When you think of hula hooping, what comes to mind? I think for most people, it’s the image of swaying hips! So it makes perfect sense to feel some concern about taking on hula hooping after having a hip replacement.
If you are an expecting mom wondering if it’s okay for you to hula hoop while you are pregnant, you are not alone. In the nearly nine years I have been doing this, I have met many mothers who hula hooped throughout their pregnancy. I decided to interview them. Read on to hear their stories and see their amazing photos.
It can sometimes feel like the hula hoop community forgets about us bigger folks. It’s like going to the mall and all the stores only have clothing up to size large. Yo, can I get some XXL up in here?
Updated for 2020!
I really enjoy making hula hoops because:
- It’s not messy
- It doesn’t require many tools
- It doesn’t take very long
- Anyone can do it!
If you’re new to the concept of hula hooping for exercise, you may be surprised to find out that hula hooping burns as many as 600 calories per hour! That’s the equivalent to an hour of Zumba or even jogging!
If you’re interested in how to lose weight hula hooping, the size and weight of your hoop are very important factors to consider.
This list has been updated for 2021!
Okay, I realize the line between need and want is a fine line. So the word “need” is being used loosely here. There are just certain things we need as hoopers!
If you’re new to hooping but already know it will be a life long obsession, this list is for you.
Or, if you’re looking for some great gift ideas for the hula hooper in your life, this article should help you out as well.
Hula hooping seems like such a fun, colorful way to get your daily workout in, doesn’t it? Besides the fact that hula hooping burns mega calories, tones muscle and improves your cardiovascular health, I’ve also never seen anyone spin a hula hoop without smiling at the same time. It’s impossible, trust me!
But, if you get into hula hooping without the proper information, you definitely put yourself at risk of injury.
If you’re like most people new to hula hooping for exercise, you probably bought one of those big, clunky hula hoops from Target or Amazon. They’re colorful, usually fairly large compared to the hoops in the toy section, and marketed by big corporations as “weighted fitness hula hoops”.
So after your first day of using it, you wake up the next morning and gasp at the pain you feel around your middle! Soreness and bruising, maybe even skin irritation. It hurts to get out of bed. What in the world did you get yourself into??
But before you give up on hula hooping forever, let me explain to you WHY your first time hula hooping hurt your waist, and what you can do differently to keep hula hooping without getting hurt again!
Before you read any further, throw that bumpy hula hoop in the trash. Seriously – now.
That hoop is way too heavy, it’s clunky as hell, and it has weird ridges. Why do weighted hula hoops have ridges, anyway?
I Googled that to find out, but all I could find was some mumbo-jumbo about how they help massage and stimulate your muscles…or something.
Of course, they forgot to mention that they also cause bruising and internal injuries.
So what kind of hula hoop should you use, then?
The best hula hoop for burning calories, toning your body, and improving your overall health is one that weighs about 1-2 pounds, does NOT have ridges on it, and is custom-sized to your specific body type.
As you can see below, this hoop, which is perfect for learning how to hoop around your waist, does not have any ridges and it is not super thick, heavy tubing.
Excessively heavy hula hoops serve literally no purpose. You can get a much better, and SAFER workout using a hula hoop that weighs considerably less and doesn’t hurt your waist.
Like any popular trend, hula hooping, due to its rise in popularity in recent years, has fallen victim to big corporations and their endless resources for marketing. These companies have done a great disservice to the hula hoop community by confusing the public on what kind of hula hoop is best for exercising.
They feed off of our urgency to lose weight and our insecurities and anxieties about our bodies – offering the proposition that the heavier your hula hoop is, the faster you will spin your way to looking like a runway model.
But it’s just not true. To learn to hula hoop around your waist, you do need a LITTLE bit of weight–remember I said about a pound or two at the most–but never more than that, no matter what body type you have.
The most important factor about your hula hoop is how big around it is – the diameter. For our best-selling beginner hoop, we use a size chart based on your waist measurement to ensure we get you in the perfectly sized hoop for your unique body.
After all, everyone is different! I am a tall, naturally large woman, so I needed a bigger hula hoop than my friend Jean did, pictured below.
Once you get the correctly sized and weighted hoop, you will never have to worry about hula hooping hurting your waist ever again.
Short answer: YES. Yes gurl, you can hula hoop if you are fat, skinny, tall, short, young, or old!
When I started Ruby Hooping eight years ago, I was a, shall we say, curvy woman who had been writing about plus-size fitness for a few years. I had made it my mission in life to show the world that we curvy ladies can do anything we set our minds to, and that we should not allow our physical size to be an excuse not to live life to its fullest.
