There are many options to finding the hoop that is suitable to you; both in sizing to fit your body, and style. Within those two categories, it goes further still and we can get into that later. What I like new hoopers to ask themselves is “What type of hooper am I?”
Maybe you saw some people dancing with hula hoops at a concert or festival. The way they get lost and dance within the circle is appealing to you as well. Or maybe you want to take a class for alternative types of fitness. Perhaps your doctor or chiropractor suggested one for building strength and flexibility. You might even want to break out in the rave scene, or someday become a fire performer with you hula hoop.
Within the realm of hula hooping, I pretty much find that hoopers are either needing a Beginner Hoop for fitness and body hooping and dance; or a smaller lighter-weight hoop for mostly off-body flourishes and tricks. In summary: Body hooping, or Off-body.
Ideally everyone’s Hoop Journey should begin with Hooping On-body. This yields the best results in building long-term muscle memory that makes your style more diverse in the long run. It makes for more interest in your audience. Some people like to see more body hooping than others, and vice versa. It is all part of the performance and the visual art. If performing is not in your radar that’s okay! You will still benefit from waist hooping for fitness!
If you are brand new to hooping, I recommend this order:
1) Beginner Fitness Hoop: Best for beginners learning to waist hoop, and also for hoopers looking for fitness through waist hooping. These are made from 160 PSI PE tubing
2) Beginner Danceweight Hoop: Second best for beginners, it’s lighter weight than the fitness hoop and therefore slightly more challenging to learn waist hooping with (although it’s not impossible, just add persistance…you can do it!) You can also use these hoops to start your path to hoop tricks! This one is great fun to start moving and dancing to music with. At this point you might even be getting more confident, and you may be ready to take this one to a show and boogie with it! Danceweight hoops are made with 100 psi PE tubing
—–Choosing a size for your Beginner Hoop: Remember, the smaller and lighter the hoop, the more challenging it can be. The hoop will want to spin faster at small sizes. Larger hoops spin slower, giving you body time to learn that muscle memory.
——A very loose and general method for measuring your hoop to your body is to determine the height from your belly button down to the floor. If you are curvy add 2-4 inches. Hoops for waist hooping can potentially measure up to your chest level. Alternatively if you are petite and/or athletic, you could go down in size a couple of inches…perhaps to your hip level.
3) Intermediate Hoop: These are newer to the shop, made from 7/8″ HDPE these come in either a budget option, or a beautifully taped option that upgrades to Color-Morph tapes for a showier hoop. HDPE is different from PE in that it holds it’s shape better…you get a more circular shape as it’s less prone to warping in the sun and hot cars. For traveling purposes it has a single push button that can be coiled down and connected back onto itself without jeopardizing the hoop itself. I find that 38″ for these is actually versatile enough for an intermediate level hoop, and it’s my standard size for hoops sold in person as stock.
4) Now let’s consider if you are a hooper looking to get right into Off-body hooping. You might be looking at a Polypro hoop. These are lighter and faster, the tubing is not flimsy like department store hoops, but it is responsive to the tricks that are quick and change planes from vertical to horizontal. The same concept applies to sizing: The larger the hoop, the slower the rotation. So if you generally have a dance style that is a bit flowier, maybe you like hooping to jam bands or reggae for example…you would want a hoop that is a bit bigger (38″ on down to perhaps a 32″). If you get down to fast music like EDM or techno, or metal, a smaller diameter hoop is probably more your style. Within the Polypro tubing realm, 3/4″ is best for beginners, and 5/8″ (skinnier) is considered more advanced.
Finally! When it comes to colors and style, this can either be the fun part, or possibly overwhelming because there are so many options.
For the Beginner Hoop Series, I use basic “DECO” tapes that are available in up to three styles: Prismatic squares, Sequin, or Hologlitter. Paired with a “GAFFERS” tape for grip (HOOPS NEED GRIP TO HELP YOU), you can choose different patterns: Single spiral (One wrap of deco tape, one of gaffers); Double spiral (Two wraps of deco…choose two or one; paired with gaffers tape), or Triple spiral (One Deco, one gaffers, on vinyl solid color). Criss-cross patterns can also be done if you want to get more color on your hoop. This also adds a subtle increase in weight to your hoop.
For Intermediate and the Advanced hoops, you get to choose either a Colored Polypro, or a Taped Polypro. Colored Polypro is excellent for people just getting started. If you forsee yourself dropping your hoop a lot, this choice is less stressful because you don’t have to worry about scratching up pretty tapes. It also has the benefit of feeling smooth in your hands. Once tape begins to show wear (it really does happen), the tiny snags can be a distraction when you run your hands over them. Taped hoops are often considered to be Performance Hoops. The Color-Morphing tapes get caught under stage lights and the sunshine and radiate brilliantly. However, I don’t like to limit people if they want to get their start with a taped hoops…because really, who doesn’t enjoy getting lost in glimmer and glittery bliss?
I hope you find this primer to be helpful! This process should be just as enjoyable as hooping itself. Please don’t hesitate to email me if you have any further questions! Livi@LiviJoyHoops.com
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