Inversion therapy is something I have been using on a regular basis for some time now and Inversion is something I have found to be beneficial for me personally, when combating my back problems.
Since some of the visitors to My Zero Gravity Chair may be back pain sufferers, I have decided to create a full guide on inversion tables and inversion therapy to help them decide whether inversion may be a good choice to help with their own problems.
Since around 2010 when I was in my late 20’s I have suffered a fair amount with back pain, however in more recent years I have found a number of solutions that appear to ease the pain temporarily, as well as remove my back pain completely, sometimes for weeks at a time.
When my back pain first started I was working full time in an office job.
Although it started off as a fairly minor discomfort, it gradually became more of an issue that affected me on a daily basis, with pain and discomfort often being present from the moment I woke up.
It was throughout this period of time in my life that I started looking around for solutions to ease my back pain and in around 2011 I bought my first basic inversion table.
Before we get into everything you need to know about Inversion therapy and inversion tables I need to point out that inversion therapy is not for everyone.
There are some risks involved if you suffer from certain medical conditions.
I will list all of the risks below in a full section, however if you are interested in trying inversion therapy and are slightly concerned.
It is always a good idea to discuss with your doctor or a medical professional whether inversion is suitable for you.
While I have tried to be as thorough as possible when listing all of the potential risks of inversion therapy, I am not a doctor or medical professional.
This page is written only to be a guide, highlighting what pros and cons I have personally found when using an inversion table.
Always check with your doctor if inversion therapy may be a good choice for you.
Inversion is a process in which the body is flipped either completely upside down or to an inverted angle via the use of a hanging device such as an inversion table or inversion / gravity boots.
When using an inversion table or gravity boots, your body is held in an upside down or angled incline position, hanging by the legs and ankles from the secure supports on your inversion device.
Hanging upside down creates a natural traction using the effects of gravity.
This allows the user to fully stretch their body in an effortless manner, working in harmony with gravity rather than against it.
A brief history of inversion
Although inversion seems a relatively new idea it is in fact a practice that has been around for a great many years. Early evidence of its use has been found pictured on stone seals from around 3000 BC.
The ancient Greeks are also known to have experimented with inversion techniques using ropes and pulley devices to suspend patients from a ladder, enabling the stretching out of their bodies and realignment.
Around 400 BC Hippocrates of Kos, who is considered the father of Western Medicine, experimented with traction techniques using devices such as the Hippocratic bench that would also stretch out the body in order to correct spinal alignment via the use of ropes and winches.
Both of these devices however, were taken advantage of in later years. When used excessively they became effective torture devices used to damage individual’s rather than heal them.
It was between the 1960’s and 80’s when inversion started to make its way into the mainstream starting with the Gravity Guidance System created by Orthopaedic specialist Dr Robert Martin Sr M.D.
The Gravity Guiding System revolutionized how back problems were viewed and could be treated.
For the first time those who suffered from back pain had a solution to combat back problems from the comfort of their own home, using either gravity boots or via one of the first manufactured inversion tables.
In more recent years Inversion therapy has become used by many on a regular basis in their homes.
High quality brands such as Teeter have made inversion therapy accessible to all through their manufacture of a range of inversion devices.
Using an inversion table really isn’t as complicated as it may look at first.
Most inversion tables are likely to come complete with either a manual or a DVD to show you exactly how to assemble the inversion table and how to use it.
Even the first cheap inversion table I bought years ago came complete with a DVD allowing me to quickly learn a lot about Inversion therapy and how to use the table correctly.
Due to the large variation in price of inversion tables, you will find that some of the cheaper inversion tables do not feature some of the more premium features.
Such premium features can be found from brands such as Teeter, however, you will find that the points listed in the following guide tend to generally apply to all inversion tables that are available.
Adjusting the table to accommodate your height
All inversion tables have a feature that allows you to adjust the length of the table to suit your height.
On average most inversion tables tend to cater for users between the heights of 4’10” to 6’6”.
Before using an inversion table it is important to set the leg support to the correct length to match your height in order to allow for a better motion of inversion and provide better balance.
When an inversion table is set at a length that is shorter than your body height, the user will invert far too easily and quickly which can be quite dangerous and a fairly unpleasant experience overall.
This becomes especially troublesome if you do not have any safety features in place on your table designed to limit the incline angle.
You will also find it will be a lot harder to return to an upright position once you have inverted.
