Trampolines might remind you of garden parties, being a kid, or watching movies about kids at garden parties who always seemed to have huge trampolines—but you certainly don't associate it with hardcore exercise. It's a bit of bouncing, mate. Do a somersault, but don't think it'll actually tone your ass or anything.
Cut to a mirrored studio in Harrow, where an assortment of colored trainers owned by an assortment of 20 women of varying ages and fitness levels pound their trampolines along to thudding music. Water bottles on the floor, towels slung over support bars, sweat pouring from my forehead.
"Double time!" shouts Monika, co-owner of JumpingWithUs, the high intensity exercise routine that's currently making me sweat more than any run I've ever been on. And I once went on a big one.
"WHAT?!" I yell, trying to double-bounce with alternating feet and failing hopelessly until the elastic ground beneath my feet starts to hit a rhythm, my center of gravity (and every muscle I own) tightening. Just as I feel like I've nailed it, Monika signals to me to put my arms on the support bar at the front of the trampoline for balance as it becomes obvious that the beat is about to drop. Oh good lord, what happens when the beat drops? Do we all sit down and have a sandwich?
"Now, three... two... one... GO!" Monika, and the other 18 women in the class—all regulars—lean forwards and attack the trampolines with a speed and velocity I haven't seen since a girl called Kirsty tried to bounce me off the one at the Davenham Primary School church fete.
"AARGH!" yells the girl next to me as we jump furiously in time to the—dare I say it—sick beats. "Furiously" is actually the wrong word because, while she's yelling "AARGH" and I'm yelling "WHAT?" we are both beaming from ear to ear. Everyone is.
This is the effect JumpingWithUs has, and it's pretty addictive. A specialized workout that developed in the Czech Republic, Jumping® (with a capital "J") has now spread to 21 countries around the world. The trampolines aren't just hexagonal because it looks pretty; the workout is designed for specific Czech-made Jumping® PROFI trampolines to work your desk-based body out as effectively as possible.
On top of this, trampolining is way safer for your joints than jumping around on the floor. A 50 minute session burns around 1,000 to 1,500 calories, which goes some way to describe why I keep yelling "WHAT?" throughout.
Crucially, if you're bouncing like a happy child, then you're doing it wrong. "Keep your shoulders as low and still as possible," Monika explains to me. I stop bouncing like a happy child. "It's all about your lower body, not your upper body."
And you can feel it too; the less movement from your shoulders, the deeper the burn through your thighs and core. But don't worry, your upper body gets a workout too—a lot of the muscles in your body are engaged during a session, due to the frequent changes in gravitational forces, and the near-constant attempts to keep yourself balanced.
It explains why my fringe is stuck to my face and everything is drenched in sweat.
"I want that side of the room to do the 'HEY YO's and this side to clap," Monika yells, to a tidal wave of whooping and perspiration. I've mentioned how surprisingly hard it is, but I haven't gone into how surprisingly fun it is too.
There something about yelling "HEY YO" while bouncing—the moves constantly being switched up to stop you hitting that monotonous state anyone who has regularly gone on gym machines will recognize—that gives you the ability to keep going, and going, and going. You feel exhausted when each song finishes (don't ask me how long the songs are, I was too busy trampolining), but, within minutes, ready to start again.
After one particularly gruelling track known as "Vodka" (the girl next to me says, "Oh god you don't know what you're in for!" while grinning), which centers around incredibly fast bouncing for long periods of time, followed by shorter periods of rest, I thought I was going to drop to the floor. But within minutes I'm up bouncing along to another track, checking my posture in the mirror and feeling nothing short of euphoric. It helps that throughout "Vodka" the class whoop, cheer, and egg each other on—it doesn't feel like an endurance test, it feels exhilarating.
Because that's what exercise should be—fun, exhilarating and full of banging tunes. When the 50 minute mark is up, the time has flown by. I feel like I've really worked out, and I've got smile lines from all the giggling.
Monika and her crew of Jumping® instructors teach all over west London, but the classes are starting to creep more and more central as the speed at which classes become fully booked increases. Just trying to get on a class to write about it was tricky. Currently in Finchley, Acton, Ealing, Harrow, and Whetstone, they're looking for new venues all the time. It's growing at a similar rate to Zumba and Insanity—first it'll be a cult, next a nationwide obsession. And it's not hard to see why.
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This article was presented by Danone and was created independently from Broadly's editorial staff.