Gravity boots were a popular type of fitness equipment back in the 1970s and died out during the 1980s yet there are a few individuals who still use them and many more athletes who are incorporating them into their new age training and conditioning programs. For those who train at home, this can open up the door to many new, unique and effective exercise options.
Inversion therapy involves hanging upside down and it can be a beneficial treatment for back pain since it causes the spine to properly align because all of your weight is removed by gravity, which is a form of traction. It is also used to move circulation into the upper body and the brain which is believed to have many health benefits. Gravity boots can still be found online and they are usually sold with a bar or a rack. For around $100-200, you can give this type of training a try by finding a set for sale on Ebay or Amazon.
The main thing I notice about gravity boots is the possibility of using weighted exercises during inversion. This is an excellent way to condition your body and provides many more options for exercises for people who workout in the convenience of their own home.
One of the most popular exercises is the inverted ab crunch. This is an excellent way to challenge your abdominals and take your ab training to the next level! The inversion process causes gravity to work against you which provides extra intensity when doing different exercises. While you’re inverted and performing this exercise, your hamstrings, quadriceps and calves are forced to support, stabilize and hold you in place in order to control the crunch movement. Another great benefit is that you can take things to an even higher level by holding weights during the abdominal crunch to intensify the exercise even more!
The lat push is another great exercise for your back that you can perform while inverted. Pushing your palms upward (remember you are inverted so you are actually pushing them toward your body but it is upward toward the ceiling) will hit all of the muscles in your lats plus your serratus muscles which assist in posture. This is performed with your palms at your sides but if you do the same movement with your palms out in front of you it is more like a pushdown movement or a pullover, so your chest and shoulders are targeted with your back and lats acting as stabilizers.
A more difficult exercise is performed by arching your back, just like a hyperextension movement. Remember, you need to have a pain-free back in order to do this one without risking injury. Your abdominals assist with this movement and by holding additional weight in your hands, it will intensify your efforts even further. This exercise does not have to be complicated with a lot of movement. Just move your body within the short range of movement needed and feel the burn in your muscles!
Implementing inversion therapy exercises can be a workout like you have never experienced! This type of training will kick your workouts up a notch but you must be healthy and injury free to try it out. If you are pain-free and in good physical health, I suggest starting out by keeping your workouts to around 15-20 minutes and include 3-4 different exercises. Try to be creative because you can combine some of these exercises into different days of training during your traditional home workouts.
While using inversion therapy, I highly recommend keeping your tempo very slow and controlled. Fast ballistic style movements executed when you’re inverted could cause back injuries so make sure to move very slow and controlled at all times. Avoid bouncy or jerky movements and make sure to avoid speeding through the exercises or using additional weights that are too heavy. Ego has no place in this type of training and it’s always smarter to begin inversion therapy exercises with just your own bodyweight when first starting out. Trust me, it will be a workout like you’ve never done before!