Inversion tables are the hot product that everyone is talking about. Need relief from that feeling of tightness in your lower back? Need a relaxing break from the bustle of your daily life? Maybe you just want to workout in a unique way? These are only a few out of the dozens of reasons for using inversion therapy. This article will act as your guide into the sometimes confusing world of inversion. We’ll start by explaining what exactly an inversion table is, and move onto discussing our favorite tables currently on the market. Hope you enjoy hanging with us.
What is an Inversion Table?
It is a foldable platform (like an ironing board) that allows a user to lie down (with their ankles secured) and rotate themselves to an inverted position. These tables make it easy for people to experience the benefits of being upside down without the hassle of boots or handstands. Using them is simple, you simply lock your ankles into the foothold at the bottom of the unit and lean back to adjust your rotation.
Inversion table risks
Now that we have discussed the benefits we have to provide some important caveats-inversion therapy is not a scam (in that it does nothing) but it also isn’t for everyone. TV ad men would have you believe these anti-gravity machines can solve all your problems, but in reality they are best at relaxing your back. Some people find inversion produces lasting relief, while others find it to be temporary. The main risks from inverting oneself are as follows…
- Increases blood pressure: If you have high blood pressure you should not use an invert table. The hanging position causes blood pressure to increase.
- Glaucoma/Inner Ear/heart condition/fracture/osteoporosis/hernia: All of these conditions put you at risk to use an invert table.
- Worsens Pain: Some people have experienced worse pain, but what is more common to hear is that the relief is only temporary.
Inversion Table Scam
It doesn’t claim to do anything that it shouldn’t, and if you order the table off amazon you get it. With those two facts in mind, I am hardpressed to call it a scam. The only issue is that in many cases the back pain relief is not long term as companies like Teeter Hang-Ups would have you believe.
Inversion table reviews
Now we will take a look at some of our favorite inversion tables. We have limited this list to only those available from Amazon. This provides us with a standardized evaluation method, and ensures that you can easily purchase any of the tables we cover.
|Table Name||Inversion Angle||Weight Capacity||Height Capacity|
|Teeter EP-960 Ltd |
|90||300 lbs.||Up to 6 6|
|Innova ITX9600||90||300 lbs||Up to 6 6|
|Innova ITX9700 |
|90||300 lbs||Up to 6 6|
|Ironman IFT 1000||140||300 lbs||Up to 6 6|
|Ironman Gravity 4000||180||350 lbs||Up to 6 6|
|Conquer 6-in-1||90||220 lbs||Up to 6 6|
|Ironman iControl 600||180||300 lbs||Up to 6 6|
|Innova ITM4800||90||300 lbs||Up to 6 6|
|Health Mark IV18600||70||300 lbs||Up to 6 6|
|AdroitOne V4||90||600 lbs||Up to 6 6|
1. Teeter EP-960 Ltd Inversion Table – Editor’s Pick
The Teeter company can be credited with doing much popularization for i-tables, with their Teeter Hang Ups Tables featured on TV. Nowadays they have a reputation for innovative features, but unlike the ironman they also have a hard to stomach price.
Let’s begin with the ankle holders, which are infinitely adjustable and have a handle that leaves them easily accessible. You can adjust the foot platform height and the overall weight distribution of the platform is even.
The table surface is probably the most unique aspect about the teeter. Unlike other tables, the Teeter’s is flexible, and moves with the user’s body as they twist and turn. There are multiple included attachments: Acupressure, back bridge, attachable pillow. Each of these provides extra relief and comfort.
Another great feature of the Teeter is that it has pre-set rotation settings at 20/40/60 degrees. This helps you ease into inversion without inadvertently going out of your comfort zone.
Aside from the raving reviews of inversion therapy overall, many reviewers mention how sturdily built the Teeter is. Their advertisement claims that you can set up the machine in only 13 minutes. While we agree that the quality is definitely there, unless you truly care about the flexible table and extra attachments we recommend the Ironman vs the Teeter.
2. Innova ITX9600 Heavy Duty Deluxe – Best Inversion Table for Tall Person
This is one of the most popular machines on amazon due to it’s quality construction AND affordable price. Coming in at under one hundred dollars, this is not only a top-notch table, but also a top-notch bargain.
