Though you may have been an expert bouncer back in elementary school, in order to reap the cardiovascular and strength-training benefits that these types of workouts have to offer, you’ll want to make sure you’re engaging in proper form. “Using a trampoline as a piece of fitness equipment can be a little intimidating, especially when you think you want to jump up on it the same way you did in the backyard of your neighbor’s house,” says Colette Dong, co-founder of The Ness, a boutique fitness studio in New York City. She notes that she sees a number of common mistakes in her trampoline classes, all of which are easy to fix with a few simple tweaks. Keep reading to find out what they are, and press play on the video above for the full scoop on how to jump the right way.
1. Jumping up instead of down
While catapulting your body into the air can be a whole lot of fun, it’s not exactly the best way to work your muscles. “You don’t want to jump up on it—you actually want to jump down and stay really low,” says Dong. “That’s where we’re going to get all of our effort and activation.” This type of bouncing forces you to engage your core, glutes, and lower body, allowing you to strengthen all three areas at the same time.
2. Bouncing on your toes
When it comes to proper jumping form, your power should come through your heels. “We don’t want to bounce too far in the toes, because it’s going to pitch our weight forward and cause even more instability on the already unstable trampoline,” says Dong. Instead, she recommends pressing down on the trampoline to find a squat, engage your hamstrings and glutes, and then press through your heels. “This is going to keep you more grounded and more stable,” she says.
3. Tightening your hip flexors
Bouncing is supposed to be fun, so you want to keep it loose—especially in the more challenging moves. “Another mistake I notice is a lot of tension and gripping in the hip flexors as you move into moves like runs, single knees, and kicks,” says Dong. “The right way to do it is to keep your pelvis nice and neutral, pull up through your low abs, keep your legs a little bit lower, and continually think about the scoop in your low belly.” This will help keep your upper body relaxed and allow you to activate your lower body by engaging your core.
4. Leaning too far forward
You know how pros are always telling you to engage your core at your desk for the sake of better posture? Well, the same principle applies when you’re on the trampoline. “Another wrong thing I see is people pitching a little too far forward in the torso,” says Dong. “You want to be in a squat position, but you don’t want to be too far forward with a flat back.” To prevent this, scoop through your low abs and focus on pulling your knees to your chest instead of bringing your chest to your knees. “That’s going to save you a lot of back pain in the future,” says Dong. Happy bouncing!
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