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Weighted hula hoops: Why they're great for workouts

Not only is it fun, but it's a great workout, too.
Illustration of 3 images showing Emma Stessman using a pink and grey weighted hula hoop to workout
TODAY Illustration / Courtesy Emma Stessman

From Peloton to the Chloe Ting ab challenge, I've tried just about every recent popular exercise trend in an attempt to keep up some semblance of a regular workout routine while at home. Some lasted longer than others — I usually get bored within a week or two and give up. But in all of the workouts I've done over the past year, I don't think I've ever had as much fun as I did while trying out one of TikTok's favorite workout tools: the weighted hula hoop.

Better Sense Weighted Hoola Hoop

It's actually a good workout

TikTok videos praising weighted hula hoops for their ab-toning and waistline-shrinking abilities have racked up millions of views — and I can see why.

The first day I tried it, I only spent about five minutes hula hooping. I just wanted to see if I could easily get the hang of things again after not picking one up in more than 15 years. Of course, it immediately came back to me. But I was surprised to find that the next day, even after such a quick session, my abs were a little sore.

I've found that it takes about ten minutes of hula hooping to really get your heart rate up. The company recommends doing it for 20 to 30 minutes a day, which is enough time to make it feel like you're getting like a good cardio workout. It weighs about two pounds in total, so it doesn't feel heavy, but it helps make the workout a little more intense.

There's even some science to back up the benefits: One small 2015 study found that six weeks of hula hooping helped participants lose an average of 1.3 inches from their waistline.

It's customizable

It comes with eight individual pieces that you connect to form the hoop, and it's super easy to put together and take apart. I played around with the fit for a while and found that it worked best when I took one piece off.

I have limited storage space, so I was worried about where to keep it because it's such an awkward size. But I've been taking it apart after I'm done using it, making it really easy to store.

It has a thick foam padding, so it's much more comfortable than the plastic hoops of your childhood. And it's something that you can use time and time again. The one I got even came with a jump rope and resistance band to use in other workouts.

I used the Better Sense hoop, but there are similar options you can order from Amazon.

Shanity Smart Hoop

Sports Hoop Weighted Hoop

Auoxer Fitness Weighted Hoop

It's really fun

I love working out, but I don't how many workouts I would actually describe as "fun." This one really is. I think it mostly has to do with the nostalgia factor. Every time I pick up the hoop, I think back to the hours I would spend as a kid hula hooping in my backyard, trying out tricks and competing with my sister to see who could last the longest (she always won).

It's not going to be the only workout I ever do. It requires a good amount of space and if I weren't in the process of moving with most of my stuff packed up, I probably would have had to move some furniture around every time I wanted to use the hoop. But it's a good way to get some variety in your routine, and knowing that I'll actually have fun makes it an appealing option on days when I'm feeling unmotivated to work out. Plus, it's a fun outdoor activity both solo and for group gatherings.

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