Rebounders -- also known as mini-trampolines -- are great tools for effective and fun workouts.
Working out inside with little space and equipment can feel really frustrating and limited. Especially when it comes to cardio, it can be hard to find something fun and effective that does not require a lot of space. If you don't have a treadmill, gym or you're bored with your workouts -- take a nod from your inner kid and try jumping on a trampoline.
While you may think trampoline workouts sound like a joke, they are actually seriously popular, especially in cities like NYC and Los Angeles, where people line up to take trampoline cardio classes at studios like Body By Simone, LEKFit and The Ness. I've been to several trampoline workout classes IRL, and they were some of the most challenging classes I've ever tried.
The combination of coordination, skill, overall cardio endurance and leg power it takes to make it through a 45-minute cardio class is crazy intense. Don't believe me? Keep reading below to find out why mini-trampoline (AKA rebounding) workouts are a fun and effective way to break a sweat.
The trampoline or rebounder that you use for exercise is quite different than what you would have jumped on for fun as a kid. Typically, the rebounders are smaller, making them easy to move or use in your home. Many of them also have legs that fold for easy storage, like under a bed. When it comes to using a trampoline for exercise, "rebounding" is typically the term used by pros in the fitness industry.
"Rebounding is a type of cardiovascular exercise performed on a mini-trampoline. Rebounders are usually smaller and firmer which allows for a better bounce when compared to a larger trampoline you might see outdoors," Collette Dong, co-founder of The Ness, tells CNET.
It may seem like a simple exercise, but some rebounding workouts can be hard to follow at first. To start, many of them include choreographed movement, so it can take some time to catch on to the move and patterns. Then the basic jumps and form can be a bit tricky. Unlike if you were jumping on a trampoline for fun, when you are working out you want to avoid jumping very high.
"The biggest thing you want to remember is to bounce down into the trampoline. Everyone tries to jump up like they would on a recreational trampoline, but the key to all the good work is in the down motion. You can do this by pressing into your heels, softening in your knees, and thinking about pulling your knees up to your chest with your low abs. Your legs should be pumping while your torso stays low," Dong says.
When it comes to shoes, they are optional, but depending on how intensely you workout, a shoe can give you more support. "While shoes aren't required, when you go barefoot, it puts more strain on your feet and lower limbs while trying to stabilize on the soft mat. A medium-weight sneaker with good ankle support is perfect because you can focus on working the glutes, hamstrings and abs as opposed to the lower limb," Dong says.
According to Dong, you only need to master the bounce down and the high bounce to get started. "Bounce down is your active move and high bounce is your recovery move. All other basic moves like jacks, scissors, kicks are born from the bounce down, so it's the most important part to perfect," Dong says.
Once you master the basics you can try the following moves below:
Many fitness trainers recommend the Bellicon and Jumpsport rebounders. The price for these rebounders start at $199 and up. You can often find less expensive rebounders at sporting good stores. Some rebounders (like this one on Amazon) have a handle or rail if you are worried about losing balance or falling off the rebounder.
The Bellicon Classic Rebounder is available in three different sizes (39, 44, 49 in) and has a ton of customizable features, including an option for legs that fold up for easy storage.
The JumpSport Model 200 Fitness Trampoline is a great basic fitness trampoline. JumpSport promises a quieter bounce and a cushioned feel. You can add on an optional handlebar for extra safety and stability while you bounce.
The Ativafit rebounder is a more affordable option that is has a lot of extra features for safety, like a padded cover for the springs and a handlebar. You can also fold the entire trampoline, which is convenient if you are working out in a small space.
One of the most attractive benefits about a rebounder workout is the ability to do an intense cardio exercise without putting wear and tear on your joints. There are very few forms of cardio that allow you to engage your muscles and elevate your heart rate without straining your joints, like your knees for example.
Rebounding is also helpful for working multiple muscle groups, and improving balance and coordination, "[Rebounding] works your entire body, especially your core, legs, butt and back muscles. It also improves balance and coordination which is good for our overall motor skills and provides a mental release," Dong says.
Rebounding may give you more bang for your buck than running or jogging, too. NASA published a study that showed that jumping on a trampoline is more effective at stimulating heart rate and oxygen uptake (VO2 max) than jogging.
Rebounding can help support or boost your lymphatic system, which is helpful for your overall health, but especially a healthy immune system. Your lymphatic system is, "the fluid that contains infection-fighting white blood cells, throughout the body," Dr. Christopher Coller, a physician at Parsley Health, previously told CNET.
"Exercise such as rebounding on a trampoline, practicing yoga or even jumping rope or doing jumping jacks can help to kick the lymphatic system into high gear," Dr. Coller said.
No matter how you choose to workout on a rebounder, it's a fun and challenging exercise. You can put a rebounder outside in your backyard and just jump in the sun, or while listening to music. If you like more structured workouts, you can follow workout videos (like the ones below) and try to learn choreographed routines. No matter which form of exercise you prefer, as long as you are moving and having fun, your body and mind will benefit.
You don't have to purchase a video or streaming subscription to try rebounding at home. There are plenty of free videos available on YouTube, like the ones below.
Trampoline workout videos (free):
For more comprehensive classes and more diverse content, you can subscribe to a monthly service (like one of the brands below) where you'll get full-length videos and new content every month.
Body by Simone App
Price: $19.99 per month for live and on-demand trampoline cardio classes as well as dance cardio and strengthening classes
The Ness Digital
Price: $39.99 per month, includes a library of Bounce trampoline cardio classes as well as Sculpt classes.
Price: $19.99 per month for "Boost" aka rebounder classes in addition to dance and sculpting class options.