Blue's take on rebounding

Rebounding For Health!

I’ve been rebounding off and on for 20 years, but something happened in 2002 that changed my life! The Rebounder I’d been using, like the half dozen or so that I went through, was an inexpensive, cheaply made model. Of course, I didn’t realize that until I finally got inspired to buy a quality model.

Having done my research on all the available Rebounders on the market, I decided, without question, to go with a ReboundAir Rebounder, seeing as how the company is operated by Al Carter, none other than the father of Rebounding. Since Rebounding was his brainchild and so he obviously knows more about it than anyone else, I chose his company to deal with.

When I received my Quarter-fold Rebounder and set it up beside my old one for a test bounce, I couldn’t believe the difference. My old Rebounder felt like jumping on a piece of thin plywood suspended between cement blocks. Jumping on the Quarter-fold ReboundAir was like being a kid again jumping on a big soft bed. I instantly felt my joints decompress and was able to take an incredibly deep effortless breath, something that is sometimes difficult for me to do.

I then realized why my Rebounding had always been sporadic; simply because even though I was getting some positive effects from the activity, there was considerable jarring and compression happening throughout my body.

I am a Structural Release Realignment Therapist and so am always judging and critiquing exercise regimes and tools based on my knowledge of body mechanics, and the either positive or negative repercussions created by the particular thing in question. Rebounding makes more sense to me than to any other form of strengthening exercise I’ve come across.

For one thing, it’s an integrated full-body exercise; meaning that the entire muscular-skeletal systems are brought into play during the workout. All the pieces are not only being used but they are being taught how to work together in a functional dynamic manner. This is an extremely important aspect to consider.

For illustration, look at the bulky, jerky, disorganized, disjointed movements of a bodybuilder in the gym. Their bodies get like that because they build their muscle strength one muscle, or muscle group, at time; with linear, isolated repetitive movements. The musculature as a whole, as well as the skeletal pieces, never learn how to work together. Try to picture the muscle-bound gym person climbing a rope, swimming, or even running. They have created a non-integrated body that is fine for showing off specific muscles, but is an example of non-functional strength and not the way I want to go.

Working out with small weighted balls (3 to 10 lbs.) while jogging in place on the Rebounder is the most effective, and least detrimental form of cardio-vascular and muscular strengthening exercise I know of. It is a very concentrated form of exercise. I do a 20 minute routine on my Rebounder and I sweat more than I do during a 20 mile bike ride. Also, on the bike ride, think about what parts of your body are actually moving: your legs and your lungs. And your legs are making only one simple, linear movement a million times, while the rest of your body is immobile; once again a perfect example of repetitive, linear, isolated strengthening activity; wreaking havoc on your musculature and your skeleton.

We build our bodies by our activities and trust me when I tell you that those choosing repetitive linear isolated strengthening activities are building structurally distorted bodies with very thrashed, painful musculature to go along with them. I’ve worked on every type of athlete and non-athlete over the last 20 years and I’m basing my observations and judgments on my direct experience of the condition of their bodies.

My main focus since 1982 has been primarily Flexibility and Balance and I have achieved an unquestionable understanding of both of those. For the last few years I’ve been widening my focus to include toning and strengthening activities. Let me say here that the problem with any kind of strengthening activity is the fact that to strengthen a muscle, you shorten the muscle. All muscles cross joints, attaching bone to bone. When you shorten / strengthen a muscle you pull the bones closer together, compressing the joint and creating less space there. That translates into a loss of flexibility.

Remember, flexibility is not about the length of muscles, it’s about the space in the joints. Anyway, the joints never get compressed symmetrically, that’s impossible, so the result of any strengthening of the musculature always ends with asymmetrically compressed joints and less flexibility. That said, I am always looking at how much structural damage occurs as the expense of strengthening, at the expense of flexibility.

Until I discovered Rebounding with weighted balls, I was using and recommending the Total Gym® to my clients. It seemed to at least offer a more circular range of motion during the workout and gave a bit of stretching, or lengthening after the compression. Well, after a few Rebounding workouts my Total Gym® is out the door. Even with what it had going for it, after each workout I had to struggle to gain back the flexibility sacrificed. I notice little to no loss of flexibility after my Rebounding sessions, even though it was a total body workout.

My workout consists of 20 minutes using a combination of 3 and 5 pound (soft) balls, and a 10 pound medicine ball. I then do a 3 minute ab-solutely awesome abdominal workout sitting on the Rebounder in a pike position and then with my feet off the floor, knees bent, with the 10 pound ball. My body has changed shape with this workout more than any other activity I’ve ever done.

After a year of regular workouts on my Rebounder I am thrilled with the results and very happy to have a comprehensive, non-damaging strength-training routine to add to my flexibility routine, Flextasy! the Functional Flexibility System®. I recommend Rebounding to all my clients, family, and friends and I highly recommend it to you too.

----Blue Dunn