Of all the inversion tables that incorporate infrared therapy these days, the most popular is probably the Ironman IFT 4000, which sits at the pinnacle of a whole series of devices designed by Paradigm Health & Wellness. This excellent combination of inversion and heat therapy might do wonders for those with back problems. Far infrared rays penetrate deep beneath the skin without causing any discomfort. They relieve muscle tension, which in turn enhances the experience of inversion therapy. When testing this table, I couldn't help but wish that the overarching relaxation of every session would last just a few minutes more.
The frame is made of tubular, heavy-duty, powder coated steel that is durable enough to resist scratching during normal use or storage. It also has a footprint that’s 27” x 50” making it a fairly substantial device by any reckoning. Unlike other infrared tables, this one’s stand has an “open space” design, which facilitates getting onto or off of the table as there is no crossbar near the floor to get in your way.
The stand is fitted with rubber stabilizers which, in combination with the above feature provides you with a real feeling of stability and comfort, even for users of 350 pounds—as far as I know, only the Health Mark device can accommodate a higher weight capacity.
As with all other Ironman tables, this one comes with a one year warranty covering mechanical defects.
All parts and workmanship, including upholstery, foam, ball bearings, pulleys, cables, shocks, all tension mechanisms, wheels, pedals and hardware are warrantied free from defects for 90 days.
The IFT 4000 and Comfort
In terms of comfort, there are a few useful features that distinguish this device:
A long, wide, very comfortable backrest that is padded with 2.5” ribbed foam. The built-in infrared pad is a few inches longer than in the other tables of the IFT series, but you shouldn’t expect to feel any soothing warmth in your neck area unless you’re a fairly short person.
Side handles are built to the typical Ironman standards: They’re foam-covered and long enough to assist you in controlling the inversion and provide an easy return to the upright position.
The back legs of the stand are fitted with two hand grips so you can perform some extra stretching at an inversion angle of 60 degrees, which is, give or take, when the backrest is parallel to the back legs. Surprisingly, this useful feature can only be found in one other Ironman model – The Gravity 3000.
The heat remote control unit can be stored in a small mesh pocket of the safety vinyl covers, along with a few additional small personal items.
A great feeling of relaxation is provided by a thin carbon-fiber pad built into the backrest. This pad generates far infrared rays (FIR). It can take up to fifteen minutes to heat up to its maximum temperature of 140 degrees. As the warming is very gentle, it is a good practice to switch the device on before the session to fully enjoy it. The controller is set by default to maximum time (40 minutes) and temperature when switched on, so you’ll need to adjust it to your preferred settings.
The controller has a LED display to make things easy, but the remote control has no display at all. That’s unfortunate, because without a read out, you’ll only have a vague idea regarding the particulars of the device, or how well and how quickly it is responding to changes you’ve made to settings, and during inversion, you won’t be able to see the display on the device controller. It’s not a huge problem. A few sessions of practice with it and you’ll come to understand what settings work best for you.
One final point to note is that the remote control comes with batteries, while the LED controller needs to be plugged into a wall outlet in order to provide power to it.
The comfort of users’ ankles when hanging upside down depends in large part on the system’s quality, but also on individual anatomy, like the shape of your heels or your sensitivity to pain during various angles and durations of inversion. No matter how good the system is, there will always be people put off by inversion therapy due to pain in their ankles. On the other hand, a lot of customers are quite happy with devices that use very simple holders fitted with thin foam rollers. The manufacturers keep inventing better and better solutions, and there are a variety of them out there, so really this part comes down to personal preference.
The Ironman IFT 4000 is fitted with the best ankle holder that the Ironman line has ever introduced. You can securely stand on a massive footrest and ratchet up the closure so that it snugly adjusts to your heels. Four cuffs have ergonomically molded rubber cushions so that you will feel very secure even when performing extensive inverted exercises. The lever that operates the ratchet closure is very long, so you will only need to bend down a little to reach it.
What Is The Actual Height Range?
The balancing of an inversion table is a very important process that speaks directly to the responsiveness of the equipment. That process includes adjusting the height shaft and pivot arm settings. The scale on the height shaft indicates that the user height range is 4’9” to 6’6”, and this range is mirrored in the user manual for the device.
