The word "trampoline" will never be the same for me. One day, it evoked blissful childhood flashbacks of 10-foot-high back flips and twisting pike-position seat drops. The next day, it evoked thoughts of my aching butt, hamstrings and abs — and an addictive low-impact/high-intensity one-hour group-exercise workout called Jumping fitness.
Its first of three U.S. gyms — a bare-bones storefront in Redondo Beach with 16 trampolines, each about 31/3 feet across — is not impressive. That is, until the music cranks up and the bodies start bouncing. Or rather, start trying to control their bouncing.
That's because the real work of Jumping fitness comes not just from bouncing and lifting your legs and knees high, which blasts the butt and hamstrings, but keeping your torso and head low, which rips the abs. "That forces you to use the deep muscles of your core to absorb the shock and stay stable," says Jakub Novotny, 26, a trained dancer and lead Jumping choreographer.
Where: Jumping Fitness, Joy and Vitality Studio, 2221 Artesia Blvd., Redondo Beach, (310) 227-0053, www.jumping-studio.com
Bootstrap. Startup. The gym is simple, spare and unfinished, the size of a TV repair shop. The reception desk is a folding card table with an Apple MacBook Air. The rotating disco lights are clamped on a wall bracket. But with the first bounce of the hourlong workout, the threadbare surroundings don't matter. The trampolines, designed with integrated chest-high handlebars and a rebounding surface a foot off the ground, and the workout are as solid as the muscular Novotny. He warmed us up with basic dance-style box steps, running in place and rebounding, then got serious.
One moment, you're trying to coordinate toe-tapping dance steps, one-foot balancing, and sidesteps with synched cheerleader arm-crossings and "Saturday Night Fever" finger pointing. The next, you're a human jackhammer doing the stomp — a high-intensity, lung-busting, knees-to-your-armpits controlled bounce and leap. Eight of them almost made me delirious. The endless movement and variety went by so fast that I couldn't believe we'd done 60 minutes.
Pitbull, Maroon5, Bruno Mars and other modern-day marvels blare from the speakers but are remixed and Euro-funked with faster beats. "These speed you up and really motivate you to lift your knees high for the stomping," Novotny says. He's right. You're worked when it's over. I felt it in my abs, butt and hamstrings the next couple of days, just like my classmates warned me. But like they also said, the low trampoline impact kept my joints fresh — and eager to do it again a couple of days later.
One class: $19. Ten classes: $130. The first class is free, with a 10-class package for $55 applying that day.