Why is it important to find your ideal balance settings?
Your ideal balance point will give you total control over the rotation of the inversion table by shifting the weight/position of your arms. Struggling to invert or return upright will counteract the benefits of using the inversion table, so it’s important to find your ideal setting and ensure a relaxing, enjoyable experience! Your ideal balance settings are determined by your body type and weight distribution. If you carry more weight in your lower body, you may need to shorten the main shaft to get the rotation response you desire. If you carry more weight in your upper body, you may need to lengthen the main shaft. This is why your main shaft setting may differ from your actual height. Refer to Page 1.2 of the Owner’s Manual for detailed instructions on finding your ideal balance setting.
At what angle should you invert?
Start at a modest angle (20-30 degrees beyond horizontal) for the first few weeks until you become comfortable with the operation of the equipment. Once you are able to fully relax at this angle, you can advance to 45-60 degrees to experience a greater stretch. 60 degrees is what we consider the “magic angle” (parallel with the rear A-frame legs). According to medical study, a pull of 60% of your body weight is necessary to decompress the lumbar, which roughly equates to 60 degrees on a Teeter.
Do you need to fully invert (rotate to 90 degrees)?
No! You should only do what feels comfortable to you. While full inversion is not required to fully decompress, nearly half of all Teeter users do fully invert, enjoying the added freedom for stretches and exercises offered at this angle.
What should you do while inverted?
Some people prefer to simply kick back and relax, which is just fine! Stretching and mobilizing while you are inverted helps to maximize the benefits for your joints and ligaments by encouraging re-hydration and increased flexibility. Joints that are slightly out of alignment from overuse and misuse are helped to naturally realign with gentle stretching during decompression, resulting in better body symmetry and posture.
- 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.
Most of Teeter’s manual inversion tables come with an instructional DVD that includes some basic inverted stretching and exercise tips. In addition, select Teeter products come with bonus Healthy Back Routines on the DVD, which includes a class featuring stretches and exercises on the inversion table.
How long should you invert?
Begin with 1-2 minutes per session and advance only as you feel comfortable. Keep in mind that frequency (inverting more often) is more important than duration (inverting for longer periods of time). Over time, work up to 3-5 minutes... or as long as it takes for your muscles to relax and release. Remember that inversion is about relaxation and enjoyment! Listen and respond to your body - when you feel like you've had enough, rotate upright and rest.
How often should you invert?
To achieve maximum results, we recommend routinely inverting with the Teeter several times a day. Inversion is a great morning wake-up or evening wind-down in preparation for a good night’s sleep. Incorporate inversion into your fitness routine as a way to recover from high impact, compressive, or rotational activities. Or use your Teeter simply as a go-to tool for occasional relief from back pain and tension.
How long before you feel the benefits?
Given time, your body has an amazing ability to heal itself. But like starting a new exercise program, it can take some time to see the results. Stick with it, invert often and be patient. Work on getting your body to relax and release – that is how you will experience the most benefits. Some people feel the benefits immediately and some may need 2-3 weeks before their bodies begin to truly relax and decompress.
What should you do if you experience ankle discomfort?
Because you are hanging by your ankles, you may experience some mild discomfort, especially after longer inversion sessions. Here are some tips for improving ankle comfort while inverted:
- Proper Footwear: Make sure you wear socks with lace-up shoes – the material will provide added cushion and support for the ankles.
- Cup Position: Rotate the rear ankle cups slightly downward before you secure the ankle lock system. As you invert, they will rotate to support the back of your heels.
- Ankle Comfort Dial: Adjust the foot platform so that there is minimal space between the top of your foot and the platform. The less your body “shifts” when you invert, the better.
- Proper Fit: Adjust the ankle lock system snug enough so you’re secure, but don’t clamp it super tight – this will restrict blood flow and cause discomfort.
- Change It Up: Try oscillation and intermittent traction. It may take days or even weeks to get comfortable with inversion, but you will soon adapt to the feeling.
Most people find they are able to use the standard ankle system with success by following these tips; however, there is another option for people who need more support. Some Teeter inversion tables can be adapted for use with EZ-Up Gravity Boots. With soft foam liners and a flexible shell, the Gravity Boots wrap comfortably around the ankles for greater support during inversion. Visit the Accessories category on teeter-inversion.com to learn more about this option.
Helpful tips for inversion
Some people may be nervous about rotating upside down for the first time, but if you keep these tips in mind, you’ll be a pro before you know it:
- Pre-set the Angle: To begin, set your tether to a modest angle of 20-30 degrees so you know that the inversion table will stop rotation barely beyond horizontal. You can then focus on relaxing and adjusting to inversion.
- Enlist a Spotter: Ask a friend to stand near the inversion table until you are comfortable with controlling its rotation.
- Breathe: Close your eyes and take a few deep breaths to help your body relax. It may take a few inversion sessions before you are able to overcome your automatic “flight or fight” response – be patient and keep working at it. Getting your muscles to release is the only way you will begin to experience the benefits.
- Listen to Your Body: Only do what is comfortable to you. Inversion is not a “no pain, no gain” activity. What works for others may not be ideal for you. If you feel you’ve had enough, return upright to rest.
- Prevent Dizziness/Nausea: When returning upright, be sure to stop at the horizontal position (0 degrees) for 15-30 seconds or more. This allows your inner ear to readjust to being upright, and it also allows your back to “recompress” gently. Wait for a while after you’ve eaten before inverting.
- Make Changes Gradually: Increase your angle and/or duration of inversion in small increments.
- Do It Often! Inverting on a regular basis is how you will experience the most benefits.