If you were a bona fide hula-hooper back in the day, this probably just got you very excited. Like anything and everything else, we have TikTok to
blame thank for this newfound waist-trimming sensation -- all the kiddos are doing it. It’s quite as literal as it sounds: As a way of getting in some extra cardio, burn calories and strengthen your core muscles, you hula-hoop! Except instead of the flimsy, plastic rounds from your childhood, these hoops are packed with a couple of pounds of weight. Just like ‘90s fashion trends, ‘90s playground trends are, apparently, also returning.
I was super intrigued when I first came across a weighted hula hoop -- not for nothing, it sounds fun. But the fanfare around the exercise comes from the expectation that it’ll slim your waist, and haven’t we learned to be wary of quick-fix exercise? So, I investigated.
Firstly, if you’re someone just starting out with fitness or are nursing an injury that prevents you from jumping all around your living room or local gym for cardio, this is definitely a plus! Adding any resistance to your routine is going to elevate your heart rate, and that’s really what we want to see from a cardio workout (friendly reminder that “cardio” is short for “cardiovascular” -- the point, above all else, is to get your heart pumping!). The low-impact nature of hula-hooping means that you’ll spike your pulse to a decent level with very little effort.
That resistance, yes, should contribute to some kind of calorie-burning. You’ll also likely get a little back pump, as well, which totally never hurts, and eventually, you probably will see some inches off your waist -- it’s just going to take some dedication. The real pro of hula-hooping is deep activation of your core muscles, regardless of six-packs; you’re throwing weight around your midsection, which is going to cause all the muscles in there to fire up to keep that hoop around your hips.
Unfortunately, if you’re someone who gets bored on the elliptical, I don’t see weighted hula-hooping in your future. Sure, you could probably watch some Netflix while you’re twirling away, but it’s going to be tough to stick to a workout that requires standing in one place.
The larger negative to the weighted hula-hoop, I believe, is empty promises. Ask any personal trainer or nutritionist on the block: You can’t really spot-treat body fat. So, isolating your waist, core and obliques with a massive hoop isn’t necessarily going to give you J.Lo abs. That being said, I could definitely see weighted hula-hooping as a great add-on to your workout routine to build up core muscles -- even if the exterior aesthetic isn’t immediate.
Which I can’t say it will be. The average female weighted hula-hooper will probably burn around 165 calories in 30 minutes, which might seem like a lot of effort for little gain if you’re used to, say, HIIT workouts.
If you’re interested in what weighted hula-hooping can do for your body, get out there and start hoopin’! I’d probably suggest tacking it onto the beginning or end of a strength-training or pilates workout, rather than depending solely on the hula-hoop as your workout, but the fact of the matter is, any form of exercise that’s going to get you up off the couch is totally viable.