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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LIACONO2 7/23/2021
Looks fun I’m going to try it Report
MJ7DM33 7/22/2021
Thankd Report
LIS193 7/22/2021
Fun Report
I want to do this! Report
CKEYES1 2/5/2021
Don't have a hoop Report
SUSANBEAMON 10/30/2020
I used to hula hoop when I was young, but not really very well. I gave it up years ago and see no reason to start again. Report
BONIFIANT 9/17/2020
As a kid I used to get so frustrated because my friends made it look so easier and I never seemed to get the hoop to stay up and get going no matter how hard I tried. Before I got the hang of it I was put on rest for rheumatic fever. Never tried after that. Report
Thanks! I love my hula hoops! Report
I could never hula hoop. It's fun to watch those who can Report
Thanks! I hula hoop everyday when my watch tells me to stand. I haven't lost a pound but it's only for a minute. I think that I will try one of these routines if I can. When I see someone on the floor with a hula hoop, I lose hope. Report
Thanks Report
thanks Report
My niece makes these & lost 40 lbs hooping to music, about 3 songs a day so she convinced me to try. I haven't used it much. It's harder to keep up than I remember as a kid but I was more agile back then. It's still a good workout picking it up often & I enjoy being outdoors. Good for the core & easier on the feet instead of pounding the pavement walking every day. Report
Looks like fun! Thanks for sharing! Report
Thank you for the information Report
Great! Thanks! Report
Thanks. I used to love the hula hoop. Let’s see what happens. Lol Report
Love our hula hoop Report
May not be able to use a hoop but those ideas seem great Report
this looks like it could be fun Report
Haven't done this one in a while. Report
Fun! Report
looks like fun Report
I hula-hooped when I was young. Not that young any more. Report
This is the best article ever! Report
hooping works best if large breasts are bound, find it very difficult to do some of them with my chest. Report
Awesome idea! Report
Will it make me look like the cover model Report
thanks Report
Haven't done this one in awhile, maybe it's time to give it a try again. Report
Great. Report
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_
Great article - thanks. Report
great Report
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
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
I never thought of hula hoop as an exercise. Very creative! Report