Before last Friday, I hadn’t jumped on a trampoline since I was a kid. Our neighbors growing up had one in their backyard, and I remember spending many post-school-day hours on that thing seeing how high we could “popcorn” each other. Ahh, those were the days.
Barring the occasional drunken Fourth of July party, when do we adults ever get to bounce on a trampoline for an hour, just because? Even better: How often do we get to do bounce our little hearts out and call it a work out?
This is where Sky Zone comes in—more specifically, Sky Zone’s newly minted fitness classes. The brand new trampoline park in Oaks (yes, there is such a thing as a trampoline park) just debuted a pair of new fitness classes, and I got to try one out last week. SkyRobics, which is the class I took, focuses on aerobics (duh) and keeping your heart rate up for an hour with some conditioning thrown in to mix it up. I’m told the other class, SkyFit, does the opposite: it focuses mainly on conditioning, with the help of resistance bands, and mixes in some cardio here and there.
In a nutshell, SkyRobics was an absolute blast. I was surprised that on a Friday at 10 a.m. during the very first week of classes, 14 other people had come out to give it a whirl. In fact, one woman I talked to had already taken one of Sky Zone’s trampoline fitness classes earlier in the week, so she gave me a few pointers: 1) start out slow (“I mean, when was the last time you were on a trampoline?” she asked. Good point.); 2) try to stay in the middle of your trampoline so as not to fly off in odd directions; 3) prepare to get sweaty; and 4) don’t be surprised if you feel a bit sea sick.
She went on to explain that during her first class, when she first started bouncing, she noticed a twinge of motion sickness in the pit of her stomach. She slowed down her bouncing and it helped. What’s funny is that as soon as I stepped foot on the trampoline and started bounce, I felt the exact same thing. I realized later that it was because I was trying to talk to the woman on the trampoline next to me as I bounced (we have a mutual friend, apparently—go figure!), and keeping my eyes on her while I went up and down made me suuuuuuper sea sick. So, lesson #1: don’t try to be friendly during this class. Having a conversation with eye contact while on a trampoline is a recipe for disaster.
After that minor mishap, it was smooth trampoline sailing. The class was an hour long and well suited for various fitness levels. The instructor, trainer Laura Fried of Drive Fitness in Collegeville, was fantastic at explaining and demo-ing the moves and keeping us motivated to bounce, bounce, bounce.
I was surprised at the variety of things you can do on a trampoline. Like, it wasn’t just bouncy-bouncy for an hour straight. We did jumping jacks, squat jumps, tuck jumps and jumping lunges all while bouncing, and then we used the tramp for push-ups, sit-ups, tricep dips and more.
That part, obviously, felt like an actual workout. The fun came when we ran laps around the trampoline “field.” I think you can tell in the photos, but Sky Zone isn’t your typical trampoline experience. It’s not a room with one trampoline that you all take turns on (what would be the fun in that?). Each area includes literally a field of trampolines, hemmed in angled trampolines affixed to the walls. Each tramp square is separated by blue foam dividers—like the blue padding you’d see on the springs of a regular trampoline—so you and your classmates can safely bounce at different speeds.
During the laps portion, we lined up at one end of the trampoline field and fell into two groups: people who wanted to run fast (me, obviously), and people who wanted to take it slow. Each group bounced from one tramp to another in one row the length of the field, then made the turn on the other end and came back in the adjacent row. The point was to see how fast you could go. On my first turn, I did a straight sprint, hitting each square with one foot and flying to the next square. I got done fast, but was hardly winded. So on the second turn, Laura said to try doing a two-foot bunny hop in each square. “That should get your heart going,” she said. She was right—I could feel it really working that turn.
The best part was figuring out how to make the turn at the end of the row by ricocheting off the wall-mounted trampoline. It was all about timing, and once I got it down, I felt oh-so-Matrix-like as I flew through the air at top speeds.
By the end of the hourlong class, I was pretty darn sweaty—sweatier than I’d expected, actually—and a couple hours later, I noticed that my legs felt nice and noodle-y, a great sign after a new class. Eventually, Laura said, they’d like to create a whole block of fitness classes, including one using TRX bands (fun!) and maybe even trampoline yoga (OMG YES!). For now, the options are SkyRobics on Sunday, Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, and SkyFit on Tuesday and Thursday. Check out the schedule here.
Sky Zone is located at 122 Mill Road in Oaks (next to Philadelphia Rock Gyms). Classes are $14 each, but you can get a 10-class punch card for $99. New students get half off their first class.