In 2016 I wrote my experience with a bellicon rebounder. To this day, I’m still getting questions about rebounding. To answer one of the questions: yes, I still rebound. And yes, I still love it and stand behind bellicon. But there is one thing I would like to explain a bit better: the fitness aspect of rebounding. Rebounding for fitness is nowadays much more popular than a few years ago and for a good reason.
I’m not paid by bellicon to write this article. The below is my own experience with bellicon. The first article was published in 2016 and in 2021 I received (and use) an European affiliate link for bellicon products mentioned.
I started rebounding for the many claimed health benefits and started with the health bounce. A health bounce is when you push your feet into the mat without leaving the mat. The gentle bouncing allows the lymphatic system to strengthen the immune system and remove cellular waste. I start with this for a few minutes, but I’m not good at it and soon proceed to jump.
Rebounding is not only a fun exercise, but it is so different from anything else I have ever tried (long term). Moving vertically instead of horizontally and going against gravity creates an acceleration-deceleration sensation that moves and shakes every cell, from head to toe.
For all the health benefits (with just a simple health bounce), I would advise you to read my initial post about bellicon here.
REBOUNDING FOR FITNESS
In the mid-seventies, the mini-trampoline was a popular indoor jogging device. And in the late seventies’ rebounders became a real fitness hype.
What I love about rebounding for fitness is that it works on so many levels for me. So not only do I find it a lot of fun and a perfect way to de-stress, but it also provides the cells in my body with more oxygen and more blood get pumped through overall.
HOW TO GET FIT ON A REBOUNDER?
Push into the mat
I get often asked if any other (cheaper) rebounder will do. Unfortunately, not. I can only recommend a high-quality rebounder (such as bellicon) for a few good reasons.
In terms of quality, a bellicon rebounder doesn’t come even close to a cheaper version. And a bellicon is not the same rebounder as the trampoline for children even though it may be large and may have been pricey. The difference is in the mat and resistance (bungees).
The mat needs to be strong and push you back up instead of letting you sink (too much) into the mat (I hope this makes sense). When you’re rebounding for fitness, it is important to push down instead of focusing on a high (maybe impressive) looking jump.
If you don’t have a tight mat, you also risk an injury. It’s a red flag when you even come close to the floor when jumping on a rebounder. Not only because it can injure you badly, but also because it means your mat is not tight enough and /or you are jumping too high in the air instead of pushing into the mat.
What I find amazing about bellicon is that it’s very easy to change the bungees and make the mat even tighter. The mat is high quality, but the bungees will give you either that gentle health bounce or a tight mat to make your workout more intense.
If you want to start gently and then work your way up, feel free to email me. I know a lot about bungees and which one would fit you (and your family) best.
Acceleration, deceleration, and gravity
Every person is in a constant gravitational pull. From birth, we are getting stronger by fighting gravity (lifting the head, then sitting, crawling, walking). To develop strength, we must oppose gravity. So, when working out on a rebounder you are constantly building resistance with gravity.
Also, the resistance of the mat as you push into the mat (deceleration) and then go up again (acceleration) makes this not only a fun workout but also an effective workout as it strengthens the body.
I have noticed that doing exercises on a rebounder is more challenging than doing the same on the floor. It’s the acceleration and deceleration which causes all movements to be harder, even if I just do the health bounce.
So, for example, when I do a simple health bounce (jumping while your feet are not leaving the mat), and stretch my arms to the side and gently push them up and down, I can tell this is harder than when I perform the same arm exercise on the floor.
Once I got more comfortable, I added even more resistance to my rebounder in the form of ankle or wrists weights and a resistance band. I would not use more than 2 kg on a rebounder and be VERY careful when using a resistance band. I only use it around my upper legs when I squat and gently push my weight into the mat.
A lot of the time, I dance on my rebounder, and music is therefore crucial. If you find yourself bored on a rebounder, look into some good music. It is a game-changer.
WHICH EXERCISES CAN I DO ON A REBOUNDER?
If you are starting, be a bit careful until you get used to the experience. After a week, try to incorporate gentle moves such as:
- light jogging
- jumping jacks
- heel lifts (alternate lifting your heels off the mat while doing a gentle bounce)
- squats (sit up and down and push into the mat, feet don’t leave the mat)
If you feel stable enough doing this, work your way up to more challenging moves such as:
- twists (with arms sideways and up gently bounce and twist by rotating your feet from left to right)
After a few weeks, you can add a few higher jumps in between, or lift a leg and pulse with the other leg in the mat. You can also consider adding weights, either by holding a weight or using a wrist weight.
