We’re sure you can remember those days on the playground with your best friends, challenging each other to a hula-hooping competition to see who can ‘hula’ for the longest, who can hula using their arm, leg or neck – you name it, you’ve definitely done it.
This childhood favourite is fast becoming one of 2021 hottest new exercise techniques. With gyms shut and personal training classes cancelled, it’s time to get creative with your at-home workouts, and this is where the humble hula-hoop comes in to play.
The beauty of the hula-hoop stretches beyond it’s fun-filled benefits. Inexpensive, easy to store and pretty easy once you get the hang of it, even the basic waist-hula exercise we all know and love can have hugely positive effects on your health. Many are engaging in hula hooping for weight loss, amongst many other benefits.
Yes – really! The skill of hula-hooping requires a huge amount of co-ordination, rhythm and balance, which engages multiple muscles in your body. This concentration and fast-paced exercise means that you’re in for some intense calorie burning and ultimately, great fat-loss and toning results.
It’s also affordable and pretty simple – so what’s not to love?
What are the physical benefits of hula hooping?
Adding a hula-hoop to your circuit introduces a wealth of benefits and adds an element of challenge to your routine.
Balance Improvement and Core Muscle Engagement
As we’ve just mentioned, hula hooping engages a lot of important muscles. This includes your core – which will greatly enhance your balancing skills, not to mention your posture. Once you’ve nailed your balance and engaged your core – you’ll be surprised to find out how long you can hula for, and just how many benefits this quick, effective workout can have.
Boost Cardiovascular Fitness
Great news for all the cardio-haters out there: this fun exercise technique could replace your weekly-scheduled run. Hula hooping is a great way to engage in cardiovascular fitness in the comfort of your own home, with no expensive equipment holding you back.
Increased Body Fat Burn and Intense Calorie Burning
With cardio comes fat burn. As with all cardiovascular exercises, engagement in this type of movement helps speed up our metabolism and burn calories for a great, fat-burning work out.
As calorie burning is a major goal for so many fitness-fanatics out there, this exercise is a great way to introduce extra cardio, and therefore extra fat burning into your workout, whilst having some fun along the way.
As with all exercise – make sure you warm up. This step is pretty important, ensuring you are properly warmed up and as flexible as you can be before you start. This will mean that you burn the optimum number of calories and don’t run the risk of pulling anything – they may look harmless, but hula-hooping exercises engage a lot of your core muscles, so giving yourself an extended range of motion and flexibility is key in mastering this exercise. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.
What exercises can I do with a hula-hoop?
There are a range of exercises you can do with the humble hula-hoop, or with company – however you want to exercise, hula-hooping can be adapted for your home workout. Here are our three favourites, including a timeless classic, and two more funky techniques…
Whether you’re a beginner or consider yourself a fully-fledged pro, the below list can be adapted however you see fit. Many people consider this a full-body work out, and after a few minutes of this, you’re definitely going to see why…
Grab yourself a timer, put on some classic tunes, and start hooping. Continue this movement and as you gain confidence – up the speed!
Let’s start easy:
This will be the style you remember from the good old days and is a great place to start.
Place the hula hoop flat on the floor in front of you and step into the centre. Bend down and bring the hoop around your waist, and with your feet placed firmly on the ground at a shoulder-width apart, move from left to right.
Holding the hoop with both hands, twist to the left, with the edge of the hoop hitting your waist around your stomach, and this is the motion that will create the circular hoop movement! Make sure to push the hoop as it passes over each side of your hip to maintain the hoop motion.
Continue this motion for 10-15 minutes depending on your desired workout and confidence level, to burn calories, engage your core and have fun.
The longer you hoop for and the faster you go, the better the results!
A staple in workout routines everywhere, you can implement your hula hoop into your sit ups, too. This is a great way to add some fun to this notoriously challenging ab workout, and might even add a bit of assistance, enabling you to complete more reps.
Sit the hoop flat on the floor and sit yourself just outside, with your feet together and lower back outside of the hoop. Lie backwards and place your hands above your head to grab the top edge of the hoop – bringing this up with you when you crunch.
If you’re looking for something a little bit more engaging – halo spins don’t just work your core and lower body muscles, but your upper body too – making this the ultimate full-body workout. This is an absolutely great way to burn your abs.
Stand together with the hoop in both hands, resting in front of you. Pick up the hoop, and with your arms at a shoulders-width apart, stretch the hoop around your head in circular motions whilst keeping your feet firmly on the ground. This extra weight will include your arms in this workout and yield great toning results, all over your body.
If you’re still not convinced, how about trying a weighted hoop? Adding an element of weight to this exercise can really increase the burn and add extra-strength building to improve your results. Ensure that before you test out a weighted hoop, that your hooping skills are up to scratch.
If home workouts are your thing but you just can’t get to grips with hula hooping, check out this post about adding resistance bands into your workout for increased results.
For the best results, we recommend upping your hula-time in increments every day. Start with fifteen minutes and see how you feel, and up your time by five minutes every session.
What are the mental benefits of hula hooping?
Whilst we’ve discussed how hula hooping is great for your physical health, we haven’t really talked about why this technique is good for your mental health, too.
One of the great things about exercising is that it is a pretty much instant way to boost your mood. And whilst this is the same with hula hooping, there are some other pretty great mental benefits of this possible party trick too:
- Major confidence boosts
- Increased serotonin surges
- Make new friends – online or in the gym, hula hooping is a great conversation starter and even more enjoyable with others.
- Enhanced expression – dance like nobody’s watching!
The Best Hula Hoops
So, the chances are that you probably don’t have a hula hoop hanging around anymore. We’ve done our research, and rounded up some of our favourites for you…
For beginners, Canyon Hoops offers a great range of fitness hoops in an array of colours, styles and sizes. We particularly recommend their collection of Mirror Tape Hoops which come in small (38 inches) or regular (42 inches) so that you can accurately tailor your hoop to you.
If you’re struggling for space and storage, Echo Travel have created the solution. Collapsible hula hoops, which you can purchase from Firetoys. These come in one standard size, and mean that you can hula hoop wherever you are with ease. These aren’t weighted, which means they are great for those of all abilities – even kids, if they want to get involved!
Lastly, this collection wouldn’t be complete without a weighted hula option. Smart Hula’s Weighted Hula Hoop comes in three colours: pink, green and blue, and weighs in at 1.1kg to help you with your movement and increase the effectiveness of your core workout.
If you’re looking for some more inspiration for some affordable and effective workouts, why not check out our post about the benefits of skipping?
Don’t forget, every great workout starts with your fuel. Your workout requires energy, so give your body what it needs! Why not try out The Fit Protein? Increase your energy levels and smash your workout goals.