The ITX9600 is built to be solid, and can hold people weighing up to three hundred pounds. Although, most people don’t weigh this much, having a tolerance this high speaks to the durable nature of the product.
Additionally, the table and headrest are padded. Some more expensive inversion tables eschew padding, but that is a serious mistake. You definitely don’t want to feel uncomfortable whilst being inverted. The headrest is also adjustable, so you can find the exact settings (through experimentation) for your body. Surprisingly, adjustable headrests are not even found on more expensive machines.
One of my personal favorite aspects of the Innova is the rotation locking system. There are five different settings for rotation (recorded in degrees), and the system features an award winning protective cover (avoid finger jams). Easy adjusting gives people peace of mind, because they don’t have to extensively worry about inverting further than they intended. This is one of the Innova’s core features.
3. Innova ITX9700 Memory Foam – Best Inversion Table for Neck Pain
We have covered other Innova tables, and come away impressed at the value proposition. This table is no different. It takes the baseline model and adds two features that significantly impact comfort: memory foam and a lumbar pad for hot/cold compress (not included).
The memory foam backrest pad is a relatively fresh feature for these inversion machines. The inclusion means that you will feel doubly relaxed while you are hanging upside down. Memory foam conforms to your body, and is generally very comfortable. Our only concern is that foam does not ventilate very well. As a result, if you are spending long amounts of time using the table, you’re back may become hot
The second notable addition the lumbar pad is nothing exceptional, but it sure is convenient. It provides a space for the insertion of a heat pad or ice pack. This can provide targeted temperature therapy to your lower back. This is obviously nice for many people, but if you have pain in other areas of your back consider purchasing a table with full back heating built in. The other downside is that you have to supply the heating pad/ice pack yourself.
4. Ironman IFT 1000 Infrared Therapy – Best Inversion Table for Back Pain
The heating elements are ultra thin and made from carbon fiber. This ensures that don’t affect your overall comfort throughout the session. There is an LCD control panel that allows you to adjust the temperature to your exact liking-up to 140 degrees- as well as a remote control (batteries included).The benefit of heating+inversion is that you get increased blood flow (circulation), energy, and healing time for injuries such as sprains. These benefits-combined with the table’s comfort and reliability- make for an impressively therapeutic machine.
The actual support limit for this table is not as high as other machines, so this may be a point of concern for some users. Additionally, there have been complaints that the unit is hard to assemble, so it wil may take from 1 hour average to 2 (maximum) for assembly. That being said, the table is reputed to be very sturdy, so the difficult assembly does not come with safety concerns.
5. Ironman Gravity 4000 – Best Inversion Table for Sciatica
The Ironman is the #1 best selling inversion table on Amazon for a reason. It is built to last, has a high weight tolerance, and is easy to assemble. All of this comes at a very reasonable price as well. These standout features make Ironman tables a constant in our “best of” lists. You know you are getting a quality product at a fair (although not cheap) price.
That being said, this is probably the best overall table for the money. Ironman tables are actually used by ironman athletes. If you didn’t know, the Ironman Triathlon involves a marathon, 2.1 mile swim, and 112 mile long bike ride. These athletes subject their bodies to extreme rigors, and many look to the Ironman Inversion System to provide disc decompression and muscle relaxation.
Some features that make this model a standout are its ankle locking system and safety. The patented locking system allows for easy adjustment, and the ergonomic design prevents your ankles from hurting during inversion. This is an underrated features, but ankle impingement from inversion is a common (and painful) complaint. The extra wide tubular frame which we discussed and commended for its ability to fit multiple body types. The second is the scratch resistant powder coating that will keep the machine from looking beat up in the long run. The handles are extra long, and covered with foam to make them easy to grip. The increased length means that you can easily raise yourself to the upright position even from complete (180 degree) inversion. Now you have no need to fear being stuck in the inverted position. The floor skids are made from a tough rubber to prevent the unit from moving around, and they provide a feeling of concrete stability. The table itself is made of memory foam covered by a tough, water-resistant vinyl. The ankle locks are ergonomic to avoid pinching, and they are adjusted by a patented lever that is usable (without bending) even from an inverted position.
