By: Jenny Alpaugh | Photography: David Barnes
The trampoline craze has finally come to Athens. Sky Zone, which has three locations in Georgia, was the world’s first indoor trampoline park, and the idea that combines fitness and fun has spread all across the world.
Rush is Athens first indoor trampoline park and opened on February 10. The facility has trampoline grids, tumble tracks (longer stretches of trampoline), dodgeball, extreme dodgeball, a foam pit and a ninja course. Owner Alexandru Muresan, who previously owned Aerofit, a much smaller trampoline facility in Athens, says he had been looking to transition to a larger space since May 2014.
“I thought I was just going to expand Aerofit, keep the name and just expand to a bigger location,” Muresan says. But after talking to the trampoline manufacturer who mentioned wanting partners to open parks called Rush, he decided to go with the new name.
Rush is located at 10 Huntington Road and fills a space that was previously a TJ Maxx and a Shoe Carnival. The building process began in October 2014.
“We had nothing in here,” Muresan says. “The only thing that was in here was the sprinkler system which was lowered and then the trashed AC.”
Muresan says he worked with a trampoline manufacturer to design the trampolines for Rush. Some of the trampolines are curved, like the ones in the extreme dodgeball court, while others are flat. The ninja course will be one-of-a-kind and is an obstacle course that will incorporate trampolines and foam pits. According to Muresan, Rush can accommodate up to 100 people.
“Believe it or not, we’ve been at capacity probably a couple times now, and it doesn’t look that intimidating, and I thought it would be packed,” Muresan says. “At Aerofit, you had 16 people which was capacity, and it looked just crazy,”
Although Aerofit was more focused on fitness, Rush will have less fitness classes and more opportunities for open jump, which is an hour of time that customers can choose to do whatever they want. However, participants will still experience the benefits of trampoline exercise even without an instructor.
“The best benefit is that you strengthen the back part of your core that you never get to work,” Muresan says. “It just gets weaker and weaker, and you get old, and you fall apart. So trampoline involuntarily has to stabilize the front and the back, so that’s why a lot of time it hurts people’s back - really it’s just their muscles getting tight.”
Emily Giambalvo, a freshman marketing major from South Carolina, was a level-10 gymnast in high school and was excited when she heard about Rush. “One of my friends saw something on Twitter and retweeted it and tagged me in it, and I replied and said, ‘Let’s go now,’ and we went the next day,” Giambalvo says.
In addition to enjoying the opportunity to do exercise similar to gymnastics again, Giambalvo says she was impressed by the staff of Rush and wanted to go back again the next day. “For 15 years, every single day I was flipping,” Giambalvo says. “Just to have a little taste of that again - it made me want to do it even more, and I really enjoyed it.”
Giambalvo encourages all students to try Rush, even if they are not a level-10 gymnast. “The fun block foam pits give you a lot of freedom,” Giambalvo says. “Obviously you don’t want to go into it head first, but it really does make it to where you can try stuff that you maybe never got to try before. Go YouTube a little bit of gymnastics and that should motivate you. Overall, the atmosphere in there was really laidback, obviously safe, but it was a nice comfortable feeling.”