New to the trampoline? In this 6,000 word ultimate beginner’s guide to trampolining we take you through everything you need to know before your first bounce.
Trampolining is a great way for children and adults to have fun. Not only is it fun, but there are some very good, healthy benefits of taking up this sport. Twisting, turning and jumping is a great way for kids to burn off all their surplus energy. It’s also a good way for moms and dads to keep in shape.
What is trampolining?
The word ‘trampolining’ means to ‘leap or bound on something springy’. It seems that humans have tried for centuries to get up into the air. Springboards were possibly one of the first ways to do this. The first hint we have of the trampoline was when a Frenchman named du Trampoline adapted the safety nest under circus acts to become more bouncy, by way of using a spring system. This is where the idea originated from and thus they are named after him.
It is widely thought that the first trampoline was invented in 1934 by a man called George Nissan. He was an American gymnast. He wanted something to help him perfect his moves. He based his design on the safety nets which trapeze artists used when performing tricks at circuses. His first attempt at making a trampoline was actually made in his own garage. After his first trampoline helped his so much, he decided to go into business and start producing them.
The trampoline was widely used during the second world war among armed forces, not only for recreation, but as a means for physical training. It played an important part in training pilots and crew as it resembled body positions and the feelings felt in flight.
At first they were only used for recreational purposes but soon the idea was introduced into schools as a means to exercise. Unfortunately, because of a lack of training, there were many accidents and therefore lawsuits. In one instance a manufacturer was sued and lost the case down to negligence.
Trampolining is now mostly used in specialist gyms and under strict supervision by certified trainers. Trampolining became an Olympic Sport in 2000 and since then it has been adopted by many nations with the goal of competing in the Olympics.
An interesting fact is that trampolining was also used to train astronauts to get used to the effects of no gravity.
The first competitions started to take place around 1947 and official tournaments really began in 1954, with the first international competitions taking place in 1964. It was then that it became apparent that this was a sport which would need to be monitored to ensure the safety of the competitors, and the International Trampoline Association was formed. This is a worldwide body which governs the sport.
In 1977 trampolines were taken off the school programmes as the sport had caused such injuries as broken bones and quadriplegia. Even though there have been many court cases against the manufacturers of trampolines, it remains a very popular sport both competitive wise and for recreational purposes.
Today, trampolines are used to build up cardiovascular endurance and improve strength and coordination. In 1975 a small indoor trampoline, known as a Rebounder, was manufactured and sold as ‘an indoor jogging aid’.
All materials used in the manufacture of trampolines are now tested by the American Society for Testing and Materials and they must all comply with safety standards. Regular checks are made and materials must meet the established guidelines.
The weaving on the mat is checked for flaws even before it is sewn. The thread is subject to tension tests for durability. The springs are inspected before being packaged and everything must meet certain standards before the trampoline is finally passed.
While these tests may sound exhausting, it is good to know that there are certain standards which must be met before a trampoline comes onto the market. It is still important that you do your own research before buying on. Talk to people who have them, talk to people at a club, and look them up online. This way you will be totally prepared and very knowledgable even before you make a decision, and you will buy the best available trampoline for yourself and your family.
The sport of trampolining consists of rotations or sequences made up of twists and landings. The contact with the trampoline may either be on the feet, seat, front or back. In the Olympics the start must begin and finish on the feet.
The standard trampoline size is 14′ x 7′ and this size is also used for competitions. Any trampolines which are used in competitions must have the springs covered to minimize contact injury.
When you buy your trampoline you should take some time to think about where you are going to locate it. Ideally it should be placed on a soft, springy lawn or on wood chips. You should never, ever place it on concrete or tarmac, or even hard packed mud without a safety net. This is asking for a very nasty accident if someone were to fall off.
You should ensure that the trampoline is firmly secured before you start to use it. The padding and nets should be correctly in place. When not using your trampoline, it is best to remove the ladder in case a small child decides to climb up and gets trapped in the springs or even falls right off.
What are the benefits of trampolining?
This is a really great way to get fit in a fun way! Trampolining as an exercise is actually far better than running. Have you ever seen runners? They always look like they are in pain, and not surprising, as they exert about 4 times their body weight in downward pressure every time. By using a trampoline for your exercise routine you actually take off up to 80% on stress bearing joints.
