Do you stretch enough? It’s a question that’s not asked enough but is as important as it is overlooked. Did you know that regardless of whether you’re a professional athlete or someone who works at a desk all day, you should be stretching properly at least 1 – 2 times a day? And yet, for the vast majority of us, stretching is not something we consider as important as regular exercise or sports. However, stretching is crucial to both. Every year, people are injured playing sports or exercising because they didn’t stretch properly.
Basketball legend Michael Jordan said that all the stretching he did as part of his regular fitness routine was one of the main reasons he was able to play in the NBA well into his late thirties. But simply, reaching down to touch your toes for 5 seconds or wiggling your ankles doesn’t cut it. Poor stretching technique or not stretching for long enough is almost as bad as not stretching at all. That is why stretching machines are such a great option. With your own stretching machine, you can ensure you stretch effectively and correctly to ensure the best out of your fitness routine.
Don’t have time to read? Here are our top 5 recommendations:
- Precor 240i Commercial Series StretchTrainer
- Nitrofit Limber Pro Stretch Machine
- Pro Leg Stretcher by TMAS
- ProStretch Bi-Lateral Stretching System
- Teeter EP-560 Inversion Table with Back Pain Relief Kit
Benefits of Using A Stretching Machine
The four main components of fitness are cardiovascular endurance, strength, nutrition and flexibility. In the last twenty years, we as a society have smartened up to the importance of proper diet and exercise. Many of us spend time, money and effort into the first three areas of fitness yet flexibility is greatly overlooked. We struggle to fit a proper workout into our daily schedules and forgo proper stretching due to lack of time or measure of importance. This can lead to injury, reduced mobility and sore muscles among other harmful side effects. On the other hand, if we dedicate 10-15 minutes at the start and end of every workout to proper stretching, it can have a wealth of benefits for our health and fitness.
Decrease Risk of Injury: Proper stretching can improve your physical performance and reduce the risk of injury. Stretching improves your range of motion so your body requires less time to perform actions and with more flexible joints, you lessen the chances of injury from exercise or day-to-day life.
Reduce Injury Time: As well as decreasing the risk of injury, in the case that you are injured, your recovery time will be greatly reduced. Stretching help to condition the muscles and the joints, reducing the time it takes to recover fully.
Improve Posture: Stretching reduces muscle soreness after exercising and also prevents muscles and joint from cramping and seizing up. This improves elasticity leading to better posture, as well as more fluidity in movement and better coordination.
Improve the Range of Motions in your Joints: Stretching improves your flexibility, which increases your overall physical ability. This leads to better balance and improved mobility, so you are less susceptible to falls. Stretching also increases joint synovial fluid, which promotes the transportation of nutrients to your joints, reducing the risk of joint degeneration.
Improve Circulation: Stretching increases blood flow to your muscles, improving your circulation. Your blood will travel from your heart, carrying oxygen to your muscles and organs, crucial for you to reach your maximum performance potential.
Reduce Lower Back Pain: Stretching promotes muscular relaxation, which reduces lower back pain. Improving flexibility in the hamstrings, hips, quadriceps and other muscles reduces the stress on the lower back from being contracted all day due to sitting or similar activities. Stretching reduces the tightening of these muscles that cause pain.
Increase Endurance: Regular stretching will improve your overall physical fitness, performance and stamina, leading to increased energy and endurance and a faster metabolism.
Better Overall Health: Stretching practices like yoga also help relieve stress by relaxing your muscles, as well as your mind. This promotes a general feeling of wellbeing and vitality, which has many health benefits.
So now you know the importance of stretching, where do stretching machines come in? Stretching machines allow users to go at their own comfort, from the privacy of their own home. Taking your time with a stretching machine allows you to avoid harmful over-stretching, and get to know your limits to improve and develop their flexibility easily.
Full Body Stretching Machines
This type of stretching machine provides a great stretching experience to all your major muscles. These are great for people who want to improve their flexibility, posture, loosen muscles and reduce back pain.
Key FeaturesVariations of Stretches: The Precor 240i Commercial Series StretchTrainer is a full-body stretching machine that allows for an excellent variation in stretch exercises. The useful instructional placard supplied shows you eight different stretches to target different muscle groups - lower back, hamstrings, gluteal/hips, hips/legs/back, inner thighs/groin, upper back, shoulders and quadriceps and since it is placed conveniently along the handle, it's easy to follow along with the stretches in front of you.
Cushioned Seat and Knee Pads: This full-body stretching machine features great comfort for users. A cushioned seat and cushioned knee pads provide comfort when performing various stretches, while the padded handlebars provide comfort to your hands, as well as allowing you to control the intensity and duration of each stretch.
