The Body Max IT6000 inversion table by Body Flex Sports remains extremely popular among those who look for equipment to help them alleviate spine related pain. Like nearly all other tables, this one too was manufactured in China. It is covered by a one year warranty for the frame and 90 days on all parts if the item is used for the intended purpose.
It seems to be an acceptable compromise of one of the cheapest inversion tables on the market and its quality. It's cheap, it's simple and it's basic but sturdy enough to meet the required safety standards. It has nearly no additions but it might sound a tempting solution if you don't want to spend too much for something that you are not sure will work as a remedy for your back pain, herniated disc or any other spine related condition that causes limb numbness and morning spasms that you may have been struggling with for a few months or even years.
Before I jump into a review of the features, I'd like you to be absolutely clear about what you're dealing with here. You need to remember that this is a very simple, basic, budget inversion table, although it will certainly do the job. The vast majority of users are delighted with how their health improves after using it. They would rather fix some tiny flaws with their purchase on their own than spring for another, more expensive model. However, for some people, it might be annoying to find a few nuts, bolts, or washers missing in the middle of the assembly process, plugs not staying in tubes, rough and unpolished tube ends, or a wobbly foot rest.
Weighing only 46 pounds the table is one of the lightest inversion tables, yet surprisingly sturdy.
Its tubular frame is made of durable steel that prevents any bending during regular usage. As it is only covered by paint it will probably be prone to scratches.
When open and locked down with two folding arms you get a stable construction to put the table on. The frame is fitted with four non-skid resilient rubber feet to prevent any movement on the hard floor. This solution will work great on a hard surface like tiles or timber or even thin carpet. However, I would suggest special precautions if you want to use it on a soft surface like rubber mats or thick carpet.
The foot rest is covered with a very similar grip material so your feet shouldn't slip off. There are 2 vinyl covers provided to prevent your hands from any harm that might be caused by contact with nuts and screws sticking out when in motion.
I really like the very simple solution that is provided to stop any swing of the backrest when you aren't using your table. This is a safety lock that holds the height adjustable boom to the frame when not in use.
If you are not familiar with inversion therapy in general or with this particular inversion table you are probably pretty anxious about tilting all the way down violently or too quickly. Luckily you can easily limit the inversion angle by adjusting the tether strap to the desired position. The strap itself looks sturdy but the loop sewing doesn't inspire my confidence to be honest. However, the energy of the rotation is not too big if the bed is well adjusted to your height and is balanced. In addition you can use a yellow bar that goes across the back of the U-shaped frame to limit the inversion at a given angle.
The simplicity of the Body Max inversion table manifests in the backrest cushion, or should I say no cushion! Despite the bed frame having a thick nylon cover there is no way it would stop the bed's crossbar digging into your back. When inverted it is also likely that your head will rest on the bed frame which will not be pleasant. The cover has an opening on the back of the bed so you may want to wrap a soft towel around the crossbar. It looks like the manufacturer of the Body Max is aware of this drawback and has provided a pretty obvious solution in their Body Champ IT9120: two pads for neck and waist comfort attached to the bed with stretching straps.
The very first thing to do once you've finished your set up is to balance the table. To achieve this you will need to adjust your height on the boom according to the scale attached, give or take 3 inches. You need to leave this space because you are unlikely to get a correct balance from using height only because people's body build will vary considerably. In any case you need to run a little test.
Your inversion table should barely lift up when lying down with both arms crossed on the chest. If you rotate more than that or don't rotate at all then you will need to reposition the boom.
The frame has U-shaped padded handrails attached to each side. Once you have balanced the table (the balancing process is fully explained in the 'Adjustability' section of this review), you could initiate rotating by gently moving your arms from your side to over your head. However, if you feel like you need better control of the inversion you can always push away gently on the side handles to start inversion. If for any reason you need to stop the inversion or return to an upright position these bars give you a great feeling of safety as – thanks to their shape – they can be easily reached anytime
The ankle locking system, just like the rest of the Body Max inversion table is simple and works great for the majority of users. I would suggest that you always wear socks and shoes when inverting. The whole system consists of four foam rollers and a spring loaded locking pull pin for better adjustment. When locking your ankles the support pin will be placed very low and will be well below your knees which means you would need to bend over to reach it – would your back pain allow you to do that? The front rollers are bent in to create a bracket for a safe lock around your ankles. You will probably find them uncomfortable if you are closer to the upper limit of the Body Max weight capacity. In such a case you may want to add dome extra cushioning around the foam padding.
Is It Easy to Assemble?
Despite it coming without any instructional DVD – and I am not aware of any assembly video available on the web – the assembly is pretty easy and one person should be able to complete it within an hour if they are following the step-by-step directions from the Owner's Manual. However, some users might need assistance to fix the bed on the frame.
Unfortunately there are no tools provided to help you with assembly so you will need to obtain some pliers and a crescent wrench for yourself.
Does the Table Fold Up Easily?
As with other inversion tables the folding up of this one can be achieved to some degree in only two ways. The first one could be a bit tricky as it involves taking the backrest frame off the stand. All you need to do is lift the safety hooks that secure the pivot pins. You will then need to lift the bed – to make it easier it's better to remove the height adjusting boom first. This way you will get two smaller components (or three if you take the boom off) that you could store apart. This process is a bit time consuming and some people might need an extra pair of hands for help.
