The 3 Pillars of Health: Fitness, Food, Sleep

5 Best Inversion Tables for Your Home

5 Best Inversion Tables for Your Home

You may be looking for a good way to relieve yourself from back pain. Your doctor or physical therapist may be telling you that you need to strengthen your core in order to relieve your back pain. You may want to exercise your abs at home, but doing a million crunches is both boring and painful.

How can you work on your abs if your back is hurting? Answer: You have to solve both problems simultaneously. How do you do that? Well, buy an inversion table.

Inversion tables are often forgotten in the fitness world. In fact, flexibility in general is often overlooked. Flexibility is one of the 5 pillars of fitness aside from cardiovascular endurance, muscular endurance, muscular strength, and body composition. According to a 2015 study, doing activities that increase your flexibility and strength, like yoga, are beneficial to improving overall fitness scores. Increasing flexibility in any joint (including your spine) improves range of motion, physical performance, and ability to go about your daily activities (1).

Luckily, there are ways to improve upon your strength, flexibility, and back pain without going to a yoga studio. Purchase an inversion table for your home!

How does an inversion table work?

Man Using Inversion Table At HomeInversion tables can be used for pain relief, relaxation, and exercise if you know how to use them correctly. Most inversion tables require you to lay with your back against the backrest and place your feet in padded ankle clamps. Then, the inversion table uses shifts in your own body weight to slowly tilt your whole body backward. So basically, your feet are in the air, and your head is pointing down towards the floor.

If you’ve ever hung upside down from a bed or roller coaster ride, you probably have enjoyed the feeling of the blood rushing to your brain and letting your neck and spine suspend upside down. Inversion tables allow gravity to pull on your spine and allow the muscles and vertebrae to stretch. As you can imagine, this stretching brings relief to spinal compressions and sore muscles.

If you think you want more in an inversion table, you can also do certain abdominal exercises on inversion tables. In fact, you can do several unique abdominal workouts with the various incline settings on most inversion tables. If that peaked your interest, make sure you try our sample workout on your new inversion table!

Are there risks when using an inversion table?

It’s obvious that inversion tables offer several benefits that are safe for most people. That being said, however, there are certain instances and medical conditions where an inversion table may be unsafe for you. If you have any of these conditions, you should most likely not use an inversion table:

  • Risk for retinal detachment or glaucoma
  • High blood pressure
  • Those on blood thinners
  • Inner ear conditions
  • Certain heart conditions
  • Fracture or broken bone
  • Pulled, torn, strained muscles
  • Pregnancy
  • Hernia
  • Osteoporosis

As with any fitness equipment, always check with your doctor and physical therapist to determine if an inversion table will be helpful or harmful to your wellness.

We’ve complied a list of Fitnessator’s top picks for the best inversion tables. Also, we combed through the research to make sure that these types of products are backed by science. If you don’t have time to read the in-depth reviews, skip to “The Rundown” section if you want the quick facts about the best inversion tables on the market today.

Fitnessator’s Top Pick

EP-560 Ltd. Inversion Table by Teeter

EP-560 Ltd. Inversion Table by TeeterWhy We Love It:

This Teeter inversion table earned the “Fitnessator’s Top Pick” in part due to its rave customer reviews. It is one of the best inversion tables online and received 4.6 out of 5 stars on Amazon.com. Also, we chose this inversion table since it is an FDA-registered 510(k) medical device. Aside from being able to engage in an abdominal workout on this machine (see our “Sample Workout” section), you can also find relief from muscle tension, back pain, and sciatica.

The Research:

The research to find the most effective back pain relief is currently inconclusive. A systematic review found that spinal manipulation therapy with trained professionals offered significant pain relief, but this treatment is controversial in the field. Currently, researchers cannot determine if one method of back pain treatment is better than others. In one individual trial that experimented with corrective postural education, however, participants experienced more back pain relief than when just using medication alone (2). As you can infer, this indicates that methods and equipment which help with spinal manipulation for proper alignment may be beneficial for back pain sufferers.

 Details:
  • Comes with its own free app and instructional DVD (so you don’t have to Google how to use this product)
  • Includes 8 acupressure nodes for when it’s time to relax, stretch, and relieve back pain
  • Arrives 85% pre-assembled
  • Total product weight is 65 lbs. Dimensions: 84in x 86in x 28.8in
  • Amazon.com Price: $359.30 + FREE Shipping (+ $113.89 with expert assembly)
Things to Consider:

While this is a FDA-approved inversion table, there are some things to consider before buying this product. This inversion table has recommended user heights between 4’8” and 6’6”. Also, the max weight is 300 lbs. While many people may fall within these limits, some people may not. As with any equipment, you want to make sure that you are buying an inversion table suitable for your height and weight. 

Customer Reviews:

We looked around for some Teeter inversion table reviews. As you can imagine, many people loved this product. According to satisfied customers, the Teeter inversion table is much more user-friendly than other products.  

