World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article


Article Id: WHEBN0000645580
Reproduction Date:

Title: Trampoline  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Larry Griswold, Tramp bike, Russian bar, Michael Sundin, I Survived a Japanese Game Show (season 1)
Collection: Circus Skills, Trampolining
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia


A youth bouncing on a trampoline

A trampoline is a device consisting of a piece of taut, strong fabric stretched over a steel frame using many coiled springs. People bounce on trampolines for recreational and competitive purposes.

The fabric that users bounce on (commonly known as the 'bounce mat' or 'trampoline bed') is not elastic in itself; the elasticity is provided by the springs that connect it to the frame, which store potential energy.


  • History 1
    • Early trampoline-like devices 1.1
    • First modern trampolines 1.2
      • Use in flight and astronaut training 1.2.1
      • Competitive sports 1.2.2
      • Cross-training for other sports 1.2.3
  • Construction 2
    • Competitive 2.1
    • Recreational 2.2
      • Home trampolines 2.2.1
      • Commercial trampoline parks 2.2.2
  • Safety 3
  • Mini-trampolines 4
  • Educational use 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7


Early trampoline-like devices

A game similar to trampolining was developed by the Inuit, who would toss each other into the air on a walrus skin (see Nalukataq). There is also some evidence of people in Europe having been tossed into the air by a number of people holding a blanket; Mak in the Wakefield Second Shepherds' Play and Sancho Panza in Don Quixote are both subjected to blanketing – however, these are clearly non-voluntary, non-recreational instances of quasi-judicial, mob-administered punishment. The trampoline-like life nets once used by firemen to catch people jumping out of burning buildings were invented in 1887.

The 19th-century poster for Pablo Fanque's Circus Royal references performance on trampoline, though the device is thought to have been more like a springboard than the fabric-and-coiled-springs apparatus presently in use.[1]

These may not be the true antecedents of the modern sport of trampolining, but indicate that the concept of bouncing off a fabric surface has been around for some time. In the early years of the 20th century, some acrobats used a "bouncing bed" on the stage to amuse audiences. The bouncing bed was, in reality, a form of small trampoline covered by bedclothes, on which acrobats performed mostly comedy routines.

According to circus folklore, the trampoline was supposedly first developed by an artiste named du Trampolin, who saw the possibility of using the trapeze safety net as a form of propulsion and landing device and experimented with different systems of suspension, eventually reducing the net to a practical size for separate performance. While trampoline-like devices were used for shows and in the circus, the story of du Trampolin is almost certainly apocryphal, and no documentary evidence has been found to support it.

First modern trampolines

The first modern trampoline was built by Mexico in the late 1930s and decided to use an anglicized form as the trademark for the apparatus.[3]

In 1942, Griswold and Nissen created the Griswold-Nissen Trampoline & Tumbling Company, and began making trampolines commercially in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

The generic term for the trademarked trampoline was a rebound tumbler[4] and the sport began as rebound tumbling. It has since lost its trademark and has become a generic trademark.

1968 demonstration of Spaceball

Early in their development Nissen anticipated trampolines being used in a number of recreational areas, including those involving more than one participant on the same trampoline. One such game was Spaceball—a game of two teams of two on a single trampoline with specially constructed end "walls" and a middle "wall" through which a ball could be propelled to hit a target on the other sides end wall.[5]

Use in flight and astronaut training

During World War II, the United States Navy Flight School developed the use of the trampoline in its training of pilots and navigators, giving them concentrated practice in spatial orientation that had not been possible before.[6] After the war, the development of the space flight programme again brought the trampoline into use to help train both American and Soviet astronauts, giving them experience of variable body positions in flight.

Competitive sports

Girls competing in synchronised trampoline

One of the earliest pioneers of trampoline as a competitive sport was Jeff Hennessy, a coach at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. Hennessy also coached the United States trampoline team, producing more world champions than any other person. Among his world champions was his daughter, Leigh Hennessy. Both Jeff and Leigh Hennessy are in the USA Gymnastics Hall of Fame.

The competitive gymnastic sport of trampolining has been part of the Olympic Games since 2000. On a modern competitive trampoline, a skilled athlete can bounce to a height of up to 10 metres (33 ft), performing multiple somersaults and twists. Trampolines also feature in the competitive sport of Slamball, a variant of basketball, and Bossaball, a variant of volleyball.

Cross-training for other sports

There are a number of other sports that use trampolines to help develop and hone acrobatic skills in training before they are used in the actual sporting venue. Examples can be found in diving, gymnastics, and freestyle skiing.


There are two generic types of trampoline, competitive and recreational.


The frame of a competitive trampoline is made of steel and can be made to fold up for transportation to competition venues. The trampoline bed is rectangular 4.28 by 2.14 metres (14 ft 1 in × 7 ft 0 in) in size fitted into the 5.05 by 2.91 metres (17 ft × 10 ft) frame [7] with around 110 steel springs (the actual number may vary by manufacturer). The bed is made of a strong fabric, although this is not itself elastic; the elasticity is provided only by the springs. The fabric can be woven from webbing, which is the most commonly used material. However, in the 2007 World Championships held in Quebec City, a Ross (or "Two-String") bed, woven from individual thin strings, was used. This type of bed gives a little extra height to the rebound.


Bounce mat

Home trampolines

Recreational trampolines for home use are less sturdily constructed than competitive ones and their springs are weaker. They may be of various shapes, though most are circular, octagonal or rectangular.[8] The fabric is usually a waterproof canvas or woven polypropylene material.

As with competitive trampolines, recreational trampolines are usually made using coiled steel springs to provide the rebounding force, but spring-free trampolines also exist.

