When most people think about hula hoops, they immediately think “Oh, it’s a children’s toy.” Many Christmases and birthdays have seen hula hoops gifted to kids. But just because they were originally designed for children, it doesn’t mean adults can’t have the hula hooping fun (and lose some weight while they’re at it).
The original plastic version is already a challenge in itself but imagine trying to keep a weighted hula hoop around your waist. As its name suggests, this version is heavier compared to the traditional plastic hula hoop. They are also bigger and made from a softer material.
During the pandemic, many people are looking for ways to stay fit at home without the need for expensive equipment. If you’re not a big fan of dumbbells, kettlebells and other “complex” gym equipment, a weighted hula hoop may be the perfect addition to your total gym workouts or at-home workouts.
But before you proceed with your hula hoop workout, it pays to know everything about the weighted hula hoop: can it help you burn all the ice cream you ate? Can it really slim your waist? Does excessive training cause bruising? How long should you use a weighted hula hoop without hurting yourself?
First Things First: What’s a Weighted Hula Hoop?
There are many kinds of weighted hula hoops out there but they have the same concept: they are heavier than the traditional hula hoops. Weighted hula hoops are meant to help you burn calories and fat while work your core.
The actual weights of weighted hula hoops vary but most hoops weigh around two to three pounds.
When shopping for your weighted hula hoop, be careful of the outrageous claims found on the Internet. If a particular seller claims their hoops can burn “60,000” calories in just 20 minutes, don’t believe it. Women, for example, can only burn 165 calories after hula hooping for 30 minutes. All weighted hula hoops have the same effect; the differences in results depend on how often you work out with your weighted hula hoop.
Is a Weighted Hula Hoop a Good Workout?
Weighted hula hoops are effective exercising tools. They can help slim down your waist and tone your abs — as long as you use them correctly. This alternative workout can help burn calories, build aerobic endurance and can give you a good excuse to not run or jump rope, which is a big plus for people who have weak knees.
Although there is limited research on the effectiveness of the weighted hula hoop, there is still solid evidence that supports the health benefits of regularly hooping.
Consider the following:
- Calorie burn. Research shows that hula hooping can help you burn at least three to seven calories per minute, depending on the type of hoop you’re using plus your body type. The amount of calories you burn with your weighted hula hoop is similar to when you walk or do other low-impact exercises. Hula hooping is on the same level as cardio-kickboxing or boot camp in terms of how it gets your heart pumping, making it an ideal addition to your weight management training.
- Work out your lower body. The side-to-side and front-to-back motions of hula hooping activate muscles in your glutes and legs to encourage continuous movement. If you use a weighted hula hoop, you can strengthen these muscles more. Add a dash of fun to your hula hooping workout by squatting up and down while you swing your hips. This fun challenge strengthens the muscles of your legs, glutes and hips.
- Build your core strength. Hula hooping requires strong and consistent movement around the waist and hips to keep the hoop from falling. Simply put, you need to activate your core muscles to keep the hoop around your hips. If you consistently work out with your weighted hula hoop, you can build strong obliques and abdominal muscles. A regular hula hoop can do much for you. If you want to challenge your core more, go with the weighted hoops.
- Improve your posture. If you sit all day or struggle with maintaining a good posture, consistent hula hooping can also help. A weighted hula hoop workout requires your whole body to work as a unit to keep the hoop moving. It fires up all your muscles, including the small and underworked ones, which lead to better posture.
- Boost your cardiovascular system. Getting enough cardio is essential for a healthy lifestyle. You can get your recommended 75 minutes of vigorous (150 weekly minutes) activity in a fun way. Apart from helping your body reduce fat, good cardio can also boost lung and heart health while getting oxygen pumping through your body.
- Burn stubborn body fat. The low-impact and continuous coordination nature of hula hooping encourages a slow fat burn even after just a few minutes. This is great news for people who want to burn their stubborn belly fat. Research shows that a weighted hula hoop can also build core muscles while decreasing your abdominal fat percentage.
- Mental detox. The best thing about weighted hula hoop exercises is it helps both your body and mind. Use your workout sessions to de-stress and blow off some steam. Hula hooping is one of the best ways to release happy hormones. Also, since you have to keep things in rhythm, you can’t worry about the stresses of today for a while.
There Are Different Sizes and Weights for Weighted Hula Hoops
As mentioned above, weighted hula hoops come in different weights and sizes. They also differ by brand. In general, however, most weighted hula hoops are sized between 37 to 41 inches.
When choosing a weighted hula hoop, refrain from getting the heaviest. If you’re a beginner, you might have a difficult time exercising with your hoop. Instead, start with a hoop that reaches between your mid-chest and waist when the weighted hula hoop stands sideways on the ground.
Most hula hoops weigh from one to five pounds. Start with the lighter hoops if this is your first time. Once you become stronger and more experienced, you can handle the heavier weights. Also, when shopping for a weighted hula hoop, choose a weight that you can stick with during your workout. Go for a weighted hula hoop that weighs a pound or two. Avoid heavier hoops, so you won’t get knocked out ASAP.
How Do You Properly Use a Weighted Hula Hoop?
Once you’ve got your weighted hula hoop, wear the right attire. Form-fitting clothes ensure that no piece of clothing can get tangled or caught up in the hoop.
Don’t be discouraged when you first start playing with your hula hoop. It will spend more time on the floor than around your waist. When that happens, don’t give up. As the old saying goes, practice makes perfect. It can take some time to perfect the timing but the longer you practice, the better you’ll become. Just be patient and keep hooping!
To properly enjoy your weighted hula hoop:
- Hold your hoop in one hand and stand with your feet in a staggered position. If you spin the hoop counter-clockwise, start with your right foot; otherwise, start with your left foot.
- If you’re a hula hoop beginner, practice the hula motion without using the hoop. Make small backward and forward movements with your hips while slightly rocking your weight.
- Next, place the hoop around your waist and start hula hooping! Try your best to catch the hoop with your front hip as you start rocking back and forward.
While there isn’t a strict period of how long you should use your weighted hula hoop, experts advise using your hoop for no more than 20 minutes per workout.
Use Your Weighted Hula Hoop Safely
In general, exercising with a weighted hula hoop is safe. Just make sure you’re using the right weight that matches your fitness and strength level. If you’re just starting with your hula hoop workout, start with an un-weighted or low-weight hoop and level-up once your body is can handle the additional weight.
Always take it easy at first and avoid exhausting yourself. Vigorous workout plans will be useless if your muscles are strained. When in doubt, use a weighted hula hoop that is too light. If you feel pain during your workout, stop ASAP.
If you are also new to exercising or have an injury, check with your doctor first before starting your hula hoop workout. Always check with your doctor, especially if you have hip or back issues.
The Bottom Line
Hula hoops are no longer just children’s toys; these double as fun exercise tools for adults who want to get fit and stay healthy. Hula hooping is a fun way to burn calories, build your core strength and shed excess pounds. If you want to see results, make sure you enjoy a balanced diet free from fat, too!
Although exercise with a weighted hula hoop has a learning curve, it’s one of the best ways to stay active and motivated. Happy hooping!