As a professional hula hoop instructor and hoopmaker, whose customers are often plus size women and/or people who are trying to get more fit, I started getting a new question in 2020 that I had never gotten before in ten years of being in this industry:
“Should I get a regular hula hoop or a smart hula hoop to get the best workout?”
Before we go any further, let’s make sure everyone knows what we’re talking about. For those who are unaware, “smart hula hoops” are actually more like a belt than a hoop.
These things gained attention from a Tik Tok video during the pandemic lockdowns when everyone was desperate for at-home workouts. They are being manufactured by several Chinese companies, and millions of dollars are being spent on advertising them to the masses.
As you can see, they are not hula hoops at all, but they are intended to make your body mimic the motion of hula hooping without actually having to keep a real hula hoop from falling.
There is a weight attached to a string that allows the weight to slide around the belt. The belt is made up of pieces that snap together and can be removed, which apparently you’re supposed to do as you whittle your waist down from daily use.
There are a few companies selling similar products, and they’re all calling them “smart” hoops. You’ll notice I keep putting that in quotes, and it’s because I just don’t understand what’s so smart about these things.
The truth is that in this case, the word “smart” is simply a marketing ploy, a catchy word that is usually used to describe something that can do a wide variety of things, like how we used to call our iPhones “smartphones”.
Think about WHY our phones are called smartphones. It’s because they have about a million functions above and beyond simply making a phone call. Smart phones are so smart these days, people run entire businesses from them.
So what’s smart about this contraption, exactly? I guess you could really reach and make the case that it helps people feel like they’re hula hooping when they think they can’t keep a normal hoop going.
Notice I said think they can’t – not that they actually can’t – because if you hang around here at Ruby Hooping for long, you’ll find out that anyone can learn to hula hoop for real – with a REAL hula hoop – no matter your size or waist measurement.
The main thing that people don’t often know about hula hooping is that the size of your hoop matters the most when learning how to hula hoop, and as long as you get a hoop that is the appropriate size for your body, you will be able to learn.
So, though you could make the argument that a “smart” hula hoop might help a person develop the muscle memory to hula hoop for real, my reply is that I can easily outfit you with the perfect REAL hula hoop to develop that same muscle memory.
And you’ll look way cooler and have way more fun.
Not to mention, with the Tik Tok gadget (I’m just done calling it a hoop at this point), there is literally only one thing you can do with it. Stand there and swing your hips back and forth. That’s it. That’s all you’ll ever do with it.
Now if you’re anything like me, you know yourself well enough to know that shit’s gonna get boring by day 3 and you’ll be selling it on Facebook marketplace by next week.
On the other hand, with a REAL hula hoop, hand-built to the perfect size for YOUR body, you will build a beautiful flow that is unique to you by learning dozens of different moves with it.
And in learning and practicing all those different moves, you’ll work muscles you didn’t even know you had. Your body will tighten up in places you didn’t know how to target before.
But most importantly, you will fall in love with moving your body in way that no other form of exercise has ever done for you.
Am I biased on the subject of hula hoop vs. smart hula hoop?
Yeah, probably. But with good reason.
I’ve been teaching hula hooping, making hand-crafted hoops, and helping people gain body confidence for the past ten years.
I have watched how hula hooping transforms people’s lives.
I know that my hoops will NEVER sit in your closet collecting dust.
I know that for every 100 people that join our community, 99 of them NEVER leave and NEVER stop hooping. It’s that life changing!
To recap…here’s a nice infographic:
I’m definitely not judging anyone who enjoys using the belt, because hey, it’s your life! And you should live it however you see fit. Anything that gets you up off the couch and moving is better than nothing.
But my hula hooping heart just had let you know how much more beneficial a real hula hoop can be to your life.