Tuesday, March 31, 2015

We Tried It: SkyRobics

Of the 36,000 square feet that comprises Sky Zone Oaks, almost 20,000 of them are made of trampolines. Even if you're just observing a class, you're bouncing or balancing on the trampoline.

We Tried It: SkyRobics

When Sports Doc first learned about the new Sky Zone location in Oaks last March, I talked to a few people who’d tried the workout.

“Exhausting,” said one woman who was enough of an athlete to play two sports at the collegiate level. “I barely made it through that.”

So when Health Producer Kelly O’Shea expressed interest in doing the workout, I was all too happy to take her up on that offer. “Awesome,” I said. “I’ll come along, check it out and write about your experience.”

I was pretty happy with that decision as I watched an exhausted young woman leave the class area as Kelly and Philly.com intern Megan Schmidt awaited their turns. But then Sky Zone operations manager Martin Boemer handed me a pair of special trampoline shoes. “You’ll need these if you’re going in there,” he said. “Even if you’re just watching.”

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See, of the 36,000 square feet that comprises Sky Zone Oaks, almost 20,000 of them are made of trampolines. Even if you’re just observing a class, you’re bouncing or balancing on the trampoline.

The class began simply enough, as SkyRobics instructor Laura Fried gave some simple instructions on safety and repeated her own specially crafted motto, “Our goals today are to sweat, smile, and have fun!”

Participants start by performing simple side-to-side jumps from square to square on the trampoline surface. They progressed to the side walls of the trampoline, where they pushed up into standing positions in core tightening exercises. Next were several routines lasting 30 seconds each, including mountain climbers, push-ups and squat jumps.      

And that’s just the first 10 minutes.

As the class proceeded to run (gallop?) four laps around the trampoline area, Megan ran past proclaiming, “This is intense.” Ten seconds later, it’s Kelly’s turn. “This is pretty tough.”

It’s safe to say Fried accomplished her goals. They’re sweating... but nonetheless smiling. And even off to the side, somewhat detached from the class itself, I could tell one thing.

This looks like serious fun.

The Idea

“Depending how hard you push yourself, you can burn up to 1,000 calories per hour of SkyRobics,” Fried told me during a break.

Judging by the activities, Kelly and Megan easily approached that mark. A crawl through a foam pit was followed by a trip back to the trampolines, where the class simulated rope climbing drills while bouncing. Next is a set of jumping jacks followed by a couple laps around the surface while passing a dodgeball back and forth.

“After three laps around that court, I thought my heart was going to pound right out of my chest,” recalled Kelly. “This is definitely a little harder than the average workout.”

“I have to judge activities based on who’s in the class,” explained Fried. “Yesterday, I had several guests who were in their 70s.”

I hesitated for a second before remembering what Steve Egan, the Oaks’ location’s general manager told me earlier. “We don’t use the word customer,” he said. “Everyone who comes in here is our guest.”

The diversity of classes—Egan says kids as young as 18 have taken the SkyRobics course alongside the aforementioned guests in their 70s—speaks to the pliability of the workout. “Sure, it’s intense,” admitted Egan. “But it’s low-impact, and easy on your joints. It’s an ideal opportunity for people of all shapes and sizes, and all fitness levels.”

SkyRobics is just the beginning. Birthday parties at Sky Zone are becoming popular for the younger crowd, while Sky Mania and Sky Jam events on Friday and Saturday nights cater to the middle school and teenage crowds. Those looking for a competitive experience will want to check out Sky Zone’s dodgeball tournaments, starting April 22.

As the class concluded, I gave in and attempted a few dunks on the trampoline basketball rims, which sit adjacent to one another and range from 8-11 feet in height. “This is amazing—I haven’t been on a trampoline since I was about five,” Kelly said. The success—or lack thereof—of my alley-oop attempts was proof enough that I’m not particularly familiar either.

Martin Boemer met us in the lobby to offer organic sodas as a post-workout drink. “We’re committed to fitness, so you won’t see Coke or Pepsi products here,” Steve Egan explained. “You’re going to burn several hundred calories… then what? Just eat them back up? All our snacks and drinks are organic.”

The class session ended, but as we returned the trampoline shoes to the front desk, I loitered around the lobby waiting for Martin.

I’m signed up for my own session next week.

For more information on Sky Zone Oaks, visit http://www.skyzone.com/oaks or call 484-927-4433.

Read more Sports Doc for Sports Medicine and Fitness.

Robert Senior Event coverage, Sports Doc contributor
About this blog

Whether you are a weekend warrior, an aging baby boomer, a student athlete or just someone who wants to stay active, this blog is for you. Read about our growing list of expert contributors here.

J. Ryan Bair, PT, DPT, SCS Founder and Owner of FLASH Sports Physical Therapy, Board Certified in Sports Physical Therapy
Brian Cammarota, MEd, ATC, CSCS, CES Partner at Symetrix Sports Performance
Ellen Casey, MD Physician with Drexel University Sports Medicine
Desirea D. Caucci, PT, DPT, OCS Co-owner of Conshohocken Physical Therapy, Board Certified Orthopedic Clinical Specialist
Michael G. Ciccotti, M.D. Head Team Physician for Phillies & St. Joe's; Rothman Institute
Julie Coté, PT, MPT, OCS, COMT Magee Rehabilitation Hospital
Justin D'Ancona Philly.com Health
Peter F. DeLuca, M.D. Head Team Physician for Eagles, Head Orthopedic Surgeon for Flyers; Rothman Institute
Joel H. Fish, Ph.D. Director of The Center For Sport Psychology; Sports Psychology Consultant for 76ers & Flyers
R. Robert Franks, D.O. Team Physician for USA Wrestling, Consultant for Phillies; Rothman Institute
Ashley B. Greenblatt, ACE-CPT Certified Personal Trainer, The Sporting Club at The Bellevue
Eugene Hong, MD, CAQSM, FAAFP Team Physician for Drexel, Philadelphia Univ., Saint Joe’s, & U.S. National Women’s Lacrosse
Brian Maher, BS, CSCS Owner, Philly Personal Training
Julia Mayberry, M.D. Attending Hand & Upper Extremity Surgeon, Main Line Hand Surgery P.C.
Jim McCrossin, ATC Strength and Conditioning Coach, Flyers and Phantoms
Gavin McKay, NASM-CPT Founder/Franchisor, Unite Fitness
Kevin Miller Fitness Coach, Philadelphia Union
Heather Moore, PT, DPT, CKTP Owner of Total Performance Physical Therapy, North Wales and Hatfield, PA
Kelly O'Shea Senior Health Producer, Philly.com
Tracey Romero Sports Medicine Editor, Philly.com
David Rubenstein, M.D. Sports Medicine Surgeon, Rothman Institute
Robert Senior Event coverage, Sports Doc contributor
Justin Shaginaw, MPT, ATC Athletic Trainer for US Soccer Federation; Aria 3B Orthopaedic Institute
Thomas Trojian MD, CAQSM, FACSM Associate Chief of the Division of Sports Medicine at Drexel University
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