In regards to storage and adjustment, the Gravity 4000 can be folded up for “convenient” storage. Based on reviewers, the machine is still unwieldy and hard to store. Either way it is better than nothing. There is also a safety tether that allows you to set the maximum angle of inversion. Some people do not like inverting completely, and this safety strap allows them to specify their exact preference for inversion.
One trait that reviewers seem to love about this machine is that it never wobbles and is easy to unfold. When you are being held upside down you want to be confident that you are safe, and the Ironman Gravity provides that security. Heavy guys often suffer from back pain due to the increased forces of gravity acting upon them. Having a table that caters to people of all body types is extremely helpful.
6. Conquer 6-in-1 Inversion Table Power Tower – Best Inversion Table for Lower Back Pain
For many consumers it is hard to justify spending upwards of a hundred dollars on a machine with only one function-back pain relief. These consumers may wish to experience the relaxing/rejuvenating benefits of inversion, but do not endure excruciating back pain to the point where pain relief alone would justify the purchase. For these consumers there is this 6 in 1 table made by Conquer. The Conquer Power Tower not only serves as a sturdy inversion machine in its own right, but also allows for five other exercises. Let’s dive into what makes this innovative product so exceptional.
The five additional exercises that can be performed using the power tower are: chin ups, push ups, dips (with legs on floor), dips (legs hanging), and leg lifts. We agree that counting the two different types of dips as separate exercises is a bit sly, but that doesn’t detract from the overall usefulness of the machine. Through chin ups you’ll be able to craft a strong, powerful back that is both aesthetically pleasing and functional. Push ups continue this theme of building functional strength by strengthening the chest and triceps. Both varieties of dips work the chest and triceps, and leg lifts offer a killer core workout. The bottom line is that with this table you have a way of hitting important muscle groups, and relieving back tension. It is the best of both worlds.
Now that we have mentioned its practical features, let’s discuss the logistics of purchasing a power tower from Conquer. The first concern is that this machine is quite large (huuuuge) and will take up a significant amount of space in your home. When the legs are extended the square area taken up by them amounts to 48 by 25 inches. If you have the room then this is no issue, but for people trying to save space this could be a major problem. Another issue is that the instructions are very difficult to understand, and the included diagrams are not that helpful. One reviewer bemoaned that you need a Rosetta Stone in order to assemble the table. Thankfully, there is an excellent setup video on youtube that provides clearer instructions, and streamlined the setup process for many reviewers.Finally, the system for locking the table at a certain degree of inversion is not the most reliable. If you struggle to raise yourself from an inverted position (even with the use of handles) then we would suggest a different table.
NOTE: The weight limit of this unit is 220lb which is less than some competing models. If you are a big guy, we would recommend the Ironman 4000 as a sturdier alternative.
7. Ironman iControl 600 – Best Inversion Table for the Money
We have seen some of Ironman’s previous innovative inversion tables, but this is one of their best, because it solves a problem many people have with inversion therapy-instability. What we mean is the difficulty of locking the table at a certain degree of inversion. Other tables provide a clunky method where you can fix the degree by using a nylon strap. The only problem is that this requires you to know in advance what angle you prefer. If you make a mistake, you have to get off the machine-adjust the strap-and get back on. What a chore, if only there was a better way.
The iControl provides a solution to this problem through its inventive disc brake technology, which allows you to control where the inversion process stops while lying down. There is a small lever on the right hand side of the machine that is long enough to allow for control in any position. Simply pull back the lever to lock the table in any position. This not only makes the process comfortable, but it also allows for secure use in the 180 degree position. This means you can do exercises like inverted sit ups with confidence that the table will not shift. Additionally, you can lock the table in more customized position such as 42.5 degrees whereas with tether controlled units you would be limited to set degree values such as 40/60/90 etc.
Aside from the disk brake system, the iControl also emphasizes comfort with a foam backrest that is 2.75 inches thick. The ribbed foam is light and airy, so as to provide even support and uniform comfort. Since we are on the topic of comfort, the ankle ratchet system is easy to use and comfortable.
