Jumping is just so damn fun, isn’t it? As a kid, it was my favourite form of movement, from jump rope to hopscotch to skip ball, and I could be in the air all day long. And I was! The first time I ever went to the trampoline park Sky Zone, I felt like a kid – tons of energy and exhaustion at the same time. It was the function of plyometrics but waaaaaaaaaayyy more fun. And when I visited NYC, I took a Trampolean class. It blended what I love about the energy of in-studio classes with the vibes of night clubs and the silliness of jumping around. This class was pure joy. With no rebounding studio near me, I decided to buy my own trampoline. But, as I soon discovered, I needed rebounding workouts to follow at home.
Before you jump in (ba-dum-tish), it’s important to know the basics, which is why I connected with Anne Jones, a certified life coach and personal training specialist. She says the reason using a trampoline is so effective is because of how much of the body it engages and its instability (so watch out if that could raise your risk for injury).
“Rebounding is aerobic exercise with some bodyweight strength training built in. You basically have to maintain a squat, which becomes a full-body exercise on an unstable surface,” she says. “Your back and core muscles are contracting and responding to the impact, the instability and the movement.”
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At-home trampoline workouts
If you’re like me and don’t have a trampoline studio near you, then a rebounding workout at home is your only option. Here are the workouts I did at home with my trampoline:
I went back to the OG workout I did in Manhattan by hitting up its YouTube channel: @trampoLEANNewYork.You can tell most of the at-home workouts are peak pandemic and filmed at home, with the single-camera action and square-basket flooring. The videos aren’t super long and are mostly instructional. So this is a good place to start, learning about form and technique. You can find an eight-minute cardio workout, 10-minute core warm-up and even a seven-minute jumping meditation. The rest are promotional videos.
It’s worth noting that Trampolean does have a solid library of on-demand video workouts, and it also offers livestreaming sessions, too. And it’s not cardio-centric, but also strength and even customized programs, too. There is a seven-day trial option. See more at trampolean.nyc.
Cost: Trampolean YouTube videos are free, streaming workouts are available with 7-day free trial/$39 (US) a month.
I started following Paul Holder on Instagram after a friend recommended him after seeing my own post about my new mini trampoline purchase. While his account doesn’t show instructional videos that you can follow for a workout, you definitely can see the wide variety of exercises that can be done on a rebounder. I did take inspiration, and really honed in on keeping the core strong without bouncing all over the place, thanks to Paul’s low-jump style when I freestyled my jump workouts.
Cost: Paul Holder videos are accessible for free on Instagram.
“Rebounder for Weight Loss Workout” is a good workout that is filmed in a bright studio and is easy to follow. And I ended up doing it before a strength workout—the video itself is under 12 minutes. I liked how the video times each movement and helped me recognize the intensity of the different movements. It’s not quite beginner, but anyone new to trampoline and rebounding workouts can easily follow along. The BeFit channel also has a few other trampoline workout videos, including strength intervals and balance exercises. The studio is gorgeous, and I only wished I lived nearby to take a class.
Cost: BeFit YouTube videos are free on YouTube.
While this “10-Minute Rebounder Cardio Workout” video isn’t just for those following cancer rehabilitation, it is created by Kelly Sturm (Reed), a physiotherapist and doctor of physiotherapy who specializes is movement to improve health. I was definitely curious to see how such a professional would look at me jumping around gleefully. Sturm talks through how jumping is good for lymphatic drainage and lymphedema. (My osteopath agreed, too.) It looks to be filmed at an office or home. And despite my own trampoline not having a handle, I was able to do all the same moves in the video. It’s obvious that her background and expertise meant a more streamlined workout that would be accessible for many people. I did this one three times to complete a 30-minute workout.
Cost: Kelly Sturm videos are free on YouTube.
5. The Peloton App
Before you say, “Peloton doesn’t have a trampoline!” know that you‘re right. Peloton’s exercise equipment includes the Bike, Guide and Tread. And I do not know of a trampoline launch anytime soon. I just know, based on my Peloton app (available at the App Store and Google Play), I have access to treadmill workouts since I’d done a few. I wanted to watch the Kim Kardashian and Natalie Portman interviews on the “Our Future Selves” running videos with Ashton Kutcher, and I didn’t just want to stand there while they sweat. So, I rolled out my trampoline and jumped at the intensity the trainers instructed.
It was a ton of fun, and I ended up doing a few treadmill bootcamps (Jess Sims is a fave). I gauged my efforts by matching cadence with Sims’ pace, and found that the moves from all of the other videos videos were easy enough to remember, even without watching it on screen. This was – feet up! – my favourite way to work out with my trampoline. It revived my cardio boredom and it was challenging.
Cost: The Peloton app is $16.99 a month (first two months free); and package pricing is available with the purchase of Peloton equipment.
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What my trampoline did for my cardio
Buying a trampoline was the best thing I did for my cardio rut. It helped me find joy in my workouts. I felt like a kid again.
Plus, a big plus, rebounding elevated my cardio. Usually when running or biking, I can feel when I get to a certain point in my heart rate. It feels tough and the urge to slow down slams its way into my mindset. But with jumping on a trampoline, it doesn’t feel as intense. I mean, I know I’m working hard and my heart rate is up, but the feeling is “thrilling” rather than “I’m going to collapse” if I continue.
