1. Make sure you have the right size hula hoop!
If you’re using a kid-sized hoop and you’re not a kid, forget it! Most hula hoops that you can buy at stores like Target or Toys R Us are kid-sized. Unless you’re the size a child, a child-sized hoop is not going to work for you — especially not if you’re a beginner! You’ll save yourself a lot of heartache (and gain a lot of fun) if you make or buy a hoop that’s the right size for you.
What’s the right size? Try this: Stand with your hoop in front of you. The general rule of thumb is that a hoop should stand somewhere between your navel and nipple height, although some compensation should be made for your waist size, too. General rule of thumb: The bigger you are, the bigger the hoop should be. Larger hoops will rotate slower, making getting started easier. Smaller than that will make the hoop rotate faster, which is more challenging, although smaller hoops may be useful for certain tricks.
2. Put one foot in front of the other, and shift your weight
Hold the hoop against your back. You can start it a little above your waist. Then, push the hoop around your waist, and shift your weight back and forth on your feet to keep the hoop moving.
Easier said than done? Having trouble “keeping it up”? Here are some more tips:
Many people try to move their hips in a circle with the hoop. This actually makes hooping much harder. Try this: put one foot in front of the other and just shift your weight back and forth from foot to foot. It’s less of a circular hip motion and more of just a rocking or pumping motion.
In terms of which direction to hoop in, try ’em both! You’ll know right away which one is right for you. I’ve found that right handed people generally hoop counter-clockwise, while lefties generally go clockwise, but many people are exceptions to this rule.
Also, don’t lean and try to watch your hoop. It throws off your center of gravity. Bend your knees just a little and stand up straight. Move your focus and attention from your head down into your hips and go for it.
Most of all: be patient! It can take a while to get the hang of it — don’t give up! If you get frustrated trying to get the hoop going around your waist, try hooping with your hands! And again, if you find you’re really having trouble – it might not be you, it might be your hoop!