Rebounding and the pelvic floor
Rebounding exercise is performed on a rebounder or mini trampoline. Exercises on the mini trampoline include running, sprinting, jumping, hopping, single leg knee lifts and kicks.
Rebounding technique involves pushing down through the legs onto the mat to increase the work performed by the legs.
What are the health benefits of rebounding?
Potential health benefits of rebounding include:
- improved heart and lung fitness
- improved balance and spatial awareness
- lower limb strengthening
- lessened impact on joints of the lower limb when compared with treadmill running1, which may benefit women with a high BMI or those with lower limb problems
- increased energy expenditure*
*Rebounding needs to be performed at a high intensity for substantial energy expenditure. Greater than 32 minutes of high impact rebounding is necessary to meet the recommended daily 300kcal energy expenditure for weight loss1.
How safe is rebounding for your pelvic floor?
Your risk of pelvic floor injury with rebounding depends on both a) the impact of your rebounding exercises and b) your individual risk factors.
a) Impact of rebounding exercises
While there are no studies on the impact of rebounding on the pelvic floor, a study was conducted on trampolining, which is also performed on a trampoline2. Trampolining is a high impact exercise due to the force of the landing on the trampoline mat. The impact is influenced by the height of the jump, your body weight and the tension of the mat.
The study investigating the incidence of stress urinary incontinence in young elite female trampolinists found that all the athletes over the age of 15 years reported bladder leakage during trampoline training2. While trampolining doesn’t always involve the same degree of high impact landing as trampolining, this study suggests an increased risk of pelvic floor problems with repetitive high impact rebounding exercise.
b) Individual risk factors for pelvic floor injury
Everyone has different individual risk factors for pelvic floor injury with rebounding.
Your pelvic floor risk factors include: your pelvic floor strength and support, pre-existing pelvic floor conditions, childbirth history, pelvic floor tissue laxity, body weight (abdominal fat), history of pelvic floor surgery, chronic constipation and straining, chronic cough and lifestyle factors including heavy lifting.
How to modify rebounding exercise
People with pelvic floor problems such as pelvic floor weakness, prolapse or pelvic pain may choose to minimise their risk by avoiding high impact rebounding.
Strategies to modify rebounding exercises and reduce impact include:
- Avoiding double leg high impact-style landing from height eg. jumping
- Performing low impact exercises while keeping one foot in contact with the mat throughout
- Avoiding handheld weights when rebounding
- Keeping rebounding to a short duration (eg. incorporated within circuit training)
If you’re unsure whether rebounding is appropriate for your pelvic floor, you can consult with a Pelvic Floor Physiotherapist for assessment and advice.
Written by Michelle Kenway – physiotherapist www.pelvicexercises.com.au
1C. McGlone, L. Kravitz & J. Janot. Rebounding: A Low-Impact Exercise Alternative. ACSM’S Health & Fitness Journal. March/April 2002, Volume 6, Issue 2.
2K. Eliasson, T. Larsson & E. Mattsson. Prevalence of stress incontinence in nulliparous elite trampolinists. Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports. April 2002. Volume 12, Issue 2, pages 106–110.