Easy Storage: The ergonomic design of the Precor 240i Commercial Series StretchTrainer is one of it's best features. With a weight of only 60lbs and dimensions of 52x28x36", this stretching machine is lightweight and small enough to be easily stored within your home.
Warranty: The Precor 240i Commercial Series StretchTrainer also features a great warranty. The manufacturer's warranty covers five years on the frame, two years on the parts and ninety days on the upholstery, making this a fantastic option for good peace of mind.
DrawbacksThe only drawback to the Precor 240i Commercial Series StretchTrainer is the price. As the most expensive option on our list, it may be out of budget for some people. However, the price is clearly justified when compared to the superb quality of this stretching machine. The high-quality hardware, combined with ergonomic design and excellent performance makes this a fantastic option for anyone looking for a full-body stretching machine. The excellent warranty also provides great peace of mind and security for someone on the fence about purchasing this machine.
Final ThoughtsThe Precor 240i Commercial Series StretchTrainer is an excellent option for someone looking for a full-body stretching machine. It performed excellently in tests and the inclusion of an informational placard provides a great way to test out a huge variety of different stretches, which is great for beginners. The ergonomic design is also incredibly useful as it was incredibly easy to store this machine out of the way. Add the great warranty, and this is a superb stretching machine that I would definitely recommend.
Key FeaturesVariation of Stretches: The Nitrofit Limber Pro Stretch Machine is a full-body stretching machine that offers an excellent variation in stretches that can be performed. This stretching machine comes with a useful illustrated placard on display, which featured nine different stretch exercises for you to try, places in front of you in an easy to read fashion. Being able to visualize the stretch makes it easy to carry it out and provides a good variation in stretch exercises.
Adjustable Seat: The only stretching machine on the market to feature an adjustable seat, the Nitrofit Limber Pro Stretch Machine allows users the ability to adjust the seat to their own requirements. This is great for people who are below or above average height who may struggle with the standard height of most stretching machines, providing a greater comfort of use for everyone.
Easy Storage: The Nitrofit Limber Pro Stretch Machine features wheels integrated into the front support legs, allowing for easy movement and storage. At just 56lbs, this stretching machine is very lightweight and with dimensions of 50.5x38.5x22.4", it is easy to find a place to store it in your home.
Suitable for Beginners: The Nitrofit Limber Pro Stretch Machine is great for beginners too. The adjustable seat and removable calf board make this suitable for users of various flexibility levels and the illustrated placard provides a useful visual aid for those unfamiliar with common stretches.
DrawbacksThe only drawback with the Nitrofit Limber Pro Stretch Machine is that it doesn't feature as generous a warranty as the Precor 240i Commercial Series StretchTrainer. With a two-year warranty, this may not provide good peace of mind for those considering purchasing this stretching machine. However, don't let the warranty dissuade you. Less expensive that the Precor 240i Commercial Series StretchTrainer, the Nitrofit Limber Pro Stretch Machine is a fantastic option for those looking for a high-quality full-body stretching machine on a budget. With great performance, quality and build, a shorter warranty is an easy sacrifice to make for a fantastic machine at a lower price.
Final ThoughtsThe Nitrofit Limber Pro Stretch Machine is an excellent full-body stretching machine for everyone, not just those unwilling to pay extra for the Precor 240i Commercial Series StretchTrainer. The adjustable seat is an excellent feature that allows great comfort and control for users who are shorter or taller than average and the inclusion of an illustrated placard of stretches makes this great for beginners and those who find stretching easier when they can visualize the movement. I would recommend this for someone looking for a full-body stretching machine.
Leg Stretching Machines
If you want to focus on your legs or hamstrings, this type of stretching machine is great for you. This is a particularly good choice for people who spend the majority of their day sitting and want to relax and stretch their leg muscles.
Key FeaturesStretch Beyond 180 Degrees: The Pro Leg Stretcher is a leg-stretching machine that offers amazing stretching capabilities. With the ability to stretch beyond an 180-degree limit, you will get a superb workout for your hamstrings and easy way of improving their stretches. This type of leg stretching machine is commonly used by athletes, particularly ballerinas and gymnasts who need to have incredible flexibility. With this stretching machine, you can work up to splits worthy of the greatest gymnast with this amazing 180-degree limit.
Control Wheel: The Pro Leg Stretches features a control wheel, which is a nifty device to control your stretches. The wheel allows you to increase your stretching gradually in smaller increments than notch levels so you can improve at a gradual pace that's suited for every level. You need only to turn the wheel and the leg holder will widen out. The wheel can also be removed for when you want to stretch forward.
