Do Weighted Hula Hoops Really Work? Benefits and How to Use

woman using a weighted hula hoop

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Scroll through social media and you will catch splashy videos of people of all ages trying hula hooping. This is especially true with TikTok, which fills users' feeds with people hula hooping at the beach, in driveways, and in their home gyms.

Should you feel inspired to try hula hooping, you can burn calories and gain extra health benefits by adding a weighted hula hoop to your fitness regimen. Plus, you do not need a lot of coordination or fancy dance skills—simply a desire to work out your core will do. Here is what you need to know.

Why Would You Use a Weighted Hula Hoop? 

Using a weight hula hoop can target and build important core muscles, allowing you to perform daily activities with fewer chances of injury. Plus, you get to have fun, feeling like a child again as you contort your waist and laugh as the hula hoop falls.

According to John Gardner, NASM-CPT, CEO and Co-Founder of Kickoff, a remote personal training program, weighted hula hooping also focuses on lower body muscles, including the hamstrings, calves, quadriceps, and glutes. You work the upper body muscles as well when you lift the weighted hula hoop—giving you an all over body workout.

Hula Hooping Tips

Gardner offers these tips for a cardiovascular hula hoop workout: 

  • Draw your abdomen in to engage your core. 
  • Be mindful of posture, which will help you hoop better. 
  • Hold the hoop at your waist, parallel to the floor and give the hoop a spin. 
  • Keep your back straight and move forward and back as fast as you can. 
  • Keep practicing. The longer you hoop, the better you will get. 

Benefits of a Weighted Hula Hoop 

A weighted hula hoop can offer a number of health benefits and make you feel like a kid again. Here are a few potential benefits you might experience if you decide to use a hula hoop.

Burns Calories 

Hula hooping can burn an average of 210 calories during a 30-minute hooping workout, according to a sponsored research study from the American Council on Exercise. Researchers found that hooping is comparable in calories burned to bootcamp-style classes, kickboxing, and step aerobics.

In addition, the average heart rate of hula hooping study participants was 151 beats per minute, equal to 84% of the age-predicted heart rate maximum. This can result in improved cardiovascular health and muscle conditioning.

Helps With Muscle Mass Gains

A study from Obesity Facts found that hula hooping increased trunk muscle mass and decreased waist circumference more than walking. Participants in this study hula hooped an average of 12.8 minutes per day and walked almost 10,000 steps per day.

The results showed more benefits to the core with hula hooping. The percentage of body fat in the core region decreased significantly with hula hooping when compared to walking.

Reduces Bad Cholesterol

In this same study from Obesity Facts, researchers found that hula hooping can reduce LDL cholesterol more than walking can. The results demonstrated an LDL-lowering effect similar to what resistance training does for your cholesterol level. For anyone with elevated cholesterol levels, hula hooping for 13 minutes per day could prove beneficial.

Provides a Fun Workout 

Gardener says that weight hula hooping can get you out of a workout rut. He also recommends weighted hula hooping as either a warmup or a full workout.

“If you're getting bored of your workout routine and are looking for something new, exciting, and fun to switch up your workout, then hula hooping will be a great way to get away from the boring and repetitive gym workouts," he says.

Allows for Multitasking Opportunities

If your time to workout is limited, Gardener says that if you need to, you can multitask when using a weighted hula hoop.

“The advantage of weighted hula hoop exercises is that you can easily add it to your exercise routine and can get moving while you are speaking on the phone, during your work breaks, or even watching a movie," he says.

Weighted Hula Hoop Workout

To get started hula hooping, Gardener suggests a full workout. Start with a warmup for 5 minutes with a light jog or running in place. Then, perform three sets of the following:

  • Minute 1: 50 seconds of a hula hoop halo with your right arm (swing the hoop around your arm), 10 seconds of rest 
  • Minute 2: 50 seconds of a hula hoop halo with your left arm, 10 of seconds of rest 
  • Minute 3: 50 seconds around the waist hula hooping, 10 seconds of rest 
  • Minute 4: 50 seconds of hula hoop squats, keeping the hoop around your legs and not dropping it, 10 seconds of rest 
  • Minute 5: 50 seconds of hula hoop sit ups, keeping the hoop around your legs and not dropping it, 10 seconds of rest 
  • Minute 6: 50 seconds of hula jumping front to back, keeping the hoop around your legs and not dropping it, 10 seconds of rest

How to Choose a Weighted Hula Hoop 

Choosing a weighted hula hoop does require a little education. Plus, hula hoops weigh between 1 to 8 pounds according to health coach Hannah Daugherty, NASM-CPT, ACE-CPT. Certain weight hoops fit snuggly on the waist and others look similar to a regular hula hoop, even though they are composed of a weighted foam material.

Daugherty recommends taking a mindset of “less is more.” Using a heavier hoop when you are not ready can negatively affect your form. Consequently, you should work up to an 8 pound hoop.

When looking for a hula hoop, Emily Higgins, BSc, CPT, CNC, owner of Girl Let’s Glow, suggests looking at the traditional weighted hula hoop in which the weight is distributed inside the hoop and smart hoops that come with weight rotating around the outside. The traditional style she says is generally less expensive and forces “more core engagement and stability because it is not fixed tightly around your waist."

Daugherty says that the size of the hoop can range from 35 to 43 inches, and when standing next to the hoop (when one side of the hoop is on the floor and the other is up near your side), “you want it to reach your waist area.”

A Word from Verywell

Weighted hula hooping is an inexpensive and fun way to burn calories, lower your cholesterol, and build muscle mass all while feeling like a kid again. If you are new to exercise, you should speak with a healthcare provider before starting a new workout regimen. They can assess your current fitness level and medical history and let you know what is right for you.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Do weighted hula hoops tone your stomach?

    Weighted hula hoops can help tone your abdominal area because the movement builds up ab muscles and tightens the waist. A weighted hula hoop also forces more core engagement and stability than a regular hula hoop.

  • Is hula hoop a good exercise for weight loss?

    Hula hooping can be beneficial exercise for weight loss. The twisting of the waist is a physical activity that works your heart and lungs and helps burn calories, build a strong core, and tighten your waist.

  • How long should I hula hoop every day?

    How long you hula hoop each day is a matter of personal preference. But, to gain cardiovascular benefits, the American Heart Association (AHA) recommends that adults get at least 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity (such as hula hooping). Additionally, spreading this amount of exercise throughout the week is preferable.

3 Sources
Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. American Council on Exercise. ACE-sponsored research: Hooping—Effective workout or child’s play?

  2. Lahelma M, Sädevirta S, Lallukka-Brück S, et al. Effects of weighted hula-hooping compared to walking on abdominal fat, trunk muscularity, and metabolic parameters in overweight subjects: A randomized controlled studyObes Facts. 2019;12(4):385-396. doi:10.1159/000500572

  3. American Heart Association. American Heart Association Recommendations for Physical Activity in Adults and Kids.

By Jennifer Purdie, M.Ed, CPT
Jennifer Purdie, M.Ed, is a certified personal trainer, freelance writer, and author of "Growth Mindset for Athletes, Coaches and Trainers."