After a year of at-home workouts, my fitness routine has gotten stale. You can only unroll your yoga mat or run the same path so many times before it starts to feel like you're living in a never-ending pandemic loop. But then I bought myself a mini trampoline, and I discovered rebounding exercise — a bouncy workout that's equal parts gravity-defying, heart-pumping, and game-changing for your sweat regimen.
Rebounding originally became popular in the 80s, when high-energy aerobic workouts were all the rage. The exercise has made a big comeback in the past few years, thanks to celebs like Busy Philipps taking up rebounding workouts, a rise in rebounding-based fitness studios (like The Ness in New York City and LEKFit in Los Angeles), and mini-trampolines flooding the workout equipment world. And there's a reason people love it: Research shows that rebounding can help boost your endurance, build strength, improve balance and coordination, and support bone health. A NASA study even found that this low-impact workout can be as beneficial as jogging, but without all that stress on your joints. Besides the physical benefits, jumping on a trampoline is incredibly joyful — try to be in a bad mood on a trampoline.
Curious about the workout? I took up rebounding exercises for a full week, and this is my review. Keep reading for the benefits of mini trampoline workouts and whether it's worth jumping onto the trend.
What Rebounder Workouts Are Like
The first time I stepped onto my rebounder (I bought the bellicon Classic), I was transported straight back to my childhood to the days I would jump on a trampoline at recess. So, rather than strapping yourself into a spin bike or rowing machine — where you know you're about to work — bouncing on a mini trampoline is just plain fun. So fun, in fact, that I've started taking desk breaks throughout my work day to bounce for a few minutes to burn off some stress.
Bellicon has its own platform where you can stream tons of different trampoline-based class styles, ranging from intense HIIT workouts to restorative stretching sessions — though you could also turn to The Ness, LEKFit, or YouTube for at-home rebounder workouts. Here's what my different mini trampoline sweat seshes were like.
I figured I'd jump right in (literally) with a 30-minute HIIT class. This workout was close to what I envisioned rebounding to be: It was fast-paced with near-constant bouncing, and alternated between regular jumps with high knees, jumping jacks, squat jumps, and more. While jumping alone didn't raise my heart rate as high as sprints or cycling intervals do, there was an element of stability and coordination that you don't find in many non-trampoline workouts. You're bouncing on a pliant surface, which means your body is constantly recalibrating your position and balance. And I could feel that. All the little muscles in my feet and legs (hello, calves on fire!) were on high alert to keep me upright and stable.
The best part? You reap those benefits without the intense impact of exercises like running or jump roping. This HIIT class was gentle on my joints while also challenging my muscles and coordination, which was a welcome complement to my running-heavy fitness routine. My only word of caution: Don't take this class (or any HIIT class, for that matter) too soon after eating a big meal. I made that mistake, and my full stomach won't let me make it again.
If the word "HIIT" has you running for the hills, there are plenty of other bellicon classes to pick from. I was surprised by how encompassing rebounding workouts can be. Though I initially thought most of the classes would be all bounce, all the time, I was wrong — some mini trampoline workouts include strength training, core work, stability, and Pilates, many of which incorporate bouncing and some of which don't.
In the Pilates trampoline workout, you start the class lying on your back on your rebounder to power through core work and standard Pilates exercises like bird dogs, leg lifts, and hollow body holds. It involved some bouncing that incorporated arm and core work, like lifting your arms up and down in time with your jumps. Though my boyfriend did say I reminded him of an 80s jazzerciser (no shade — love the leotards), the quick aerobic movements had me sweating. By the end of the class, my core and heart felt challenged. I actually preferred this Pilates rebounding class over non-trampoline versions of the workout.
If you're not in the mood to bounce at all, you could opt for a more restorative class instead. I tried a mobility flow that focused entirely on stretching: think gentle yoga on top of a mini trampoline. Not only did it loosen up my muscles and joints like a typical yoga class would, but doing some stretches atop the rebounder added an element of balance and stability that you don't always find on a mat. For instance, doing a side bend while standing on flexible trampoline material forced me to engage my core and subtly readjust my balance in order to hold the stretch. Though not particularly challenging, the added stability work made these stretches feel productive in more ways than one. The takeaway? If you want to level up your stretch sesh, a rebounder might be the tool you didn't know you needed.
Should You Try It?
Rebounding was a welcome break from the monotony of my usual workouts. While it won't be my go-to daily exercise (sometimes I just want to lie in savasana, you know?), I'm definitely keeping rebounding in my back pocket as a fun cross-training activity for days I'm not running. It helped me build strength in my feet and calves, improved my balance and stability, and took it easy on my tired joints. If you're looking for a fun, low-impact workout to shake up your fitness routine and complement or even replace some of your higher-impact training, take the leap and give rebounding a try.
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