Today trampoline exercises are highly ranked as some of the most effective and fun exercise methods. The trampoline has craftily woven its way into becoming a modern mainstay in many fitness exercise and workout programs. Many professional and self motivated workout routines now include aerobic and muscle building exercises that make use of small trampolines, often time referred to as ‘mini trampolines’ (these are most often less than 40in in diameter). For the most part rebounder (another name for workout trampolines) exercises are simple: the technique that is. There is some getting used to whole ‘springy floor’ setup however. You have to be in control of your balance and location in space. You don’t want to end up bouncing extremely high off your mat to end up falling on the frame or worse missing the trampoline all together. You must be comfortable with your pace and be in full control of your energy. It is also in your interest to remember that the trampoline is only a fraction of your weight, if abused, it may well take flight and leave you falling on hard grounds. Do not ignore manufacture’s recommendations or the specifications of your trampoline. Be aware of what your rebounder is supposed to, and can do.
When done safely, trampoline exercise can be a great workout for beginners and experienced fitness enthusiasts alike. They make use of the simple thing we have all mastered and forgotten since our frolicking childhood days – jumping. Simply bouncing on a trampoline with good posture and for a purposeful amount of time, is a great way to get the heart and lungs pumping, giving you that euphoric workout high. Of course the possible routines on small trampolines have been developed and redeveloped and are redeveloping, but in this article we want to show you 10 trampoline exercises for beginners. We are talking about simple ‘first-time-seeing-a-trampoline’ activities you can do to improve on your adherence to the ‘doctor’s orders’: “more exercise in your weekly routine”. The tension and response of trampolines will vary from brand to brand, so you will have to experiment with your own to see what it can do, and how it feels. Take your time to understand and perfect the techniques we will show you, and with persistence you will feel the effects, and perhaps even see the results of your dogged jouncing around. So read on and familiarise yourself with some simple rebounder routines you can add to your own aerobic or muscle building workout. Here we go:
Basic Trampoline Bounce
The Basic Trampoline Bounce is perhaps the absolute starting point of rebounder exercises for most beginners. Though your continuous bounce on a trampoline is assisted, as opposed to jumping on a hardwood floor or concrete, it actively engages your thigh and leg muscles. As you continue you begin to feel that workout effect. Stand on the trampoline with your posture erect, and your feet just about six inches apart. Keep your arms at your sides, but bend them at the elbows and make light fists in front of you. Slightly bend your knees and gently begin to bounce. Initially your bounce must be about 3-4 inches from the mat, and as you get comfortable you increase your bounce to 5-6 inches. When you are fully acclimatised to the trampoline, you may start this exercise bouncing at six inches to begin with. In starting it is best to focus on keeping your feet flat or as they are most naturally. This simplifies the activity and allows you to focus on good posture – which is extremely essential. As you become more experienced with this routine you may want to keep that bounce on the ball of your feet for a little bit more work on the calves. Go for thirty seconds. Stop, take a short breath, and go again for another thirty seconds. You may do two to four rounds of 30 second bouncing before moving on to your next routine. If you are absolutely new to rebounder exercises and wish to take it really slow, then continue with bouts of bouncing until you feel satisfied. Remember to include breath training in your exercise. Slow, smooth inhales and exhales are ideal. When you are fully in rhythm, your breath will be somewhat aligned with the frequency of your vibration. At this point you are truly in a workout session. The Basic Bounce is a high calorie burner and will help to tone your quads, glutes and calf muscles.
Another great rebounder exercise that’ll get your heart rate up and your lungs pumping is the Trampoline Prance. It is a great aerobic workout with a little bit more difficulty than the basic bounce. It requires good concentration and proper balancing, and it is important that you take your time to find your rhythm with the technique. Again you will begin with your feet in a relaxed stance, just about six inches apart. Now place your hands on your hips, slightly bend those knees and begin to lightly bounce on the balls of your feet. Once in good tempo, begin to raise your legs alternatively to the hip level. That is, lift your legs as if doing ‘knees up’ on the spot jogging, taking your knees all the way up to the waist level and bringing those thighs parallel to the ground. Left right, left right. For each round, repeat fifty times, as in 25 lifts per leg. Remember to breathe easy. Trampoline exercises should be fun. You want to take your time and keep a relaxed breath. If you are feeling too hassled or unnatural, then you may be working hard at doing the wrong thing. Exercise is more about persistence than strain. Understand the level you are at, and have fun perfecting it. In short time you will be as aggressively smooth as the ‘experts’ you see in workout videos.
