“I need 100 feet of 3/4″ 120 PSI irrigation tubing, please.” The Home Depot man’s eyebrows shot up, marking the one and only time I have ever walked into that store knowing what I’m talking about. I hate to be the stereotypical girl here but thus far in my life all my visits to hardware stores involved paint chips or toddler potty stops. It was even better because I’d just come from a church function and was wearing a hot pink/navy blue mod 60′s sheath, had my hair in a ballerina bun on the very top of my head and was tottering around in 5″ stiletto booties – you know what everyone wears in the hardware store.
“Wow, bad day to be working on your irrigation system,” he said as he led me to the very farthest back corner of the store. (It snowed again this weekend. In May. Upside: great maple “sugaring” weather. Downside: everything else.)
“Oh, I’m using it to make hula hoops!” I chirped. He burst out laughing.
Any workout that involves the use of a blowtorch, a mallet and makes the Home Depot salesmen do a double take is my kind of fun! We’ve only done one hula hooping workout so far – today, baby! – but if the past weekend is any indication of how entertaining May’s Great Hula Hooping Fitness Experiment is going to be, it’s going to be a fantastic month. Since I’m brand spanking new to hooping – graduate of the YouTube course on hooping as of last night – let’s start with all the things I didn’t know just in case you are as clueless as I was.
Things I Didn’t Know About Fitness Hooping
1. Fitness hoops are not the same as the ones at Toys ‘R’ Us. An adult fitness hoop is BIG – between 10 and 13 feet in circumference or when stood on end, hits between your navel and shoulder. This is important because apparently the larger and heavier the hoop is, the easier it is to use. Toy or children’s hoops will only frustrate you endlessly.
2. Fitness hoops are expensive. To buy the real deal, expect to lay out anywhere from $30 to $100. To be fair, they do come in collapsible versions and every variety of sparklyshinypretty you can imagine. To be realistic, I cannot afford one much less four.
3. You can make your own hoop for just a few bucks. Enter the magic of the Internet! Livelovehoop tweeted me a link by the king of hooping Jason Unbound on how to make my own. (See my version with slightly disastrous results below.)
4. Hooping is really complicated. Just like most things I don’t spend much time thinking about, I had assumed that fitness hooping would be simple. Perhaps an hour of twirling it one way and then the other? Not so, my friends. There are hundreds of tricks and variations. Check out this round-up of YouTube tutorials by Hula Hoop Basics. They list how-tos for 582 basics. For our Experiment this month, I wrote down a list of about 20 basics and 5 tricks that I’d like to master before the end of the month. Considering how today went, that might be a bit lofty.
5. Hooping is sexy-sexy! Check out this video from Hoopnotica and tell me you don’t want to lick her. Wow she makes it look easy. Seriously though just like any dance form, hooping is an art as well as a workout. It did get a little awkward though practicing our “booty bumps” and “hip thrusts” – at least the hoop keeps a nice large no-touch zone!
6. I can hoop. Since I hadn’t seriously tried a hula hoop in probably a decade I figured I would be really rusty and have to practice just the basic movement forever. As Gym Buddies Krista, Megan and I (plus two of the people who are in Special-Ed at our gym) all discovered, we’re pretty good at it. We all fairly easily kept the hoop off the floor for 5 minutes and mostly off the floor for the better part of an hour. If you think you can’t hoop it’s probably because you’ve been using the wrong hoop.
Making My Own Hoop (A Pictorial)
Step 1: buy some PVC irrigation tubing. I had a coupon for the cute kid.
Step 2: cut it to the desired length. Jason suggests ratcheting pipe cutters. I only had a hacksaw and a lot of time.
Step 5: Decorate your new hoops with colored electrical tape. Yes we’re doing this at the gym. People love us.
Because I know some of you will be curious, this month the Gym Buddies and I will be hooping 2 days a week, weight lifting 2 days a week following Chris Gethin’s Body By Design: The Complete 12-Week Plan to Transform Your Body Forever book, hip hopping for 1 day, running for 1 day (Gym Buddy Megan is training for a half marathon) and doing TurboKick 2 days a week. Obviously some days we are doubling up although we are still keeping my time limit in mind – don’t want to slip back into old habits!
The hooping basics we hope to learn: hooping in both directions, walking forward & backward, walking sideways, squatting, lunging, hip hooping, chest hooping, shoulder hooping, one-hand and two-hand lasso, turning in a circle, arm weaving, angled hooping in both directions, stalling, the booty bump, the hip bump along with several off-body moves like around-the-world, the revolving door, skipping rope and infinity.
Hooping tricks we’d love to learn: Over the Shoulder roll, the Corkscrew, the Vortex
By the end of the month I hoping to have choreographed a 30-minute routine set to music that keeps the hoops moving the whole time.
Who’s in with me?
What was your fave active childhood toy? Skip-it? Hobby horse? Pogo stick? Hula hoop?? Have you done this kind of hooping before – if so, leave me your tips, fave workouts or tricks in the comments (Please!!). Anyone else throw the hardware store sales people with a weird request?