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If you’re a big guy or girl you’ve probably been thinking about increasing your fitness level (or losing weight) for a while. For several years it was pretty much all I thought about. How could I think of anything else when I couldn’t tie my shoes without being out of breath?
I know that when I was at my heaviest I didn’t necessarily care about losing weight, I just wanted to be able to walk up a flight of stairs while having a conversation and bend over to pick up my daughter without throwing out my back!
So if you’re in a similar position, don’t listen to all the well-meaning skinny and fit people who tell you that they “just love running 10 miles every day!”
What I needed was an exercise regime that could be:
- adapted to a beginner level
- low impact (because of my joints)
- fun enough to motivate me
- could progress with me
I found all of that (and more) in rebounding!
Rebounding As Exercise When You’re Big & Heavy
You’ve probably heard of mini-trampolines for adults or rebounder classes but, odds are, you haven’t been on a trampoline since you were a kid. If you haven’t, you may be shocked to hear that jumping on a tramp is incredibly effective for fat loss, increasing your cardiovascular health, and improving your overall fitness level.
Not only that but, once you have mastered the basics, rebounding can be an incredibly intense workout that will push even the most seasoned athletes.
Sound too good to be true? Well let me add one more thing, it doesn’t have to be expensive to start! Forget $300 meal plans, $100 gym memberships with $80 personal training sessions, and $1,000 home gyms. The entrance fee can be whatever you’re willing to spend, from a whole paycheck to less than a night out with friends.
So, if you’re ready for a change, let’s take a look at my recommendations for the best mini trampoline for heavy adults!
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The Problem With Most Mini Trampolines
If you’ve been to any sporting goods stores, you’ve probably seen a mini trampoline with a 300-400 lb weight capacity. However, let me tell you the truth about the rebounder industry. That “Mini Trampoline: 300 lb Weight Capacity” that you see, probably isn’t going to cut it if you weigh 300lbs
The listed limit is often the weight the trampoline can take before the weakest link (usually the mat) gives out. It is not the amount you can weigh and still get a proper workout.
For example, if you weigh 400 pounds and jump on a generic mini-tramp with a 400-pound weight capacity, it probably won’t break. However, the mat will probably be so over-stressed that you might be bouncing off the ground every time you jump.
If you are big and heavy you need to get a tramp with a mat that is specifically designed to provided to provide a workout, not just to not break. Mats with too much bounce make a workout less effective and more dangerous since they increase the possibility of joint injuries!
The problem is, this kind of purpose-built mini trampoline for heavy people can be very expensive. I am well aware of this because I used a low-end trampoline for more than a year before deciding that it was worth it to me to upgrade.
If you’re in the same boat I was in (meaning you don’t have the desire to spend a whole paycheck on a trampoline) I included two options, including the one I bought, to get you started. While they are not the best, they are “good enough” for most people.
So with that out of the way, let’s talk about some high-capacity rebounders!
Best Mini Tramps (Rebounders) For Heavy Adults
1. Zupapa – The Best Mini Tramp For Heavy Beginners
This is the first rebounder that I owned the one that I still believe is the absolute best deal on an indoor trampoline for exercise and weight loss. If you are obese you might be outside the weight capacity of this tramp (it’s a mere 330 pounds) but, even if you are around the 300-pound mark this tramp will support you readily and you’ll find it extremely durable!
While this isn’t the absolute best trampoline on the market (as you can probably tell by the price) it is an absolutely amazing deal for what you get. Here are my favorite features:
- It’s super quiet. The most expensive rebounders have done away with springs and have a quiet jump system of “rubber bands” which are much quieter and provide more consistent resistance. Having a similar system in a package for this price is astounding. So if you’re planning on getting in a workout while watching a movie, the people you’re watching with won’t be throwing things at you to stop the squeaking spring sound!
- It has a jump handle. If you haven’t used a rebounder before you might underestimate the value of having something to hold onto. Very very fat to very fit you’ll be safer (and get a more effective workout) if you are more stable.
