A tough workout is rarely something to look forward to and even less likely to be enjoyed while it’s happening. But when it comes to combining fun and fitness, the new SkyFit program at Sky Zone in Deer Park is leaps and bounds ahead of the competition.
Trainer Amy Stangasser started teaching SkyFit a month after the gym opened in January 2014. As an Aerobics and Fitness Association of American-certified group fitness trainer, she has taught everything from Zumba to kickboxing to yoga and has also coached gymnastics on the Island for over 15 years. “For me, this trampoline workout comes very naturally,” she said. “Through all my experience teaching group fitness, this is by far the most fun while exercising.”
The gym is a cavernous, warehouse-style space with high ceilings and sprawling jumping stations including a foam pit and a dodgeball area that hosts pick-up games every Thursday evening (yes, adults are allowed).
After signing a waiver, guests purchase a pair of bright orange jumping socks with grippy rubber nubs on the bottoms to avoid accidental spills and then head to the workout area. The fitness arena is a massive trampoline floor walled in by more trampoline surfaces and divided into 5-by-5-foot squares. Each participant gets his own square for the class, which is useful for avoiding the dreaded double-bounce.
The first 20 minutes are devoted to cardio. After a quick, bouncy warm-up, the trainer runs through 30-second drills of various kinds of jumps. Every muscle group gets hit as participants move up and down, back and forth and laterally. There’s also a series of jumping squats and lunges. But movement doesn’t stop between sets. The trainer encourages those working out to perform either a trampoline version of a scissor movement or simply step from side-to-side to keep the heart rate up. For the last cardio set, everyone breaks into four lines and then bounces as quickly as possible down the length of the trampoline park for two minutes.
After a quick water break, sand bags are distributed for upper body muscular endurance exercises. This portion of the class resembles a standard strength class with overhead lifts, arm raises and push-ups but with the added impact of performing each move on an unstable surface. And just in case the abdominals aren’t worked as much as hardcore participants would like, the last 20 minutes are dedicated to abs. The class rotates through a series of crunches, leg lifts, bicycles and planks, all made harder by the trampoline. “This type of workout is great because it’s high intensity with low impact, so you don’t feel the impact on your joints or ligaments,” Stangasser said.
But if a trampoline workout seems like child’s play, think again. Studies have shown that not only is it suitable for aerobic activity, but bouncing has also improved stamina, coordination, flexibility and balance. The secret is in the rebound, which makes use of the increased G-force and works every muscle in the body in a new and unexpected way.
A study by NASA in the 1980s discovered that trampoline jumping can benefit the skeletal system by increasing bone mass and it has been shown to benefit oxygen circulation, muscle tone and even help support the thyroid and adrenals. Not bad for an afternoon at the park
The best part? Almost anyone can do this workout. “It is not recommended if you are pregnant. However, this workout is suitable for ages 10 and up. Even senior citizens benefit from this type of workout because it is designed to go at your own pace and offers a low-impact.”
The first SkyFit session is $7.50 with subsequent workouts at $15. A bulk pack of 10 classes is $120.