This month team USC has taken on the #HappyNewFear challenge. We each pick something we’re afraid to do and conquer our fear by the end of January. So this week we visited Sprungraum trampoline park to learn how to do backflips…
What is trampolining?
This recreational activity allows people who aren’t great at acrobatics to be great at acrobatics. Many people will use a trampoline to practice back and front flips and other acrobatic twists, flips and somersaults in the air. You can also just bounce around but, as our trainer Arthur made very clear “I’ll make sure you do a backflip.”
What can you expect?
Sprungraum is a gigantic, modern trampoline hall in Berlin’s Tempelhof district. The changing rooms are slick and modern and there are some classes available, however mostly people just book a trampoline online and then train for 1 hour or 90 minutes.
Our special backflip session was with Arthur, an professional ex-acrobat. The trampoline area had dozens of trampolines, all of various sizes and all framed with neon pink padding. People were doing front and back flips all over the place.
How was the workout?
“We’ll begin by getting to know the trampoline,” Arthur said, bouncing lightly up and down, “and you must lock in your core and your knees to avoid any injuries.” Avoiding injuries was definitely top of my list of things to do today so I paid close attention to this.
Then Arthur showed us how to lift our arms high in the air and push our shoulders back to reach optimum height. “Now spin around in the air,” He said and pirouetted in an elegant 360 turn. I tried to spin mid-air and was surprised to make it to almost a full turn. “Arms straight! Head up!” Arthur’s enthusiasm for our success was extremely encouraging, even though I was quite alarmed by how high I was jumping and fast I was spinning.
“Now we start the real backflip preparation.” I was apprehensive. My body has done zero flipping in all its 28 years on earth and I wasn’t convinced it could start now. We lay on our backs on the trampoline. “The scariest part of doing backflips is bouncing on your back, so we’ll start with that.” Arthur said. He showed us how to jump and push our hips forward so we bounced on our backs. It took a lot of brain power to trust that I wouldn’t hurt myself. I realised that it was better to fully commit to the movement than to be cautious about it. With backflips it’s all or nothing.
Next Arthur taught us the movement we’d need to flip in the air. We lay flat on the trampoline, arms and legs stretched out and then crunched quickly so our knees came over our heads. “Just make sure your knees are wider than your head! Otherwise you’ll hit yourself in the face and get two black eyes. I’ve seen it before, it’s hilarious.” Hahaha…ha…ha…
“Okay. It’s time.” Arthur said. As backflips were my genius idea, I had to go first. I felt physically sick as I stood preparing for the flip. Arthur said he would support me the entire way but I had a feeling that wouldn’t be possible. “Just don’t think!” My colleague shouted. I decided to take her advice. Arthur supported my back and jumped with me. “On three! 1….2…..3….GO!!!”
I used everything he’d taught us – the shoulder movements, knee tucks, crunches and twists and launched myself backwards. I completed the full turn, and the next thing I could see was the black trampoline matting speeding towards my face. I landed in a pile on the trampoline, barely able to compute that, despite the least elegant landing of all time, I had just done my first backflip. “Well done! Next time keep your eyes open!” Arthur said. His enthusiasm was contagious.
“Now we’re doing it again!” Oh man. I tried again, jumped, launched backwards and landed in a pile once more.
“Better! Now we’re not leaving here until you land on your feet.”
We were going to be here for a long time…
How did I feel after?
I was shaking for a while after the session from all the adrenaline. But mostly I was bursting with pride – I was so happy I’d actually done a backflip!
I knew that if I didn’t fully commit and really go for it then it wouldn’t work, which taught me a lot about mental blockage – the only reason I thought I couldn’t do it was all in my head – physically it wasn’t a problem!
The next day I had a small burn from falling repeatedly on the same elbow but apart from that I didn’t have sore muscles – I just felt very pleased with myself.
Benefits of trampolining
Of course it’s tons of fun but trampolining is also a great workout and burns tons of calories. It’s proven to boost your lymphatic flow and helps strengthen your bones. Not to mention the fact that a trampolining session puts you in an extremely good mood. And you can do things you could never do on solid ground!
Don’t forget to bring…
Wear comfortable clothes, bring water and forget everything you think you know about what you’re capable of. And you can buy special trampolining socks for €2.50 at the front desk.