Handmade Hoops by Peachysteve

Hoop Sizing

In this guide I'll try to explain how to work out what size hoop is best for you.
It's different for every person.
It depends on your body/dress size, your waist size, your height, your experience and what you want to do with the hoop.
It's also very personal.
I can help you to understand the different qualities of size and weight so that you can make your own decision.

Size

This is the most important factor.
The bigger the hoop diameter, the slower the hoop needs to rotate to stay up.
This means that a larger hoop is easier than a smaller hoop.
The smaller the hoop diameter, the faster the hoop needs to rotate to stay up.
This means that a smaller hoop is harder to keep up but also works you harder so is better exercise.

Weight

There is a simple statement which has some truth to it but has been taken out of proportion.
A heavier hoop is better.
In order to keep the hoop up, you need to be able to feel where it is so that you can respond to it.
You need the hoop to press against you firmly enough that you can feel it.
If you try to use a child's plastic "toy" hoop, it's very hard to feel (plus it's very fast) so it's very hard to use.
So, you want a hoop that has enough weight behind it so that you can always feel it. (500-1000g/1-2lbs)
If you have low body fat you are likely to feel the pressure more so you don't need the hoop to be as heavy.
Some prefer a very heavy hoop, it's easy to feel and that can be reassuring, but is it better?

Is a heavier hoop better exercise?
The simple answer here is no.

Hooping is an aerobic exercise, it is not weight lifting.
You are unlikely to be trying to build muscle mass in your abdominals.
More likely you are trying to tone your stomach and strengthen your core muscles.
You may think that a heavier hoop will burn more calories and that is probably true
but after an hour's hooping you may have burnt the extra equivalent of one biscuit.
If you want to burn more calories then you need to increase your aerobic exercise.
You do this by using a smaller hoop which forces you to move more quickly.
In doing this you increase the rate of contraction of your abdominal muscles so they spend more time in a contracted state.
A smaller faster hoop will increase your heart rate, it's a better cardiovascular exercise.
It should also be noted that excessively heavy hoops (especially those with lumps on the inside) can cause severe bruising and potential strain.

Tubing Size

I make hoops from two sizes of tubing; 20 and 25mm.

The 25mm tubing is quite heavy and so is good for beginners. It's the size most commonly used for fitness and exercise.

Hoops made from 20mm tubing are generally preferred for hoop dance. The lighter tubing is easier to work on the hands with.
The greater the range of moves you wish to learn, the more likely you are to use 20mm tubing.

20mm tubing is good for hoop swinging and is better for children than the 25mm tubing.

Sizing Guidelines

Firstly there is learning to hoop and then there is using the hoop.
It can be initially difficult to learn to hoop, you need a hoop that is big and slow enough for you to get to grips with it.
The first part of this guide covers learning to hoop as an absolute beginner.
There is differing advice on the best size, some say the hoop, stood in front of you, should come up to your navel.
I think that works well if you are quite slim but it doesn't take your waist size into consideration and that is very important.
Working on your waist measurement alone you can say, take the waist measurement,
divide by 4, times by 5, and you have the hoop diameter needed.
This works well for slim to medium build but needs reducing a little for larger sizes.
A simple method for women is to use the dress size;
8/10=37" hoop
10/12=39" hoop
12/14=41" hoop
14/16=44" hoop

This should give a hoop size that you can definitely learn with.
You may also need to factor in the size of space you have to hoop in.
It's worth considering that the bigger the hoop, the more space you need to hoop in.
The hoop is going to take up almost twice its diameter
so if you want to hoop in a small room then you will need a similarly small hoop.
If you can already hoop, and you just want to hoop on your waist, then you can drop down a size or two.
If you want the best possible exercise then you want to work toward using the smallest/fastest hoop that you can keep going.

Like any skill, you progress over time.
The smallest diameter hoop you are likely to be able to use will be equivalent to, or just smaller than, your waist size.
So if you have a 30" waist you could work down to a 30" hoop.
However, there is so much more to hooping than just hooping on your waist.
You can hoop all over your body, moving the hoop from one place to another.
This is much better exercise as it works your whole body,
it's much more interesting and challenging and most importantly it's much more fun.

Don't think that you couldn't learn to do all these "hoop dance" moves, you could.
I have taught thousands of people who amazed themselves with what they were able to learn.
These are people who just came to learn to hoop on the waist
and went away hooping on the arms, legs and neck, eager to show off their new skills.

Learning tricks and hoop dance

The more you want to learn, the more important the other factors of height and strength become.
When you start to learn tricks and hoop dance moves you probably still want to use the big weighty hoop that you initially learnt with.
Many moves require the hoop to rotate very slowly and for there to plenty of room inside to bring your arms/legs into.
A strong momentum is also helpful here.
So you may even want a bigger hoop for learning some moves like,
taking the hoop up the body,
stepping in and out of the hoop,
waist lifts etc.

As you hoop more on your hands and arms, which includes isolations and "off the body" moves,
you may start to find the weight of the hoop excessive and the momentum too great.
Then it's time to move to a lighter hoop (under 600g).
You may also want to learn more moves in the vertical plane.
When doing these moves you don't want the hoop to hit the ground so the hoop size will depend on your height.
My suggestion here is that the hoop be no more than mid hip height.
You may find at this time that it helps to have more than one hoop.
The different qualities of the hoops will lend themselves to learning different moves.
As you get more confident with each move you can start to work it with the other hoop.

For very advanced hooping moves you may want a very light hoop that has very little momentum.
This means you can change the direction and flow of the hoop very easily.
For this, polypro hoops are best.
However, being very light, they are much more difficult to feel on the body so may be harder to use.

Hopefully you should have a good idea of the best size hoop for you now.

Hooping should be a joy and with the right size hoop it is.
I don't want you to struggle with the wrong sized hoop
so if you are unsure please email me (steve@handmadehoops.co.uk) to discuss your personal needs.
For general advice please let me know as much information about yourself as possible, including;
What is your dress size?
How tall are you?
What is your body shape?
What is your build.
Can you hoop?
Could you ever hoop?
How well can you hoop?
What size hoop have you been using? (Internal or external diameter)
Do you want the exercise to focus on your waist or all over your body?
What kind of tricks do you want to learn?