Five minutes into our warmup, I was fully out of breath and my calves were burning like hell. And yet, I couldn't stop smiling because I felt like I was transported back to my childhood at some kid's birthday party. A couple of coworkers and I took the Air Conditioning workout class at San Francisco's House of Air, which is a massive trampoline amusement park for children and adults alike. The three of us sweat it out for 55 minutes on trampolines, alternating between sets of cardio and strength training, with little to no rest in between. Let me tell you: it was challenging, so fun, and exactly what my morning needed.
According to Carlee Williams, House of Air's marketing coordinator and Air Conditioning instructor, jumping for just 10 minutes offers the same benefits as running for 33 minutes does. And after experiencing the class first-hand, I can definitely see how. Jumping up and down alone was honestly enough of a workout, but adding jump squats and plank jacks in between really upped the difficulty. The full-body workout included high-intensity intervals of jump variations (jumping jacks, straddle jumps, tuck jumps, and pikes) and conditioning exercises like mountain climbers and donkey kicks.
Jumping around may look simple enough, but I was surprised at how much core strength was required to stabilize myself the entire time. If your core isn't engaged, it is much more difficult to control your body in the air. At first, we used the trampoline to assist our movements, but once we transitioned into the second half of the class, we learned how to work against the trampoline to add resistance and enhance the workout. Although we used our core throughout the entire class, the workout really worked every inch of our bodies. Because we were using muscles that aren't typically activated in a traditional workout, Carlee warned us that we would be more sore than usual the following morning. A full day hasn't even passed yet, and I can already tell that I'm going to be in a lot of pain tomorrow.
In addition to being a superfun workout, jumping on a trampoline also comes with some amazing benefits, according to Carlee:
- Elevates energy and mood levels: "Releases endorphins stimulating feelings of happiness, while oxygen flow increases brain function, making one feel more alert."
- Improves immune system: "Stimulates lymphatic flow, promoting up to 15 times increased body circulation, naturally removing toxins."
- Improves cardiovascular system: "Strengthens heart function and enhances respiratory efficiency by increasing blood flow and oxygen."
- Increases muscle strength: "Tones muscles, especially core and leg muscles, improving posture and decreasing body fat, assisting in coordination, body awareness, and sense of balance."
- Increases bone strength and density: "Provides just enough impact to produce bone minerals that assist in improving bone strength and density, reducing the chance of medical conditions like osteoporosis and arthritis."
By the end of the class, I was completely exhausted and energized at the same time. The workout never really felt like a workout, and the fact that I was able to tone and strengthen while having a great time was purely a bonus. I seriously cannot wait to do this again.
There's a hidden gem in San Francisco located within a historic airplane hangar in The Presidio. Yes, it involves flying – but you're going to be just a few feet above the ground with this adventure because The House of Air is an indoor trampoline park that has been in operation since September 2010.
After discovering House of Air's website and finding out that 10 minutes of jumping on a trampoline equates to 33 minutes of running, we knew that we wanted to take one of their Air Conditioning Workout Classes to see whether this claim was correct.
House of Air provides you with special shoes for their trampolines.
The Matrix: 42 conjoined trampolines.
The two of us arrived at the House of Air early on a Saturday morning and after signing our waiver forms, we were each given a pair of "trampoline shoes" to wear. Excitedly we put on our shoes and headed over to where our workout would be taking place this morning.
This was House of Air's main trampoline structure made up of 42 conjoined trampolines and larger than a full-sized basketball court. One hell of an impressive sight!
Childhood memories started flooding back as we got straight onto The Matrix, bouncing around with huge smiles on our faces. The two of us could feel our heart rates starting to rise and we hadn't even started our warm-up yet!
The instructor called everyone in and began the warm-up, consisting of jumping on the trampoline and performing arm-circles. It was then time to pull out the dodgeballs as the 12 class participants split up into groups of 4 and started throwing the ball around the circle, all whilst still bouncing up and down.
Drop and give me ten!
And now time for some crunches!
Progressively the workout became harder as we went back into our pairs for the next few exercises. While one partner passed the dodgeball through their legs in a figure eight as they bounced in the air, the other partner had to drop onto the trampoline and perform ten push-ups.
Now push-ups can be difficult on solid ground, but try doing them on an elastic trampoline that offers considerable give and they become considerably harder! We then moved onto sit-ups, squats, jumping jacks and a variety of other exercises that resulted in us both breathing and sweating heavily.
Now that might not sound like fun to some, but we still had those smiles on our faces through the entire class. No wonder House of Air's website says your cheeks will hurt as much as your quads after this workout!
Our $16 "Air Conditioning" workout lasted just under an hour and despite its intensity, it was easily the most enjoyable cardio workout we've ever had.
If you're in San Francisco, get out of your hotel room and down to the House of Air for a whole lot of fun! You don't even need to take a class like we did – an hour's access to the trampoline park is the same price and you can bounce around to your heart's content.