A few technical notes. The machine is incredibly large, and advertised as “storable,” but in reality you should expect to leave it in place. In its folded state it is still large, and even the process of folding the machine is difficult. In regards to overall construction the frame is sturdy, and is UL certified for safety and endurance.
8. Innova ITM4800 – Inversion Table for Hip Pain
Innovation is hard to come by in the inversion therapy space, but Innova (as its name would suggest) has managed to do just that with their ITM4800. The ITM combines the potency of two advanced inversion machine therapies-heat and massage-to create a truly therapeutic user experience. Today we will be taking a closer look at this pain relieving device.
The heat and massage features are reserved for the lumbar region. The massage has multiple vibration settings to allow for more personalized comfort. The heat seems to be uniformly distributed, and adds to the soothing effects of this product. The lack of full back rest coverage by both the massage and heat features is disappointing, but they seem to do an adequate job with the lower back area they target.
Aside from the novel features mentioned in the above paragraphs, this table also has a solid pin locking system that allows the table to be locked in any degree of inversion. Although this falls short of iControl’s brake system it is superior to a tether strap. The ankle locks are well made and comfortable, and the overall construction is commendable.
The main complaints with this table are that it can be hard to store, and that assembly can be difficult. These are problems that the i-table industry as a whole seems to struggle with.
9. Health Mark IV18600 – Inversion Table for Back Stretches
This product takes a different approach than the other models we have mentioned thus far. It is meant to be used while seated. There are some standout advantages to this. One of them is that there is no chance of ankle pain. As we have mentioned in “standing” table reviews, one of the main problems manufacturers try to solve is painful ankle holds. The Health Mark avoids this by allowing the user to invert from a seated position. There is no more focusing on holding oneself up or staying comfortable-simply relax and let gravity do its work.
One of the differences with an inversion seat is that the maximum inversion is 70 degrees. This is not as much as the 180 of a “standing unit,” but it does provide for great decompression and relief. Another difference is the level of initial comfort with seated inversion is greater. It is a little intimidating to hang upside down, but if you are in the seated position it feels much safer.
10. Health Mark Pro Max – Inversion Table for Herniated Disc
One of our favorite features of the Pro Max is the ability to invert in either the face up or face down position. All other tables that we have covered can only be used while lying on your back. The face down position can be more relaxing, but has the added benefit of allowing the unit to function as a massage table. This is especially useful if the table is meant to be used in a commercial setting like a chiropractor’s office.
Another standout feature are the extra long wraparound handles. They ensure that you can always bring yourself back to an upright position. Being stuck in the upside down can be terrifying, so it is good to know that you always have accessible support. These handles are complemented by 5 preset incline settings, so you can specify just “how low you want to go.”
The final point that we highlighted in the quick facts section is the incredible weight tolerance of the Health Mark. The 600 pound support limit is far far above the competition, which normally caps out at the 350-400lb range. This high weight limit ensures that even incredibly heavy set people will be able to reap the benefits of inversion therapy-another reason this product is an ideal candidate for commercial use.
Bonus Product Reviews
The Inversion Belt: The accessory you didn’t know you needed
We have mentioned time and time again the potential for ankle pain when using inversion tables. There are multiple solutions: ergonomic ankle clamps, seated chairs, or even inversion anti gravity boots. The problem with many of these is that they don’t work with your existing table. It can be a hassle to go out and buy a new table (and return an existing one) but ankle pain can make inversion therapy impossible. The inversion belt comes in to fix this problem.
The belt works by placing the weight of your body on your lower torso instead of your ankles. It is made like a rock climbing belt, and hooks onto the ankle locks on your existing table. When you lie back instead of having the strain placed on your ankles it is transferred to your torso for a much more comfortable session. Note, your ankles are still in the proper position to be supported by the ankle holds, but the weight is directed to the belt instead.
The main downside to this fascinating product is the incredibly high price. For people who experience ankle pain while inverting this may be their only option. Regardless, I encourage everyone to watch the instructional video to get a better feel for how the product works.