- Reduces stress on the joints: By using a trampoline for your exercise routine you actually take off up to 80% on stress bearing joints.
- great for Seniors! Also great for and those recuperating from accidents or surgery to train. Added to that, it is a good way for physically challenged people to get their exercise. It is a wonderful way to start a new workout routine.
- Better than running. Because the springs take all the impact of the bounce, it is far better for you than running. A ten minute session will have the same effect as a half an hour run! A report by NASA has also said that a ten minute session compared to half an hour of running is 68% more effective!
- Stimulates the metabolism. Also improves your sense of balance, and firm and tone your muscles. But more than that – the greatest benefit is that it is fun and is a guaranteed way to make you laugh and smile. Now that’s a really really great way to work out!
- Increases cardiovascular fitness. The increase in your heart rate ensures better circulation as oxygen is pumped around your body in a more efficient way. Therefore, you feel much healthier and mentally more alert.
- Low impact. Considering that trampolining is a high impact sport, it has an extremely low impact. It is also a very intensive exercise routine. The rubber of the trampoline absorbs up to 80% of the shock so your joints are being protected while working. Roads on the other hand, absorb very little shock.
- Good for your bones. Because of the repeated jumping action, your bones are put under some slight stress and this is good for improving your bone mineral content. It is this slight stress which helps to prevent osteoporosis. So your bones are protected as well as being strengthened.
- Improves circulation. Trampolining not only pumps more oxygen to all parts of your body and brain, but helps release those ‘feel good’ endorphins. You will find that you feel better, have better moods and are more self-confident with this routine. It’s such a fun filled exercise, that you can’t help smiling and laughing and therefore, feeling better. It will also help you to sleep better at night.
- Improves concentration. You will notice that your concentration levels will go up with this sport. It is a recognised fact that this will help you focus on more than one thing at a time, which will carry over into your daily life. Not only do you need on focus on bouncing and balancing, but you also have to pay attention to your body position and think about the next move. Quite a lot at one time!
- Firms your abs. You will find that over a period of time trampolining helps flatten your abs – who does not like that idea! Because your core muscles are always working, it will mean a tighter stomach and a stronger lower back.
- Convenience. Convenience is a huge consideration when purchasing a trampoline. You do not need to join a gym, or find a safe route to run. Never play tennis in the rain again! A trampoline or rebounder can be set up in a small area in the privacy of your own back garden. You can wear whatever comfortable clothing you like, and – apart from a good sports bra for women – there is no huge outlay for special gym clothes.
The best benefit of all is that this is fun and is a guaranteed way to make you laugh and enjoy yourself!
When starting your new routine, you may want to begin with just five minutes a day and increase gradually after that.
As with any exercise, it is important to get your doctor’s approval before starting a routine.
Best Trampoline Workout Exercises
Exercise and fun do not usually go in the same sentence for me – not in the case of trampolines.
There are lots of different exercises you can do on a trampoline. These exercises provide an aerobic workout and also help to tone muscles. You can do all sorts of different exercises that are a lot of fun and that work your body at the same time.
Here is how to lose weight jumping on a trampoline:
1. The Basic Bounce
Start off slow and easy, especially if you have not been on a trampoline since you were a kid. The basic bounce will help you warm up and it burns calories while toning calves, glutes, and quads. You should stand on the trampoline with your feet about 6 inches apart. Bend your arms and keep your elbows at your sides. With a slight bend in your knee jump up and down about 6 inches off the trampoline. Repeat this approximately 30 times. Now that you have the basic jump down you are ready to move on.
2. Trampoline Prances
This exercise also increases your heart rate. Stand with your feet about 6 inches apart and your knees slightly bent. Put your hands on your hips and alternate raising your knees to hip level. Repeat this 60 times (30 lifts per leg)
3. Trampoline Squats
This exercise will help work your core muscles. For this one you need to stand with your feet together. Jump up and spread your feet a little wider than shoulder width apart. Land in a squat position with your knees bent and thighs parallel to the ground. It should look like you are going to sit in a chair. Your arms should be straight out in front of you. Bounce back into your starting position and repeat the squat 20 times.
