Inversion therapy

18.78 Gravity in general, and the stress of heavy exercise in particular, compress the joints of the spine, and the muscles and soft tissue of the back as a whole, but especially of the lower back. 7is is at the root of many back problems. But with the appropriate therapy this compression can be relieved, leading to a healthier and more injury-resistant lower back.

18.79 One of the simplest measures for taking care of the lower back is to take pressure off the lumbar spine. Not only is this inversion therapy a preventa-tive measure, it can help during rehabilitation following injury.

18.80 I only started using inversion therapy on a regular basis in 1997. Before that I used it only occasionally, using makeshift equipment. Once I got a proper setup that made inversion very easy to perform, I used it regularly. It has greatly helped me to maintain a healthy back free of injuries. Used properly, inversion therapy is an invaluable aid for maintaining a strong and healthy lower back—for everyone in general, but especially for people who lift weights.

18.81 Inversion therapy can be done using a back extension unit. Get in position ready to perform a back extension, but just stay with your torso hanging vertically. Do not twist, or take any action to exaggerate the decompression.

18.82 Alternatively there are several pieces of "anti-gravity" equipment commercially available for inversion therapy. I use "^e Back Revolution®" unit myself. It was relatively economical, but safe, practical and very effective.

18.83 Without a back extension or "anti-gravity" unit you can use a home setup, with help from an assistant. Lie face down on a bench or any piece of furniture that is high enough for you to invert your torso without your head hitting the floor. Place a folded towel under your hips and shuffle forward until your entire torso is inverted, akin to if you were getting in position to perform a back extension. Take your weight on your hands on the floor

^e Back Revolution "anti-gravity" equipment.

Photos courtesy of Meyer Distributing Co.

^e Back Revolution "anti-gravity" equipment.

Photos courtesy of Meyer Distributing Co.

while you get in position to suspend your torso. Your assistant should apply sufficient pressure to your legs to prevent your legs rising when your torso is freely suspended. ^en take your hands from the floor and simply hang.

18.84 More is not better with inversion therapy (as with so much of physical training and therapy). Just one minute or so is all the time you need to achieve maximum decompression of your spine. A longer duration is not necessary, and a shorter time may work very well for you. I have even found that inverting myself for longer than 60-70 seconds is counterproductive because it leaves me with an irritated back for a day or two. Better to have several very short inversions per day rather than one long one. Invert for up to 60 seconds one or more times per day, and you may experience immediate benefits.

18.85 Inversion therapy will not build a bigger and stronger body. But it will help maintain the healthy injury-free lower back that is absolutely essential for intensive weight training—especially intensive deadlifts, stiff-legged dead-lifts, squats and presses, which are major core exercises.

Back Pain Revealed

Back Pain Revealed

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