Trampolining, said to have
begun when Eskimos bounced each other on walrus skins for the fun of it, is
putting a feel-good cardiovascular spring into group fitness classes, from body
sculpting to dance, fitness experts say.
Also known as rebounding,
it delivers a low-impact, calorie-burning workout that swaps the tedium of a
treadmill or step class for a feeling of child-like euphoria.
At Chelsea Piers
Connecticut, an adult fitness class twins trampolining with rock climbing.
"I wanted to do
something fun. Everybody likes to climb as kids, everybody loves the bounce of
the trampoline," said Byron Knox, a director and instructor at the
No stranger to odd fitness
combinations, Knox, who also coaches football and gymnastics, said the hybrid
class works well.
"The trampoline is
predominantly leg-based, although we do core exercises on it. The rock climbing
is predominantly upper body, although you do use your legs," he said.
Knox compared it to working
a leg press followed by using upper body equipment, but said it is more
"Most people wouldn't
think of trampoline as a workout but it takes a lot of energy," he said.
"It could be equal (in cardiovascular intensity) to jumping rope. And part
of the beauty is that the exerciser is in control."
The more flexible can jump
and split-jump higher, but Knox said just about anybody can participate, and
trampolining also enhances balance and spatial awareness.
At Chelsea Piers Connecticut
the "tramp" precedes the rock wall.
"That part takes a bit
more coaxing," Knox admits, although everyone is harnessed and spotted.
At JumpLife studio in New
York City, some 25 mini-trampolines connect with low lights and top 100 songs
to draw out the inner dancer.
"Jump Dance is our
signature class," said founder and CEO Montserrat Markou, of the 45-minute
non-stop cardio workout, which she said can burn up to 600 calories.
She said the class doubles
as a venue for bachelorette parties and girls' nights out.
"The low lights make
people less self-conscious," Markou said.
Another class, called Jump
Gym, ditches the dance club vibe and incorporates weights and push-ups into the
"Jump Gym attracts
more men," said Markou, whose mini-trampolines are equipped with a
handlebar that can be grabbed should balance fail.
"People can work out
who couldn't work out before," said Markou, who hopes to draw in seniors
Rebounding classes at
Crunch fitness centres pair mini-trampolines with sculpt, Pilates and interval
classes. Group fitness manager Carol Johnson likens the bouncing motion to
getting a massage.
Gentler on the body
"It's a bit more
gentle on the body, more rehabilitative," said Johnson, who's been
rebounding for about 10 years.
Jessica Matthews, an
exercise physiologist with the American Council on Exercise, said trampolining
is a joint-friendly way to add the cardiovascular component to a group fitness
The intensity, she said,
can vary from a brisk walk to a run.
She said the National
Aeronautics and Space Administration has used trampolines to build bone density
Matthews cautions that
while the impact is low, the surface of a trampoline is still unstable and
cautioned that people who have lower-extremity instability must be aware of
She said people also
combine it with other activities.
"Some do it while
watching TV," she added.
Picture of Trampoline from Shutterstock