What are the benefits of doing inverted exercises?

Invigorate and revitalize your body by putting your heart over your head with inversion training! This type of movement allows more blood flow to reach the brain resulting in increased energy, mental stamina, and many other helpful benefits!


When your world gets turned upside down, you tend to see and feel things differently. Getting inverted, in other words going ’upside down’, gives us great energy and often leaves us refreshed and revitalized.

Purposely going upside down for a minute or more reverses the gravitational force on the body. This reverse movement helps increase our physical strength and balance. Emotionally, inversions bring us internal balance and poise when our lives are ‘upside down’!

Turning upside down is something most children love - adults too! It makes them playful, energetic, happy, and fearless. These same benefits apply when you practice inversions in yoga or in certain exercises.


Inversions give new perspectives both mentally and physically. Here are some positive benefits that getting upside down provides:

• Improves circulation- Going upside down reverses the direction of blood flow therefore increases circulation to all parts of the body
• Balances the glandular, hormonal and endocrine system
• Brings oxygen to the brain
• Builds core and upper body strength
• Improves posture and overall balance
• Boosts positive energy
• Improving muscle strength
• Increased heart health
• Works as a natural antidepressant
• Increases immune strength
• Helps detoxify the body
• Increases concentration and self-confidence
• Stimulates creativity
• Reverses the aging process (LOVE THIS ONE!)


Along with these many benefits, inversions are also helpful for natural remedies and can be a cure-all for certain ailments. Some of these include:

• Relieving back pain
• Depression
• Arthritis aches
• Reduces wrinkles
• Reduces inflammation


Although inversion exercises have many benefits, they are not meant for everyone. There are a few conditions to be aware of and may apply to you. Some of these contraindications include:

• Recovering from surgery
• Pregnant women
• Elderly (depending on the individual)
• People suffering from severe inflammation
• High blood pressure
• Heart conditions
• Glaucoma or an eye condition
• Vertigo
• Severe nearsightedness
• Weak spine or cervical problems (ex: spondylosis)

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, then it’s recommended to first consult your physician. If you’re cleared, practice under the guidance of a practitioner who is well aware of these cautions and contraindications so that you can excel successfully.


Inverting is not always about raising the legs or heels above the head. A semi-inverted position or stretch is just as important and can prepare the body and mind for a complete inversion! The following are a few semi-inverted poses that can be practiced off of your Total Gym:

• Forward Fold- Stand in a wider than hip distance stance. Place the hands on the hips or interlock the fingers behind the back with arms straight. Keeping the spine elongated, hinge forward bringing your head towards the floor. Breathe and enjoy the pose!

• Downward Facing Dog - Assume a plank position with shoulders on top of the wrists and legs extended long. Keeping the arms and legs straight, press the hips up and back to form a triangle. Relax the shoulders and neck. Spread the fingers, lengthen the spine, and elongate the back of the legs as you breathe into the pose.

• L Pose - Lie flat on the back with legs together and straight. Raise both legs perpendicular to the body to create and “L” shape. This can also be achieved by placing the legs up a wall.

Let your intuition guide you with inversions. Always listen to your body and avoid anything that feels uncomfortable.


Ready to bring out your playful, adventurous side and get inverted?

Incorporate inversions into your training by changing the positioning of an exercise.

This workout gets your feet above your heart by utilizing the glide board in both incline and decline positions.


Each exercise listed is performed in an inverted body position. Exercise these positions gradually without exerting pressure, discomfort or pain. If this is experienced, try adjusting the incline or reposition the body on the glide board.

• Adjust the incline to accommodate your strength and flexibility level.
• Perform the exercises in circuit format; one after the other with little rest in-between.
• Aim for 10 reps, 2 sets. (or perform 15 reps if you only have time for 1 set)
• After performing the exercise, counterbalance the movement in the reverse direction with a stretch. For example: hug the knees in towards the chest.
• Practice proper form and learn the exercises well so that you can incorporate them into other workouts!

1. Inverted Bicep Curls
• Attach cables.
• Face the tower, anchor down, sit then roll down until the spine is flat on the glide board.
• Hook the heels onto the edge of the glide board for stability.
• Perform a bicep curls by hovering the back of the arm off of the glide board.
• Advanced: lift the legs with knees bent at 90 degrees or elongate the legs straight for more core activation.

2. Inverted Lat Raise
• Assume the same body position as above with cables attached.
• From the inverted position, raise the arms out to the sides or to the front.
• Advanced: lift the legs to 90 degrees or extend them straight for more core activation.

3. Roll Over
• Disconnect the cables and stay facing the tower.
• Cup the edge of the glide board and roll down to supine. Bring the legs into 90 degrees.
• Extend them straight towards the tower, lift hips up as the legs lengthen over head. Articulate the spine as you roll back to the glide board.
• Advanced: add a variation by separating of the legs on the roll over and roll down.

4. Bridge with Hamstring Curl
• Sit on the floor at the base facing the tower and straddle the glide board.
• Roll back to a supine position and cup your hands around the base to stay into place.
• Articulate the hips up into a bridge position creating a straight line from the knees to the shoulders.
• Press the weight into the heels. Extend the legs out and in to challenge the hamstrings.

5. Glute Lifts & Full Wheel
• Face away from the tower and lie supine with the knees bent.
• Lift the hips into a bridge position. Perform a series of glute lifts with either both feet on the glide board or from a single leg position.
• Advanced: Invert into a full wheel by placing both hands to the top of the glide board and push up onto the hands to form a backbend. Keep the feet grounded and parallel on the glide board. (The incline helps to achieve this position when learning and working on spinal flexibility.)

6. Inverted Outer Thighs
• Attach cables.
• Sit at the top of the glide board facing the tower and holding onto the handles.
• Assume an inverted, supine position on the glide board and place the outer sides of the feet against the cables.
• Open the legs to the sides while holding onto the cables to feel this in the outer thighs.
• Repeat the motion for the desired reps.
• Advanced: add a static hold, pulses, and/ or a crunch as the legs are extended.

Check out this video to see how to perform these inverted exercises on your Total Gym.

Inversions are fun, playful, adventurous, and powerful! They shake things up and flip things around. Can you imagine how the world would change if we put our heart above our head more often?!


Maria Sollon

Maria Sollon Scally MS, CSCS holds a Master’s Degree in Performance Enhancement/Injury Prevention and Kinesiology. She has obtained numerous certifications in various areas of fitness and is a national conference presenter. Maria specializes in Pilates, Performance Coaching, and Corrective Exercise Techniques and Kettlebells. She is the creator of the Plyo Pilates Method and has developed a series of amazing workout DVDs. She is a Master Trainer for Total Gym, Resist-a-Ball, Body Blade, Peak Pilates, Kettle Bell Concepts and is a freelance writer for Fitness accredited magazines, newsletters, and fitness blog sites. Maria demonstrates her knowledge each day and uses her dynamic creativity throughout her specialized line of work. http://www.groovysweat.com http://www.groovysweatstore.com (purchasable workout videos) http://www.youtube.com/groovysweat (workout clips)

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