Last year we wrote an article about hula hooping during pregnancy, and we wanted to follow up with some more information on hula hooping after giving birth.
We collected stories and photos from several hooping mamas about their experiences getting into hula hooping after bringing life into this world.
If you’ve ever seen a hula hooping video go viral on Facebook, it might remind you of back when you were 10 years old and could hula hoop forever, and then you wonder, “Well why can’t I hula hoop anymore?”
And then you feel really old.
Because you mistakenly assume that you either have to be a 10 year old kid or in extremely good physical shape to learn how to hula hoop.
Honestly, I’ve heard it all. All the reasons why people think they can’t hula hoop.
- You could never do it as a kid.
- Or if you could, you haven’t done it since you were a kid.
- You’re too old,
- Or too fat,
- Or you have a bad back.
- You have no rhythm.
- You could just never get the hang of it.
- You don’t have the hips for it.
The truth is, none of these are valid reasons for not hula hooping.
I’m 35. I never could hoop in my life until I was almost 30 years old.
An Overview of Hula Hoop Grip Solutions for a Slippery Hula Hoop
When you first start hula hooping, there is a lot to learn. You start researching what kind of hula hoop to get and before you know it, you’ve gone down a rabbit hole reading about hula hoop sizes, weights, and…grip.
So what do you mean by grip and why do I need it?
If you’ve ever had trouble with a hula hoop falling down, you need it.
Since hula hoops are made of sleek plastic, they are quite slippery in their unaltered state. It’s nearly impossible to learn how to hula hoop with a hoop that has no grip whatsoever. Hoopers have come up with a variety of ways to deal with this over the years.
I am going to list all hula hoop grip options next, in the order of how commonly used they are based on my experience making and selling hula hoops for the past 6 years.
Most Common Type of Hula Hoop Grip – Gaffers Tape
Gaffers tape, which we often refer to as “grip tape”, is a durable, cotton-based cloth adhesive tape. It is manufactured for use in the theater, movie and television production industries, to tape cords down and mark spots on the stage floor.
As with most materials used to make hula hoops, gaffers tape has been brilliantly repurposed as grip tape by hula hoopers.
It’s perfect because it creates a serious amount of grip while adding a colorful pinstripe to your hula hoop. There are many ways you can choose to apply grip tape. At Ruby Hooping we generally do it two ways:
Hula Hoop Grip Tape Lined Inside:
Hula Hoop Grip Tape Spiraled Around:
Both are suitable for beginners and advanced hoopers. The style in which you choose to apply the grip tape to your hula hoop is personal preference. As long as your hoop has grip tape of some kind, you will be fine as a beginner.
In our Go Getter Starter Pack, which includes a beginner hoop, a dance practice hoop and a set of minis, here’s how we apply the grip tape: on the beginner hoop it is generously spiraled around; on the dance practice hoop is it spiraled but spaced out more, and on the minis, it is lined along the inner rim of the hoops.
Gaffers tape comes in a wide variety of widths but 1/2″ is most common. You can get a whole roll of the tape, which will last you several months or more, for cheap. It comes in tons of bright colors, many of which are neon / UV reactive.
The reason you should keep a roll of it on hand is because grip tape does need to be replaced every so often. It will get dirty over time and also peel away from the hoop after months of use.
Generally you can just peel it off of your hoop, clean your hoop with alcohol (and possibly some coconut oil if there is residue that won’t come off easily), and then replace with a brand new strip of grip tape.
Grip tape will add a little bit of weight to your hoop, which is a good thing when you’re just starting out.
Other Types of Hula Hoop Grip Tape
Gaffers tape is not the only kind of grip tape hula hoopers use. We also use an even more specialized, grippier tape called 3M Grip Tape. This tape is manufactured for industrial non-slip situations.
It’s clear, so it works great on any hula hoop, and I would say MEGA is the word that describes how grippy this stuff is. It is definitely more grippy than gaffers tape.
It adds more weight than gaffers tape also, which can be nice as a beginner. It kind of sucks once you become more advanced though and don’t really necessarily want the extra weight all the time.
Even so, this tape is a great choice for at least two scenarios:
- Learning doubles, because it really helps the hoops grip to your hands
- Learning leg or shoulder hooping, because it really grips well to your skin and keeps the hoop from slipping so easily while learning these difficult moves
Hoop Wax and Other Non-Tape Grip Solutions
My personal favorite kind of hula hoop grip is hoop wax. It’s SO grippy! And it does not add extra weight to your hula hoop which is another huge plus for me.
