Stretching machines have become more and more popular recently with a range of athletes, fitness professionals and others swearing by the results.
Whether it’s a Black belt looking to improve their split technique or a yoga instructor trying to improve their overall flexibility, stretch machines are being used more and more and are starting to become more mainstream.
Add to that the number of people using these stretching machines to help them with back pain and posture problems and it’s easy to see why they have become so popular.
In this article, we are going to look at some of the best stretching machines available on the market and also answer some of the questions you may have when thinking about getting your own machine.
Our Recommended Stretch Machines
The machines below are what we consider the top stretch machines on the market and what we feel you definitely need to know about.
1. Pro Leg Stretcher
The Pro Leg stretcher is a high-quality stretch machine that is perfect for martial arts enthusiasts that want to improve their flexibility, develop their range of motion and improve their ability to complete the splits and improve their ability to go beyond a 180-degree stretch.
With a maximum user weight of 235lbs, the pro leg stretcher has an adjustable padded seat and a comfortable backrest to make the stretch machine more comfortable once you’re in and a removable self-locking turning wheel which is used to increase the stretch.
To make the Pro Leg Stretcher machine safer it uses a gear system rather than a cable system that could snap under high tension and it also has a stop latch, which allows you to hold your maximum stretch until you’re ready to return to your normal position.
The steering wheel, which when turned increases the stretch, is also a strong feature that enables you to slowly move to your desired range of motion.
The Pro Leg Stretcher is easy to use and arrives fully assembled, meaning all you have to do is remove the machine from the box, attach the steering wheel and begin to stretch.
2. Precor 240i Commercial Series StretchTrainer
This stretch machine can be used to help people gain a greater stretch across their whole body, targeting all the major muscles including the hamstrings, quadriceps, calves, biceps, triceps and lower back whilst also working to help improve posture, improve flexibility and reduce muscle stiffness.
Stretching daily can be extremely important and the Precor 240i places the user in an ergonomically correct position for maximum benefits as you work on improving your flexibility, coordination, and performance all through the Precor 240i.
The design is unique, with a seated position that helps to stabilize your back and it also contains padded kneepads, handlebars and a padded seat, giving you an all-round more comfortable experience and helping you to hold the stretches, in position for longer.
The Precor 240i Stretch Trainer includes an instruction card, highlighting some of the most essential stretches which target the key muscle groups in the body and wrist straps for extra support and safety.
The Stretch Trainer is a strong and durable piece of equipment but you can also feel confident that your machine will last as you get a 5-year warranty on the frame and 2 years on parts, giving you greater peace of mind about your purchase and your Precor 240i.
3. Innova ITX9600A Heavy Duty Inversion Table
Inversion tables are designed to help stretch the spine and relieve back pain by changing the gravity and position of the body and as a result, easing the pressure felt on the back.
This heavy-duty inversion table from Innova has a whole host of features and is a step above the majority of inversion tables as it allows you to find your own unique center of gravity using the ITX9600’s true balance system.
The true balance system has 3 distinct features, allowing you to find the most comfortable position for you and you’re even able to adjust the headrest, height and foot placing to find your optimal position.
The large backrest and soft touch foam handlebars further add to your comfort when using the table and the six angle pin system will allow you to feel safe and secure on the table and confident that you will receive the best inversion experience.
With a heavy-duty steel frame supporting users from 4’10” to 6’6” the adjustable height tube will make getting set up on the inversion table easy and with a maximum user weight of 300lbs you can feel confident that most users will be catered for.
To further enhance the inversion experience there is also an ergonomically designed and fully reversible ankle holding system with 2 options to hold and support your ankles, easing the pressure felt when using the table.
4. FIGROL Leg Stretcher
The FIGROL leg split stretcher is a portable and easy to use leg stretching device scientifically designed to help you improve your flexibility, balance, and range of motion in a natural body position. It is perfect for martial artists, dancers, yoga enthusiast and many other types of fitness disciplines.
Made from steel but with EVA foam grip and a safe ATBC-PVC non-slip design for extra safety, the FIGROL leg splitter is strong, secure, stable and safe.
Each pole has different holes, allowing you to change the length of the pole and make it more comfortable for you and your height and with thickened non-slip handles you can also rest your feet in position, making it easier to hold a stretch, for longer periods of time.
Being able to improve your flexibility and range of motion is very desirable and the FIGROL leg splitter is easy to use, making it easier than ever to hold your body in the right position.
Once you’ve finished with your stretch you can simply fold up the device and store away wherever you want, making it easy to keep in a suitable easy to reach place and easy to transport with you wherever you may go.
5. Teeter Dex II Decompression and Extension Machine
The Teeter Dex II is an inversion table that can be used for many different things, including as a back extension machine or a dip machine to name but a few.
