Not your daughter’s hula hoop

I don’t usually wake up the morning after a workout with a sore ear and a bruised waist. And yet that’s exactly what I did after my first hula hoop class.

I’d heard that hula hooping builds core strength and gives you a good cardio workout. That may be true, but it appealed to me as something that would make me look ridiculous.

I’ve never been able to hula hoop, not even as a child. The hoop always dropped after a few paltry spins. But guess what? After 15 minutes of my hoop clattering to the floor, I got it! I even managed to hoop in both directions and figured out how to retrieve the hoop with my hips when it sank too low.

These are major accomplishments, people. I can’t tell you how proud I was.

What I can tell you is how fleeting that happiness was. Soon after I figured out how to keep the hoop spinning, the instructor tried to get me to move my feet. While hooping. Unwilling to risk my little success, I ignored her and stayed put.

The teacher was ridiculously graceful. She could probably make tacos and talk on the phone while hooping and never miss a gyration. My face made it clear that I was concentrating. That, or I was struggling to learn physics. Or I was mentally disturbed. Or all three.

Next we tried some more complicated (for me) moves, like spinning the hoop above our heads with our hands. This looks incredibly easy. It isn’t. I kept losing my grip. Flinging a hula hoop across the room goes against hoop class etiquette. Miraculously, there were no injuries. To anyone else. I dropped it on my own head plenty of times, and it was much heavier than my daughters’ hula hoops. Ouch.

Here is another move I failed to master: as the hoop circles your waist, place one hand on your lower back, palm out, grab the hoop and lift it (still spinning) straight above your head, without hitting your elbow, shoulder or ear, or losing momentum, and continue to spin it with your hand. It is a testament to how this blog has changed me that I continued to try this move despite my pathetic performance and sore ear.

Toward the end of class, our instructor demonstrated the “more complex moves” we’ll do the next time. So that was funny.

My friend, Lyn, plans to come to the next class with me. I hope our friendship can survive an unintentional flying hula hoop injury.

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63 Responses to Not your daughter’s hula hoop

  1. Elyse says:

    Oh dear. You are haunting me with yet another thing I couldn’t do properly as a kid. Bad, bad you.

  2. Sounds like it was fun. Good for you for planning to go back. I get so frustrated with myself when I can’t keep up with an exercise class. I’ve decided it’s in everyone’s best interest if I do all of my exercising alone.

  3. I can’t do a hula hoop for more than 2 seconds. Could you give us a play by play tutorial? That would be awesome. Congrats on conquering the hoop!

    • I wish I could. Here is what I did. Spin hoop. Pick up hoop from floor. Repeat. Eventually it just worked. One thing that was helpful was trying to spin it the opposite way. I had always tried to do it counterclockwise, but clockwise is easier for me.

  4. k8edid says:

    Sounds like great fun!!!

  5. Angie Z. says:

    Hula hooping (is that a word?) rocks! The weirdest thing I discovered was that the smaller they are the harder they are. I first thought the opposite. My kids’ smaller hoops are impossible for me.

    I like this workout class idea much better than the pole dancing ones.

  6. So, how many of these classes do you get to attend? Until they kick you out for Hula Homicide, I mean.

  7. michelle says:

    Omigod, I want to do this. It sounds delightfully horrifying!

  8. winsomebella says:

    This seems way more than brave…….:-)

  9. Can I say this blog is cute? It is. In a better world, bloggers would be hula hooping while they blog. Thanks for the inspiration.

    • In a better world, no one would ever trust me to handle something that could injure other people. And yet I’m allowed to back my car into all sorts of things, I chop vegetables and now I hula hoop. It’s a dangerous world.

      My blog thinks your blog is cute, too.

  10. bigsheepcommunications says:

    This is the first I’ve heard of hula hooping classes – sounds like some form of punishment. I imagine hula Zumba and Aquahulasize will be next…

  11. I can’t do it either 😦

  12. gojulesgo says:

    Ha! Oh, this is great! I want to go to this class with you! I’d even risk getting bruised. I’ve NEVER been able to figure it out.

  13. Sounds like so much fun!

  14. Tori Nelson says:

    I’ve never been able to hula hoop, and now I’m wanting to try. This could be great… or really awful. I’ll keep you posted 🙂

  15. But what about the advice,”accept yourself for who you are?” I can’t hula hoop, and it’s not for lack of trying.

    What if science discovers there is a gene for hula-hooping, and I don’t have one. Does that let me off the hook?