Our hula hoop wax is made with natural ingredients like coconut oil and beeswax. It also has essential oils added for a delicious aroma and glitter because..glitter 🙂
For the small price tag, it’s completely 100% worth trying at the very least.
If you’re a DIY kind of person, try looking up recipes for surf wax – very similar and will totally get the job done!!
Keep in mind, hoop wax will get on your hands, so if you’re the kind of person that can’t stand that, then hoop wax is not for you. Also, it can get a little bit gross in the summertime in extremely hot temperatures!
It does need to be reapplied about once a week if you are a daily hooper. It’s also easy to clean off using coconut oil and a damp rag or you can scrape it off using the scrapers we provide with our wax.
Here’s our video on how to apply hula hoop wax (or you can click thru to watch it on Facebook).
Non-Wax Grip Sticks
There are various kinds of grip stick out there manufactured specifically for hula hoopers, and it’s fun to try them all!
We’ve even seen people rub hot glue sticks onto their hula hoop and amazingly, it works pretty great!
And finally, sanding your hoop is a great way to get long-lasting grip without adding weight. We recommend 60 grit sandpaper swiped lightly across the hoop in any direction you prefer. For less grip, use a higher grit sandpaper! You can also sand your hoop and then apply wax to the sanded portion for extreme grip action!
I really hope this cleared up the very confusing subject of hula hoop grip! Good luck on all your hooping adventures!
Don’t forget to join us in our Facebook group to share your favorite hoop grip ideas with us!
Still having trouble getting your hula hoop to stay up? Try our Six Week Beginner Hula Hoop Challenge to get the best hoop training for your unique body, taught by our founder Mama Ruby.
Now get out there and get your hoop on!
Here you will find several free Youtube tutorials we have created to help you find your flow!
We get readers every week wanting to know if they can hula hoop with a bad back! So, Ruby Hooping has invited hoop dance instructor and speaker Missy Cooke to write a guest blog post for this topic! So can you hula hoop with a back injury? The answer is YES!
Whether you are interested in making hula hoops or buying them, figuring out what type of hula hoop tubing you want can be pretty confusing, especially to beginners! There are quite a few types of hula hoop tubing available today, and each kind of tubing generally comes in different sizes.
Here is our easy to understand guide to all the types of tubing used for making hula hoops.
If you’re worried about not being able to hula hoop, knowing what size hula hoop to get is the best way to ensure you will be successful.
Trust me, I know how confusing it is to figure out what size hula hoop you need to start. When I first started hooping, I did exactly what most people do: I bought a hoop on a whim in the toy section at Walmart, rushed home, tried it out and couldn’t get the hang of it at all.
You may have tried to learn how to hula hoop as a child and, if you were anything like me, you failed miserably. But if you think you can never be a hooper, think again! If I can learn, anyone can.
Today we answer the number one hula hoop question of all time:
Why does my hula hoop keep falling down?
It usually goes something like this: You see a video of a grown person hula hooping on Instagram and you go grab your kid’s 3 dollar hoop from Walmart and give it a try. The hoop falls immediately and you chuckle to yourself, thinking you probably won’t be a hula hoop star anytime soon.
Then, next time you’re at Target, you spring for one of those ultra-clunky hoops in the exercise section of the store.
You rush home, eager to become the hoop goddess you know you were born to be.
Most people are drawn to hula hooping because they are looking for a fun way to get some exercise.
So, IS hula hooping good exercise, for real for real? Or is it just something silly that kids do?
The answer is a resounding YES, hula hooping is AMAZING exercise.
Even if all you ever learn how to do is hoop around your waist, you are going to get a really good workout. If you can carve 30 minutes out a few times a week to hula hoop, you will see major progress towards your fitness goals.
Whether those goals are to just remain active as you get older, or to lose weight, or to tone muscles, hula hooping is a great solution for all of the above.
So how does hula hooping provide a good workout?
Hula hooping requires use of many muscles to keep the hoop moving, whether you’re hooping on your waist, legs, chest, or even your arms. Continuous hula hooping will bring your heart rate up to the same level that any brisk movement would, such as dancing, Zumba, power walking, etc. So at its most basic level, hula hooping is a really good cardio workout.
There are other ways to exercise with hula hoops though, if you’re looking to tone muscles, including drilling simple motions and tricks, which will really help you target certain muscle groups. Most moves will tone your core naturally, and whatever moves you choose to focus on can help you workout your back, shoulders, arms, and legs. If you check out my Youtube I have a lot of beginner tutorials to give you an idea of what I mean.
