Bungee workout: Except for the 'fun' aspect, I don't see much benefit

I saw a lot of people expressing excitement about this bungee fitness class and what a great workout it must be. Personally, I don't see much benefit.

Yes, I get that some will think it's fun, and that might motivate them to get off the couch. I acknowledge that benefit, though I personally that's overrated. (Relying on 'fun' gimmicks isn't a good way to make lasting lifestyle changes. What usually happens is that people drop back on their sedentary ways once the novelty wears off. But I digress.)

It just seems to me that the bungee cords and gravity are doing almost all of the work. Heck, early in the video, you see the people jogging lightly in a circle, then pick their feet off the ground and let momentum continue to swing them in a circular path. No real effort involved there except for the light initial jog.

At this point, some will doubtlessly say, "A little activity is better than nothing." That's certainly true, but it seems to me that this bungee fitness class offers the illusion of exercise more than anything else. It's better than sitting on the couch, but I doubt that it's much more than that.

Some of the people commenting said that it got their heart rates up. I'd wager that this is mostly true of people who are pretty sedentary though. It doesn't require much effort to sit back, drop to the ground, and let the bungee cords pull you back upright.

Again, I'm not saying that there's absolutely no benefit to this class. Not saying that at at all. Just that the benefit appears to come mostly from the gimmicky novelty aspect rather than any inherent benefit to using the bungee cords in the manner shown.
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Replies

  • MikePTY
    MikePTY Posts: 3,816 Member
    That looks super fun, and actually like a great workout. I have to say I disagree with your analysis of it from the video. It seems like the are getting both a cardio and bodyweight workout. Sure, the bunjee provides an assistance, much in the way that an assisted pull up or dip machine provides it too. But that doesn't mean that the muscles aren't getting worked. You can see in the video, people can work their muscles in a lot of different ways that they would not normally be able to do. For someone like me who is decently in shape but has poor flexibility and balance, I could the benefit of being able to do a lot of the exercises where I would normally fall over. I'd still be working out the muscles that way, just stabilized.

    I'm pretty sure we don't have this yet in my country, or else I would definitly give it a try. I imagine if you did you would probably feel differently about the level of workout.
  • spartan_d
    spartan_d Posts: 727 Member
    I don't know about that, Mike. Which muscles are being worked when you lift your feet off the ground and let the bungees swing you in a circle? Or those moves where you just sit back and let the bungee cords bounce you back up? I'm pretty sure that none are involved.

    Now as I said, there is some benefit to this. I never said that you couldn't get a "cardio and bodyweight workout" at all, to use your words. Rather, my point is that the bungee cords and gravity do most of the work, so whatever workout you do get will be very limited. As I said, it's better than just sitting on the couch, but it's not much of a workout.

    As for the stability advantage that you mentioned, I'd say that TRX straps would do a much better job without the doing most of the work. So no, I still don't think it offers a whole lot apart from the novelty aspect.
  • jseams1234
    jseams1234 Posts: 1,215 Member
    Looking at some of the comments and people who have done it are using examples of very old almost immobile people easily doing those routines. If true - probably not something that is going to be a great tool for anything but very basic mobility work and light cardio for those incapable of a normal fitness routine. It does look fun though.
  • spartan_d
    spartan_d Posts: 727 Member
    jseams1234 wrote: »
    Looking at some of the comments and people who have done it are using examples of very old almost immobile people easily doing those routines. If true - probably not something that is going to be a great tool for anything but very basic mobility work and light cardio for those incapable of a normal fitness routine. It does look fun though.

    I quite agree. I've heard people say that it looks like a great workout. Like you though, I say that it looks fun but is unlikely to provide much of a workout except for those who are tremendously out of shape.
  • hipari
    hipari Posts: 1,367 Member
    spartan_d wrote: »
    jseams1234 wrote: »
    Looking at some of the comments and people who have done it are using examples of very old almost immobile people easily doing those routines. If true - probably not something that is going to be a great tool for anything but very basic mobility work and light cardio for those incapable of a normal fitness routine. It does look fun though.

    I quite agree. I've heard people say that it looks like a great workout. Like you though, I say that it looks fun but is unlikely to provide much of a workout except for those who are tremendously out of shape.

