You might wonder how the Teeter Contour L5 or Contour L3 differ from other Teeter Hang Ups inversion tables, save for the stylish curved frame legs that are easy to notice at first blush. There are actually a number of differences, but one that stands out from the rest. An exceptionally useful feature that's worth every penny. It's called the “One-Click Balance” feature in Teeter Hang Ups parlance.
Being a happy user of one of the mentioned inversion tables I was able to gather all the information and write the Teeter Contour L5 review and post it below, however the same review can also be applied to the Contour L3 as the only difference between the two tables is their ankle locking systems.
The frame of the Teeter Contour L5 inversion table is made of massive tubular heat-treated steel which accounts for much of the table's added weight. At nearly 80lbs, it is one of the heaviest manual inversion tables, and thus, is very sturdy. The frame has a powder coated finish protecting it against unintentional abrasion. The small caps fitted in the corners will assure great stability on hard floors like timber or tiles, and will sink on the carpet until the table rests on robust bottom crossbars.The frame comes with built-in pivot bearings and arms ready to mount the backrest to.
The side handles are long enough to stay within easy reach of your hands during the inversion session, but compact enough so as not to stick out too much, which would make storing the unit more difficult. They will allow you to control the pace of the inversion, and stop it at any angle. They're very useful in quickly reverting back from any locked position.
Contrary to the design of many other inversion tables, rubber is used to cover the side handles which is a much more durable solution than simple foam covers.
Like all manual Teeter Hang Ups inversion tables, these have a plastic injection-molded backrest which simply is not as comfortable as a foam padded one. On the other hand, it will never get torn or worn, which makes the line markedly more durable. To avoid discomfort, there's a little pillow for your head that's attached via a Velcro strap, and thus, is easy to remove.
Also, thanks to its plastic construction, it is much lighter, and this matters if you plan to take it off of the stand for storage. The top part of the backrest is flexible to some degree, allowing for a greater range of body motion. As the backrest is as full of holes as Swiss cheese, you may easily fit the Teeter acupressure nodes (not included with this table) easily, and anywhere you like. Just remember to avoid pressuring any bones. They are intended to stimulate your muscles!
Ankle Locking System: Contour L3 vs Contour L5
The types of ankle holding system used here can also be found in other Teeter Hang Ups models. The Contour L3 uses the system developed in the EP-560 and EP-960 tables. Thanks to its construction and design, the front cups can be ratcheted up so they fit snugly around your ankles. The more expensive Teeter Contour L5 is fitted with the gravity lock system that is generally seen in much more expensive, motorized tables (but also in the EP-970), like the Contour Power or DFM. The latter system operates via a longer lever, so you will barely need to bend at the waist to operate it.
Both models have the same heel holder and footrest designs. The heel holders consist of four cups, padded with high density foam instead of the more commonly used rubber. The rubber finish would probably last forever, but would bruise your ankles much more quickly than the foam.
The last part of the whole ankle locking system is the footrest, designed with a cleversolution to easily adjust the distance between your instep and the front cups. The eccentric rotating platform solution, with the difference of about 1 inch must be well protected by Teeter patents, as I was unable to find that simple but elegant solution on any other inversion table.
Basic individual tweaks and adjustments can be made during the table's initial assembly. Once you feel more comfortable with the inversion itself, you may want to make further adjustments, opting for a steeper incline or better and quicker response to your arm movements. Things become a little more complicated in situations where more than one person will be using the table as differences in experience, tolerance for discomfort, and body type will necessitate different settings. It's all about striking the right balance, and all these things will definitely impact your initial table settings and what you ultimately gravitate to.
Adjusting the user's height is done in the same was as it is in every other inversion table, save for the fact that the ankle holder system that is attached to the height adjusting boom is rather heavy when compared to its counterparts on other models. As the individual body weight distribution is different, you can expect that your height probably won't match the scale height, and it might require up to three inches up or down to find the perfect balance. To make sure you have found that point, you must hop onto the table, lock your ankles and lie back with your hands crossed. In that position, you should barely get lifted. Continue making adjustments to the height boom as needed, testing after each change.
As described in the section above, adjusting the ankle locking system is simple, and can be completed quickly and easily.