There’s one extra hole in the bar that can be used to accommodate a user of up to 6’9” BUT (and surely there must be a “but” in cases like these), because every individual’s body weight distribution is different, it is very likely that in a perfectly balanced position, the height shaft setting will not correspond with your actual height – the perfect balance can be found in a range of +/- 3 inches of your actual height. That’s the real reason behind the extra hole.
Are Ab Workouts Possible?
This table has no angle locking mechanism like other tables do (reference the iControl 400, for example). You can use a provided tether strap to control how far back you will recline. This makes it impossible to do inverted crunches at a desired inversion angle. Luckily this table is able to put you completely upside down and lock out in that position. Provided that the pivot arms aren’t set at the beginner’s position, the backrest will pass the 180 degree mark and come to rest on the front crossbar. In that position, you will be hanging upside down without touching the backrest, and from here, you can perform the most advanced inverted exercises without difficulty. The only limit will be your level of physical fitness and your tolerance and resilience to the inevitable pain in your ankles.
How Hard Is It To Put Together?
The assembly instructions are fairly clear and straightforward. The only problem I found is that the instructions tell you how to put every single piece together, whereas in fact, the table comes partially assembled. A few customers pointed that out as sowing confusion.
All tools necessary to complete the assembly are included, and will suffice for the work, but I don’t think you’d want to add them to your toolbox after the assembly was completed. As the table is rather at the top end of the weight range for inversion tables in general, it would be helpful to have an extra pair of hands during the assembly process, especially when it comes to mounting the backrest on the stand. On average, the assembly process takes about an hour and a half.
How Well Does This Unit Fold Up For Storage?
Unfortunately, that’s the one sour note where this machine is concerned. Yes, you can simply push the front and back legs together, but then you’re faced with a heavy, cumbersome device that won’t stay in that position on its own. You would need a really high bed with excellent clearance in order to slide the table under it unless you begin disassembling it. I don’t believe it pays off, time-wise, as you’ll probably be using it twice a day. The folded table would be 80” long/high and 17” deep.
Make no mistake, this is a heavy table. It comes in a flat-packed box weighing a hefty 82 pounds, so you’ll probably need to arrange for some help to bring it home. As the assembly process might be a bit challenging because of the weight, you’ll probably also want to ask your helper to stick around till you get the thing put together.
The horizontal distance (length) from the ankle holder to the top of the backrest is 49”. Once fully assembled, the table will be 26” wide and 65” tall, however, the room where the table will stay needs at least 7’5” clearance in order to fully invert at the maximum height adjustment setting.
• Extremely comfortable backrest – a hugely important feature, especially given that you’ll want longer sessions on this table so you can enjoy the soothing action of the far infrared rays.
• Solid, sturdy construction that can easily accommodate a user’s weight of up to 350 pounds!
• One of the most comfortable ankle holding systems with a long lever – no need to bend down too much every time you lock in or out.
• Relatively easy assembly
One of the heaviest foldable inversion tables on the market. It is cumbersome to move around, fold, or dismantle.
A staggering 98% of those who purchased this equipment are so delighted with their purchase that they awarded it 4 or 5 stars out of five. Have no doubts – this table is well deserving of its overall rating of 4.7.
The Ironman IFT 4000 Infrared Therapy Inversion Table is everything is claims to be – very sturdy, well built, heating throughout entire bed, easy foot-locking mechanism, valuable safety handles! (Read more)
Price & Conclusion
The reality is that there’s just no competition for the IFT 4000. It is best in class. That means that it’s quite difficult to find anything to compare it to. There’s a Teeter vibration cushion for sale that has the infrared pad, but it’s quite small and placed in such a way that it stimulates the neck and shoulder area only. That cushion is compatible with all Teeter inversion tables and costs around $100.
There’s also an Ironman infrared cushion available which might be attached to virtually every table they make. Personally, I would consider such a cushion if I’d already had some other inversion table and was looking to add an infrared application to it. Otherwise, it’s definitely better to spring for an inversion device with the infrared pad already built in, just like the Ironman IFT 4000 Infrared Therapy Inversion Table. Most of its features are shared with the best-selling Ironman Gravity 4000. This means that it’s a sturdy and reliable piece of equipment, and priced below $300 in most markets, it’s awfully hard to beat.