Best Stretch Machines That Really Help Reviewed
Going hard at the gym and pushing yourself to the limit has to be one of the most rewarding things you can do for yourself - you will feel more confident, stronger, and you will see progress in no time. But it’s very important to remember to stretch after you do so! You can stretch by doing a few simple movements, or you can use a machine or any other kind of aid to help you relax your muscles.
This is why we have created this buying guide. There are many stretch aids you can choose from today, and with so many options one can get easily confused. We hope our guide will clear the confusion, and that you’ll be able to select a new stretch aid with ease!
In a Hurry? The test winner after 5 hrs of research
EZ-Reach Ankle Lock
Ankle Comfort Dial
Top 10 Picks
1. Teeter Inversion Table
EZ-Reach Ankle Lock
Ankle Comfort Dial
Kinda Hard To Do
Inversion tables have got to be the oddest stretching aids out there. They look like some weird scientific contraption, and they even invite you to strap yourself in and hang upside down! But this shouldn’t worry you, as they are perfectly safe and quite helpful. The table from Teeter is particularly helpful. This table has been registered by the FDA, and it provides traction to the spine while stretching out the surrounding muscles.Read more
The inversion table features an EZ-Reach Anklelock. This lock hugs your ankles tightly, supported by three clasps, and it even has a handle so you don’t need to bend down to secure yourself in. The ergo embrace supports surround the ankles and distribute the weight evenly around your feet and heels. The ankle comfort dial is just an adjustable foot platform that accustoms to your foot size, so you always have a comfy fit.
The patented ComforTrak Bed has a smooth surface that accentuates the decompression and the following results, since it allows your body to slide down, stretching out your back completely. The Grip-and-Stretch handholds are built into the bed, and they provide targeted stretching. The acupressure nodes and lumbar bridge are cool attachments for the bed that bring even more relaxation, as they support the lower back and target trigger points. The EZ-Angle Tether makes it possible for you to adjust the angle at either 20, 40 or 60 degrees. The table folds easily, so you can store it way, and it requires no disassembly!
2. Precor 240i
Ergonomically Correct Poses
Unique Seated Design
Lightweight And Small
The Precor 240i has got to be one of the most popular aids out there, and it’s up to you to find out what exactly makes it so popular. The aid will place you in ergonomically correct poses, for maximum effects and a safe stretching regimen.Read more
There is an instructional placard attached to the handles, that shows you some essential stretching exercises that target all of your muscle groups. Its unique seated design stabilizes your back, saving you from back injuries. The seat is comfy, and the kneepads are padded, easing you into every pose. The handlebars are padded as well, giving you the chance to control the intensity and duration of every stretch. The machine is lightweight and small, so it can fit comfortably in your home.
3. LifeSpan SP1000
Instructional Flip Book
Flex-Smart Pivoting System
Wheels For Easy Transportation
Uses Gravity As Stretching Aid
The SP1000 is a stretch partner that will help you reach your athletic goals faster and safer. It prevents injuries, lowers back pain and improves your posture, so if your back is even slightly bent the stretch aid will help you!Read more
The Stretch Partner is often utilized by golf coaches, to help their players stretch after a game, and to increase their range of motion. This means that no matter how stiff you may be, the Stretch Partner will surely improve your range of motion and help you perform your routine easier. It has a solid steel frame, and it uses the power of gravity, nothing more, to help you stretch efficiently.
If you purchase the Stretch Partner, you will get an instructional flip book and a DVD so you know how to stretch properly. The Flex-Smart pivoting system provides a big range of motion and can be adjusted to fit every body shape and size. It’s quite heavy, but it has wheels so you can transport it with ease!
4. Invertio Stretching Machine
Supports Up To 300 Pounds
Padded Ankle Rollers
Material Rips Easily
One more inversion table comes to us from the aptly named brand Invertio. This is a premium grade table, constructed by experts with thick tubular steel for supreme durability and stability. It can withstand the weight of up to 300 pounds, so everyone can use it. The design is sleek, and you can fold it with ease, so you can put it away when you’re not using it.Read more
The feet are non-skid and non-marring, so the table will be balanced and stable. The table is also fully adjustable - there are clearly marked height adjustments, you can modify it effortlessly to accommodate a height ranging from 5’1” to 6’6”.
The unit has a large, contoured foam pad resting under your back, and the headrest has even more foam so you can hang upside down with style and comfort! The padded foam ankle roller can be adjusted to eight different positions, so they can fit any user, and the padded handrails offer even more comfort. The new and improved bolt design allows you to adjust the angle with ease, to your preferred comfort level.
