How to Add Inverted Exercises to Your Total Gym Workout

Invert your Workout

Invert Your Workout

Turn your workout upside down and invert yourself. Inverting has many benefits:
1. It can tweak the gravitational pull on muscles to help reshape and redefine them.
2. Inverting can assist with decreasing swelling and pressure in the lower body and pelvic region
3. Promote decompression to the spine.

It can also place increased demands on the heart and change the blood pressure in your head, so check with your doctor if you have any concerns.

On the Total Gym, inverting can assist with Yoga and Pilates movements, while intensifying common strength moves. The following exercises will flow seamlessly from one exercise to the next and fuse yoga, Pilates and strength moves into a great workout.

Inverted Supine

Lie on your back facing the tower, with your knees bent and your feet resting on the rails to self-assist (you can also rest them on the glideboard to better support the spine, or raised in the air. Start with the incline toward the lower one third of the Total Gym: the higher the incline, the more intense the exercise. Keep your shoulders sliding away from the ears and the core tight with all of your movements.

Front Shoulder Raise:

Start with your hands by your side, palms facing down. Reach your arms up and overhead. Full range of motion can be achieved with performing one arm at a time.

Lateral Shoulder Raise:

Start with your hands by your side with your palms facing the body. Raise your arms to shoulder height forming a “T”.

1. Biceps Curl: Start with your arms by your sides, palms facing up. Bend the elbows. For an extra challenge, keep your upper arm slightly off the glide-board to increase the gravitational pull and challenge shoulder stabilization.

1. Single Arm Upright Row to Overhead Press: Start with your hands by your side with the palm facing down. Bend your elbow at a 90 degree angle so that your hands align with your chest. Rotate your shoulder so that your hand is overhead and your palm is facing up. Press your arm overhead as if you were doing a chest press. Keep the shoulders sliding away from the ear throughout the movement.

1. Single Arm Cross Body Reach: Rest your right hand against your left hip, with you palm facing down and your arm extended diagonally across your body. Bend your elbow up towards your right shoulder and extend the arm out to the side until your arm is fully extended above your head. This movement is a diagonal pattern. The action is like pulling a sword out of its sheath and up to the sky.

Invert Your Workout

1. Abdominal Series: This is similar to using a decline bench or Pilates arc barrel. Inverted abdominal exercises help relieve the tension felt in the neck that you would typically experience on the floor. With that said, a wedge can be placed under the shoulders and head to decrease stress to the neck and shoulders. Start with your knees bent to 90 degrees with your feet in the air. Arms may be by the side of the body, bent behind the head, or progress to reaching overhead.

a. Alternating Bicycle: Reach one leg toward the tower while the other bends in toward the chest, as if riding a bicycle. The lower the leg reaches for the tower, the harder the exercise.

a. Scissor Legs: Extend your legs so that that they are pointing in the air. Lower your left leg toward the tower, while keeping it straight. Bring your leg back up, and repeat the motion with your right leg.
Invert Your Workout

a. Double Leg Bicycle: From the starting position, reach both legs out to a straight line, then bend them back toward the chest. Start by reaching your legs toward the top of the tower. If you maintain your head, ribcage and a neutral spine, start gradually extend your legs lower toward the ground.

a. Shoulder Stand. Start with knees bent into chest, and focus on rolling the lower spine off the glideboard.
1. As strength increases, extend the legs toward the tower. Initially bring the legs toward the body and then slowly reach them up for the sky as the spine rolls off the glideboard. To roll down, start with the knees bent and progress to having the legs straight.

1. Bridging: Place your feet on the rails or glideboard with your knees bent. Lift the buttocks up toward the sky.
a. A variation is removing the squat stand and lie on the floor toward the tower. Place your feet toward the bottom edge of the glideboard with knees bent. Lift the buttocks to raise your hips and form a bridge with your body. Try holding the board still for an added challenge.
b. For an even tougher challenge, form the bridge and and push the glideboard up and down the rails.

1. One Legged Hamstring Curl: Place one foot into the foot holder, and the other knee into the chest. Relax the foot in the foot holder and slowly bend the knee back and forth. With the free leg, you can do the following variations:
a. Bicycling the leg in and out as the other leg bends.
b. Scissoring the free leg as the other leg bends.
c. Add a crunch or oblique crunch
d. Keep the free knee bent and hold behind the knee. As the other leg bends, roll up to sitting, roll down while straightening the leg.

Inverted Prone:

Lying on your belly facing away from the tower.

Overhead Press:

With the press bar attachment, press the body up the rails.

Overhead Push up

With the hands on the press bar or the floor and body in an upside down V position. Keep the V position and slowly bend and straighten the elbows. The motion is like an overhead press. To challenge, the glideboard can be slightly away from the bottom edge of the base.


Invert Your Workout
Hands on the press bar or floor, rest your knees towards the bottom edge of the glideboard. Focus on sending the top of the head over the hands, as the legs extend back toward the tower. Upon return, the knees may return to the glideboard or hover.

a. Progress with adding a push up while the glideboard is open.

Check out Total Gym Pulse for more workouts using the Total Gym!

Elizabeth Leeds, DPT

Elizabeth Leeds, owner of Seaside Fitness and Wellness, combines her background in physical therapy, personal training, and Pilates in her practice and teaching. As a pelvic floor physical therapist working at Comprehensive Therapy Services in San Diego, her passion for pregnancy and postpartum is seen in her mission to empower women with knowledge and understanding of their physical changes, and how to address them to prevent future issues. Additionally, Elizabeth is a Master Trainer and developer for Total Gym’s GRAVITY education.

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