Gravity boots, also known as inversion boots, are a useful tool for those who want to engage in inversion therapy or as an alternative to an inversion table. Though they look complicated, in reality, gravity boots are similar to normal boots. The only difference is that after you tighten the straps at the ankle, you attach yourself to a sturdy bar that hangs upside down. Inversion boots come in different shapes and sizes and are ideal for those with back pain but still want to benefit from inversion therapy.
Are gravity boots safe to use? People have been engaging in inversion therapy for years now. Although some studies suggest that hanging upside down may raise your blood pressure, these studies are inconclusive. Gravity boots are quite safe as long as the straps are safely in place – you don’t want to go tumbling down from your pull-up bar!
Gravity boots are especially beneficial for those experiencing back pain, as they reduce the strain of your large back muscles while you hang upside down. Indeed, inversion boots cause two major things to happen: (1) you stretch the spine — very beneficial; and (2), increased blood flow to extremities.
Also – I bet you didn’t know that these boots have been around since the 70s! They didn’t grab public attention until they appeared in two movies: American Gigolo and Rocky. Since then, gym rats all over the world have been snatching them off store shelves. They’re great for therapy, but also an amazing tool for your abs! Author Dan Brown – of the Da Vinci Code fame – also caused a buzz after he admitted to using inversion boots to spur creativity. As you can imagine, all this publicity created a big market for gravity boots!
Areas of Focus when Choosing Gravity Boots
Just like is the case with lots of things these days, selecting the ideal gravity boot can be a tricky job. On the one hand, you want a product that properly fits and will last long while at the same time you have a budget to watch. The secret is in reading reviews on several brands and only settling on the one that meets all your preferences. When it comes to it, go for quality over price.
These are some of the things you should not compromise on.
- Padding for the Ankles
Being as you will be inverted for even as few as three minutes, you want the assurance that your ankles are safe. Whether you choose to invert on a bar or a table, the ankles are still the contact part and they need to be comfortable for you to hold this position for any reasonable amount of time. Ensure that the pad is at least 5 inches thick but 8 would be more preferable. If you are going to compromise on anything, it should not be the padding.
- Safety Features
Being as your body will be hanging by your feet, literally, your preferred pair of bot should have stellar ability to hold you. It should have auto-locking mechanisms hardwearing metals parts, and hinges that will not give in under any conditions. The boot should feel sturdy when you hold it and it should also be made of durable material. DuPont Hytrel outer casing is an example of material made to last a good while. It gives you the impression that it will handle your weight effectively while giving you value for your money.
- Weight Capacity
It goes without saying that a pair that cannot handle your weight is a waste of money. You want a pair that can comfortably handle more than you weigh. Even though most gravity boots are designed to handle as much as 300lbs, you want to confirm first before you spend your money. Most flimsy pairs are pretty cheap and while they may handle 120lbs, they will not last long.
- Flexibility of your Purchase
No matter how you plan to use your pair of boots, you want to have all options open. Go for a pair that has all the straps to hold it to an inversion table, one that is okay with the pull-up bar, and great with racks too. This variety makes it easy to switch from one form to the other. You can use it for therapy on an inversion table when you want to do less or you can do inverted sit-ups. One tool with endless possibilities. While at it, also ensure that your selected pair has an adjustable fit so that it is too tight on the ankles.
- Safety Ratings
What determines the safety rating of gravity boots? Usually UL certification as well as FDA approval for some models. The padding plays a huge role in determining the safety rating of a pair, so pay it attention. Approved and certified boots are naturally more expensive but they are safe and will return better value.
Not to be ignored are reviews on these inversion tools. Most of them are honest and usually from experience and so you can learn a lot just by sampling them. If you know of any inversions expert or a friend who has been using these boots, ask for their opinion and also get to know the most important things to look out for.
Price should never be an issue really especially if you plan to be using your boots on a range of activities over a long time.
Reviewing Some of the Best Gravity Boots
What are the Benefits of Inversion Therapy?
Before we talk about the benefits of the boots, we should delve into inversion therapy. In inversion therapy, the recipient hangs upside down for several minutes with the aim of relieving back pain or for relaxation. For most yogis, inversion therapy helps with looking at life from a different angle.
Do you need any equipment? Well, no and yes. If your core is strong enough to handle the strain, then you can do inversions for several minutes without equipment. If, on the other hand, you feel like you need a little help, then either inversion tables or inversion boots are good options.
