2 min read

Is Hula Hooping Effective Exercise?

CC ISKME Hula Hoop Classes are a Thing
CC ISKME Hula Hoop Classes are a Thing

I’ve seen more and more people in public parks will hula hoops lately. Hula Hooping exercise classes are once again making their rounds at commercial gym spaces.

Kind of like the Fresh Prince on Netflix.

What’s being pushed lately in fitness circles is weighted hula hooping.

I’ve seen many fads come and go, but what generally bothers me about them is the way they feverishly feed on people’s insecurities with a significant lack of evidence for their successful use.

It’s often touted as being a great ‘core exercise,’ or a great way to spot reduce fat on your mid-section, or a great way to lose weight.

While I’m all for doing something you enjoy if you’re sedentary, you might be surprised to discover that not much research supports it as a form of exercise (yet).

Or maybe you’re not. Though it is FUN!

In a study from the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research in May 2015, researchers found some interesting things occur after six weeks of weighted hula hooping for eighteen women.

  • Core muscular endurance did not change (meaning participants did not appear to improve core musculature as many advertise)
  • Waist circumference dropped 3.4 cm on average
  • Hip circumference dropped 1.4 cm on average
  • Waist-to-Hip ratios dropped 89.3 cm to 87.3 cm on average
  • Skin Fat Assessment (for body fat percentage) went up 10.5 cm

What I think this tells you is that if you’re going to use Hula Hoop training, it appears to have a bit of a bizarre effect on fat distribution.

Participants did not seem to lose fat so much as redistribute it.

So it could be an effective way to make your waist look smaller, even if you don’t lose any fat, according to this.

Maybe the constant pressure on the hips and waist, forces the body to adapt through redistribution to other areas of the body, even if fat loss is not abundantly present.

Kind of interesting, keeping in mind that hula hooping doesn’t burn as much energy as many other forms of exercise this is not particularly surprising.

We must also consider that this sample size is small and only thirteen women returned for post-trial assessment, so we need follow ups to confirm but it’s probably a good line of reasoning.

Further research is needed to draw any concrete conclusions, I just thought you might like to be informed.

Grab your hula hoop and have some fun with it, just don’t forget to also do other more intense forms of exercise in conjunction if you can.