Trampolines are a great way for a family to bond and enjoy hours of wholesome outdoor entertainment. For many people, trampolines are a fun way for people of all ages—kids, teens, adults, even your gran if her knee isn’t too bad—to pass the time, get some sun and their heart pumping, and release pent up energy. But a trampoline is not just a toy, it is a serious piece of equipment that demands respect. Many competitive sports utilise trampolines as an important part of the routine, and fitness gyms have used trampolines for exercise and physical conditioning.
If you are looking for a trampoline, it is extremely important that you acquaint yourself with the different kinds of trampolines available, their accessories, safety precautions and maintenance guidelines, and tips and pointers on how to choose one. Whether you are looking for a one-person trampoline to introduce into your fitness regimen, or a sprawling outdoor trampoline for your children, knowing what’s out there and what it means can help you choose the right trampoline for you.
The trampoline we know and love was first invented in 1936 by Larry Griswold and George Nissen. Griswold and Nissen were two American gymnasts at the University of Iowa. The duo had seen trapeze artists use a tight net to supplement the entertainment value of their performances. Nissen explained that the name “trampoline” was derived from the Spanish “trampolin,” which meant springboard or diving board.
Trampolines were originally intended for use in a sport called rebound tumbling, but at the advent of the Second World War, the United States Navy used trampolines for aviation and navigation training. During the Space Race, both the Americans and the Soviets used trampolines for training astronauts and cosmonauts in body orientation in outer space as well as to simulate weightless conditions.
Acrobatics and the circus industry have also used trampolines as a featured part of their acts. Trampolining reached its apex when trampoline gymnastics was introduced as an official sport in the 2000 Summer Olympics in Athens.
When people hear the word trampoline, more likely than not they will imagine the traditional round trampoline with its metallic frame, the legs holding up the mat and frame, and a swathe of fabric where the people jump. Springs encircle the perimeter of the trampoline, keeping the jumping mat attached to the metal frame. It is a common assumption that the jumping mat provides the rebounding the effect, when actually the mat fabric is rigid. The springs produce the trampoline’s signature bounce.
Apart from the classic round trampoline, several other kinds of trampolines are also available on the market. Here are some of the most popular.
The most popular trampolines are the classic round trampolines which have changed little since its early days, but trampolines are also available in a rectangular shape. Round trampolines are more popular for domestic use, while rectangular trampolines are more often used in fitness gyms and for sport and competition use. Most round trampolines range from 8 to 15 feet in diameter.
Also known as rebounders, mini trampolines are used for exercise purposes. Mini trampolines typically measure 3 feet in diameter and stand only 1 foot high. Rebounders are used for trampolining, a form of exercise rapidly gaining in popularity. Trampolining is said to provide all the benefits of jogging and running without the stress inflicted on the joints.
Water trampolines are similar in design to traditional trampolines, except the trampoline’s steel frame is enveloped in an inflatable covering that floats on water. Water trampolines have to be weighed down with an anchor or moored to a post for it to remain in place. This is another variation on the trampoline that also provides wholesome outdoor fun. Some water trampolines even provide provisions for slides from which people can jump into the water.
Kids trampoline, also known as bounce houses, often look like fanciful buildings like space ships and castles. They are often featured at birthday parties and fairs, and some schools and daycare centers even use them as a permanent fixture for their playground. They are often colorful, and are built with extra cushioning and safety features.