Forget Exercise! Why I’m Hula Hooping to Stay Fit During My Pregnancy
It was two years ago when I first discovered hoop dancing.
I came across a video by Rachel Lust. Her lightning fast tricks left me in awe. I never even knew you could do so many things with a hula hoop!
Inspired, I dived headfirst into the hooping community.
I purchased my first hoop that week and spent the summer learning iso-pops, escalator, walk-the-dog, and a dozen other tricks.
I developed my flow.
I loved hooping. Hoop dancing was a way to de-stress and connect with my body. I’d never thought I’d put my hoop down…
But life got in the way.
It was a few months ago that I returned to hooping, while pregnant. And it has been nothing short of amazing.
During my pregnancy, I had annoying back pain that couldn’t be bettered by stretching, fixing my posture, or lying down. But within a few days of hula hooping, the pain subsided.
Hooping leaves me physically and mentally fulfilled. After an hour of hula hooping, I’m sweating and thirsty, all signs of a kick-ass workout.
It’s an intense workout, but not to the point where it would be harmful to the baby.
Hula hooping is awesome. I’m not worried about counting REPs and moving onto the next set. I’m just focused on having a good time.
Why Hula Hooping is the Best Pregnancy Workout
Benefits of hula hooping
- 30 minutes hula hooping burns 210 calories; that’s 7 calories per minute!
- Increases joint mobility
- Improves balance and coordination
- Reduces back pain
- It’s so much fun!!
What kind of hoop should I get?
A lightweight hoop will put less stress on your baby bump but will be more difficult to maintain on your hips, especially if you’re new to hula hooping. Any regular weighted hoop should be fine, but do not buy a weighted one.
If you’ve never hula hooped before, purchase a hoop with a large diameter. A larger hoop travels slower than a small one, meaning you won’t have to move as fast to keep it up.
Use a measuring tape and measure the height of your belly button. Purchase a hoop with a diameter greater than your belly button by a few inches.
How can I get my hoop to stay up?
You learn to hula hoop like you learn how to ride a bike. With lots of practice. Don’t be discouraged if you don’t get it on the first try. Nobody picked up a hoop and automatically knew how to hula hoop.
A couple years ago, my mom bought a weighted hoop to exercise and reduce back pain. She never hula hooped before in her life.
It took her a lot of tries before she got it. But when she did, she was a pro!
There are two ways you can move your body to keep the hoop on your hips:
- Circular hip motions
- Hips maintain contact with the hoop at all points
- Hips move forward and backward or side to side <– easiest
- Hoop contact hips at two points
Tips for waist hooping
Turn in the direction your hoop is spinning
For instance, if you spin your hoop to the left, or counterclockwise (like me!), you want to also turn counterclockwise.
Turning in the direction your hoop spins will cause the hoop to slow down and you won’t have to move as fast to maintain it.
Keep your hips level at all times… Don’t bend your knees!
A lot of people will try to “save” a falling hoop by bending their knees to try and “scoop” the hoop back up. This doesn’t work because when you bend your knees, the hoop isn’t able to maintain even contact with your body.
As I mentioned, in order for your hoop to stay up, your body has to maintain contact with the hoop at all points or at two opposing points. When you bend your knees and attempt the wiggle dance, you’re sending the hoop very mixed signals. The force of the hoop is not balanced evenly against two points, which will cause the hoop to fall.
Where to learn hoop tricks
- Deanne Love has videos for all the tricks you want to know. She’s how I learned most of my hoop tricks!
- Instagram – Search ‘hoop trick tutorials’
A good full-body workout is 30 minutes of waist hooping followed by 30 minutes of hoop dancing.
A good core workout is to do squats as you’re spinning the hoop on your forearm. It takes a lot of balance and core strength to maintain the hoop’s rotation while you’re doing squats. Try for 3 REPs of 20 squats each.
- Chad Forsberg – Who said guys can’t be graceful? Chad has to be my favorite male hooper of all time. His hand spins and the way he keeps his hoop moving is heavenly. Check out his hoop dance to “Burn” by Usher. It’s one of my favorites. I even have it bookmarked!
- Pixie Flow Art – “Say My Name” LED Hoop Performance
- Sarah Schireman – “Unsteady” Hoop Dance
Hula hooping is really the best pregnancy workout. You just need to try it!
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