4. Straight Jumps
Stand tall with your arms above your head and your feet flat on the trampoline. Jump up and hold your body straight leaving your arms above your head. Land in the same position. Do this for about 30 seconds.
5. Seat Drop
I don’t know about you but we always called it a bum drop. I guess some in the exercise world call it a seat drop. Call it what you will, it is still fun to do. Start standing tall with your arms at your side. Jump up and move your legs forward and bounce on your butt with your legs straight out in front of you. Now your palms should be down with your fingers pointed toward your toes. You should bounce back up into the starting position – standing tall with your arms at your sides. Do 30 seconds of bum drops.
6. Tuck Jump
Stand tall with your hands at your sides. Jump up and pull your knees to your chest – grasp your hands around your knees or ankles. Land tall with your arms straight over your head. Repeat the tuck jump for 30 seconds.
7. Pike Jump
Stand tall with your arms at your sides. Jump up and raise your legs parallel to the ground while you reach your arms toward your feet and point your fingers toward your toes. Land in the same position you started. Do the pike jump for 30 seconds.
8. Swivel Hips
Stand tall with your arms at your sides. Jump in the air and move your legs out in front of you and bounce on your seat with your legs in front of you. After the bounce, do a half twist so you are facing the opposite direction. Do this for 30 seconds.
9. Straddle Jump
This has the same starting point as the previous few exercises. Jump up and extend your legs to the side at a 90 degree angle. Keep your legs out straight and reach your arms toward your feet; point your fingers at your toes. Land back in the starting position and repeat for 30 seconds.
10. Jumping Jacks
Do jumping jacks on the trampoline for 30 seconds to really get your heart pumping. Jump up and extend your legs to either side. Raise your hands above your head and clasp your hands together at the top. Land back in the starting position.
11. Half Twist and Full Twist
Jump up and turn to face the opposite direction while you are in the air for a half twist. For a full twist, rotate 360 degrees while in the air. Do this exercise for 30 seconds.
Remember that after each 30 second interval doing an exercise you should also have a 30 second rest period. If you have not realized it yet, jumping on the trampoline is a hard workout and you will need to catch your breath and get your body ready for the next exercise.
So trampoline exercises can be fun and exhilarating but do they really help you lose weight? There have been studies that show jumping on a trampoline for 10 minutes can help burn as many calories as jogging for 30 minutes! If that is not good news, I don’t know what it.
If you do not have a trampoline in your back yard there are, of course, other options. An indoor mini trampoline will work and you can get caught up on episodes of Grey’s Anatomy while you jump. If you like to be more social you can check out one of the many indoor trampoline parks that seem to be jumping up all over the place (pun intended). Some exercise studios also offer trampoline sessions.
What to look for in a trampoline
Around the top edges of your trampoline you will find the pads. These are the cushions that not only provide seating which is nice and comfy, but also protect the jumper from landing on springs. You should choose the thickest pads possible and certainly no less than 20mm thick.
The springs are what gives you ‘the bounce’. It is the number of the springs that affect the bounce. The best bounce is achieved by combining the highest number of springs with the longest length you can get.
A safety net around the trampoline is essential if you are going to let children use it. It is designed to drastically reduce accidents of bouncing right off. While this may seem an added expense, it is worth every bit because children can be left to bounce while the parent relaxes. It will also enable you to try out new moves without being scared of bouncing right off! You should always make sure that the enclosure is the same size as the trampoline. The poles off the netting must be padded as it is possible that there will be some contact with them. Your netting must be weather proof and very durable. Do not skimp on this addition.
When your trampoline is not in use, you should be sure to cover it. Make sure you get a cover that fits over the whole trampoline, if it is too small you will eventually find that the rubber gets damp and grows mould, which will weaken it, to a point where it will be dangerous to use. The cover should have drainage holes so that the water does not pool on top, but rather drains away. The best type of cover is one that goes over the complete trampoline and had an elasticated edge which will keep it from lifting in wind.
