By Richard | June 17th, 2014
Trampolines have come a fair way since their inception. Generations of people have enjoyed the unique functions and fun they have to offer, however there is far more to these bouncing machines than you may know. Here are 10 fun facts about trampolines that you need to know.
The trampoline as we’ve come to know it today was invented in 1936 in large part by George Nissen and Larry Griswold. They got their inspiration from watching the safety nets that trapeze artists used to catapult themselves back up after dismounting. The two then created a makeshift trampoline in his garage with some metal and a piece of canvas. Originally, they used the trampoline for gymnastics training but eventually realised that it could be used for fun, as well. The rest, as they say, is history.
Nissen has said that they named the trampoline after the Spanish word, ‘trampolin’, which means ‘diving board.’ Interestingly, in Spain, there is a growing sport called Bossaball, which combines gymnastics, volleyball, and football, and is played on a volleyball-like court featuring trampolines at each end. It’s a fast-paced game that is much like volleyball, but players go higher and can kick the ball as well.
Trampolines have become so popular throughout the years that it’s been an Olympic sport since 2000. There are two events: the men’s individual and the women’s individual. Athletes can get up to 8 metres in the air, and are judged on not just the height reached, but also on the tricks and twists they can perform.
The world record for the most people on a trampoline at once is 324, achieved by a group in the United Kingdom in 2015. Some other notable records include the most consecutive somersaults, at 3333, and the fastest 100 metres run, at 24.11 seconds. One of the most challenging might be the most consecutive backflips while on a unicycle record. It stands at only 2, but it might be a difficult one to beat.
Trampolines are widely used in training for sports that don’t traditionally involve them. Divers use trampolines to practice landing in the right spot. Gymnasts use trampolines for many things such as with strength and agility training as well as to provide a place to practice landing safely without getting hurt. Freestyle skiers use trampolines to practice moves and perfect their balance.
In Wales lies an old mining town called Blaenau Ffestiniog that fell into ruin after an industry decline in the 1950’s. With all the empty caverns, a monstrous underground trampoline park was erected to bring in tourists and fun-seekers. Well over 1500 people bounce around on their trampolines each week. Inside the caverns lies the largest trampoline of them all. As opposed to being one large space, this trampoline splits off and spreads itself down corridors and uphill to create an amazing and bouncy experience.
In 1986, a team of six men from the Cleveland State University in the United States decided to try and see how long they could bounce continuously on a trampoline. They managed an amazing 53 straight days of bouncing. Not only did they break the record, but their fellow Delta Epsilon frat brother, President Ronald Reagan, called to congratulate them on their feat.
More and more, trampolines are being used as a tool to build your leg muscles through bouncing and burn plenty of calories. A 20 minute bounce session can burn 100 to 200 calories. Trampolining is ideal because it’s low-impact exercise, so it’s easy on your joints, which can get damaged through running or other aerobic exercises. It’s not just for those with arthritis, though. Trampolining can also improve balance and agility while it helps with weight loss.
Astronauts use trampolines for several things related to spaceflight. For one, trampolining provides all the physical health benefits mentioned above. It prepares the body for the sudden bouncing around it does while travelling to space. Plus, it’s said that trampolines can help prevent sickness when travelling in space. As well, after they return, trampolining can help strengthen bones and prevent bone loss, which is a risk when returning from zero gravity.
The highest team jump on a trampoline in history happened on television back on April 8, 2014. Eric, Sean and T.J. Kennedy undertook the challenge live on the Today show filmed in New York City. Sean was the main jumper, while T.J. and Eric were the propellers. They stood on the trampoline and timed their bounces to coincide with Sean’s to achieve the best lift-off, one that resulted in a 6.73 metre jump and a new world record.