The History of Trampolines: All You Need to Know

Trampolines have been part of recreational activities and various competitions in many countries across the globe. Sports enthusiasts and gymnasts have also been using these trampolines for training, exercising, flexibility enhancement, and physical fitness. Because of its popularity in the field of sports, trampolines have been used as the main equipment in many competitive sports.

If you have a trampoline at home or you may have tried it on a trampoline park, you’ll probably agree that every jump and bounce are nothing but a ton of fun and excitement. What’s much greater to know is trampolining has a lot of health benefits you can take advantage of. You can have a healthier and more active lifestyle at the same time!

If you have been using a trampoline for a long time, you are probably one of those who is wondering where it was originated, who had built it, when it took off to popularity, and how it was used back in the olden days. If you’ve been meaning to know all these, we have trailed back to where it all began. Keep reading!

The Origin of Trampolines

It was in 1936 when it all started. George Nissen and Larry Griswold worked together to develop the first ever modern trampoline. They attended Iowa University in the United States and were both gymnasts and entertainers at that time. It was George Nissen’s idea, however, to name this bouncing equipment as “trampoline” when he had overheard the word trampolín, which means springboard in Spanish, when he was at a demonstration tour in Mexico.

George Nissen was able to trademark the name exclusively for his bouncing equipment. However, it was around the 1970s when other manufacturers started making trampolines which are similar to Nissen’s invention. The name “trampoline” had also just become a general term for all types of rebound equipment although Nissen had trademarked it. Even today, all rebounding apparatus are known as trampolines.

The popularity of the trampolines had thrived as Nissen continued building more trampolines and promoted them through his shows and performances. When the sales had increased and reached its peak, Nissen and Griswold had decided to embark on another journey through their own company. They had set up the Griswold-Nissen Trampoline & Tumbling Company in Iowa back in 1941. During that year, Larry Griswold wrote the first ever textbook about trampolining sports, the Trampoline Tumbling.

In 1971, Nissen and Griswold founded the United States Tumbling & Trampoline Association or the USTA. Because they had been pioneers in the field of trampolining and gymnastics, they had been both awarded and honored in the Hall of Fame. Later on, trophies and awards for trampolining competitions were named after Nissen and Griswold and were awarded to the outstanding trampolinists.

Trampolining was among the category of sports back then but George Nissen had always wished this sport to be more than just an entertainment or a minor-league sports competition. It was in the year 2000 at the 2000 Summer Olympic Games in Sydney when trampolining had officially become part of the Olympic Games. Nissen was able to attend and witness the first ever competition in that historic event.

Although trampolines are popularly known as a sports equipment back then and even today, they were also used to train navigators and pilots during the World War II. The United States Navy Flight School administered the training. When the war had concluded, trampolines were still in the picture. American and Soviet astronauts were trained using the trampolines to help them cope with the shifting positions in flight.

Recreational VS Competitive

the history of trampoline

Trampolines are of two types: recreational and competitive. In the immense array of trampolines, there are particular brands and types that are designed for competition and home use. Although every type is solidly constructed, the trampolines used for competition are engineered with sturdier features to comply with the rules and easily adapt to competition venues.

Most of these steel-made trampolines are customized with folding legs to make them more portable and much easier to transport from one venue to another. Unlike the commercial types, competitive trampolines are usually rectangular and large in size.

Recreational trampolines, on the other hand, are branched out into two: home and commercial trampolines. The ones you can purchase on the market are mostly for home use. They are also engineered with durable materials such as waterproof fabric and steel springs and frames.

As they are available in various shapes and sizes, you can opt for a trampoline that is suitable for your yard and for the number of people who will use it. To keep the bouncing equipment much safer to use, especially for kids, these trampolines are usually designed with net enclosures.

Contrary to the trampolines for home use, the commercial type is the one you see in a trampoline park. These trampolines are enormous pieces that fill out the entire gym and everyone gets to have a space for a nice jump. Groups of families and friends usually come to these trampoline parks. And to prevent accidents and injuries, the walls are also padded and crafted with trampolines.

Which Trampoline Should You Use?

the history of trampoline

Back then, the options for trampolines were limited. But today, you can drown yourself with the overwhelming choices that you can pick out according to the type, size, and shape.

  1. Kids TrampolineTrampolining is for everybody. Even our little darlings can enjoy rebounding on these trampolines. If you want your kids to experience the excitement and fun, there are trampolines that are designed for them. Most of these are small in sizes and to make sure they are perfectly safe while having fun, these trampolines are engineered with net enclosures and padded frames.
  2. Water TrampolineIf you want to bring the thrill of rebounding on the waters every summer, water trampolines are the best way to go! These trampolines are inflatable and primarily designed to spice up the water activities. They are available in large and small sizes. You can opt for the smaller sizes if you want to play with your trampoline on the swimming pools and the large sizes when you are out on the massive waters such as lakes or rivers.
  3. Exercise TrampolineTrampolining is another form of exercise that can help you be more physically fit. It brings a lot of health benefits that can greatly affect your overall health. So if you are one of those who wants to keep up with an active lifestyle through exercise, you can try this rebounding sport. These exercise trampolines are usually small in size and won’t take so much space in your yard.

Every type of trampoline sturdily built with high-quality materials to make sure you can safely jump and bounce while having fun. You can choose any types and sizes according to your needs, the total capacity, and who would use it. You can also pick out your preferred shapes among round, rectangular, oval, and square trampolines.

Trampolines Today

Trampolines have traveled a long way before they have become the popular bouncing equipment today. Back then, these trampolines were available exclusively for competitions, various shows and performances, and even as a training tool for navigators during the war and for astronauts. This equipment has a long trail of inspiring and interesting stories that only a few people might have known.

Because of the incredibly hard work of the geniuses behind this innovative invention, trampolining today isn’t just an entertainment and a recreational activity; it has become one of the well-known sports in many competitions and even paved its way to the Olympic Games.

Today, trampolines are available almost everywhere and you can even opt for the size and shape you want or any features that will suit your preference if you wish to have your own at home. Trampoline parks will also give you the opportunity to experience the fun and excitement in trampolining. Try it and have fun!

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