A much simpler, and faster, way is to press both U-frames together, securing the leg part with the safety lock. The table will become bulky and hard to store under an average size bed with dimensions like 72L x 29W x 18H. It is not quite a manageable size because there are handles sticking out below and the ankle locking system is the other side. As I said it is pretty easy to move the leg bar but removing handle bars entails unscrewing some nuts bad hence it becomes pointless in my opinion.
Ideally there will be some spare space for the Body Max where you don't need to fold it – just like with other inversion tables.
The Body Max IT6000 comes in a package of 5L x 25W x 45H and weighs 51.1 pounds. Once the assembly has been completed it will measure 58 inches long and be 29 inches wide and 55 inches high, and will weigh 46 pounds. The table is intended for a user of up to 250 pounds. The height scale range allows settings from 4' 7" to 6' 5" but the user should be no more than 6' 3" as some space must be left for the balance adjustment. Also you need to bear in mind that if the table is set to the longest height adjustment the inversion table will be around 7ft high when fully inverted.
The terms 'full inversion', 'inversion of 90 degrees' and 'inversion of 180 degrees' are very often used interchangeably which can be confusing but they all mean the same thing – an upside down position.
Can You Adjust the Degree of Inversion?
All adjustments of the Body Max can be easily completed in a few minutes apart from one: pivot arms adjustment. This should not be neglected as it may significantly impact on your inversion therapy experience, particularly if you have never tried this before. This adjustment is all about moving the body's center of gravity closer or further from the axis of rotation. The pivot arms are set up during the assembly process. Body Max inversion table pivot arms have four holes in each side. If you go for the bottom holes which are closer to the bench you will get gentle reactions to the movement of your arms and smooth rotation. Also the full inversion position can only be achieved if you crawl backward like an assisted handstand. On the other hand if you go for the upper holes you will have to deal with more aggressive rotation but full inversion will be easier to achieve. Some upside down exercises, like sit ups or abs core training, will be possible in that position but even then your back will be in contact with the table all the time.
Readjusting the pivot bars is not something you will want to do very often as to do that you have to take the bench off. Next you will need to set the bench back on the frame slots – most people find this annoying as you have to pry these slots apart to fit the pivot arms in.
No matter what pivot adjustment you choose you need to adjust the maximum inversion angle using the tether strap provided. One of the ends is attached to the front u-shaped frame and the other one has a steel clip that is hooked onto the back of the backrest. The strap has a plastic buckle for easy length adjusting. The shorter the strap, the less the inversion angle. You can adjust the strap length so even full inversion is possible. Unfortunately there are no marks on the strap for easy readjustment if more than one person is using the inversion table.
The height adjustment accommodates varying user sizes and is pretty easy but requires good co-ordination as you will need to pull the spring loaded pin to release the boom with one hand and slide the boom in and out with the other.
The ankle adjustment needs to be completed in two steps.
First of all adjust the footrest to the size of your instep or shoes if you are using them. For this purpose you need to unscrew the knob bolt and slide the foot rest in or out. It is a trial and error process as you have to jump on the footrest and lock the front ankle backrest to make sure it's done correctly.
Here we come to the last and simplest adjustment. Place your feet firmly on the footrest, pull the spring loaded pin and push the front bracket in so the foam rollers are tight against the ankles and the insteps.
Light weight allows for easy movement when being stored.
Foam padded u-shaped handrails for safe control of the inversion pace and angle.
Safety lock to secure the bed when the inversion table is not in use.
Price as discussed in more detail later.
I think an instructional video attached or available somewhere on the web would be a huge help to many people.
The ascetic bed that is only covered with a vinyl cloth might be a real disappointment. Most people will use it for just a few minutes per day but it would be nice to lie down without any discomfort instead of looking for pillows to put under the back or the head.
You may need to keep an eye on the tether strap stitches – double stitching may be a better idea.
This inversion table has no angle locking solution.
The ankle locking system will probably be fine for the vast majority of users but some people may find it uncomfortable and wrapping the foam pads with towels will not always work.
The spring loaded pin that releases the front ankle bracket is placed very low so you will need to bend over to release it.
Nearly 85% of users are happy with their purchase and rate it with 4 or 5 stars. Complaints were made on a few occasions about poor packaging. Most customer complaints were about loose and missing nuts and bolts. It must be annoying if you are forced to go to a hardware store for washers and nuts – even if they do cost less than $1!
Conclusion & Price
Many customers are seduced by the low price of the Body Max IT6000 inversion table, which is perfectly understandable considering it is usually just slightly over $100. In the case of a tight budget it’s normal to want to buy the cheapest model but it actually makes more sense to try and spend your money in the most efficient way. The main drawback with this model is the backrest and as you'll see, there are a couple of options that will help you avoid this problem for just a little bit more money.
I simply don’t like the idea of lying on the nylon cover that’s stretched over a metal frame. The lack of cushioning for your back and head will be pretty hard on your body as it slides down and back in inversion and will only be worse if you attempt to do any exercises! Aware of this problem, Body Flex Sports came up with the simple idea of applying thick pads for the head and waist in the Body Champ IT9120 Gravity Inversion System. This is basically the same model but costs up to $50 dollars more for the extra padding.