Growing up I never remember being good at anything. It’s really hard going through life being mediocre. I have always been plus sized and uncomfortable. After awhile I think I stopped trying. Disappointment in not excelling in anything just made me protect myself.
When a friend of mine came back from a local campground with a hula hoop, I teased a little I think because I was envious. She was only waist hooping and just practicing putting it on her body. I never knew you could do anything else. Later she enlightened me to the fact a mutual friend also hooped. I asked her to show me one day. I was entranced at the things I saw her do with a hoop. I never thought I could do anything close to that but I accepted a hoop from her to practice. I realized I still couldn’t waist hoop, but I started getting other things she had showed me. I caught on faster than I expected. Never experiencing this before, it sparked an amazing inspiration to learn.
Hooping has taught me to never doubt myself.Two years later I was able to waist hoop and do things I couldn’t have imagined when I first started. And now at four years later I can hoop all over on body and have stamina that surpasses friends much smaller then me. I am very proud of myself and where I have come because of hula hooping. The very same thing I teased my friend for. Life is ironic sometimes.
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.
Whether you are a first time buyer or have several hoops already, the language of hoop sizes can get confusing. More specifically the concept of inner versus outer diameters can rattle your brain a bit when trying to choose the right size, or making sure you ordered the size you intended to. These terms are used in describing the tubing itself, so how thick it is, and of course the diameter of the actual hoop.
When it comes to the tubing itself, the HDPE and polypro tubing used for LED hoops (or the colored tubing used for day hoops) is categorize by the tubes outer diameter. So the 3/4” tubing measures three quarters of an inch across from each outside rim…. the measurement takes into account the wall thickness of the tube. The inner diameter of that same tubing measures 5/8” which is why the 5/8” od tubing is used as the insert tubing for connecting 3/4” hoops.
So that may be pretty straightforward, but what can be confusing is when you are used to the day hoops made from the black PE tubing at hardware stores. This tubing is categorized by inner diameter, so the 3/4” id tubing at the hardware store is actually quite different in size and weight from the 3/4” od tubing that say your first LED hoop might come in. If you are used to that 3/4” black PE tubing and would like to order an LED hoop that compares nicely to that tubing than it is actually the 7/8” HDPE tubing that you should order. Some people also get confused by this because they know that they like the thinnest day hoop tubing from the hardware store, which is the 1/2” id tubing, so they think that they should order the thinnest LED hoop tubing we offer, which is the 5/8” tubing. Again, these two do not compare well…the 1/2″ id black PE tubing actually compares nicely to the 3/4″ od HDPE tubing. The 5/8” tubing is thinner and lighter. So if you are going to order your LED hoop with intentions of it being similar to your favorite daytime taped PE hoop than this should help you know which tubing is most appropriate for you to choose.
More commonly the inner and outer diameter terminology is used to describe the size of the hoop itself. Inner diameter (id) is measured from one inside edge of the hoop straight across to the other inside edge. Therefore, the inner diameter measurement does not take into account the thickness of the tubing. Outer diameter (od) is measured from one outside edge of the hoop across to the other outside edge, therefore taking account of tubing thickness in the measurement. The thicker the tubing, the more different the inner diameter is from the outer diameter. So with 3/4″ tubing, for example a 35” id hoop would have a 36.5” od measurement. And for a 32” id hoop, the od would be 33.5”. So the difference between inner and outer diameter for the 3/4″ tubing is 1.5” (since ¾” + ¾” = 6/4 = 1.5). Basically whatever the tubing thickness is, if you double it then that is what the difference between the id and od of the hoop would be. Going off of this then, for the 5/8” tubing the difference between the inner diameter and outer diameter of a hoop is 1.25”. Therefore a 28” id hoop has an od of 29.25”. Or a 28” od hoop has an id of 26.75”. We are always happy to do conversions in either direction for customers, but it is nice knowing how these measurements and conversions work.
So what’s more commonly used, the inner diameter or outer diameter? In our experience inner diameter has always been more popular but we really have been seeing a lot of each lately when given size preferences for hoops. I think the reasoning behind inner diameter being more common is that the inner diameter of the hoop is the part that actually comes in contact with the body while hooping. More often than not we are still given inner diameters on orders, but the outer diameter specs have been getting more popular…especially on the small 5/8” hoop orders it seems. Perhaps the rise of so much off body style hooping has shifted the way people measure their hoops! Or maybe not, but it’s logical thought!
I hope you found this explanation of inner and outer diameters useful for better understanding how hula hoops and the tubing used to make them is measured! If you are still confused please feel free to contact me. Otherwise go ahead and start shopping for some new hoops!