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If you play competitive sports or regularly exercise you probably already know that it’s important to stretch both before and after to prevent injury and increase flexibility. While it’s possible to stretch by yourself, a machine that’s designed to help you out makes it easier to do it properly without leaving out muscles that may otherwise be overlooked. They also reduce the risk of over-stretching. Our best full body stretching machine reviews cover equipment that is known to help you get all major parts of the body to stretch safely and effectively so that you’re fully ready for your workout or sports activity.
Table of Contents
- 1 Benefits of Stretching
- 2 Why Use Stretching Equipment?
- 3 What to Look for When Buying a Full Body Stretch Machine
- 4 Precor 240i Commercial Series StretchTrainer
- 5 Nitrofit Limber Pro Stretch Machine
- 6 LifeSpan SP1000 Stretch Partner Stretching Machine
- 7 Gronk Fitness Commercial Stretch Machine
- 8 Examples of Total Body Stretching Exercises
Benefits of Stretching
Because of our busy lives we tend to take shortcuts here and there. This includes our exercise time. Far too many people allocate a fixed amount of time for exercise and get right into it as soon as the clock starts and stop when the clock runs out. The thinking seems to be that it’s a good idea to utilize that fixed amount of time completely for just active workouts to keep fit or lose weight.
That’s the wrong idea, however. It is far better to use a few minutes at the beginning and at the end to stretch as part of your warm up and cool down routine and shorten the duration of your actual workout. The following are the benefits you’ll get by stretching, and especially by using a machine:
Why Use Stretching Equipment?
To ensure that you’re getting a proper full body stretching routine regularly at home without the aid of a personal trainer, doing it with stretching exercise equipment is helpful. A machine pushes you to extend your body fully without over-stretching, which would cause more harm than good. You will also adopt an ergonomically correct position for each exercise, all while seated. It encourages you to gradually improve your flexibility and stretch limits by starting with easy stretch exercises until you get limber enough to move to a more advanced one.
If you can’t spend the money on a full body stretch machine or don’t have the floor space for it, the next best option is getting suspension stretch bands that you have to fix to a high spot on the ceiling or bar. They are designed for strength training but can be used for stretching exercises as well.
What to Look for When Buying a Full Body Stretch Machine
There are 3 types of stretch machine: leg, back and full body. The first focuses on the muscles in your legs and the second on your back. A full body machine can help you focus on all major muscles that need stretching. A leg stretching machine is more compact and less expensive than either of the other two. A back stretch machine is also called an inversion machine or table and it literally inverts you so that your head is lower then your feet and your spine is straightened during the stretch. It is useful for anyone with lower back pain as it decreases the pressure between the invertebrate among other things.
Since we are focusing only on the whole body stretching machine, let’s first examine what you should look out for before purchasing a model for yourself.
Precor 240i Commercial Series StretchTrainer
The Precor 240i StretchTrainer is 52 x 28 x 36 inches in dimension, and weighs 60 pounds (approximately 27 kg). It is compact and portable but is also of commercial quality and is therefore extremely durable. This machine can also be found in many fitness gyms so you know you don’t have to worry about long term durability.
The Precor 240i was designed with comfort in mind, featuring a comfortable cushioned seat and knee pads. The ergonomic seating helps support your spine and stabilize your back, which is excellent, especially if you have back problems. Apart from comfortable seating, the Precor 240i knee pads will help you find your perfect positioning, reliving the pressure from your back, delegating it smartly to your legs. Handlebars are padded, ensuring a firm grip in moments of high intensity or during long stretches. The machine emphasizes two things: ergonomics and positioning.
Apart from being comfortable, the Precor 240i positions you in the perfect stretching position, thus maximizing the effectiveness of each stretch. It is also safe to use, minimizing overstretch risks due to the dual wrist straps that keep you from falling in case you lose control of the stretch. This stretching machine will feel right and encourage you to go further, thus improving your flexibility.
The Precor 240i comes with the instructional panel attached atop the handlebars. A placard features exercise instructions for several muscle groups: lower back and upper back, inner thighs, hamstrings, shoulders, quadriceps and other key groups. You will also receive a 5-year warranty for the frame and two years for other parts (apart from the upholstery, which has 90-day warranty).
It is ideal for both warm ups and cool downs and it supports eight different stretches. It is well built, stable, compact, lightweight and easily movable, so it’s suitable for your home. However, there are some shortcomings and downsides to this machine.
The seat is fixed and cannot be adjusted for very tall or very short people. It best suits people from 5’5 to 6’3 feet in height. Furthermore, when a big enough person leans all the way to the back, the front of the machine lifts up just a touch off the ground. It won’t become unstable but those new to it may initially feel insecure while using it. This machine is great for focusing on the back, although you can stretch your legs too even though you don’t get a bar support for the legs.