Your trampoline frame should be weld free. Frames that have been welded are more prone to break at the welds. Galvanised steel will not rust and is very strong. It is ideal for this type of construction. Make sure you choose a thick frame as there is less chance that it rusts and breaks. A good quality frame will be UV coated so that sunlight does not damage it. You should check that the frame has a warranty. Any good manufacturer will provide this.
The rubber that you land on is called the ‘bed’. You should make sure that the bed is UV resistant as, even with the best intentions, it will be in the sun and wind for periods of time. The bed should attach to the springs by means of V ring connectors. You will find that these are the easiest to assemble and also the safest.
It is nice to have the trampoline bed with the centre point marked with a cross, although this may not be an essential point with many people. It does mark the safest place to bounce so is a consideration. This is where the bounce is the best.
It may be an idea to have a ladder at the side especially if small children are going to be using this equipment. It is important that the ladder rungs are non-slip as it will be outside when used. UV resistant material will ensure that the life of the ladder is as long as possible. Another point to be sure on is that the ladder hooks onto the trampoline and does not just rest against it.
When you buy your trampoline from a reputable dealer it will come with an anchor. This is basically to hold it down should it get really windy. The last thing you want it a trampoline landing in your neighbours garden! It’s a good idea to get one that has detachable straps in case you want to move the equipment.
A trampoline with six legs is more stable than one with four legs, although the six legged ones are harder to come by and more expensive.
Where can my kids learn?
Some good points to consider here are that children under six years of age should really not be allowed to trampoline. This is because they are not sufficiently developed to control their own body movements and are more likely to get hurt. Unfortunately, adult supervision is no guarantee of safety for children. After the age of six it is vital to have a spotter with a child, although this is also no guarantee that the child will land safely.
You should not let your kid have others on the trampoline at the same time. This is very dangerous. An article in the Huffington Post is horribly graphic about this.
Alcohol and trampolining DO NOT MIX! And this is vitally true when children are using the equipment. Adults who are having their own party while the kids play are not supervising and this will invariably lead to the child getting injured.
Whatever your child’s ability, if they have set their hearts on this, then you should join a local trampolining club where they can be taught the basics in the safest manner and with professional instructors around them at all times.
You will often find classes at your local leisure centre, in fact this is the place to start asking questions about where your kids can learn. It is becoming popular all over the country and you will find that if the leisure centre does not run classes, they may know who does. Having found a place and a coach, arrange to go along for a trial and see if your child really is as keen as they say. Fortunately, there is no major clothing outlay, your child can wear a track suit and t-shirt and will fit right in!
How do I get started?
Adult classes are not quite as popular as children’s classes but it is still worth asking at your local leisure centre. They may know. If not, you may be able to persuade them to start an adult class if a few of your friends also sign up. This is a great way to exercise together and if there is enough demand, they might start a class. It is a good idea to keep your class as small as possible, probably no more than six people in it, with a coach. This gives more time for personal instruction and will ensure that you get the most benefit out of your class.
Don’t be too concerned about your weight. When you trampoline you do not have to be a lightweight. It is an excellent way to tone a body. It is also one of the very few sports that you can do straight away – unlike running which you must build up to gradually.
The first time you use your new trampoline you should just try to get a feel for the bed. Have a walk around on it, you will see that the bouncy bit is in the middle. You will find that there are different areas of tension. Try to familiarise yourself with them. Then try a basic trampoline jump. This means that you should bend your knees slightly, jump up through your heels and at the same time bring your arms up in front of you until they are straight over your head. Keep your body straight. As you land be sure to bend your knees again, this is important. Only a slight bend is needed as too much bend will take all the power out of your jump and you will stop.
Probably the most important thing to master when you first start is to jump and land in the middle of the bed. You should start off slowly and use little jumps to get your ‘jumping legs’. Try a few practise landings on your behind as well as on your front. You will find that within a few minutes you will be able to make shapes in the air. After that you will able to do some basic twists, and once those are becoming easy you will be able to put them all together to make a sequence. It is always a good idea to have a ‘spotter’ to tell you when you are getting too close to the sides. They are also there to lend a hand when getting off.
Trampolining is all about the strength of the ‘core’, that is to say, the group of muscles around your spine and stomach area. There are exercises you can do to strengthen your hamstrings, abs and lower back while you are off the trampoline and it is a good idea to set up a routine for yourself – or have an instructor do this for you. This way you will be far less prone to injury, and it will also make moves like the Pike (arms and legs straight out in front of you) a lot easier.
