Here’s what I tell first-time hoopers:
- Hold the hoop level with the ground.
- Roll it across your tummy.
- Move your hips in a circle.
I created this video to show you.
That’s all there is to it!
The most common challenge adult hula hoopers have is that they will move their head more than their hips. Only the body part that is in contact with the plastic can “drive” the motion. If your head is moving in a big circle, your hips aren’t, and the hoop will fall to the ground.
Of course, being able to keep a hula hoop up presumes you have one that’s the right size for your adult body. If you are trying to use a child’s toy that came from a grocery or toy store, it may simply be too small for you. Most adults need to start with hoops in the 40-50″ diameter range, and then they can use smaller ones when their body learns what to do.
(Really. Diameter, plus weight (actually radius and mass, but this isn’t a physics site), are the variables that matter. Bigger is easier. Really. There’s no reason to lie about this.)
If you’re using a big enough hoop and it won’t stay up long, see if you can find a reflective surface, such as a picture window, to check your motion. Look at how much your head is moving. People who have done this for a while barely move their heads when they are hooping around their hips.
Keep at it
Some people learn new physical skills better after a night’s sleep. That is, try to keep the hula hoop up five or six times, then walk away, and try again tomorrow. (This may be hard if you’re at a fair or festival, I understand.) Many bodies need a night’s sleep to process the new information. You may be surprised at how easy it is tomorrow.
Drop that hoola hoop!
If you really don’t think you’re having any success, try this test: Hold a hula hoop around you, with both hands, parallel to the ground. Let go. Observe how quickly it falls. If, when you try to keep the hula hoop up, it takes longer than that to hit the ground, you are actually hooping–your body is delaying the fall. If you can simply keep asking your body to learn this skill, and giving it an opportunity to try with the correctly-sized hoop, rest and integrate, and try again, you will almost certainly get it.