Even the most dedicated fitness enthusiast falls into a rut. When that happens, it's time to step out of the box and onto a different type of training device. The mini trampoline, or rebounder, adds some bounce to your workout, making it seem less like routine and more like the recess periods of your childhood.
We have the space program to thank for the landmark studies about the benefits of rebounder exercise. In 1980, "Journal of Applied Physiology" published a study whose results indicate that rebounding exercise minimizes joint stress while increasing oxygen consumption. If your joints have taken a beating from high-impact workouts, rebounding offers a low-impact -- albeit high intensity -- alternative. Creative types in the fitness industry have developed dance-based, sport-specific, kickbox inspired and muscle-toning rebounding workouts. These cross-training routines prevent the dreaded workout burnout.
Basic Aerobic Rebounding
Almost every move you make in a high-impact aerobic class can be done on a rebounder. The method, however, is somewhat different. In rebounding, the emphasis is on the downward, as opposed to the upward, movement. As you jump, pretend that you have a low tunnel above your head. This will force you to bend your knees and engage your butt and hamstring muscles. Begin with small bounces in place, and gradually progress to jumping jacks, knee lifts, kicks and jogs. Vary your arm movements to keep it interesting.
Aerobic Core Training
In an article featured in the National Strength and Conditioning Association's “Performance Training Journal,” certified trainer Kyle Brown explains that when you bounce on a rebounder, your abdominal and deeper core muscles help you keep your balance and maintain postural control. Certain moves engage your core muscles more than others. Brown suggests moving to the center of the rebounder and sprinting for 30 seconds, lifting your knees as high as possible while maintaining an upright spinal position. Two rebounding moves fire up your obliques. To perform the mogul skier, keep your feet close together and jump from side to side. The twist, a throwback to the 1960s, involves stabilizing your upper body as you perform a hip twisting movement.
The rebounder can be used for a variety of strength training workouts of different intensities. To integrate strength with balance, use it instead of a bench for lunge routines. Place one foot on the rebounder skirt and the other on the floor. Bend both knees and lift your rear heel from the floor. Your core muscles will work overtime to help you keep your balance. Some companies sell small sandbag weights, which add light, upper body resistance to the aerobic segment of the workout. Others sell elastic resistance bands designed to attach to the rebounder. A circuit training workout, which intersperses aerobic rebounding and toning intervals, provides an excellent vehicle for building your aerobic endurance while toning your body.
In 1999, Lisa Mercer’s fitness, travel and skiing expertise inspired a writing career. Her books include "Open Your Heart with Winter Fitness" and "101 Women's Fitness Tips." Her articles have appeared in "Aspen Magazine," "HerSports," "32 Degrees," "Pregnancy Magazine" and "Wired." Mercer has a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from the City College of New York.