On the other hand if you are for example, 5 ft 8” and you set the table to accommodate a user with a height greater than this, it will be a lot harder to invert.
If the height difference is too great you may not be able to invert at all.
Setting the inversion table to match your height is a must if you want the table to balance you in the safest manner possible and make the inversion process as effortless as it can be.
Inversion safety features
Depending on the type of inversion table you opt for you will either have a safety strap, a side inversion pin system or a lever locking system such as the disk break system (pictured) on the Ironman iControl 600.
These safety features are in place so you can control and limit the angle at which you invert at, preventing the table from inverting at too great an angle.
For the most part, inversion tables will feature the nylon strap system that will need to be adjusted before getting onto the inversion table.
The shorter the strap length setting is, the smaller the angle of incline will be.
Out of all the options listed the nylon strap system tends to be a little less convenient because every time you need to adjust the strap you must dismount the inversion table to do so.
Some of the systems used by more expensive tables can be controlled and adjusted while positioned on the inversion table making them a little more hassle free.
Generally these days I do not feel the need to use any of the safety features when using my inversion table since I am now comfortable enough to invert fully without any problem.
However if you are new to the world of inversion then safety features should not be overlooked, especially on your first few sessions.
foot and ankle supports
Once the height is correctly set and the safety features are in place you can position your feet on the footrest at the lowest point, securing your ankles into the plastic ankle holds or between the foam padded bars (depending on what style of inversion table you have).
Some inversion tables use the spring bolt method to allow the user to adjust how securely their ankles are locked in place.
This method is very similar in design to the height adjuster bolt found on most tables.
On some of the more expensive tables available you may find there is an easier to use patented system in place.
The Teeter EP-960 features the EZ-Reach Ankle System (pictured below) whereas Ironman Fitness inversion tables such as the IFT 4000 use the Ratchet ankle palm operated locking system (pictured below).
The Process of Inversion
With the feet and ankles securely in place and the height adjustment correctly set for your stature, simply leaning back on the inversion table while holding on to the safety handles will allow you to move into a more horizontal position on the bed area.
Once in the horizontal position my personal preference is to rock back and forth gently in order to let the blood start flowing a little into the upper part of my body.
I often find, even when only inverted at an angle of around 20 degrees, that if I haven’t let my body adjust by rocking beforehand, the rush of blood to the head can be a bit uncomfortable.
I also find that this is a good measure to take after every inversion session.
Once the session is complete I simply rock band and forth for a couple of minutes in the horizontal position to help me avoid any strange feelings of light-headedness or discomfort.
Another technique I use to avoid discomfort is to not fully invert for the entire session.
If I am inverting for a period of around 10 minutes I will lever myself back into a more horizontal position for a quick break every minute or so, before continuing for another short burst of inversion.
This is another good method that I have found helps to relieve the feeling of too much pressure building up in the head.
When you feel comfortable enough to do so, you can start to invert by lifting your arms above your head and in doing so you will shift the weight of the table making it invert.
By moving the arms back towards the mid-section you will return to the horizontal position allowing you to adjust the angle without the use of the safety handles on either side of the table.
Once you are used to the feeling of inversion and learn how to handle your inversion table you will find inverting a fairly effortless affair and after a few sessions on an inversion table you will probably become more adventurous in regards to how far back you invert.
I must admit when I started using inversion it wasn’t the most comfortable experience and the build-up of pressure in my head felt a little weird at first.
However, after a few sessions I felt a lot more comfortable hanging at higher angles.
Eventually hanging from a more vertical angle wasn’t an issue at all.
If you are still a little unsure about any of the aspects of how to use an inversion table you can find a number of videos on Youtube that feature demonstrations of inversion on a wide range of inversion tables.
Although the inversion process may seem a little daunting at first, I can assure you that it is a lot simpler than it may appear.
The majority of users should feel fairly comfortable with the inversion process after only a handful of sessions.
As we have mentioned a great deal on My Zero Gravity Chair it is often surprising the amount of pressure that is put on your spine when going about your day.
When in a standing or seated position the amount of pressure placed upon the spinal discs is fairly significant and even when lying flat on your back there is still pressure present.
In addition to this Gravity does not just affect your spine and back, it can also affect and play a part in circulation issues and contribute to height loss throughout your lifetime.
Using an inversion table is a way to achieve negative pressure upon the spinal column.
