Latest Gym Trend: Hula Hooping

Mar 23, 2010 | fitness

Recently I appeared on Mornings with Kerry-Anne to give her some tips on how to Hula Hoop. You can watch the clip here (use the tabs on the right of the video to locate the Hula segment).

Ever since October 2009 when Michelle Obama hula hooped 142 times without stopping, the world has gone hooping mad! Gyms and dance studios are including more and more hooping classes, and many celebrities are coming out of the woodwork saying it’s their workout of choice.

The History of Hula Hooping

Hula Hooping originated in ancient Greek times when it was invented as a form of exercise. Although the name ‘hula hooping’ came about in the early 1800’s when British soldiers witnessed Hawaiian women performing hooping as part of a dance. The 1950’s was when hula hooping really took off, and while it has always been popular amongst kids, it’s only been recently when the adult world has rediscovered their love of the hoop.

Nintendo Wii Fit has a lot to do with the sudden popularity of hula hooping as do celebrities such as Michelle Obama. Wii Fit’s hula hooping game is a really effective cardiovascular  workout. Whilst standing on the Wii you have to rotate your hips trying to keep your virtual hoop from falling. In the meantime more hoops are flung in your direction and you have to lean your body whilst rotating to catch them (or you get donked on the head). I was embarrassingly puffed the first time I tried this, luckily I wasn’t the only one!

What are the Benefits of Hula Hooping

  • Increased fitness
  • Weight loss (you burn around 600-800 calories per hour)
  • Improved muscle tone, particularly your core muscles
  • Balance and coordination
  • Increased energy
  • Improves lower back flexibility
  • Heaps of fun!

What Muscles does it work

  • Upper and lower abdominals
  • Obliques
  • Lower and mid back
  • Gluteus (butt)
  • Upper Thighs
  • Heart and Lungs – a great cardiovascular workout

How to Get Started

Watch this video to learn how to get started. It takes practise but you will improve faster than you think!

What is a Good Hula Hooping Workout

  • Warm up for 5 minutes doing total body stretching and some walking on the spot
  • Hoop for 5 rounds of 2 minutes, with a short (30sec) break in between
  • Move to your arms and hoop with each arm for 3 rounds of 1 minute, alternating sides.
  • Switch back to hooping with your waist for another 5 rounds of 2 minutes, trying to hoop faster and add a few turns with your body if you can
  • For your final round count the repetitions and try to beat your last score. Can you beat Michelle Obama’s 142 reps?
  • Drop the hoop on the ground and hop in and out of the hoop for 20 reps, turning around going the other direction for 20 reps. (do lunges if you prefer low impact)
  • Finish with some cool down stretches, and a big drink of water
  • Alternatively you can add hooping into your regular workouts a. Add it at the start and finish of your walk, run, or class. If you do circuit style workouts, make hooping one of your circuits.

Although you probably view hula hooping as a kids game, give it a go and soon you’ll realize it’s a solid workout that will leave you smiling and panting at the same time!

Go to to find out about your local hula hooping classes.

If in Sydney Australia visit Hooping empire.

When was the last time you hooped? I’d love to hear your hooping stories!


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