Hula-Hoop Yourself Slim
A super-fun belly-blaster
Everyone from Zooey Deschanel to First Lady Michelle Obama is hot for Hula-Hooping. To get in the swing, too, try our exhilarating Hula-Hoop workout from Gabriella Redding, CEO and creator of Hoopnotica, a Los Angeles–based company that offers hooping classes, plus sells hoops and how-to DVDs.
Start with the basic moves until you feel comfortable, then step up to more advanced ones, mixing and matching for your own personal head-to-toe tone-up. Do any combination of moves for 30 minutes (you'll burn 150 to 250 calories per workout) three times a week for four weeks and you’ll lose 3 to 6 inches all over your body. Yep, belly included!
Get your own
For a good workout, you need to buy a hoop for adults, which is larger and heavier—and therefore easier to use—than the kind made for kids. If you're a newbie, aim for one that's at least 40 inches in diameter and weighs 1 to 2 pounds. Some good sources: Amazon.com, Hoopnotica, HoopGirl, or RadiantHoops.
Stand inside the hoop with your right foot forward, holding the hoop against your lower back. Keeping your pelvis tucked, shoulders squared, and chest lifted, bend your knees slightly and give the hoop a good counterclockwise spin around your waist, making sure it's level. (If this feels awkward, try putting your left foot forward and spinning the hoop clockwise.)
To keep the hoop moving, shift your weight quickly between your front and back legs, moving your hips backward (A) and forward (B). If you feel the hoop beginning to drop, stand up straighter and push the front of your hip into the hoop as it comes around.
Stand with your feet a bit wider than shoulder-width apart and parallel to each other. Give the hoop a good spin, and rock your hips from side to side so the hoop hits on the sides of your waist. Make sure your abs are tight, with chest and head lifted. The more power you put into each push, the faster the hoop will go.
First, try this without your hoop: With your left foot planted firmly, step right foot forward. Spin your body to the left, swinging right foot around a full 360° (or as close as you can) before putting it down again. (Your left foot acts as the axis of your turn.)
Once you get it, grab your hoop. Begin in Forward Stance position; give the hoop a counterclockwise spin. When it's spinning parallel to the ground, support your weight on your left foot and use your right foot to power your spin; the momentum of the hoop should carry you around. Get right back into Forward Stance once you complete turn. (If this doesn't feel comfortable, try the opposite foot and direction.)
Stand and grasp the hoop lightly in your right hand, palm facing down. Begin turning counterclockwise and slowly bring the hoop up over your head, flipping it over your thumb as you shift your hand so the fingers are pointing up. Use your hand to power the hoop in a back-and-forth motion: The hoop will alternate between hitting the center of your palm and the back of your hand.
Be sure to keep your thumb extended, so the hoop doesn’t travel down your forearm. When you get tired, repeat in the opposite direction, using your left hand.
Begin spinning the hoop as in the basic Halo move. As the hoop moves around your right hand, raise your left hand and bring your palms together, as if praying. At this point, the contact points with the hoop will become the edges of your hands (by your pinkies and by your pointers). Be sure to keep both thumbs extended. As you get comfortable and want more of a challenge, add lunges or squats, try balancing on one foot, or just dance!
Begin hooping in Forward Stance. Once the hoop is spinning parallel to the ground, take a small step forward each time you push against the hoop with the front of your hip. (The hoop will hit on alternating sides as you walk.) Once you feel comfortable, try walking faster. You can also walk backward (pushing against the hoop with your lower back) and take side steps (beginning in Side Stance and pushing with the sides of your waist).
Passing With Dips and Lunges
Grasp the hoop lightly in your right hand, palm facing down. Begin swinging the hoop clockwise so the hoop is parallel to the ground. As you swing it around behind you, pass it to your left hand and bring it back around to the front. Continue to circle the hoop, passing it from one hand to the other. When you feel comfortable, try walking and turning in a circle while passing the hoop. Next, try squatting and lunging while passing it.
Grab your hoop with your right hand and begin moving it in front of you in a figure-eight, going from side to side in a vertical plane. As the hoop crosses from right to left, duck your head and lift your knees as you step (or jump) through, twisting your wrist so your palm is facing you, then back around to the original position. Too challenging? Grab the top of the hoop with both hands and use it as a jump rope!