The Best Inversion Table Exercises To Try Right Now

a woman doing a yoga pose

To be completely honest, no one’s quite sure who invented inversion therapy. Poke around on the internet, and you’ll find pictures of spinal-stretching contraptions that date back to the Hippocratic time of 460 BC. I’ll admit, a Hippocratic bench looks too much like a torture device, but an inversion table is a different story. They just look sporty. In short, an inversion table uses gravity to decompress the spine and gently stretch the muscular system. The power of inversion therapy can be multiplied using simple exercises while inverted. Let’s take a look at some of the best inversion table exercises around.

The Best Inversion Table Exercises to Learn

a man doing inversion table exercises

1. The Body Stretch

Starting with a moderate inversion angle, simply let your body elongate as gravity pulls on every joint and spinal link in your body. Let your arms fall limp above your head and breathe deeply. Release all tension from your midriff and allow gravity to pull your internal organs towards your shoulders. Use this exercise for five minutes. Work your way up to 15 minutes as your body gets accustomed to being inverted. Although this is the simplest of all inversion table exercises, the relief it provides from back pain is significant.

2. Inverted Crunches

Core-building crunches are a great exercise to start with once you have relaxed your inverted body. Ignore the coins falling from your pockets and simply do crunches just like you would do in a normal workout. Remember that crunches only require you to lift your head and shoulders several inches towards your knees. Save proper sit ups for another exercise.

3. Inverted Sit Ups

To focus on a broader muscle group, do complete sit ups. Start by touching your knees with every repetition. If you are able, lock your hands behind your head and bring your elbows to your knees. Never tug on the back of your neck while doing sit ups.

4. Torso Arches

Raise the middle of your back off the inversion table while keeping your glutes and shoulders in place. Hold this pose for a few seconds and then relax your back as it returns to the table. This is where your inversion table exercises begin to look like inverted yoga. Repeat this exercise 15 times.

5. Side Stretches

Place your left arm on your waist and extend your right arm up and over your head. Move your shoulders to the left as if you are trying to do a cartwheel. ten flex your core muscles on the right and stretch your core on the left. Hold this pose for 15 seconds and then allow gravity to pull your body straight again. Alternate from left to right for 10 repetitions.

6. Inverted Squats

Taking a step up in difficulty, perform squats like you might do on a normal visit to the gym. Raise yourself away from the floor by bending your knees and hips. Allow gravity to straighten your body back out slowly. This is a challenging exercise. Start with five reps at first and build your way up from there.

7. Torso Rolls

Although this exercise sounds like something you would put butter on and enjoy with a few slices of turkey, you won’t have to ingest anything while inverted. Cross your right arm over your torso and grasp the left edge of the inversion table near your head. Rotate your torso until you have rolled onto your left side and shoulder. Hold this pose for five seconds and then return to relaxing flat on the table. Alternate back and forth ten times.

8. Head Rolls

Once you advance far enough to be able to fully invert 180 degrees, try an inverted head roll. Bring your chin down to your chest and then roll your head clockwise so your right ear reaches for your right shoulder. Continue this rotation in a full circle. Perform this exercise in a clockwise motion as well as counterclockwise. Five rotations in each direction work well. As you can see, the further you are inverted, the more mobility you will have for this stretch when you roll your head backwards. Full range head rolls work best when you are inverted so far as to be effectively hanging upside down.

9. Intermittent Traction

Due to the fact that your spinal cushions have no blood vessels of their own, but rely on nearby vessels for nourishment, intermittent traction is thought to encourage the discs to draw in fluids and nutrients much like squeezing and releasing a sponge. Although that may sound complex, the exercise is easy to do when your body is perfectly balanced on the inversion table. Begin in with the table perfectly flat as if you were lying on the floor. Shift the weight of your arms up to cause the table to gently invert by 45 degrees. Move your arms the opposite direction to cause the table to travel past your starting position, so your head is raised in the air 45 degrees. Continue this gentle 90 degree rocking for several minutes.

While simply resting on an inversion table provides plenty of health benefits, these inversion table exercises will supercharge the payoff for the time you spend inverted. If you are new to inversion therapy, begin your inversion table exercises while inverted only 25 degrees. As your joints and ligaments become accustomed to inversion, gradually increase the angle until complete inversion is comfortable. If you suffer from back pain or misalignment and have never tried inversion therapy, get to a friend’s house, gym or inversion table dealer and give this a try for yourself.

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