5. Gronk Fitness
Heavy Solid Steel Frame
Poor Quality Control
As seen on TV, this machine will surely help you achieve your stretching goals. Professionally designed to serve as an aid in the gym, it will stretch out your whole body with a few easy steps. You can stretch out all your muscles from as many angles as you can, thanks to the adjustable handlebars and integrated front pads.Read more
It has a heavy solid steel frame, so expect to be tough to move it around. But it includes instructions on how to assemble it, so you’ll be able to relax in no time. It also has quality upholstery and the pads are double-padded and fully adjustable. It has a 5-year warranty, but they are sure you won’t need it since it will last you a lifetime.
6. Nitrofit Limber Pro
Designated Calf Stretch Stations
Full Body Stretch
Some Loose Parts
The Limber Pro is a super fine machine that offers a lot for a smaller price. The seat of the machine can be adjusted to fit users of all sizes. There is a designated calf stretch station that has support bars, and if you do not desire to use them, you can remove them with ease. There is an illuminated display that shows 9 easy exercises which you can perform by yourself!Read more
Their adjustable seat is an industry first, and people of all height can use it. The seat also guides the user throughout all of the stretching exercises. The machine offers you a full body stretch, so no matter which muscle needs to be relaxed, the Limber Pro has got it covered. It positions your body properly, reducing your pain and soreness in a matter of minutes!
7. IdealStretch Hamstring
Light Steel Frame
Money Back Guarantee
Poor Handle Design
No stretch aid list is truly complete without at least one hamstring stretching aid on it! The IdealStretch hamstring stretching device is super effective at giving your calf and thigh muscles a relaxing time. It also relieves tight and short Iliotibial band tissues, reducing the pain you may feel in your knees and lower back.Read more
As you stretch your hamstrings, you will also stretch out your back, so you will also relieve some of the pressure there. This device uses the safest possible way for you to stretch. It has you lying on your back with your knees straight. The light steel frame is made out of high-quality materials, with heavy-duty construction. The device is made out of two parts, and you can easily take it apart to store it someplace safe. The machine is also affordable, and if you don’t like it, they offer a money-back guarantee!
8. Ironman Gravity 4000
Non-skid Rubber Coating
Super Long Safety Handles
Ergonomic Ankle Holders
Up To 350 Pounds
Removable Lumbar Pillow
Some Operational Flaws
The Ironman Gravity 4000 has a sturdy tubular steel frame, coated with a scratch-resistant finish, so it can look good as new even after many years. The backrest is covered with memory-foam vinyl, hugging you gently, yet giving you proper support.Read more
The floor stabilizers are tough, coated with non-skid rubber. This gives you stability while you invert, minimizing the risks of you toppling over. The super long safety handles give you an easy exit out of the whole upside-down situation, and they are too coated with vinyl, for extra safety. The ankle holders are ergonomically molded, so you can lay upside down comfortably. The steel frame can support up to 350 pounds, giving everyone a chance to stretch their back. A little lumbar pillow sits in the middle, and if you do not want the extra support it offers, you can always remove it. The table is light and foldable, so if you’re not using it, you can easily store it away!
Includes setup video
Guaranteed increase in flexibility
Delivers phenomenal results
Unlimited stretching capabilities
Expensive, high-end product
Proflex- the name says it all. That isn't their slogan but I think they should really consider it if I may say so. This is a company that lives up to the standards it sets even just by their title. If you're looking for a complete stretch and increased flexibility, then you came to the right place. Let's look into the specifics and what, exactly, makes this machine worth your while.Read more
First of all, you can get the whole nine yards in terms of stretching capabilities. This is a full-force, professional-grade design that'll hit you in all the right places. However, I would caution beginners to beware since this really is designed for advanced-level users. You should probably be able to do at least a full split before you begin using the Proflex. It does say that children can use it, but it doesn't cover whether beginners are also included in that category. Never assume that the word "child" is synonymous with "beginner". There are a lot of dancers and gymnasts out there in that age range!
Another huge plus in my eyes is the fact that it comes with a range of videos. They detail how to set it up, removing the confusion that paper directions can often provide. It also includes stretching ideas for advanced individuals, and charts to measure your progress. On top of this, they also offer a money-back guarantee with a claim that you'll see a 30-50% increase in overall flexibility.
