by Craig Blake
Inversion tables are designed to hold a person upside down and counteract gravity's attempt to pull your head down around your feet. Inversion table benefits have a large range. The action of using an inversion table decompresses the spine as gravity makes the blood-flow change slightly and helps the lymphatic system pull toxins from the system. Inversion therapy is a sports and fitness program that began with Hippocrates 24 centuries ago and, today, is used by pro sports teams, professional gyms and medical facilities as well as for home gym machines. This inversion table buying guide will help you figure out how to buy inversion machines that will best meet your needs.
About inversion tables: Inversion therapy tables are considered weight machines, even though they have no weights; the user's body provides the weight needed to stretch the back and joints. After all, if you have a whole planet tugging on you, you might as well make good use of it. Since you will be hanging from your ankles, you want an inversion table that will support your full weight so that your fitness equipment will last for many years. Before buying an inversion table, make sure to read some inversion table reviews. Regardless of their features, be sure to pick the best inversion table for you.
Frame: Make sure the degree of inversion is controllable. You should start with shallow angles, then work your way up to 60 or 90 degrees. Frames come static for dedicated exercise rooms or foldable for those with less space. Most frames specify minimum and maximum weights for users, and some also list minimum and maximum heights. The stability of the frame will depend on its size -- the larger footprint being more stable. This is an important consideration for larger users or those who want to actively exercise while inverted.
Platform and clamps: How you hold your body in position will vary by model. Generally, you'll stand on a platform and secure a clamp around your ankles. Feet are not, of course, the same size, so an adjustable platform is a must. For those who can't or prefer not to hang by the ankles, a padded knee bar provides a great alternative.
Back pads: Thick pads are more comfortable than thin pads, obviously, but bulkier isn't necessarily better. Look for quality, rather than quantity. Some pads have a notch at the top, allowing users to rest face down as well as face up. Some inversion table models have removable pads to allow greater freedom for exercise routines. Alternatively, a molded bed in a mesh or honeycomb design with little or no padding is an attractive option.
Motor: In economy-model fitness inversion tables, the user rotates the bed. Premium models are power inversion tables; you can move up or down with the flick of a switch.
Vibration pads: Vibration pads attach to the inversion therapy table bed for a muscle-relaxing work over, a marvelous add-on for inversion bed users who can't afford an in-house massage therapist. A hand brake can hold the inversion exercise table steady while you mount and dismount.