How To Use An Inversion Table

Using an inversion table can be fairly intimidating for a first-time user, or for someone who has not been probably trained beforehand. Initially, hanging upside down can be slightly uncomfortable on both your head and your feet / ankles. However, if you use an inversion table properly you will quickly get accustomed to and be able to enjoy the many benefits of inversion therapy.

Steps For How To Use An Inversion Tables

Step 1 – Talk to a Doctor or Medical Professional
This is especially important if you are injured or have serious back problems (remember, if you have any of the contraindications of inversion therapy then you should not invert at all). Inverting is generally a very safe way to workout, stretch, and provide relief to back pains. However, we always recommend a quick discussion / check up with your Doc to make sure you are fit enough for inversion.
Before You Start – Remember To Go Slowly Most people feel uncomfortable from inverting when they go to fast – i.e. when they either increase the inversion angle too rapidly or hang for too long without allowing their body time to adjust to the inversion therapy. Because of this, it is best to always take it slow.

Step 2 – Adjust the Inversion Table Setting Properly (Height, Weight Settings)
For this, see our article on setting up an inversion table.

Step 3 – Start Inverting at a Flat Angle (0 Degrees), and Slowly Increase Angle By 10-15 Degrees Once You Are Comfortable
Here you can see what we mean by ’0 degrees’, or flat position, along with what full inversion, or 90 Degrees would mean:

Remember, you gain most of the benefits of inversion therapy at a 60 degree angle, which is about 1/2 way between 45 degrees and 90 degrees (and most inversion tables will either have a strap or some type of gear that will allow you to stop the table at this angle). In other words – you don’t need to fully invert on your first day, or ever even, to gain benefits from inversion therapy, although you will gain many benefits by doing so.

Step 4 – Stop at 60 Degrees
For day 1, we don’t recommend going any further than 60 degrees unless you feel very comfortable and you have a spotter who is experienced in inversion techniques. What that means is that by following the above guideline it should take you about 4-5 minutes to get to a 60 degree angle, at which point rest for another minute or two and then begin going back to starting, or flat, position.

Step 5 – Go Up Slowly
Do not rush coming back to your starting position or you risk becoming very light-headed (and even passing out in some cases). You will find as you revert you will think that you are laying flat much sooner than you actually are – this is normal. Just as you inverted about 10 degrees every few minutes, come up about 10 degrees at a time and give yourself time to re-adjust at each degree stop. Yes, this will take you a few minutes to come back to your starting position, but needs to be done until you are an experienced user. Yes, it looks really cool when Roger Teeter goes up and down so quickly on the infomercial, but remember – he has been inverting for decades (literally), and is very used to the therapy. As a beginner, you will be best served by taking it easy for the first few times.

Key Points / Reminders

  • Make sure you consult with a doctor before starting an inversion therapy program
  • Make sure you understand the contraindication of inversion therapy before starting as well (contraindications are conditions that if you have you should avoid inverting on an inversion table)
  • Only hang for about 5 minutes your first few times, then slowly increase your hanging time accordingly (I don’t hang for more than 10 minutes each time).
  • While most inversion benefits are realized at a 60 degree inversion angle, this doesn’t mean you should stop there if you are in good enough physical condition – there are many additional stretching and strengthening exercises that can be done in the full, 90 degree inversion angle.
  • Take things slow – this is not a marathon. Instead this is something that should be done constantly every day in order to gain the most benefit from the therapy.
  • Hang when you need to relax. Using an inversion table can be very relaxing once you are adjusted to and understand how to do so properly.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask questions or seek help from experienced users, the company from which you purchased the inversion table, or from us in the comments section below.
  • Follow all the instructions that come with your inversion table purchase – each company will have slightly different instructions that are specific to their machines, so be sure to follow them as closely as possible.