Hula Hoop Fitness – The benefits and how to use your hoop for weight loss.
Have you considered hula hooping for fitness? Are you wondering whether it can help you with your weight-loss goals? Or if it can tone your tummy?
Well, the answer is yes! If you’re looking for a fun way to get fit then you’ll love this article 🙂
Hi! I’m Scarlett, creator of Hoop Plus Fit with over 12 years hooping experience.
In this article I will…
- Run through some fun facts about hula hooping for fitness
- My personal experience of how fitness hooping has improved my body
- My top tips for getting the most out of your fitness hooping workout
- How hula hooping can help you reach your weight-loss goals
On top of that:
I’ll share with you some guided fitness hooping workouts with me. Practice these regularly and you will start to see results.
So… Let’s start
Benefits of fitness hooping
# 1 Fitness hooping burns 420 calories per hour
There have been a number of studies into how many calories hula hooping burns.
- Some claim that hula hooping burns up to 600 calories and hour!
- Others give a more modest estimation of 400
However the most conclusive study was carried out by the American Council on Exercise, who concluded that fitness hula hooping burns on average 210 calories per 30 minutes (or 420 p/hour).
Their study was based on 16 participants of varying ages between 16 and 59. Who completed a five minute warm-up and 30 minute hula hoop fitness workout, with heavy hoops.
This is a similar calorie burn rate as aerobics classes or boxercise. It gets the heart rate up over an extended period of time, which helps your body burn those calories.
Obviously it depends on the hoop you’re using, what you’re doing with it and how far you push yourself to determine how many calories you actually burn.
30 minutes can be a long time to hoop, so how can you stay motivated?
The trick is to be inspired, challenge yourself and push your body to new limits of strength and stamina. Obviously going to a class makes it harder to give up. You can check out my regular classes in Berlin.
But home practice also has great benefits. You can get in 10 minuites of exercise when you have 10 minutes to spare.
You can slowly build up to 30 minuites, it can be a challenge at first so start with five minutes and build it up from there.
Feel the music!
Good music has the power to push you further in your training, so be sure to put on your favorite tunes.
In my classes I select awesome DJ sets that motivate the students to keep on going!
It can be challenging to hoop for 30 minutes straight, but feeling the tunes is a great way to reach the next level.
You check out my YouTube channel for some free Fitness Hooping workouts with me. Or equally if you are choosing your own
- Work up a 30 min workout. If fitness is your goal, then I’d say that a 30 minute hula hoop workout is a good length of time to aim for. If that’s not available to you today, no problem. With practice you will certainly get there!- Try with just five minutes a day and then work it up to 30.
- Feel the music. If you really want to work it then put on some you love. You know, something that, when you hear it you can’t help but to start to move your body! – When you really feel the music it is so much easier to push yourself to the next level.
- Push yourself. Choose music that has a bit if rise and fall – It can be a bit intense to hoop super fast for a solid 30 minutes. So pick something that allows you to occasionally slow… Then speed up with the beat drops!
My Personal Experience
When I do freestyle gigs in clubs and music events I generally keep it to 20-30 minutes. I say 20 so I can keep the energy high thought the whole performance.
However sometimes the DJ or band are so good I completely lose track of time. I finish my set and realise I’ve been hooping with full energy for a solid 40 minutes!
When I’m in a state of flow I seem to gain new levels of energy. I can push my body further and tap into this endless source of energy.
#2 Fitness hula hooping can help you lose weight
Hula hooping is an aerobic exercise that gets the heat beating faster, similar to…
- step aerobics,
Working up a sweat with hula hooping can cause you to lose weight all over your body.
It’s a high energy yet low-impact exercise. So you can raise your heart rate for an extended period of time without risking damage to your joints, in comparison to something like jogging.
Important: A daily hoop fitness workout can help you reach your weight loss goals.
Obviously, if you spend the rest of the day on the sofa eating donuts, then any fitness routine is unlikely to make a difference to your waistline. So your fitness hooping routine should be accompanied by a healthy diet.
