Top 10 Hooping Workouts for Athletes

hooping workout

Core workouts are essential for athletes and anyone looking to build strength, endurance, and agility. However, it can be difficult to find the right way to work up a sweat without hurting your joints or falling into the same boring routines you learned in gym class. That’s why so many have incorporated hula hooping into their training.

Hula hooping? Really? If you thought hula hooping was easy, you should watch the Glamour video of Olympians attempting to hula hoop. Because hula hoops force you to build muscle strength and balance at the same time, it can be challenging for even the most fit of individuals. It’s time to take your hoop workout to the next level and try these popular exercises for athletes:

1. Ab Buster

This is a serious workout routine! Set a timer for three minutes. Hula hoop for that entire time period, and then immediately drop to the floor and hold a plank for another three minutes. Repeat this three times. No cheating!

hooping workout

The perfect plank.

Planks engage all core muscle groups. Plus, it has a low impact on your spine and hips. You should add planks to nearly every workout, not just hooping!

2. Mix It Up

Everyone knows about the benefits of traditional hula hooping, where the hoop rests on your hips. However, hula hooping can give you a full body workout! Try changing it up by putting the hoop around your neck, arms, or even legs. It’ll work different muscle groups than you normally do, so you’re guaranteed to feel the burn. Especially if you are recovering from surgery, you can still add toning to your regime with a hoop.

3. Relay

Ready to turn your workout into a competition? Grab a few of your workout buddies and start a good old fashioned relay race! Hoop for ten rotations, then run down and tag a friend. Keep this up as long as you can. Make sure you pick your teammates wisely; you never know who may need more practice at the hoop... 

4. Catch Me If You Can

Hula hooping doesn’t have to be in one place. Gently roll your hula hoop on the ground in front of you. Then, run as fast as you can to try and beat the hoop to your finish line. This trains your fast-twitch muscles and adds some much needed variety to your routine. You can also try running with the hula hoop. (Yes, it’s possible! Check out the Hoopathon for Race for Life in the UK.) 

hooping workout

Race for Life in 2009

5. Fartlek Hooping

Runners often practice fartlek training, where the pick a certain point and run to it as fast as they can. Hula hoopers have their own version of fartleks, too! For this exercise, pick a number from 1-1000. Then, hoop as fast as you can until you reach that number of rotations.

6. Slow And Steady

Hula hooping is a great cardio workout, but it can also work wonders for your muscular strength! Try to hoop as slowly as you can. Take caution, though -- it’s harder than you think! By slowing down, you’ll be adding more control to your core (and more power to your abs).

7. Soccer Drills

Everyone remembers stepping up and down on a ball as fast as you could during middle school soccer practice. But, few people know that this can be done while hula hooping! This trains multiple muscle groups and is pretty hard to do. So, it’s a mental exercise as much as it is a physical one.

8. Hop To It

You can use a hula hoop for more than just hooping! Lay a few on the ground, and then hop in and out of them as quickly as you can. You may remember seeing this exercise from movies featuring intense army training--but with tires instead of hula hoops. Remember to pick up your feet as high as you can to maximize the effect. This is great for your muscles and is a good source of cardio! 

9. Hoop Tricks

A quick search on Instagram or Pinterest can help you find countless of hula hooping tricks. Try to learn a few. They’re sure to work some new muscle groups! Add music, neon lights, and trending hashtags--you’ll have new followers passionate about your hula hooping in no time.

10. Off And On

All athletes know the best workouts are unpredictable for your body. Once your body knows that to expect, it stops workout as hard. Work your fast AND slow twitch muscles by rotating between hooping quickly and slowly. This is definitely a great way to great in an excellent workout in no time at all! 

Next time you’re looking to change up your exercise routine, try to use more of these great hula hooping workouts for athletes. After all, variety is the spice of life.


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