This makes inversion an ideal solution for stretching out the spine and decompressing the discs in your spine, while also relaxing muscles and reducing stress.
Although it is likely that the majority who use an inversion table will find it does help with their back problems, do not assume this true for all back issues.
Before considering inversion therapy, remember that back problems vary a great deal and while many are likely to find relief from inversion therapy, there may be some individuals who have certain back issues that may be exacerbated from using an inversion table.
Always check with your doctor before jumping straight into inversion therapy to ensure you do not have any serious conditions or problems with your back that may in fact be aggravated when using an inversion table.
Also be sure to take a look at the next section where we have listed some of the risks of inversion therapy and some of the reasons certain individuals should avoid it.
One of the main contributing factors to back pain is spinal compression, which is caused by gravity and other daily activities placing pressure upon the spine and our muscles.
Spinal decompression can also lead to decreased flexibility and cause painful pressure on the nerves.
The spine is constructed of a series of bones named vertebrae that are connected by ligaments and muscles.
The vertebrae are separated by intervertebral discs that have a soft gel like substance in their inner core.
The jelly like substance allows the discs to act as shock absorbers that provide cushioning throughout your daily routine as well as providing spinal mobility and flexibility.
Within the gel like nucleus in the center of each disc, water is held by sponge-like molecules.
The disc relies on the transfer of fluids and nutrients from the surrounding vertebrae in order to stay healthy.
However on a daily basis increased pressure and repetitive strain upon the discs slows the transfer of fluids and nutrients leading to disc degeneration and dehydration.
Over the period of a day these discs lose moisture and shrink due to the forces of gravity pushing the vertebrae closer together, squeezing fluid out of the discs into surrounding tissue.
This causes the spinal column to compress and can cause more bone on bone activity, as well as other problems including uneven pressure placed upon the discs which can lead to bulging or herniated discs.
It is for this reason that on getting out of bed most of us will measure a half inch to an inch taller in height than we do by the end of the day.
While we sleep, some of the lost fluid soaks back into the discs, however, over the course of your life vertebrae will move closer together as less fluid is returned to your discs during slumber.
As we get older the percentage of water content within the spinal disc decreases which causes thinning of the discs.
Due to disc thinning and the fluid only being partially reabsorbed each night, it is not uncommon for many people in their senior years to lose between 0.5 to 2 inches in height.
Decompression of the spine through inversion allows the vertebrae to open up making it easier for the disc to draw in the fluids and nutrients it needs in order to maintain good disc height and hydration levels.
The reduction of pressure on the spine may even help with bulging or herniated discs since it can draw the gel like material of nucleus back into place.
Due to inversion being a great way to decompress the spine I often find using an inversion table particularly satisfying after doing a workout involving weights or after being sat at a desk for the majority of the day.
Although I do tend to notice the lengthening of my spine whenever I invert, I do feel that after a day involving either of these activities you really notice the difference hanging upside down makes when it comes to straightening out your spinal column.
When I first started doing research into solutions that could improve my back pain, the main thing that stood out when learning about inversion tables, is that many online were claiming that you could increase your height with inversion.
From doing a quick search on the web you will find videos and articles claiming that regular inversion has enabled the individual to grow taller through inversion or increase their height, although rarely to a massively significant degree.
So can inversion increase your height?
For most individuals natural growth in height stops in their teens, usually around the age of 16 for males and 15 for females, therefore if you are over 20 and hoping to add a number of inches to your stature or encourage further natural growth from inversion therapy you are likely to be disappointed.
However, after reading the section above on spinal decompression, it should be fairly clear why individuals make the claims that through regular inversion they have seen an increase in height of about an inch.
Measuring yourself in the morning is an excellent way of seeing how your height increases and decreases due to spinal compression.
I regularly measure myself first thing in the morning and again nearer the evening to compare the difference.
On some mornings I find I am as much as an inch taller than when I measure myself at the end of the day just from getting a good night’s sleep.
When inverted you are able to help the discs recover faster than when you are in a horizontal position, as well as allow them better access to the moisture they need.
This helps to regain the lost height from the gravitational pressures put upon the spine throughout the day and in turn helps to combat the effects gravity has on your height over the duration of your lifetime.
With regular inversion the intervertebral discs are able to maintain their regular disc height and in turn maintain an individual’s height more effectively, by helping to keep that extra inch or so that most of us lose throughout the day.