Exercise regularly… I know you’ve heard that one before – But luckily for us, hula hooping is fun! Exercise does not feel like a chore. It’s something you’ll want to do, not feel like you have to do.
“It’s an ab workout, without the sadness” – This a quote from one of my students that made me chuckle, but I also feel the truth in it. Fitness hula hooping works the body hard but is also fun and satisfying at the same time. Perfect combination!
- Hoop regularly! Try to do a daily fitness hooping workout of 5-30 minutes. The consistency of doing this every day will not only help you start to see a slimmer waist, but also greatly improve your hooping skills!
- Make sure you are working up a sweat! If it’s feeling a bit easy try to speed the hoop up or try a more challenging fitness hooping routine.
- Break your fitness routine into small achievable chunks! It can feel daunting when there is a long road ahead of us. However if you break your daily routine into small chunks you will eventually build up the strenth and desire to keep going. Try just 5-10 minutes at a time.
My Personal Experience
I have been hooping for a long time. I first picked up the hoop in 2007 and went through waves if intensity within my practice. However one day I made a promise to myself to hoop every day and it was then that I noticed a massive difference.
I have always been someone who has to watch my weight. I have to work hard for the body I have and watch what I eat.
In general I’m a pretty healthy eater. I’m a vegetarian and I love fruit, vegetables and salad… But I also love chocolate, red wine and cheese.
So a period of over indulging (ahm… Christmas… ahm) would always lead to my clothes feeling too tight. I even split a dress in two one day, when bending over in the super market. Pretty embarrassing.
However, once I started to hoop every day, I realised that I could get away with so much more. I relaxed on the diet. I let myself indulge whenever I felt like it (all year round) and my clothes still fit me!
For a while this seemed great. I could finally eat whatever I want and not gain weight! But after some time I decided to reign it in.
Yes, I wasn’t getting fatter, but I also had higher aspirations for myself and my health. So I reduced the over indulgence and again was really pleased with the results. This time with the wight loss, not the calorie intake.
#3 Hula hooping can slim your waist
As mentioned above hula hooping can help you to lose weight. Exactly where and how fast depends on your body type and how it stores fat.
In addition to the overall weight loss, it also tones and trains the muscles in the abdominal area. Tightening the muscles in this area can sculpt the overall shape of your waist.
If muscle development is your goal then you will need to also pay attention to what you’re eating. A diet rich in protein and good fats is necessary for improving muscle mass.
Nonetheless, hula hooping alone will not be enough to give you a body builder six pack. Those guys do a lot of weight training and with serious weights! So if washboard abs your goal, then unfortunately hula hooping will not get you there. You will need to do a lot of extra weight training to achieve this.
When we’re talking about fitness hooping we are mainly referring on on-body hooping. So we are mainly targeting the muscles in the abdominal area. Different moves target different areas of the abdomen and you can train them with the right fitness hula hoop workouts.
For example, you can target your upper abs with chest hooping, or work the obliques harder with the Skyscaper.
If toning your tummy is your goal then you can increase the strengthening and toning effect with the type of hoop you use. Fitness hooping is traditionally done using a heavy hoop. However the lighter the hoop the harder it is to keep it going.
So if you want to increase the challenge and the toning effect try a slightly lighter hoop. For example if you’re using a hoop with 25mm (1 inch) tubing and it feels too easy, then try it with hoop with 20mm (3/4 inch) tubing.
- Target your ab workout. Just maintaining the hoop spin around the waist is a great start. But if you really want to improve your abdominal strength and tone your tummy then try different fitness hula hoop workouts.
- Change your hoop. If the workouts are all feeling too easy with your heavy hoop you can challenge yourself with a lighter one. Downgrade in weight and you abs will have to work harder to jeep the hoop up.
#4 Hula hooping improves your balance
Core strength is the key to good balance. When waist hooping, you’re strengthening your core muscles from front to back.
After a stint of regular hula hooping you will start to realise you are able to do things that weren’t available to you before. A while ago I discovered that I could finally ride a bike with no hands! What will you suddenly be able to do?
If improving you balance is your goal you can try a few hula hoop workouts that really target that.