- It feels sturdy. Most “heavy-duty” things that claim to hold my weight don’t feel very sturdy when I use them. This tramp, on the other hand, feels solid and durable, even though I was right on the edge of the weight limit when I bought it.
- It’s light enough to move around. I personally don’t have enough space to have my tramp sitting out all the time. This one is light enough that I can easily move it around and lean it against the wall to save some space.
Apart from those special features, this tramp does exactly what you’d expect. It provides a good workout, lasts forever, and is affordable. I used mine several times a week for a year before upgrading and it never showed any significant signs of wear.
It is available with or without a handle, in two sizes (40″ or 45″), and in two shapes (round or hexagon) so you can get one that is the perfect fit for you.
2. bellicon – Best High Capacity Mini-Tramp
When it comes to high-quality rebounders, bellicon is THE name. If you are looking for the best there is, everyone you meet will tell you to get this specific tramp.
What’s so good about it you ask?
- This is the only mini-tramp that is endorsed by The American Chiropractic Association (ACA) to be used by people of all weights and levels of fitness.
- The custom-formulated and designed bungees are long-lasting, noiseless, and come in several different strengths to suit your weight and fitness level.
- It has the highest capacity of any rebounder on the market, supporting up to 440lbs. In fact, it is extremely difficult to find a rebounder with a 400lb capacity.
- The build quality is incredibly sturdy and you’ll never feel like you’re stressing the frame or t-bar.
- bellicon has its own training video platform to keep you on track.
- You can get bungees in 5 different strengths as your weight changes
- This particular model measures 44″ in diameter, making it one of the largest mini-tramps you can get. This is super helpful for a big guy like myself as I always feel like I need a bit more space than most people.
- Folding legs allow you to put this tramp away (and get it back out) easily. I personally just slide mine into the crack between my fridge and wall (where my wife wants to put the broom….)
So why doesn’t everyone want this tramp? Well, everyone does. But not everyone can afford it. This level of precision and German-made quality comes at a high price which many people are reluctant to invest in their fitness. If, however, you are going all-in and want something that will do a better job than anything else and last forever, pick up this tramp!
3. Needak – Best “Budget Luxury” Option
In discussions about the best quality mini trampolines for legitimate use and exercise, NEEDAK is the “other brand” that always comes up. Unlike most companies who create a single tramp and then figure out several ways to market it, NEEDAK identified some specific needs and then created several different versions of their tramps to meet those needs! They have soft versions, hard versions (specifically for people over 300 pounds), folding versions, versions with stability bars, and more!
The one that I specifically recommend (because it’s the one that I currently use) is the Needak Hard Bounce Rebounder w/ Stabilizing Bar and a Folding Frame (Amazon link) (try saying that five times fast….)
It has the best-designed stability bar for heavy people, has a mat that is specifically designed for people that weigh over 300 pounds, and has a long-lasting and quiet spring system. And, perhaps the best of all, it is one of the least expensive advanced/professional-level rebounders!
So if you are looking for the best value in the top tier of mini tramps, this is it!
The Set-Up I Decided On (It’s a Needak…)
At the end of the day, I couldn’t face spending the amount of money required to get a bellicon. It probably would have been a better fit based on my weight but I was hoping for the “best I could afford” rather than just the “best”.
I ended up getting a Needak trampoline after spending more than a year with my Zupa
Beyond the price, there were a few selling points for me. I’m just going to drop these points in bullet-point style as that’s how I made a list while shopping:
- I liked the NEEDAK’s bar better. I tested both and it felt more stable and comfortable to me.
- I liked how easy the NEEDAK is to store. While this isn’t obviously fully ready to put away, this is folded:
- I like the spring system over the bands. No real reason here, it was just a preference and I’ve had no reason to regret my decision.
For my needs, the NEEDAK won out but it won’t be so for everyone. If you have deeper pockets than I do (or take your health and weight loss more seriously) you might want the bellicon.
What To Look For In A High Capacity Rebounder (4 Tips)
If none of the rebounders above quite fit the bill for you (or you simply need more information) I think it would be useful to expand this review into a mini-tramp buyer’s guide. After all, I don’t necessarily want you to buy the one I recommend, I want you to buy the option that is best for you and your particular situation.