So can inversion make you taller?
Technically yes however, probably not in the manner some may expect.
You are not going to see any miraculous body transformations from doing inversion regularly although you may find you can slightly increase your height to its true potential.
One interesting story to note on this issue is how a female journalist in the UK increased her height from 5 ft 2” to 5 ft 4” using a London Gym named A-Grow-Bics using a combination of methods including Yoga, Pilates and Inversion, the exercise system also uses rack type contraptions similar to the Hippocratic bench (mentioned above).
The owner of the gym has also claimed that he has increased his own height by 1.5” – 2” from 5’7” to 5’9”.
You can read the full article here.
Improvement in Posture
If you suffer from bad posture your muscles are constantly working harder in an effort to keep you balanced in an upright position.
If your body is badly aligned muscles can become tight and inflexible, impairing their ability to cope with the pressures that are excerpted on your body daily.
As we have found out in the above section, hanging upside down is a great way to realign and combat the compression of the spine.
Which in turn helps to relax and loosen up the surrounding muscles making it an easier task to make changes to bad posture habits such as slouching.
Poor posture is a lot more damaging to health than many may first assume and although many are aware that poor posture can sometimes be linked with back pain and scoliosis, most are unaware that it can even affect vital organs such as the lungs, making them less efficient.
It can even influence a person’s mood and confidence levels.
Whether you choose to improve your posture with or without the use of inversion, it is a worthwhile step in the right direction, especially if you suffer from any form of back pain.
Increased Blood Circulation
In a similar fashion to how a zero gravity chair can help increase circulation by raising the legs, using inversion is also a good way to aid your cardiovascular system.
As is explained in our guide to zero gravity chairs, when we are standing upright or in a seated position, oxygenated blood is able to flow easily from our lungs to our legs and lower body.
However once the blood is deoxygenated, the body has to work against the forces of gravity to send blood back from the lower body to become re-oxygenated.
Conversely when your body is flipped upside down, you become positioned in a manner that allows your body to work in unison with gravity’s force.
The inversion process allows waste filled blood from the lower regions of the body to return back to the lungs so it can become oxygenated and cleansed more easily than when you are standing or seated in an upright position.
Continued use of an inversion table may help with other circulatory problems that are also caused by gravitational effects.
Conditions such as varicose veins may improve since the upside down positioning may help to drain the blood more easily from veins that have enlarged.
Inversion can also help with improved circulation to the brain and head.
Some of the problems that may result from poor circulation include headaches and a lack of energy.
Poor blood flow to the brain and head may even affect memory and may cause some hair loss problems.
Improved Lymphatic System function
The lymphatic system helps to rid the body of waste, toxins and other waste.
The Lymphatic system also helps us to fight infections by transporting white blood cells around the body in fluid named lymph.
Unlike the circulatory system, which has the heart to pump blood around the body, the Lymphatic system requires movement from muscles and vessels to function and pump lymph throughout the body.
Inversion allows lymph to be transported more easily and can prevent the stagnation of fluid that can occur in tissues.
Inversion therefore may help to accelerate the removal of waste from the body and could also help to boost the immune system.
Provided it is used wisely, inversion can be a very beneficial practice to many.
Helping with a wide range of back and muscle problems, as well as helping with stress and posture.
In recent years there have been increasingly more studies conducted that look into some of the benefits of inversion.
Research conducted over a few years by the US Army Physical Fitness School found that soldiers who used gravity boots regularly healed more quickly from joint damage and suffered less joint related injuries.
In another 2007 study by the Newcastle University Hospital in the UK, researchers studied the effects inversion therapy had on participants who suffered from Sciatica and who had been told they needed an operation to fix their back problems.
The subjects were divided into two groups with the first group regularly using inversion alongside physiotherapy while the second group only received physiotherapy.
The conclusion of the study found highly beneficial results with the group of patients that used inversion, stating the first group was 70% less likely to require the surgery.
A quick internet search will also show you there have been studies that suggest inversion can help aid in the passing of smaller kidney stones.
As mentioned earlier in the article, inversion therapy is not for everyone and can be harmful especially if you have high blood pressure or other vascular system or heart problems.
Although hanging in an inverted position can often be beneficial to the circulatory system and skeletal system, for some, the increased pressure can be incredibility disadvantageous.
It is recommended, even if you feel that you are fully fit, to consult a doctor or medical professional before trying inversion therapy.
