Of all the things TikTok has made me buy over the years, a weighted hula hoop is probably the most unexpected. As I’m sure everyone knows, TikTok, or more specifically, FitTok, is full of fitness trends: there’s the 12-3-30 workout, the Stairmaster challenges, and all the walking workouts, but I’m not one to jump on them. they. However, when I came across the budding hula hoop with a ball trend on my “For You” page, my interest was piqued.
In a video, a TikTok user explained how a weighted hula hoop toned her waist more than any other waist exercise, and while I’ve never exercised for cosmetic reasons, I couldn’t help but wonder if something that’s basically an adult toy could really pay off.
Studies have also shown that there are benefits. One showed that using a weighted hula hoop every day for six weeks helped reduce waist size, while another compared a group of people who used a weighted hula hoop daily and walked 9.9k steps a day, with a group of people who only walked the 9.9k steps. Both groups lost weight, but the group that used the weighted hula hoop also reduced their waist size.
It would be fun if nothing else, I told myself, so I went to Amazon and bought the Swiss Activa Smart Weighted Hula Hoop, complete with a detachable ball.
It arrived two days later, complete with 16 links to adjust to your waist size, a monitor that tells you how long you’ve been hula hooping and how many calories you’ve burned, and a weighted ball. From then on, I committed to using it every day (aiming for 30-40 minutes) for 2 weeks. Here is everything I learned and my honest results.
1. Building a hula hoop out of a ball is a piece of cake.
Assembling the device took some time (as it does with any DIY project, at least for me), but once I got the hang of it, it was pretty easy to put each link in place to create the full circle (the smooth part goes on the outer circle, and fit each piece together by pressing the triangular buttons).
It is not necessary to use all the links; I chose enough to fit comfortably around my waist, which meant the hula hoop wouldn’t fall off and I wouldn’t have the added challenge of trying to keep it in the air while also trying not to hit myself with the weighted ball.
The weight that comes with my particular hula hoop is a rubber ball that weighs 422g, or 0.9lbs. The package also included a tape measure so you can document your waist size before using the equipment. As I mentioned, I did not embark on this challenge with an aesthetic goal in mind, but to add a fun touch to my workouts, but I decided to measure myself out of simple curiosity. Read on for my results.
2. Using a hula hoop with a ball takes practice.
I can confirm that wearing a weighted hula hoop like the one I bought (ie, strapped to your waist with a weight attachment) is nothing like wearing a standard hoop. My first attempt was laughable, as I couldn’t figure out how to build momentum. I figured I would just do the same thing as a normal hula hoop: move my body in a circular motion to keep it spinning, but since this one was heavier and hugged my waist, swinging like my life depended on it didn’t quite work. .
Then, in a moment of revelation, I realized that I had to flick the ball, which is attached to the hoop by a string, to make it spin. I was on!
Personal trainer Anthony Maritato says it’s all about doing a smaller, steady movement that doesn’t require too many movements, adding, “A steady pace is the best way to maintain momentum. Changing the length of the rope will change the difficulty; the more the longer it is, the more difficult it is. Some clients may also benefit from using a metronome app on their phone or choosing a song with a strong rhythmic beat to keep time with the movement.”
3. Hula hooping with a weighted ball requires coordination
According to the instructions that came with my weighted hula hoop, it is recommended to wear it for 30-40 minutes for “optimal results”, but my first few sessions involved so many pauses and restarts that for the first two days I only racked up about 15 more minutes or so. less.
Fortunately, Maritato says it’s not always necessary to do it for 30-40 minutes. He says: “The duration of use depends on your goals. To improve your cardiovascular health, I would recommend using the hoop for 10 minutes a day, going as fast as you can. If you are using the device to relax tight lower back muscles back, it would be ideal to do 2-minute episodes”.
I chalked up all the pauses and restarts to my lack of coordination; if I moved away from a position that worked (standing in one spot while making small circles with your hips is the way to do it, by the way), the ball would slow down and eventually stop spinning altogether.
4. Using a hula hoop with a ball is a form of cardiovascular exercise.
And boy did I sweat. Once I figured out how to stick around long enough to watch an entire episode of Schitt’s Creek (The Art of Multitasking), with as few pauses as possible, my heart rate skyrocketed and I’d end each session in a serious sweat. .
