Skip to content

A Regular Trampoline or an Olympic Trampoline, What’s the Difference?

Trampolines have always been a source of fun for many of us, something to bounce on whenever our friends come over and pose while in the air. However, as we grow older, we find that it’s much more than that. Trampolines are used in gyms and even at the Olympics (and this is the reason for the term, Olympic trampolines).

Many believe that regardless of where they are used, trampolines are trampolines. They are designed to help you bounce up and down. However, there are different sizes, shapes and types of trampolines for different purposes. There are also many different trampoline accessories.

In this article, we will be looking at the difference between a regular trampoline and an Olympic trampoline in more detail to help you understand the differences, or to help you decide which one is the best option for you.

Recreational vs. Olympic Trampolines – Differences

Feature/Purpose Recreational Trampolines Olympic Trampolines
Trampoline Bed The beds of recreational trampolines are different from Olympic trampoline beds. Recreational trampoline beds are made of Hot-slit Polypropylene selvage Black Material. This material has a very tight knit woven fabric for less air flow. These beds are known in the industry as dead beds. Less bounce because less airflow. On average, individuals can perform more than two rotations safely. The Competitive Trampoline beds & springs are much higher quality. The String Beds are still all hand woven on looms with ¼” squares allowing for the airflow through the bed. The beds are made with specific types of string and twisted to the right amount of tension to allow the combination of good airflow and tension to give you the best bounce.  Each spring has 39lbs of tension, therefore the trampolinist can jump much higher. Athletes can perform three (or more) rotations safely. The material allows higher jumps, improved ankle mechanics, and knee and hip support.
Training Even competitive trampolinists start with basic trampolines. Since these trampolines do not bounce the trampolinist as high, there is a reduced risk of injury. These trampolines are used to teach individuals the fundamentals of the Trampoline sport.  straight jumps, landing, head, body, and arm control.

The recreational trampoline is more to let people have fun and enjoy the outdoors with a little bounce.

With the same effort, trampolinists can go much higher with Olympic trampolines. There is very little room for error, especially when it comes to ankle, knee, and hip positioning.

The minimum age to compete at a competition is 9 years old starting at level 1 and moving to Level 4. The coaches are trained the same way. Level 4 coach teaches level 4 athletes. Without proper training and practice, there is a higher risk of injury on Olympic trampolines.

Spotter Requirement There is no spotter required.

Conversely, children jumping on a trampoline in the backyard should have a spotter or constant supervision to watch that they play and bounce safely to decrease the risk of injury.

Spotters are required during a trampoline competition. Approximately 4 spotters and one coach surround the trampoline with their eyes fixed on the athlete. Spotters are there to aid the athlete in case they miss the landing or they start wandering in air off the trampoline. They can help prevent the athlete injury having spotters stationed on all four sides and the coach in the middle with the throw mat to through if they see something go wrong.
Max Number of Jumpers The number of people on any trampoline at any given time whether it’s a competitive or backyard trampoline is 1 individual. However, backyard trampolines always have more than one person at a time for the most part. It is important that the trampoline accessories or the bed used can sustain an adult’s weight to reduce the risk of tearing and injury Olympic trampolines should only have one person using the trampoline at any given time to ensure balance and safety. Even for synchronized jumpers, two separate trampolines are used.


Markings Since backyard trampolines do not bounce individuals very high, they do not have any markings.


Olympic trampolines can bounce individuals up to 33 feet (8 meters) on average. There is a contrasting “X” in the middle surrounded by several other red lines to aim for.  These boxes ad lines are the FIG marking. These are the standard that all competitors use. The lines and boxes are the way the athlete is scored. Staying with the box and the “X” is where you gain the higher points and outside the boxes and lines are where penalty points are taken Deviations can make you win or lose.

If you would like to learn more about which one suits your needs, or are merely looking to buy the right one for your backyard (or gym), let us know! We can help you choose the right trampoline accessories and beds to meet your needs.