Is hula hooping good exercise for everybody? Or is it only for people with a thin waist?
As a plus size hooper I can positively tell you that hula hooping is great exercise for everyone. No matter your body size, or ability level, or your age, hula hooping can be life changing for you and is most definitely an amazing workout. Hula hooping is low impact so it’s easy on your joints which is what makes it such a great choice for people who have special circumstances or limitations.
At the same time, it’s still a challenging workout for even the most fit people. That’s the beauty of hula hooping – you can do as much or as little as you want with it, and there’s so much to learn it can challenge anyone.
Hula hooping is more than just good exercise
I have to tell you that the fact that hula hooping is good exercise is just icing on the cake for most hoopers, including me. I am so grateful that my body gets the workout it needs from hula hooping, but I would still do it even if that wasn’t part of the equation.
The reason is because hula hooping makes me feel so good on the inside – it really helps my mental health by providing relief for stress and anxiety.
I also love that it brings our family together. All of the kids in our family love the hoops and are always eager to put their devices down and enjoy some screen free family time.
So between the amazing physical benefits and all of the other health benefits of hula hooping, I would completely understand if you emailed me right now asking me to rush your order. 🙂
If you need help choosing the right size hula hoop to start with, go here.
featured photo is of Pippin, by Rion Fish
There are plenty of generic articles on the topic of hula hooping health benefits, so if you’re just looking for scientific data, this probably isn’t the article for you. I’m not a doctor or a scientist.
I’m just somebody who has been hula hooping, teaching hooping, and making custom hoops for people of all body types for 8 years. I can tell you about how much hula hooping has enriched and improved my life, and how I know it will do the same for you.
#1 Health Benefit of Hula Hooping – Improved Mental State
There are literally so many health benefits of hooping, I could write a dozen articles or more about this topic. It’s hard for me to choose which benefit is truly the best, or has had the most impact on my life. But when it all comes down to it, hula hooping has made me a happier, more grounded, calmer and more confident person – so I have to say the mental health benefits of hula hooping are above all else.
When you turn on your favorite music and spend some time just hooping, you will get lost in your hoop. You will feel a sense of peace and calmness inside that you maybe have never felt before. You will enter what is described by experts as a “flow state” – a state of mind where you’re basically in meditation mode – you’re not thinking about when the rent is due, or worrying about the corona virus, and you’re not comparing yourself to others on social media.
You’re focused only on one thing – the hoop swirling around you. It is so refreshing. It is beautiful, and amazing, and it feels SO good.
Though I would never be so casual as to suggest that hula hoops should replace proper mental health care from medical professionals, hula hooping certainly can be an instrumental part of an overall wellness plan in your life. Hoops provide relief that nothing else I’ve found can provide.
This feeling of achievement that we get through our hoop practice is not to be understated – it makes you feel proud of yourself, accomplished, and driven to keep going to achieve more skills with your hoop.
It’s hard to put into words what hula hoops do for us on a mental level. But once you give it a try, you will completely understand.
How hula hooping can improve our relationships
Hooping gives us a feeling of direction when we maybe didn’t feel one before, so it can really help with our sense of self confidence. Pre-pandemic (and hopefully post pandemic soon), I bring hula hoops to all parties and gatherings. I know they will always bring a smile to people’s faces, so these hoops literally give me the power to bring a moment of happiness to people’s lives.
Some of my best friends I met through hula hooping. Eight years ago, when it was really hard to find any plus size women like myself involved in hula hooping, I started trying to build a community online and made some of the best friends I will ever have in this life. You can be part of our community by joining our Ruby Hoopers Facebook group.
For me, as an introverted personality, I always felt kind of awkward at gatherings just standing around making small talk. I was never good at small talk. The hoop gives me something to focus my energy on, while also entertaining others. These conditions always set the tone for me to feel more confident and personable, resulting in new friends, better existing relationships, and even opportunities I would never expect.
On a more personal level, I also strongly feel that hula hooping helped me gain the beautiful little family I have now. My love of hooping and sharing hooping with others is what bonded me to my husband when we first met, because who doesn’t like a person with passion and purpose in life? Since then, hula hooping has continued to help me be a good partner throughout our marriage because I am able to maintain a sense of peace and clarity through regular hoop practice. And when we decided to grow our family, I was ready physically and mentally for all the things pregnancy and motherhood would bring, even as I gave birth for the first time at age 37. This is because through hooping I achieved a strong body and a confident mind.