  16. Hula Hoop class! Sign me up! I would be a complete disaster but it would be fun 🙂

  17. notquiteold says:

    How do you get to be a hula hoop instructor? Is there a college?

  18. Susan Child says:

    I’m all over this post today. I love hooping and what it has one for my confidence and body. Down one size and 22 hearts beat a minute.
    Here is a clip of me, my best bud, and her neighbor wiz kid.

  19. I have a friend who leads hoops in the park on Tuesday mornings. She is such an inspiration! She lost 60 lbs. just by hooping. It’s a lot of fun and a great way to firm up my abs. I only wish I had the time to do it more regularly.

  20. SO AWESOME!!!! I need to get my girlfriends together to take one of these classes, if only to see which of us totally loses it and pees on the floor laughing. I can hula, but I’ve never tried hooping both ways, and never while moving my feet. Gotta add this one to the list, methinks. Thanks for the inspiration!

  21. rynnasaryonnah says:

    Sounds like fun! I still can’t hula hoop. I feel like an idiot in front of my students when we’re outdoors and they do it so effortlessly! So happy for you that you picked up a new skill. Sounds like fun! And hard work! Too bad I’m pretty sure there aren’t any hula classes in Singapore.

  22. Pingback: If I Were Brave I’d Hula Hoop |

  23. Kim Jones says:

    It’s never bad etiquette to fling a hoop in a hoop class! You may be surprised by how much you can learn by simply dropping the hoop. I haven’t met a hooper yet who’s gotten angry because someone’s wayward hoop bonked them in the *insert myriad body parts here*. Stick with it, it’s so much more than just learning tricks and looking good – it’s a wonderful journey!!

  24. I started hooping a year ago, love it and am never gonna stop, well, obviously I have to stop for lunch and getting on board planes and buses but yeah, gonna hoop till I expire 🙂

    oh, yes, I just bought a cane hoop like (New Zealand) they had at schools here when I was little (last century) and am going to have adult me use successfully what lil me couldn’t accomplish…circle complete (yeah, pun, sorry)

  25. Amy says:

    Doing lifts in your first class seems a bit much. I didn’t start on lifts until a month or so into classes. I’ve been hooping for almost a year, and let me encourage you to stick with it…all those people who seem so wonderfully graceful started somewhere, and that somewhere was barely moving, whacking themselves in the face, and flinging their hoop across the room. Grace comes with LOTS of time and practice.

  26. To those that say they can’t it’s because they’re not using the right size hoop. Hoops are proportionate to body size, hence, children use small hoops, adults need big hoops. I have hoops that range from 26″ in diameter to 56″ in diameter (it comes up to my chin, and I’m 5’3″). Often with time people will progress to smaller hoops inch-by-inch, but everyone finds a comfort zone—I like anything from a pretty light 36″ hoop to a medium weight 39″ hoop.

    I started hooping almost a year ago when I found a video of a girl going it. It looked so fun and beautiful and while it does take some courage (yes hoops fly, yes I’ve had sore ears and bloody lips and bruises everywhere and bloody noses), it’s well worth it. It’s unlike any other workout because I ENJOY IT. I love dancing, I hate the gym. This offers me the chance to dance and express myself and it’s fun and silly and can be anything from breathtakingly lovely to downright hot and sexy. I didn’t start it to lose weight at all, but I’ve lost 25 pounds since I started.

    I teach classes, too. I agree that lifts in the first class are a bit of a push. I wait until around my third class for them. You want to make sure you’re keeping your arm close in to your body. You’re almost dragging your hand from the small of your back to up near your armpit, leading with the elbow. Once you’re there you extend your forearm all the way up, and your hand will pass in front of your face.

    This is from one of my classes. I’ve had students that rage from 22 years old to 68 years old. Anyone can hoop!:

    This is me in my living room just rockin’ out by myself:

    And Dory, just so you can see, we ALL start with that hooper concentration face. This video is a month-by-month progression of my hoop journey:

  27. Also I didn’t realize those links would show up as the videos! Eap. But hope it gives everyone a good idea of what hooping is about.

  28. I know what you mean about the sore ear!!! Been trying to get that lift for months!!!

  29. babypropshop says:

    Dory, I have to know where you are taking the hula hoop class. I would love to try that!!

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