What Do Toning Tables Do?

Multipurpose toning tables are divided into padded sections that move independently of each other. Each section performs a different function to manipulate different parts of the body along with the core muscles in the back and abdomen. The sections are set to specific numbers of movements designed to improve the entire body's muscle tone, circulation and joint flexibility. Single-function tables target one specific area of the body. With either type of table, there is no impact or strain to any part of the body.


Designed in the 1930s by Bernard Stauffer, the original purpose of toning tables was to help realign the body's posture to reduce stress on nerves, muscles and joints. Stauffer combined his knowledge of anatomy and the body's patterns of movement to create exercises collectively known as Induced Rhythmic Motion, or IRM. Toning table movements are based on what is known as isometric exercise, or applying direct pressure to muscles to shorten and strengthen them.

What Toning Tables Do

Leg tables work on slimming the entire leg, including the outer and inner thigh areas. Stretch toning tables have a single surface pad that focuses on the upper arm, stomach and back areas. A sit-up table helps the user to move from a sitting to a lying position repeatedly to tighten the abdominal and waist muscles. The waist table raises and lowers the legs and tones and strengthens the lower back and hips. Some tables simply vibrate, which improves circulation and helps rid the body of excess fluids.

A Safe Alternative

Toning tables are a logical choice for anyone with health problems, who is recovering from injuries, who has trouble getting around or who can't engage in more strenuous exercise. Speeds on the individual sections of the tables can be adjusted to provide a gentle experience for anyone who is in pain or who needs to ease slowly into body manipulation.

Other Benefits

The low-impact movements of a toning table also provide another option to anyone seeking some form of relaxation therapy other than conventional massage. Individuals with sleep problems have seen dramatic improvement by using toning tables to help them relax.

Residual Benefits

Regular and repeated use of toning tables strengthen muscles, often making it possible to do conventional exercises, such as sit-ups, more easily. While the machine does most of the work, the body still benefits from repeated low-impact movement, improving circulation, strength and tone almost effortlessly. Muscles continue to respond more efficiently even beyond the toning session.

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About the Author

Rachel Lovejoy has been writing professionally since 1990 and currently writes a weekly column entitled "From the Urban Wilderness" for the Journal Tribune in Biddeford, Maine, as well as short novellas for Amazon Kindle. Lovejoy graduated from the University of Southern Maine in 1996 with a Bachelor of Arts in English.