Sturdy Construction: The Pro Leg Stretcher is incredibly durable and sturdy. This sturdy construction ensures it is built to last so this leg stretching machine will last as long as you intend to use it. The solid build also makes it very secure and comfortable to use as you can feel the solid frame and sturdy build beneath you.
No Assembly Required: One of the most useful features of the Pro Leg Stretcher is that it comes completely fully assembled. There is absolutely no assembly required with this stretching machine. You simply remove it from the box, attach the control wheel and you're ready to start stretching. It couldn't be easier.
DrawbacksThe only drawback to the Pro Leg Stretcher is that if you are very tall or have long legs, you may find the leg cushions a little short. In this case, you might find that the end of the leg cushions digs into your legs a little, depending on their length. However, this is only the case for people who have very long legs or are much taller than average so it wouldn't be a problem for most users. We even found that it was easy to place a t-shirt at the end of each of the leg cushions to provide a bit more comfort for longer legs.
Final ThoughtsI really enjoyed the Pro Leg Stretcher. It was very fun and easy to use and is a fantastic option for those looking for a leg-stretching machine. The control wheel made stretching very easy to control and is great for people who want to improve their stretching limits gradually. It's also incredibly useful if you want to learn or improve your splits. The fact that it comes fully assembled is also a great feature and the fact that it's lightweight (only 35lbs) means it's super easy to move around. I would definitely recommend the Pro Leg Stretcher for both beginners and seasoned stretching enthusiasts.
Key FeaturesStretch Beyond 180 Degrees: The Valor Fitness CA-27 Leg Stretch Machine is a leg-stretching machine that is great for improving flexibility in the leg and hip areas. Like the Pro Leg Stretcher, the Valor Fitness CA-27 Leg Stretch Machine offers amazing stretching capabilities, with the leg supports able to stretch beyond 180 degrees. This provides an amazing workout and an easy way to improve your splits.
Comfortable Padding: The Valor Fitness CA-27 Leg Stretch Machine features thick padding around the legs and back. This thick padding is very comfortable to sit on/against so you don't feel the any of the mechanism or hard edges of the machine. This high comfort level makes it this machine much more user-friendly and allows comfort even when using the machine for extended periods of time.
Control Wheel: Like the Pro Leg Stretcher, the Valor Fitness CA-27 Leg Stretch Machine features a very useful control wheel that allows you to gradually increase the degree of stretching in small increments so you can improve your flexibility at a pace that's comfortable for you. The movement of the wheel is very smooth and continuous, so it's very easy to increase and decrease stretch degree however much you want it.
Adjustable Back and Leg Supports: Perhaps a feature that gives the Valor Fitness CA-27 Leg Stretch Machine a slight edge is the adjustable back and leg supports. This offers the ability to personalize the supports for you, ensuring they're in the best spot to provide maximum comfort. This also means that it can be adjusted to suit users of various heights, even if you're taller or shorter than average.
DrawbacksThe only drawback of the Valor Fitness CA-27 Leg Stretch Machine is that it lacks the ability to track your progress easily. There is no device for measuring or monitoring the amount of stretch degrees a user has completed or achieved so far. However, this is a common sacrifice associated with control wheels as opposed to other ways of controlling the stretch degrees like notches that give you a clear visual of the amount of degrees you've stretched. If this is something you really want to measure, it's possible to track the turn of the wheel to mark your progress. How many full or half turns you do before you reach your limit is a useful way to measure your progress, while still maintaining the great control and ease of use that a control wheel provides.
Final ThoughtsThe Valor Fitness CA-27 Leg Stretch Machine is a fantastic leg-stretching machine that is fun and easy to use. The control wheel offers excellent control and allows you to increase your stretches gradually at a pace that is right for you. The adjustable back and leg supports in particular, give this stretching machine an advantage over the Pro Leg Stretcher due to its ability to personalize the machine to suit your needs. This is a great feature for people who need to adjust for height in particular and is the reason I would definitely recommend this leg-stretching machine.
Key FeaturesBi-Lateral: The ProStretch Bi-Lateral Stretching System is a unique leg-stretching machine designed to stretch the lower leg muscles. It allows an easy and effective way to treat and prevent lower leg and foot injuries. The bi-lateral version allows you to vary your stretching levels and exercises with the ability to stretch one foot at a time or both simultaneously. When stretching one leg at a time, you can also use your other foot to help control the stretch for a greater workout.