As with any product, there were some customers who had issues. Contrary to the reviews above, one customer thought that this inversion table was difficult to use and did not feel secure when using the table. Some common reasons for not feeling secure on the product are due to exceeding the max user height and weight.

Who Should Purchase This Product:

While it may be obvious, only use this product if you fall within the height and weight restrictions. If you have certain conditions like high blood pressure or are at risk for retinal detachment, make sure you always consult your doctor before using this product. However, being that this product is FDA-approved, most people can rest assured that they are buying a good quality product that is safe to use.

Fitnessator’s Runner Up

EP-970 Ltd. Inversion Table by Teeter

EP-970 Ltd. Inversion Table by TeeterWhy We Love It:

The EP-970 inversion table is also manufactured by Teeter. This product earns the “Fitnessator’s Runner Up” due to its positive customer reviews. Also, it received 4.7 out of 5 stars on Amazon.com and is the #1 best seller. Like the top pick, this is another FDA-approved 501(k) medical device.

Details:
  • Comes with its own free app and instructional DVD (so you don’t have to Google how to use this product)
  • Includes a long ankle lock handle for easier positioning of the feet and securing the ankle holders
  • Includes acupressure nodes with specific targets for the lower back
  • Total product weight is 65.3 lbs. Dimensions: 45.3in x 28.4in x 61.8in
  • Amazon.com Price: $449.00 + FREE Shipping (+ $113.89 with expert assembly)
Things to Consider:

While this product is highly rated and a best seller, this product is quite pricey compared to other models! Even though this is a great product, it is questionable as to whether this product is worth nearly $100 more than our top pick inversion table.

Customer Reviews:

You may be thinking, “Is the higher price of this inversion table really worth it?” Some customers believe in the value of this particular inversion table. Per customers in support of this product, the assembly is quick and easy and arrives almost completely assembled. If you scan through other customer reviews, you will see that many people have found back pain relief with daily use of this inversion table.

Even though some customers love this product, one complains that the ankle holders are really painful. Besides the discomfort, customers also blame the occurrence of varicose veins on this product. While these may be isolated incidents, these experiences are definitely important to consider before buying.

Who Should Purchase This Product:

As you can see, the EP-970 inversion table offers several features that are ergonomic for the user. If you experience severe back pain, are elderly, or you have a hard time bending over to touch your toes, this table may be best for you. The backrest is completely smooth so that your body can slide easily into the stretch once hooked up to the machine. Furthermore, it has a long handle to help secure your ankles without having to bend over towards your feet.

Fitnessator’s Honorable Mention

Gravity 4000 Inversion Table by Ironman

Gravity 4000 Inversion Table by IronmanWhy We Love It:

The Gravity 4000 is a moderately priced inversion table machine that earned 4.6 out of 5 stars on Amazon.com. With over 3200 reviews, many people have experience and useful information regarding this product. Unlike others on the list, the Gravity 4000 has a max capacity weight over 300 lbs.

Details:
  • Max user capacity is 350 lbs
  • Inverts up to 180 degrees
  • Includes a special lumbar support pillow for lower back relief
  • Total product weight is 76 lbs. Dimensions: 49in x 26in x 65in
  • Amazon.com Price: $199 + FREE Shipping (+ $113.89 with expert assembly)
Things to Consider:

The Gravity 4000 is a larger and heavier piece of equipment compared to some of the other models. To some consumers, a heavier product is a good thing because it implies sturdiness and ability to hold someone of a heftier weight. For others, heavy products mean more stress and inability to maneuver the machine around when needed. Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide how large of an inversion table will fit your lifestyle and home. 

Customer Reviews:

According to one customer, she rarely uses this product (because it’s so effective with relieving back pain). With daily use, customers rave about their back pain relief. This table provides drug-free pain relief results!

One customer did not have as much luck with the product compared the customers above. In fact, they had a dangerous experience with this table. According to them, the entire padded backrest slipped off the machine while he was on it. If he wasn’t quick to catch himself, he could have really been injured.

Who Should Purchase This Product:

The Gravity 4000 has the highest max capacity weight compared to the other products on this list. It offers several accessories (some included and others not) that offer extra spinal support. It is a large and heavy piece of equipment (so it’s up to you to decide if that’s a good or bad thing).

Best Therapeutic Inversion Table

ITM4800 Heat and Massage Inversion Table by Innova Health and Fitness  

ITM4800 Heat and Massage Inversion Table by Innova Health and Fitness Why We Love It:

The ITM4800 is a great inversion table to consider since it is moderately priced and has some features that are not found in the other products on the list. This inversion table received 4.4 stars out of 5 on Amazon.com. It is unique in that it offers heat therapy and massage therapy in addition to the conventional inversion table benefits. If muscle soreness is the root of your back pain, this product would benefit you immensely.

