Not just a party trick, hula-hooping could help roll away excess fat and add serious muscle gains to your current routine
It’s all about the hula hoop
Thought hula-hooping was just for pigtailed schoolgirls and circus types? Wrong. With minimal space, you can torch fat and tone up, plus it’s a lot more fun than planking. ‘Hula-hooping is fantastic for getting your hips and core working together to reduce injury risk and hit muscles you can’t usually reach,’ says Monty Simmons, trainer at Method Movement. ‘And there’s more to it than the physical – it helps to improve your coordination, too.’ When you’re tired of your usual HIIT, this piece of kit will provide a new mind and body challenge.
1 BASIC HULA-HOOPING
Targets: Abs, obliques, glutes, quads
Do: 30 secs
(a) Stand with your feet wider than shoulder-width apart. Hold the hoop around your waist with your hands out to your sides.
Your right hand will be slightly behind you and your left just in front of your left hip.
(b) Get the hoop moving by bringing your hands across your body with speed and letting go of the hoop – meanwhile, push your hips in the opposite direction. To keep the hoop airborne, rotate your hips in a circular motion, bracing your core. As you gain confidence, try raising your hands.
2 SQUAT HOOPING
Targets: Quads, glutes, obliques, core
Do: 30 secs
(a) Start in a partial squat with the hoop around your waist. Hold it out to one side of your body, the other side against your waist.
(b) Keeping your core engaged and legs still, push the hoop around your waist and let go. Simultaneously rotate your hips in a circular motion so the hula hoop circles around your waist. Maintain the partial squat throughout. You should feel a burn in your quads and bum.
3 STEERING WHEEL IN A STATIC SQUAT
Targets: Back, shoulders, quads, glutes
Do: 20 reps
(a) Start in a squat position, feet shoulder-width apart, chest up and knees over your toes.
Hold the hula hoop out in front of you between the thumb and forefinger of each hand. Keep your arms outstretched and parallel at either side of the hoop.
(b) Rotate the hoop by steering your hands back and forth from a 12 o’clock to six o’clock position.
4 SINGLE-LEG HOOPING
Targets: Hip stabilisers, hamstrings, abs, glutes Do: 15 secs on each foot
(a) Start in the same position as for the basic hula hoop move but, when you push the hoop across your body and let go, bring your right foot up so you’re balancing on one leg.
(b) Squeeze your glutes and core for balance while rotating your hips in a circular motion to keep the hoop aloft. Do this for 15 secs before stopping and repeating on your left foot. Feeling confident? Bring your foot higher off the floor.
5 HIP-UP TO SIT-UP
Targets: Abs Do: 10-15 reps
(a) Sit in an ‘L’ shape with your legs out in front of you and back straight. Hold the hoop in both hands and lift it above your head like a halo, arms and back straight.
(b) Roll on to your back, keeping the hoop in place, and tuck your knees into your chest, passing your legs through the hoop.
(c) Using the momentum gained from rolling back, thrust your hips off the floor and legs up through the hoop. Aim to get your legs as straight as you can. Now, roll back out to your starting ‘L’.