Updated: June 23, 2009

fitness-hooping-belly-blasterChris ShipmanUp the challenge while you tone your belly, butt and thighs with these three advanced Hula-hoop moves from Christabel Zamor, author of the new book, Hooping: A Revolutionary Fitness Program.

As soon as youve stabilized the hoops orbit around your waist, its time to get those feet in motion! Keeping your shoulders down and back and your head up, try taking baby steps forward. After each step, pause to regain the steady, level pump of the hoop around your core.

Dont be discouraged if the hoop falls or is knocked to the ground at first—just pick it up and keep going. Before long, youll be walking and hooping at the same time. At first, anything you do with your feet will likely knock the hoop to the ground. Just pick it up and keep going. It wont take long before you can walk and hoop at the same time.

Once youre comfortable, try this sequence:

  1. Stand with your feet parallel, pumping the hoop around your waist.
  2. As you pump, shift all your weight to your right foot, using your left just to keep balance. Return to standing with your feet flat on the floor and your weight evenly distributed. Next, shift all your weight to your left foot.
  3. Continue to pump as you step to the right with your right foot, and touch your left foot beside your right. Repeat on the left. Continue to step-touch side-to-side.

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This is when you shimmy the hoop up and down your torso continuously with side-to-side movements while keeping the hoop parallel to the ground. Heres how to do it—and build super-strong core muscles:

  1. Start pumping the hoop around your waist. Lift your arms up and out of the way by reaching up towards the ceiling so your elbows are at shoulder height or above. Increase the pace of your push-pull movements.
  2. Shift your awareness to the points at which the hoop touches you on the sides of your body. Begin moving your torso side to side by extending your chest out to the left and the right. Deepen your breath to maintain the brisk movements.
  3. Wiggle your whole upper torso with exaggerated movements to get a sense of how to elevate the hoop. Your hips do very little during this move; instead you should feel a new set of muscles in your upper abdomen working. The hoop may wobble or shift back down, but continue with your quick side-to-side pushing to shimmy the hoop up your ribs.
  4. Continue until the hoop reaches just underneath your armpits. Keep the hoop up there as long as you can, then let it move back down your torso into regular pumping position. When you are ready, energize your core and shimmy the hoop up again.

In this move, you lean back and pull up the hoop with the front of your abs so the hoop slopes diagonally upward in front of you. Its an incredible workout for the abs and thighs.

  1. Start in pumping the hoop around your waist. Engage your abdominals and lean back slightly, tilting the front of your pelvis upward. Instead of pushing forward and back, when you feel the hoop roll over your abs, push up toward the sky. To keep your arms out of the hoops way, place your hands behind your head or cross them on your chest.
  2. Look up! When you tilt your head to look directly skywards, you reorient your entire torso so that it faces up. The goal is to make your upper body as close as possible to parallel to the floor, while still engaging your abs. Keep breathing as your face and jaw stay relaxed.
  3. Create an up-and-down bounce by rising onto the balls of your feet and pushing back down on your heels over and over again, like youve got springs in your heels. Its okay if you travel forward slightly—just make sure the balls of your feet are always in contact with the ground.
  4. As your legs thrust you upward, continue to push the hoop up with your belly each time it rolls over your front. (Your back should not be doing any of the work). If your hoop slopes off to one side, alter your posture by stepping forward with the leg opposite the slope. This should return the hoop to a straight path across your belly.