    If it’s fun and keeps people active, then it’s probably useful for them. There are very few workouts that are absolutely and universally beneficial to everyone (think injuries, limitations in capabilities and even pure dislike towards certain activities). I think ”don’t let perfect be the enemy of the good” applies here - it might not be optimal from a viewpoint of improving one’s fitness, but if it’s fun so people keep returning to the activity and has at least some fitness benefits, it’s all good and better than nothing.

    I’m quite convinced that my current workout plan and schedule is suboptimal from a pure performance standpoint, but I’d rather keep doing things I like and improving slower than going through a perfectly optimized program that I hate and then quitting because I don’t want to spend my free time doing that.
  • spartan_d
    spartan_d Posts: 727 Member
    edited January 2020
    hipari wrote: »
    If it’s fun and keeps people active, then it’s probably useful for them. There are very few workouts that are absolutely and universally beneficial to everyone (think injuries, limitations in capabilities and even pure dislike towards certain activities). I think ”don’t let perfect be the enemy of the good” applies here....

    I already acknowledged the "fun" aspect in the OP. In fact, I think that's its primary benefit, since the workout itself isn't very demanding. As @jseams1234 and I said, it seems to be mostly beneficial for those who are infirm or otherwise badly out of shape.

    That's why I don't put much stock in the ”don’t let perfect be the enemy of the good” argument. The problem, IMO, isn't that this bungee workout doesn't suit everybody. Obviously, that's not possible. Rather, it seems like it would suit a very limited group if people are genuinely seeking a workout. There's plenty of motion, but the cords do most of the actual work, and some of the moves are very much useless -- that swinging in a circle that I mentioned, for example. So it provides the illusion of a workout while requiring little actual effort.

    As for SnifterPug's point... I don't really think this would "challenge your core big time." It's not like a TRX workout where you have to maintain a lot of stability. The cords support most of one's weight and the harness has two points of contact close to one's center of mass. The fact that you don't see anyone even close to "collapsing like a sack of potatoes" even after jumping into the air suggests that they're pretty darned stable--not that I'd expect them to do so.
  • kimny72
    kimny72 Posts: 16,023 Member
    I think it's really hard to judge the difficulty and efficacy of a workout by watching strangers do it on tape. I've watched workout DVDs that looked easy and when I tried doing them I couldn't even finish the workout. I've seen programs that I thought were way too advanced for me but was surprised by how easily I mastered them.

    Anyway, while the bungee is helping them at some parts of the move, it's providing resistance when they're pulling it. I agree with SnifterPug that keeping good form while airborne and being pulled forward and back by the bungee probably requires working your core and stabilizing muscles. And it looks hella fun while you're jumping around for the length of the workout. I'd try that in a heartbeat if it showed up around here :smiley:
  • spartan_d
    spartan_d Posts: 727 Member
    With regard to the point raised by @kimny72... I think that the those brief moments where they're pulling against the bungees do provide some resistance. My issue with that is that those moments are rare and brief in comparison to the times where they're being helped along by the bungees.

    As for the use of core and stabilizing muscles, just look at them when they're swinging in a circle, dangling by the cords. The fact that they can swing freely without any contact with the floor at all suggests that they're being dangled without having to exert effort to stabilize themselves. This is unsurprising, given the how the harness is wrapped near their centers of gravity. So while observing may not be the same as first-hand experience, this and their other movements suggest that there's little core engagement required. I'd certainly wager that it won't "challenge your core big time."
  • SnifterPug
    SnifterPug Posts: 746 Member
    I still can't see how holding a pose does not challenge your core, even if your body weight is being supported at your centre of gravity. So I have just done an experiment to see if I could approximate what might be required. I supported my pelvis on a stool and stuck my arms and legs straight out, horizontal to the ground. (Making sure nobody was watching!) That required significant core engagement. If I ever have the opportunity to do one of these classes I shall report back further.
  • astridtheviking
    astridtheviking Posts: 113 Member
    All that stuff where you're hanging off the bungee and spinning is a lot harder than you think it does. I see they're using one arm to grip the bungee, which requires activated shoulder & arm muscles, while also using core to keep you upright. Looks like there's a lot of sustained work that increases heart rate and provides effective cardio. Looks a lot like my pole workouts.

    Ultimately, if you think it's not a sufficient workout, why not go try it so you know? In the end, does it matter whether the workout is amazing for you? Not every workout has to be ideal for every person. If you want to just be mad that people are making an attempt to work out, maybe it's not for you.
  • spartan_d
    spartan_d Posts: 727 Member
    fernt21 wrote: »

    I'm quite surprised you think working out being fun is overrated? should everyone suffer through and hate exercise thinking yay I'm glad thats over with? Am I misunderstanding your statement.

