Lately, I have been inundated with ads on social media for those brightly-colored, weighted hula hoops that are attached around your waist. (Maybe you've seen a barrage of them, too?) So, I finally broke down and tried one.
What Is a Weighted Hula Hoop?
These hoops, instead of rotating, serve as a track for a small, surprisingly heavy weight to go around and around as you try to wiggle in such a way as to keep the whole somewhat embarrassing process in motion. These TikTok popular items have many, many names, like Infinity Hoop and Activa Non-Falling Hula Hoop and Weighted Fit Loop and Weight Hoop, and ... you get the idea.
I wasn't in a rush to buy one, as it looked like most were made from cheap plastic (and were being sold for more than I wanted to spend), but after my youngest kid saw it, I realized resistance was futile. She loved it. She loves hula hooping. And it was actually something she could use and I could use (with modification) to get some exercise. Okay, fine. Sold.
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Before I looked for the hula hoop in earnest, I found out what it was being sold for via social media influencers. One TikTok vendor was asking $70 (30% off!), while another was asking $17 (just for today!). Uh-huh. A $7 hula hoop caught my eye (with $8 shipping), but was flagged as a scam by my credit card company, so that was a pass. Ironically, the best prices were on Amazon and AliExpress — and Amazon shipped for free in a day or two with Prime. The JKSHMYT weighted exercise hoop was just $12 plus tax, which I could live with, even if it was a cheap piece of plastic junk.
I was actually surprised that what arrived was... not bad. Even though there are newer models with notable improvements (more on that later), this weighted hula hoop did everything that was expected. Although one TikToker had already warned against knockoffs of the O.G. Infinity Hoop, saying they'd break, weren't as flexible, and didn't have "massaging" pads against your waist, I didn't care. If my kid (or I) used it every day, maybe we would want to upgrade at some point, but the starter hoop at a starter price was fine.
How to Use a Weighted Hula Hoop
So, how's the hoop? If you're interested in getting one, there are some things to keep in mind.
Don't wear a loose shirt. While you'll probably want to wear something unless you don't mind the tabs twisting on your bare skin (not recommended), a shirt can bunch up if it's not tucked in. So tuck (or wear a long shirt).
Some models are noisy. Really noisy. Newer models have solved the extremely loud sound of the weight rotating in the track, which isn't the most beautiful clack-clack-clack sound ever, but if you opt for an older model, just be prepared. If you work out to music or by watching a TV show, you'll have to turn up the volume. If you live in an apartment, apologize to the neighbors in advance.
Make sure you have a lot of space. So, you're spinning two pounds of sand hidden in a hard plastic ball around your waist. Step away from anything fragile. Or even stuff you don't want to leave a bulb-sized dent on for all posterity.
You can change the weight. See that seam in the middle of the weight? Just unscrew it and you'll find a bag of sand inside. Adjust as needed. Some hoops also have ways to adjust the length of the string hanging from the weight (if yours doesn't, you can tie knots, too). This is a way to change how you can keep the weight moving (and make it potentially easier or harder).
Find something to do with your hands. As with a real hula hoop, you have to raise your arms above your waist (in this case, so you don't get hit by that two-pound weight). Some people hold light weights in each hand, put their hands on their head, but improvise. It's a good workout for your arms either way.
Speaking of that weight. Just don't forget you have a weight spinning around at high speeds (potentially), so slowing down instead of stopping suddenly is recommended. Also, don't lower your arms while that weight is zipping around.
Embrace looking silly. If you're wondering why there's no photo of me or my kid doing this, we are destroying the evidence.
Do Weighted Hula Hoops Work?
I've used it for a few days, as has my kid, and the verdict is that we both think it's pretty fun, honestly. While most people on TikTok are more focused on removing links (as you lose weight, you need a smaller hoop), I'm just enjoying the hula-hooping movement. It is a workout, but if you are focused elsewhere (TV, music), time goes by quickly and you may not even notice if you break out in a sweat.
Making the hoop work takes some trial and error (get used to that stupid weight banging against your legs a few times), but you just have to grab the weight and try another spin (which is easier than a real hula hoop). If you can get over looking more than a little ridiculous with a plastic ring around your waist, it's worth it. Is it worth $70? No, but it's worth trying. Just resist the urge to impulse-buy from social media if you do try it.
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