There is a tether strap attached to the back of the backrest and the A-frame crossbar that you need to use to preset the maximum angle of incline. The strap has color markings on it for easy adjusting and readjusting the maximum inversion angle for different users.
The last adjustment is all about control of the distance between the axis of rotation and your body's center of gravity. Initially, you will want to keep your center of gravity close to the axis of rotation, as in this setting the inversion table will react slowly and gently to the movement of your arms. In its most aggressive settings, the Contour inversion tables have the ability to lock out in full inversion, allowing for some inverted exercises to be performed. However, this can be achieved with such settings that your body's center of gravity is relatively far from the table's axis of rotation.
This can be adjusted by choosing one of three positions on the pivot arms. Here we come to the most excellent feature that really separates the Contour table series from any other. These models are fitted with two knobs that you'll need to loosen to change the pivot settings. To make sure that you're absolutely safe after each adjustment, there's a crossbar secured with Chicago Posts at the end of each pivot arm.
Teeter Hang Ups boasts in the descriptions of all their inversion tables that they are 85% pre-assembled out of the box, insisting that you will be able to put their machines together in about thirty minutes. That may be possible, but I can't imagine a first time user doing it. Not when you factor in a read of the Owner's Manual, which a first time user almost certainly would do, followed by a careful, step-by-step follow along with the video instruction guide in order to make sure everything is done correctly. At the end of the day, it is you who will be hanging upside down, held by your ankles only, so you're going to want to make sure everything is right! Having said that, when it comes to the Contour L3 and L5 models, the assembly process is limited indeed, thanks to their built-in pivots.
Like all Teeter Hang Ups inversion tables, those models come with assembly instructions and an instructional DVD. As an added bonus, the DVD also contains five exercises and stretching instructions.
In the box, you'll find all the required tools, but these are by no means top quality. If you have your own, use them. If not, these will get the job done.
Storage of the Contour Series inversion tables is their weakest point, in my opinion. Although the table's designers did everything possible to minimize its size, both the L3 and L5 will be pretty awkward to store. Once you push the A-frame together and flip the backrest all the way around, the table will be too bulky to store it under an average bed. It will require a clearance of at least 20”.
It's not too bad if you have enough space to store it somewhere out of the way, although the machine is quite heavy and somewhat difficult to drag.
Taking the backrest off the stand is not an option, I'd say. It is possible, but would include unscrewing two Chicago Posts to release the pivot arms from the safety crossbar. It shouldn't take too long, but I'd be worried about losing the Chicago Posts and screws in that case.
Teeter Contour L3 & L5 Dimensions
The Contour L3 and Contour L5 inversion tables come in a heavy (80lb) box of 50”x30”x9”. Once set up and ready to use, its final dimensions are 61” high and 28” wide. The horizontal distance from the ankle locking system to the backrest top is 64” which could potentially turn into 83” if the maximum height settings are used. It's good to remember that depending on what settings you opt for, your room needs to have at least 7'5” of clearance to allow for safe operation. These tables will accommodate users between 4'8” and 6'6” tall, and support weight of up to 300lbs.
Pros & Cons
I have to admit that I can't be 100% impartial when it comes to the “Cons” of the Contour Series of tables. I've been in love with that machine ever since I bought it. I particularly appreciate the ease of changing the pivot settings, as I'm sharing it with my wife and three children. Whereas my kids like the aggressive settings to lock out the table in full inversion and perform a few squats, I'm happy to use it at 60 degrees, but my wife won't use it unless it's set up at beginner's pivot position and a 30 degree incline.
I'd say the only drawback of these tables is their storage. If you are very limited on space, then it could be a real hassle to have to disassemble the machine and keep track of the parts you took off.
As with all Teeter Hang Ups inversion tables, these are covered by a 5 year warranty and have the UL quality and safety marks of the Underwriters Laboratories.
As these tables are relatively new, it's hard to find any trustworthy opinions across the web so far.
Both the Contour L3 and L5 are pretty expensive machines, and will run you over $500, with the L5 being about $50 more expensive than its counterpart, the L3. They are such outstanding tables that it's hard to compare them to any other brand or model. The Teeter EP-560 Sport, including the Gravity Boots and stretch traction handles costs about $400, so it's up to you whether it's worth it to pay $150 more for the Contour L3 and its one-click pivot system, Decompression Arch, and stylish design.