Described as a versatile, forward rotating, hip supported inversion device the Teeter Dex II provides relief for back pain and is designed for back pain sciatica, muscle tension, herniated discs, spinal stenosis, muscle spasms and more.
It can also do so much more across the body as a whole, working the core, pecs, arms, legs and other muscles with a range of different exercises.
The inversion table has been designed in a way to put your body in the ideal position and make you feel more comfortable and is actually registered with the FDA as a medical device, giving you more trust and support in the product. Another positive is you also get a 5-year full warranty when you purchase the Teeter Dex II, they are that confident in the product.
Made from high-quality materials, the Teeter II includes a vinyl lap cushion and durable rubber coated grips to give you more support and stability whilst using the machine for inverted stretches or exercises.
It can easily be adjusted to your body type, with adjustments simply made to the height, lap pad and leg support and the sturdy steel base will support users from 4’8” to 6’6” and weighing up to 300lbs can feel safe, supported and comfortable.
What are Stretching Machines?
Stretching machines are pieces of stretching equipment you can use at home that help to increase your flexibility and range of motion. Although the name can be misleading, when you hear things such as body stretchers or leg stretchers, it isn’t like it sounds.
With these machines, you complete a normal stretch, but the machines help you to make the stretch more effective.
They can range from full-body stretch machines (body stretchers) that help you to stretch all parts of your body and all the major muscles or they can be body specific and focus on one particular area at a time, such as legs or the lower back. Some are even more specific and target one individual muscle, such as the hamstrings.
They come in all shapes and sizes and can be used for a range of reasons and by people of all different fitness levels, from exercise newbies that want to be more flexible to more advanced athletes that are looking to increase their range of motion and finally complete a full split.
The Benefits of Using a Stretch Machine
Stretching machines are a fantastic option for people looking to improve their flexibility and range of motion as they improve their ability to hold a stretch for longer periods of time or hold a deeper stretch than they’re used to.
Some full body stretches can be hard to hold and with some stretches, it can also be hard to reach your maximum range of motion. Stretching machines help with this and are a great way of gently extending the stretch and easing your muscles into a more flexible position.
The machines give you the chance to do all of these things but often, in a safer environment than manual stretching, as many of the machines have handles, straps, and seats to make you more comfortable and secure when you stretch and to also help to keep your body in position.
Different Types of Stretch Machines
Although there are many different types of stretching machines available to buy there are 3 main machines that are used and purchased more often than others.
Full body stretch machines are designed to help stretch all the major muscle groups in the body, including the back, legs, and arms. Some of these machines have a dual purpose and also work on improving core strength and posture, whereas others are solely about flexibility. Full body stretchers often include a seat and handlebars and will work the entire body.
Stretch machines for the back target the upper and lower back and can include a range of different features to help people that suffer from back pain or muscle spasms to reduce pain felt in that area, stretch the muscles and help to improve flexibility and range of motion. Some machines, such as inversion tables, completely change your body angle to help you target your back.
Leg stretch machines can be used by anyone wanting to increase their lower body flexibility and are especially popular amongst people wanting to be able to improve their splits or range of motion possible in the legs such as martial arts enthusiasts, dancers and yoga practitioners. Many of these machines inch forward slowly and have different mechanisms to make it easier to gradually increase the stretch and flexibility, making it easier for you to ease into the stretch.
What to Look for in a Stretch Machine
When looking for a stretch machine, whether full-body, legs, back or even something else, there are always a few things to consider before spending your hard-earned money on your very own machine. We’ve put together some of the key considerations for you here.
Things to consider:
How to Use a Stretch Machine
Most stretch machines will come with an instruction guide and some example stretches you can use and although there will be some slight differences between machines most of the basics will remain the same, no matter what machine is being used or what part of the body you are stretching.
However, it is worth noting that you shouldn’t stretch cold and you should always warm up sufficiently before using the machine by completing some light cardio and activation exercises first, followed by some light stretching of the muscles you are about to work.
As you will often be extending past your normal levels of flexibility it’s also important that your body is ready for the exercise you are about to undertake and you have completed enough light to moderate stretches In the right position before extending further and making the stretch deeper.
As you do begin to use the machine you should ease into the stretch slowly, instead of rushing or trying to go too deep too fast and be careful not to rush.
Muscles can tear if not treated correctly and the last thing you want is to experience a tear or rip of any sort.
Stretch machines are a fantastic resource to help people improve their flexibility, muscle elasticity, range of motion and their overall ability to perform and hold stretches.
It doesn’t matter how experienced you are, they can be great for helping you to increase your flexibility and they can also be helpful in easing muscle tightness and muscle stiffness.
Finding the right one for you could lead to amazing results and with our top picks in this review you will have a good idea of the best machines available to help you with your goals.
Whether for your legs, back or a full-body stretch, you now have a good idea of what the best machines are on the market and which one is right for you.