Finally, the Precor 240i is the most expensive mode on this list, but since it is built to last, extremely comfortable for most people to use, and comes with an excellent warranty, it is actually a good choice if you can afford it.
Nitrofit Limber Pro Stretch Machine
The Nitrofit Limber Pro stretching machine is compact at 65.5 in x 22.4 in x 38.5 inches(including a detachable calf board) and weighs 59 pounds. It is also easy to move, having built-in wheels for easier movement around your house.
Apart from being very compact, Nitrofit Limber Pro is very comfortable and adjustable, granting you more control over the unit. It features seven different seating positions so you can adjust it according to your size, which isn’t always the case among stretching machines. The way it works is that you pull the pin out, slide the seat forwards or backwards to find a position best suited to your height and lock it into place.
Additionally, you will receive a detachable calf board, suitable for leg stretching while standing, specifically calf stretching. The board is located on the front of the unit with designated handlebars to hold onto while you stand on the board facing towards the seat. The board has three different angles so that you can gradually increase your stretches and improve your flexibility. All in all, the machine targets key muscle groups, allowing complete body stretches from top to bottom.
The Nitrofit Limber Pro also comes with a list of 9 exercises you can perform on a display reference guide placed between the handlebars. The reliable and robust frame will distribute your weight equally, supporting up to 300 lbs. This is with the support bracket. If you remove it, the machine can still support up to 250 lbs. Unlike the Precor, it won’t lift up in the front no matter how far back you lean when stretching on the seat. It also comes with wrist straps for extra safety.
This machine is excellent value for money considering not only the sturdiness of the frame but also its adjustability and inclusion of the calf board. We rate it as the best stretching machine for home use. However, it only comes with a 2-year warranty.
LifeSpan SP1000 Stretch Partner Stretching Machine
The LifeSpan SP1000 Stretch Partner measures 49” L x 29” W x 38” H and is lightweight at 55 pounds. The machine comes with a 30-minute instructional video. It comes somewhere between the Precor and the Nitrofit in terms of design.
This stretching machine emphasizes additional flexibility by designing the handlebar posts to have some flex in it via a Flex-Smart pivoting system. It gives you a wider range of motion and prevents the machine from lifting off the ground in the front when you lean far back. Even though the seat is not adjustable, the LifeSpan SP1000 supports different body types, thanks to the Flex-Smart system. However, tall people may find it a bit cramped.
The LifeSpan SP1000 frame is made of steel and can support up to 300 lbs. It also comes with transport wheels on the front, meaning it is very portable. It is suitable for home use due to its compactness and space saving features. You will receive a 5-year warranty for the frame, and one year for the additional parts.
As stated previously, you will receive DVD instructions, but you will also receive a flip chart that illustrates the way you should perform the stretches; it includes 18 stretches. This chart goes on the metal shelf attached to the center of the handlebars and is held by a kind of sticky tape. This feature is not ideal, as it can tear in time.
If there’s one drawback here it’s that the Flex-Smart handlebars can make you feel unsteady while getting on or off the seat while holding on. Therefore, the elderly or anyone that doesn’t have good balance might not like this feature. It does have safety wrist straps, though.
In terms of value, this machine is more affordable than the Precor but not as versatile as the Nitrofit.
Gronk Fitness Commercial Stretch Machine
The Gronk Stretching Machine measures 46 x 40 x 22 inches and weighs a solid 70 lbs. It is the heaviest stretching machine on the list and is built to last, with only positive reviews so far. Its stainless steel frame and double stitched high density upholstery contributes to its durability.
It doesn’t only allow you to stretch individual muscles, but to stretch from different angles. This is because the Gronk Stretching Machine has multiple gripping options on the handlebars, which are also adjustable. There are safety straps to reduce the risk of injury. It also features front pads, offering more options for stretching harder to reach muscles. Also use it while standing in front of it for hamstring stretches.
Foot support is big enough for every foot size, and the machine’s seat pivots as you lean so it doesn’t matter how tall you are. You won’t feel cramped. It maximum weight capacity is 265 lbs. The Gronk Stretching Machine does what it should do, and that is to assist you in stretching. This unit doesn’t have integrated wheels, but it is reasonably easy to move.
If you are purchasing it for home-use purposes, you will get the 5-year warranty, although it is good enough for commercial gyms too.
It comes with an instruction diagram that runs down the center of the handlebars showing you 6 main stretching exercises.
Most people agree that this stretch machine gym is cost-effective, highly versatile and boasts a solid build.
Examples of Total Body Stretching Exercises