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ra·di·ant adj \ˈrā-dē-ənt\ – vividly bright and shining

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Hula Hooping – An Effective Core Workout That’s a LOT of Fun!

Hula Hooping

We all know that strong core muscles are a key part of having a great looking body. It’s important to remember that the core is also the source of stability in countless daily activities, and a strong core is necessary to prevent injuries and avoid lower back pain. This makes core fitness an essential part of any exercise regimen.

Hula hooping is becoming a popular way to improve core strength and increase stamina. It engages all of the core muscles, including abdominal, lower back, pelvic and upper leg muscles. And it’s so much fun that you can easily enjoy hooping for hours (literally!), once you master the basic technique.

Getting started:

  1. you will need a hoop. Do NOT go to Walmart or Toys R Us to buy one – the hoops that they sell are small and light-weight, and completely inadequate for adults. You can purchase a properly constructed adult-size hoop at many online stores, or you can easily make one yourself, for about $10 (see instructions below)
  2. you should wear smooth, form-fitting clothing (yoga-wear works well)
  3. you will want some space – ideally you should have about 5 feet on each side of you, so that your hoop won’t hit anything
  4. you can’t go wrong with good, high-energy music. Black Eyed Peas “I’ve got a Feeling” is one of my personal favorites for hooping to
  5. Stand in the center of the room, and start hooping. If you haven’t done it recently, it’s apt to be awkward to start, but don’t give up!

Once you’ve mastered the basic move (around the waist), you may want to challenge yourself and learn additional moves. For this purpose, there are DVDs available, as well as an amazing assortment of videos online. Here’s one you can take a look at.

Instructions for making your own hoop:

Go to a local home-improvement big-box store like Home Depot, and buy:

  • approximately 12 feet of 3/4 inch 100-160psi irrigation tubing (if you are particularly tall, or have a large mid-section, you may want as much as 15 feet – your first tube should probably reach from the floor to somewhere between your sternum and your clavicle) (If you buy a longer length of irrigation tubing, and don’t have a hack-saw at home, you might ask them to cut it for you at the store)
  • a connector for that tubing, and
  • some tape (electrical tape works well – get two rolls in contrasting colors; hockey tape is also good, and provides a little more friction when hooping)

Use the connector to connect the two ends of your tubing, and make a circle. Tape over the join (duct tape is really good here, but the tape you’ve purchased for decoration is also fine). Now decorate your hoop with the tape you’ve bought. “Candy Cane” is an easy pattern, in which you tape diagonally around the hoop, alternating between the two colors.

Decorating your hoop

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7 Comments

  1. Siobhan says:

    On those mornings when I wake up tired and groggy – 5 minutes of hooping to some upbeat music is just the thing to wake me up! This morning’s hooping music – “Holiday” by Green Day. Just TRY to keep up that pace!

  2. Ayla says:

    I just made my first hoop using your directions, the tape sure isn’t pretty, but it works well!! In just a couple days I’ve gone from not benig able to keep it on my hips for more than a couple rotations, to hooping for a couple minutes at a time! what a great workout, I am loving it. I’m trying for 15 minutes everyday, and it’s awesome how fast I’m seeing results in my ability… can’t wait to see results in my measurements! thanks for the info, I love your site, keep the tips coming!

    • Siobhan says:

      Hi, Ayla,

      Agreed – electrical tape isn’t incredibly pretty (although my 3-tape designs are pretty nice-looking – I’ll post a photo this week). Hockey-stick tape is even less attractive, but a lot ‘stickier’, so it’s easier to do thigh-level hooping.

      There ARE some beautiful tapes you can buy – I bought some white/blue/purple/pink camoflage duct-tape at a craft-store a while back – alternated it with white for an attractive hoop I gave my sister for Christmas. And there’s hooping-specific tape (glow in the dark appeals) that you can buy online (for example – http://www.hooptape.com and http://www.identi-tape.com), but they can get a little pricey, once you include shipping.

      Anyway, I’m glad that you’re enjoying your new hoop! I’m planning to add a post describing my new 30-minute whole-body hooping-based workout sometime soon – I’ve been doing it for about a month, and loving it. It combines various sorts of hooping with weights and stability-ball exercises.

      Watch for it!

  3. I’m a big hooper and love it! It’s my favorite way to strengthen my core and keep my jeans fitting. Music is key when hooping, too. I’ve got my own “hula hopping” playlist.

  4. ABBIE says:

    Do you put weights in your hoop?

    • Siobhan says:

      My hoop is reasonably heavy on its own, but no, I don’t put weights in it. A weighted hoop can be good for a core workout, but I tend to prefer my non-weighted hoops, because I can do more with them. If you want a great core workout, try hooping 5 minutes really fast! Kesha’s Take It Off, for example, is a perfect speed.


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