History of the Inversion Table
Inversion as a treatment for illness was pioneered (as with many other innovations) by the Greeks. Specifically, Hippocrates who was said to have hung his patients upside down from a ladder in order to realign their spine and cure disease. Hippocrates was onto something, and in the 1960s Dr. Robert Martin invented gravity boots, which allowed users to hang themselves, by means of the special boots, to a metal bar. Twenty years later in 1980 inversion equipment (including tables) were being created by a variety of manufacturers. Now inversion therapy is used by military rangers to athletes, and studies are constantly being done to prove its efficacy/lack thereof.
What about Anti-Gravity Boots?
While reading about inversion therapies you probably have heard of anti gravity boots. These are boots with hooks that attach to a suspended bar. They allow the user to hang upside down without exerting themselves. There are a few disadvantages to this system.
- Getting off: It can be difficult to detach yourself from the bar if you are hanging by your feet. A significant amount of core strength is required to pull yourself up from an inverted position to the level of the bar.
- Adjustability: You are limited to 180 degree inversion (completely upside down) or nothing. With a table you can set how much inversion you want, so it is easier to acclimate yourself to the feeling of being upside down.
- Price: This is the one advantage of the anti gravity suspension boots. They are oftentimes four times cheaper than tables that invert.
Inversion Table Benefits
Here’s where it get’s really interesting. There are dozens of interesting benefits associated with inversion therapy. Some of these claims are not backed by research, so take them with a grain of salt.
- Improve Posture: The problem of poor posture is attacked on two fronts. First, the table helps relax tense muscles that are used to bad posture. Second, the spine is decompressed, which relieves a lot of the stress that was placed on it and allows you to sit up straighter.
- Boosts Immunity: Inversion gives your all important lymphatic system help in moving fluids throughout your body. When the lymphatic system is functioning properly you are less likely to get sick.
- Decompresses Spine: The discs in your spine become pushed together throughout the day due to high impact activities and gravity. Compressed spines are uncomfortable, and dangerous. Inversion allows the spine to be stretched, and synovial fluid to flow between the discs nourishing them. This gentle stretch will make you slightly (and for a short period of time) taller and help relieve any pain caused by compression
- Relieve Sciatic Nerve Pain: A study done at Newcastle University found that herniated disc patients with sciatic nerve pain had their condition significantly improved after using an inversion table in conjunction with their physical therapy.
- Mental Performance: Hanging upside down increases the amount of blood flow (oxygen to the brain). This leads to better memory and creativity. Many famous creatives (like the author Dan Brown) love their inversion tables for the cognitive benefits.
- Lowers Stress: When your body isn’t tense you are no’t. This simply fact results in you feeling relaxed and rejuvenated when you finish an inversion session.
- Core Exercise: A lesser used function of these tables is their potential for exercising. While in the inverted position you can perform sit up. The extra strain of gravity, and the lack of assistance from your legs (as opposed to ground sit ups) ensures that you get a killer core workout. Working your abdominal muscles and relaxing your back are some of the most universally helpful fitness techniques.
Quick Tip for Spinal Decompression if you don’t have (can’t afford) an inversion table
I personally don’t own an inversion table, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t actively work to decompress my spine. I work out on a regular basis, and the heavy loads I am moving can cause some spinal tension. My favorite way of relieving this tension is to hang from my doorway pullup bar.
I slowly relax my lower body, until I can feel a stretch in my low back. I hang for about a minute or so to let my low back recover. This is nowhere near the level of relaxation or comfort of an inversion table, but it works in a pinch.
The main downside to hanging from a pullup bar is that your hang time is limited by your grip strength. Even if your back is feeling relaxed, your arms will be straining as you try to retain your hold on the bar.
We hope you enjoyed our information, reviews, and recommendations. We are by no means the end all be all in this field, but we sure have scoured Amazon for a great variety of tables and products. This was a lengthy article to write, so we would love for you to share it with friends, or toss us a like on facebook. That being said, here’s our final thoughts on tables and the value of inversion.
Inversion machines are by no means a cure all. They won’t help you lose weight or make you multiple streams of passive income. What they will do is provide relief (temporary or long-lasting depending on who you ask) from nagging back pain, and improve your circulation. These tables come in a variety of styles, and allow you to pick one that will provide you with the exact style of relaxation and relief you prefer. Whether it be heating or massage, memory foam or vinyl there is an inversion table to fit your needs. What’s certain is that using one will definitely give you a new perspective on life.