Your mat (bungees) must be tight enough so you don’t come close to the floor. Also, make sure you are jumping with aligned and straight ankles for long-term joint health.
Also, bellicon offers online workouts in case you need a bit more help on this. And don’t forget to dance in between, that makes this a fun exercise!
DO I NEED A STABILITY BAR?
One of the reasons I am writing a follow-up article is the stability bar. Rebounding with a stability bar is not just for the injured, elderly or for the ones feeling unstable.
So, do you need a stability bar? Yes and no.
If you are looking at traditional high-energy rebounding classes, you will not find rebounders with a bar. Those classes are at a high tempo with some good up-tempo music (+132 BPM). These classes are fast and cardio-focused, and they don’t focus that much on pushing into the mat as hard as possible. These are personally my favorite workouts.
For those types of workouts, a stability bar would only be in the way and restrict the movements.
If you want to create more strength, then a stability bar can be helpful. It can help you push harder into the mat, it can help with sitting exercises, and you can do pull-ups with a bar while sitting.
One thing you should keep in mind with a stability bar is your posture and core activity. When holding the bar, it sometimes can feel as if things become too easy. And it can also make it harder to keep a good posture. It’s pretty easy to solve this. I don’t hold on to the bar when I don’t need to. Instead, I rest a few fingers on the bar for minimal support and let my body do the rest.
I’m also trying to avoid that my neck/ head move into a forward position. It’s also worth mentioning that when using a stability bar, the lymphatic flow will be less as the upper body is moving less.
The adjustable stability bar can help with balance, and it can add more workout possibilities to your bellicon. It also allows you to jump deeper into the mat. But it also has a few limitations.
The good thing about bellicon is that it’s super easy to attach and remove the stability bar. I use my bellicon without the bar and then add it for a few specific exercises. It takes me literally 10 seconds to add or remove the bar.
HOW DOES IT FEEL TO WORKOUT ON A REBOUNDER?
NASA carried out the first research using a mini trampoline to conclude that rebounding is a more effective and efficient form of exercise than jogging. But how does it feel? Again, I’m discussing jumping on a good quality rebounder, not a low-quality rebounder or a trampoline for children.
I always explain that jumping on a bellicon rebounder feels different depending on your goals and your bungees.
With a soft mat for a health bounce, it feels incredibly smooth. The health bounce feels relaxing and is pure joy. I sometimes feel a tingling sensation in my armpits when I lift my arms doing that. My wrists relax from work behind the computer all by gently bouncing up and down. I roll my shoulders to release any tension and it feels very relaxing and good!
With a tighter mat for fitness purposes, I typically listen to upbeat music and love the energy and low-impact training. I can get my heart rate up, and I include a few small weights to substantially increase the exercise intensity.
Using the comfort mat, I can do exercises sitting down (so hard!). And I use the stability bar to target my legs (it helps me push down into the mat).
The important thing to remember is that a training on a rebounder is a low impact training, but weights will feel heavier when you hold them while jumping. So don’t use heavy weights.
The best thing about working out on a bellicon is the day after a workout. Since it’s so low impact, the effects on the joints and muscles are noticeable. The next day, I can feel I did a workout but the muscle pain is different than after any other workout. It’s generally mild and I don’t experience any other aches.
When you decide to buy a rebounder, remember that safety comes first. A rebounder accident is generally not a pleasant one. To avoid that, only train on a high-quality rebounder and start slowly in the first weeks.
I never had an accident, but I did use bungees too weak for my workout for a while which is just as dangerous.
Besides using a good rebounder with good bungees, music might be just as crucial to you as it is to me. I can’t jump without music. And it doesn’t always have to be high BPM music. Try classical music once, for example.
For sitting exercises I recommend getting the comfort mat. And if you are even a little bit worried about space, I can highly recommend getting the foldable legs.
You have to try it for yourself! And again, just like I said in my first article: feel free to email me about the choice of your bungees. I love talking bungees and would be happy to help you out. If you want to make sure I see your messages, email me instead of sending me a DM on Instagram.
- Body acceleration distribution and O2 uptake in humans during running and jumping
- Exercise intensity increased by addition of handheld weights to rebounding exercise
- Distinct features of trampoline-related orthopedic injuries in children aged under 6 years
Always consult your doctor when starting a new exercise routine.
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