The World Triathlon Corporation selected a South Carolina-based company, Paradigm Health & Wellness to represent their brand with the name Ironman and their distinctive M dot logo on their inversion tables. Thus, there is no misappropriation or coincidence with the use of the name on these products. The tag-line for the products proudly announces that “Ironman Inversion tables are built with the same precision, strength and durability as an Ironman athlete.” Wow, these must be some of the best tables on the market then!
True to their branding, Paradigm Health & Wellness’ Ironman inversion tables are the most versatile and innovative ones on the market. These tables address both customers’ needs and pro-actively react to new trends. In fact, I believe they even anticipate them, something which I hope I’ve proven below.
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These Ironman inversion tables can be divided into three main groups: regular inversion machines, infrared devices and angle-braking systems.
Ironman Inversion Tables
The bulk of the Ironman offerings are regular inversion tables. These include two lines of very simply designed, basic machines, as well as more sophisticated solutions, some of which are really unrepeatable bestsellers.
Before getting down to the nitty-gritty there’s one issue worth mentioning. For some unknown reason, Paridigm sells the same products under multiple names, causing confusion for some customers.
The Gravity Line: Probably the Best Known Ironman Inversion Tables
The Gravity series consists of 4 tables designated with sequential numbers between 1000-4000. Each number represents a stage in the evolution of these devices. These models range in price between $140-$200. All of them have sturdy stands made up of a solid, powder coated frame built with big stabilizers in the corners to ensure the unit’s stability.
What Else do Gravity Series Tables Have in Common?
The assembly and storage of all Gravity tables is pretty much the same. Since they are all partially assembled, the rest of the process shouldn’t take more than an hour. All of these models are quite large and even when folded are still cumbersome and can’t stand on their own. They need to be propped up on a wall. If you’re hoping to store one of these under your bed you’ll need at least 18” of clearance due to the big side handles and ankle holders.
Every feature used in the inversion process is fully adjustable. By this I mean the balancing, the maximum angle of the incline and the aggressiveness of the rotation.
The latest models in the series, the Ironman 3000 and 4000 respectively, have an improved, heavy duty frame capable of accommodating users who weigh up to 350 pounds; the two earlier models have slightly less capacity, serving users weighing up to 300 pounds.
The consistent improvements made to all of the Gravity models have helped the Ironman Gravity 4000 to become the most popular and best-selling machine on the market today. It introduces a very comfortable 2.5 inch memory foam back rest and one of the best ankle locking systems out there, featuring a ratchet closure. In order to better stretch the lumbar of the user’s spine, the Gravity 4000 comes with a removable pillow, the only feature that isn’t duplicated on the Gravity 3000 table, which is also great.
In fact, if you don’t feel like you need the lumbar pillow I’d suggest getting the Ironman Gravity 3000 table as it’s cheaper and comes with two hand grips on the corners of the back legs that can be quite useful for some twisting or for controlling deep inversion. In this reviewer’s opinion the Gravity 3000 is an unjustly underrated device.
Ironman Budget Inversion Tables
The second line of inversion tables in this regular group are really basic devices. By basic I don’t mean flimsy, however, I mean that they don’t have some of the features found on the more expensive ones in this category. On the plus side they are fairly cheap and can get the job done without putting the user in any danger.
Unlike the Gravity line, there is nothing in the names of these tables to suggest that they are part of the same family. They are: the Ironman LX300, Ironman Essex 990 and the Exerpeutic Stretch 300 and are pretty much the same table, and can mainly be told apart by tiny differences in their back rests.
Each of these models has the same stand, which folds quite flat when the locking pin is released. This simplicity also applies to the light weight of these devices making them easy to store. Users do not have control over the pivot arm settings on these tables so there is a chance that they won’t lock out in full inversion for everyone. For more information on this, please refer to the “Adjustability” section in my reviews.
It should be noted that while the Exerpeutic Stretch 300 has a three hundred pound weight capacity the LX300 and Essex 990 max out at 275 pounds.
Angle Locking Ironman Inversion Tables
To my knowledge, only Ironman offers inversion devices outfitted with an angle locking mechanism for under $400. This is unusual, in my opinion, because there’s a huge demand for such devices. The idea here is a simple one: instead of a tether strap used to stop the table rotation at the desired angle these devices have a built in braking mechanism. Thanks to this, the user can stop the rotation at virtually any incline he or she wants. Since the table is stopped and won’t rotate back, the user can then perform core muscle strengthening exercises. This is why Paradigm calls them AB training tables.
The Ironman Atis 1000, LXT 850 and Atis 4000 are all fitted with a “Smart Gear” that allows the table to brake at ten different angles. The latter model is the only one of the three that can't be folded but it's also the sturdiest. The ratings that these tables received at first were somewhat spoiled by a few users who complained that the “Smart Gear” braking system could get stuck or be hard to release at times.
My guess is that these complaints forced the Ironman engineers to come up with a totally new braking solution which is called the “iControl”. Due to the replacement of the ratchet gear with breaking pads, they have created a much more reliable system. On top of this, the “iControl” also allows the user to stop the inversion at any angle. The “iControl” series of Ironman inversion tables are made to cover a wide variety of customer’s needs in terms of price, weight capacity, ankle holding systems and storage options. They are fairly new and as such haven’t received as many customer ratings as the other tables featured in this review. Still, I’m pretty sure that it won’t take long for them to establish themselves as a favorite with many users.
Infrared Inversion Tables
If you were thinking of treating stiff back muscles with a gentle warm up during inversion therapy then Ironman has something special designed for users like you. Their IFT series of tables have a carbon fiber pad built into their back rests that generates far infrared rays (FIR, for short) that deeply penetrate the muscles to bring on what can only be described as the ultimate feeling of relaxation. FIR therapy offers numerous benefits and combining it with inversion therapy seems like the ultimate solution for those who are struggling with chronic back pain.
The mess the company has made in naming these devices comes as no surprise to me but I’ve got to say they’ve out done themselves this time when it comes to this line. As this can cause huge problems for potential buyers I’ll try to clarify the differences here to the best of my ability. Any reader remarks on this in the comments section would also be greatly appreciated.
So, to be clear, all the Ironman infrared inversion tables have the same FIR control system, only the size of the pad varies in models IFT3000 and IFT4000, where they are a few inches longer. Further, the IFT 500, IFT 1000 and IFT 2000 are basically the same machine, the main difference being that the different names correspond to different colors and slightly different back rest shapes. There’s also a version called the Ironman RX9 that has a sturdier frame.
The most expensive infrared table, the IFT 4000 features the top of the line ankle locking system, a back rest padded with 2‘5 inches of memory foam and a staggering weight capacity of 350 pounds. The remaining models are of simpler construction and are capable of supporting users of up to 275 pounds. The price range of these tables is between $200-$300.
One Final Note
Considering the fact that descriptions of the features of the various Ironman inversion tables are often thoughtlessly cut and pasted across the internet, those researching these tables are often confronted with a ton of mistakes and misinformation. This forces them to embark on their own seemingly endless investigation in order to find out what the basic specs are for a product that interests them.
If I may toot my own horn here, I suggest that those in the market for an inversion table check back here for one of my personal reviews of the model they're looking at. I try to provide the best details I can and inform my readers about the pluses and minuses of these machines, hopefully making their decision on which one to purchase a little easier.