After 24 hours of research evaluating 32 products, we picked Ironman Gravity 4000 Inversion Table as our top choice.
There are two reasons you want to think about getting the best inversion table you can find. The first is that you can work your abs in your home gym.
But, many people are looking for inversion table benefits that are perhaps more important, to help with their immense back pain.
Your back – or rather your spine – takes the brunt of the nerve damage while your vertebrae compress under the weight of gravity and the position of your hunched body over a computer. Inversion therapy can counteract that.
Our inversion table reviews used evaluation methods that include both benefits.
What are the benefits?
The obvious benefit of inversion therapy is the release of back pressure on nerves and the spreading of the vertebrae. Other benefits include: released joint pressure, increased circulation, and more.
Want to know the best part?
We have compiled a list of the best inversion table for your specific needs. No lying, this was one of the fiercest lists to assemble.
So, while there aren’t a lot of inversion tables on this list, you can be certain we spent ages making sure we really did have the best available. Now, on to relieving your back pain.
This packs away simply and easily while still being sturdy enough to handle up to 300 pounds. The pin system makes for easy locking into place.
Even though it folds away, you’ll need to lay it on the ground or lean it against a wall. It also doesn’t do a complete 90º angle.
The frame is heavy-gauge steel and the padded backrest is longer and wider than average. While there aren’t any frills, it’s still sturdy and durable.
There’s a 4-position adjustable safety pin to lock you into place; don’t expect any slipping. The U-frame bar design is safer than the 4 points used in previous models. And the safety handles will help you to revert back to the upright position. Keep in mind, however, that there aren’t ankle locks.
The foam is mixed with ergonomic molded cushioning for as much comfort as you can get while your ankles do a lot of the work.
Height and weight limits: Totally standard capacity of 6’6” and 300 pounds.
Dimensions: Assembled: 46”L x 28”W x65"H. It does pack away, but the dimensions don’t change drastically.
It’s under $100 and you still get a 1-year warranty on the frame. That’s really incredible, isn’t it?
This is a budget inversion table and probably should be judged only against other budget tables. That said, this is really not a bad machine at all. And, there are some improvements from previous models – both on comfort and safety.
But, you shouldn’t expect lengthy lists of features when looking at the price of this machine. There are some drawbacks, though some users are willing to forget them.
For a start, it doesn’t offer a full 90º inversion; you’ll get as far as 80º (and there are also 20º, 40º, and 60º angles you can lock into place). That said, it works with a pin system rather than a strap system. And the padded back and headrest will keep you comfortable while hanging out at these angles. Additionally, there aren’t any ankle locks; you’ll need to hold yourself in place, though the foam and molded cushioning make this as comfortable as possible.
Assembly should take about an hour and the instructions are clear. (Plus, there are pictures to make it even easier.) And it folds away quickly and easily as well. Given that it weighs just 55 pounds, you should be able to pack it away on your own.
Overall, you can expect value for money with this machine, but you should move along if you’re uncomfortable working without ankle locks, need a full 90º, or prefer a range of features.
In addition to the long warranty and super comfortable bed, this baby can fold away for storage. Better still, it arrives 90% pre-assembled; the manufacturer believes it will take 13 minutes, but we estimate 20-30.
Though it does claim to fully invert, it’s a little difficult with the tether strap to preset it to a full 90º (or 180º - depending on the measurement you use).
Made with heat-treated carbon steel, this baby has auto-locking hinges. We love the squeak-free pivot bearings. Because it’s not covered with pillows or nylon, it should last longer. The bed itself is made from comfortable, flexible plastic.
This is perhaps the only table with a UK 1647 safety rating – so you’ll feel wonderfully secure, even as you hang there. We’re also fans of the auto-locking hinges and the thick, non-skid stabilizers.
The curved ankle supports reduce pressure on your ankles. It’s an EZ Ankle lock system, so you won’t need to do a lot of bending.
Height and weight limits: It’s absolutely standard with its ability to handle users up to 6’6” with a max of 300 pounds.
