A Fun Alternative: Trampoline Workouts
Sara Thompson – M.Sc. in Exercise Science
In recent years, a new type of exercise has taken off in North America and around the world. “Rebound exercise”, or “Bouncercise”, comprises of balancing, jumping, and various exercises performed on a trampoline. Its increase in popularity is likely due to the fact that many people find exercise boring and this is new and exciting.
But how good of a workout is it? Here’s the science behind this new fad.
Eccentric Muscle Contractions
Bouncing on a compliant surface such as a trampoline requires individuals to perform many eccentric muscle contractions. Eccentric muscle contractions are the lengthening or lowering phase of an exercise, such as when an individual is lowering into a squat position. This eccentric contraction is performed every time an individual lands from a jump on the trampoline and contracts their quadriceps muscles. Eccentric contractions put more strain on individual muscle fibers, causing more damage. This leads to greater muscle adaptation, and therefore greater strength gain (Hedayatpour and Falla, 2015). This theory proved true in a recent study on rebound exercise on children and adolescents in Iran (Aalizadeh et al., 2016). In this study, 11-14-year old males performed rebound exercise four times per week for 20 weeks. Following 20 weeks of rebound exercise, the researchers measured increased muscle mass and improved vertical and long jump performance.
Rebound exercise has an additional challenge. Due to the unstable surface, individuals are required to recruit stabilizing muscles to help with balance. This is particularly useful in aging individuals who are at a higher risk of falls. Indeed, Aragao and colleagues tested the efficacy of 14 weeks of trampoline exercise on elderly participants (Aragão et al., 2011). The authors observed that in addition to improved strength, these participants were able to correct themselves in order to prevent forward falls. Other recent studies on stroke patients have shown that following several weeks of trampoline balance exercise, patients improved their balance, mobility, gait, falls, and activities of daily living (Miklitsch et al., 2013, Hahn et al., 2015). This can have a tremendous impact on these individuals’ independence and quality of life.
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Overall Health Benefits of Exercising on the Trampoline
While most studies on rebound training focus on fall prevention and muscular strength, a handful of studies have assessed the cardiovascular and metabolic benefits of this type of exercise. Cugusi and colleagues recruited overweight women to perform 12 weeks of rebound exercise training. Following the 12 weeks, the researchers observed improved aerobic fitness, decreased fat mass, increased muscle mass, improved blood pressure, and improved lipid and glucose profiles. Most significantly, these women had overall improved quality of life and pain (Cugusi et al., 2016). Similarly, Nuhu and Maharaj aimed to test if rebound exercise could elicit similar benefits to traditional exercise in individuals with type 2 diabetes (T2D).
In two separate studies, the researchers measured improvements in glucose and lipid profiles of individuals with T2D following several weeks of rebound training (Nuhu and Maharaj, 2017; Maharaj and Nuhu, 2016). The rebound training consisted of jumping at a moderate intensity on a trampoline, performed three times per week for 20-30 minutes
The authors argue that due to the enjoyment and simplicity of this exercise, it might generate greater compliance among a population who does not traditionally have good adherence to exercise programs.
Rebound exercise is a new, fun alternative to classical exercises classes, and it might not just be a fad! While it’s still a newly researched topic, several studies have shown numerous health benefits to engaging in this type of activity – see 10 Trampoline Exercises For Beginners. So if you’re feeling bored of the usual routine, why not check out a class in your neighborhood, or join your kid or grandkid in the backyard!
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Hedayatpour, N., Falla, D. (2015). Physiological and Neural Adaptations to Eccentric Exercise: Mechanisms and Considerations for Training. Biomed Research International. 2015, 193741.
Aalizadeh, B., Mohammadzadeh, H., Khazani, A., Dadras, A. (2016). Effect of a Trampoline Exercise on the Anthropometric Measures and Motor Performance of Adolescent Students. International Journal of Preventative Medicine. 13(7), 91.
Miklitsch, C., Krewer, C., Freivogel, S., Steube, D. (2013). Effects of a predefined mini-trampoline training programme on balance, mobility and activities of daily living after stroke: a randomized controlled pilot study. Clinical Rehabilitation. 27(10), 939-947.
Hahn, J., Shin, S., Lee, W. (2015). The effect of modified trampoline training on balance, gait, and falls efficacy of stroke patients. Journal of Physical Therapy Science. 27(11), 3351-3354.
Aragão, F. A., Karamanidis, K., Vaz, M. A., Arampatzis, A. (2011). Mini-trampoline exercise related to mechanisms of dynamic stability improves the ability to regain balance in elderly. Journal of Electromyography and Kinesiology. 21(3), 512-518.
Cugusi, L., Manca, A., Serpe, R., Romita, G., Bergamin, M., Cadeddu, C., et al. (2016). Effects of a mini-trampoline rebounding exercise program on functional parameters, body composition and quality of life in overweight women. The Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness. July 21 [Epub ahead of print].
Nuhu, J. M., Maharah, S. S. (2017). Influence of a mini trampoline rebound exercise program on insulin resistance, lipid profile and central obesity in individuals with type 2 diabetes. Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness. Mar 1 [Epub ahead of print].
Maharaj, S. S., Nuhu, J. M. (2016). Rebound exercise: A beneficial adjuvant for sedentary non-insulin-dependent type 2 diabetic individuals in a rural environment. The Australian Journal of Rural Health. 24(2), 123-129.
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