Details:
  • Includes backrest heating and massage mechanisms for added benefits
  • Includes a lumbar support pad for added lower back comfort
  • Adjustable headrest and backrest with thick cushioning
  • Total product weight is 57 lbs. Dimensions: 46in x 28in x 63in
  • Amazon.com Price: $161.67 + FREE Shipping (+ $113.89 with expert assembly)
Things to Consider:

Per the product description, the ITM4800 inversion table has recommended user heights between 4’10” and 6’6”. Of note, the max weight is 300 lbs. It is product is moderately priced even though the heating and massaging mechanisms are unique to this product.

Customer Reviews:

We anticipated a good customer response with this heat and massage inversion table. According to happy customers, this heat and massage inversion table is a fabulous unit for the price. Upon delivery and installation, customers said that the user manual is easy to understand and the table is very sturdy.

On the other hand, one customer said that this table does not fold easily as it is portrayed online. If you have a small home fitness space, consider one of the other inversion tables that fold easily.

Who Should Purchase This Product:

If you suffer from excessive back pain, you may want to put this product at the top of your list. Since this product offers conventional inversion table benefits plus heat and massage therapy, some people may find extra value in this inversion table specifically. If your back pain tends to be caused by sore muscles, you may benefit from the heat and massage features. One thing to keep in mind: Based on customer reviews, this product is not easily foldable. Consider how this model could fit (or not fit) in your home.

Best Inversion Table on a Budget

ITX9600 Inversion Table by Innova Health and Fitness

ITX9600 Inversion Table by Innova Health and FitnessWhy We Love It:

If you’re looking for a cheap inversion table for sale, this is your best bet! This budget-friendly inversion machine received 4.5 stars out of 5 on Amazon.com. Furthermore, it is the #2 best seller in inversion equipment. There are also nearly 5000 customer reviews, so you will find a lot of valuable information about this product before you buy.

Details:
  • Contains 6 adjustable tilt angles that are set using a pin system (some inversion tables use straps to adjust)
  • Headrest is adjustable and entire backrest is heavily padded for comfort
  • Adjustable and padded ankle holder to ensure user comfort
  • Total product weight is 52 lbs. Dimensions: 46in x 28in x 63in
  • Amazon.com Price: $124.99 + FREE Shipping (+ $113.89 with expert assembly)
Things to Consider: 

The ITX9600 inversion table has recommended user heights between 4’10” and 6’6”. According to some customer reviews, some people who are still within this range (on the smaller end) have issues with how the product fits with their body. Also, the max weight is 300 lbs. While many people may fall within these limits, some people may not. You want to make sure that you are buying an inversion table suitable for your height and weight.

Customer Reviews:

As mentioned before, this product has nearly 5000 reviews. Per positive reviews, customers enjoy the adjustable headrest and soft padding. Unlike some of the other inversion tables, this table has comfortable ankle holders which allow you to completely relax during use.

Despite the 4.5 out of 5 star rating, there are some drawbacks to this table. If you are on the smaller end, customers state that this table cannot accommodate those who are short or those you have small legs. For those of you who fall within the recommended height range, this product may be the perfect fit!

Who Should Purchase This Product:

The ITX9600 inversion table is lightweight, smaller, and cheaper than our Fitnessator’s Top Pick. If you need a compact machine for a small home, you should consider purchasing this product over some of the others on this list. Likewise, if you are on a budget or on the fence about buying an inversion table, this cheap inversion machine may be a great way to test out this type of product. One thing to keep in mind: This product tends to have issues with shorter people who fall on the lower end of the recommended height range. If you are under 5’5”, consider choosing another product or understand that you may have to return this product due to poor fit.

The Rundown on Inversion Tables

Here is a quick way to compare all the products we reviewed in this article. Hopefully by using this list, you can find the best inversion table for your needs.

Product Less than $150 Less than $300 Heat & Massage FDA-Approved
EP-560 (Top Pick) X
EP-970 (Runner Up) X
Gravity 4000 (Honorable Mention) X
ITM4800 X X
ITX9600 X

 

Sample Workout: Inversion Table

Now that you can better determine which inversion table is the best fit for you and your lifestyle, here’s a sample workout to try. This workout may not be suitable for people with moderate to extreme back pain. Our workout aims to stretch your back and strengthen your core:

Workout Number of Sets Number of Repetitions
Inverted crunches 3 10
Stretching (flat back with arms overhead) 3-5 Hold for 30 seconds
Side twist stretching (keep hips flat and twist trunk sideways) 3-5 per side Hold for 30 seconds
Side crunches or twisting crunches (elbow goes to opposite knee) 3 per side 10
Neck twists (gentle neck rotation slowly side-to-side) 3 10 reps per side

 

Before you Purchase

Buying an inversion table may seem like a good idea, but inversion tables are not safe, practical, or affordable for everyone. First, make sure you consult your doctor about using an inversion table. Upon their approval, use the rundown above and the list of products we reviewed in this article.

Have you ever used an inversion table before? Did your symptoms improve? Worsen? After reading the contraindication list above, do you have any conditions that prevent you from using an inversion table? If you’ve got something to say, let us know in the comments.

 

 

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