This post has been updated for 2022.
If you’re worried about not being able to hula hoop, finding out what size hula hoop to start with 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.
That’s when I started researching online. I felt completely overwhelmed by information about hoop weights, diameters, and even tubing sizes.
I wrote this article to make it easy to figure out what size hula hoop to get, no matter what your body type or skill level. I want you to have full confidence in choosing a hoop size for your first real hula hoop.
It’s so important to make you sure get the right size hoop when you’re just starting out, to ensure a positive and exciting hooping experience. When people try to learn with a hoop that is too small, they often give up too quickly, not realizing they just need a different size hoop.
To make matters even more confusing, there is some misinformation out there on what size hoop to start with. Some say to choose a hoop that, when holding it out in front of you, it reaches from the floor to your belly button.
This is completely arbitrary and only works if your body is fairly small. Since I happen to not be fairly small, this problem has been pretty obvious to me from the get go.
Think about it like this: would two women, both 5’7″ with relatively similar belly button heights, use the same size hoop, even if one weighed 130 pounds and one weighed 250 pounds?
Of course not. The space between your body and the hoop is the most important aspect of learning how to hula hoop. If the hoop is too small, it will move very fast around your waist, meaning you better boogie like you’ve never boogied before or that hoop is going south, fast.
A larger hoop slows down the rotations and gives you time to actually feel the rhythm and move with the hoop. This is truly the best way to really get to know the art of hooping.
Here is a quick video on my Instagram to show you how bigger hoops are better when just starting out, especially when you are trying to learn waist hooping.
Now I will share with you a chart I’ve created. These sizes are my best recommendations based on my five years of experience helping people get fitted for their first hula hoop.
I want to emphasize one thing. Remember that when it comes to starting hooping, you cannot go wrong with a bigger hoop.
It’s entirely possible to get a hoop that is too small to learn on, but no hoop will ever be too big to hoop with.
Beginner Hoop vs. Exercise Hoop: What’s the Difference?
I know you’ve seen both of these terms thrown around and are trying to figure out if they are interchangeable or if these are two different kinds of hula hoops.
Beginner hoops are geared toward learning the basics of hooping, and you need a large diameter and moderately heavy tubing to do that. But you don’t need anything heavier than 1-2 pounds, which is about what our beginner hoops weigh, to learn everything imaginable with a hula hoop.
Exercise hoops are also somewhat heavy, about 1-2 pounds total, so they are basically the same as what most hoopers would call a beginner hoop. It’s also important to note that we make our beginner and our exercise hoops with the same tubing so their weight is similar. They are slightly heavier due to having a heavier duty grip tape on them.
Regardless of whether you choose a beginner hoop or an exercise hoop, you should go by our Quick Size Guide pictured above to choose what size hula hoop you should get.
All styles of hula hooping are great exercise and burn plenty of calories, and different styles of hooping can help you focus on your goals. For example, spinning two hoops is a great workout for your arm and shoulders. Exercise hoops are particularly useful for core workouts.
(Our Go Getter Starter Pack includes one beginner hoop, one lightweight HDPE hula hoop, and a set of minis to explore the world of doubles hooping. This is the perfect set for the enthusiastic beginner that wants to try all styles of hooping! If you want my class along with it, you can grab The Ultimate #Rubyfam Combo!)
What Kind of Hooper Do You Want to Be?
What size hula hoop you should get will vary if you are into it mainly for the dancing, tricks, and off-body moves. You don’t need a big heavy hoop if you’re not trying to spin it around your entire body.
When I first started hooping, it was primarily to add another form of exercise to my weekly routine, but as soon as I started to get good at waist hooping using my big beginner hoop, I quickly became enthralled by hoop dancing.
So, my second hoop was a slightly smaller diameter lightweight hdpe hula hoop. It was about 4 inches smaller in diameter than my first hoop, and made of 3/4″ tubing so it felt a little thinner in my hand. It was the perfect size to start exploring some off body tricks that were not as easy to execute on the bigger hoop.
So I keep seeing you talk about two types of lightweight hoops, hdpe and polypro. What’s the difference?
I just want to be clear and tell you that these two types of tubing are very similar. They are both lightweight and make a great choice for hoop dance and tricks. They are both significantly lighter weight than PE tubing, which is the tubing used to make beginner and exercise hoops.
The main difference between hdpe and polypro is that polypro is a bit springer so it moves a little faster. Hdpe absorbs more impact so it tends to move a little slower. Polypro is also more likely to crack or break, especially in cold temperatures, whereas hdpe can withstand more force and is less susceptible to winter weather.
For these reasons, I personally recommend hdpe over polypro for a beginner interested in hula hoop tricks and dance. Hdpe can better handle all the drops and throws that will inevitably happen when you first start. It also moves just a tad slower without the added weight of a beginner hoop, giving you the versatility you need for learning tricks and dance.
Choose an hdpe hoop that is 2-4 inches smaller than your beginner hoop, and always select 3/4″ tubing. It will be thinner than your beginner hoop but still substantial enough for learning.
(Our Go Getter Starter Pack includes a perfectly sized hdpe hoop for your unique body.)
What Size Hula Hoop to Get Also Depends on Your Goals
There is one more thing to consider when choosing what size hoop to get in addition to your body type.
Think about why you want to hula hoop and what your goals are.
- Do you just want a new form of exercise added to your routine?
- Are you interested in hula hooping for weight loss?
- Do you want to learn tricks and dance?
- Or are you more interested in just a simple meditative hoop practice?
Let’s expand on these questions a little bit.
If you are mainly just interested in hooping on your body, without tricks and flashy stuff, or if you want to start hula hooping to lose weight, go by our Quick Size Guide. If you are more interested in tricks and dance, you can start with a lighter, smaller hoop.
Chances are, you’re going to become addicted to hula hooping and will be trying all kinds of different sizes and materials.
Nothing left to do now but start hooping!