It may take you back to your childhood obstacle courses, but the hula hoop is back in, and this time for all ages.


Not only is it fun, but using a hula hoop for exercise can offer several fitness benefits, from enhancing your coordination and balance to toning your core, burning fat, and sculpting your stomach.

All it requires is just yourself and the hoop, and it's easy to use once you’ve got the hang of the movement, making for a great workout whether you’re a beginner or hardcore gym goer.

We’ve done our research and put together a super handy guide on hula hooping - from its benefits and finding the right type for you to some helpful top tips to get the most out of your workout. We’ve also included some of our favourite hula hoops on the market to inspire you to get training!

The benefits of hula hooping

Woman exercising with hula hoop

There are several key advantages of incorporating hula hooping into your training routine. These include the following:

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  • Improved cardiovascular fitness: By engaging in this aerobic exercise, you’ll get your heart pumping and, over time, increase your lung capacity and overall endurance.
  • Toned core muscles: As you spin the hoop around your waist, your abdominal muscles will be engaged and activated. Over time, your core will become toned and strengthened, with improved muscle definition (abs!).
  • Improved balance and coordination: The movement of hula hooping requires coordination between your upper and lower body. As you move to keep the hoop in position, you’ll develop better balance and enhanced agility.
  • Calorie burning and weight loss: You can burn up to 200 calories in a 30-minute hula hooping session. The constant movement and engagement of your abdominal muscles will increase energy expenditure, which can help shed weight over time.
  • Enhanced flexibility and mobility: The repetitive twisting and keeping the hula hoop in motion can help improve flexibility in your lower back, hips and waist and increase the ease of movement in your body.
  • Enhanced mood and stress relief: Hula hooping is a fun way to move your body and reap the benefits. It can increase endorphins which will help reduce stress and boost your mood, improving your overall wellbeing.

How to master the moves of hula hooping

People practicing with hula hoop during aerobic class

Here’s a simple step-by-step guide on how to master the basic movement of hula hooping:

  1. Find the right spot: Choose a spacious area with enough room for you to move freely with your hula hoop.
  2. Hold the right posture: Stand up straight with your feet slightly apart, about hip-width distance. Keep your shoulders relaxed, your back straight, and your core engaged.
  3. Position the hula hoop: Hold the hula hoop against your lower back with both hands. Make sure the hoop is parallel to the ground, and your thumbs are pointing forward.
  4. Start to move the hoop: Give the hoop a gentle spin around your waist in a clockwise or anticlockwise direction (either works). Use your hands to give it a slight push.
  5. Find your rhythm: As the hoop rotates around your waist, shift your weight from side to side or move your hips in a circular motion. Find the speed and rhythm that keeps the hoop spinning.
  6. Engage your core muscles: To keep the hoop up, engage your core. Focus on tightening your abdominal muscles and lower back - this will help maintain movement and control.
  7. Cool down: Once you’ve finished your hula hooping session, take a few minutes to cool down and stretch your body. Focus on stretching your lower back, hips and waist to prevent any tension.

Remember, practice, practice, practice! Don’t get discouraged if the hoop keeps falling. It takes time to find your balance and coordination.

Finding the right hula hoop: features to consider

Woman with hula hoop

The effectiveness of your hula hoop workout can depend on the hoop you choose. There are lots of options, and it’s important to find the right one for you. To help you make the best decision, we’ve put together a handy guide of features to consider:

  • Size: Once set up, your hula hoop should reach around your hips or belly button. To determine the optimal diameter, we recommend measuring the length from your feet to your belly button before ordering a hula hoop online.
  • Weight: Hula hoops come in different weights - the lighter the hoop, the more endurance it requires, while a heavier hoop helps build muscles. For beginners, a hoop weighing between 800g to 1.5kg is recommended. For advanced users, choose a hoop weighing around 1.5 to 2.5kg to further strengthen muscles, or opt for very light models weighing up to 600g for endurance training.
  • Thickness: The hoop should have a thickness of approximately 2.5cm.
  • Material: Most hula hoops are finished with soft foam padding surrounding them. This ensures a more comfortable experience, providing extra protection against your skin and bones. Make sure it is easy to wipe clean for hygiene purposes.
  • Practicality: Make sure the hoop is easy to assemble and disassemble. Most come in several parts which you can click together/unclick apart - this makes it easier to store and also take on the move with you so you can work out wherever you go.

