Hula Hooping For Beginners 2017

Getting your start as a hooper can be overwhelming, there are a lot of decisions to make and a lot of things to consider in order to make sure you are making the best choices.That is why we put together this guide, to help you jump start your journey.

After purchasing your hoop, you can choose to figure out moves and tricks by yourself or you can venture to the wonderful world of Youtube. We recommend a healthy mix of both. There are tons of tutorials online for beginners and advanced level hoopers. There are even traveling instructors who teach hoop dance, so keep an eye open for workshops in your area.
There is no order at all in which to learn these tricks. Go at your own pace, learn what attracts you, and be prepared to spend hours trying to nail it.

When the hula hoop drops just pick it back up.

This is brutal honesty based on experience; it’s important to know that your first time playing with a circle will not look anything like the graceful hooper who inspired you. It took them countless hours to get to that point. But if you are passionate about learning new tricks and are consistent in practice you will eventually get there.

Finding The Right Hula Hoop

Looking For Specific Moves To Jump Start Your Hoop Journey?
Check Out our quick start articles
Top 10 Hoop Tutorials for New Hoopers Instead.
Beginner Hoop Curriculum

 

Don’t allow anyone to judge you for playing with a "child’s toy". Hone in on your creative aspects and have fun developing them whichever way you please. Never feel that there is a right way to perform a trick or combination. Put your own “spin” to the things you are taught. Make your dance unique to you.

How To Choose A Hula Hoop Size

It is time to find your first hoop, the cheap hoops you can find at Walmart and Target are not the kind you should select, they are usually too light and flimsy to be suitable for flow arts.

You will want to ask yourself some questions or take our hula hoop selection quiz to help you find the right hoop for your needs.

When thinking about the perfect hoop you should at a minimum consider.

  • Price point
  • Size
  • Material
  • Purpose/Usage
  • Experience
  • Vendor Reputation

 

Price because your budget will limit the type of hoop you can select. Hula hoops vary in pricing range anywhere from 10 dollars to 500+

Size because you need to know your preferred diameter in order to get the right fit for you, too small and you will struggle to keep the hoop rotating, too large and you will find hoop flow too easy and not advance your skill set.

Purpose what are you going to use the hoop for? Everyday usage means you can get a cheaper practice hoop that you will drop a lot, if you are focused on a hoop for performance then you might want to consider a high end smart hoop and train to use its features as part of your choreography and performance art.

Material What your hoop is made out of determines the responsiveness, strength, and weight of your prop.  

Company reputation, buying from a reputable company can help you avoid frustrations and disappointments, make sure to avoid vendors on our buyer be aware list. Getting a damaged, uneven, or damaged hoop and not being able to return it can ruin any hooping experience, so it is best to purchased from recommended Vendors.

 

You’ll want to carefully consider the size of your hula hoop.

This will depend on your body type and the style of hooping that interests you. The basic rule to understand is that big hoops spin slow and small hoops spin fast. If your hoop is too small you may find yourself frustrated and unable to master on-body tricks.
For this reason it is easier for beginners use hoops that are 36”-40”in diameter.

Here's some general sizing for a beginner hoop:

If you are under 5’4 then grab yourself a 38”
If you are under 5’10 then check out the 40”
If you are over 5’10, grab a 42”
If you are over 5'10" AND over 220 get a 44"

If this is your first hoop don’t expect for it to be the perfect match right away. The "right" measurements will even change as you grow as a flow artist. Experimenting with smaller hoops leads to off-body and illusion tricks. Hoopers will often have lots of hoops in all sorts of sizes and materials.

You can learn more about the differences between HDPE and Polypro in our material showdown here

Understanding The Types of Hula Hoops

Knowing your goals as a hooper is what determines what hoop you should buy to start your practice. Are you hoping to learn to dance with tricks? You’ll want to buy a dance/performance hoop. Are you hoping to shed a few pounds while having a great time? You’ll want to purchase an exercise/fitness hoop to build up your core. Or are you hoping to become an all around hoop star and completely dive into your practice? You're gonna need more than one hoop!

Tubing Comparison from The Hoop Junky, click for website.

Hula Hoop Grip

One of the most important things to have on your hoop is some form of grip. Since there are a few options for this shops will usually leave their hoops bare for the customer, and some new hoopers never notice the difference!
The plastics used for hoops are way too smooth and in order to learn anything you will need some friction.

Tape

EbbnFlowHoopCo on Etsy
EbbnFlowHoopCo on Etsy

Using grip tape is one of the most popular methods. Hoop tape is called “gaffer”and provides friction through its rough texture. When buying a hoop online there is usually an option to add gaffer grip to your hoop. This tape will eventually wear off so it’s good to purchase an extra roll in your favorite color before that happens.

Sand Paper

If you are frustrated by laying tape or prefer not to deal with sticky residue sanding may be the best option for you.
Some companies offer the service of sanding the hoop for you. If that is not an option you can go to any supply store and pick up a rough sand paper. We recommend 60-80 grit for the best results. Scratch your hoop in back and forth motions all along the inner rim.

Sanding is a permanent option. Afterwards grip tape and wax will not stick to your hoops.

Wax

Hoop wax @ Moodhoops.com
Hoop wax @ Moodhoops.com

A newer grip option for hoopers is wax. It is non-permanent, transparent, and easy to use. Simply rub a bar on your hoop to create a textured layer. Mood Hoops sells a cute heart shaped bar for just $3.

If you want to know more about grip options see our full Grip Guide

Learn more hoop tricks using our online course of beginner hoop tutorials. Created by a member of the ICC.

Finding Your Flow

“A mental state of operation. When in flow, the person performing the activity is fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and enjoyment in the process of the activity.”
-Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Hungarian social scientist on the “flow state”

Flow refers to the connection one feels with their practice. Everyone from the mathematician to the painter can achieve this mental state. In hoop dance this is expressed in long lasting, effortless manipulation and creative breakthroughs when learning.
It is common to wonder when or how you can find your flow state. The simple answer is that flow emerges through practice. Every time you pick up your hoop you engage your brain and learn something new. This knowledge builds into an understanding of your prop and your body which allows them to work together in a “flow”.

Hula Hoop by Shelley Rich
Hula Hoop by Shelley Rich

Hoop dance is an immersive and rewarding art. In this day and age there are not enough reasons to get outside, to move around, to dance, or simply have fun.

Once you’ve found your hoop, learned your favorite tricks, and expressed yourself in movement you can reap the benefits of fitness and meditation through hoops.

Credits

Cntributors: Valerie Parker, Steebax, Naeem Scott
Editor: Larisa Le Veck
Video Contributor: Katie Emmit
Featured image credit: Stephen Kruso
Updated: 9/28/2017