Rebounding is proving an increasingly fun and popular way of keeping fit, boosting circulation, and getting the blood pumping without putting too much strain on the joints.
But can rebounding or trampolining be described as plyometric exercise? Rebounding can be seen as a form of plyometric exercise, although one that doesn’t necessarily put the same amount of strain on the muscles and limbs as other more traditional forms of plyometric training. This means that the risk of certain types of injury may be reduced.
However, this also means you are less likely to reap the same strengthening benefits as hard surface plyometric exercises such as burpees, squat jumps, or jump lunges.
What Are Plyometric Exercises?
Plyometric exercises refer to a variety of different motions aimed at improving athletic performance, muscle strength, agility and balance. They usually involve the sudden contraction and extension of muscles, achieved through fast, repetitive movement and quick engagement of muscle groups.
Popular examples of plyometric exercises frequently involve hopping or jumping. Jump squats, raised platform jumps, jump lunges, and burpees can all be seen as forms of plyometric exercise.
The attraction of such workouts is that they utilise the fast shifting of body weight to really work your cardio fitness and targeted muscles, resulting in a great fitness boost as well as high calorie expenditure and strengthening. Plyometric exercises are also seen as being particularly good at boosting athletic prowess, acceleration, balance, and agility.
However, the downside of such exercises is that they can tend to be hard on the joints and relatively demanding on the body as a whole. Many plyometric exercises involve joints and muscles being loaded with full bodyweight and gravitational force. They can also require a relatively high level of baseline fitness and appropriate technique in order for them to be performed properly and safely.
This means that traditional plyometric exercises can leave users vulnerable to overuse injuries, sprains, and damage caused by slips, falls, or loss of balance. For this reason, they are not necessarily a particularly accessible form of workout, particularly for many people starting out on their personal fitness journey.
Is Jumping on Trampoline Plyometric?
Trampolining can be seen as a form of plyometric exercise as it does involve repeated, sudden shifts of bodyweight. It can also incorporate sudden extensions and contractions of muscles if certain jumps, squats, and bounces are performed.
One of the advantages of plyometric exercises on a rebounder is that the pliable surface of the trampoline exerts less pressure on the limbs and can reduce the risk of certain types of injury, particularly those related to high impact landings.
It does, however, also require less energy on the part of the user than fixed floor exercises such as burpees or jump squats, where the body has to rely solely on its own energy in order to move from a horizontal to a vertical position.
Plyometrics as a way of building strength and stability for athletic sports may also be more effective on a fixed floor. Stable floor exercises more accurately mimic the surface and movement involved in athletic sports.
They may therefore be more effective at training the body and developing muscle memory to cope with the strains of quick movement and shifts of balance needed in, for example, football, rugby, or tennis.
What Type of Training is Rebounding?
Although rebounders can be used to facilitate a variety of exercises, including static stretches, they are predominantly designed to provide aerobic workouts. These workouts can help shed weight, burn calories, and boost cardio fitness.
They also have the added benefit of strengthening and toning muscles, particularly those of the lower body. Rebounding is less effective, however, at building muscle, something that usually requires resistance or weights-based training.
Rebounding is also believed to hold various benefits for the lymphatic and other circulatory systems of the body, helping to encourage the healthy flow of blood, lymph, and oxygen.
Plyometric Rebounding Exercises
There are various ways in which you can utilise a rebounder to perform plyometric exercises. The rebounder will need to be sturdy, high tension, and able to withstand the impact required, so try to make sure you are using a model that has been designed to cope with a variety of gym-based uses, rather than just simple bouncing.
It is also worth noting that only those with relatively good baseline fitness and who are confident when it comes to balancing should attempt these exercises. Users with pre-existing injuries, mobility issues, or who feel unstable, should focus on using the rebounder in a way that feels safe and comfortable before moving on to more advanced techniques.
Static jumps – You can use the rebounder as a platform on which to bounce on and off. Starting on a fixed floor, bend your knees and jump up onto the rebounder. You can then bounce straight from the rebounding surface back onto solid ground, or bounce on the rebounder itself a few times before dismounting.
If you wish to turn this into an exercise that forces your muscles to contract and extend more fully, try incorporating a squat when landing back on solid ground.
Clap push ups – This is a more demanding exercise and one which can be great for building upper body and core strength. Use the rebounding surface of the trampoline to push off from a push up position, clapping the hands together once in between each rep.
It may help to angle your rebounder ever so slightly, but make sure if you do that you secure the trampoline properly.
Medicine ball exercises – Rebounders can also be used as a surface on which to bounce other objects, not just the human body! Position your rebounder at a properly secured, 45 degree angle. You can then use the surface to ‘rebound’ a medicine ball, eventually graduating to overhead throws and catches.
This is a demanding plyometric exercise for the upper body which also tests and trains the body’s reflexes and coordination.
Although rebounders can reduce the amount of strain placed on the limbs, plyometric exercises in general can require a good deal of baseline balance and proper technique. They can also result in overuse injury or sudden sprains caused by slips, trips, and falls.
Plyometrics are best performed under the guidance of professional gym staff, qualified personal trainers, or physiotherapists. When in doubt, always consult your physician before embarking on a new exercise routine, and listen to your body if unfamiliar pain results from any workout.
An ex-triathlete, fitness coach and writer with a Masters in Sports Physiology. Fitness is my passion and I've had my fair share of home fitness equipment tried and tested!