Dimensions: Assembled: 66”L x 29”W x 59"H. When folded, it measures 66”L x 29”W x 20”H. It weighs 67 pounds which certainly isn’t the heaviest.
We certainly think the $370 price tag is value for money considering what this table can do, but it’s pushing on the expensive side. (Cheap models cost less than $100 but others can push up towards $800.) But, you do get an impressive 5-year warranty.
The first thing you’ll notice about this Teeter inversion table is that assembly is super simple. It’s 90% pre-assembled and the instructions for the remaining bits are easy to follow. You can set aside a mere 30 minutes before you climb onto it – and that’s including your individual adjustments.
While it does invert fully, it’s difficult to lock it into a full 90º inversion. Luckily, there is a small pillow for head support when not hanging completely upside down. (Yes, it’s adjustable.) And there are a small, but totally useful number of preset angles.
We know the flexible plastic doesn’t look totally appealing or comfortable, but the acupressure nodes and lumbar bridge accessories on this Teeter inversion table are adjustable, removable, and far more comfortable than they might appear at first. There’s also a DVD with 5 different stretching and strengthening positions if you’re keen on more than simple back pain relief.
Now, we know this is on the more expensive side of the inversion table spectrum, but if safety and ease of use are what matter to you, then you may want to extend your budget to fit this baby. It has impressive safety certifications and you can fold it away in under a minute.
Why not the 960?
In case you’re wondering why we didn’t go with the 960 model, we must tell you that it was a difficult decision. Both models have impressive safety features and carry the same 5-year warranty. In fact, they’re remarkably similar.
While there are small differences between the two Teeter inversion table models, we didn’t feel they justified the (roughly $100) higher price. While the 960 offers a triple ankle lock system, the 560 is compatible with inversion boots. The 960 works with the EZ angle tether strap and has preset 20º, 40º, and 60º angles. The 560 uses an adjustable angle tether strap to reach more without as many presets. If you think one of these differences is enough to move you, then check out the Teeter Hang Ups EP-960 Inversion Table. It might be the right one for you, though many users don’t find the higher (standard) price tag to account for the differences.
It’s amazingly sturdy and comfortable with memory foam and lumbar pillow. Set up is easy and there are long handles for inversion control.
This isn’t a light machine and storage may be difficult. Setting different angles may not be as easy as you would like.
Safety handles make inversion and controlling the angle wonderfully easy. There are also vinyl side covers to protect your fingers. Plus, there are wonderfully strong, non-skid, rubber floor stabilizers so you can feel secure while inverting.
There’s a wonderfully long handle on the foot clamp which makes securing your ankles a much more comfortable process. There’s also a palm-activated ratchet ankle-locking system that means there’s almost no discomfort as you can adjust the cushions for ideal tightness.
Height and weight limits: Up to the standard 6’6” in height – and a slightly more than average 350 pounds. (Average is 300 pounds.)
Dimensions: Assembled it measures 49"L x 26"W x 65"H. Folded, it measures 49”L x 65”W x 49”H. It weighs 75 pounds, so you may need help shifting it.
At $200, this is certainly one of the more reasonably priced inversion boards. (The lowest are under $100, and they start to become expensive around $400.) Sadly, the warranty isn’t anything special, you get a 1-year structural frame warranty, plus 90 days on other parts.
Following on from previous Ironman Gravity models, this one is sturdier and far more comfortable. Though it doesn’t fit into the budget range of inversion tables, it’s not on the more expensive side either. And, you will get a lot of value for that money.
Of course, nothing is 100% perfect. The biggest drawback to this machine is the weight. It’s really rather heavy and the non-skid grips can make it difficult to move when packing it away. Plus, you don’t save a huge amount of space when folding it.
However, it’s mostly all positive with this incredible inversion table. Set-up, for example, should take about 60 minutes for 1 person, and it will be a little faster with 2 people (which is certainly recommended when possible).
From a standing position, the table inverts a full 180º and there are 3 adjustments for starting inversion angles with a tether strap for locking inversion angles securely.