Some of the benefits of inversion therapy include:
- Better Spinal Health
The spine takes in a lot every day, thanks to gravity. It is compressed from our regular upright position and so stretching it using this form of therapy helps decompress it. Consistent practice of this therapy leads to a more upright posture and a more flexible body.
- Eases Chronic Back Pain
Those seeking this form of therapy as a way to get rid of chronic back pain are looking for looking to ease pressure on those hardworking weight-bearing joints. Therapy allows them to rest and recuperate. Decompression helps ease pain caused when discs shift or joint pain from overstraining a part of your back.
The main advantage of inversion therapy is its non-invasive nature and so those suffering from lumbar discogenic disease could be healed without having to go through surgery. Other benefits include the improved flow of blood that sends it all the way to the extreme parts of the body such as feet and hands to nourish those parts of the body. Some people even talk about improved skin.
Benefits of Inversion Boots
- Great for Abs Workout
Working hard for that six-pack? Then you will be happy to know that inversion boots can come in handy. You only need to have a sturdy pull-up bar, strap the books on, secure them to the bar to prevent any falls, then go on and do your inverted sit-ups. As you work to crunch towards your ankles, you will have no choice but to use every part of your core muscles effectively. They allow a range of motion that leads to an effective workout.
- Spinal Stretch
You will be totally upside down with nothing holding you but the bar. You’ll be stretching your spine for the entire period of inversion. This strengthens the core muscles. Since inversion boots don’t tax any other part of the body, boots are ideal for those with muscle pain but can’t hold their weight as required with yoga inversions.
While at it, you get to stretch the neck and back too.
- Reduces Muscle Spasm
Intensive workouts such as jogging, HIIT, and weight lifting are effective, but they could lead to the overuse of muscles. When taking a break, incorporating a restful inversion with these weighted boots helps with recovery.
A pair of these boots will attach to any bar, which gives you the flexibility to administer this therapy from anywhere. At the beginning, you will need a professional to help you acclimatize but over time, the dangers of being inverted reduce and you can do it from anywhere without help. Also helps that they are portable.
- Easy on the Ankle
These boots come in all sizes and they also have ample padding for comfort. The padding also prevents the boot from slipping off the bar to ensure that you are safe al through your therapy session or workout.
Why Buy Gravity Boots?
You’ve got a lot of reasons to buy gravity boots.
- Pain that won’t go away
If you have this excruciating back pain that won’t go away no matter what you try – including massage therapy – you may want to try new technology before going under the knife. Matter of fact, those who try inversion end up not needing surgery as it works well over time and after consistent practice.
- Step up your Workout
Crunches are not easy and neither are they necessary until you shed that layer of fat that is covering your abs. Once you have achieved this, you may want to step things up by adding a pair of gravity boots to your inverted sit-ups for the ideal burn. This workout is not for the fainthearted but it is rewarding.
- Decompress your Spine
The spine does a lot of work, part of which is in keeping your posture upright. The least you can do to reward it is a 15-minute decompression through inversion and adding a pair of weighted boots t this makes all the difference. You will notice the flexibility in your spine after a few sessions and over time, it will become stronger and healthier thanks to the blood flow that sends nutrients where they are needed.
- You Need the Boost
Some people can do 30-minute inversions without needing support. If you are not one of them but still need to get yours in, then a pair of inversion boots and a pull-up bar are your best bet. Note that the benefits are the same for you and the person doing this unassisted. And maybe even more to you as you will not strain your wrists.
How long should you be inverted?
When starting out, you want to go easy on yourself. The rushing of blood to your face feels a little strange and may cause some dizziness at first. 1 to 2 minutes will be ideal as you work your way up. After some time and with an inversion table, you can extend this to 10 or even 20 minutes depending on how you feel.
Since the boots hold you tightly and safely in place and an inversion table is safe, the 20 minutes will not feel so many. Can you do this every day? Well, yes as there are no dangers to inversion unless a medic tells you otherwise. Note: We don’t recommend inversion therapy for pregnant women, those on their menses, and people with erratic blood sugar.
With the ideal pair of inversion boots, you can do a whole lot. You will be able to help your muscles and spine recuperate while also giving your abs a good workout. If you read this guide and apply our recommendations before buying, you will make a worthy investment that will last you a long time. We had a hard time choosing the best out of these five, but we settled on Teeter EZ-Up Gravity Boots for its additional loop that handles the extra weight at the front of the foot. It is also lighter than the other brands, albeit a bit pricey. Happy inversion!