- Feet together: Get the hoop going around your waist. If they’re not already work to get your feet together. Remember to push from the belly – By doing this you’re reducing your footprint and increasing the challenge. Think of the Eiffel Tower with it’s feet together.
- Ballet Legs: Try actually balancing while maintaining the hoop around the waist. – Put you weight in one foot and point the other leg forward. At first you might need to balance with your toes lightly touching the ground, but with practice you’ll be able to lift your forward foot. – Think of a ballerina doing their warm up routine.
My Personal Experience
I have always had a bit of trouble with balance. It’s just my genetics, I guess. In a yoga class I’d always pick a space near a wall or a column so wouldn’t put the other students off with my wobbly stance. Or be pretty fearful when climbing ladders or trees.
However hula hooping had greatly improved my balance! After practicing the above exercises daily I started to realise I could do things I’d never been able to do before – Like riding a bike hands free.
These days I feel more comfortable climbing into high places for cool shots.
Last Easter I went on a trip to the countryside. We were by a lake and saw a tree that had fallen over the water. Before, I never would have dreamed of walking on it, let alone hula hooping on it!
However regular balance training with the hoop around my waist gave the confidence and skill to perform a three hoop split on the tree! Doing that made me really realise how far I’ve come, yet how much better I could be.
#5 Hula hooping makes you happy
Yes, it’s true, hula hooping is good for the mind as well as the body!
It’s pretty difficult to hula hoop without a smile on your face. It’s a really playful form of exercise which turns people of any age into children. It allows you to engage with your inner child, that you might need to keep locked up inside during your day-to-day life.
It’s also no secret that regular exercise that gets the heart pumping can release endorphins that boos your mood. The added benefit of hula hooping is that it is addictive!
At first somethings can be difficult, even basic waist hooping can be a struggle. But hoppers soon notice that with a bit of practice their bodies are actually able to achieve things they never thought possible. It can boost your confidence and self-belief. Once you’ve felt the satisfaction of nailing a hoop trick or move you’ll get the bug.
- Engage with your inner child! Hula hooping is such a playful exercise, so let yourself go.
- Don’t put too much pressure on yourself. On the flip side of being able to achieve new things with your body. there is the practice and sometimes frustration leading up to it. If something is not working then don’t fret! – Take a break and return to it later. With practice you can always get there.
My Personal Experience
I first picked up the hoop as an adult at the age of 21. I was in Costa Rica and I saw someone dancing with a hoop and thought “I used to do this as a kid, I’ve got try it!”. So I did and I discovered I had some kind of talent for it, I was super pleased with myself.
Once I got back to the UK I bought myself a hoop. I was studying architecture in Brighton at the time. I loved the city but hated my studies, which made me unhappy.
Architecture students out there will know what time talking about. It’s almost a martyrdom, locking yourself in your room for most of the day to complete the work and unfortunately for me I wasn’t particularly good at it.
But luckily, I had a massive room and a hula hoop! If I ever felt sad or like a potato (for sitting at my desk all day) I would pick up my hoop and dance it out! It would always raise my spirits and make me feel good about myself.
In the end I stuck to hula hooping and not to architecture. It still makes makes me extremely happy to this day!.
How to get the most out of your hula hoop fitness workout
Ok, so we know know that hula hooping can be a workout – but how can it be used to achieve weight-loss?
The key things you need to consider here are
- The type of hoop you use
- What you do with the hoop
- How long hula hoop for
- How regularly you hoop
- What you’re eating alongside your exercise program
Which hula hoop to use for fitness?
Traditionally heavy hoops are used for fitness whether you’re a beginner or an experienced hooper. The heavier the hoop, the easier it is to keep the momentum.
- My recommendation: For fitness hooping would be something that (when stood vertically next to your body) comes up somewhere between your crotch and belly button with 25mm/1 inch thickness HDPE tubing. The thick tubing will have enough weight to get the hoop spinning
- Weighted Hoops: There are weighted hula hoops that are marketed as fitness hoops. These can be useful for some people, but not essential. If you struggle to keep a regular hoop going around the waist then a weighted hoop can help you to achieve momentum.
