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7 hula hoop moves that are your ticket to a toned core (and they're fun)

Laura Williams, M.S.Ed. is a personal trainer, freelance writer and entrepreneur who works with a wide variety of fitness clients. She's the founder of the popular website, - Girls Gone Sporty, and she's the host of the High Impact Blogg...

Swing your hips to your strongest core using a hula hoop

Warmer weather is guaranteed to make you feel like a kid again, so it's time to embrace the feeling and take your workout back to the playground. 

Hula-hooping with an adult-sized weighted hoop (you can grab one from almost any sporting goods store or an online retailer such as Amazon), raises your heart rate as an effective form of cardiovascular training and also engages the major muscles of your core: your abs, obliques, low back, glutes and hips.

Once you get good at regular hooping, you can add new exercises to the mix, boosting your workout further. The following seven exercises are designed to target all of your major muscle groups, with a focus on your lower body and core. Work on each exercise individually or put them together for a full, 30-minute routine.

Hula-hooping workout

Perform each exercise circuit-style, following one after the other. Don't worry if the hoop drops. Just pick it back up again and keep going.

  • 0:00 - 2:00, Front to back waist hooping, right foot in front (switch the rotation of the hoop every 30 seconds)
  • 2:01 - 4:00, Front to back waist hooping, left foot in front (switch the rotation of the hoop every 30 seconds)
  • 4:01 - 6:00, Side to side waist hooping (switch the rotation of the hoop every 30 seconds)
  • 6:01 - 7:00, March and press
  • 7:01 - 8:00, Alternating hooping lunges
  • 8:01 - 8:30, Hooping plié squat
  • 8:31 - 9:00, Overhead halo
  • 9:01 - 9:30, Knee marching with overhead halo
  • 9:31 - 10:00, rest

Repeat the circuit two more times.

1. Front to back waist hooping

Swing your hips to your strongest core using a hula hoop
Image: Becci Burkhart/SheKnows

Stagger your legs one in front of the other, knees slightly bent with the hula hoop parallel to the floor and pulled flush against your back. Use your arms to propel the hoop around your body, and begin rocking your hips front to back to keep the hoop moving.

Every 30 seconds change the direction of the hoop's rotation. Every 60 seconds switch your leg position.

2. Side to side waist hooping

Swing your hips to your strongest core using a hula hoop
Image: Becci Burkhart/SheKnows

Stand with your feet hip-distance apart, your knees slightly bent with the hula hoop parallel to the floor and pulled flush against your back. Use your arms to propel the hoop around your body, and begin rocking your hips from side to side to keep the hoop moving.

Every 30 seconds change the direction of the hoop's rotation.

3. March and press

Swing your hips to your strongest core using a hula hoop
Image: Becci Burkhart/SheKnows

Stand with your feet hip-distance apart, holding the hula hoop in both hands so it's surrounding your shoulders at a slight angle toward the floor in front of you. Draw your right knee high, foot flexed, as you press the hula hoop straight up over your head. Lower your right knee, and bring the hula hoop back to the starting position. Repeat on the opposite side, continuing the march and press movement.

Next: More hula hoop moves that are your ticket to a toned core

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