What Are the Benefits of Using a Weighted Hula Hoop?

If you're bored with your current fitness routine and need something to turn up the excitement level, then grab a weighted hula hoop and get moving.

Weighted hula hoops are great to help strengthen your core. (Image: Cultura RM Exclusive/Chris Whitehead/Cultura Exclusive/GettyImages)

Not only will swinging your hips like you did as a kid make you laugh, but it can also work your core muscles, tone your lower body and burn a ton of calories.


Using a weighted hula hoop can help strengthen your core muscles, burn calories and give you a more intense workout.

Benefits of Hula Hooping Daily

The American Council on Exercise notes that it's not uncommon to see people in Pilates studios, cardio classes and boot-camp style workouts swinging their hips to better health. After just a few sessions, they realize that the benefits of hula hooping are endless.

In fact, the Mayo Clinic says hula hooping is comparable in results to other dance aerobic activities such as salsa, swing dancing and belly dancing. Which means, incorporating this tool into your cardio workouts or fitness classes can help you burn calories, strengthen and tighten your midsection and challenge your lower body.

Since hula hooping is similar to other styles of dance, you can estimate the calorie burn by comparing your weight, time and intensity to a beginning to moderate level dance class. According to Harvard Health Publishing, a 155-pound person can burn 205 calories during a 30-minute moderate intensity dance session. While not as high of a calorie burn, a lower-intensity session can net you a burn of 112 calories, which is not too shabby when you're having a whole lot of fun.

Since you rely on your hips, abdominals, obliques and lower back to circle the hoop and keep it off the ground, these muscles get a fantastic workout when using a weighted hula hoop.

Hooping How-Tos

There are two key motions during this activity: front to back and side-to-side. When you first start, you'll likely make big circles, but as you get stronger and your skill level improves, you will find that the hip motion will be smaller and the hoop will seem more in control.

To accomplish this, you will need to rely on the strength of your core muscles and the mobility in your hips. While this may seem like a lofty goal, you can still experience the benefits of hula hooping daily without being the playground champion.

One way to ease into this style of exercise is to aim for shorter spurts of activity several times a day. For example, perform a bodyweight routine with moves like squats, push-ups, planks and lunges, with a two to three-minute cardio burst of hooping between exercises.

Or, add it to a cardio machine workout at the gym. You can hop off the treadmill, elliptical, bike or rowing machine and hoop for a 90-second interval, then get back on the equipment for three to five minutes and repeat the cycle for 30 minutes.

Weighted Hula Hoop Tips

When it comes to strengthening your core muscles, burning calories and working the lower body, finding the right hula hoop makes all the difference. For an effective workout, make sure to choose the correct size and weight.

It might sound contradictory, but the lighter the weight, the more difficult it is to keep the hoop moving around your hips. However, if you go with a larger and heavier weighted hula hoop, you may find it easier to keep the rhythm going, which allows you to exercise longer. That said, if you lean forward in your posture or you have low back problems, a hoop too heavy may exacerbate these issues.

With that in mind, a good starting weight for a beginner is around 1 to 2 pounds. Many weighted hula hoops go up to 6 pounds, but that is definitely for more advanced levels. If you have an intermediate fitness level, you can start with 2 to 3 pounds and progress to a heavier weight, or stick with the moderate weight and add time to your workouts.

When determining the best size, look at the diameter of the hoop. You want to be able to keep it rotating around your waist long enough to get your heart rate up and take advantage of the calorie burn. To get a better idea of the right hoop for you, consider, trying different ones before settling on a specific size and weight.

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