I Tried a Weighted Hula Hoop for a Fun, At-Home Workout
A workout that takes you back to being a kid? Sign me up. Here's what happened when I exercised with a weighted hula hoop.
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At-home workouts made easy and affordable
When the Covid-19 pandemic closed gyms around the world, I—like many people—turned to the safety of at-home workouts to deal with pent-up stress and anxiety and move my body more.
Yoga mats, hand weights, spin bikes, and streaming workout classes were all the rage.
Gyms and boutique workout classes are opening back up, but for me working out at home is here to stay, at least part of the time. At-home workouts are generally cheaper than a gym membership, and there’s no commute required.
During quarantine, I definitely got into working out at home,
I’ve been using a weighted hula hoop to work out at home for the past two months, and I spoke with a certified fitness trainer to get a professional opinion on the safety and benefits.
Want to try it yourself? Here’s everything you need to know about exercising with weighted hula hoops.
What is a weighted hula hoop?
A weighted hula hoop is almost like a kids’ toy hula hoop—but with the inclusion of weighted plastic (or steel) and foam to make it bigger and heavier. The added weight takes it from a kids’ toy to a piece of aerobic exercise equipment.
I ordered the Better Sense Hoola Hoop from Amazon, based on reviews, ratings, and price.
This one is two pounds (which doesn’t sound heavy until you’re five minutes into a workout!) and has a dark gray and pink colorway. As of press time, the weighted hula hoop had a 4.3-star rating, and more than 1100 people have purchased it, including me.
I asked Jessica Mazzucco, a New York City-based certified fitness trainer and founder of thegluterecruit.com, for her professional opinion on working out with a weighted hula hoop.
“Hula hooping is a great way to tone up, lose weight, and increase your overall fitness,” she says.
My first experience with a weighted hula hoop
The weighted hula hoop arrived in a cardboard box, and was broken down into individual sections—much easier than shipping a 37-inch hoop.
Before I could start hoopin,’ I clicked the arched pieces into a circle using small plastic buttons. The buttons are covered in foam, so they don’t hit the body or catch on clothing.
Once I had the hoop together in a circle, I was surprised that it felt pretty lightweight. It was definitely a little flimsier and wider than a kids’ hula hoop. But when I started swinging my hips, I definitely felt the burn.
I had to engage my core and tighten my legs to stay balanced and keep the hula hoop going. But it was fun!
Weighted hula hoop benefits
In my experience, the biggest benefit of a weighted hula hoop is that it’s fun and easy to use. I hula-hoop while watching TV and listening to music in my living room.
Mazzucco speaks to more specific weighted hula hoop benefits. “The average person will burn around 165 to 200 calories during a 30-minute session,” she says. “It’s great for aerobic health [and] losing belly fat.”
She does note that to lose weight, most people will also have to change their diet to a calorie deficit.
Do weighted hula hoops work?
Like a lot of exercise equipment, weighted hula hoops work if you actually use them.
“Using a weighted hula hoop strengthens the core muscles and improves core endurance, resulting in a smaller waist and hips,” Mazzucco says.
“Weighted hula hoops also improve posture by working your lower back muscles, which are key in maintaining good posture and spinal alignment.”
Those looking for a low-impact activity, intense workout, and core-specific work would benefit from using a weighted hula hoop, according to Mazzucco.
The pros and cons of weighted hula hoops
- It’s fun! Use it while watching TV or listening to music—indoors and out.
- Under $30 for at-home workout equipment.
- Good workout overall for abs and tightening obliques and glutes.
- Easy to use for all ages.
- Portable—break it down or simply carry it to the park or beach.
- Simple to assemble with one person.
- Difficult to break back down into individual sections.
- Padding might not be enough for very thin users.
Risks of using a weighted hula hoop
Like with any new fitness regimen, consult your doctor before jumping in.
I’ve worked out with the weighted hula hoop for a few months and haven’t had any issues, though some users have reported the hoop causing bruises on their waists. That could be from using too heavy of a hoop.
Mazzucco recommends beginners look for a hula hoop of one to two pounds.
“It’s important not to purchase a weighted hula hoop that is too heavy because you increase your risk of injury and cause stress on your back,” she says.
“The hula hoop should reach around three inches above your belly button, and if you have a smaller body size, you will want a smaller hoop.”
The final verdict on working out with a weighted hula hoop
I love working out with a two-pound weighted hula hoop. And so does my family. My dad, sister-in-law, nieces and nephews have all given it a whirl and had fun. (My eight-year-old nephew was impressively skilled.)
I’ve found hula hooping to be an easy and enjoyable way to boost my heart rate and increase overall fitness without a lot of effort or planning. But, Mazzucco reminds me that it’s important to integrate all sorts of workouts into an exercise routine to target different muscle groups and avoid a workout plateau.
My weighted hula hoop is here to stay.
For more indoor workouts, here are the best home rowing machines for every budget.
- Jessica Mazzucco, a New York-based certified fitness trainer and founder of thegluterecruit.com