Remember back in the day when you used to hula hoop (or, at least attempt to!) for hours and hours? What you probably didn’t realize back then was that in addition to passing time by keeping that hoop swinging around your hips, you were also getting in a great workout!
While the days of recess and blacktops are far behind us, hula-hooping has reemerged as a fitness craze. The lightweight hoops of our childhood have been replaced by weighted rings that companies like Heavy Hoop (deemed “Hollywood’s Favorite Workout” for its popularity with A-Listers), Sports Hoop, and Hoop Girl have all centered their businesses. The health benefits of this iconic toy include a toned core and butt and an improved posture.
Most recently, Hoopnotica spun onto the scene with its line of hoops and instructional DVDs touted by everyone from Beyonce to editors at Vogue. Vogue even labeled the workout a “new obsession,” claiming, “the two-pound hoops target the obliques and the hard-to-tone lower abs, guaranteeing a more whittled waist to cinch wide belts.”
Whether you are hoping to look hot in a big belt or you just want a fun and sexy approach to exercise, consider giving this trend a spin. Check to see if your gym or community center is one of the many facilities offering hooping classes. Or, if you prefer to work out from home, pick up your own weighted hoop and try these basic moves. See the video below for a demonstration of hula moves. As with any workout, don’t forget to warm up before and cool down after by stretching and jogging or marching in place for five minutes.
Keeping your feet wide, lift the hoop and place it tightly against the back of your waist. Grasp the hoop and keep it in a horizontal position before swinging out — avoid tilting the hoop. Horizontally swing the hoop against your waist, fast and powerfully. Move your waist in a circular motion, pressing against the hoop. Keep your pace quick enough to keep the hoop hoisted on your waist; practice spinning for 3 to 5 minutes.
SEGWAY TO SQUATS:
As you are spinning, hold your arms above your head or out to the side. Slightly bend your knees and drop your butt down slightly as though you are about to sit down on a chair – that means rear back and knees above ankles. Slowly return to a standing position and repeat 10 times.
ADD A LUNGE:
Keep your hoop in motion and turn to your left with your arms out to the side. Extend your right leg about two feet behind your left. Bending your left knee slightly, slowly drop the right knee down into a lunge position, and then gently return to a standing position. Repeat 10 times, then switch sides and do 10 reps with your right leg in front.
Eight minutes of pure hooping will burn up to 110 calories, and the added exercises target major muscle groups, like your glutes, quads, and abs. For an upper body workout, hold onto light weights while you spin and add some extra moves, like tricep extensions, bicep curls, or overhead presses.
For more inspiration and info on all things hoop-related, including a directory of hoop groups near you, check out Hooping.org.
Want more ideas for boredom-busting exercise? Check out:
- My sexy little pole: Pole dancing for fitness
- Go on a treasure hunt: A geocaching primer
- Working out to a Wii: Get your exercise with Wii Fit
- Fitness that’s fun: The hula hoop revival