Jumping on a trampoline can be a fun, enjoyable, and attractive activity for many. This may be why trampoline parks are becoming very popular around the world, providing recreational facilities for children and adults to enjoy jumping. While there have been safety concerns related to accidents and injuries occurring at trampoline parks, there is growing evidence of the beneficial effects of trampoline-related exercises such as improving strength, aerobic fitness, and reducing body fat percentage. Most studies on trampoline exercises focused on children, individuals with disabilities, patients, or older adults. Less is known regarding the effectiveness of trampoline training on healthy, young adults. In addition, previous studies used mini-trampolines which are less bouncy and smaller in size than the trampoline beds typically seen in trampoline parks.
Seeing the gaps in previous research, Mr TAY Zhong Ming, a Sport Science and Management student at the Nanyang Technological University, decided to focus his Final Year Project on a trampoline park in Singapore. He conducted a six-week (12 sessions) intervention study on 26 young men and women under the supervision of Associate Professor KONG Pui Wah (Veni). In the study, half of the participants underwent classical resistance training in the gym using exercises such as leg press and lunges. The other half received trampoline training at a local trampoline park, learning how to jump, form shapes, twist, and perform moves such as the seat drop. All of them were complete beginners with no trampoline- or gymnastics-related background prior to the study.
Before and after the intervention, all participants were assessed on their knee muscle strength and balance ability. Interestingly, individuals receiving trampoline training improved their leg strength and dynamic balance to a similar extent as those performing classical resistance training at the gym. Throughout the study period, no injuries or accidents occurred across the 156 sessions of trampoline training (13 participants undertaking 12 sessions each). It is reassuring that for adult beginners with no related background, a trampoline training programme can be successfully implemented in a very safe manner.
Another observation is that trampoline activity was performed at a lower perceived exertion level (average 6.9 out of 10) than resistance training (average 7.3 out of 10). Being perceived as easier or less exertive, trampoline jumping may be more attractive to some individuals when it comes to promoting exercise adherence. Thus, trampoline training has good potential to promote good health in a fun and enjoyable way.
In conclusion, six weeks of trampoline training can be as effective as resistance training for improving knee muscle strength and dynamic balance in young men and women. Individuals who enjoy going to trampoline parks can consider trampoline training as another means of improving neuromuscular function. Bearing in mind that many incidents have occurred at trampoline parks, caution should be taken to ensure the safety and well-being of trampoline park users.
References1. Tay et al. Trampoline versus resistance training in young adults – Effects on knee muscles strength and balance. Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport 2019. DOI: 10.1080/02701367.2019.1616045
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