If you do suffer from back problems do not assume that inversion will automatically help.
Ensure you check with a doctor to see if they feel inversion may be suitable to ease your particular back issue, as some back pain may be worsened by inversion rather than helped.
I myself, even after years of doing inversion occasionally find it a little uncomfortable due to the rush of blood to the head causing a shift in pressure.
I have also experienced a tight throat when inverted and have found it uncomfortable to swallow on occasion.
As mentioned earlier, it is for these reasons that I rock back and forth in the horizontal position for a couple of minutes before inverting.
I find this is a good way of getting the blood flowing to my upper body in a more comfortable manner rather than inverting straight away.
If you suffer from any of the following medical conditions or if any of the list below applies to you, avoiding inversion is probably the wisest option and at the very least you should certainly consult your doctor before using an inversion table.
- Heart Disease / Heart problems
- Hypertension / High Blood Pressure
- If you are Pregnant
- If you have a Spinal Injury / Bone disease
- If you suffer from visual problems such as Glaucoma, Retinal Problems or Conjunctivitis
- If you have suffered a Hernia
- Ear Infections
- If you are obese – most inversion tables have a recommended weight capacity of around 300 – 350 lbs
We recommend you also take a look at this video to learn more about the risks of inversion.
Some other points to consider
Due to the increased pressure in the brain and head, newer users may experience problems such as headaches or dizziness, however provided you are in good health these problems are likely to only be temporary.
If you are just starting out with inversion therapy, ensure that you start with small incline angles for only a couple of minutes at a time, gradually building up to slightly longer inversion sessions at an increased angle.
Although many who talk about inversion state that they tend to invert for around 10 minutes at a time, in general I personally find inverting for less than 5 minutes each session just as advantageous and a lot more comfortable and tolerable due to the pressure build up in the head.
Throughout these 5 minute periods I will often take regular breaks for a few seconds, returning to the horizontal position before inverting for another minute or two.
If you are older or on the large side, you will need to be more careful when using an inversion table.
If you are larger ensure that the inversion device you are using has an adequate weight capability for your body size.
Also if you are older or even if you are a beginner to inversion, ensure you start off with smaller inversion angles. It is a good idea to have someone on standby to help you.
While the majority will find inversion tables can help to reduce their back and muscle pain on a daily basis, the therapy is certainly not suitable for everyone.
Some may also find that using inversion does not provide them with a long term solution to completely rid them of any back issues they may have.
Always ensure you seek professional advice before using an inversion table if you do have any health problems.
After reading this section if any of the health issues mentioned do apply to you it would be a good idea to dismiss inversion therapy as a method to ease your back pain.
Also use a little common sense and caution if you do feel you have any issues that may be aggravated by inversion rather than aided.
As you would expect the more expensive inversion tables that cost in excess of $300 tend to be the best of the best of what is on offer.
In this price bracket you will find professional level inversion tables from top quality brands such as Teeter and Ironman Fitness.
At this price you are unlikely to find tables from lesser known manufacturers as they simply can’t compete with the competition.
It is for this reason you are unlikely to find a sub-par inversion table for this price unless it is vastly overpriced.
When talking about inversion therapy and inversions tables it is hard not to mention the brand name Teeter.
Without any exception inversion tables made by Teeter are widely regarded as the best there are.
In head to head comparison tests with other inversion products, Teeter models were proven to be the best in performance and quality when assessed using a model based on UL safety requirement standards.
The independent Teeter comparison test was conducted by Dynamark Engineering in 2010 and focused on the endurance, strength and assembly time of a Teeter inversion table when compared to 4 competing brands.
As you can see from the image below the results were fairly astonishing, with Teeter inversion tables putting the other tables tested to shame in every instance.
The tests also found the Teeter model was far easier to assemble in a much shorter space of time.
Teeter EP-560 vs Teeter EP-960
Features & Specifications
- Weight Capacity: 300 lbs
- User height range: 4ft-8 in to 6ft-6 in
- Acupressure nodes and lumbar bridge included
- Ergo embrace ankle supports
- 5 year warranty
- Rating: 4.7
Features & Specifications
- Weight Capacity: 300 lbs
- User height range: 4ft-8 in to 6ft-6 in
- Acupressure nodes and lumbar bridge included
- EZ-Reach ankle system
- Traction handles and stretch-max handles
- 5 year warranty
- Rating: 4.8
When searching for a Teeter inversion table these two options are the most popular choices on the market.
