Trampoline Fitness: Bounce Like No One’s Watching

For a while now, I’ve been longingly watching Busy Philipps’ Instagram stories featuring her ballet-inspired trampoline bounce workouts at LEKFit.*

I had wondered what it’s like and had been toying with the idea of trying Body by Simone or TrampoLean or, to hell with it, flying to California to the LEK studio (really, what other studio could do it justice?). But I was intimidated by the idea of a dance class (more on why below) atop one of the most dangerous recreational equipment pieces (from Portlandia: “Hi, Trampoline Company legal department, would you like $1 million?”).

And then along came Fithouse, with a class that perfectly fit in my ClassPass point equation this month, and that settled it. To Fithouse Union Square I went.

Bouncing on a trampoline was way more satisfying than I thought it’d be. I usually avoid dance classes because I have terrible coordination, rhythm, and memory for choreography. But the primary move of a low bounce, which the instructor demonstrated when I told her it was my first tramp class, felt like how all floors should feel. I felt almost no impact on my knees, with the exception of a few moves (mostly anything on one leg—makes sense, double the impact).

Unfortunately it was the instructor Shaina McGregor’s last week teaching here, because she was great. Her excellent tip for beginners: Get in a squat/athletic stance, and put more weight in your heels than your toes when you bounce down.

My shoes glow as Shaina explains trampoline technique. Photo by Tatiana Lampa (training_with_t).

Here’s my more superficial tip for trampoline acrobats of all levels at Fithouse: Wear neon. (Or maybe this is just generally good advice—who am I to dictate your neon limits?) You can more easily see yourself and instantly spot everything you’re doing fabulously well or terribly wrong. I accidentally wore neon orange sneakers and hot pink nail polish, so it was easy to spot how off the beat I was. Usually if I know a beat-based/cardio class has low lighting (Barry’s Bootcamp’s signature red room, spin class at Mercedes Club or Monster Cycle) I’ll dress for the occasion, but this was a happy accident. A-m-a-z-i-n-g.

neon everything

In my mind, what sets classes like this above lesser cardio classes is that we had a solid warm-up first and stretch before (and a little stretch at the end too). It seems so rare to find a good warm-up that eases you in. I guess many classes assume you are either too busy to waste time warming up when you could be burning ALL THE CALS. Or maybe it is now assumed every attendee has time to live that Instagram #wokeuplikethis fit life, starting the day with a sun salutation, a foam roll, and lemon water and targeted stretching. But warm-ups are a small pleasure for us peasants who don’t have time for this before class (usually the best I can do as a warm-up is literally running to make class in time).

The class structure consisted of alternating cardio on the trampoline and light (5-pound) weights or bodyweight exercises (arms, abs, then legs/glutes, which felt a little like overkill after working them on the tramp but so far I’m not literally or figuratively sore about it, so rock on). The cardio consisted of the previously mentioned warm-up introducing the moves, which is great for beginners, then three sets of choreography, then putting those together, and then a power set of sprints and high knees at the end. I kind of felt (as a beginner) like having a half-hour class instead of a 50-minute one could make sense because by the end I was tired and my form and coordination started to suffer. Other more advanced women (there were no men in my class, but there was a men’s locker room in the studio) in class seemed amped by the end, so maybe it’s just a beginner’s note. But the 5lb weights suggested weren’t challenging for the arm section and felt about as useful as the 2–4lb SoulCycle arm section: as in, basically a break for your legs and lungs. Fine by me!

In Summary: I could probably do that low bounce on the trampoline for an hour straight and be very happy. The feeling of a trampoline under your feet is weirdly satisfying. It reminds me of another weird workout I did at Crunch called Boing (pre-Bounce’s reign in naming conventions, perhaps) using Kangoo moon boots (think: bring the trampoline to your feet). But trampolines bring you closer to pure childhood joy than moon boots, in my experience.

Here’s one parting thought on the joy of trampolining:

Part of the attraction of bouncing around on a trampoline flinging your limbs every which way is that you really get to take up s p a c e. Many of us NYC women spend our days shrinking, making room for others. We squish into tiny subway seats, inch our elbows in at the movies, duck under umbrellas aggressively flying at us in the streets. We might fight for space at a barre—only to crouch down into tiny tucked balls most of class. So there’s an appeal to aggressively occupying space in every direction, jumping up as you do jumping jacks and twists. Go ahead, Shaina told us. Take a high bounce.

For more information on Fithouse, check out their website.

*By the way, if you haven’t checked out Busy Philipps’ memoir or TV show on E!, I recommend them—just go in with an open mind and a fun attitude. As she points out by both showing and telling many times in her book, she’s definitely not dumb… but there are more Kardashian references than some might feel comfortable admitting to following in their reading list. Maybe two or three, to be honest. But then again, I just found out the weird Crunch workout I did was a “Kardashian workout” according to the Today Show, so who am I to judge?

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