These days, the hula hoop is so much more than mere child’s play. This toy from your childhood memories is now one of the hottest workout trends! Hula exercise is said to tighten your abs and trim your waist, and the fitness routine has earned praise from fitness gurus and famous faces alike.
Actress Zooey Deschanel, singer (and queen) Beyonce, and even basketball star Shaquille O'Neal have embraced hula exercise, so why don’t you?
It’s always important to stretch before a workout, and this exercise lets you get used to using your hoop. Start by standing with your feet shoulder width apart and holding your hoop in the air over your head. Lean to one side, stretching your sides and warming up your body. Hold the stretch for a few beats, then switch sides.
This hula exercise works your oblique muscles, which can give your abs that sought after “v-shaped” look. Plant your feet on the ground shoulder width apart and bend your knees slightly. Hold your hoop in your right hand and twist at the waist over your right shoulder. Then, twist to the left as you pass the hoop to your left hand. Repeat, but rest when you need to - the added weight from that hoop can be tough when you’re starting out!
Halo spins actually work the whole upper body, not just the abs, but they do involve strengthening your core and therefore help create that killer six pack we all want. This time, stand with your feet together and hold your hoop in both hands with your arms outstretched. Then spin around! The extra weight of the hoop will be a workout for your arms and shoulders, but remember to keep your stomach tight (and don’t get dizzy).
Some people use weighted hoops for extra strength-building
Old school sit ups are much more fun with a hula hoop! Begin by lying flat on an exercise mat with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Your hoop should be underneath you, with the bottom of the hoop under your mid-back and the top of the hoop above your head. Then, grip the sides of the hoop (instead of putting your hands behind your head, like the traditional sit up). Contract your abs and do a sit up as normal, then repeat.
To master this hula exercise, you’ll need to get in touch with your inner child. Begin (again) standing with your feet planted shoulder width apart and your hoop around your waist. Get the hoop going with a push from your arms, then wiggle those hips to keep it going! This exercise will help whittle down that spare tire and give you the hourglass shape you’ve always wanted.
Yes, hula exercise is a wonderful way to sculpt beautiful abs, but why not do a little extra? By adding plies or squats to your basic hula hoop, you can trim your thighs and lift that booty, too! Of course, the squatting motion might make it tougher to keep your hoop moving. Pick up the pace and hula harder--you’ll get it, and you’ll feel the burn!
Of all the hula exercises, this one might be the most awkward on your first attempt. Don’t give up - it’s worth it! With your feet shoulder width apart, bend over slightly (your back should be at about a 45 degree angle from your hips). To keep the hoop moving here, you basically need to… well, pop the booty. Like we said, keep trying to master this move. It’s a great way to burn that belly fat.
A slight variation on the basic hula hoop, this exercise focuses more on the muscles in your lower abdomen and lower back. Stand with one foot in front of the other and keep the hoop spinning by moving your hips backwards and forwards. Hoop this way for about 30 seconds, then try again with your other foot forward. Trust us, you’ll feel the burn before you know it.
Once you’ve got the forward stance hula down, up the intensity by walking around as you hoop! Each step will push the hoop with your hips, giving you more momentum to keep that hoop spinning. Try walking in different directions (including backwards and side to side) and at different speeds to make this exercise work for you.
Here’s a hula exercise for the real masters! Begin in your forward stance position and spin your hoop counterclockwise. Once it’s spinning, move your weight to your left foot and push off the ground with your right. Between the push from your leg and the momentum of the hoop, you should be able to spin a full 360 degrees! Land again in forward stance and use your hips to keep the hoop going. Then, do it again - and switch feet when you get tired.
These exercises are designed to be fun, but that doesn’t mean they’re not hard work. Whatever you do, don’t give up! The more you dedicate time to your hoop, the better your results will be. Before you know it, you’ll be stronger, hotter, and happier-- a guaranteed side effect of a workout that’s fun!
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