If exercise starts to feel like a dreaded chore, then you might need to find a fun way to enliven your routine — and one popular way of doing that is with a trampoline. Versatile and low-impact, trampoline exercises for weight loss might surprise you with their effectiveness.
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Fitness experts will tell you that jumping on a trampoline gets your blood flowing and your heart racing, so it has the potential to torch major calories. But before you get out there and just start aimlessly jumping up and down, consider a few exercise tips that could help you work different muscles, vary your routine and — maybe most importantly — keep you safe.
How Effective Is Trampoline Jumping?
You might think of jumping on a trampoline as something you did for fun as a kid. Well, hey, that's half the appeal, as Columbia University points out. Jumping on a trampoline takes people right back to childhood. It's like playing with a great big toy, except it's a toy that can help you burn calories, strengthen muscle and improve cardiovascular fitness. (Another childhood staple that Columbia University points to as a major calorie-burner is jumping rope.)
Having this perception of trampoline jumping is helpful, according to the American Council on Exercise, because participants feel as if what they're doing is easy even when what they're doing is increasing their heart rate and breathing in such a way that the activity would be classified as vigorous; therefore, they are exercising at an intensity that they wouldn't achieve (or, at least, not enjoy achieving) with other activities, such as running or cycling.
How intense can trampoline exercises for weight loss really be? According to the American Council on Exercise, it meets the American College of Sports Medicine's guidelines for cardiorespiratory fitness based on heart rate and maximum oxygen uptakes. It also can fulfill the American College of Sports Medicine's recommended caloric expenditure of 200 to 300 calories per 30-minute workout, which breaks down to about 6.7 to 10 calories per minute.
Furthermore, a June 2018 study published in the European Journal of Sports Science found that exercise routines performed on mini trampolines reached maximum oxygen uptakes in both normal-weight, endurance-trained athletes and inactive, adults living with overweight or obesity, demonstrating that cardio trampoline exercises are intense enough to meet exercise requirements; furthermore, the self-adjusting nature of mini trampoline workouts means that they can be used by people of all fitness levels.
The American Council on Exercise also points out that people who engage in trampoline jumping also enjoy benefits they might not get with other activities — they perform a wide variety of movements, they learn balance from reacting to an unstable surface, they don't suffer the high impact they would have with activities like running and they develop spatial awareness from having to stay centered in one place.
Most importantly, a trampoline workout for weight loss could be successful because people enjoy it, and finding a workout that you can stick to over a long period of time is important.
Read more: How to Lose Weight with Trampoline Jumping
Trampoline Workout for Weight Loss
If you want to try trampoline exercises for weight loss, you need to start with the basics. Decide whether you're going to use the trampoline at the gym or at home. Your fitness center might even offer classes that guide you through a trampoline routine for weight loss, or you could use one of the gym's mini trampolines on your own time.
If you're really committed and want to purchase a trampoline to use at home, Columbia University recommends you still visit a fitness center first so you can test out the trampoline before investing in your own. You can also get guidance from a professional, who can help you develop proper form and guide you through the fundamentals before you start trying to incorporate advanced moves into your routine.
The trampoline workout examined by the American Council on Exercise was JumpSport, which incorporated choreography and similar movements for a full-body workout. The council reported that men participating in JumpSport burned about 12.4 calories per minute and women burned about 9.4 calories per minute — a caloric burn equivalent to that of activities like running 6 miles per hour, biking 14 miles per hour, or playing a recreational round of basketball, football or ultimate Frisbee.
Certified personal trainer Arnita Champion explains a few beginning moves in her YouTube video "AChamp's Bellicon Beginners Rebounding Workout," noting that it is important to conquer the basics before moving on to a more advanced trampoline routine. Using a mini trampoline, Champion recommends these moves:
- Begin by "pushing down" rather than simply jumping. Your emphasis should be to drive your body down into the trampoline, and you should feel it in your quads, abs and glutes.
- As you get into the rhythm of pushing down, start to move your legs in and out. As you land on the trampoline, land with your feet wide apart, push yourself up and bring your legs in close when you land next. Keep your legs moving in and out. Start to move your arms up and down as you lift off and land.
- Start to alternate between landing on/pushing off from your heels and landing on/pushing off from your toes.
- Move your body as if you are doing jumping jacks. Lift your arms over your head as you lift off from the trampoline and bring them back down as you land.
- Do high knee lifts as you jump. As you lift off the trampoline, bring your left knee up above your waist. When you land and come up again, alternate and lift your right knee.
- Finish out the routine by running in place, which Champion describes as "the killer that everyone loves."
Read more: The Best Trampoline Exercises
Always Be Safe
When you're doing your trampoline workout routine, it's important to remember safety. Columbia University recommends you set your mini trampoline in a place where you have adequate space and won't risk bumping into anything (including the ceiling). You should also start slowly to warm up your muscles and joints.
If you're using a full-size trampoline, avoid having two people jump on the trampoline at the same time, and don't attempt tricks like somersaults or landing on your stomach or back. Take a break if you start to feel sick to your stomach.
And as much fun as trampolines are for kids, they can also pose risks. The Mayo Clinic notes that there's a high risk of sprains and fractures in the arms and legs, as well as head and neck injuries, for children on trampolines.
Although children can enjoy just as many cardiovascular benefits as adults when they use a trampoline, it's imperative that safety measures are taken. Be sure large trampolines have safety nets and pads, and that children are always supervised when they use the trampoline.
- Columbia University: “Exercising with Mini-Trampolines and Other ‘Toys’”
- European Journal of Sports Science: “Oxygen Uptake During Mini Trampoline Exercise in Normal-Weight, Endurance-Trained Adults and in Overweight-Obese Inactive Adults”
- American Council on Exercise: “ACE-Sponsored Research: Putting Mini-trampolines to the Test”
- American Council on Exercise: “Spring Has Sprung: Why Adults Should Be Working Out on Trampolines”
- Mayo Clinic: “Children’s Health”
- YouTube: “AChamp's Bellicon Beginners Rebounding Workout”