What is Hula Hooping?

hula hooping

Hula Hooping is an activity where a plastic hoop is spun around the waist, limbs, or neck by rotating the body. It is commonly taught in elementary schools and is popular in exercise classes for its cardiovascular health benefits. Hula hooping can be an exciting activity for kids, a tough aerobic workout, or a fun hobby.


The first evidence of hula hooping dates back to 500 BCE, depicted on an ancient Greek vase that is now on display in the Louvre Museum. Ancient Greek and Roman children played with hula hoops by rolling them with a stick or whirling them around their stomachs. Modern hula hooping rose to popularity in 1958 when an American company patented and manufactured hula hoops by the millions. 

How To Hula Hoop

how to hula hoop

To hula hoop all you need to do is rotate your hips in a side to side or front to back motion, either clockwise or counterclockwise. It is important to maintain good posture and place your feet shoulder width apart. To start, place the hula hoop against your back or waist. Next, rotate your hips as you spin the hoop in whichever direction you prefer. Hula hooping can be performed on almost any surface, from grass to snow. You can even hula hoop in shallow water.

Hula Hooping Equipment

hula hooping equipment

Unlike other sports, hula hooping only requires a couple pieces of equipment: a hula hoop and athletic clothing. Skin-tight clothing will enhance the hula hoop’s path around the waist, as the hoop won’t get caught on any loose clothing. Wearing footwear is optional while hula hooping. Many people choose to hula hoop barefoot or with socks on, but footwear can help beginners feel more stable and mobile. 

Here is the essential hula hooping equipment you should have:

  • Athletic Clothing
  • Footwear (optional)
  • Hula Hoop


The objective of hula hooping is to rotate the hoop around your waist as many times as you can, and for as long as you can. At first, it may be difficult for beginners to establish a continuous flow. However, once you learn the proper way to hula hoop, the rhythm becomes second nature.

In addition to trying to hula hoop for as long as you can, a new style of hula hooping has emerged called freestyle hula hooping. This type of hula hooping is centralized around dancing, with music often played in the background.

Rules and Regulations

A standard classified hoop weight must be used when trying to break a hula hoop world record. The hoop must weigh between 1.1 and 1.5 pounds. When trying to break a record, the hula hoop must be marked with a tag or ribbon to show the judges that the hoop is rotating. Lastly, the hula hoop must be rotating between the person’s hips and shoulders in order to count.

Here are the most important hula hooping rules you should know:

  • Standard Hula Hoop Weight
  • Marked Hula Hoop
  • Hip to Shoulder Zone


Hula hoopers can choose to rotate their hips in a front to back motion or in a side to side manner. In addition to hip motion, you can rotate the hoop clockwise or counterclockwise around your waist. Through trial and error, the right technique is formed.

It is recommended that beginners use heavy-weighted hula hoops to help practice their technique. Heavy-weighted hula hoops rotate slower and more securely around the hips, allowing you to gain a better feel of the hoop.

Here are the most important hula hooping strategies you should know:

  • Hip Motion
  • Hoop Direction
  • Heavy-Weighted Hula Hoop


Hula Hooping Lingo

Here is the common lingo and slang in hula hooping:

  • Drooping Hoop: a drooping hoop occurs when a hooper is favoring one side of their body or moving their pelvis at an angle, causing the hoop to hang downward.
  • Hooping in Lasso: a hula hoop trick for beginners where you raise and rotate your arm, causing the hoop to twirl around the elevated wrist and elbow.
  • Double Trouble: if one hula hoop isn’t enough for you, spinning two hoops simultaneously is a fun challenge.


Although there are tons of smaller-sized events and competitions, hula hoop festivals and retreats are very prominent worldwide.

Here are the most popular tournaments in hula hooping:

  • FS Hoop Con: This gathering of hula hoopers from around the world entertains workshops, hula hoop competitions, and a hula hoop show. It is located in Kassel, Germany.
  • Heart and Hoop Dance Retreat: This retreat is suitable for all levels of hula hoopers and hosts 12.5 hour long hoop dance workshops for beginners, amateurs, and experts.


What are the different types of hula hoops?

Child hoops are between 28 and 36 inches in diameter and are intended for children ages 5-12. Weighted exercise hoops are typically 3-5 pounds and have either water or sand inside of the hoop. Adult hoops are broken down into three categories; small hoops, mid-sized, and large hoops. Small hoops are 36 to 39 inches in diameter. Mid-sized are typically 40 to 42 inches in diameter and large hoops are 43+ inches in diameter.

How much do adult hula hoops weigh?

Adult hula hoops vary in weight but typically weigh between 1.5 and 2 pounds.

What are the benefits of hula hooping?

Aside from the enjoyment that hula hooping brings, it helps reduce body fat, boosts cardiovascular fitness, and strengthens core muscles.

Where does the phrase “Hula” come from?

The term “Hula” is derived from the Hawaiian Hula dance. The dance mirrors the hip movement of hula hooping.