Jumping on a trampoline was one of the most fun things you could do as a kid – and, apparently, it was a pretty healthy thing to do, too.
Trampolining became a fitness trend a few years ago and has been touted by celebrities since it started gaining traction, though supermodel Cindy Crawford has been incorporating it into her workouts for years.
With World Jump Day happening earlier this summer (July 19), we figured it was a good time to look into what’s behind the trampolining fitness trend, whether you should give it a go and what to expect if you do.
“Numerous studies have been conducted by organizations such as NASA and the American Council on Exercise (ACE) that lend evidence to the idea that jumping on a mini trampoline can be just as effective as running,” says Mike Turner, personal trainer and founder of Unity Fitness, a philanthropic fitness training brand.
“In addition, jumping on a trampoline helps to improve balance and reduces the stress on your joints that can come as a result of repetitive contact with hard surfaces, much like in running or jumping.”
A study by the ACE found that women burned 8.3 calories a minute and men 11 calories a minute (including warm-up and cool-down), which is about the same as running six miles an hour on flat ground, biking at a speed of 14 miles an hour or playing basketball, football or Frisbee.
But perhaps the most significant thing about trampolining is the fact that it’s fun – and if you are having fun while exercising, you’re going to enjoy it, and if you’re enjoying your exercise time, you’ll be more likely to do it consistently because it won’t be something you actually enjoy.
According to the ACE study, the fun factor might even have tricked participants into thinking they weren’t working as hard as they were.
Julie Lohre, personal trainer and women’s fitness expert, says trampolining is a great tool for getting a full body workout.
“As an online fitness coach, I encourage my clients to incorporate fun, cardio-based sessions within their training and trampolining definitely fits this bill! In fact, I find that trampolining works really well for burning body fat while maintaining muscle as a high-intensity interval workout (HIIT).”
HIIT cardio, Lohre explains, allows you to have periods of intense cardiovascular training alternating with lower intensity recovery periods. This exercise style lets you push hard, with reasonable rest periods that allow your heart rate to dip just enough for you to feel recovered, but it still keeps you in a fat-burning heart rate range during those rest/strength periods.
“One of the best things about this kind of training is that it engages the core and improves balance and agility,” Lohre says.
“If you are considering jumping into trampolining at home, the first thing to do is be sure that you have a sturdy, reliable mini trampoline,” Lohre says. “I prefer one that has a bit of padding covering the springs and the option of a bar that you can grasp. A higher quality trampoline will be safer and have a longer life than a cheap option.”
Turner says, “While it may be true that trampolining can significantly reduce the rate of orthopedic injury in comparison to jogging, it is important to keep in mind that trampolining still has risks.
“When using a personal trampoline, it is important that the assembly is done correctly and that padding is in place to cover the hard metal springs,” he adds. “Awkward landings on the metal springs can cause broken bones or twisted ligaments.”
Turner also recommends looking into a trampoline that has handlebars for added safety, noting that many people might not be aware those types exist.
If you’d like to give a trampoline workout a try at home, Lohre provided the following HIIT circuit.
1. Health Bounce 30 seconds
“Standing with your feet shoulder width apart and a small bend in your knees, bounce with control. Your feet will leave the trampoline for a moment and your knees should stay in line. Proper positioning will keep your hips rolled under just a touch and you should maintain a tight core,” Lohre says.
2. 15 reps Pushups
For beginner or intermediate pushups, put your hands on the trampoline and your feet on the ground. For a more advanced version, put your feet on the trampoline and your hands on the ground.
3. High Knees 30 seconds
4. 30 Air Squats standing on the trampoline
6. 15 Bicycle Crunches (Abs)
7. Health Bounce 60 seconds
9. Fast Jumping Jacks on trampoline 30 seconds
11. 30 Mountain Climbers (hands on the trampoline)
13. Butt Kickers 30 seconds
Rest as little as needed and repeat this circuit three to four times, Lohre says.