To invert, all you need to do is lean back and slowly raise your arms over your head. If you lean back too soon, be sure to adjust the height until you’ve hit the ideal center of gravity. The squeak-less pivot bearings offer a smooth rotation, the vinyl side covers protect your fingers (you’ll need to use your hands as you rotate. And then there's the memory foam padding and removable lumbar pillow for extra comfort.
All in, this is an incredible machine with way more positives than negatives and at a lovely price too.
An inversion table is exactly what it sounds like: a table designed to invert your body for the purpose of lengthening your spine.
The design of the table is fairly simple. It locks into place in a flat position, allowing you to climb onto the table easily. At one end, there will be straps or boots that will lock your ankles and/or feet in place. When you release the lock on the table, it will invert—lowering your head and raising your feet. Thanks to the straps, you will be held securely in place, hanging upside down to provide the benefits of inversion therapy.
On the face of it, inversion therapy seems like a very strange sort of treatment. After all, if hanging upside down worked, why don’t we do it more often? Why hasn’t it become a more popular treatment?
Well, here’s the truth: Hippocrates, the “Father of Medicine”, spoke of inversion therapy as far back as 400 BC. At its core, inversion therapy is intended to counteract the effects of gravity, which pull downward on our spines. By inverting our bodies, we allow gravity to elongate our spines rather than compress them.
Inversion therapy is traditionally used to treat lower back pain, everything from sciatica to slipped discs. By letting gravity elongate the spine, inversion tables help to reduce the pressure on your spinal column and the muscles holding it upright. It’s a decompression that separates the discs, nerves, vertebral bodies, and other structures in your spine. By reducing the pressure on your spine, inversion therapy is intended to relieve lower back pain.
The question is: does the therapy actually work?
The answer is a bit less cut-and-dry than most people might like…
One doctor of the American Board of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation states, “Inversion therapy doesn't provide lasting relief from back pain, and it's not safe for everyone… Well-designed studies evaluating spinal traction have found the technique ineffective for long-term relief. However, some people find traction temporarily helpful as part of a more comprehensive treatment program for lower back pain caused by spinal disk compression.”
The American College of Physicians stated that, “while inversion and other traction therapies do not appear harmful in otherwise healthy people, there is little good-quality evidence for their effectiveness over other techniques.”
According to Harvard Medical School, “A 2006 Cochrane Review (a summary of evidence from randomized trials) concluded that there was no evidence to recommend traction for the treatment of low back pain.”
As you can see, experts pretty much agree that there is no conclusive evidence to indicates long-term health benefits of inversion therapy. However, most of the above-mentioned resources agree that there are “short-term benefits”—specifically, relief from lower back pain—caused by inversion therapy.
It may not be the ultimate long-term solution to your back problems, but if you’re dealing with a muscle spasm, a slipped disc, or some other acute lower back pain, an inversion table may be just what you need to provide temporary relief until you can get to a doctor for proper physical therapy.
As mentioned above, there is no conclusive (proved beyond any scientific doubt) evidence that inversion therapy is truly effective. However, there are a number of potential benefits that you may discover by using this treatment:
Better Spinal Health – Inversion therapy that can help to elongate the spine may be effective at improving spinal health, similar to the way that spinal muscle-strengthening and spinal massage techniques help. Basically, it may be able to restore healthy, efficient movement to your spine, reducing your risk of back pain.
Decrease Need for Surgery – A study dating back to 2012 found that chronic back pain sufferers that used inversion therapy regularly were less likely to require back surgery. 77% of patients that underwent the inversion therapy avoided surgery, while only 22% of those in the control group were able to avoid surgical intervention.
Granted, this was a relatively small group study (just 26 people), that evaluated people with a very specific spinal problem (lumbar discogenic disease, which weakens and thins out the spinal discs). But there’s no denying the evidence, which clearly indicates that inversion therapy is a good way to improve spinal health.
Reduce Chronic Pain – There is some evidence that inversion therapy may be effective for treating chronic back pain. One study found inversion traction at an angle higher than 60% helped to not only reduce chronic back pain, but increased lumbar flexibility and isokinetic trunk extension after just 8 weeks.
