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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Comments

KHALIA2 12/3/2018
Haven't done this one in a while. Report
KHALIA2 11/20/2018
Fun! Report
CATNAP629 11/6/2018
looks like fun Report
SUSANBEAMON 9/19/2018
I hula-hooped when I was young. Not that young any more. Report
CHRISINMIAMI 9/14/2018
This is the best article ever! Report
RECOVERYMAMA 9/14/2018
hooping works best if large breasts are bound, find it very difficult to do some of them with my chest. Report
ROSSYFLOSSY 9/12/2018
Awesome idea! Report
RO2BENT 9/12/2018
Will it make me look like the cover model Report
DJ4HEALTH 8/5/2018
thanks Report
KHALIA2 7/22/2018
Haven't done this one in awhile, maybe it's time to give it a try again. Report
LOSER05 6/2/2018
Great. Report
SIMMONSCORNER 5/30/2018
The Hula Hoop for Fun & Fitness Team would love for you to come check it out. We have just started a 4 week Summer prep challenge. It is all about consistency with tracking your food, exercise, & water as well as hula hoop time and mini-challenge to support your healthy lifestyle. So come join in the fun. https:// www.sparkpeople.com/myspark/groups_
individual.asp?gid=69739
Report
EVILCECIL 3/28/2018
Great article - thanks. Report
DWROBERGE 3/27/2018
great Report
BONDMANUS2002
Absolutely great Report
Risible... Report
Talk about FUN-ctional...Niice! Report
thank you Report
Great ideas Report
Looks like fun! Report
Lots of fun on a sunny day outside! Report
i DIDN'T HAVE ANY WEIGHT WHEN THEY CAME OUT. Report
AZMOMXTWO
awesome way to exercise Report
nice set of exercise Report
I have a fitness hoop that I need to bring out and use again. Report
GREAT! Report
COULD NEVER DO IT BUT ADMIRED THOSE WHO COULD Report
I never thought of hula hoop as an exercise. Very creative! Report
I never could hula hoop! Report
Haven't played with one of these in years! Report
I'm another one who wasn't ever able to get the hang of hula hooping Report
Definitely a must try workout! Report
Great workouts...left me a bit more sore then I remember as a kid Report
A Hula-Hoop back in 1959 made my side ache, so I bet it would today as well. Report
I can't use a hula hoop for nothing!! I can't keep the thing up around my waist. Report
KATHRYNGC
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
Fun ideas! Report
I never could hula hoop Report
How fun! Report
Seems silly but why not? Report
These are always great Report
can do a few of these 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
fun way to workout! Report
Great article....now I want to go get a weighted hula hoop to have fun with. Report