So, James, what exactly is a rebounder? A rebounder is a mini trampoline used for exercising, that is low impact if designed correctly. They can be either bungee sprung, or made with metal springs. They are used for an alternative and fun way to exercise suitable for all ages and abilities.
How does it differ from my child’s mini trampoline? There are many different “mini trampoline” devices on the market, which offer a varying degree of fitness benefits for participants, depending on the design and build quality. A child’s mini trampoline is very lightweight with small springs, and isn’t designed for an adult to use for an exercise class or home fitness programme. Professional rebounders weigh more than 10kg, and have large muscle shape springs providing a resilient bounce.
Why is it particularly good for runners? When you run, there is a lot of force being applied to the joints, especially the lower extremities. If an individual is not strong enough, they are more susceptible to suffer from foot, ankle, knees and hip joint and soft tissue injuries. As well as mimicking running patterns on the rebounder – which is running-specific and also helps to develop cardiovascular fitness – performing some balance and co-ordination exercises will build strength and help prevent injuries occurring. Good posture is vital for runners, making you more energy efficient. The better your posture is, the more economical you become as a runner. Rebounding forces your deep abdominal muscles to engage due to the unstable surface of the rebounder, thus providing the spine with much greater support – helping to keep you upright during your run and help combat gravity.
Is there anyone who should avoid it? The beauty of using a good quality, well-sprung rebounder is that it will take away around 90% of the shock of impact, as opposed to exercising on a hard surface. So it is very low impact, but still a weight bearing exercise which is important for keeping our bones strong and healthy. Most individuals can “rebound” – however, like any form of exercise, it’s always advisable to get clearance from your health practitioner or GP.
What’s the best way for runners, in particular, to use it. Are there any specific workouts? Performing a variety of exercises and movement patterns on the rebounder such as squats, hops, bends, twists and knee lifts will help create a healthy muscle and flexibility balance throughout the body.
Is it good for rehabilitation? Yes, post injury rebounding is a great to use as a transition back into running as you can mimic running-specific gait patterns on the rebounder which will maintain and build running fitness, but allow you to train pain free until you are fully recovered, as it is so low impact.
Are there classes to attend as well as DVDs? A lot of pro rebounders come with exercise DVDs that demonstrate good techniques and can also help keep you motivated if you are doing it at home. Rebound UK has created a variety of home pro rebounder packages including exercise DVDs – and also train and certify instructors to deliver “group rebound” classes in the community and in gyms. Rebounding is actually now one of the fastest growing workouts in the UK.
Would you recommend doing it on non-running days, or before/after a run? Good questions. The answer is: either, or and both. A pre-run bounce will warm your muscles, raise your body temperature and prepare you for your run. This is great for injury prevention, especially when it’s cold outside. Integrating rebound workouts on your non-running days will stimulate deep core and stabiliser muscles, challenge your balance and co-ordination while also providing a great cardio workout. A post run rebounding session can be used as a great cooldown and recovery activity.