How to keep a hula hoop up

This post was written assuming you have read (nearly) all the advice and watched (nearly) all the videos on the web on how to keep a hula hoop up, and have the right sized hoop, but still can’t keep the hoop up when waist hooping. This was how I felt when I first started, and I would have loved to find information that went beyond the same old “push your belly back and forth” that everyone kept restating.

These are notes that I took on some of the less common tips that I found very helpful when I was starting out. I have been waist hooping for four months now, and can keep the hoop up for pretty much as long as I like, so I am certain these tips work. Some of these are from other sources and some of these I discovered on my own. The videos that I linked to were the ones that I found to be the most helpful.

1. Have your weight distributed evenly between both legs. This video demonstrates it well.

2. Keep your pelvis tucked forward, as shown here.

3. Allow your feet to rock, if necessary. This is easier to do on a level surface. Sometimes all you need is the foot in front to rock, as I first observed in this video. All the advice out there says that you should be moving your pelvis back and forth (or from side to side), and not so much in a circle. This is easiest to do when you rock on your feet. The movement may look and feel awkward in the beginning, but that’s what enabled me to feel the rhythm of the hoop and have control over it. As you improve, the movements will get less pronounced. Now, my feet remain stable on the ground, and the movement is within my knees and hips.

4. Start on a flat, level surface. At first I only tried to hoop on the grass because I didn’t want my hoop to get scuffed up when it hit the pavement. However, the ground was uneven. After I moved onto the pavement, I was able to rock my feet, and keep the hoop up. I can hoop on the grass now, but in the beginning, a level surface really helped.

5. Tape makes a difference! If you’re making your own hoop, be sure to tape it. I had read the advice saying to use gaffers tape for grip, but I didn’t want to tape my hoop at first because I planned to resize it when I got better. (I started with a 40″ diameter 100 psi polyethylene tube for a hoop.) Many hoop sellers offer to sand the inner side of a bare hoop for grip as well.

It turned out, tape really made a difference when I was first starting to hoop. I couldn’t keep the hoop up at all when it was not taped. Tape adds grip as well as weight, making it easier for beginners. All I did was wrap my hoop with electrical tape, and I was able to keep it up for longer. Later I added some gaffers tape, too.

*      *      *

I hope you found these tips helpful. Hooping is a skill that takes practice, so don’t give up. Even though I was able to do it as a kid (until I became too big for the child sized hoops), it still took some time for me to pick it up again as an adult. I’m glad I took it up again because it’s a fun, low-impact exercise that doesn’t require much; just a hoop and adequate space. (When I hoop indoors, I let my hoop spin over the edge of the bed.)

If you have any questions or other less common tips that you’d like to share, feel free to leave a comment. Happy hooping!

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