – preferably one where there are no chairs and tables nearby. There should be enough room around the inversion table that it cannot hit or get caught on any obstructions. Also, ensure that the table is standing on a flat surface.
Make The Necessary Adjustments
Before using the inversion table first ensure that everything is adjusted correctly for your weight and height. If done correctly, you will be able to comfortably rest your head on the bed instead of it hanging over the edge. Provided you are the only person who will be using the table you only have to do this once, but if you are sharing it with others you will have to adjust it before each session.
Don’t Forget The Safety Straps
It is very important that all the safety straps are properly adjusted and attached to the inversion table. Consult your user manual or DVD for guidance on how to properly fasten the safety straps for your specific table. If your inversion table features a safety strap for adjusting the inversion degree, use the setting that is the most comfortable for you. If you are a beginner it is better to start at a slant and then gradually increase the degree at which you are inverted so that your body can acclimatize to the feeling.
Mount The Table Correctly
With your back towards the table step into position and then make sure that your feet are locked in position. Make sure that your feet are secured according to the instructions of your inversion table. If you have an older inversion table it is often safer and more comfortable to wear tennis shoes. Fasten and tighten all the relevant safety straps to keep yourself in position while you are using the table.
Time To Invert
Once you are sure that everything is securely fastened and tightened you can lean back to start the process of rotating the table and causing it to invert. Some tables feature handles that you can hold on to for extra security and comfort. Instead of dropping back suddenly lean back slowly instead to perform the rotation in a manner that is safe.
For safety reasons, it is a good idea to have someone else standing by when using an inversion table for the first time. This will allow them to provide assistance in the event you experience any health problems or experience difficulty getting out. As you become more experienced with using an inversion table this precaution will no longer be necessary.
Conclusion – Which Inversion Table Should You Pick?
Honestly, the answer to that question is all about you. Think about exactly what you’re looking for. When it comes to price, comfort, and quality, there’s a different winning inversion table in each of those categories. While the Teeter Hang Ups EP-560 is high quality and packed with unique features, it leaves something to be desired in the high cost. More affordable inversion tables like the Pro Deluxe Fitness Inversion Table or the Emer Deluxe Padded Foldable Inversion Table offer the same pain-relieving results, but they miss out on some innovative designs and comfort.
It’s all about finding the balance and prioritizing what you want out of your inversion therapy. Luckily, we’ve got some great inversion table reviews to help you dig a little deeper into each specific model.