Ask Hoopalicious: The Pains of Hooping

Ask Hoopalicious [Hoopalicious helps a hooper experiencing pain.]

Dear Hoopalicious,

I sometimes have the problem that pain gets in the way of my hooping. Just little things, like if I have one hoop on my wrist/forearm and one in my hand, it crunches on my forearm bone and I can only do it for a minute or two. And when I foot hoop my foot bones get all tense and my toes cramp up. This may be related to having broken most of my toes in a bicycle accident, but I love foot hooping so much and it’s annoying when I can only practice for three minutes before I’m in pain! Is there a way to tell between pain that means you should stop hooping on that given area and pain you should ignore and power through? I know you shouldn’t hoop on bruises and that you should warm up and stretch, but even when I try to follow the rules I still end up in pain sometimes.

Thanks so much!

– Lisa

Greetings Lisa!

This is an excellent question and really can’t fully be answered unless I ask a couple questions of my own…

1. What size/weight hoop are you using? If you are using a larger hoop (say a 160 psi, 42 inch) than that could be your problem right there. Larger/heavier hoops will definitely inflict more pain and potential damage to the bony parts, though they are essential when one is first learning how to hoop on the core. I would try for a lighter hoop and perhaps one with more flexibility. Maybe try a ½ inch polyethylene, 125 psi or a 5/8 HDPE hoop like the Eco Hoop and see how that feels! You can also try polypro, but that might be too big of a jump down in weight and feel if you are currently using a hoop in the 160 psi/40 inch+ range. A good tip is to only size down in weight OR size… not both at once. It will be a smoother, more enjoyable transition that way.

2. Have you had a doctor assess the issue? I hesitate to say what you should or shouldn’t be doing since I am not a doctor and haven’t seen you hoop. I would check things out with a medical professional if you are truly worried!

Those questions handled, my intuitive response is if the pain causes you to tense up or gasp, then STOP. If the pain is more like tightness, mental resistance, impatience, boredom or doubt then you MIGHT be OK pushing through (again, talk to your doctor). You also might try adding a slightly circular motion to your pushes which will soften the impact on your body. Thinking of hooping a little more slowly can help accomplish this. When we try to hoop slower it often naturally adds a little more of a “wave” or rounded motion to the body without even thinking about it. I hope you are also taking arnica internally (available at your local health food store) as well as applying the topical cream. It really does work wonders!

The last thing I will say is to pace yourself. If you follow all the above and it still hurts, you may just be pushing yourself to grow too fast. It takes time for the body to acclimate to the hoop. If you stop just shy of real pain and give your body time to heal in between, you should gradually grow stronger and be able to hoop a little longer each time. I am really curious how this will resolve for you! Please write me or comment on hooping.org to let us know about your progress (and what your doctor’s take is on this).

Happy hooping!

Anah aka Hoopalicious

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Hoopalicious Need some advice from Hoopalicious? Anah “Hoopalicious” Reichenbach has traveled the world teaching and performing and is highly regarded as the founder of the modern hoop dance movement. In fact, her Hoop Revolution™ curriculum is the foundation for most well-known hoop dance curriculums out there today so if you’ve got a question just ask at hoopalicious@hooping.org. Anah appears in The Hooping Life documentary and was our first inductee into the Hooper Hall of Fame. She lives in Los Angeles, California, USA.

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