6 Fun-Filled Hula Hoop Exercises for Better Fitness

By , SparkPeople Blogger
In 1958 WHAM-O introduced the world to a new toy after Arthur Melin and Richard Knerr observed children in Australia playing with bamboo hoops in their exercise class. Upon their return to the States, they took what they had seen and invented the plastic hoop, what we now know as the Hula Hoop. What started out as a fad in the late 1950's for kids has now turned into a fitness frenzy 53 years later. And if you don't believe swirling your hips can burn calories and tone your body, think again.

Researchers at the Exercise and Health Program at the University of Wisconsin, La Crosse led by Jordan Holthusen, M.S. and John Porcari, Ph.D. conducted a study of 16 advanced to intermediate female hoopers. To their amazement, hula hooping expended similar calorie rates and raised heart rates similar to cardio kickboxing, step aerobics and boot camp classes. Although the researchers state that more studies need to be done to determine what the long-term fitness benefits to hooping will bring, one thing is for certain, when we have fun doing an activity we are more likely to participate in it. I always say something always trumps nothing, especially when it comes to exercise.

Today, some fitness experts have taken hula hooping one step further by combining hooping and Pilates. Kristin Benton, founder of the hula-hoop based FXP Fitness, recognized the amazing benefits of incorporating this kid-approved piece of equipment into exercise after losing 40 pounds with a regular hooping routine. 

Below are a few tips on choosing the right hoop for you.
  • Choose the right size for you: Small, lightweight hoops in the kid's section are exactly for that—kids! Make sure that when you place the hoop on the ground standing up that the hoop falls between your waist and your chest. Purchasing a smaller hoop will make hooping a little more challenging.
  • Weighted Hoops: Just as a larger circumference hoop will be easier to use, the same is true for a weighted hoop. You want to use a weight that offers a challenge without being so heavy that it causes bruising. The recommended weight is right around two pounds.
  • If you have a history of back problems, hula hooping may not be for you. Always check with a physician before starting a new fitness program.

6 Ways to Hoop Your Way to Healthy

Abs, Thighs, Arms and Shoulders: Sumo Squats

Abdominals: Teaser Prep

Arms and Abs: Zip It Up

Legs, Abs and Cardio: Waist Hooping

Abdominals: Wring It Out

Abs, Thighs and Glutes: Wide Second Plie

To watch the complete workout, visit Benton's SparkPeople YouTube playlist directly. 

Have you ever worked out with a hula hoop? Share your experience below!

Updated 8/1/2017

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See more: fitness exercises fun


BONDMANUS2002 9/27/2017
Absolutely great Report
COURTENAYE 8/27/2017
Risible... Report
PLATINUM755 8/24/2017
Talk about FUN-ctional...Niice! Report
DEE107 8/20/2017
thank you Report
Great ideas Report
Looks like fun! Report
TWEETYKC00 8/7/2017
Lots of fun on a sunny day outside! Report
MNABOY 8/6/2017
AZMOMXTWO 8/6/2017
awesome way to exercise Report
LOVELY*LADY 8/6/2017
:) Report
NANCYPAT1 8/6/2017
Nice Report
nice set of exercise Report
AWONDERS59 8/6/2017
I have a fitness hoop that I need to bring out and use again. Report
GABY1948 8/6/2017
GREAT! Report
PWILLOW1 8/5/2017
I never thought of hula hoop as an exercise. Very creative! Report
GABY1948 8/5/2017
I never could hula hoop! Report
GETITDONE79 8/5/2017
Haven't played with one of these in years! Report
NANCYPAT1 8/5/2017
I'm another one who wasn't ever able to get the hang of hula hooping Report
KESTRYLL 8/5/2017
Cool Report
VHAYES04 8/5/2017
Definitely a must try workout! Report
BIKE4HEALTH 8/5/2017
Great workouts...left me a bit more sore then I remember as a kid Report
JIBBIE49 8/5/2017
A Hula-Hoop back in 1959 made my side ache, so I bet it would today as well. Report
CECELW 8/4/2017
I can't use a hula hoop for nothing!! I can't keep the thing up around my waist. Report
KATHRYNGC 8/4/2017
No belly, a lot of belly, cant get that thing to stay up. Still want to try just for the exercises using hoop as a prop. Report
LOVELY*LADY 8/4/2017
:) Report
MBPP50 8/4/2017
Fun ideas! Report
GABY1948 8/4/2017
I never could hula hoop Report
How fun! Report
Seems silly but why not? Report
BIKE4HEALTH 8/4/2017
These are always great Report
DEE107 8/4/2017
can do a few of these Report
fun Report
Love my hula hoop! If you're looking, Amazon has them in several different weights, sizes, colors, etc! Just know, if you're just starting it might hurt your middle a bit, but nothing serious. Just keep it up, you'll be amazed how quickly you get used to doing it:) Report
ITSDIANNE 8/3/2017
fun way to workout! Report
Great article....now I want to go get a weighted hula hoop to have fun with. Report
PATRICIA-CR 8/3/2017
Nice!!! Report
LIS193 8/3/2017
Fun! Report
One of my ongoing thought processes about hooping is remembering how hard it is to hoop when all I have had access to was the kid sized versions. I couldn't even do it when I was a kid in the 60's, but likely didn't have access to proper instructions or information not being able to hear as a kid. Now I look at it and I'm reluctant to buy/invest in the taller weighted hoops that apparently have to be customized? Or purchase from specialty retailers? So then I go around and around in that and getting tangled in my mind, and figure that's enough @hoopijf@ for the day! Maybe someday I can find a real business locally who can set me straight without having to spend the money up front. Report
LEANJEAN6 8/3/2017
I do love my Hula Hoop! Report
CGPS1795 8/2/2017
I didn't realize that I'd miss my hula hoop! Report
I don't think this one is for me, but thanks anyway! :) Report
ROBBIEY 8/2/2017
I love to hula hoop. I did have a weight hula hoop, but loaned it to a friend and did not get it back. Report
JIACOLO 8/2/2017
I wish I was able to keep a hula hoop going! Report
EVILCECIL 7/9/2017
Who would have thought the hula-hoop could be used for getting into shape.
Not me. Report
I bought a weighted hoop from Aldi's a couple of months ago. I really enjoy using it. Report
PICKIE98 6/10/2017
I may try the torso twists on my bed. cannot get on floor. Report
EMGERBER 6/10/2017
Something fun you could do on the beach. Report
ANNEMAC5 6/10/2017
Links now seem to be working, a few moves for me to try Report
None of the links work. How disappointing! Report
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