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Planning a Hula Hoop Exercise Program

written by: Sylvie Colette • edited by: Diana Cooper • updated: 12/30/2010

A hula hoop exercise program can provide a low intensity workout that gets results. The variety of hoops and exercises can be customized to your particular needs. Join a hoopdance group at a local fitness center, or prepare your own in-home routine that will remind you of being a child again.

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    Strengthen and tone your core, thighs and waist with a hula hoop exercise program. There are also cardiovascular benefits to hula hooping when a program is followed for several consecutive minutes. Good for all ages, adults can work out aside their children and it will seem like playtime. Having fun while exercising is an important factor that is often missed when designing a workout especially for those new, or reluctant to exercise. Have fun while staying, or getting in shape.

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    Choosing a Hoop

    Increase your chance of success with a hula hoop program by choosing the right size hoop. Average hoops weigh between two and three pounds and are between 34 and 46 inches. Instead of the hard plastic hoops of childhood, look for one made of a flexible material for more comfort.

    • Small hoops require more effort to spin, so they are helpful for slimming a waist
    • Larger hoops are best for beginners since they have a slower rotation
    • Choose a weighted hoop for additional training benefit
    • Lighter hoops, of one pound, are useful for senior citizens
    • Avoid weighted hoops if you have a history of back problems
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    Toning Arms

    Use a hula hoop to shape your arms and tone the muscles in your chest. The added benefit of using a hula hoop to work out your arms is that the core is constantly being engaged as well.

    • Place your arm straight out to the side or front
    • Start the spinning motion by rolling the hoop around your arm
    • Keep a consistent pattern
    • Make this a high intensity arm exercise by increasing the speed
    • Continue for 5 minutes
    • Switch arms, or use smaller hoops and work them at the same time
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    Toning Waist and Hips

    Devoting time to a hula hoop exercise program will help tone the waist and hips. Start by holding the hula hoop pressed against your back with a hand on either side. Spin the hoop counterclockwise and let it go to start the rotation. The movement is like a pumping or rocking motion.

    • Gradually increase the speed of the rotations
    • Place one foot in front of the other and continue hula hooping
    • Change the placement of the feet to increase the toning
    • Continue for 8 - 10 minutes
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    Toning Legs

    Work out your leg muscles and continue to build your core with hula hoop floor exercises. Practice smooth rotations and control the movement to further the benefits of using a hula hoop.

    • Lie on the floor
    • Lift one leg
    • Place the hula hoop around the knee or ankle and start spinning
    • Keep your balance by placing your arms out to either side
    • Continue for 3 - 4 minutes and then switch legs