On first appearances these two tables do appear fairly similar; however the EP-960 does have some better features when compared to the similarly priced EP-560.
Some of the main differences between the two models are that the EP-960 features larger expanded side handles for better assistance when inverting. This also allows for further stretching options.
The 960 also features the “EZ-Stretch” traction handles on each side, allowing the user to push the handles in order to leverage further manual decompression of the spine.
The traction handles are especially useful to help with and allow better spinal decompression if you only invert at smaller angles.
Traction handles can also be used for rhythmic oscillation that involves applying pressure upon the handles then releasing in a repetitive manner.
Perhaps the most notable feature the Teeter EP-960 has when compared to the EP-560 is the “EZ-Reach Ankle System” which is an extra-long handle to secure your ankles in place.
Although this feature may seem somewhat insignificant, it makes the Teeter EP-960 a more preferable option if you have back pain, removing the need to bend down as much as you would on most other inversion tables.
Both the Teeter EP-560 and the EP-960 are very good options to consider and there really isn’t too much difference in price. However, with its extra features the EP-960 in my opinion is the better choice overall.
Both inversion tables from Teeter have received numerous buyer reviews on a number of retailer websites and almost always get great reviews with the vast majority of buyers rating them with a 100% score.
The Teeter inversion tables have been UL safety certified and FDA cleared as Class 1 medical devices. They also come with a full 5 year warranty.
In conclusion, although some find the Teeter inversion table range a little overpriced they are much lower in price than they used to be.
When compared to their competitors the price difference really isn’t huge, especially when their high quality is taken into consideration.
For me, and many others, Teeter inversion tables are viewed as the best available.
In the long term they are likely to provide good value for money and be a long lasting investment.
Into one good looking table, the Ironman IFT 4000 combines a lot of the great features from other tables in the Ironman Fitness range.
The IFT 4000 has a comfortable 2.5 inch padded backrest that features a FIR (Far Infrared Rays) heating system built in.
Ironman Fitness states that the FIR system may help to increase blood circulation and help relieve stress.
The FIR heating system is also considered to be safer than other traditional heating elements with no unhealthy electromagnetic concerns.
You can control the heating system using the remote control provided and also adjust the duration and temperature of the heat using the LED display control.
Other notable highlights of the Ironman IFT 4000 are the palm activated ankle system and the inverting hand grips for easier inversion positioning and additional manual stretching once inverted.
The strong 350 lbs weight capacity is another stand out feature, should you be looking for an inversion table capable of holding a little extra weight than average.
Unlike some of the heated inversion tables I have come across, there is a great deal of positivity towards the heating function on this particular inversion table.
Many buyers mention how good the heat feels and consider it to be an effective feature that further helps to ease their back pain.
If you are looking for a stable and well-made inversion table, the Ironman IFT 4000 is a very durable table to consider.
The large weight limit alone makes it a great choice and with the additional features taken into consideration, such as the luxurious heat function and inverting handles, this is an inversion table that will satisfy anyone looking for a high-end inversion table.
The majority of inversion tables on the market are priced in this bracket.
For this price you can usually expect to find some fairly good inversion tables that have some useful features included.
In General, inversion tables costing over $150 are a better choice than the budget options due to their additional features, with some having built in heat or vibration massage functions.
Inversion tables in this price range are also likely to have a more comfortable padded bed area and tend to have a better level of construction overall.
Having opted for a low priced inversion table for my first table, I would recommend that choosing an inversion table within this price range is likely to be far better value in the long run, rather than opting for a budget table that may not compare in features or quality.
If however, you are looking to spend under $100 on a table take a look at the next section as there are a couple of tables listed at very competitive prices.
IRONMAN Fitness Gravity 4000 Inversion Table (Highest Weight Capacity Inversion Table)
Features & Specifications
- Weight Capacity: 350 lbs
- User height range: 4ft-9 in to 6ft-6 in
- Extended backrest with lumbar pillow
- Ratchet ankle locking system
- Large safety handles and incline safety strap
- Rating: 4.7
Ironman Fitness proudly boast that the gravity 4000 inversion table is able to hold the highest amount of weight when compared to other tables, making it a very sturdy and well-made option to consider.
