A note on language: In this article, we’ll use the term ‘fat’, as well as other terms for people with bigger bodies. In the body-shaming society that we live in ‘fat’ has become an insult. However, we love that more and more body-positive activists are using the term, highlighting the fact that it’s a neutral descriptor – no different than calling someone ‘tall’. ‘Fat’ shouldn’t be an insult, but for years it has been. We’ve all got a bit of unlearning to do!
Let’s talk about size inclusivity and hula hooping. Can fat people hula hoop? Absolutely! But there’s a little more to think about, especially before you buy your first hoop.
As a hula hoop instructor, I get a little nervous when a plus-size lady joins my class for the first time. I really want her to feel welcome and have fun in the class. However, I know that whether someone can keep the hoop spinning on their waist can make or break whether they’ll come back. As much as we tell participants it’s ok to drop the hoop, it can feel excruciating if you’re the only person struggling and everyone else can manage to follow the class. But that’s what our classes are here for; to provide a safe space in which any person can feel comfortable taking time to get to grips with the basics and learn to hula hoop.
Full disclosure: Slimmer hoopers have it easier when learning to hoop on their waist. The hoop has less distance to travel around their waist in one rotation, meaning the slim hooper doesn’t have to work as hard to keep the hoop up. Does that mean fat people can’t hula hoop? Nope! There is a solution: bigger hoops!
We love big hoops and we cannot lie!
If you have a larger waist, you’ll want a larger hoop. When it comes to hula hoops, one size doesn’t fit all.
Lots of the fitness hoops that you can buy online or on the high street (eg Argos, Amazon etc) don’t take that into account. So you could buy one of these hoops, and it could just be too small for your body, which can be a disheartening experience. At HulaFit, we are launching a brand new HulaFit fitness hula hoop, available in three sizes to suit different bodies. So whether you’re petite-or plus-sized we’ve got you covered. This range is launching soon so you can find the perfect hoop for you. Stay tuned to our online shop!
The joy of a bigger hula hoop is that it moves more slowly around your waist, giving you time to perfect your technique.
If you can shake your hips, you can keep a hula hoop spinning. The only thing that’s in your way is not having the right-sized hoop, or not knowing the proper technique.
We reached out to the hula-hooping community to hear from some fabulous larger hoopers. We asked them to share their tricks, tips and words of wisdom for plus-sized would-be hoopers.
RubyHooping is a plus-sized hooping icon. Based in the US, she is responsible for #CurvyHoopersUnite and has built a brilliant online community of curvy hoopers.
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Here’s her tip: ‘As a plus-size person starting out hula hooping, the most important thing you can do for an enjoyable experience is getting a hoop big enough for your body, especially if you want to learn on-body movements like waist hooping’
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‘I’d say that having to switch between hoop sizes for off and on body slows down learning when you first start. There’s often a push to size down too rapidly so your basic waist hooping may not be solid which affects you later trying to split multiple hoops on different parts of your body.
‘Lack of clothing! people say natural fibres are easier to learn with but most plus-size clothing is synthetic or really expensive.
‘As you improve there can be an emphasis on combining hoop with acro moves but on a plus-size body even if you’re flexible there may not be a gap for you to reach through or for your hoop to pass through.
‘I’ve had to make my own led hoops as they don’t usually stock larger sizes.
‘Advantages to being bigger… I’m really strong. I can do hand tricks with a much larger hoop than most people. Not always being able to nail a jazzy trick has made me emphasise other aspects of performance such as flow and musicality.
I’ll also add I’m a UK 24 so I’m pretty large. You can definitely get to intermediate hooping skills or above at this size it just may take more persistence’
Juliet, a London-based hooper told us:
‘The main challenge was waist hooping. When I first started couldn’t get a hoop big enough so I had to learn to spin it faster than a regular beginner. Took me 3 weeks but got there in the end 😁! I’m also a big fan of 3m grip tape to make on-body hooping easier’
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I started hooping as an accessible type of fitness for someone who hadn’t learnt a skill as an adult and had never been to the gym. A couple of things I’ve been aware of having a larger figure and not seeing loads of people who look like me hooping,
• Clothing – to hoop easily, you need to wear tight clothing or as little as possible. I practised so much at the park but it took work getting comfortable hooping in public in hoop-suitable clothes. Before hooping, I was too embarrassed to wear leggings in public.
• Hoop Size – This is a real challenge, I have different hoop sizes for upper on-body and lower on-body. It’s made multi-hooping and moving the hoop around the body difficult, but I’m working on it!
• Trick variations – I’m a big fan of techy things. The people I see on Instagram who do techy hooping have petite frames. I don’t often see larger women do those tricks/break them down. However, lots of teachers are amazing at giving those variations and using language that doesn’t feel exclusive to certain body types and shapes.
So, the moral of the story? Are you too fat to hula hoop? Absolutely not! You can do this! But it’s super important to find the right-sized hoop for your body. If in doubt, go larger! Now, time to treat yourself to a new hoop