Focus On: Hoop Dancing

Hey hey 🙂 How are you? Hope you’re having a great morning so far <3 Thank you so much for the sweet words on the house- we can’t wait 🙂

I’m off to teach early Zumba, but thought it would be a fun time for a “Focus On” post- Hoop Dancing!

This is one that I’ve actually tried before…


… and had a tough time at it! Let’s just say hooping isn’t my forte, but that’s part of what makes it a fun and challenging workout 😉

What is it: Hoop Dancing is an excellent core exercise, using a weighted hoop, which is often much larger than the ones we used as kiddos. You instructors will have hoops for you to use, and you can also make one at home using the directions *here*. It may seem counterintuitive, but you don’t want to use a hoop that’s *too* heavy, in order to protect your back.

There is actually a fitness certification and DVDs through Hoopnotica- classes are held all over the world.

d0568de30aa061ac_hoopnotica-hoopdance Source (<—review for this DVD can also be found here)

What to expect:

The instructor will take you through a standard warm-up and stretches using the weighted hoops, and through a series of hoop movements- using the hoop around the waist, up and down the waist, hips and torso, around the arms, around the arms overhead, etc. Emphasis is placed on posture throughout the workout.

It’s a very lighthearted and playful form of exercise, which makes it a lot more fun, and also a great exercise in focus (since you want to keep your hoop from crashing to the ground). By using the weighted hoops to target your core, it’s a great way to change up the usual ab routine.

hoops Source

You can expect the class to be more challenging than hula hoop contest days, and also to learn some new hooping tricks. After practicing for a while, the moves *should* come together into a beautiful type of dance. [<— not so much for me, but that’s ok heh heh]

Here’s a hoop dancing video to get a better idea of what it looks like:

What to wear: Avoid slippery fabrics, as they can cause the hoop to slip, and stick to more form-fitting clothes. It’s tougher to spin a hoop around a baggy T-shirt than a tighter tank top. Any type of leggings is a great choice, with a non-baggy top. You’ll either wear sneakers or be barefoot for class.

The pros:

An excellent core workout! Anything to shake up your current routine in a good thing, so it’s always beneficial to check out new classes.

The cons:

Lack of cardio. My heart rate stayed fairly low for the entire class, so I would count on it more for toning (and for fun!) than cardio benefits.

Have you tried hoop dancing before? Can you hula hoop or are you more hoop challenged, like yours truly?

Enjoy your day and I’ll see ya in a little while 🙂



More “Focus On” posts:

Tracy Anderson Method


Pole Fitness



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  1. Kristina @ spabettie on May 24, 2011 at 9:31 am

    YES I LOVE HOOPDANCING !! I got into it a few years ago – (really very into it, I have 5+ hoops and all kinds of clothes, fun dances and lots of friends that now teach, make hoops, go to camps, RUN camps). I got very into it 😀

    it is SO much fun!

  2. brittney on May 24, 2011 at 9:33 am

    Hooping is my super favoritest way to exercise of ALL TIME. I love hooping!

    I have a weighted hoop at home and love to whip it out and hoop dance to ghetto booty music in my living room. 🙂

    You are right about the cardio being slight, but boy, is it fun. Learning tricks like hooping with your knees or chest can increase the difficulty.

    One thing for newbies: You will get bruised. Especially with weighted hoops. But once you get a hang of the tricks you won’t bruise. As much.

    Happy hooping!

  3. Jackie @ Baking Charms on May 24, 2011 at 9:33 am

    I’ve never heard of this but it looks like fun! Might be just the thing to help me get my stomach more toned up

  4. Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat on May 24, 2011 at 9:33 am

    This looks like fun! I’ve heard of Hoopnotica before at the fitness conference I attend every summer. I’m not sure it would cut it for me as a regular workout (because I’m a cardio junkie) but for a little something new I’d try it! 🙂

  5. Kilee on May 24, 2011 at 9:35 am

    Thank you for doing these fitness focus posts! It’s fun to see other workouts and get real feedback about how people like them. I’m so happy for your house update. I can’t wait to see how you decorate. Have you come up with ideas of how you want to do it? Have a great day!

  6. Michelle C on May 24, 2011 at 9:37 am

    baahahahah that class is my worst nightmare! When I was a kid ALL I wanted was to be able to hula hoop and i’ve never been able to pick it up! It always crashes right down. 🙂

    • brittney on May 24, 2011 at 9:44 am

      The weighted hoops stay up MUCH MUCH easier than the plastic ones you used as a kid. Give it a go! I bet you’d do great.

      • Vikki on May 24, 2011 at 10:05 am

        The bigger the hoop, the easier it is as well. Don’t try with a child sized hoop. A first hoop for beginners should come between your belly button and your chest.