So what do you look for in a heavy-duty mini trampoline?
1. Proper Weight Capacity
As I mentioned above, what the weight capacity of a trampoline means is a bit nebulous. Since there is no industry standard, is the weight capacity of a heavy-duty trampoline the maximum weight it can take without breaking? Is it the weight it’s designed to be used at? The weight at which it won’t wear out quickly? Who knows! For this reason, I typically recommend that you look for a heavy-duty mini trampoline that will support a significant amount more than you weigh.
2. Grip Bars (not just for the elderly)
When I first saw the grip bar on a mini-tramp I thought it must be for bariatric patients or the elderly. Not so. While grip bars do provide stability and can help beginners feel more comfortable, they also expand your jumping workout! They give you the chance to utilize your arms and work out more vigorously than you may otherwise be able to. I highly recommend getting one!
3. Storage Method (Removable Legs, Folding, etc.)
When it comes to trampolines, one of the most annoying decisions you’ll have to make is how to store them. Should you just leave it on the floor? Should you get one with folding legs? Should you get one that folds into quarters and stuffs into a bag?
Well, here are my thoughts: if you’re overweight or not inclined to work out, make things as easy as possible for yourself. Needing to get out a trampoline and assemble it is enough of a barrier that you might just stay on the couch. When I first started, my trampoline didn’t fold up anyway so I left it in the middle of the floor in my office/computer room where I could easily just walk by and get tricked into working out.
4. Your Preferred Shape & Spring System
While you’re shopping for an adult-size mini-tramp you’ll see a lot of companies doing bizarre things to try and distinguish themselves from the competition. While some of these differences are helpful, the mat shape and the spring system are two that don’t really matter. Whether you prefer a circle or a hexagon, springs or a rubber system, it’s really up to you and none of them will drastically affect your experience.
Is A Mini Tramp A Valid Weight-Loss Tool For Heavy People?
If you search for information about mini-tramps for adults you’ll be treated to a gallery of super-fit athletes jumping high enough to land on my head, doing the splits in midair, and more. While this is cool and all, it doesn’t really give the full picture of what is possible on a trampoline. A mini trampoline is perhaps the best all-around home workout tool for overweight people.
Why is a mini-tramp the best? Well, for 3 reasons:
1. You don’t have to be fit to start
Unlike something like doing push-ups or riding a bike, you don’t have to be athletically inclined to start using a mini-tramp. I figured if I could walk and climb stairs, I could use a rebounder. You can get results and increase your fitness starting with just 1-minute bouncing intervals and, since you’re in the comfort of your home, increase the intensity and duration at your own pace.
2. It is a low-impact exercise
Although I work out regularly, running/jogging isn’t part of my repertoire. I enjoy cardio and feeling the burn but that somehow never translated to enjoying a slow slog down the road on sore feet. In fact, if I went for a jog right now, my knees would probably have something ornery to say about it.
Not so with trampolining workouts!
Because the mat is not a solid surface and there are no jarring movements bouncing is much easier on your ankles, knees, and hips than most other cardio workouts. Couple that with the fact that most heavy people have joint issues already and you have a match made in heaven!
3. It is a full-body muscle-toning cardio workout
If you want to tone your arms, do some curls. If you want to tone your legs, do some squats. If you want to work on your heart and lungs, ride a bike. If you want to do all the above (and more) at the same time, get a mini-trampoline.
If you haven’t been on a trampoline since you were a kid you’ll be shocked at how fast it will get your heart rate up and recruit your muscle fibers. Not only will you be out of breath, but your muscles will likely be sore the next day! (Also, if you are more interested in strength than cardio, check out The Best Rowing Machines for Big and Heavy People)
In case you haven’t guessed, I’m a huge fan of mini-trampolines for adults. Not only are they tremendous fun, but they also allow you to increase your mobility and fitness level. If you have some weight to lose (or some fitness to gain) get one and start bouncing. Have fun!