Thank you for stopping by. Today I want to walk you through my best inversion table guide. This guide will help to answer some questions and point out things to look for when you are shopping for an inversion table. When you are ready to start shopping, check out my post best inversion tables for back pain.
Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase. Click here for details.
Inversion tables can be a really big help to people who deal with chronic back pain. That said, you should always consult your doctor before you begin using an inversion table. The basic premise behind an inversion table is to help relieve pressure from discs in your back. These discs act as shock absorbers for the vertebrae that make up your spine. These discs become compressed during the day, whether you are sitting or standing, and using an inversion table can help by decompressing the discs. See my post here how do inversion tables work.
I have been dealing with back problems most of my adult life, you can check out my story here. Inversion tables are not a cure-all, and you do have to be careful when using one. Like I mentioned, check with your doctor before you begin using an inversion table. I have used inversion tables when recovering from injuries. I have had sciatica as well as spinal stenosis. Now I use my inversion table a couple of times per week, I like how it feels and it helps to stretch the muscles in my lower back as well.
Since I own and use an inversion table, I have a pretty good idea of things to look for. So, with that, I want to get right into it.
The height of the user – Inversion tables are adjustable for different heights of users. Typically this adjustment is done by adjusting the length of the shaft. Tables can accommodate a wide variety of heights, ranging from (but not limited to) 4’10” to 6’6″.
The weight of the user – User weights can vary I have seen some rate from 200 pounds, and some all the way up to 400 pounds. Now these are just the machines for home use and there may be some higher capacity tables out there, but this gives you an idea of the weight range you can look for.
Height/Weight ratio – This may sound a little strange, but your height/weight ratio comes into play with an inversion table. You will need to test the table, preferably with someone there to help you. Usually, you can set the height on the shaft and you are good to go. In my case, I had to use a slightly different setting than my actual height. You are trying to achieve balance so that ultimately you can lean against the backrest and use your arms to control your up and down movement. This will depend on your height/weight ratio.
Foldable for storage – Most tables will fold in half and can be stored. Now, this is not the easiest thing in the world to do. You have to understand that an inversion table weighs around 50-60 pounds and it is a very awkward item to move, especially if you are recovering from an injury.
With mine, the backrest comes off pretty easy, but I still don’t like to break it down all the way to put it under my bed or in a closet. I lean it up in the corner of my bedroom. That isn’t very popular with my wife, but she deals with it.
I have recently seen some tables that have wheels built into the frame for easier transport. I think this is genius and I wish more manufacturers would do this.
Inversion angle adjustment – There are some tables that come with preset slots, like 15, 30, 45, 60 degreee angles, preset and all you do is screw a pin into the angle you want. These are great and easy to use, especially if you have multiple people using the table. Other tables, like mine, have a tether strap. This strap lets you literally adjust the inversion table to any angle you want, including full inversion. With the presets you can leave the pin completely out and achieve full inversion. Some manufacturers are okay with this and some are not. It is best to check if that is something you want to be able to do.
Ankle lock system – This is one area I am fairly particular about. My inversion table, and one of the reasons I bought it, has an extended handle release system. Having been in situations with sciatica, where it was very painful to bend over, I needed an extra long handle so when I was done inverting, I could easily release my feet. Some of the tables have very short release handles, requiring you to bend over pretty far. Anyway, this again will be personal preference, but something to consider.
Another thing to think about is the design of the ankle holders themselves. A lot of tables have a foam roller for the front and back. Some have a U-shaped cup for the front and back, which is what I prefer. I like to distribute the weight a little more with this style.
Can you fully invert – If you want to be able to fully invert, make sure you consider a table that will allow for this. Some people like to do sit-ups while they are inverting, so that is one reason to invert completely.
Quality of construction – Of course you want a table that is well built and sturdy. You don’t want to feel like the table is going to collapse when you use it. If this will be used by large people, make sure the table is appropriately weight rated. Ironman makes some really sturdy tables that will support up to 400 pounds in some cases. You want a solid steel, well-built table that you can have confidence in.
Heat or massage – There are inversion tables that have heating and massage incorporated into the backrest. If this is something you are interested in, you have options. The thing is, you might be paying more for something you may not use all the time. Also, I typically don’t invert for all that long, typically 5-10 minutes a few times per week. I think I can do without the heat and massage for that time frame. But to each their own and if you want it you can certainly get it.
Adjustable footrest – Humans are not one size fits all. Some inversion tables have the ability to adjust the footrest height so that the ankle supports will fit you properly. This is a great feature, especially if you try to jam your ankles into a spot where they just don’t want to fit.
Adjustable headrest – With taller and shorter people using an inversion table, it is nice to have an adjustable headrest. Keep this in mind when you are shopping. Some of the tables have a backrest that is one solid piece with an adjustable pillow, while others will have a separate headrest.
Handles – These are the long handles that are on either side of the inversion table. These are typically covered in foam so they are comfortable to grab onto. The handles can be used to assist when you are returning to the upright position, or also hold you vertical when you are giving your back a break from inverting. Ideally, if you are sized appropriately for the table, you can literally control your movements with your arms and you won’t need the handles, but just in case, they are there for you.
Non-slip base – Depending on what type of floor you have, hard surface or carpet, this may or may not be a concern. This is just something to consider if you will be using your inversion table on a hard surface. For carpet, it should not really matter.
Try before you buy
If possible, this is always a great option. If there is an inversion table at your gym, or at a sporting goods store you may want to give it a try before you take the plunge and purchase one. If not you will definitely want to see what the return policy is for the one you decide to purchase.
This is a big one if you are buying an inversion table, especially if you can’t try it out first. Make sure the company has a solid warranty and find out what the return policy is. You want to buy with confidence!
Other things to consider
Some machines will have a bar or handgrip, on the base of the unit, that you can grab onto while you are upside down. This helps you increase the stretch, or help you stretch from side to side. It is a nice addition, but certainly not a necessity. My inversion table has slots on the backrest itself where I can grab on if I want to stretch out the sides of my body.
So, there you have it. I have done my best to give you some things to think about before you jump in and purchase an inversion table. At the top of this post, I have a link to various inversion tables if you are interested in more information on specific tables.
Other than that, if you have any questions or comments, please leave them in the comments section below, or email me directly. I will get back to you just as soon as I can.
Let’s try to get other people involved in the discussion as well.
Have you tried an inversion table?
What features do you think are most important?