What I will say is that the “smart” features of the weighted hula hoop I chose didn’t seem to reflect how sweaty and out of breath it made me. In fact, based on Amazon reviews, I’m not the only one that didn’t work for it.
It claims to count calories and the duration of your workouts, but I was often told that I’d only been working out for about 10 minutes when I’d actually done 30, and the calories burned were often much lower than I’d expected. I’m not a fan of relying on fitness trackers so I didn’t mind that much, but it’s something to keep in mind if that’s a feature that particularly appeals to you.
5. Weighted hula hooping can get monotonous, but music helps
Naturally, the more I used my hula hoop, the better I got at it, but it also got more monotonous. Even with the TV on in the background, the noise of the weighted ball spinning on the links irritated me and distracted me from what I was watching. But I found a simple solution: I sacrificed Schitt’s Creek for music and put on my wireless headphones. Turns out, this really gave me more energy and motivation to keep going.
This is something that Maritato also recommends. “If someone wants to use this device for 30-40 minutes, I think the best way to make it more enjoyable is to create a music playlist with songs of different beats that you like and can keep the activity interesting. Another option is to do this exercise while watching your favorite TV show, listening to your favorite podcast, or taking an online course.
6. A hula hoop with a ball can be uncomfortable.
While this unconventional method of movement helped me sweat, one of the biggest problems for me was that the bindings around my waist were quite painful and often left marks. However, wearing a thicker undershirt that would keep the links from pressing against my skin and removing one link from the hula hoop so it wouldn’t be as tight definitely helped.
Also, there is nowhere you can put your hands or arms without interfering with the spin of the ball, so my arms hurt more than you could imagine. I tried crossing my hands over my chest, but this felt stiff and made it difficult for me to move. Putting my hands on my head worked better, but sometimes they would get numb and I had to stop. This seemed counterproductive and a silly problem during a workout.
Maritato suggests a simple adjustment: “Your arms should be positioned in a way that allows you to bend your elbows and passively keep your hands near shoulder level or above. Try holding a strap or towel between your hands and running it through on top of your upper back.”
Results of my challenge with the hula hoop with ball
So did I really see any results? My honest thoughts: After using the hula hoop almost every day, along with my gym workouts (usually comprised of dumbbell exercises, two to three times a week), and maintaining my 10,000 daily steps, I didn’t see any physical change. .
My waist size stayed the same and I can’t say I feel particularly fitter. However, during the two-week challenge I was traveling, which meant there were three or four days where I couldn’t hula hoop, which could have affected my results.
Maritato says that if it’s a physical change you’re after, long-term consistency in a balanced diet and exercise routine is key: “Weighted hula hooping alone won’t reduce fat, you also need to pay attention to your nutrition.” “.”Other disadvantages include the need to have a wide, open area to avoid knocking over objects or hitting people.
It can also irritate the skin if worn for more than a few minutes.” But there are certainly some advantages: “The weighted hula hoop is a novel idea that can get people to move more and have fun while doing it, which could mean you get results you haven’t gotten before.
As we all know, the workout you enjoy is the one you will continue to do and will reap rewards from. Maritato adds: “The movement of the hula hoop can also help reduce lower back pain and stiffness, and improve activation of the core muscles”. I will say that it is a very accessible cardio workout and there were times when I didn’t feel like going to the gym so I would grab my hula hoop instead. It’s also good for multitasking; if I wasn’t listening to music, I was listening to a podcast.
One last positive: I appreciated that the ball was made of rubber, meaning it wouldn’t hurt me or damage my floor if (or rather, when) I accidentally hit something.
Will I keep using it? Although I’d like to say yes, it’s unlikely I’ll do it as regularly as I did during this challenge, but I definitely won’t get rid of it entirely. I’ll keep it on display in my living room, for those times when going to the gym isn’t possible, but moving my body is necessary.
Also, two weeks pales in comparison to how long some people on TikTok have been using weighted hula hoops, so perhaps the benefits will eventually outweigh the downsides in the long run. Who knows, there might be a twist along the way (see what I did there? Hula hoop? twist?).