The benefits of trampolining
First things first, this isn’t the ‘gentle bounce in the back garden’ kind of trampolining; this is full-scale, stratospheric jumping on enormous Olympic-standard bits of kit. An hour’s session will work your entire core and set your quads on fire.
‘Trampolining is a great workout for your whole body, but is particularly effective for the legs, glutes and core,’ says Andrew Freedman, managing director of Kingston Trampoline Academy (kingstontrampoline.co.uk), and my instructor for the evening.
‘It also develops balance and coordination as you make small changes to stay upright.’
‘Everyone can learn the basic jumps, twists and body landings in the first few sessions,’ assures Freedman, as a tiny child in front of us nonchalantly soars 20 feet in the air.
The basic structure of the class is simple: each of the four people in my beginners’ session takes it in turns to attempt an exercise from the coaching manual. These range from the complete beginner (seat drops) to the Olympic-level (triple somersault with one and a half twists).
Once the instructor is satisfied that you’ve got the move nailed down, you can progress to the next. Needless to say, I won’t be back-flipping my way into Team GB any time soon, but I am surprised at just how taxing even the basic moves are on my quads and core.
I can also attest to the balance-boosting powers of bouncing; simply staying in the centre of the trampoline is hard enough, and by the end of the session I feel mentally, as well as physically tired – such is the level of concentration required.
After working my way through the first four or five moves in the book, it’s on to a leg-numbing,
lung-busting finisher: a superset of back bounces (lying on my back, with legs at a 90-degree angle, using my core to bounce up and down) and fast high knees which, I assure you, is a far harder task over springy terrain.
With the session done, I’m left with a newfound respect for a sport that deserves more of a look in. Keeping fit and having fun, in the moment, can be a rare thing. Trampolining is that rare thing, and I defy anyone to bounce around for a few minutes and not feel happier, and healthier, for it.
Making fitness fun is the holy grail, and trampolining does just that. After the class, my abs (or where they should be) were on fire, but mid-bounce I reverted to an excitable kid without a DOMS-related care in the world.
If you find yourself in a class of four or more, your actual time on the trampoline will be limited.
The real issue, however, arises from bouncing on your bum while the eight-year-old kid next to you is performing deathdefying acrobatics. Leave your ego at home.
This article was published in the February issue of Healthy for Men.
Photo credit: istockphoto.com.