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Urban Rebounding

Bouncing on a trampoline is just kid stuff until you learn to harness those G-forces.

What It Is: A small trampoline and a series of videos that teach you how to do a variety of exercises with it. A detachable stabilizing bar helps you stay on the trampoline.

rebounder1.jpgDescription: The trampoline - AKA the Rebounder - is sturdier than those other trampolines, and exercise videos include Latin dance bounding, African dance bounding, hip-hop bounding, ballet bounding, yoga bounding, and oldies but goodies bounding.

Quote: "You'll lose weight and tone your entire body in just minutes a day - and have the time of your life doing it!"

Super-Motivational Quote: "You don't bounce high - you bounce strong!"

Shills: JB Berns (who says he created urban rebounding after suffering a martial-arts injury) channels the weasel-faced salesman by way of the overenthusiastic personal trainer. Today his student/potential buyer is Jen, an attractive blonde with a British accent. They are backed by a phalanx of 20-50 trampoliners (they're hard to count because of the gym mirrors). Most are females, with one or two males mixed in.

Set and costumes: Standard exercise wear mostly in a standard, mirror-walled gym.

Politics: Utopian. You can exercise your entire body, but it's easy on the joints, and apparently gets an incessant smile out of anyone who uses it. Plus, any bungling tourist can get into it, as proven by a demonstration in Times Square.

Cost: $14.95 to try the Rebounder, stabilizer bar, and two videos.

Gimmick: Science! "The magic of urban rebounding is how it uses the G-forces of gravity to exercise every muscle in your body." The infomercial says that astronauts use rebounding when returning from space travel, and it cites an unspecified NASA study that praised rebounding.

Bonus Gimmick: JB shows the blonde how to get started with the help of the stabilizing bar and everyone applauds, because it only takes her two seconds to get the hang of it. If all these people can cheer and smile in unison without missing a bounce, the system must be working.

Predictable Gimmicks: Close-ups of nicely toned female abs; before-and-after shots; shots of smiling bounders crosscut with shots of people looking miserable on stair-steppers and treadmills.

"Just Because They Can" Gimmick: JB bounces an egg off one of his trademarked Rebounders, and it doesn't break.

Strained Promise: "JB will be your in-home personal trainer."

Evaluation: Most suspect is the use of word "urban," because it's a portable system that you can use anywhere. Perhaps it will provide the illusion of sophistication to the suburban weight paranoiacs who will be attracted to such a product. Then again, if JB can so gleefully navigate the space between the two definitions of bounder, he must have a sense of humor. Plus, considering that he had to leave the distinctly more badass field of martial arts for this, he's a pretty good sport.

Score: 7.5

- Scott Gordon

Editor's Note: Now I must go perform 250 sun salutations to cleanse myself.

Visit the Infomercial Reviews catalog.


Posted on November 12, 2006

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