Trampoline Squats are much like regular squats you do on a hard surface, they are a great way to build core muscles. You will find however that the deflecting bounce mat adds some dynamics to the otherwise pedestrian routine. It demands a bit more from your legs and calves as you try to maintain stability. Stand on the trampoline with your feet facing forward, and a little bit more than shoulder width apart. Keep your hands open at your sides and pointing down the sides of your legs towards the ankles. Squat down to a “prince’s sitting position”: keep your back vertical and fully erect, your shoulders back and your thighs parallel to the ground. As you go down, in a smooth synchronised motion, raise both hands and end with them being clasped above your head as you reach into the squat position. When you are down to sitting position, hold that pose for about five seconds. Slowly come back to standing while taking your arms down the same route back to your sides. Repeat 25 times.
When you are better able to manoeuvre on the trampette you can kick the intensity of the squats up a notch. You can upgrade the routine to involve jumping squats. You jump with your feet together, when coming down you open your legs to shoulder width apart and land in a squatting position with your arms stretched out straight in front of you – palms facing down. Lightly bounce back into your upright position, and repeat as desired. The additional demand to maintain balance as you bolt into the squatting position provides a great opportunity for further leg and core muscle building.
Running, in whatever form, is the most recommended cardiovascular exercise activity, and trampoline running is no different. It is actually a wellness upgrade to traditional running. With the springy bounce mat as your route, trampoline running reduces the inimical pressure on your knees and ankles, as would be experienced when running on hard unyielding surfaces. For absolute beginners, you may need to use a wall, chair or trampoline bar to help maintain balance. If your trampette does not include a handle bar, then move the rebounder close to a wall, or place a chair in front and use the back rest as your support.
Stand in a relaxed position, feet a few inches apart. Bend your arms at the elbows and get those friendly fists out in front. Bend your knees and bring your posture to a low squat-like position. Begin a high speed run and maintain it for twenty seconds (or a twenty count on your own mental watch), be sure to keep those heels down and planted, driving them into the bouncy surface as you go along. You may do five or six 20-second rounds for good results. Keeping the ankles straight while doing high speed running with bare feet on a rebounder can be quite the challenge. For beginners it may be helpful to wear running shoes while doing this routine for good ankle support.
Jumping Jacks (Traditional)
As children perhaps our most favourite physical education warm up activity was Jumping Jacks. It was so natural and fun to just jump about while flapping our legs like the graceful chatter of a butterfly’s wing. Of course after a couple rounds of jumping we realise the fun is taxed and surrender to the “whew!”. Now as focused adults, it is time to reap the benefits of this simple exercise activity – it’s a great aerobic workout. Begin with your feet together, standing upright. Lightly begin to bounce and work your way into a rhythmic opening and closing of your legs: take your feet to shoulder width apart as you jump and land, then back together as you jump and land a second time. Keep going. Repeat for 60 to 90 seconds, whatever you can manage. Maintain good breathing and that’s it. Be sure to keep your arms in the action, up as the legs go apart, down as you bring them back together. You may use hand or ankle weights for additional strength training.
So far the exercises we have dealt with were mostly for lower body workout, but the Trampoline Twist is an abdominal exercise which can be done with or without training weights. Stand with your feet together, toes pointing forward. Now begin to bounce lightly getting your feet 2-4 inches from the mat. As you work into your rhythm, twist your feet in unison – toes left, toes right, toes left, toes right – maintaining your bounce as you go and keeping the feet together. You don’t want to jump too high, as the focus of this routine is to get those abdominal muscles working. You want to focus on perfecting the twist of the feet and abdomen. If you choose to use weights, then keep your arms at your sides, bend them at the elbows, and keep the weights out in front as you go – challenge those biceps. Keep the torso straight, upright and facing forward at all times. You want to ensure your abdomen and lower body alone is doing the twisting. Maintain good breathing and have fun with it. You may make each round to be sixty seconds long, and continue for 2-3 rounds, or otherwise as your workout goals demand.
Knee Tuck Jump
Another great trampoline exercise for some abdominal work is the Knee Tuck Jump. This exercise involves a full body jump and is a great aerobic workout that will also work your calves, thighs and abdominal muscles. Doing this as a novice on a trampoline can be tricky. You must have good balance and concentration, and be able to do a full jump on a hard surface. Once on the trampoline, stand with a relaxed stance, feet about six inches apart. Slightly bend your knees, and in one sweeping motion, inhale, move swiftly down into a half squat position, and use the power of your legs and the breath in your lungs to jump as high as you can, bringing the knees up towards the chest, as close as you can get them. Be sure to get those arms up.