    Yes, you are totally misunderstanding what I said. I opined that this workout looks like it would be fun but comparatively ineffective, i.e. compared to other workouts, there's an awful lot of doing nothing. Obviously, that's not the same as saying that a workout is worthless if it's at all enjoyable. Surely you can see the difference rugt? If not, I can provide examples of how these statements aren't equivalent.

    And I stand by that evaluation. Others have said that holding a pose or holding onto a strap will "challenge" the core, but I think that's overstating things. There might be some core engagement, but IMO it would be small compared to, say, most calesthenics. Holding onto the strap while swing in a circle certainly won't do much, especially since much of one's weight would still be supported by the harness at one's weight. (Just FTR, I teach core engagement exercises when I design training routines for trail runners and other racers.)

    If you say that your bungee workouts are challenging for you, then I will take your word for it. I can certainly imagine some bungee routines where one has to actively resist the bungee cords for extended periods -- running against them for a minute, for example. In this video though, such moments aren't just brief, they're also few and far between. So if there are some great, demanding bungee workouts out there, this vid isn't exactly a great example.

    Seriously, where's the challenge in picking your feet off the ground, falling into sitting position, and then letting the bungee cords bounce you back up? That sort of thing creates the illusion of "working out" without requiring any actual effort, and this video is full of zero- or low-effort movements like that. It might be nice to do for fun, but as far as workouts go, the effort-to-time ratio is pretty low.
  • spartan_d
    spartan_d Posts: 727 Member
    edited January 2020
    hipari wrote: »
    I gotta ask... what’s your point here, really? To undermine an activity that you don’t enjoy or think would be beneficial for you? To make newbies whose fitness interest was maybe sparked by a fun-looking bungee class feel discouraged and defeated?
    I am expressing an opinion and inviting contrary viewpoints. This may surprise you, but some people actually appreciate hearing other points of view, even when we disagree. There have certainly been times when I have changed my mind because others have offered compelling arguments and points of view that I had not considered.

    As for newbies feeling discouraged... if they are, that's on them. Both newbies and veterans are best served by well-designed workouts and the truth. There is no shortage of workouts that are suitable for beginners and that are also well-designed. If somebody's world is going to crumble simply because another person points out that a particular workout gimmick is marginally effective, then that's their problem. Lying to that person -- exaggerating a workout's benefits -- ultimately doesn't help that person.
  • steph2strong
    steph2strong Posts: 426 Member
    spartan_d wrote: »
    hipari wrote: »
    I gotta ask... what’s your point here, really? To undermine an activity that you don’t enjoy or think would be beneficial for you? To make newbies whose fitness interest was maybe sparked by a fun-looking bungee class feel discouraged and defeated?
    I am expressing an opinion and inviting contrary viewpoints. This may surprise you, but some people actually appreciate hearing other points of view, even when we disagree. There have certainly been times when I have changed my mind because others have offered compelling arguments and points of view that I had not considered.

    As for newbies feeling discouraged... if they are, that's on them. Both newbies and veterans are best served by well-designed workouts and the truth. There is no shortage of workouts that are suitable for beginners and that are also well-designed. If somebody's world is going to crumble simply because another person points out that a particular workout gimmick is marginally effective, then that's their problem. Lying to that person -- exaggerating a workout's benefits -- ultimately doesn't help that person.

    I think the main issue here is that you haven't actually tried a workout or even seen one in person, you are making a snap judgement off of one video clip. Your opinion therefore really has no foundation to support it. You have not analyzed peoples success rate with this workout, their fitness level, their cardio or strength improvements or really anything.

    Who's lying to that person? who's exaggerating a workouts benefits? the video didn't say "you are going to lose 100 lbs doing this workout, you are going to be able to run a marathon after this workout, you are going to be able to lift 500 lbs!" it is simply promoting itself as a fun form of exercise with cardio and strength properties. This isn't a lie at all. You actually have no idea of this workouts benefits as you have never attended a class, never worked with someone who has attended this class or seen any data on these classes.

    Telling people a workout is ineffective and that they are wasting their time doing it without actually knowing anything about the workout seems to me like an approach that ultimately doesn't help people.

    If you were curious about this form of exercise and actually wanted an open discussion about it I would think you would word your post in a different way that fostered open discussion and curiosity.