So you’ve got a solid and stable inversion table on which you love hanging upside down and feel your back pain and muscle stress ease away. Either that or you are seriously considering getting one!
But that’s probably all you know about your inversion table which you’ve been using consistently to relax your body. Actually, you’re not alone.
Very few people know that an inversion table can work as an effective exercise machine too.
This means that while you’re using your inversion table for the typical inversion therapy that helps fight the negative effects of gravity, you can double it up as an exercise machine to boost your overall fitness and health.
How inversion table exercises help
You know what exercises do to for your body of course.
They strengthen your muscles, energize your body and keep you fit. Well, inversion table exercises do all this, and more. Unlike the normal exercises which help strengthen some specific parts of your body, inversion table exercises do much more and provide a wide range of benefits to your body.
By working against gravity, an inversion table helps develop the core or inherent strength of your body.
So you’ll find yourself building not just the strength of your abdominal region but also your legs and other parts of the body, facilitating holistic fitness, including weight loss and muscle strengthening.
Types of inversion table exercises
There are various types of inversion table exercises you can choose from, depending on which part of your body you want to start working on.
Most inversion table exercises work on the principle of stretching. But before you get into full inversion stretching exercises, it’s always a good idea to begin with partial inversion stretching exercises to accustom your body to the stress of exercising.
Apart from stretching, there are several other useful exercises for maintaining your body fitness.
Partial inversion exercises
The good part about partial inversion stretching exercises is that they can be done anytime and as frequently as you want, without any risk of damage. One good partial inversion stretching exercise is to stretch your body in the outward direction while in the inverted position. After this, just stretch your torso, first on one side and then the other.
This exercise is effective in stretching the mid and lower spine of your body, while relaxing the muscles.
Then there’s this excellent exercise which helps strengthen your shoulders.
This involves crossing one arm over the entire length of your body while holding firmly on to the other side of the table. Holding steadfastly on, just rotate upwards towards one shoulder and stretch the arm.
Another exercise relates to stretching your neck, which can be done by rotating your head from one side to another.
Full inversion exercises
Once you’ve mastered the partial inversion stretches, and have thus strengthened your muscles to some extent, you can easily and safely move to the exercises that require full inversion of your body.
There’s a variety of full inversion exercises your inversion table can help you with. These include inverted crunches, sit-ups, stretching and inverted squats.
Just to give you a brief on what these exercises involve, let’s start with the inverted crunches, which help strengthen your body muscles. All you need to do is put your hands behind your head or on your chest and then lift your torso, taking it half way to your knees.
As for sit-ups, again, start by putting your hands behind your head and do a sit-up right up to your knees. You may find it somewhat difficult to manage this in the beginning so use your hands to support your knees.
Stretching, of course, is another good and effective inversion table exercise, which helps alleviate the tension from your body.
When it comes to strengthening your legs, the inverted squats are a good option to try out. Just put your hands on the inversion frame’s legs and bend your knees. Then lift your body upwards, as you’d do in a normal standing squat.
Ensuring exercise safety
The benefits of these exercises nevertheless, you need to be really careful while going about them.
From the safety perspective, in particular, take full care of the quality and security features of your inversion table before deciding to use it for exercising.
Start with light exercises and then slowly move your way up to the heavier ones.
And, as mentioned earlier, go from partial to full inversion exercises to help your body get used to the stress and pressure of the exercises. And remember not to overdo it as that can leave you with sore muscles.
Right way to exercise
Like all other kinds of exercises, inversion table exercises are also best managed with proper planning. Work on it slowly, starting with just about 15-degree inversion angle. Once you’re able to hold yourself in this position for up to 5 minutes, you can graduate to advanced levels of inversion.
This means increasing the inversion angle gradually, going up to 60 degrees and then more, till you are comfortably able to handle the full inversion position.
Go about it in a structured manner for safe and efficacious results. Spend the first one week simply adjusting your body to the new position of hanging upside down and doing basic inverted crunches.
Stretching, both basic and assisted, should ideally be taken up in the second and third week of your exercise program.
It helps in loosening up the body. The next three weeks are usually when you should be training your body in sit-ups and squats, finally culminating in two weeks of a combination of all the exercises.
Remember, fitness is the key to good living and exercises are an excellent way to keep yourself fit. Inversion exercises not only provide the basic benefits of the usual kinds of exercises but have the additional advantage of helping you work out your body against gravity, making them an extremely useful fitness regime.