We can rarely get enough of trampoline exercises thanks to the untamed fun that comes with rebounding on the trampolines. Trampoline exercises are one of the most fun and convenient ways to relieve stress and tension. The benefits of exercising on a rebounder (see our review of the Maximus PRO Rebounder) are not limited to the improvement of endurance, boosting one’s cardiovascular health, and improvement of coordination, balance, and motor skills. However, while there are many benefits associated with trampoline exercises, there is still concern about their impact on our back. This article will bring to light the mixed bag of impacts that trampoline exercises might bring, especially for your back.
How Do Trampolines Impact Our Back?
Jumping on a trampoline for exercise or recreation impacts numerous areas of our body. Depending on how you jump, those impacts could be a good thing or a bad thing. If you use mini-trampolines (rebounders) for exercise, it is important to ensure that you are practicing the proper form to get the most out of your workout. Another aspect to keep in mind is the type of exercise trampoline you are using. Bungee rebounders (see the best bungee cord rebounders) commonly have a bounce that is more forgiving and easier on the joints and ligaments than what is normally found on spring rebounders.
Furthermore, jumping, even recreationally, offers a solid workout that greatly impacts the leg, core, and back muscles while also allowing for vigorous exercises involving the arms, glutes, and neck.
According to research, trampoline exercises are a good way to improve or maintain bone health (see Health Benefits of Trampolines). This might include improved bone density and enhanced bone strength. However, incorrectly performing trampoline exercises could have a negative impact on our bones, especially when it comes to the back and spine. Before looking at how trampoline exercises might be bad for your back, let’s have a look at your back’s anatomy.
Your Back/Spine as a Shock Absorber
Your spine is made of up vertebrae held together by muscles and ligaments. With spinal disks between each vertebra, there is just enough cushioning for the vertebrae to perform normal tasks. Notably, the vertebrae’s main job is support for our body, enabling one to twist, move, and bend. The jarring effect of jumping on a trampoline is mitigated greatly by a trampoline’s inherent design. The spring and mat mechanics does a good job in absorbing the force of jumping and twisting, thus reducing the impacts on your back. However, when performed incorrectly, the impact on the vertebrae might increase, resulting in mild to severe back issues.
How Can Trampolines Hurt Your Back?
As mentioned earlier, injuries from using a trampoline are most commonly attributed to poor form and improper use. It is imperative to practice safety at all times and ensure your jumps and workout are following safety protocols. The following are the impacts improper use of a trampoline can have on your back.
Damage to the Vertebrae
Poor form during jumps might have you land in the wrong positions, which is a factor that can lead to vertebrae-related injuries. However, this is most common in those that have existing vertebrae problems before ever setting foot on a trampoline. This is especially true on recreational trampolines, as the jumps are often much higher than what one would experience on a fitness trampoline. Landing awkwardly can cause massive strain on your vertebrae, which could lead to dislocating vertebrae and causing serious injury.
People suffering from pinched nerves are recommended not to jump on trampolines by any means. Notably, there is a need to take days of rest to allow your body to recover from the pinched nerve. In some instances, surgery might be the only option to fix this problem. Other nerve problems include sciatic nerve damage. For people suffering from sciatic nerve damage, it is recommended to avoid any exercises on trampolines. Twisting and turning can easily make it worse; the optimal exercise for people suffering from sciatic nerve damage is walking.
So, What Can be Done?
While we wish not to miss the trampoline exercises, there are a few things to reduce the prevalence of back injuries. This includes some back strengthening exercises and avoiding anything that could put your back health in jeopardy.
Ways to Strengthen Your Back Muscles
Like any other game, you might need to keep fit before jumping on that trampoline. The following exercises might come in handy while trying to condition and strengthen your back muscles for a thrilling trampolining experience.
Cycling is one of the best cardiovascular exercises that can help in strengthening the back. However, there is a need to maintain a static posture while biking to avoid any injuries on your back. Note that people with degenerative disc disease are advised against biking outdoors, to avoid shock on their vertebral disks. For such people, indoor cycling on gym biking equipment is recommended.
Swimming is an excellent low-impact exercise that offers a variety of benefits for almost anyone. Water buoyancy supports you while swimming and alleviates the pressure on your joints while trying to warm up your body. However, for better back muscle benefits, you might need to consider some swimming styles such as the backstroke.
We all know yoga for its help with our mental health. However, there is more to yoga including strengthening of our back muscles. Yoga poses can aid in reducing pressure on the spine while allowing for more flexible backbones and muscles.
Other exercises for stronger back muscles include but are not limited to walking, standard planks, and pelvic floor lifts, commonly known as kegel exercises.
Expert’s Tips on Reducing Trampoline-Related Injuries
The following are some tips that you might need to implement for successful trampolining on a large backyard trampoline to reduce the chance of injury.
For recreational trampolines, safety nets are pretty much a requirement (see our ORCC 15 ft Trampoline and Enclosure Review). A misguided jump can easily send jumpers off the trampoline to the hard ground from, sometimes, dizzying heights. If you have a large backyard trampoline, ensure you have a safety net installed to improve trampoline safety and reduce the possibility of injury.
One Trampoline – One Person Jumping
With more than one person on the trampoline, there is less room to properly navigate the jumps. It is advisable to ensure only one person is jumping at a time on the trampoline to further reduce injury risk.
Jumping on a large trampoline often lends itself to trying some tricks that are above our skill levels. If you are unsure if you can properly perform a backflip, front-flip, or other daring maneuvers, it may be best to leave it alone until you have more practice.
Bend the Knees
This is simple science. Landing on straight knees causes a jarring effect throughout your body. Slightly bending your knees when you land can greatly mitigate the impact of your landings and better protect your back.
While trampolining is fun for recreation and excellent exercise with loads of benefits, there are risks that come with jumping on these devices. However, there is a need to understand that the injuries are most commonly determined by how one jumps, the length of the exercises, and one’s own spinal condition. As long as the proper safety protocols are observed and you don’t try to do more than your body can handle, jumping on a trampoline can be an enjoyable and rewarding experience.