What is an inversion table – What’s an inversion table
You may have heard about inversion tables and how useful they can be in your fitness routine. Well, here is a little info to help you understand what they do, the theories behind them and what to look for when buying one.
What is inversion therapy? It’s the practice of inverting your body (in other words hanging upside down, usually on an inversion table) in order to lengthen and straighten your spine. The theory goes that as gravity pulls down on your head, shoulders and back, it helps reverse the compression that gravity causes when you are right side up every other moment of the day.
So why do you need inversion therapy to reverse that pressure? All the nerves in your body eventually make their way back to the spinal cord, which goes to your brain. If any of those nerves are kinked or pinched because the spine is compressed or out of alignment, messages will not be delivered to and received from the brain, meaning you have a greater chance of experiencing pain and other health problems. While inversion therapy probably will not fix any major back problems, it can help relieve pain and maintain a healthy back when practiced regularly.
What is an inversion table
An inversion table makes it simple to hang upside down. It consists of a stand with handles and a tilting platform, to which a shaft with footholds are attached. You step into and tighten the footholds with your back against the platform. Then you gradually tilt yourself, first to a horizontal position and then upside down. If you tilt it as far as it can go, the platform will go beyond vertical, so you hang by your feet without resting on the platform at all. Then after a few minutes completely upside down, you use the table to gradually return to an upright position. So, basically, a gravity inversion table makes inversion therapy safer and easier. (It’s hard to find somewhere you can hang upside down without one, without falling on your head, at least. )
What should you look for in an inversion table?
First and foremost, you want something that’s strong and stable. You don’t want to worry about anything breaking when you are dangling upside down by your feet. Look for a sturdy metal frame and a strong main shaft. The metal used in the table’s construction should be thick and rigid, but it should not be too big and heavy that you cannot move the table around when you need to.
You also want to make sure the ankle clamps are well-built and will support your weight. Make sure the pin used to adjust and secure the ankle clamp is thick and goes through the entire width of the ankle-clamp shaft for greater stability. The same goes for the pin that adjusts the length of the main shaft. Some inversion tables have two pins to secure the main shaft, which makes it even safer.
Locking hinges are another important feature, especially if you plan on total inversion. Look for self-locking hinges that snap into place automatically when you reach a specific angle, so you don’t flip upright too quickly. If money is not an issue, you may want to consider a motorized table, which smoothly tilts the platform under your control. Look for the weight and height limits of an inversion table when shopping. If you are too tall or too heavy for a particular model, it could be very unsafe.
Get something comfortable
When it comes to comfort level, everyone is different. However, there are a few things that an inversion table needs in order to be comfortable for anyone. Most important is the ankle clamp. It should be covered with thick, soft foam. Curved ankle clamps are also nice and add an extra level of security. When you are hanging completely upside down, all of your weight will be resting on the ankle clamps, so they should be as comfortable as possible.
A comfortable platform is important, too. The best (and most expensive) inversion tables have wide platforms with a fair amount of padding. Less expensive models incorporate a plastic mesh that supports your back without being too hard and flat. Some also allow for a little flexibility, so you can do some exercises when inverted. Also look for comfortable handles that are simple to reach when inverted. Another feature some inversion tables have is an adjustable vinyl pillow for your head. There are lots of options out there, so just think about what you need before you buy.