10. KT Multipull
Folds up for easy storage
Relieves lower back pain
Unsuitable for children
It's no secret that athletes often struggle with lower back pain. Between workouts that target that region, tension from match-related anticipation, or old injuries flaring up, almost everybody has dealt with it. However, the KT Multipull design is a great solution for cases that run the gambit. Whether your pain is mild and inconsistent, or a daily struggle, you're promised some great results when you trust the KT Multipull.Read more
So, what do we love so much? First off, it's made to be easy to use. This means even beginners will have an easy time getting it to put together. Using it is a snap, as well. The brand also claims that it's able to unfold in 10 seconds flat- and that's a pretty hefty claim!
Consumers are obviously happy, however, because it has rave reviews. While it is a high-end product, much like the review before it, it's well worth the money. And, of course, if you don't want to spend that much we have more affordable options available!
Criteria Used for Evaluation
So, you’ve bought your stretching aid, and are excited about feeling that sweet relief you get after you stretch. But as you try to do so, you find yourself increasingly frustrated by all the confusing bits and pieces, and are even unsure of how to properly stretch! We will discuss the most common types of stretching machines and how to use them, so you don’t end up more upset than when you’ve begun using it!
Let’s first mention back stretchers, since they seem to be the most popular kind. Back stretchers range from simple wooden lumbar stretchers to the most complicated machines you’ve ever seen. Both of them focus on stretching you out, without you actually doing anything - so in other words, they focus on passive stretching. If you want to experience the most benefit out of your back stretchers, you should try to relax before you actually use the aids, because you will get the best results this way. Once you relax your muscles, the stretching machine can start doing its magic. These aids elongate the spine vertically, which will help people who just need to stretch, and the people who suffer from health conditions, such as sciatica, bulging disks, and lower back arthritis. The machine creates more space between our vertebrae, counteracting the effects of gravity, pulling us down as we age. If your back is sore, and you don’t want to stretch it over the hard parts of the machines, you may benefit the most out of bolsters, and other soft stretching aids. All you’ve got to do is lay it on the floor, and just lay down on it, allowing your spine to elongate. If you’ve got any type of back pain that you do not know the origin of, it’s important you talk about it with your doctor, since he or she will tell you whether a stretching machine is a good idea.
Now let’s talk about leg stretchers. You already probably know that martial arts do not work that much on your flexibility and that you have to pay extra attention to that area. A lot of professional fighters do stretching exercises, to create a sleek and flexible body. This flexibility is of the utmost importance if you want to perform high kicks the right way! If you never used a leg stretcher before, then you’ve come to the right place. Before you actually start to use your leg stretching device, you have to warm up, with some light cardio exercises. Walking, jogging, and cycling are good options, as they will prepare you to use the aids properly. After you do so, sit on the floor and stretch your legs, and then adjust the leg stretcher so that your legs are comfortably stretched out - if you feel a pain that you cannot bare, adjust the stretcher in a different manner, until you feel more relaxed than strained! Keep the position for about 30-60 seconds, and once you feel ready for it, adjust the stretcher so it pulls back on your legs even more. But don’t overdo it! Keep it at a comfortable level, and keep increasing the range after 30-60 seconds, until you feel like you’ve stretched enough. Now try flexing your legs, contracting the leg muscles, and keep this position for about 10-15 seconds. Increase the stretch again, and repeat the cycle until you’re satisfied. As you increase the range of your stretches, remember to breathe! Practice these stretches for three times a week, and you’ll surely see progress. If your muscles feel like they are burning, or you start to shake uncontrollably, stop doing the exercise immediately because you will damage your muscles!
It seems like stretching is the new fad today, and that everyone is praising it, saying how much it helped them. But is stretching really all that helpful? Will it really make us bendy like a straw?
As it turns out, no one truly understands what happens when we stretch. All we know is that, somehow, stretching will make you more flexible. What we know for sure is that stretching does not make our muscles permanently longer, which is what anyone who had a long break from stretching knows. Instead, these exercises just make you more resistant to the pain, making you able to extend your muscles more and more.
As you stretch, your muscle fiber and tendons will elongate. But even if you stretch a lot, it won’t create a sustainable elongation. Your muscles are attached to your bones at a fixed point, so your muscle complex cannot become longer, no matter how hard you try. And if you think about it, you don’t even want to stretch out your muscles permanently, as that would mean that they won’t be as elastic as they once were, and you won’t get the support you need. So, how is stretching so effective then? You have your nervous system to thank for that one. You’ve got nerve endings scattered all over your muscles and tendons. As you stretch, and you reach a point that is not comfortable anymore, those nerve endings will fire off warning you that if you continue to do so, you might hurt yourself! This is the reason why a person that underwent anesthesia can be stretched fully, without any resistance. Also, have you ever watched a baby play, and sit in seamlessly impossible poses? This is because they still do not know which positions are unsafe, and their nerves do not react to the poses. There is no doubt that yogis and pilates enthusiasts can twist and bend however they like, but this is not because they’ve got long muscles - instead, it’s because of something called stretch tolerance. Stretch tolerance is when you condition your nerves to remain quiet as you stretch more and more until you feel no pain at all.