Patented Design: The patented design of the ProStretch Bi-Lateral Stretching System has been used by athletes, physical therapists and podiatrists worldwide to treat and prevent a variety of lower leg and foot injuries such as fallen arches, plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendonitis and more. The unique design aligns the foot in the optimal position to enhance the stretch of the lower leg and foot muscles.
Portable: The small size and design of the ProStretch Bi-Lateral Stretching System also make this stretching machine very portable. At only 5lbs, it is very lightweight, ideal for taking with you wherever you go, from home to the gym, office and more. This also makes it ideal for standing workstations as you can stretch easily while working and then take it home with you when you're done.
Low Cost: In comparison to the other two leg-stretching machines on our list the ProStretch Bi-Lateral Stretching System is the least expensive of the lot. This makes it a great option for those looking for leg-stretching machines who are on a budget, particularly if you want to target your low leg muscles.
DrawbacksThe only drawback to the ProStretch Bi-Lateral Stretching System is that is designed primarily for lower leg and foot stretching, so it doesn't offer the same variations and levels of flexibility as more complicated leg-stretching machines. However, this is something you should be fully aware of before you buy so you purchase a stretching machine that focuses on your needs. For lower leg stretching, this is a fantastic option and a great choice for those who want to focus on these particular muscles.
Final ThoughtsThe ProStretch Bi-Lateral Stretching System is a little different from the other stretching machines on our list in the sense that it isn't a machine per se. However, it is included because it is a fantastic system for increasing flexibility and range of motion in your lower legs and feet and the patented design is proven worldwide in its effectiveness. This is a highly recommended product for someone with this focus.
Back Stretching Machines
This type of stretching machine is particularly for people who need to take special care of their back or spine. There are a variety of back stretching machines from traction devices to inversion tables. It’s important to note that back stretchers can be very effective for certain types of back pain but harmful for others. Before you begin regular use of a back stretching machine you should consult your doctor to ensure it is safe for your specific back ailment.
You'll be stretching your back in comfort thanks to the patented pressure-reducing ankle system that allows you to hang full inverted without any tugging or pinching on your ankles. You'll also have full control over your rotation thanks to precision balancing and secure lock-out. With several pre-set rotation angles included, you can invert to just about any angle you want without having to worry about flipping over or losing your balance.
FeaturesPatented security features include auto-locking hinges, clam locks, specialized pivot bearings and heat-treated steel parts ensure reliability and durability. Additional standard features include a heavy-duty steel base, corner feet to protect floors and scratch-resistant finish.
If that's not enough, all Teeter Inversion Tables are UL certified and tested for safety and quality. They generally outperform the competition when it comes to endurance, rotation control and ease of assembly. When you buy a Teeter, you can be sure that you're getting superior quality at all times and a name brand you can trust. With over 2 million customers and 30 years experience, Teeter is the brand to beat. And they stand by their quality, offering customers a 5-year guarantee on their products.
- 5-Step Assembly
- Folds for Storage
- UL Certified
- 5-year Full Warranty
- Full-Color Guide & DVD
- User Capacity: 4'8" - 6'6", 300 Lb.
- Precision Balanced
- Pre-set Rotation
- Secure Lock-Out in Full Inversion
- Price: high end
What People SayHundreds of users nationwide have shared their experiences with the product and its features. Most reviewers agree on the device’s superior quality and its ability to fully adapt to each user’s needs. Apart from quality, comfort is listed as one of the main reasons why so many people are choosing this product. Either because of its ergonomic design or pinch-free ankle locking system, the Teeter allows users to feel safe and comfortable at all times. While the price is higher than some other alternatives, you'll find the vast majority of customers are happy with the quality they receive for the price. When it comes to your health and safety, paying more should be a minor issue.
Rounding up, the Teeter EP-560 is potentially the best quality inversion table available on the market today. We rate it a Strong Buy.
The ankle braces have been ergonomically molded, making it a relatively comfortable product to use even when fully inverted. Inverting handle grips are also included to help users invert and exercise more comfortably. Finally, the table can be folded for practical storage when not in use.
FeaturesFew non-professional inversion tables feature this type of technology that allows users to enjoy the therapeutic benefits of infrared heat therapy. Research suggests that this type of therapy is thoroughly beneficial because it allows for deeper penetration into the human body. F.I.R offers major advantages over other types of heating therapies, mainly because it presents no unhealthy, electromagnetic concerns. Additionally, body circulation is greatly improved and injuries relieved. The energy surrounding infrared technology aids in decreasing stress levels, relaxing the muscles and expediting the healing of sprains and strains.
