Get your bounce on at trampoline fitness classes in Norfolk and Suffolk
- Credit: Archant
Want to reach new fitness heights? Try out a trampoline fitness class.
While not everyone's cup of tea, I love group workouts. Classes provide both camaraderie and competition – one minute you're exchanging 'are they serious' faces when the instructor tells you to do yet another set of burpees, the next you're having a secret race to complete the circuit first.
Apart from running, which I like to do in solitude, a group class is much more likely to get me off the sofa than simply going to the gym. And luckily there's plenty of choice, from spinning and body pump to kettle bells and aqua aerobics.
One of the more unusual options is a trampoline fitness class. I used to a bit of trampolining as a child – admittedly, I had a stint at pretty much every activity going – and as a parent I've enjoyed taking my son to trampoline parks. The problem is that you're constantly surrounded by little ones, meaning you can't really let yourself go and have a good old bounce.
I was hoping that a fitness class at Gravity trampoline park in Norwich would be the solution.
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There are variations on trampoline-based fitness classes, but this particular one was a high intensity interval training (HIIT) format, designed to burn calories, improve cardiac and oxygen capacities and build overall strength and muscle tone.
As a first-timer, I was advised to arrive a good 20 minutes early, as anyone using the trampolines has to fill in a safety agreement and a Physical Activity Readiness Questionnaire, both of which last for 12 months. You also have to watch a safety video before the class regardless of whether you come every week or it's your first time. It doesn't take long and goes over the basics of how to bounce and travel across the court safely.
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Then it's time to hit the trampolines!
Probably the best thing about the class – other than the fact that you're on a trampoline, obviously – is that it's done in the 'After Dark' set-up, so the main lights are off, disco lights are swirling and the music is pumping.
Straight away my prayers were answered, as the warm-up involved lots of bouncing as high as you can, incorporating moves such as tucks and star jumps, bouncing from the front to the back of the trampoline, and even a few seat drops.
All was going well… until burpees, jumping squats, press-ups and planks were introduced. Hard enough on solid ground, the movement of the trampoline made these exercises even more so, but this is what sets it apart from other classes.
It's all very nice jumping up and down, and there's no doubt that this is a great way to get your heart pumping and burn calories, however, it's the control needed to keep your body still while on an uneven surface where the real benefits are to be had. The extra tension is great for strengthening your core and deep stabilising muscles.
Other benefits include improved balance, muscle tone and lymphatic function. I had to look the last one up and, basically, the lymphatic system helps rid the body of toxins, waste and other unwanted materials, and the primary function is to transport lymph, a fluid containing infection-fighting white blood cells, throughout the body. Unlike the circulatory system which has a heart to pump the blood around, the lymphatic system replies on body movements, and the fluctuation of gravity on the body when you bounce is a great way to improve the flow - who knew!
As far as fitness classes go, it's up there with the best I've done, both in terms of being a good workout (take a towel, you'll need it!) and enjoyment. There were 25 people in the class, although they often get up to 45, and the atmosphere was great. I think it's impossible not to smile when you're bouncing up and down on a trampoline, even when pushed to your fitness limits.
Where to bounce
Anglia Retail Park, Bury Road, Ipswich
? Reboot – classes run throughout the week and at different times during term-time and holidays – see website for details
This cardio and resistance workout is structured similarly to a boot camp and runs through a variety of exercise forms, both on and off the trampolines.
Riverside Entertainment Centre, Wherry Road, Norwich
? HIIT class - Mondays and Wednesdays, 7pm
Workouts are designed to help you burn calories, improve your cardiac and oxygen capacities and to build your overall strength and muscle tone. The workouts are unique, interesting and tough, leaving you feeling energised and invigorated.
Whiffler Road, Norwich
? Bounce and tone – Mondays, 10am-10.45am, and Tuesdays, 9.30am-10.15am
A no-pressure HIIT fitness class held on the trampoline court for busy ladies, particularly mums, who are looking to shift the baby weight (creche available).
? UpBeat! – Mondays, 6-7pm
Latin-inspired dance aerobic workout with the added twist of being on trampolines. Incorporating music from all around the world, the choreographed, calorie burning routines are delivered in a fun, party style atmosphere.
Mason Road, Cowdray Centre, Colchester
? Jump'N Tone – Wednesdays, 8-8.45pm
These sessions offer a full body workout, using your own bodyweight and supplied equipment. You'll also run through some energetic trampoline moves to burn off those stubborn areas.
Main Cross Road, Great Yarmouth
? Boogie Bounce – Thursdays, 6pm
Using a mini trampoline, the aim isn't to bounce high or perform gymnastic tricks, but to perform a series of small, controlled movements, incorporating dancing with intervals of jumping, bouncing, frogging and stomping to music.