Today, our modern lives do not require us to move around all that much, so our muscles are used to a small range of motion. If you want to feel less pain in your hips and knees as you go about your day, you need to stretch! Passive stretching may not be so effective, and you might benefit the most out of PNF, or proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation. Simply said, this is when you stretch out your muscles as much as you can, and then flex them, keeping the pose for a few seconds. This means that you can use your stretching aids by simply positioning yourself on the machine and letting it do the work for you, but if you want to see faster results, you can push yourself to the limit and then flex your muscles! This will make you flexible and pain-free, and you’ll be able to perform better in the ring!
Since these machines can be quite pricey, and you do want to stretch yourself more than just a few times, it’s important that they have good durability. The durability of your stretch aid can be affected by many things, ranging from how much you use it, how your body is shaped, and how the machine or aid itself was made.
Steel constructions will obviously last the longest. You still might need to clean it though, since we do sweat, and that sweat can wear it down or cause it to rust, affecting the longevity. The quality of the padding on your machines will also affect the durability. Imagine this - you just bought an aid that has poor pads. The first few times you use it, it will feel like a little fluffy cloud, and you won’t even notice how hard the machine actually is. But after that time passes, your pads will start to give in. The foam or sponge inside will get worn down, pushed to the sides, and it might even escape outside, and all you’ll be left with is a hard surface to sit on or to rest your legs on, making those relaxing stretching exercises not so relaxing at all! This is why you need to buy a quality aid - it will cost you an arm and a leg, but you won’t feel any pain once you start to use it, and it will last a long time!
None of these aids are just simple machines that you sit or lay on to feel relaxed and better. Well, they will make you feel relaxed, but they can offer you much more than that. All of them come packed with features that are meant to make the stretching much easier, aiding your journey in many ways.
For example, some of the inversion tables have acupressure nodes. These nodes will additionally massage your back, triggering deeper points for better relaxation. The lumbar fits will adjust to your lower back, and you won’t come down from the machine feeling sorer than when you stepped onto it. The lock systems keep your limbs and body where they’re supposed to be, so you don't slide down from the machines, and so your limbs are locked down into place - minimizing the chances of you injuring yourself. There are handles all around the machines, so you can hold onto them and stretch as much as you want, and some straps keep you tight on the machine, just like the locks do. Many machines have ergonomic fits, padded handles, and sitting areas, so you don’t feel any extra pain as you stretch out. All in all, all of the machines will try their best to keep you satisfied and pain-free!
Now let’s talk about whether or not you can injure yourself while stretching out, with or without the machines. Stretching out is beneficial, but if you do it the wrong way, you can seriously injure yourself, hindering your progress and causing you a world of trouble. So we will let you know about some of the most common mistakes people make while stretching, hoping you avoid them and have a safe time relaxing!
There are some muscles in your body that you simply cannot stretch. All of our muscles can be elongated, but you simply might not be able to elongate them enough to satisfy you. The quadriceps is one of those muscles, surprisingly enough! So don’t try to push yourself more than you can take, as you might hurt yourself. One of the many mistakes people do is stretching only after they work out. If you do stretching exercise before your actual session, it will loosen up your muscles and increase your range of motion. This will make you less prone to injuries, and you might even have a better time working out. But the stretches you will perform before actually starting to work out will be different from the ones you perform afterward, but more on that later.
Before you get on your little stretching aid, you actually have to warm up. If you haven’t moved around for a while, or if you just got up, your muscles will be stiff. Getting on that leg stretcher without a proper warm-up sesh beforehand is a recipe for disaster. So, before you actually get to stretching, do a set of light cardio exercises. By doing this, you will increase the blood flow to the muscles and joints, and you will heat and loosen them up. But don’t tire yourself out before you even begin!
Sometimes, if your muscles are tight, it doesn’t mean that your muscles are not flexible enough. Sometimes, it could be that your muscle is just weak. If you try to stretch that particular muscle, you might injure it! Surprisingly enough, strength training with motion is the solution here. As you perform these exercises, your muscle will gain strength in the full range of motion, increasing your stretch tolerance as well. Also, if you are already very stretchy, strength training will mobilize your joints. But if you’ve got any kind of hypermobility syndrome, be careful, as heavyweights can harm you!
