Hanging Upside Down Exercises
Inversion exercises turn your world on its head as they work to strengthen your core, stretch your spine and leg muscles, and improve blood circulation, posture and mental alertness. You do these exercises by wearing boots that hook to a horizontal bar from which you hang. Before exercising hanging upside down, speak with your doctor because conditions such as certain hernias, glaucoma, a history of congestive heart failure and extreme obesity contraindicate this type of training.
Three Points Hang
The three points hang exercise is a way to adjust to being upside down without hanging at a full 90 degrees. The three points hang has you maintain three points of contact with the bar you hang from at all times. Those points are your two feet that wear gravity boots with hooks that attach to the bar, and one hand at a time. Begin with the four points hang where the boots are in place and you hold the bar with each hand. Then, let go with one hand and lean backward as you reach toward the ground with the free hand. Switch sides.
Inversion requires hanging straight upside down with your body perpendicular to the ground. Besides improving posture, flexibility, range of motion, mental alertness and circulation, inversion reduces stress, realigns the spine after workouts and helps you maintain your full height. Physical activities such as running, golf and baseball compress the spine from impact and often pull the spine out of alignment by putting more pressure on one side of your body. Inversion allows gravity to pull the spine back into alignment and temporarily relieves back pain.
The inverted situp and stretch exercises strengthen the abdominals and the lower back. Inverted situps allow you to move through a greater range of motion than situps on the floor against resistance. To begin, hang upside down. Situp through a full 180 degrees to bring your chest to your thighs. With a floor crunch you only do situps through 90 degrees. Reach to touch your toes -- this stretches the lower back just like sitting and reaching for your toes.
Regular squats work your quads and glutes, but doing inverted squats from an upside down position works the hamstrings and glutes. To perform the inverted squat, hang upside down and then bend your knee to raise your body toward the bar. You should feel this in the back of your legs. Your body resembles an upside-down squat at this point.
Sarka-Jonae Miller has been a freelance writer and editor since 2003. She was a personal trainer for four years with certifications from AFAA and NASM. Miller also worked at 24 Hour Fitness, LA Fitness and as a mobile trainer. Her career in the fitness industry begin in 2000 as a martial arts, yoga and group exercise instructor. She graduated cum laude from Syracuse University.