Commercial trampoline parks

House of Air Trampoline Park in San Francisco

In 1959 and 1960 it became very popular to have outdoor commercial "jump centres" or "trampoline parks" in many places in North America where people could enjoy recreational trampolining. However, these tended to have a high accident rate and the public's interest rapidly waned.[9] In recent years, indoor commercial trampoline parks have made a come-back with a number of franchises operating across the United States and Canada. Similar parks have more recently been opened in other countries.[10][11][12]

They are located indoors, and have wall to wall trampolines to prevent people falling off the trampolines on to hard surfaces. There are padded or spring walls to protect people from impact injuries. Despite these precautions there has been at least one death recorded due to a bad head first landing at a trampoline park.[13] In March 2012, New York Yankees pitcher Joba Chamberlain seriously injured his ankle while jumping at a commercial jump centre in Tampa with his son.[14]


With safety nets, the risk of falling off the trampoline is reduced.

Using a trampoline can be dangerous, and in organized clubs and gyms there are usually large safety end-decks with foam pads at each end and spotters placed alongside the trampoline to try to break the fall of any athlete who loses control and falls. The majority of injuries occur on privately owned home trampolines. Bouncing off a trampoline can result in a fall of 3–4 metres (10–13 ft) from the peak of a bounce to the ground or a fall into the suspension springs and frame. There has been an increase in the number of home trampolines in recent years and a corresponding increase in the number of injuries reported, leading some medical organizations to suggest that they be banned.[15][16] Authorities recommend that only one person should be allowed to jump at a time to avoid collisions and people being catapulted in an unexpected direction or higher than they expect. In fact, one of the most common sources of injury is when there are multiple users bouncing on the trampoline at one time. More often than not, this situation leads to users bouncing into one another and thus becoming injured; many suffer broken bones as a result of landing badly after knocking into another user.[16]

A recreational trampoline with a safety net enclosure

Another of the most common sources of serious injury is an attempt to perform somersaults without proper training. In some cases, people land on their neck or head, which can cause paralysis or even death.[16] A famous incident in the 1960s paralyzed pole-vaulting champion Brian Sternberg from the neck down.

Danger can be reduced by burying the trampoline so the bed is closer to the surrounding surface to lessen falling distance, and padding that surrounding area. Pads over the spring and frame reduce the severity of impact injuries. Keeping the springs covered also reduces the risk of a limb falling between the gaps in the springs and the rest of the body falling off of the trampoline.

Kits are available for home trampolines that provide a retaining net around the trampoline and prevent users from bouncing over the edge. The American Academy of Pediatrics states that there is no epidemiological evidence that these improve safety.[16] The nets do prevent jumpers falling off the trampoline onto the ground, but these falls are not the most common source of injury and multiple users bouncing in a netted trampoline can still be injured. Safety net enclosures have a larger benefit for safeguarding solo trampolinists, so long as they avoid falling on their head or neck.

Having some training in a gym may be beneficial in alerting people to possible hazards and provide techniques to avoid bad falls.[17]

Family-oriented commercial areas in North America such as shopping centres, carnivals, and so on, often include closed inflatable trampolines (CITs) as a children's attraction. These have safety nets on the sides to prevent injuries.



A mini-trampoline (also known as a rebounder, trampette, jogging trampoline, or exercise trampoline) is a type of trampoline less than 1 metre (3 ft 3 in) in diameter and about 30 centimetres (12 in) off the ground, often kept indoors and used as part of a physical fitness regime. So-called rebounding provides a form of exercise with a low impact on knees and joints. Mini-trampolines do not give a rebound as high as larger recreational or competitive trampolines.

Educational use

In co-operation with the University of Bremen and the German Aerospace Center (DLR), the Corporation from Bremen, Germany developed the weightlessness demonstrator “Gravity Jumper” based on a trampoline. Due to the acceleration during the jump, an acceleration force takes effect in addition to the usual gravitational force. Both forces add up and the person on the trampoline seems to become heavier. As soon as the jumper leaves the trampoline, he is under a free fall condition, which means that the jumper seems weightless and does not feel the acceleration due to gravity. Every person receives a three-axis acceleration sensor, fastened to them with a belt. The sensor transmits the data of the flight path to a monitor; a monitor shows the course of the acceleration, including the weightless phase. The interplay of acceleration due to the trampoline and weightlessness becomes apparent.


  1. ^ Sideshow World, and Sideshow Performers from around the world.
  2. ^ WestView Trampoline Community site - Trampoline History p. 3
  3. ^ "Inventor of the Week Archive - George Nissen". Massachusetts Institute of Technology, MIT School of Engineering. March 2004. Retrieved 2007-04-13. 
  4. ^ A Sportswriter's Life By Gerald Eskenazi pg. 125
  5. ^ "Trampoline history". 
  6. ^ WestView Trampoline Community site - Trampoline History p.4
  7. ^ "Apparatus Norms" (PDF).  
  8. ^ All Trampoline Shapes
  9. ^ WestView Trampoline Community site - Trampoline History p. 19
  10. ^ Businessman turning former studios into a trampoline palace
  11. ^ International Trampoline Parks Association
  12. ^ Indoor Trampoline Park Design & manufacturing
  13. ^ Man dies from Trampoline Park injury
  14. ^ New York Daily News - Joba’s a pitcher of calm on 911 tape
  15. ^ Science Daily - Trampoline injuries
  16. ^ a b c d "Trampoline Safety in Childhood and Adolescence" Policy Satement from the American Academy of Pediatrics, September 24 2012
  17. ^ Consumer Affairs - Trampoline Safety

External links

  • Trampoline Technical Information
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Hawaii eBook Library are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.