When looking for the best inversion table, the two manufacturers that are the most talked about are Ironman Fitness and Teeter who both make highly rated, stand out models.
It is no coincidence that the majority of recommended inversion tables listed on this page, are from these two brands.
From the Ironman range, the 4000 has to be one of the best and most popular inversion tables, having received very positive reviews from many who have bought it.
Users often complement its comfortable padded bed, straightforward assembly and exceptional build quality.
The ratchet ankle lock system is also a really nice feature on the Ironman 4000 making the inversion table very accessible to mount.
Overall there is very little that can negativity be said about the Ironman Fitness gravity 4000.
It is fairly apparent by the numerous 5 star ratings that the inversion table has received, that many others are in agreement.
Features & Specifications
- Weight Capacity: 300 lbs
- User height range: 4ft-10 in to 6ft-6 in
- Memory foam backrest with padded head pillow
- Universal Lumbar Pad for Hot/Cold Compress (Hot/Cold Compress NOT included)
- 5 angle pin adjustment system
- Rating: 4.6
The Innova ITX9700 is often available at a reduced price so it could really be listed as a budget table on some occasions.
However I have listed it in this category based on its standard retail price.
For me, the highlight of the ITX9700 is the memory foam bed area which is a nice and fairly luxurious feature that provides a good level of comfort when compared to other models at a similar price.
The pin adjustment system is also a great touch, especially if you like to build up your inversion angle throughout each session without having to adjust a safety strap like on other models.
Probably the biggest let down on this particular inversion table is the ankle holders.
The cup shaped plastic holders feature on both the front and back of the leg supports and for some this may be an issue when it comes to comfort, particularly if you like to invert without any shoes on.
When this inversion table is at a reduced price it is very good value for money and certainly one to consider if backrest comfort is high up on your list of priorities.
If you ignore this inversion table’s primary feature it is a fairly standard inversion table in many respects.
The main highlight of this inversion table however, is what makes it stand out from the crowd.
The Ironman IFT 1000 inversion table features a built in Far Infrared Ray (F.I.R) heat therapy system to gently heat and soothe the users back while they invert.
The heat therapy function can be controlled using a remote control allowing for easy adjustment when inverted.
The table also includes a LED display control so you can see and adjust both the time (0-60 minutes) and temperature (90-140 degrees F) of the heating system, as well as turn it off when not required.
According to the manufacturer, the gentle heating system on the IFT 1000 has the potential to increase blood circulation and decrease stress levels.
They also state that it may help to relax muscles and due to the increased circulation it can speed up the healing process of injured or aching muscles.
Also unlike traditional heating methods the F.I.R heat function has no unhealthy electromagnetic concerns.
Overall if you are not particularly interested in a heating function then this is a fairly standard inversion table without many other stand-out features to speak of.
However, if you are looking for an inversion table with a heating function, many have fallen in love with the heating system on this model making it a good choice to consider.
The only real complaint some have with this inversion table is that the heating element does take a while to heat up (10 – 15 minutes).
If you like the sound of this model because of the FIR heat function, then you may want to consider upgrading to the Ironman IFT 4000 which is featured in the $300+ list.
Although the 4000 costs a little extra it does have some additional features and a higher weight capacity of 350 lbs.
Features & Specifications
- Weight Capacity: 275 lbs
- User height range: 4ft-10 in to 6ft-6 in
- Patent pending iControl disk braking angle system
- Stretching bar on the frame
- 1.5 inch soft foam backrest
- Rating: 4.5
I’m a big fan of the Ironman iControl 400 despite it’s slightly lower than average weight capacity of 275 lbs.
One of the main features I love is the inversion stretching bar situated on the back of the table frame.
As someone who often uses dumbbells and kettlebells to fully stretch out my back when I am inverting, the built in stretch bar looks like a great feature to have.
The disk braking system is also a feature that in my opinion sets this inversion table apart from others on the market.
The disk brake provides complete control over your inversion angle and can be adjusted effortlessly and easily to invert at any angle you require.
The one thing I find a little off-putting about this table is that the disc brake system doesn’t look as solid in design as the rest of the table and although the brake system may be one of the best reasons to choose this table, it does appear a little fragile.
Overall though, many have found this to be a very well made table and it has received numerous 5 star ratings.
Surprisingly the inversion tables that fall into this price range are not as disappointing as many may expect.
I was fairly surprised to see some of the features a couple of these cheap inversion tables under $100 had to offer.
