8 Fun-Filled Hula Hoop Exercises for Better Fitness


By: , SparkPeople Blogger
  :  77 comments   :  164,127 Views

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 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. And 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.

And some fitness experts have taken Hula Hooping one step further by combining hooping and Pilates forming a new type of workout called Hoopilates.

Below are a few tips on choosing the right hoop for you.
  • Choose the right size for you--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, same is true for a weighted hoop. Researchers state that adding some weight makes hooping easier, therefore you can continue the activity for a longer time period, however, you want to use a weight that offers a challenge.
  • If you have a history of back problems, Hula Hooping is not for you. And as with any other exercise activity, if you have any concerns, please check with your physician.

Abs, Back, Shoulders: Standing Twist

Back, Legs: Rolling Reach

Arms, Shoulders: Arm Circles

Quads, Glutes, Calves, Core, Shoulders: Squat with Overhead Press 

Abs: Balanced Seated Torso Twists 

Abs, Butt, Legs: Wide Squats

Hula Hoop Routines:
Full Hula Hoop Exercises 
Basic Hula Hoop Routine for Beginners 

Would you consider doing any of these exercises? Have you ever worked out with a Hula Hoop?

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  • 27
    I bought a weighted Hulahoop 3 months ago from Dicks Sporting Goods. At first, I could not keep it going! Practice, practice and finally I had it spinning. Love it! I had shoulder surgery 2 months ago and have not been able to do it during my recovery. After reading this article, I think I might get it out and give it a try again. If you haven't hooped as an adult...try it! You will feel like a kid again! - 5/11/2011   12:39:29 PM
  • 26
    Fun! I might have to go out and buy (or make) a hula hoop now! - 5/11/2011   12:26:44 PM
    I just wanted to add that you can make your own hula hoops using materials from your local hardware store (for those of you unable to find one for sale). I made mine using the instructions from this blogger -

    - 5/11/2011   11:30:13 AM
  • 24
    I Love doing Hula Hoop,I do it on most days,and the one I have it have weights, so it's very good, I can do it for as long as a Hour, That how much I like it. - 5/11/2011   9:37:46 AM
    just bought one last week...can't hula yet, but working on it - 5/11/2011   9:20:34 AM
    They used to have a class at the YMCA. It was a fun workout that didn't feel like you were working hard even tho' you were. - 5/11/2011   9:15:46 AM
  • 21
    It's funny this article should appear today, just last night a friend and myself were talking about the hula hoop rage when we were young. I toyed with the idea of purchasing one for exercise, after reading this blog, I will definitely get one to use... - 5/11/2011   8:20:57 AM
  • 20
    FUN!!!! I hope my gym introduces a hula hoop class sometime soon. - 5/11/2011   7:43:34 AM
    Have been looking for one here in Spain - but it seems impossible to get hold of one.
    Pity, because I think I would like it. - 5/11/2011   7:02:35 AM
  • 18
    Before I knew there's an adult-size hula hoop, I bought a kiddie size and it was so hard to twist with it! I just got 3 or less, haha. Hope I can find the bigger size, hula hoop is so fun to do! - 5/11/2011   12:49:36 AM
  • 17
    I had one 50 years ago when they were all the style, but I don't think my SIDES would appreciate doing it now. - 5/11/2011   12:37:28 AM
  • 16
    This sounds like fun! It makes me want to go out tomorrow and find a good hula hoop. - 5/11/2011   12:01:13 AM
  • 15
    My hula hoop is one of my favorite things - 5/10/2011   11:01:03 PM
  • 14
    I was never able to use my hula hoop on anything but my arm when I was young, I never had a much of a waist, now that I do, I'd love to try it out! - 5/10/2011   10:48:37 PM
  • 13
    Okay, this is news to me! Used the play with a hula-hoop eons ago and for sure, it is great exercise. I will have to look up some of those routines. - 5/10/2011   10:44:27 PM
  • 12
    I'll try a few. I love changing up my routine. - 5/10/2011   10:19:24 PM
    For a change up, I currently do some hula hooping. I like it but it makes my waist sore. Maybe, I'm not using it enough. - 5/10/2011   10:17:21 PM
  • 10
    Give it a try! It took me about 3 months to keep it on my waist. But you get better with practice and it is so much fun. Lots of great videos on You Tube, so get your self a grown-up hoop and start spinning! There is also a hooping Spark Group! - 5/10/2011   10:10:53 PM
  • 9
    I was terrible at it as a kid - kind of wonder if I could use one now.... - 5/10/2011   10:01:36 PM
  • MR21965
    terrific article i was looking for help with a hula hoop workout! thank you - 5/10/2011   9:19:31 PM
  • 7
    My oldest has been wanting a hula hoop, I may have to get one. - 5/10/2011   9:19:11 PM
  • 6
    I have been only "waist hooping" on and off for a few months now and love it! I found my weighted hoop at Dick's Sporting Goods and my Hoopnotica Travel Hoop I thought I bought at a brick and mortar store as well.

    Buying a larger "adult sized" hoop made all the difference! I can't hoop with the small child's size hoops you can buy at discount stores. - 5/10/2011   8:54:55 PM
  • ADMIST5711
    I've already been practicing every day for about a week. Sure doesn't work like it did when I was a teenager, LOL. I thought I would just wrap it around me and go forever. To my total astonishment it immediately fell to the floor! LOL. The look on my face must have been priceless!!! I would like one of those weighted ones though. I had forgotten about those. That surely must make it easier because mine is feather light! And, like one of the comments I read, I too would love to have one of those swooshy hoops that makes noise! - 5/10/2011   8:23:19 PM
  • 4
    I would love to try hooping, but can't find the larger weighted hoops in stores. I don't buy things over the internet. I like to examin things before I spend my hard earned money on them. - 5/10/2011   8:01:23 PM
  • 3
    I love my hula hoop. I used to take it for a spin at each commercial break when I watched tv. Because I have the one with the old fashioned noisy pebbles inside, sometimes I would turn up the volume and do it even when the show was still going.

    Sadly, last year I started getting hip pain after using my hip. However, I'm glad for the links to other non-waist spin type hula exercises. I'll try them as they don't look like they'll aggravate my old lady hips. - 5/10/2011   7:53:41 PM
  • 2
    Love hula hooping! It's one of those exercises that never fails at making you "feel the burn" - and it's fun too! - 5/10/2011   7:31:41 PM
  • 1
    "You know, for kids."
    ;) - 5/10/2011   6:15:47 PM

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