Most trampolines come marked with a cross to show the centre point. As you are jumping you should try to become aware of this point but also try not to look down at it. This will cause you to lose balance as your centre of gravity will switch. Try to focus at the end of the trampoline.
When you are starting it is best to avoid the temptation to try to jump too high. Although the extra height gives you more time for a move, it also increases the chance of an error and may cause you to land badly and injure yourself.
Don’t even consider doing a somersault before you have mastered a back drop. A back drop is basically a quarter of a somersault and you should take time to master this first before progressing further.
Some trampoline suggestions
All the trampolines listed below are available on www.amazon.com
1. Skywalker trampoline: This trampoline combines the sport of basketball as it has a hoop attached. It is easy to assemble and holds up very well over the years.
2. Exacme TUV Approved Trampoline: This gets great reviews! People love it and it is quickly assembled.
3. Skywalker Round Bouncer: This is a perfect gift for a young child. It wears very well and children love their own space here!
4. Bounce Pro: This takes two people to assemble it, but the end product is great! Well made and sturdy.
5. Leaps and rebounds: A really fun Rebounder which is very well made and takes about ten minutes to assemble.
Rules for using the trampoline
Obviously we cannot tell you every rule that you should have in place for your own trampoline, but we can suggest a few that make sense and will keep you and your kids as safe as possible while still having fun. By keeping these in mind, and maybe coming up with some more of your own, you will be able to enjoy your new trampoline for many years.
- One person at a time only. Most accidents happen because there are more than one person on, bumping into each other is inevitable and concentration is lost. Knees are not bent on landing and people slip through springs. This is the most important rule.
- No somersaults unless the person has been trained to do so.
- Bouncing exits are banned! This is asking for trouble!
- No children under six years of age, and all others to be supervised by an adult.
- No alcohol!
What do I wear?
There is a huge choice when it comes to clothing suitable for this sport. T-shirt, comfy bottoms and socks and a good sports bra for the ladies, are pretty much all you need. Long bottoms are a good idea as in the beginning your knees will take quite a beating.
Make sure your clothes are loose fitting but not too baggy. You do not want anything to get hooked or snagged. Tracksuit bottoms are perfect and so are t-shirts that are not too loose so they fly up over your head. You must not have your eyes covered as this will cause you to panic and possibly be injured on landing.
Socks are a must! You do not want your toes to get caught in the springs and rip a toe nail off. Steer clear of nylon socks as they are too slippery. You can get proper trampoline socks which have a non-slip under side. They mound around your feet but still leave you with flexibility to perform.
More important is what NOT to wear. This includes all earrings, pierced or otherwise, along with any jewellery. Added to this list are jeans. Don’t be tempted to wear them, they will burn badly. You should also tie long hair back unless you want to have it ripped out accidentally. Every coach has a book of horror stories about someone wearing these items, please make sure you are not one of those stories!
If you plan on entering competitions then you will need to wear regulation kit which comprises a leotard for women, and a male leotard with gym trousers for men.
Is there a down side to trampolining?
With every sport you take up there is a possibility of injury, some sports are far more dangerous than others. And so – to answer that question truthfully – yes. There is a chance you may be injured. Anyone who tells you otherwise is not being truthful. 11,000 people were injured on trampolines in 2002, but it was found that most of these injuries happened on garden trampolines and were due to more than one person being on the trampoline at the same time. If you plan to take up trampolining than you would be wise to find a club with a qualified instructor who can supervise you. This will minimise the risk of injury.
In a class there will be waiting times as you will probably only jump for two or three minutes at a time and then wait for others to take their turns. You can take advantage of this time to let your body rest after the exertion. This is another good reason to find a small class as there is less waiting around.
You may struggle to find a coach for adults as they are not as thick on the ground as children’s coaches. However, if you persevere you will find one that takes adults for lessons.
How to choose a trampoline
It is an accepted fact that there are three tiers of trampoline when you are looking at buying one.
