, , , , ,

Neuromechanical Adaptations Following Trampoline Use

Have you ever heard of “trampoline aftereffect”?  It is that sensation that you have after jumping on a trampoline.  You get off the trampoline and your legs feel a little woozy or jelly like.  Pediatric therapy sessions that include motor skill development or sensory processing skills may include trampoline activities.  Did you know that after jumping on a trampoline there are specific neuromechanical adaptations?  Research that was conducted in 15 adults indicated that following jumping on an elastic surface the following was recorded:

  • significant increase in EMG activity of knee extensors during the eccentric phase of the jump and significant increase in co-activation around the ankle jump during the concentric phase of the jump
  • significant increase in leg stiffness
  • significant decrease in jump height

The researchers suspect that the changes may be due to errors in sensory feedback comparing the elastic surface to the rigid surface.

This is small but important information when planing a therapy session that conjured up some questions for me.  When do you use a trampoline?  At times it is used for proprioceptive input, endurance activities or as a precursor to learning how to jump on the floor.  Although this study was done with adults, we can take some information and perhaps avoid testing any jumping skills following the use of a trampoline since the research indicated a decrease in jump height and increase in leg stiffness.  Does muscle stiffness increase in children with hypotonicity following jumping on a trampoline? 

If (and I say IF) there are errors in sensory feedback following jumping on an elastic surface are trampolines the best proprioceptive input for children with sensory processing disorder?

Reference: Márquez G, Aguado X, Alegre LM, Férnandez-Del-Olmo M. Neuromechanical adaptation induced by jumping on an elastic surface. J Electromyogr Kinesiol. 2013 Feb;23(1):62-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jelekin.2012.06.012. Epub 2012 Aug 9.