Is rebounding harder than other cardio?
I check my heart rate monitor (HRM) and I’m able to go further and harder without that feeling of exhaustion. I guess that it’s the pushback of the trampoline springs, maybe? But Jones says it’s because other forms of cardio, such as running or biking, don’t always challenge the entire body. But, you guessed it, a trampoline does!
”Although rebounding is an aerobic activity, more like steady-state cardio, its full-body nature is probably why you find your heart rate gets higher than it does on a spin bike, where your lower body is doing almost all of the work.”
Also, there’s the mental challenge of switching things up. (Boredom is always the worst enemy of motivation, isn’t it?)
Jones, who also created the health coaching program Muscles & Mindset, offers this: “Because [some] cardio activities are monotonous and rhythmic, they can either be meditative or a way of mentally checking out.” But it you have options!
“My clients have the greatest success when they combine activities they actually enjoy with activities that will help them to reach their goals.” To be honest, I’ve never thought of it this way, but it makes total sense. Plus, she adds: ”The newness of switching up cardio activities can give us a dopamine hit if it’s exciting, fun, or new for you. It’s novel to your brain. This could be why you experienced so much joy changing things up.”
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What rebounding does to the body
OK, Ok. So, I had fun during my trampoline workouts, especially since I was using my Peloton app more and more. (Also, did you know that you can connect your HRM to your phone, and tell the Peloton app to track a workout outside of its library of classes? I used it for the YouTube videos above.) But there were some real tangible physical benefits. Jones kindly breaks down the muscle groups that rebounding activates.
Abs (namely the transverse abdominis), multifidi (deep muscles of the back) and obliques:
“Simply stepping onto an unstable surface causes your core muscles – abs, back and pelvic floor – to kick in to support you, which means they are engaged the entire time you’re rebounding. If you feel like this isn’t the case, or your lower back hurts after jumping, see a physiotherapist or an experienced personal trainer who can assess your core activation and function.”
The calves and foot flexors:
”Even more if you’re barefoot.”
Glutes, hamstrings, hip flexors and quads:
”Rebounding is basically an isometric – static contraction – perma-squat, so you are working all these muscle groups any time you are in that squat position and jumping. The more you push through your entire foot and straight your legs to jump up, the more you will engage and contract your glutes. Being in that squat is also hip flexion, so be sure that you are cross training and/or rolling or stretching your glutes and hip flexors.”
”Of course, you can add other exercises that gently work other muscles, like bum kickers for your hamstrings, but let’s be clear: rebounding is an endurance cardio exercise, not likely to increase muscle size. Rebounding can also help to improve your balance, cardio endurance, and coordination, and support bone density due to its impact.”
Plus, don’t forget to move your arms and shoulders! I do, as I find it helps me with better form and posture.
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Can jumping on a trampoline help you go to the bathroom?
First, number one.
Apologies it this is TMI, but rebounding shouldn’t be a concern. Jones says: “Jumping on a trampoline is a lot of impact for your pelvic floor. Any woman – yes even those who’ve had babies – should be able to rebound without leakage, but if jumping causes even one drop of leakage, pelvic floor pain or pressure, please see a pelvic floor physiotherapist before taking up rebounding regularly. If you’re not experiencing any pelvic floor symptoms, rebounding may support your pelvic floor health and prevent urinary incontinence.” And research from this Swedish study on elite trampolinists, supports that.
Second, number two.
There are some reports that the jumping and twisting can actually help with digestion and move fecal material. And that’s what Kelly Sturm’s videos talk about. So, if needing to improve that part of your health is motivation, there you go!
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What kind of trampoline to buy? How much do trampolines cost?
There are basically two types of personal trampolines with variations you can buy online.
- Backyard trampolines: Mostly used by families with children, this large trampoline can measure anywhere from eight to 17 feet in round, rectangle, square, hexagon and octagon shapes. Most use an “enclosure” netting as a safety feature to ensure little ones don’t fall off. Also, some can be used indoors, if the space is big enough. You can find outdoor trampolines from $200 to over $2,000, depending on the quality and size.
- Indoor trampolines: These are used for a variety of reasons, including child play and fitness. The shape is typically round, and some even come with enough space for up to two children to jump. You can find ones that have a handle for balance. Fitness trampolines, also listed as rebounder trampolines on some sites, are meant for one person to use, and the sizes range from 36 to 50 inches. Typically these cost between $80 and $1,500.
What trampoline did I buy?
To be honest, I would love, love, love to own a massive one for my yard and exercise outside. But I don’t have kids, and I fear this would make my nosey neighbours even nosier. When researching a fitness rebounder, I learned that they’re all pretty similar: 10 to 13 inches in height and require an eight-foot ceiling for head room. But other things you may want to consider include spring versus bungee, balance handle, ability to fold, other equipment (like resistance bands and video workouts) as well as colour and aesthetic design.
In choosing my own trampoline, I wasn’t overly picky. Visually, my home gym is a mishmash of black and other neutrals. So, this one goes perfectly.
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If you’re looking to switch things up in a cheap and cheerful way, you can try running, which is very much free. But this trampoline is so much fun and totally worth the low investment.