Friday, August 20, 2021

A Phish Inspired Cardio Workout

If you've ever seen Phish perform You Enjoy Myself then you've likely noticed that there's a section where guitarist Trey Anastasio and bassist Mike Gordon do a choreographed bounce routine on little trampolines. They did this as recently as last Sunday, August 15, 2021 in front of a crowd of 30,000+ (COVID...what COVID?) on the beach in Atlantic City. Long-time fans may recall that Phish would also jump on the mini trampolines during Mike's Song.

Anyway, these little trampolines are called rebounders and they are great exercise! You definitely break a sweat and get your heart rate up. I don't know what brand of rebounders Phish uses on stage, but I've tried both JumpSport and bellicon and can recommend both.

My bellicon rebounder

I started last year with a 39" JumpSport rebounder and these are awesome trampolines. There's even a rebounder-focused gym in NYC called The Ness that uses JumpSport rebounders. Eventually I got a 44" fully-customized bellicon and I'm glad that I did! It has folding legs so storage is a breeze, and the jumping experience is unparalleled. Rebounding is now a regular part of my home gym workout routine. If you're worried that you'll get going too fast and accidentally jump off I haven't found that to be the case. I don't think you need a handle to hold onto.

My other favorite home gym cardio choice is a slide board, which you may or may not have heard of. Phish briefly used these as stage props around 1993. Trey and Mike would slide on them while performing the songs It's Ice or Glide. Both songs were new and pretty common back then so for a short while Phish did this quite often. I don't know why they stopped using the slide boards. 

To slide on a slide board you wear special booties over your sneakers. This helps make the surface extra slick, and basically you just slide back and forth. There's a lot more advanced stuff you can do as you gain confidence. You work out different lower body muscles than a trampoline but the slide board can be just as intense. That's why I love toggling back and forth between the two. If you're worried that you'll slip and fall, don't be. Just be a little careful as you step on or off the board. Once you're moving, balance is no problem.

If you're going to invest in a slide board you probably want one that has a solid sliding surface as opposed to the flimsy cheapo ones that a lot of places have for sale. The two best slide board brands by far are Brrrn and Ultraslide, and good news I believe these are made by or at least designed by the same team of people. The solid, high-quality material makes them very durable and a pleasure to slide on.

Brrrn started off a few years ago as a cold temperature slide board gym in NYC and now sells their Brrrn Boards direct to the consumer. You can buy Brrrn Boards on Amazon Prime (5-star rating!) or from Brrrn website. Whereas, Ultraslide is the grandaddy of slide boards - sustainably made in the USA for over 35 years. Ultraslide seems geared towards selling to NBA and NHL teams or college and youth athletic programs, but Ultraslide will also make a slide board for you! Ultraslide partnered with Brrrn to help make their slide boards, so either way you're getting the best you can get. I started with a 5 foot Brrrn Board (I'm short and my house is small) but I'm probably going to move up to a 6 foot board soon to intensify the challenge. Storage is easier than I thought it would be.

I'm just glad Phish never used a NordicTrack, Peloton or treadmill on stage! Seriously. Rebounders and slide boards are like acoustic instruments. There's no buttons to push or cords to plug in. It's all on you!


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