Are you bored with your same old ab routine and looking for something that fun, different, and effective? If that sounds like you, it might be time to consider using a pair of gravity boots for your workouts.
Like with inversion tables and inversion therapy, gravity boots give you an innovative, intense ab workout that you can’t get anywhere else. That said, they can be quite intimidating if you’ve never used them before. Let’s get into the things you need to know about gravity boots and how to get your best ab workout ever.
What Are Gravity Boots?
It might seem like gravity boots are new to the fitness scene, but they’ve actually been around quite a while. In fact, they made an appearance in popular films like Rocky and American Gigolo. They fell out of popularity for some time but are now having a well-deserved come back.
Basically, gravity boots aren’t exactly boots; they’re strong straps that go around your ankles. Then, they attach to a frame-like apparatus that turns on an axis in a way that allows you to hang upside down.
You might be wondering if they’re secure. They’re actually very reliable and strong. Built with a steel frame for support and stability, they’re usually about 7 inches wide and come up to about mid-calf on your leg. They also have a heavy duty safety lock to keep them in place.
Somewhere on the strap, you’ll see a hook. It’s usually on the back and is there so you can attach the boots to the frame before turning upside down. It’s what you do when your upside down that makes all the difference.
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A Good Ab Workout or the Best Ab Workout?
We admit that gravity books are overwhelming at first. Before you can really start to use them, you not only have to get used to hanging upside down, you have to get comfortable with it. Once you do, though, you’ll be able to start moving and quickly understand why this workout is so awesome.
The thing that makes gravity boots, also known as gravity inversion boots, such an effective way to work out your abs is the exceptional range of motion you get. Think about it. If you’re doing crunched or sit-ups, you’re probably lying on the floor and can only extend your body so far. With gravity boots, you can move in any direction so you can focus on specific areas more easily.
Another great thing about it is you can’t cheat. There’s no way you can use other muscles to help with your exercising. Because you’re hanging, there’s nothing to push or pull against. All of the work is truly concentrated right in your core.
Step by Step
Let’s look at some basic steps you should take when starting a gravity boot exercise routine.
- Get a good bar or frame. If you use a bar, make sure it’s high enough that you won’t hit your head on the floor. Obviously, these look much different for home use than they do at the gym. In the gym, the bar is usually set up on some sort of scaffolding-like support. At home, you’ll have to get one that hangs in your doorway.
You can get a frame for your home, too. This is usually what people using inversion spinal therapy use. These usually have a set attached which means that you will lose the range of motion that’s so beneficial to these exercises. Still, if you want to start slowly or if you just want to get used to hanging upside down, a frame is an okay place to start.
- Put your boots on. Every pair is slightly different so make sure you follow the directions on the set that you have. They should be tight. After all, you will be using them to hang upside down. You shouldn’t feel any tingles in your feet or anything, but make sure they’re snug.
- Hold onto the pull-up bar. Lift your legs and hook each boot into the bar. (Note: If you don’t think you’re in good enough shape to do this, starting with a frame might be a good idea.) Once they’re both secure, let go and slowly lower yourself so you’re hanging down.
- Start your workout. For your abs, do inverted sit-ups. Crunch your abs and try to bring your arms to the bar. There is a lot more resistance when hanging from gravity boots than just doing a regular sit-up so don’t be surprised if it’s a little harder than you expected it to be.
Another good exercise for abs is called a 3-point hang. Pull up your torso until your body is in an L-position then hang onto the bar with one hand, letting the other hand hang toward the floor. Hold for a few seconds, then switch hands. This one does wonders for your abs and helps with flexibility.
- Dismount. This is actually a little easier said than done, especially if you’ve had a strenuous workout! Pull yourself up to the bar and hold on with both hands. Then, unhook your boots, hold on, and slowly lower your legs to the ground.
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What Other Things Are Gravity Boots Used For?
One of the main things that gravity boots are used for is in inversion therapy for spinal decompression. While this won’t help your abs, since you’re already upside down, take advantage of it to! Stretch out your body after your workout. It’s a great way to counteract hours and hours behind a desk every day. It will really help with back pain and leave you feeling refreshed.
Making a Comeback
Gravity boots used to be a popular workout tool back in the late 1970s and they’re definitely poised to make a comeback. They really are one of the most effective ways to work out your abs because they give you a full range of motion, a lot of resistance, and the ability to isolate your abs that you can’t get from other exercises. Go ahead, give them a go.