Inversion therapy is a non-invasive method of pain relief, and it can ease the pressure on weight-bearing joints. For those suffering from chronic back pain, it can be a potentially effective method of reducing pain—at least in the short-term.
Better Flexibility and Mobility – As your spine compresses, you lose a lot of range of motion and flexibility in the joints between the spinal discs. The best way to counteract this is through exercises and training that enhances mobility and flexibility. However, the elongation of your spine caused by inversion therapy may also be able to increase your movement.
Not only can elongating your spine improve your posture, but it will stretch out those discs and prevent them from compressing too tightly together. The result could be easier movement and greater flexibility.
Relieve Pinched Nerve – A pinched nerve is basically excess pressure placed on your spinal nerves by herniated disks or swollen back muscles. To reduce the pain, you need to decompress the area.
Which is exactly what inversion therapy does! When you hang upside down on the inversion table, you elongate your spine and reduce the pressure all along your spinal column. Inversion therapy is often used to treat the problem of pinched nerves specifically thanks to the decompressive power of the treatment.
Better Circulation – As you hang upside down, your heart has to adapt to the new position and compensate to keep your blood flow as consistent as possible. You’ll feel like all the blood is rushing to your head, which may lead to short-term boosts to your brain function and enhanced mood. When you return to normal, you might find that your circulatory system works better overall, at least for a few hours after inversion.
Note: Inversion poses in Yoga have been linked to enhanced mood and reduced feelings of stress and anxiety. Using an inversion table may have similar effects!
Stretch Muscles and Ligaments – Tight, knotted muscles can cause a whole different type of lower back pain, but inversion therapy can help to stretch out those muscles and loosen the knots. Same for the ligaments and tendons in your joints. Gravity will work to stretch everything, thereby increasing your range of motion and flexibility.
Stimulated Lymph Flow – Did you know that stretching can stimulate your lymph nodes? Not only will this help to increase the flow of lymphatic fluids, but it can increase the elimination of waste products collected by lymphatic fluid and stored in the glands.
Unfortunately, using an inversion table or undergoing any sort of inversion therapy is not without its risks. It’s important that you understand that there are some potentially serious dangers of using this type of treatment.
It’s critical to know that hanging upside down can have serious effects on your heart. First and foremost, it can decrease your heart rate, but it can also increase your blood pressure. For those with existing cardiovascular problems or hypertension, doctors recommend avoiding inversion therapy. The same for people with a history of strokes—the risk of problems is just too high!
Anyone taking medications to clot their blood should avoid inversion therapy, as should those taking medications to control blood pressure.
The rise in blood pressure caused by inversion therapy can cause a rise specifically in your eyes and ears. Those with detached retinas are recommended to avoid the therapy at all costs, as are those with pink eye, glaucoma, and ear infections. Pretty much any sort of head condition can be worsened by inversion therapy, so be aware of that before you get on the inversion table.
It should go without saying that anyone with broken bones should avoid using inversion therapy. Gravity could pull on the healing bone and separate it, causing a re-fracture that could seriously set back recovery. Those with osteoporosis should steer clear—there’s a risk that the inversion could break or damage your bones, specifically your feet, ankle, and leg bones.
One video on YouTube explained some of the dangers of inversion, how the blood rushing to your head can rupture blood vessels or trigger a hemorrhage in your brain. Asphyxiation, or lack of oxygen, can result from the added weight placed on your lungs by your lower organs.
Those with hernias are also counseled against using inversion tables, and anyone with obesity. If you have an implanted device or a serious spinal injury, you should also be very cautious with any sort of inversion therapy. And definitely, DEFINITELY avoid the treatment if you are pregnant!
The first step is buying an inversion table and setting it up in your home, but once that’s done, what comes next? Below, we answer a few questions that you need to know about the therapy:
Should I wear specific clothing to invert? Absolutely! You want to wear something comfortable and loose, but the really important thing to wear is athletic or tennis shoes. Proper shoes will give your feet and ankles more support when they are strapped in place. NEVER invert bare-footed!