  7. AJ on May 24, 2011 at 9:39 am

    I’m a cardio junkie too, but I’ve tried playing around with the weighted hoops, and its fun! The only thing I found to be a con, is that the weighted hoop actually bruised me! Don’t know if I’m the only one with that experience. Maybe I’m just a “bruiser”. : )

  8. Jessica @ Dairy Free Betty on May 24, 2011 at 9:39 am

    I’ve done this many times, it’s great for toning!! 🙂 Kids love it too, I used to run a girls group and I had the “hoop lady” come in once per week to do an hour class and all the girls loved it!

    I have an awesome hoop too, it’s black and pink!!

    Great post! 🙂

  9. Holly @ The Runny Egg on May 24, 2011 at 9:39 am

    I am very hoop challenged and wouldn’t last long in a hoop class!

    • Vikki on May 24, 2011 at 10:18 am

      “It isn’t you. Its the hoop” is the theme of our hoop group. Make sure that the hoop you used is adult sized.

  10. kate on May 24, 2011 at 9:51 am

    I cant hula hoop if my life depended on it but it sounds like a fun workout… congrats on the house btw cant wait to see the finished product!

  11. on May 24, 2011 at 9:56 am

    ive only hoola hooped when doing the wii fit haha oh and there was no actual hoola hoop so i guess i didnt. that looks fun though and like a great workout!

  12. Colleen on May 24, 2011 at 9:58 am

    I love hula hoops! I worked at a kids’ health expo a few weeks ago and we had hula hoops for the kids to play with, and it was hilarious to see their hooping skills. One little boy LOVED it and his mom literally had to take the hula hoop off his body when they had to leave. Poor little guy!

  13. Erin on May 24, 2011 at 10:04 am

    I take a hooping class every week and love it. I go to a class that is less dancing though. We do more strength exercises than anything (squats, arms, leg lifts, etc.. ). It’s not the most intense workout, but I love throwing it in the mix since it can be pretty fun.

  14. jenna on May 24, 2011 at 10:05 am

    i’m sort of embarrassed to say my 5 yr old is way better at this exercise than i am!!

  15. Averie (LoveVeggiesandYoga) on May 24, 2011 at 10:16 am

    Oh love this post, Gina! One of the coolest, most eclectic, awesome yogi friends I know is super into hooping! The things I watch her do…it’s kinda like watching a Cirque du Soleil show sometimes…she also does AcroYoga (google that one for some awesome pics) but yeah, hooping is so fun!

    It’s easier to hoop when you’re 10 on the playground at recess than as an adult I’ve found…lol. But it’s still fun!

    Thanks for the fun review and post 🙂

  16. Marie on May 24, 2011 at 10:17 am

    Thank you so much for sharing all those kinds of workout! Every week I’m like ohh I GOT TO try this out!
    Great post! 😀

  17. dee on May 24, 2011 at 10:27 am

    Oh! This is so cool! First time I’ve heard of it!

  18. Vikki on May 24, 2011 at 10:34 am

    I love hooping so much. Alas, it has taken me 3 years to reach a point of proficiency. But the better that I get at it, the more I want to do it so it is a self-feeding cycle. I can spend an hour hooping and not be bored. An hour on the treadmill does not illicit the same response.

  19. Diana (Soap & Chocolate) on May 24, 2011 at 10:45 am

    Fist pound to ya sister–I’ve never been able to keep a hula hoop up for the life of me. You’d think a dance background would help, but I dunno, I think people who can do it have little magnets in their bellies or something to keep the hoop orbiting just so. I do recall hooping around my neck, though. Because THAT’S such a good idea.

  20. Tori (Fresh Fruition) on May 24, 2011 at 10:58 am

    I love love love hula hoops! I didn’t even know this type of fitness class existed! This looks so fun 🙂

  21. betherann on May 24, 2011 at 11:20 am

    I think that ANYONE can hoop — it just takes practice to get to a place where you are comfortable enough to not have to think about every move and can instead just dance. I’m so glad you’ve given this a chance!

  22. Katherine: Unemployed on May 24, 2011 at 12:02 pm

    Do weighted hoops make a difference?

    (what to wear: jingle bells, obviously)

    • Fitnessista on May 24, 2011 at 6:07 pm

      they’re easier to spin 🙂

  23. Amanda on May 24, 2011 at 12:11 pm

    I am a new reader, and was really excited to see that someone was posting about hooping! I’ve been an avid hooper for a couple years now and found the benefits to be incredible, both physically and mentally.

