Invert Your Way to a Stronger Body

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By: Kevin Rail

By: Kevin Rail

Certified Fitness Coach with a Bachelor Science in Sports Fitness and Wellness.

The human body is a many splendored thing that comes equipped with many abilities. It can stand, sit, walk, twist, run, swim, climb and hop all in a matter of seconds. But one thing that it can also do, which is often overlooked, is invert. Pay attention to this skill because when you learn more about it, you just might want to do it every day. 

What is Inversion? 

The short answer to this question is, inversion occurs any time your body is upside down. You may have attended or witnessed yoga classes going on that were focused on inversion. 

Chances are, if you walked into one of these, you’d see people lined up against a wall doing handstands or on their forearms doing shoulder stands. Anything that has to do with your feet being higher than your head would be considered inversion. 

The BEST Type of Inversion

Yoga is all fine and dandy. But there is another form of inversion that trumps this. It is performed with gravity boots or an inversion table. First, let’s address the boots. 

These are made of hard-plastic and they have these curved hooks on the front. You firmly attach them to your lower legs and carefully grab ahold of a pull-up and hook them to it. Then you slowly lower your upper body downward until you are hanging upside down like a bat. 

This would be considered full inversion. What makes this better than yoga inversions is the fact that you are not doing any work. Your body is completely free-hanging, which gives you a greater effect. 

And just for the record, if the thought of hanging upside down is too extreme, you can get yourself an inversion table and ease your way backward. These allow you to go a partial distance until you get used to full inversion. 

Benefits 

Now, let’s get into the why behind inversion. When you go upside down, your spine gets decompressed. This creates space between the vertebrae, which allows nutrient-rich blood flow to filter in. The end result is faster healing if you happen to have a sore back, and better flexibility in your spine. 

Also, inversion helps speed your recoveries from workouts. When you are upside down, your lymph system reverses direction. This helps flush toxins from your system and boosts your ability to recuperate faster. 

Another cool thing about inversion is that the circulation of your blood goes the opposite way. This specifically helps boost your brain function and ability to concentrate. 

Lastly, any time you stretch out your spine, you are reducing the chances for injury. All of the neurons from your brain travel down the path of the spinal column to transmit data. 

By strengthening your spine through inversion, this process will be more seamless. You will then have faster reaction time when playing sports and working out in general, which can prevent you from getting injured. 

One Last Thing About Yoga

Although I feel yoga is not necessarily the best way to get inversion done fast, it still comes with great benefits. And I do like it and perform if often. Plus, in a study done by the National Institutes of Health, performing hatha yoga with inversions has been shown to help improve heart rate variability. 

If you do have the time, it’s worth attending a class or two a week, especially if it’s dedicated to inversions. 

Bringing it all Home

The fastest way to get from one point to another is a straight line. If you integrate inversion into your training protocol, it will be much like running a straight line to get to your desired destination. 

For the best results and to promote the best recoveries from workouts and sport activities, aim for an inversion session right after you finish. If you want to get even more of an effect, try to do two sessions a day. 

At first, it is best to keep your time upside down rather short until you get used to it. But after you get more comfortable, aim for 2 to 3 minutes. Then you will be recovering better than you ever have before. 

A word of warning though. Inversion is not for people that have high blood pressure, glaucoma, heart disease or any type of rods or plates in your bones. You can exacerbate all of these conditions. 

Otherwise, have fun hanging upside down and use gravity to your advantage. 

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