Do Weighted Hula Hoops Actually Work? We Asked Fitness Experts |

Do Weighted Hula Hoops Actually Work? We Asked Fitness Experts

Exercises that spark joy should be sprinkled into every regimen, and what better way to incite a smile than to pick up a hula hoop? A weighted one, that is. Hula hoops have been around for decades, and you’ve likely already been hit with a dose of nostalgia just reading this, but that doesn’t mean they need to be relegated to playground fun. In fact, with the addition of a little bit of weight, the tried-and-true hoop can help you burn calories and build abs, too.

Want to incorporate one into your routine? We asked two fitness experts to explain the benefits of weighted hula hoop workouts further. Read on for their insights.


  • Carol Gourlay is the studio manager at Life Time Health Club.
  • Donna Walker, NASM-CPT, is a coach at F45 Lincoln Park and group fitness instructor at the Chicago Athletic Clubs.

What Is a Weighted Hula Hoop?

A weighted hula hoop is what the name suggests—it’s a hula hoop that’s heavier than the typical plastic hoops you’re used to, and they typically weigh between one-and-a-half and eight pounds. Compared to a regular hula hoop, which usually weighs less than a pound, a weighted hula hoop provides more resistance, says Gourlay.

Weighted hula hoops can also be made with different materials to give them that extra heft. And shapes may differ as well. “Some have a smaller diameter and a weighted ball attached to a tether or string, while different varieties have the weight distributed in the hula hoop of standard diameter,” says Walker.

Weighted Hula Hoops vs. Traditional Hula Hoops

While a traditional hula hoop won’t give you as much of a workout, it’s still a great way to get your heart rate pumping. A weighted hoop, however, proves more beneficial to your weight loss goal, according to experts. “It’s low-impact and combines cardio and strength training by raising your heart rate and engaging your core and back muscles,” says Gourlay.

Walker adds, “It’s great for your core muscles and your lower body, too. If you choose to do arm work with the hula hoop, it’s total-body.” It can also help burn body fat and reduce inches off the midsection. A small 2015 study showed that regular weighted hula hooping was associated with a reduction in waist and hip girth.1

Who Shouldn’t Use a Weighted Hula Hoop?

As with any new form of exercise, Walker recommends taking precautions as needed and consulting your physician if you have any questions or concerns. If you experience pain while exercising, stop immediately and seek medical attention. “Using a weighted hula hoop is relatively safe as long as you’re using a weight that’s appropriate for your strength and experience/fitness level,” says Gourlay.

How Do You Use a Weighted Hula Hoop?

The good news is if you’ve ever hula hooped before, as a child or adult, using a weighted hula hoop isn’t that much different. “The trick is to move your hips forward and back, shifting your weight. And keep your feet staggered to start,” says Gourlay.

“Proper form with any movement is key,” adds Walker. “Basics for form center around good posture, including core and glute engagement, and full proper activation of the muscles you seek to use.” It may seem a little counterintuitive, but Gourlay and Walker say a weighted hula hoop may be easier to use than a regular one. Getting the hoop going is easier because you have more control of the weight, Walker says. If you’re rhythmically challenged, opting for a bigger hoop may help because you have more reaction time to respond as it moves around your body. She also suggests against wearing baggy clothing because it can make it harder to catch the hoop around your waist.

And once you get the hang of a weighted hula hoop, feel free to incorporate all those tricks you did as a kid. “Waist hooping, arms, agility on the floor, jumping in and out, dance hooping—imagination is your only limitation!” says Walker.

How Do You Find the Right Weighted Hula Hoop for You?

Your hula hoop should measure from standing on the floor upright to your navel, recommends Walker. “Most of the time, if someone thinks they can’t hula hoop, they probably have an experience with a hoop that’s a bit too small. Bigger hoops are better for learning. As you progress your skills, you can reduce the hoop size and weight, increasing speed, too,” says Walker. We like the Dynamis Fat Burning Weighted Hula Hoop, which is adjustable for every level of skill use from beginner to professional and weighs in at 3.6 pounds.

Ultimately, the right weight and size will depend on the individual. “To pick the right weight is like purchasing a piece of clothing. I recommend trying a few and see what feels best for your body and experience level,” says Gourlay.

How Often Should You Use a Weighted Hula Hoop?

If you’re interested in giving a weighted hula hoop a spin or two, Walker suggests starting small and trying to hula hoop for 10-30 minutes, two to three times a week. Ultimately, how often you use a weighted hula hoop will come down to individual preferences, fitness levels, and goals. If you like to hoop, incorporate it as part of your workout routine. Like with all exercise, Walker says, “Enjoy the way you move and move the way you enjoy.”

The Final Takeaway

As it turns out, adding a little weight to a hula hoop can really help you break a sweat. A weighted hula hoop makes it easy to engage in a low-impact cardio workout that gets your heart pumping. When used around your waist, it can target your core and back muscles. It’s also great for your arms, helping to tone them. Plus, adding a proper twirl session to your standard fitness regimen will deliver a serious serotonin hit because it’s impossible not to smile while hula hooping.


  • Is hula hooping better than walking?It depends on your goals, of course, but if your focus is on your midsection, hula hooping might just have the advantage: A 2019 study demonstrated that, relative to walking, weighted hula hooping decreased a higher abdominal fat percentage in overweight subjects.2
  • Should you hula hoop in both directions?Yes, you’ll want to hula hoop in both directions. That way, your results will be even on both sides of your body.
  • Are heavier hula hoops better?Not necessarily. Heavier, larger hula hoops will be easier to keep going, which could help you perform for longer. (Hence why they are preferred for beginners). A smaller, lighter hula hoop, however, takes more energy to keep going.3


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here





The Beginner’s Guide to Performing a Proper Push-Up

Push-ups are one of those exercises that are included in practically every workout because they are effective, don’t require any equipment, and can be...

Are Waist Trainers Safe to Use? We Asked Physicians

Waist trainers are essentially modern corsets worn beneath clothing, and are attended to "train" the body into an hourglass figure. With countless celeb endorsements—the...

13 Julia Fox Makeup Moments That Broke the Internet

Say the name Julia Fox, and makeup is bound to dominate the conversation fairly quickly. While she might (or might not) have been Josh...

The Pouf Hairstyle Is Officially Back—Here Are 12 Ways to Try the Look

The 2000s provided plenty of beauty inspiration—from chunky French manicures to frosted eyeshadow and quintessential Y2K hairstyles like the spiky bun. Everything Y2K is swinging back into style, and as the...

The Ultimate Boxing Workout for Beginners

Exercise is a natural stress reliever, and let's admit it: Sometimes after a hard day, you may just feel like punching something. Boxing is...