    Besides the obvious core toning benefits from weighted hooping, I’ve found it to be a great full-body workout when you incorporate different moves. I remember it not really being a “Cardio” workout in the beginning….but these days I jumpstart my heart rate when I’m hooping, by using “flow” – or the dance part you mentioned. By linking all the moves together and just dancing with a variety of tricks, I definitely get a worthwhile workout in, while having tons of fun!

    Thanks for the great post, I’m always happy to see people spread the hoop love <3

  24. Moni'sMeals on May 24, 2011 at 12:26 pm

    I am going to have to agree, Hooping is not for me—For a workout that is. It looks fun and it works for some people but it ain’t me. I need intensity! Would be great to do with kids though. 🙂

  25. Cait @ Beyond Bananas on May 24, 2011 at 12:35 pm

    Never tried dancing… but I have used weighted hoops just to hula.. and ended up with a ring of bruises around my waist. OUCH

  26. Julia on May 24, 2011 at 12:55 pm

    That looks like so much fun! I’ve actually never heard of hooping before, but it was one of my favorite things to do as a kid.

  27. Brandi on May 24, 2011 at 12:57 pm

    I love hooping! I have a weighted hoop and I’ll break it out every once in awhile to do at home while I’m watching TV. The bruises werent fun at first, but I got used to it!

    • Mac on May 24, 2011 at 1:26 pm

      I’ve heard bruises are not uncommon, but I never got any when I did the class. I guess it’s hit or miss!

  28. joelle on May 24, 2011 at 1:04 pm

    I started hoop dancing a little while back and I’m absolutely in love with the workout. I have so much fun. Hands and arms moves come easier to me than the waist but I love the challenge. We’re going to start classes at the beach.

  29. Mac on May 24, 2011 at 1:25 pm

    I have tried Hula Hooping classes, they are very fun, but I agree with the lack of cardio. From my experience, and what I have been told almost anyone can do this, which is the awesome part! I am not a very good (regular) hula hooper, but I can keep this weighted hoop up! Give it a try, it’s a nice little break from the everyday abs!

  30. Amanda Jewell on May 24, 2011 at 1:39 pm

    omg so random! i used to take weight classes with arabella at 24hr like 2 years ago! small world 🙂

  31. Courtney on May 24, 2011 at 2:04 pm

    YES! LOVE hoopdancing! After I run a few miles in my neighborhood, I like to crank up the music and hoopdance all over the back yard like I’m at a Gratefull Dead concert. Music is a must. There are zillions of youtube vids on how to do cool tricks, so you don’t have to go to a class, although those are really fun too. Thanks for showcasing some of the more… esoteric ways to break a sweat ; )

  32. Allison @ Food For Healing on May 24, 2011 at 2:22 pm

    i haven’t hula’d since i was a kid, i was pretty good at it though!

  33. Nikki on May 24, 2011 at 2:27 pm

    I have 2 weighted hula hoops, a 3lbs and a 5 lbs. I don’t use a tape, just do it while watching TV. I did it once for 2 hours straight.

  34. Katelyn @ Chef Katelyn on May 24, 2011 at 4:04 pm

    We have cardio hooping at my gym, it looks so fun but I have yet to try it!!

  35. The Teenage Taste on May 24, 2011 at 5:15 pm

    I LOVE hula-hooping. I wasn’t much good at it when I was younger though…I blame it on my then lack of curves. Haha! Now I can booty shake with the best of ’em! 😛

  36. Stacy @ Every Little Thing on May 24, 2011 at 7:13 pm

    I go to a lot of “hippie” festivals and am always dying to be a hula hoop girl! They have so much fun and look so beautiful and graceful while they hoop to the music.

  37. LauraJayne on May 24, 2011 at 7:48 pm

    I’ve wanted to try hooping – but I’m horrible at trying new classes because I know what works for me (or has, so far), and I like to feel like I’m getting a good workout! Maybe it’ll be a good post-race thing to try!

  38. Healthy Party Girl on May 24, 2011 at 8:30 pm

    There’s another kind of hoop dancing too, Aerial Hoop!! Hula Hooping is such an amazing workout for the core and cardio as well, but Aerial Hoop is an even better core workout & upper body as well. Bring on the Hoop fitness craze 😀

  39. Chelsea @ One Healthy Munchkin on May 24, 2011 at 8:59 pm

    I haven’t hula hooped in years, but I was always terrible at it as a kid! I doubt I’m any better now. 😛

  40. Lismarie on May 24, 2011 at 11:56 pm

    hi gina, just as an fyi the link for the the tracy anderson method looks like it’s missing the very first “f” so it errors out when you click on it. Her mat dvd is becoming a staple in my workout regimen, can’t wait to hear your thoughts on it! oh and the gluten free brownies are a staple for my treat days 🙂

    • Fitnessista on May 25, 2011 at 10:08 am

      oops sorry about that!

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