- Experienced hoopers: If you’re a more experienced hula hooper, then you can increase your challenge by using a slightly lighter hoop. For example you could move onto a hoop with 2omm (3/4 inch) tubing. This will work your abs harder and help you develop the control to dance with the hoop freely around the waist.
How to hula hoop for fitness?
Fitness hooping is predominately waist hooping, however it can also involve leg and chest hooping, as well as exercises for the arms.
# 1 First tings first:
So, if fitness is your goal then you need to get the hoop spinning around your waist. You also need to make sure that you’re using your core muscles to do this… not you knees or hips.
# 2 Be inspired:
You’ll need to have some motivation to keep on going. Some people who hoop for fitness like to do it in front of the T.V, they put on their favorite program and waist hoop.
For me, it’s the connection between hula hooping and music that really inspires me. If I’m feeling tired or like I could stop, it gives me that extra push to go further.
# 3 Hoop in both directions:
I know I say it all the time, but guys, I just can’t stress it enough. Hula hooping in both directions is so important!
It might not be as fun at first but improving your weaker direction will greatly improve your good one. It also ensures you develop even muscles on both sides of your body and protects your back.
Last year I met a fellow professional hooper. She came to my Hoop Plus Jam while she was in Berlin. We were discussing the importance of hooping on both sides and she told me that she was training a six hoop split for a show.
She had been drilling this for days and then started to feel pain in her back. She went to the doctor and he told her that her muscles were pulling her spine in one direction. Since then she trains both sides equally and doesn’t have back pain anymore.
Now I know that not everyone will be drilling six hoop splits everyday, so it’s unlikely that ten minutes a day of fitness hooping would have a similar effect. However it’s important to note that hooping in both sides will ensure you’re working the entire core muscles.
# 4 Make hooping a habit:
For most hoopers its more than a habit, its an addiction. You can get there too.
If, at the beginning you need some help in motivating you to get the hoop out in the first place then the best thing you can do it put a quick fitness hooping session into your daily routine.
I have a morning routine that I stick to – 20-30 minutes of yoga and 15-30 minutes hula hooping. I have a core workout that I do everyday and then If I have more time then I will extend it and add more.
By making this my habit, it feels odd of I don’t do it. Of course there are days when it doesn’t happen, like if I have an early flight or appointment but those days are the exception.
# 5 Do your hula hoop fitness workout first thing in the morning.
I know there are many things that can get in the way – like work or getting the kids ready fir school. Or things you’d rather do – like big breakfasts or sex.
But doing your daily fitness hooping before breakfast means that you are burning calories at when your body is in fast mode. You haven’t eaten since the day before, so your body is running on it’s existing resources. It’s the peak time for fat burning!
I think the morning is the best time to do your daily workout as it wakes your body up and sets you up for the day. Furthermore, I find that if I don’t get it over and done with first thing, then I struggle to find the motivation to start it later on in the day.
# 6 Don’t give up.
If fitness is your goal, then I’d say that a 30 minute hula hoop workout is a good length of time to aim for.
If that’s not available to you today, no problem. With practice you will certainly get there!
If the hoop falls down, that doesn’t end the workout. Just pick it back up and start it again. We all drop the hoop every now and again, even the professionals.
It makes it all the more satisfying when you get further than your last fail.
# 7 Don’t be hard on yourself and have fun.
We are often our own worst critic. Especially when we are in self-improvement mode.
So if something is not working it is good to take a little break and return to it later.
Hula hooping is a great way to help you achieve your fitness goals. You burn on average 7 calories a minute, similar to step aerobics and boxercise. It raises the heartbeat and helps to encourage weight-loss all over the body.
Waist hooping strengths then core and tones the abs. This in turn, tightens the overall shape of your waist.
Regular fitness hooping must also be accompanied by a balanced healthy diet if you want to see weight-loss results.
You are also unlikely to build large muscle mass and gain a six pack with hula hooping alone. But can see a tucking in of the waist the more you hoop.
To see good results you have to hula hoop regularly. Three to seven times a week will help you see great improvement in your body, mind and skills.