Far From Childs Play, Urban Rebounding On Trampolines Will Jump-Start Your Workout


More boot camp than backyard moonbounce, the trampoline aerobics class gave Juliet a killer workout. (Alex Palomino/The Observer)

Published: December 10, 2009

We all remember our days as wild children, propelling ourselves through the air from trampolines. With the sugar from post-lunch fruit snacks coursing through our veins, the stretchy black surface was the springboard to temporary air time that even Tony Hawk would envy.

In search of a new sport, I discovered Urban Rebounding, an aerobics class during which everyone is equipped with their own personal trampoline. When I heard that trampolines were involved, I thought of sugar-high, kindergarten free-form bouncing set to music. I soon learned that bouncing becomes an aggressive sport when done military-style.

The class began with a few preliminary bounces, but these bounces were not your average up-and-down movements. There was a specific form the instructor wanted us to use while bouncing. We had to “engage our quads” and “bend our knees.” At first, I was put off by how much it cramped my style. If there’s a trampoline, I’m going back to my roots and doing it kindergarten-style: fun, free and unstructured.

Then I remembered why I was at the class. I wanted to get toned. I wanted to be able to walk up the stairs without running out of breath at the top. It was time for a shift, and I decided to make it after the third set of quadriceps-crunching bounces.

Then the class became a party of ferocious festivities. “Bounce left!” the instructor called out. We all rose up and turned towards the mirrors in tandem like moshing concert-goers. Then we turned to the back of the room, then to the left and to the front. We bounced side to side. We busted out dozens of jumping jacks.

Because there was a structure and a purpose to the bouncing, our class became determined. With this determination came ferocity, a yellowjacket-like anger and razor-sharp vigor to the jumps, squats and jogs. I should have known when I saw the name Urban Rebounding that this class might be rough around the edges.

As if the class hadn’t been enough like boot camp, we got down on the ground and did pushups off the edges of the trampolines. We grabbed the outer rims and pushed our (now flimsy and tired) bodies up and controlled them down. More furrowed brows and clenched teeth appeared on faces around the room as we struggled through this traditional exercise. This was a class of committed Urban Rebounders, and the fierceness was contagious.

The instructor even incorporated some yoga, which was a welcome familiarity and comfort. We had to balance on our sit bones while lowering our legs and arms at the same time. This was an intense abdominal workout and took more effort than usual after the crazy, angry bouncing. Then we did a few cool-down stretches to complete the class.

Though the class was more extreme than I expected, it was also a break for my joints. Because bouncing on the stretchy trampoline surface is low-impact, my hip, which felt out of place and sore when I entered the 59th Street Crunch gym, was free of pain and moved easily as I lunged up the stairs on my way out. This was definitely worth the initial style-cramping. I’d give up a few moments of flying glory for alleviated joint pain anytime.

Going to an Urban Rebounding class was a great cardio workout and a great learning experience. Among the many things I learned: I found that adults can bounce on trampolines and still make it look hardcore. Also, bouncing on a low-impact surface leads to happier joints. Most importantly, the ferocity of your fellow gym-rats can be energy to feed off of and amplify your workout. This workout got me to see that using trampolines as means to a slim, fit body makes for a more ferocious workout than your elementary school moonbounce, which was helpful for me in working toward my own fitness goals.