Get in Shape
6 Strange Sports to Boost Your Fitness
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In his most difficult routine ever, trampolinist Sean Kennedy completed three twisting triple flips, followed by seven different double flips, each with multiple twists. He completed these 10 tricks without a rest or reset between jumps—and did them while flying more than 30 feet in the air.
Yes, trampoline is an Olympic sport, and Kennedy, a former US national team member and now a coach at The Trampoline Place in Plainfield, CT, says all those flips and twists are the norm.
Competitors have 10 consecutive jumps to perform their sky-high maneuvers, with their score calculated out of a predetermined maximum score based on difficulty.
"[Trampoline] uses different muscles than what you get with other sports," says Kennedy, who played basketball and soccer before taking up the trampoline. (Related: Train different muscles to beat boredom) "You'll use your whole core, and work on stability muscles--if you want to feel those, try standing on one foot and then closing your eyes. See if you can still stand easily."
Achieve that high-flying feeling by finding a facility with rectangular trampolines (they’re better than the kind you could buy for your backyard). From there, you can seat drop--jump up, then come down to land on your butt. You'll bounce back to start, and repeat without stopping.
Once you've done the seat drop 20 to 30 times consecutively, you'll be laughing, sweating, and ready for the next skill--landing on your stomach. On a backyard bouncer or at a gym, do a similar move as you did with the seat drop, only this time, land on your stomach rather than your booty. Return to start, and repeat 20 to 30 times consecutively. From there, Kennedy says, you're ready to tie the tricks together and ultimately move on to twists and flips--either with a coach or at your own risk.
Where to try it: Kennedy says to look for a trampoline center that has a history of working with competitive trampolinists, or at least one with the competition-style trampoline. Search for classes near you or visit USAgym.org to find a representative of the US Trampoline and Tumbling Association in your state.