Generally speaking, the number of inversion tables available for under $100 are quite limited, however if you are happy to spend an extra $20 – $50 the choices available are a lot more plentiful.
If you are just getting started with inversion, opting for a table that costs in the range of $80 – $150 may be a good choice if you are not prepared to invest too much money.
Although one downside may perhaps be that if you do start to take inversion more seriously, you are likely to want to upgrade your entry level at some point.
In the long run it may potentially be better value for money to opt for a more expensive model from Teeter or Ironman Fitness in the first instance.
The Innova ITX9600 inversion table is one that really stood out to me in this price range, mainly because it features an inversion pin system to limit the angle of inversion.
This to me is a real benefit when compared to using the nylon safety strap that I expected to see on most of the budget inversion tables.
The pin system can be adjusted while staying on the inversion table, removing the need to dismount the table to adjust the incline angle as you would with a nylon strap.
Some other reasons this low priced inversion table caught my eye was due to the padded bed area and adjustable padded headrest which in my opinion, make it look like a far more expensive inversion table.
If you have ever used a budget inversion table that features a thin unpadded bed area, you will quickly see why the pin system and padded bed on this Innova model make it seem so superior for the price.
This is the top pick in my opinion if you are looking to spend less than $100 on an inversion table and by looks and features alone I feel this inversion table should cost more.
Judging by the popularity of this inversion table and all of the positive consumer reviews I am clearly not the only one that is impressed by this very well priced inversion table.
Although the Exerpeutic inversion table isn’t the best looking inversion table on the market, the very low price combined with the padded foam backrest make it a very popular and well rated choice to consider.
For the most part the only feature that really separates this inversion table from the other low budget options available is the foam padding on the bed area.
Other than this, the Exerpeutic inversion table is a fairly standard model that features the standard safety strap system.
Much like the Innova inversion table this inversion table is incredibly good value for money, especially when compared to how much very similar models are being sold for.
I again feel this is an inversion table that should in theory cost more, and alongside the Innova ITX9600, it is a stand out product in this lower price range.
Overall if you are looking for a comfortable inversion table available for under $100 the Exerpeutic table is a great choice that has exceeded the expectations of many who have bought it.
The Confidence Fitness inversion table is very similar to the first inversion table I owned and although it really isn’t the prettiest model it does provide good functionality overall.
When compared to the other two options available in this section, most are unlikely to opt for this model mainly due to the fabric bed area looking a lot less appealing than the padded variations.
However one notable difference is that this model features a foam padded ankle support on the back and the front of the ankle holders.
The other two low priced options feature curved plastic holders on the back support which tends to be less comfortable for many. This is a fairly minor difference however.
Another reason that this inversion table is not quite as preferable is the weight capacity is potentially lower than the other two options.
Although on some retailer’s websites the stated capacity is 300 lbs, the seller of this table has stated it is in fact 220 lbs.
If you are not concerned with the lower weight capacity or padded bed area then this may be a nice entry level inversion table for you.
The inversion table is easy to assemble and despite the lower weight capacity it has a fairly durable and strong design.
I have also seen inversion tables from other manufacturers that are almost identical to this one but are being sold for around $60 more, thus making this model very good value in comparison.
As you can see from the buyer’s guide, inversion therapy doesn’t have to cost a great deal and even if you opt for one of the best inversion tables on the market you are unlikely to spend a great deal more than $300.
For me, buying an inversion table was a step in the right direction to help with my back problems and although the relief I get from my inversion table is often only temporary, it is always welcome.
Provided you do not have any of the issues highlighted in the risks of inversion section above, and you use inversion therapy sensibly and correctly, the use of inversion may be a worthwhile consideration for anyone who suffers from back problems on a daily basis.
Throughout writing this article I have used my inversion table on numerous occasions and over the last few years I have not found a better way to stretch myself out after a workout or after a day of being sat at a computer desk.
If you have been inspired to give inversion a try and are perhaps not in the best of health or are a little unsure if inversion is a good choice for you, then ensure that you check with your doctor or a medical professional before taking any further steps.
Although I have personally found inversion to be a great help for me, it certainly isn’t a quick fix or solution that will suit everybody.
Being overly cautious is a far better option than investing money into it, then later finding out that inversion isn’t suitable for you, or is in fact detrimental to any particular back issues or health problems you may have.