1. The top tier are extremely strong and durable, with good bounce and durable padding around the edges. These are probably out of the price range for the average family and are mostly used by serious athletes. The best water trampoline is also typically relatively expensive, but offers a lot of fun in the water.
2. The mid-tier is the most popular and this is where you should be looking when you buy your first trampoline. They provide good performance at an acceptable price. There are some differences between the top and mid-tier but generally you will not go wrong buying in the mid-tier price range.
3. The budget range is where you should stay away from! Many companies are trying to get into the market with trampolines and budget ones are appearing all over the place. The performance will be poor and you will have breakage problems normally within the first year.
Spare parts will also not be readily available, and this is yet another reason not to buy a bottom of the range one. You will find that parts wear out far quicker and in the end you will have spent more on replacement pads and springs than you paid for the whole trampoline!
The best trampoline for you? This is a very personal choice. You should take into account the ages of people who you are buying for. If you are buying this solely for your kids, will it be the right size for them in 3 – 4 years time?
All trampolines have a size and weight guide which will help you here. If this is only for adults, then be sure you check the weight chart and do not skimp on this section. You do not want a ‘large’ friend getting hurt because the rubber cannot take the weight.
Many people still have the same trampoline after five or so years when the kids have grown up and then it is only used by the adults for a bit of fun. It is important that you are still able to get spare parts for it and that it is still suitable for the people who are going to use it.
Round trampolines are usually the best value for money and they are also the most widely sold. 14′ and 12′ are the most popular. 10′ ones are usually only bought due to space being somewhat limited. Round trampolines are typically safer than rectangle ones because they have a more predictable bounce which keeps the user in the middle of the bed.
Oval trampolines are the latest in garden trampoline design. They are just as safe as round ones and are also good value for money. This shape is a very pleasing shape which seems to fit into gardens a little better than either round or rectangle ones. It does not take up too much width. You will find that an oval one out performs a round one in terms of jumping surface. The bounce ability is much better and the maximum weight limit is greater.
Weight and age should be taken into consideration when buying, but you should also think about experience levels of your jumpers. An experienced jumper can attain a great height and this puts a bigger load on the springs. Technically the person could be under the recommended weight for that particular model but still be able to overload the springs. If there is any doubt in your mind about this, then you should always buy the bigger trampoline. This will be a decision you won’t regret.
If you buy your trampoline from a reputable manufacturer you should always be able to get spare parts when you need them. More than likely you will need to replace springs at about the five year mark. With this in mind it is worth it to avoid buying a non-standard trampoline (eg 13′ diameter ones that have 6 leg pairs instead of 4). It will always be difficult to get replacement legs for this type. Along with that, the choice of safety nets for this odd shape are always in short supply. So it is better to stick with a standard type and size where you know the parts will be readily available for many years.
The guarantees on trampolines tend to be on the different parts instead of on the item as a whole. You will find that there is a guarantee on the frame and a different one for the bed and springs, and yet another one for the pads! It is worth checking ll these out with the manufacturer before purchasing. It is quite normal for the springs to stretch. In the case of budget trampolines, more springs is better as they will last longer. Mid-range trampoline pads will normally last at least 5 years. After this length of time most owners will get a new set just to look good again and not because they need to replace them.
It has been proven that playing a sport is good for children and adults alike. It’s a great way to build confidence and make friends. It is a challenging sport, no doubt about that, but it will give your kids the attitude that they can take on the world! Perhaps it will do that for you as well!
Playing sports will help your children make friends who could become lifelong buddies. It is a great way to get a shy child involved in group projects.
Trampolining is a way for them to learn important life lessons. Sore losers are not very well liked and children participating in sports will come to realise that sometimes they win and sometimes they lose. They will also realise that persistence will help them to overcome objects.
Physically they will become stronger and that is always a good thing. There is less likelihood of an obese child if they take up a sport, and trampolining will take care of that!
Children will develop a competitive edge and learn how to make decisions. Their minds will inevitably become geared in the direction of doing well, not only in sports but in other areas of their lives.
Sport is a great ‘getaway’ from the stress of school and college work. A great way to escape the routine chores of daily life every so often.
With the right equipment and correct supervision, trampolining is a sport that will be a good thing for any child and also many adults!