Want to learn how to hula hoop? Here is our simple guide. Updated for 2020!
Step 1- Assess your ability.
So you’re intrigued and you want to learn hula hoop dance but you have no idea where to start. It’s likely that you haven’t picked up or played with a hula hoop in 20 some odd years.
That’s okay! If you can’t currently hula hoop or don’t know if you can, then all you need is the right size hula hoop.
Let me just put this out there right now: it’s incredibly difficult for an adult to learn hula hoop dance using a child’s hoop that you get from the toy aisle at Walmart. Children’s hoops are too light, too small, and simply put, not made for fully grown human beings.
Big hoops with a little bit of weight are slower and easier to hoop with. They give you more time to learn the rhythm and movement for hooping.
Even after 6 years of hooping, I go back to my big ol’ cadillac of a hoop when I need a slow, cruisey, hooping session. When I just can’t get a trick or movement down, its slow, steady movement is there to give me the time and space I need to learn.
Big beginner hoops are a beautiful thing. They are forgiving and welcoming; don’t be surprised when you discover a new best friend in one.
Step 2- Why do you want to hoop?
Do you want to hoop for fitness? Are you working on incorporating dance into your hooping? Do you just want to rock it on your waist? Are you already a dancer or prop spinner that is looking into trying something new?
Just as there are different tools for different jobs, there are different hoops for different styles of hooping.
Beginner hoops weigh around 1 pound depending on size, and are best if you are just starting out, but want to work towards the smooth flow of hoop dance. These hoops are typically large in diameter, but a little lighter than our weighted fitness hoops. They allow some freedom in trying out different styles of hoop dance.
Weighted exercise hoops are large and a little heavier. We make them with a denser tubing that results in a hoop that weighs just around 2 pounds, enough to get your body working and heart rate up, but light enough that it won’t hurt or cause internal injury.
If your main goal is to lose weight and tone muscle, go for the weighted exercise hoop.
However, hooping with any of our hoops is going to give you a great workout, so if you’re even slightly interested in the dance aspect of hooping, I would definitely recommend the beginner hoop for its versatility.
In addition to your basic and foundational moves on-body, there is a whole world of off-body hoop dance that you should explore as well. Lighter hoops are great for hand tricks and dance, as they are less taxing on your arms, shoulders, and wrists. They are also excellent for spinning doubles (two hoops at one time!).
While it is not impossible to learn how to hula hoop on lightweight hoops, it is far more frustrating than starting with a heavier hoop. So we always recommend starting with the full Go Getter set if possible, so you have the perfect hoop for learning anything you want.
Step 3- Measure!
While the typical advice to figure what size hula hoop you should get has been to measure from just above the navel to the floor, this is not the best way. In recent years, people are starting to realize it makes a lot more sense to base it off of waist size more than anything.
This is because we all have different body types and shapes. You and your friend may both be 5’4”, if one of you has a 35” waist and the other has a 42” waist, it doesn’t make sense for both of you to learn on the same size hoop.
The amount of space between your body and the hoop is what matters most. The less space there is, the faster the hoop will go, making it way harder to learn how to hula hoop.
I personally, LOVE larger hoops, while my waist size may have gotten smaller, my hoops have stayed about the same size. Why am I telling you this? Because I want you to know that there is absolutely NO SHAME in having a big hoop. As I said before, big hoops provide a therapeutic experience like no other.
Let’s Get to Measuring!
If you have no clue how to measure your waist, don’t worry, the internet has you covered with this little how to.
If you do not have a cloth or flexible measuring tape, you can take a piece of string, wrap it around your waist, and then measure that on a regular measuring tape, or yardstick, or ruler.
Alright! Time to get that hoop diameter!
Basically, we start our beginner hoops at 36″ which is a great diameter for people up to about a size 6 in women’s clothing. We make hoops all the way up to 55″ to accommodate people of all body types. Here’s a little guide just to give you an idea:
This is not an exact science. Many factors go into this, such as what kind of hooping you’re interested in, what your current fitness level is, and whether you can already hoop around your waist.
When in doubt, go bigger. There is literally no such thing as a hoop that is too big. And to ease your mind, hoops can always be modified to be made smaller, but it’s a lot more trouble to make one bigger. So if you’re debating between two sizes, go for the larger one.
Step 4- Get yourself a hoop!
If you are anything like me, you will probably wind up with an addiction to plastic circles, and will find yourself “needing” more and more hoops. So let’s go ahead and start this new addiction now, shall we?
Hey, it will be the healthiest addiction you ever had. I can promise you that.
If you want to get started hooping, but can’t afford much right now, we offer budget hoops that are great for starting out. You can always get more hoops later!
If you’re a DIY kind of person, we even have an article that explains exactly how to make your own hoop.
Step 5- Learn all the things!
Starting out and learning a new skill can be intimidating and downright frightening. Luckily, the hoop and flow community is one of the most welcoming I have ever come across.
If you’re looking for online classes, we have a full course available 24/7 online you can take at your own pace, in the privacy of your home! Our founder, Mama Ruby, a strong advocate for body positivity and hula hoop dance instructor of 6 years, just released the Six Week Beginner Hula Hoop Challenge for All Bodies!
Pro tip: if you’re planning to get hoops AND classes, check out our Ultimate #RubyFam Combo Package!
Also, join our free online Facebook community, Ruby Hoopers where you can meet thousands of hoopers seasoned and new. You will find tons of other hoopers sharing videos, pictures, triumphs and frustrations daily.
You can also try meetup.com, to find classes and hoop support groups in your area.
Step 6- Go on with your bad self!
Now you have a hoop, some learning tools and resources, your amazing journey has begun! You have endless possibilities now, so dive in deep and find that juicy space for authentic self expression.
Even if you are merely hooping for fitness, you can find bliss and flow in the circle. We are so happy that you are here, and that you have chosen us to be apart your hooping life! Now go hoop!