I’m sure I don’t need to tell you how amazing hula hooping is for bringing families together, since it’s a fun activity everyone can do together. Gather up some hoops, all the kids, and head out to the back yard for some quality, screen-free time in the sun that will make sure your kids sleep good tonight.
Physical Health Benefits of Hula Hooping
As a body positive advocate, I don’t throw the term weight loss around lightly, so I want to be clear that I am not suggesting that everyone who hula hoops should try to lose weight, or that weight loss is always a health benefit. I am only saying that if you want to use hula hooping as a tool to help you lose weight, you absolutely can.
Hula hooping is low impact cardio, meaning it’s great for getting your heart rate up without damage to your joints, so if you want to burn calories, hooping can help you do that.
I personally have used hooping to help me lose weight at various times throughout my life, and I can tell you that half an hour of hula hooping is every bit as effective as half an hour of Zumba or any other cardio activity.
You can also use hula hoops as more of a strength building workout, moving slower and doing repetitions to tone arms, core, legs, and more. Building muscle can be an important component of weight loss, since more muscle means more calories getting burned.
If you’re like me and you’re not really necessarily interested in weight loss as the main goal, but you do want to tone your body so you can have more energy, be able to play with your kids without getting tired so fast, and just feel good overall, hula hooping is really helpful for this as well. Hula hooping requires use of so many different muscles in your body that you probably don’t use much in your regular day to day life, so it really gives you a well rounded workout for all over toning.
The amazing thing about hula hooping is that it doesn’t matter what style of hooping you do – you will still use your core muscles, you will still use your arms and your legs, you will still need your back and chest. You will be moving in ways that may feel unfamiliar at first but over time will start to feel natural as you get stronger. You will bloom into the most graceful, strong hoop dancer as you learn and practice more and more.
It doesn’t matter your size, age, or anything else. Whether you are plus size like me, or petite, whether you are tall, short, young or old, whether you have special circumstances, you can absolutely get stronger and tone your muscles from hula hooping.
Go here to see what size hoop you should start with.
Lower Blood Pressure
I can’t stress the importance of this enough, because high blood pressure is, as we all know, a silent killer, something that affects millions of us across the world but we often never even know it’s a problem until its too late.
Hula hooping regularly gets your heart rate up, which improves cardiovascular health – gets your blood pumping and your heart working like it should to stay in tip top shape. Countless studies have shown that even a simple regimen of physical movement can work wonders for our blood pressure and hula hooping is no exception to that. This is one of the most vital hula hooping benefits there is.
I can personally attest to this; in my late 20s I was diagnosed with high blood pressure, which I had to go on medication for; this was actually the catalyst for me to even find hooping–I was looking for something to help me make a change in my life to become a person with healthier habits including moving my body more. Hooping was the thing that stuck for me, and I was able to bring my blood pressure down before I turned 30 to a point that I no longer needed medication.
When I became pregnant at age 36, I was concerned about experiencing high blood pressure during pregnancy which is common, but thankfully I got through it fine. I did hoop throughout my entire pregnancy though I had plenty of days that I didn’t.
I have also monitored my blood pressure closely since my child was born over a year ago, because I gained some weight with my pregnancy that I haven’t lost, and I wanted to see if that was going to make my blood pressure go up. So far, I’m sure thanks in part to my regular hoop practice, my blood pressure is normal and stable.
Improved Coordination & Balance
This has been a big one for me, because I honestly am surprised at just how much my coordination and balance have improved through hooping. My husband often comments on how amazing I am at catching things I drop before they hit the floor, for example. My footwork is amazing, I never trip or lose my balance. I am so used to standing and moving through really awkward positions in order to achieve certain hoop tricks, that I can really stay strong and balanced standing or walking or even jumping in all kinds of weird ways!
My coordination is amazing too; I can catch things easier if someone tosses me something, I can just move through my life with more physical confidence and elegance than I could before I started hooping. It feels easier to be productive and multitask to keep my household working, and to keep my hoop shop running.
Now that I’m going to be turning 40 in the near future, it’s more important than ever to me to keep working on my coordination and balance so that I can continue to enjoy all that life has to offer without worrying about hurting myself.
Hula hooping has many health benefits!
I didn’t plan on this article being this long, but there’s just so much to say about how hula hooping is impacting lives. If you are curious about hula hooping, I want you to know from knowing me that hula hooping is absolutely magical. It is really helping people from all walks of life and it can help you too.
Give me a few minutes a day for six weeks of your life and you will experience everything I have written about here today. I promise you that!