Low back pain has been, remains, and seems set to continue to be one of the most common physical complaints that humans have. It’s no wonder; we are constantly putting undue pressure on our lower spines – and many of us have done very little to strengthen the erector spinae muscles that surround it.
It’s no surprise, then, that low back treatment products represent a booming market. Among the most popular, and effective are inversion tables. And one of the most reputable manufacturers within that market is Innova. Their best selling inversion table is the Innova ITX9600.
In this review, we’ll provide an in-depth review of the Innova ITX9600. We’ll also compare the ITX9600 with other Innova offerings; the ITM4800, the ITX 9800 and the ITX9900. We’ll also see how it stacks up against the Ironman 4000 Inversion Table.
The Benefits of Inversion Tables
An inversion table is a contraption that allows you to hang upside down, or invert. This is a proven way to relieve pressure from the spine. It will also enhance blood flow to the head while allowing for decompression of the spinal vertebrae.
Here are three key benefits that come with using an inversion table:
- Relieve of Posterior Chain Pain
When you hang upside down, you are immediately taking the pressure off your spine that it has been under all day long. The pressure will come off you neck, trapezius, rhomboids, deltoids, glutes and hamstrings as well. This will provide instant relief to all of these areas.
Inversion helps to correct the bad effects of poor posture, helping to realign the spine. Strain on the ligaments and muscles that surround the spine will also be relieved. The distance between the spinal vertebrae will increase, releasing trapped nerves.
- Post Workout Recovery
Getting into the inversion table habit after your workout is a very effective way to speed up your post workout recovery. This will lessen the effects of DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness).
Resistance training causes spinal compression. Spending time on the inversion table decompresses the spine, bringing it back to its natural alignment.
- Core Strength
Spending time hanging upside down on an inversion table can actually strengthen your core muscles. If you’ve ever been on one, you’ll appreciate that the positioning forces you to keep your core tight and your abs contracted.
To specifically strengthen you lower back muscles you can also perform hyperextension type exercises on the inversion table.
The Innova ITX9600 Inversion Table
Innova’s ITX9600 is a beginner level inversion table that delivers the sort of functionality and construction quality that you’d expect to have to pay more money for. The structure of this device is extremely sound, thanks in large part to the A-shaped frame that provides a very solid base of support. It is made from heavy-gauge steel tubing.
Your safety is assured as you’re hanging upside down thanks to an auto-hinge lock.
The Innova ITX9600 is a relatively compact unit that measures in at 46 by 28 inches and stands to a max height of 63 inches. That makes it small enough to fit into confined spaces.
Don’t let the compact size of the Innova ITX9600 fool you. It allows for a maximum user weight of 300 pounds and is adjustable for people of different heights. In fact, you get 5 angle adjustments. The change between angles is fast and secure with a simple pin select system.
The Innova ITX9600 weights in at about 50 pounds and comes with the following extras:
- Adjustable head pad
- Foam padded supports on ankles
- Foam padded supports on handle bars
The Innova ITX9600 sets itself apart by way of its heavy-duty commercial grade steel frame and its adjustable pin angle change system. It also provides you with three areas of adjustment to allow for perfect bodily positioning – adjustable headrest, height adjustment and foot rest. Throw the sharp price point on top of all of this, and it’s no surprise why this is a such a popular seller.
Innova ITX9600 VS the Innova ITM4800
The Innova ITM4800 is a slightly more expensive offering from Innova. It offers one key feature that you do not get with the ITX9600 – a vibration therapeutic massage lumbar pad. This delivers a whole new element of treatment for the posterior chain.
The ITM4800 also provides you with a removable head pillow for enhanced comfort.
The ITM4800 doesn’t seem quite as stable as the ITX9600. It also provides four adjustable angle settings, compared with five settings for the ITX9600.
The ITM 4800 offers a good level of comfort cushioning thanks to the comfort foam on the backrest. However, this means that it lacks the firmness of the ITX9600, something which is important for spinal alignment.
Innova ITX9600 VS the Ironman 4000 Inversion Table
The IronMan Gravity 4000 Inversion Table has a similar A-Frame as the Innova ITX9600, providing a very stable base to work from. Memory foam covers the back-rest and you also get a removable head-rest. This gives you a high level of comfort without going overboard and not compromising your back stability and firmness.
A unique feature of the IronMan 4000 is the patented ankle ratchet locking system. This ensures that your ankles are securely locked in place. Loop safety handles give you the needed guidance when you’re getting in and out of position.
This inversion table allows for 180-degrees of inversion. The maximum user weight on this unit is 350 pounds, compared with 300 pounds on the ITX9600. You also get the benefit on non-skid stabilizers on the IronMan 4000, to prevent the unit from sliding around when in use. You don’t get this feature on the ITX9600. In the downside, this unit features metal to metal pivots, which is less than ideal. The Gravity 4000 from IronMan is a little wider and taller than the Innova ITX9600. It is also considerably more expensive that the Innova ITX9600.
Innova ITX9600 VS ITX9800
The Innova ITX9800 looks quite similar to the 9600, but its main point of difference is that it incorporates a number of unique safety features. It has adjustable ankle straps to provide a greater level of support for your lower body as you invert. The ankle support system is ergonomically designed to accommodate any foot size.
The ITX9800 has a large, adjustable padded headrest to allow for maximum comfort. The back rest is also padded, meaning that it is not as firm as the ITX9600.
The handlebars on the Innova ITX9800 are covered with soft touch foam for added comfort and grip control. This unit is built from similar heavy-duty steel as the ITX9600 and has the same A-Frame design.
You get a six angle pin change system compared with a five angle change on the ITX9600. This unit is also equipped with the true balance system to simplify the inversion process. It is a little heavier and bigger than the ITX9600.
The ankle support on the ITX9800 may be more secure than the 9600 but it is, by the consensus of most users, not as comfortable on the lower legs.
There are two separate adjustment systems on the ITX9800. One is for the height and the other is for the headrest pad.
The weight capacity of these two inversion tables is 300 pounds. They also both allow for user heights of between 4’10” and 6’6”. Both can be folded up for convenient storage when not in use.
Should you Pay for Expert Sssembly of your Inversion Table?
Most people shouldn’t have to pay for expert assembly. However, it is very important that the table be set up properly to provide safe and stable use. Be sue to closely adhere to the set up guide in the instruction manual.
Things to Keep in Mind with Inversion Therapy
- Find your balance point. This is the point where you can lie on the back rest and stretch out your arms to control the degree of rotation.
- Start with angles of just 20 to 30 degrees. Then, over a period of weeks, slowly increase the angle until you are rotated at 45 degrees. Take another two weeks to get to 60 degrees, which is considered the ideal angle for spinal support.
- Once you are comfortable with using the table you should occasionally try full inversion. Many people find full inversion to be extremely relaxing.
- Begin with 3-5 minutes of inversion daily and work up to daily sessions of 15-20 minutes.
- Wear supportive shoes while using the inversion table, in order to relieve pressure on the ankles.
The Innova range of Inversion Tables are among the most respected and popular on the market. While each table has its own unique aspects, the best overall in terms of functionality, safety, durability, support, angle adjustment and cost effectiveness is the Innova ITX9600. We believe that this is the best value inversion table for beginners.