Hula Hoop Workout: 5 Benefits & How to Get Started
They’ve been around for decades, and now they’re back with a fun new twist. Check out what might quickly become one of your new favorite activities: the hula hoop workout. This amazing low-impact workout can have you laughing and burning calories all while strengthening your muscles, especially your core. While it’s tempting to discount as “not effective,” it turns out a hula hoop workout might be a lot more beneficial than you thought.
Benefits of a Hula Hoop Workout
There are a surprising number of benefits to this nifty workout.
- Fun factor—first and foremost, this kind of exercise is just plain fun. It’s a great time to get together with friends and enjoy some serious, heartfelt laughter. It just might be impossible to hula hoop without getting a big smile on your face.
- Great warm-up—if you’re not planning on engaging in a full-fledged workout, you can certainly get your blood circulating and loosen up your muscles with a five- to ten-minute warm-up.
- Burn off body fat—yes, as fun as this type of workout is, you can burn body fat while you’re at it. And, researchers even say that using a weighted hula hoop can help you trim your waist in the process.
- Boost your cardiovascular fitness—while you’re burning off all that body fat, you’re strengthening your heart, too.
- Tone up—yup, you really can tone up with a solid hula hoop workout. Doing the exercises will work your arms, shoulders, hips, glutes, legs, and core.
Different Types of Fitness Hula Hoops
You might still have an oldie lurking in the house somewhere from back in your high school days, but if you need to get a hula hoop, there are a couple of things to consider. First, before you get started on your new hula hoop workout, you should know that there are several different types of hula hoops.
Pro hula hoops—these are relatively lightweight and generally a bit smaller in circumference. These are often used in dancing and to create artistic moves with the hula hoop. You may even see LED hoops or hoops that glow to enhance the show.
Sports weighted hoops—these are designed to help you get in a workout and are heavier than your run-of-the-mill hoop, forcing you to put more power into your moves. You can also find hoops that are padded with soft foam for a more comfortable hooping experience.
Before using a weighted hula hoop, keep in mind if you have any kind of lower back injury or pain, proceed with caution. You may even want to check with your doctor to ensure you don’t exacerbate the issue.
Travel hoops—as you can imagine, traveling with a hula hoop can present quite an issue. Travel hula hoops solve that problem by breaking down into sections that can be stored easily.
Adult and child hula hoops—this is more a matter of weight and sizing. The taller the person, the bigger the ideal hoop. Technically, when set on its side, a hula hoop should come up to about your belly button. But the size can also depend on your body shape. If you are petite, you’ll want a slightly smaller hoop. If you are larger size, you’ll want to go with one that’s just above your belly button.
Try This Hula Hoop Workout for Beginners
1. Warm Up
Start by holding the hoop in front of you, one hand on each side, perpendicular to the floor. Bring the hoop up over your head until it is parallel to the floor. Next, bend at the elbows to bring the hoop down around your head and shoulders, squeezing your back muscles as you do so. While in this position, squat down and then push through your heels to propel yourself back up to standing. Push the hoop back up over your head by straightening your arms and then return it to starting position. Repeat this sequence five times.
Begin by learning to use the hula hoop with a basic move. Place one foot slightly in front of the other as you step into the hoop and bring it up to your waist. Keep it parallel to the ground and place your back against the hoop from the inside. Next, give it a good push to one side as you swing your hips forward and back. Continue practicing this move until you can keep the hoop going around for several minutes at a time. If you’re feeling ambitious, try moving the hoop in the opposite direction.
3. Arm Side Stretches
Next, while hooping, lift your arms over your head and stretch toward the ceiling. Bring your arms back to shoulder height and reach out to your right by stretching your right arm as far out as you can. Lean right at the waist and twist your right hand so your hand alternates between palm up and palm down. Bring your right arm back toward the center and repeat on the opposite side.
4. Overhead Arm Work
While hooping, lift your arms over your head and stretch them toward the ceiling. Next, keeping your arms straight, bring them out to your sides and then together in front of you. Finally, raise your arms together above your head again and repeat.
5. Full Body Swings
Continue swinging your hips back and forth and allow the hoop to travel up your body over your chest and up to just under your shoulders. Continue hooping and allow the hoop to travel back down your body as low as you can get it. If you’re feeling talented, try bringing your feet together and using even more full-body movement to keep the hoop going.
6. Body Circles
Start by standing in the hoop with your feet about hip-width apart and hold the hoop against your lower back. Lean forward as you dip the hoop down in the front and then roll your torso to the right while allowing the hoop to roll with your body movements. Do a full circle, allowing the hoop to dip down with your body as your roll. Come back to the front and repeat in the opposite direction.
7. Knee Bends
This may take some practice and some balance. While hooping, move your toes so that they point out to the sides of your body. Slowly bend at the knees to lower your body into a partial sumo squat (knees out to your sides). Maintain your rhythm from this position for 20 seconds and then straighten your legs to return to the starting position.
8. March in Place
Lastly, if you’re feeling super coordinated, try marching as you continue to hula hoop. You can also pump your arms back and forth once you meet expert level.
What’s most important is that you have fun and don’t take the workout too seriously, even though it’s challenging.