How to Use an Inversion Table

13 November 2015

Inversion therapy, and inversion tables in particular, aren't the newest additions to the health world, and have been known as a potential cure for a range of conditions, many relating to chronic back pain, for quite some time. Long-lasting back pain can affect people both in their work life and in any sporting endeavours they may undertake, the solution for which is as much the desire of athletes as that of anyone who favours a pain-free back! Despite this, many people are still unaware of the range of benefits that inversion tables can bring, understandably unnerved by the idea of being strapped in and turned upside down!

What is an Inversion Table?

Inversion tables are devices that allow the user to be suspended either at an inverted angle, or fully upside down, while hanging from the legs, ankles or feet. While this may not sound like many peoples' idea of a good time, it has a variety of therapeutic benefits. Hanging in an inverted position can cause the joints of the back to be stretched and expanded, perfect for relieving pressure on the vertebrae and potentially releasing trapped nerves. It can also help increase flexibility, and realign your joints. Those who suffer from back pain may find that literally taking the weight off their shoulders by taking a spin on an inversion table can be the difference between suffering through everyday and gaining a new lease of life.

How to Use an Inversion Table

Before you start with your inversion therapy, you should make sure you know properly how to use an inversion table:

  • First of all, the table should be secured on a flat surface Ensure that all the joints, straps and pivot points are properly connected. This should be done every time you use the table, where safety is key. Whichever table you buy should have a manual telling you how to properly do this, and properly consulting the set instructions is vital to safe and effective use of your table.
  • When you use an inversion table for the first time you should make sure someone is with you, to ensure that you're perfectly safe. This is because hanging upside down can be potentially risky for people with certain health conditions. For the vast majority of people, though, inversion tables are a great device and their benefits cannot be understated. 
  • Wear lace up shoes when you use the inversion table. This will give you extra support - do not use the table with bare feet.
  • Pre-set the angle of inversion - you should start with a more modest angle, such as 20 - 30 degrees, and slowly work your way up to around 60 degrees over a matter of weeks. If you are comfortable fully inverting (90 degrees) then that is fine, but any angle over 60 degrees will most likely help decompress the spine, and pushing yourself past this point is not entirely necessary.

What Can You Do Whilst Inverted?

Once you are inverted, you can either just relax and stay still, or engage in mobility exercises. Here are some of the options:

Intermittent Traction is 1-2 minutes of inversion with rest periods in between. This is especially helpful for people who are just getting used to the feeling of inversion.

Oscillation is slow and rhythmic rotation down and up. This creates a “pumping” action in the spine which can help to stimulate circulation and fluid movement into the discs in the spine.

Stretching can be done at partial or full inversion with torso rotations or using the frame, Traction or Grip-and-Stretch Handles to add decompression.

Exercises should only be performed from full inversion in the locked position. Crunches, full-range sit-ups, and squats provide a great way to strengthen muscles with virtually no loads to your joints.

Ready for an Inversion Conversion?

The most well-respected brand of inversion tables, along with accessories such as gravity boots, are available on the think sport website, made by Teeter. So what are you waiting for? Click here to shop the whole range of Teeter products.