You could also be doing the wrong type of stretch. There are three types of stretching - dynamic, moving and static. Obviously, with a machine, you will be able to perform two types of the stretch, and those are static stretches and moving stretches. Static stretches are done by stretching out the muscles until you feel that familiar pulling sensation and then holding the pose for a few seconds. These stretches work the best when you do them after working out, relieving muscle fatigue and promoting recovery. Dynamic stretches move through your whole range of motion, mimicking the movements you’ll be doing once you actually start your session. We already mentioned moving stretches - you position yourself in a stretching pose and then flex your muscles, which is also something you can do on your aids, and just like static stretching, it should be done post-workout.
Expert Interviews & Opinions
Contrary to popular belief, stretching after working out will not relieve muscle soreness the day after your session in the gym! It’s still a good idea to stretch after your workout, but you will still wake up with that signature muscle pain. If you want to avoid muscle soreness, your best bet is to take an NSAID, like ibuprofen. Or, you can even try using ice packs where you feel sore the most - just make sure you don’t end up with frostbite!
Other Factors to Consider
The weight of your stretching aid plays an important role. Moving around heavy machinery can tire you out quite fast, and if you’ve just completed your session, you surely don’t need to lug around bulky machines around your house! Most of the machines will be heavy though, so be prepared for that. After all, you can’t have a lightweight machine made out of steel, equipped with many handy features. The weight of the machine is just something that you will need to get used to, but the machines are not that heavy, so you will be able to move them around and set them up with ease.
The size of your stretch aid can vary a lot. It can either be as small as a pillow, or as large as the largest gym machine. This can be a problem if you want to have such a machine at the comfort of your own home. It can either take up too much space, or you won’t have any space for it at all! Luckily, most of the machines are foldable, and you can put them away with ease someplace where they won’t bother you. If you lack space in your home, find the machines you can put away, and you won’t have any trouble!
An unstable stretch aid can be, without a doubt, a cause of injury. Imagine this - you just got onto your machine, and as you start to perform your exercises, the machine rolls over and squashes you! This is even worse with inversion tables - you need a stable machine when you’re hanging upside down. So your machine really needs to be a stable one! It has to be heavy enough to support your weight, and it has to have a balanced construction!
All in all, stretching machines are quite helpful and can help you relax and calm down after a strenuous exercise. They might be costly, but the price is just right for their value and for the amount of relief they bring. They’re easy to master, and they usually come with instructions on how to use them so you don’t feel lost. We hope our guide has helped you select one that is just right for your needs, and that you will enjoy using it for many years to come!
Frequently Asked Questions
q: Should stretching hurt when I do it?
Stretching should never feel painful! If you feel pain while you stretch, then that is a sign that you are not doing something the right way. Ease your way into the position - do not hurry to find that pressure point, as you may overstep the boundary and hurt yourself. It’s okay to feel some mild tension, and once you reach that tension, hold the position for about 30 seconds or so, and then let go. When you get into that pain territory, your body will actually contract the muscles, because that is one way we stay protected. Do not overstretch either! This can also cause an injury.
q: What kind of stretching is the best?
The type of stretches you need to perform depends on whether you are just starting your session, or you’re finishing up. Once you start your exercise routine, warm-up, and then perform dynamic stretches, ones that resemble your actual workout. After you’ve completed the session, however, you will benefit the most from static and moving stretches. Obviously, you should use your machines only after you’re done for the day, because using it beforehand can actually hinder your progress and make it easier to exercise!
q: Can I stretch all of my muscles?
Technically, you can, but they won’t stretch the same way. For an example, your quadriceps are tough to stretch out, while your back can be stretched out easily. This also depends on whether or not you’ve got some pre-existing conditions or injuries. An injured muscle should be stretched out carefully, if at all, and if you suffer from subluxing or dislocating joints, you should avoid stretching out altogether!
q: Should I stretch after every exercise?
Yes, but only if you want to! It is not necessary, but you will surely feel better after it. Just make sure you’re doing it the right way, and you won’t feel any pain at all! You’ll still get sore, since stretching out won’t help you with that, but you might not feel as tight. You might not want to stretch out each and every day, since that can hinder your athletic progress - unless you’ve got chronic pain issues and really need to!
q: Will stretching really improve my flexibility?
Not in the true way, no. Stretching can only improve your stretch tolerance. This is that nagging ache you feel as you reach your stretching limit. By stretching out regularly, your nerves will get accustomed to this pain, and you’ll be able to stretch more and more, until you’ve reached the full range of motion. This does improve your flexibility in some way, but as soon as you stop doing this on the regular, your muscles will go back to their old ways!