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A mini-trampoline, also called a trampette, is a smaller version of its larger counterpart, the trampoline. The miniature version does not have as much give and is situated lower to the ground. It is often used in exercise programs that focus on cardiac health because its use produces a high heart rate even as it reduces stress on the leg joints.
A trampoline is a piece of canvas that is stretched taut within a frame and attached to it with metal springs. The canvas is inelastic, and it is the springs allow the trampoline to rebound. There are two types of regular trampoline — the competitive, which is made of strong materials and is very durable and the recreational, which is not as hardy as the competitive model and is made for occasional use.
The construction of most mini-trampolines is similar to that of a regular-sized recreational trampoline. The mini's canvas is fairly durable and is attached to springs, usually steel, that connect it to a metal frame. Its most distinguishing characteristic is its small size of only 3 feet (1 meter) in diameter.
Its size makes a mini-trampoline well suited to indoor activities. At only 12 inches (30 cm) from the ground, a mini-trampoline cannot exert enough rebound, the upward force exerted on the person jumping on it, to cause the user to jump extremely high. It is, however, designed to have enough give and flex to reduce any impact that could damage the knees and leg joints after jumping or a similar activity.
Many fitness routines employ a mini-trampoline in order to reduce stress on joints, making it suitable for people with joint problems. Since it is relatively small, it can be used in the privacy of one's home or transported to a different location for a workout. Some can even be folded to become even more compact.
If not used correctly a mini-trampoline, or any trampoline, can cause injury. The springs should be covered, at all times during use, with a circular pad that is attached around the edge of the frame. This will prevent a leg from slipping through or getting caught in the springs. It is not advisable to use a mini-trampoline close to other people or near other mini-trampolines. A lapse of attention could cause a collision.
I actually bought a mini trampoline for my kids, not for home fitness. They liked bouncing around on it for a little while, but I think they got bored with its limitations. I bought them a full-sized outdoor trampoline and kept the rebounder mini trampoline for myself.
I don't actually do any organized workout routine on it, but I will jog on it when the weather is too bad to go running. I'd say having the right footwear is important, because I tried using it while wearing socks and I almost fell out several times. The surface can be a little slick.
The only other thing I've noticed is that a mini trampoline can slide around a bit on a smooth surface, like a polished concrete floor. I'd suggest putting something like a yoga mat under it to reduce the chance of slipping.
I wanted to start a home fitness program last year, so I bought a mini trampoline for indoor jogging and other aerobic exercises. I'd say there are some pros and cons to consider before investing in a rebounder mini trampoline. Mine has certainly worked as designed, but it does have some drawbacks.
I found a video with mini trampoline exercises, and I made sure the trampoline was set up in a clear area. When I started jogging along with the video, however, there was a lot of vibration around me. I'd suggest doing a mini trampoline on a solid floor surface, like padded concrete. Floor joists may not be able to minimize the transfer of vibrations. Other than that issue, I did enjoy the workouts and would recommend mini trampolines to anyone with joint issues.