How often should I invert? There isn’t really a “one-size-fits-all” answer to this question. Some people invert once every couple of days, while others invert several times a day. Ideally, you want to invert when you’re feeling a twinge or ache in your back, as gravity will help to loosen up sore, stiff, or knotted muscles. If you have chronic back pain, you may find that inverting multiple times a day can help to combat the pain. However, you should listen to your body when you invert. If you do it too much, you may find yourself dealing with nasty side effects (including dizziness, headaches, nausea, high blood pressure, and more).
How long should I invert? NO MORE than 5-10 minutes! As you saw above, inversion therapy does come with some risks, and those risks get riskier the longer you spend inverted.
Newbies should start off with just a minute or two until their bodies grow accustomed to relaxing while inverted. Once you’re feeling comfortable with it, go up to 3 to 5 minutes, and see how your body reacts.
Some experts say that frequency is more important than duration—multiple shorter periods of inversion throughout the day could be more effective than one long inversion session. Plus, the risk of side effects is lower when your inversion sessions are shorter.
When should I invert? It’s recommended that you avoid inverting first thing in the morning or too late at night. In the morning, you’re fresh out of bed, so your body is adjusting after a full night of rest and recovery. Your blood pressure is also higher in the morning. Usually, it’s best you wait a couple of hours until inverting.
At night, inverting just before going to sleep can raise your blood pressure, which can make it harder to fall asleep. Your best time is an hour or two before you get to sleep—that way, you get the pain relief, but without the rise in blood pressure.
Can I stretch while I invert? Absolutely! In fact, it’s recommended that you take advantage of your time upside down to add in a few neck, shoulder, arm, and back stretches. You’ll find that the decompression of your spine can do wonders to loosen up knotted muscles and tight joint tissue. Add in a few stretches, and you’ll walk away from your inversion session feeling a whole lot better.
Is there anything I can do to make my inversion more effective? You can try using acupressure nodes on the table’s surface, which will apply pressure directly to specific parts of your spine and body for more effective decompression. Vibration cushions can help to reduce muscle tension and really relax your body.
Is there a “correct” posture for inverting? Most experts recommend raising your arms over your head, as the weight of your arms will pull on your spine to elongate it more efficiently. However, if this position causes you pain, you can keep your arms by your side or fold them atop your chest.
It’s an old wives tale that “hanging upside down will help you grow taller”. Your body’s skeletal structure will only grow exactly as large as your DNA has programmed it to. Inversion tables won’t make you taller, plain and simple.
However, and this is a big one, the decompression of your spine and stretching of your muscles will extend your spinal column. Over years, our spines tend to compress due to bad posture and strain, so we start shrinking one millimeter at a time. By elongating your spine, you may be able to “recover” some of the height you’ve “lost” over the years. It’s not actually growing taller, but more of a restoration of healthy spinal length and better posture caused by inversion therapy.
Inversion tables aren’t the only way that you can try inversion therapy at home. There are other options you can consider:
Gravity boots – Also known as inversion boots, these are heavy-duty ankle wraps that hang from a suspension device or bar to allow you to hang upside down. They’re similar to the straps that secure you to the inversion table, but a full-foot boot designed to hook onto a bar or suspension device. They invert you fully upside down, which can be a bit more dangerous than the angle used by inversion tables. However, for those with a good deal of inversion experience, they can be a way to enhance the inversion therapy.
Inversion chairs – These work similar to inversion tables, but instead of standing up (arms and legs extended), an inversion chair works with you at a sitting posture (legs bent). They tend to run about the same price as an inversion table, and their effects are similar.
Yoga – Yes, Yoga can help to elongate and decompress your spine through the various inversion poses—Plow Pose, Shoulder Stands, Headstands, and Handstands. Many of the Yoga disciplines involve some form of inversion pose. They are challenging and require a high level of fitness, but they can be an excellent option to treat lower back pain without an inversion table.