Weighted Hula Hoops: What Experts Want You to Know
Find out what health and fitness experts have to say about the latest trend—and where to find weighted hula hoops in Canada.
This summer, the classic hula hoop was revived on TikTok—with a slight twist. Unlike the nostalgic plastic hoops you may have used as a kid, hula hoops have been revamped as a fitness tool, with the addition of weights to further challenge users. The fitness trend recently took off, with #weightedhulahoop reaching more than 185 million views on TikTok. Social media users of all ages posted videos using their weight hula hoops, praising it as a fun workout that helps tighten the core. So, is this popular fitness trend worth trying?
A weighted hula hoop can improve control and strength of some core muscles, says Melanie MacKinnon, a physiotherapist and founder of Strive Physiotherapy and Sports Medicine in Toronto. Although it can’t target all core and abdominal muscles as effectively as other exercises, like crunches (or give you abs, despite the claims via TikTok), some users may notice toning benefits, she says. A small 6-week study linked regular use of a weighted hoop to a reduced waist and hip size. Another small study suggests weighted hula hoops may increase abdominal muscle mass.
Fans of weighted hula hoops say it has mental health perks, too. Rachel Bowen-Jones, founder of Hula Dancersize, says hula hooping has helped her feel free, more confident and self-expressive. “When you’re hula hooping, it’s like a circle of happiness that you’re in,” she says.
Thinking about hopping on the TikTok trend? Here’s what experts want you to know before getting started, plus where to shop weighted hula hoops in Canada.
Is a weighted hula hoop right for me?
“Hula hooping is a fun activity, and as a health professional, I encourage activity in all its forms,” says MacKinnon. “The key is to get moving, so if hula hooping gets people moving, great.”
While everyone can benefit from its mood-boosting benefits, MacKinnon says there are some people who are more likely to reap the physical benefit from using a weighted hula hoop than others. “More experienced dancers and gymnasts may find it useful as something more novel to work on their body movement and control, and adding weight increases the challenge,” she says. Likewise, it can benefit new dancers who want to improve the control and movement of their torso and hips, says MacKinnon.
Who shouldn’t try a weighted hula hoop?
“If you have a pre-existing condition or a fresh injury you’re recovering from, you may have to be a bit more careful,” says MacKinnon. The repetitive gyrating movement of the hula hoop against your waist and lower back and the added weight may cause pain or discomfort, she says.
What size and weight should I try?
Weighted hula hoops typically come in detachable sections which can be adjusted to a desired size and weight, ranging from two to five pounds. For optimal results and minimal risk of injury, try a light weighted hula hoop (about two to three pounds) and decrease its circumference as your hooping abilities improve, says MacCutchan. The larger the hoop, the slower it moves around your waist, making larger hoops ideal for beginners or for those who incorporate other movements, like arm exercises, with hooping, she says. A smaller hoop requires faster movement in the waist and hips, which makes it more challenging to use.
Is it painful?
“Sometimes there can be some soreness—it’s just related to getting into a new exercise,” says MacKinnon. Of course, it’s important to listen to your body’s cues and stop using the hula hoop if it is too painful.
How do I begin using a weighted hula hoop safely?
“Always start with an unweighted hula hoop, and generate some experience with it in terms of building up time and duration,” says MacKinnon.
When you’re comfortable with hula hooping, start slowly with the weighted one. “I always say to people when you’re first starting out, do just five minutes a day the first week,” says Bowen-Jones. This will help your body get used to the weighted hula hoop and avoid abdominal pain, she says. Bowen-Jones also advises alternating the direction of the hula hoop to strengthen brain coordination, work both sides equally and prevent injury.
Is weighted hula hooping an effective workout?
“I think the weighted hula hoop is one component of an effective workout routine,” says MacKinnon, “targeting primarily the core and balance/movement control.”
What are the best weighted hula hoops in Canada?
Here are three of the bestselling weighted hula hoops in Canada.
KilYn Exercise Fitness Hoola Hoop
Image: Power WearHouse
Power WearHouse -Take 2 Weighted Hula Hoop
Weighted Hula Hoop