To the untrained eye it’s just bouncing on a mini trampoline. But there’s much more to it according to world-record weight lifting champion, author, and Olympic team trainer Dr. Harry Sneider.
He should know. Rebounding gave him his life back.
When Harry was just a boy he fell from a 10-foot wall, landing directly on his right hip.
He was living post-war Germany at the time where doctors were unaware of now-common treatments. As a result, his simple injury developed into osteomyelitis and he began a lifelong journey with a physical disability.
An athlete at heart, Harry used his situation to his advantage. With running sports out of the question, he gravitated to upper body strength training. In the 1950s and 1960s he was able to bench-press over 450 pounds, setting a world record in the process. Still, his hip made cardiovascular exercises difficult.
Things changed in 1979. While on faculty at Ambassador College in Pasadena, California, Harry encountered rebounding for the first time.
[pullquote_right]I was able to move despite my condition.[/pullquote_right]
“A fellow faculty member encouraged me to try the rebounder since my leg prevented me from other exercises,” he recalls. “I was really impressed how I was able to move despite my condition. I developed coordination and began to get some good fitness activity out of it.”
Harry was so impressed with rebounding that he and his wife Sarah developed rebounding classes for the faculty and staff of the college. Rebounding wasn’t new at the time. Legendary fitness man Jack LaLanne had been using a rebounder for 15 years. But Harry changed the game when he (in true bodybuilder fashion) added weights to the equation.
“My wife Sarah and I found that hand-held, sandbag weights helped increase resistance,” he says. “The softness is good for improving grip, and safer than regular weights.”
Little did the Sneiders know, their idea would shape their future as world-renowned trainers and have them rub shoulders with some of the most influential fitness icons in the world.
By 1984 the Sneiders’ weight resistance rebounding idea was raising eyebrows with world-champion athletic trainers. As a result, Harry was invited to be a coach for the 1984 US Olympic Team where he developed and oversaw rebounder training for 20 athletes in 9 different sports.
Thanks in part to Harry’s rebounder training, the Olympic team gained better balance, better coordination, and achieved historic results. Today, many in the medical community endorse rebounding for its energizing effect on the lymphatic system (the body’s toxin management system), which in turn has a profound effect on the immune system.
Rebounding is beneficial for the joints, too. Compared to exercising on a hard surface, rebounding is known to reduce trauma to the joints by up to 85%.
Harry and Sarah have found rebounding particularly beneficial for senior citizens. Harry (who just turned 70) says Sarah (65) is living proof. She recently earned 7 medals in the California State Senior Olympics.
“Seniors need to understand that rebounding contributes to balance,” Harry notes. “Resistance training associated with rebounding also helps strengthen bones to prevent fractures.”
“A rebounder is a piece of equipment that is highly versatile,” Harry says. “You can use it anywhere and the benefits can be life changing.”