- 350 lbs weight capacity
- Height Adjustment up to 6’6”
- 2.5 inch Infrared heat therapy backrest
- 180 degree inversion
- Mesh pocket for remote control
- Price: high end
What People SayThe most frequently mentioned benefits are the table’s durability and its efficiency. Most reviewers agree that their back pain has been greatly diminished after extended use of this inversion table. It is sturdy, well built, and the infrared ads a nice bit of flair you won't find with other inversion tables. On the downside, a small number of buyers have complained about the product’s lack of instructions. It certainly isn't the easiest inversion table to set up, but note that customers are given access to online customer support, and some users have shared helpful tips online to make assembly easier.
In summary, the Ironman IFT 4000 Inversion Table is an excellent choice in high-end inversion tables and is very much worth your consideration.
For those who aren't quite sure how to use this type of back stretching device, buyers have easy access to free online training videos that outline proper back stretching techniques utilizing all of the products included.
- Item Weight: 2 pounds
- Three-in-one Posture Wizard System
- Three levels of Adjustment
- Price: mid-range
What People SayThis is one of the most highly review lumbar back stretchers online, with most customers praising the device’s ability to deal with back pain in a simple and effective manner. The product is very high quality, especially for the price, and is easy to use any time of the day.
A few reviewers have complained that the device has actually worsened their back pain. When buying a lumbar stretcher you should be aware of the fact that patients with certain types of back conditions should not use this type of device. An inversion table may work better for you, but a professional consultation is always the best choice in such cases.
Overall, this is our top choice for lumbar back stretching devices. It is built with quality, delivers results, and is very easy to use.
Besides relieving back pain, this ChiSoft device is also helpful for posture correction, thus becoming a useful preventive tool. Secondly, there are no age constraints involved with its use. This means that people of all ages can enjoy the benefits of this back stretcher’s use. Physical therapists are recommending it all over the country to young people who have postural issues that may eventually lead to chronic back conditions.
Optimal DesignFeaturing a 100% ergonomically-sound design, this back stretcher shows a multi-level surface together with a three gear adjustment that allows for a deeper and more closely controlled stretch.
Just by following a simple assembly procedure, users are ready to make the most out of this device in no time. Also, because the back stretcher is extremely lightweight, users can easily transport it anywhere they go.
- Product Dimensions: 15 x 2.8 x 4 inches ; 1.2 pounds
- Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds
- Multi-level design
- Easy installation
Customer Reviews and Final CommentsHundreds of reviews are sharing their experiences on this back stretcher online. The most frequently-mentioned benefit is practicality. This back stretcher is becoming well-known for its flexibility. Lightweight and easy to assemble, the device can be used twice a day completely hassle-free.
A few users have referred to the device’s size as being a bit too small for large sizes. Most back-stretching devices are pretty standard in size so the same can be said about most back stretchers.
In all, the Back Stretcher with Lumbar Support makes a fine choice to treat and prevent chronic lumbar pain.
Factors to Consider Before Buying A Stretching Machine
Before simply purchasing a stretching machine, there are a few things you should consider first.
Type: There are three types of stretching machines, each designed to focus on specific areas for stretching. Consider what purpose you need the machine for, whether you want to target muscle tightness in your legs or if you want an overall coverage for your body and choose a type of machine accordingly.
Comfort and Build: You should be comfortable when using your stretching machine. Consider the padding and build of your machine carefully before buying. It is important to buy a sturdy, well-built and well-settled machine build from quality materials to guarantee your safety and comfort. For comfort, in general, thinner padding may be less comfortable for longer periods of use.
User-Weight Support: Each stretching machine should give it’s maximum weight capacity. This is important to consider as your machine should still work perfectly with your full body weight supported on it. Look for a machine that has a higher weight capacity for better comfort and security while using it.
Cost: Of course, the cost is something that should be considered. In general, stretching machines come in a variety of different price point, suitable for every budget. Leg stretching machines will generally be less expensive that their full-body counterparts but if you need full-body coverage, you should adjust your budget accordingly.
I’ve told you why stretching is so important and what to look for in a stretching machine, so the only thing left now is to make your choice. You can safely choose from any of the options provided and be guaranteed an excellent stretching machine that performs well and will do wonders for your flexibility. My personal recommendation goes to the Nitrofit Limber Pro Stretching Machine. It performed incredibly well, is build from very high-quality hardware and the state of the art ergonomics make it a breeze to store. Throw in the generous warranty, and you have a fantastic full-body stretching machine that is definitely worth the price. For leg-stretching machines, I recommend the Pro Leg Stretcher by TMAS. Although it was a close call between it and the Pro Leg Stretcher, the inclusion of adjustable leg and back supports pushed it above its competitors and made it my favorite leg-stretching machine of the bunch.