As you fall re-extend your legs and open them a little less than shoulder width for a sturdy footing when you hit the mat – you will find your own stance after a few jumps. Allow the momentum of your body to flow and soften your knees so they bend as necessary to absorb the fall. You should fall back unto the balls of your feet, bringing the heels down in one smooth motion. The arms go up when you jump, they come down when you fall. You may maintain light fists; keep your arms close to your body, usually motioning in front the chest. Repeat this jump 25 times. Bask in the athleticism in your body when you jump and maintain good posture. Work with the breath. Inhaling as you go down, exhaling as you exert your defiance of gravity.
For a little bit more of an advanced challenge as you progress, you can keep your arms in front, flat across the line of the shoulders, palms down, fingers interlocked or touching at the tips. Get into a relaxed stance, and jump. Keeping the arms steady and bringing the knees as close to your palms as you can. Repeat as desired.
Ball-to-Ball Forward Bounce
Being as the natural character of the trampoline is bouncing, the Ball-to-Ball Forward Bounce takes us back to just that: bouncing. Again you begin by standing on the mat in a relaxed stance. Body upright, feet just about six inches apart, or whatever feels most natural – but not together. Place the right foot in front, keeping the heel of the right foot no more than an inch in front of the left toe. Raise yourself to the balls of your feet and gently begin to bounce, to and fro. Keep your arms purposeful: you may even use weights should you desire. Get into your own pace. Smooth. Feel the bounce and increase intensity as your body suggests. Continue this bounce for sixty seconds. Now switch legs, left foot in front, and repeat for another sixty seconds. You may continue and alternate as you like, but it is good to maintain a balance on both legs. This exercise is good cardiovascular activity and will also help to tone your legs – calves and thighs. It is gentle but effective: persistence, not strain.
Forward Feet Jumping Jacks
Forward Feet Jumping Jacks are a simple variation of traditional jumping jacks. I’m sure we have all tried this one as well in our youthful days. It is the same alternating bounce/jump, but this time the legs go front and back, as do the arms. So you begin, center of your mat, feet just about together – maybe an inch between those ankles. Keep your arms at your sides, hands in a sort of extended knuckle fist, relaxed. Now begin to jump, right foot forward, left foot back, arms in natural rhythm. Alternate your legs as you go along. Repeat this bounce for sixty seconds. Of course you may go longer if you please. Jumping Jacks are always a great cardio workout, focusing on the legs, thighs and glutes of course. You may toy with the pace of your jumping. It can present a challenge to extend the dimensions of this simple exercise, as can the inclusion of hand or ankle weights, or both.
Lunges – this exercise you will begin on the floor, standing next to your rebounder. Now place one foot up on the trampoline. Make sure you are relaxed, not too far from the tramp with the straight leg, and not too close. Relaxed. Next you will be ‘stepping up’ with the foot on the ground; you will have to bring your knee up to waist height, but never actually putting that foot on the mat. As you go up with the knee, you come back down in one flowing motion to replant your foot on the ground where it began, and then you follow with the other foot, back to the ground, also at its genesis. Your arms should be friendly fists at your waist height. Repeat this lunge 20-25 times. Switch feet, and repeat another 20-25 times. Two rounds of this should be sufficient.
As you become stronger you can add a bounce to your apex: using the ‘mat foot’ to spring yourself up as the ‘floor foot’ rises to waist height. You come down as usual, repeating as desired. Lunges are a great workout activity for abdominal workings, quads, hamstrings, glutes, and calves. It really engages your full body energy and this is what good cardiovascular exercises are about.
Trampoline Exercises Summary
So that is a peek into the world of trampoline exercises. This list consists of basic exercises for beginners, but really can be applied creatively by even more advanced persons. Remember that trampoline exercises are about fun and working at your own pace. Be creative. This list is only a start. You can develop the routines we have shown you, or even create your own. Simple bouncing with good posture is a great workout in itself. It is important to remember that. Always be safe, you may jump unto the trampoline, but jumping off is not advised.
Always maintain good posture, and pay keen attention to the specifications of your rebounder – weight capacity and recommended use being the most important. Though the trampoline is much focused on the legs, there are many props you can include in your rebounder workout for a more balanced training routine. The use of resistance bands and sand weights are popular. Some trampoline manufacturers even include these props and sometimes workout DVD’s as well. So whether you’ve seen one at the gym, or you’ve brought one home, I am sure you should now be better able to make productive use of the mini-trampoline. Good luck. Now go bounce those ounces!