Stretch machines offer the athlete guidance and assistance that can not be found by stretching on your own.
It is nearly impossible to stretch your multifidus, the muscle that holds together and stabilizes the spine, on your own. You need a machine with enough pulling tension to stretch this muscle.
Some machines can allow you to easily, quickly and accurately hit all major muscle groups, making your workout routine more efficient and effective.
Stretch machines are an excellent tool in any athletes arsenal.
What are Stretching Machines Good for and Why You Need One in Your Home Gym!
Back pain is probably the number one reason folks invest in stretching machines.
Stretching the back in the right way, with the right equipment helps alleviate pain.
The best exercise machine for back pain can help the back pain sufferer reduce reliance on medication and painkillers and help them become active again.
Some even find that consistent stretching of the back using the right machine, helped them with pain as much as a trip to the chiropractor.
Some stretch machine users said they maintained a commercial gym membership, just to drive 15 minutes to the gym and use their stretch machine to get relief.
A stretch machine for the home gyms is a wise investment.
You may save of fees to visit the chiropractors table, drop a costly gym membership and maintain a healthy body and joints.
4 Types of Stretch Machines
Inversion tables are used for stretching or decompressing the lumbar spine in order to alleviate, lower or manage low and mid back pain. These machines use your body weight to cause traction and stretch the spine.
Who the Inversion Table is NOT for:
Anyone who can not have pressure in the head, ears, eyes and so forth. The inversion position causes pressure in the head.
Those with blood pressure and heart problems should avoid inversion machines, because using an inversion table can cause an increase in BP while using.
An in-line back stretch machine is a better option.
Horizontal Back Decompression In Line Back Stretch Machines
These back stretch machines allow you to lie horizontally, just like you would at the Chiropractors.
They stretch the spine by hooking in your ankles, or placing a harness around your hips, and then moving your back up, stretching the entire spine. This type of machine is the best stretching machine for the back.
There is one version of in line back stretch machine that offers more pulling tension than an inversion machine, much like a professional table would.
Full Body Stretch Machines
These are the type of machine you will find in a commercial gym. They allow you to stretch all major muscle groups, including the back.
They are used to build flexibility and range of motion. These machines are universal, all-purpose equipment and are a good fit for all types of athletes of any age.
They are very popular and make an excellent addition to a home gym because they are versatile and hit all muscle groups.
Leg stretchers focus on the hamstring, the set of three muscles that run down the back of the leg. This machine helps stretch the muscles and tendons involved with ‘doing the splits’ or doing high kicks.
These machines are prized by martial artists, dancers, gymnasts and even weight lifters and CrossFitters.
Review: What sets the Proflex Stretch machine apart from other all body stretch machines is the front boom that allows for the hanging bar stretch that stretches shoulders, decompresses the spine and stretches the thoracic cage.
It is also one of the best exercise machines for hips and thighs.
Front boom that allows for hanging stretch
Crank that opens the legs for the leg stretch
Boom can be set to several angles for various stretches and enforces proper form
Boom swivels for single leg and other isolated leg and back stretches
Includes instruction manual, wheels for transport and is easy to put together (wrenches included)
Best workmanship and build
The manuals could offer more advice on how to use. Their website offers several user videos, however.
The most unique exercise equipment stretching machines available, highly versatile.
This is our easily favorite all over body stretch machine.
Review: Train your legs to do the splits like contortionists with this leg machine that enables you to stretch your legs beyond 180 degrees.
The best leg stretching machine, perfect for martial arts, dance, contortion and more.
Shipped fully assembled
Easy smooth crank wheel action put you in control of your stretch
Seat back and wheels are removable to store under a bed
Excellent hamstring, hip and pelvic area stretch
The plywood of the seat is thin, but even heavy users have successfully used the machine
The best leg stretcher machine for martial arts and more at an unbeatable price.
What to Keep in Mind when Choosing the Best Stretching Equipment
Space – Make sure you have room for the equipment. Some machines fold up or have removable pieces that make storage easier. Envision the pieces of equipment in the space you have and measure the space, comparing it to the equipment footprint.
Easy assembly – a machine that comes assembled, or includes the tools needed, and clear instructions is ideal. You should also check to see if you need more than one person to assemble the equipment.
Stretch control – Machines that use a wheel or other form of gradual stretch are superior to those that use incremental stretch.
Top 5 Pieces of Advice for using Stretching Machines
1. You must be able to relax your muscles to use these machines.
If you are having trouble relaxing the back muscles because they are so tight, try placing a heating pad on the bench first. Once you feel your muscles relax start off with a small stretch.
2. When using an inversion table, start with 15 to 30 second increments and work up from there.
Too much time in an inverted position can cause headaches, nausea and other ill effects. Many doctors advise a maximum of 2 minutes.
3. Use the machine consistently.
Remember, the behavior that leads to tight muscles or sore backs is likely done consistently or something you do every day, like sitting at a desk for 8 hours.
Likewise, your stretch routine also needs to be done consistently to counteract the effects and keep you pain free.
Michael is a fitness expert and professional home/garage gym builder. His tutorials, guides, and reviews are backed up by his own experience and will definitely help you achieve your goals. He also loves putting mayo AND ketchup on the pizza for some reason!