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Hula Hoop Sizing: Choosing the Right Size or the Next Size

By shelledhoops, Jul 30 2015 12:27AM

Hula hooping for beginners, choosing the right hula hoop size
Choosing the right hoop can set you up for success!

When I was a young girl the plastic hula hoops available were all basically the same size no matter which retail store you found them at. They were lightweight, and very easy to bend or kink…which is why they cost only a dollar or so. Nowadays hula hoops are available in so many different sizes, weights, and believe it or not even a couple unique shapes (I have totally seen someone hoop with square hoops). Those cheap hoops from the past were so light and hard to keep up since you had to move so fast to do so. Sure as a kid you could get it going, but not many adults or even teenagers could pick one of those up and keep it up.
When I started getting into the music festival scene and was inspired by some really awesome hoopers to go back to my childhood obsession, the first thing I did was go and purchase one of these cheap hoops like I was used to using as a little girl. I brought it home thinking that I would still totally have it…like riding a bike right? Well no, not really!! I was so disappointed, not only could my little sister do it but my mother could too! I struggled a lot with it the first day, got frustrated with it, and then finally got it good again. But it was difficult and not graceful at all. It was too light and too small compared to some of the hoops that I had been seeing at the festivals.
I shopped around online and found this website selling water weighted hula hoops for working out. I read that heavier hoops were easier so I decided to give that a try! Oh my gosh was this thing easy to keep up!! It was slightly awkward when you first started it because of the water gushing around the circle, but once you got it around once it was like you barely had to work for it at all! It was so mindless that you could literally sit in front of the television and watch your favorite program just peacefully hooping away. The downside….bruises!! The weight of it would make your belly and hips get some bruises in the beginning, but after a couple of times that wasn’t a problem anymore.

So yeah basically….if you would like to hoop but think you cannot do it, I can almost guarantee that you can! It’s just all about the right size hoop.
Bigger and heavier hoops are easier to keep up because they slow the rotation down, you do not have to move so fast to keep up with them. Beginner hoopers should start out with something nice and large….like a 36-40” hoop! Actually 38” seems to be a really conventional and popular size for beginner hoops. Day hoops of this type and size will generally be made with 3/4″ id PE tubing, the black tubing found in the plumbing section of hardware stores. It’s a great size/weight to learn on, but it’s also not overly heavy so you will still be able to learn basic tricks and dance moves with it. I learned quick with that the water weighted hoop that I bought that basically all you could do with it was waist hoop, it was too heavy to dance or do tricks with….so I moved down to a non weighted hoop like the ones I just mentioned. We sell beginner day hoops of this type in our shop! Or maybe you have your day hoop already and are ready to treat yourself to an LED hoop? Well if you like these larger and heavier hoops than you should get one of our 7/8” HDPE LED hoop. This is the size/weight that compares nicely with the hoops discussed above. I know the inner diameter and outer diameter terminology used to describe different tubing types (3/4″ i.d PE versus 7/8” o.d HDPE) can get confusing. If you would like to read more about i.d and o.d please refer to my other blog post discussing this….otherwise just take my word for it that you should go for our 7/8” LED tubing if you like your hoop on the larger size!
In the hula hooping world you will generally always move down in hoop size as you move up in skill level. The better you get, the faster you will want to hoop, and the lighter of a hoop you will want/need to get tricks down. If you are ready to make this transition the next hoop you will probably want to get in the middle of should be one made from the 1/2″ id PE tubing from the hardware stores…the thinnest stuff they offer for making taped day hoops with. You’re in luck…we sell these too! And if you would like your first/next LED hoop to compare nicely with this hoop than it would be the 3/4″ od HDPE tubing that you will want! (Again, id versus od gets people mixed up…sorry!!). At this level of hooping you could probably call yourself an intermediate….and 3/4″ HDPE tubing is so great for this level of hooping! It’s lighter, yet not too light…and it’s so darn durable!! The 3/4″od hoops are also great for beginners who know that can keep a hoop up just fine and want to learn more dance and trick moves. If you already can hoop, then you might quickly outgrow a 7/8” LED hoop, so might as well just start with one of these ones instead! These 3/4″ od hoops are most commonly ordered between like 30-36” id. The range in sizes again reflects back to skill level for the most part, and body size a bit too! If you are a taller or curvier hooper, you probably would want to stay in the higher end of this range for your hoop…whereas if you are a tiny little thing go smaller. Having a hoop that’s too big or too small for you will interfere with your flow. I’ve heard people say before that you shouldn’t let your hoop stand taller than your own belly button…so that might be a good rule of thumb if you want to pull out a tape measure and check that length! Otherwise just wing it based on a hunch, or based on how big your last hoop was and how much smaller you might want this one to be. Although we see this type of hoop ordered in the whole range of sizes, the 36” id is probably the most popular size ordered for them, which is why we set that as our ‘generic’ size when people do not customize a size on their LED hoop purchase.
Now you’ve been hooping your little heart out for quite some time now and you are ready to step it up a bit, so you should once again step it down in size. Perhaps you are ready to give this polypro tubing you hear everyone talk about a try. Whether you decide on polypro tubing or stick with the more durable HDPE tubing, you will probably find yourself wanting a good couple inches smaller hoop diameter. Maybe you want to stick with 3/4″ tubing and just go to that lower end of the size range (so maybe like 30-32”), or maybe you would like to try the 5/8” tubing now. For 5/8” hoops, we highly discourage making them any larger than 32” id. The tubing is so thin that at larger sizes the hoops seem a little ‘wonky’….like flimsy. These hoops are most popular between like 27-30” id, so if you think you are ready to give them a try I would stick within that range! Once you work your way down to hooping with a tiny hoop like this, you have probably reached a size you won’t grow out of. I love my 28” id 5/8” polypro hoop….and I am quite positive that I will use that size forever now.