5 of our favourite hula hoops

Cheerful woman holding plastic hoop in front of colorful wall

We’ve picked out some of our favourite hula hoops to give you some inspiration.

Opti Weighted Hula Hoop, Argos, £11

Add an extra level to your workout routine with Opti’s 1.8kg weighted hula hoop and work towards washboard abs. The soft foam padding material is comfortable on the skin and prevents pressure points that may occur initially. It can be easily assembled and disassembled, making it compact and portable for training on-the-go.

Core Balance Smooth Weighted Hula Hoop, Amazon, £14.99

Spin this hula hoop round and round to strengthen and sculpt your core. Weighing 1kg and with a smooth interior, it’s a great place to start for beginners and is easy to put together with its eight parts clicking into place. Finished with soft foam padding for a comfortable experience, and suitable to wipe clean after use.

Domyos Fitness Weighted Hula Hoop, Decathlon, £19.99

Tone up with this 1.4kg weighted hula hoop and reap the results in your core, legs, glutes and back. Whether a beginner or more advanced user, the foam material will add extra comfort to your workout, and the compact design means it can be dismantled for easy storage.

Phoenix Fitness Weighted Hula Hoop, Decathlon, £15.99

Improve your core strength, balance and mobility with this weighted hula hoop and gain abs you’ve never seen before. Weighing 1.1kg, the hula hoop will add an extra challenge to your spinning workout and is ideal for beginners and advanced users. Easy to assemble with eight different sections and finished with a soft EVA foam for a comfortable experience.

Core Balance Wavy Weighted Hula Hoop, Amazon, £14.99

Stimulate your core muscles with this 1kg weighted hula hoop from Core Balance. Finished with a wavy shape, this hula hoop is designed to bump against your hips, back and stomach for an extra challenge, working your abs harder and sculpting your waistline. The foam padding will help protect your body as you move.

Hula hoop workout tips

Woman using hula hoop for exercise

Once you’ve found the right hula hoop and aced the basic movement, here are some tips to make the most of your hula hoop workout and take it to the next level:

  • Warm-up: Before starting your hula hoop workout, it's important to warm up your body with some light exercises and stretches. This helps prepare your muscles and can prevent injuries.
  • Start Slowly: If you're a newbie hula hooper or haven't done it in a while, start with shorter sessions and gradually increase the duration as you build your endurance. It may take a few tries to get the hang of it, but with practice, you'll improve your technique and be able to hoop for longer periods.
  • Focus on technique: Proper technique is essential for an effective hula hoop workout. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and place the hoop around your waist. Use a rocking motion or shift your weight from side to side to keep the hoop spinning. Engage your core muscles and relax your hips to allow the hoop to move smoothly.
  • Mix up your movements: While hula hooping primarily targets your waist and core, you can incorporate other movements to engage different muscle groups. Once you feel more comfortable and confident, try hooping while squatting, lunging, or doing side-to-side steps to work your legs and glutes.
  • Increase intensity: As you become more comfortable with hula hooping, challenge yourself by adding variations to your workout. You can try hooping faster, incorporate arm movements, or experiment with different hoop tricks. These variations increase the intensity of your workout and help burn more calories.
  • Stay consistent: Like any exercise routine, consistency is key. Aim for regular hula hoop sessions to see the best results. Start with a few sessions per week and gradually increase the frequency as you progress.

Want more guidance and tips on wellbeing and fitness? Check out The Recommended’s fitness section, with guides including why skipping should be your new favourite workout, yoga vs pilates, posture tips, and the best multi-gym equipment for working out at home.


Cordelia AspinallDigital Writer

Cordelia Aspinall is a Digital Writer for Immediate Media, working across brands including The Recommended,, MadeForMums and BBC Gardeners’ World. She has previously worked and written for digital publications including Condé Nast Traveller, The Evening Standard, Cosmopolitan, and several other lifestyle brands.