I remember being SO confused when I first got into hooping. What size should I go for? What material- HDPE or Polypro? What tubing? WHAT COLOUR?!?
In the series “Hoop Hacks”, I’ll be sharing some useful things that I have picked up during my hoop journey, and hopefully, it will help you too!
Since the world of hoops is so diverse and colourful, I’ve decided to take every topic one post at a time. And in this post I’ll be talking about hoop size and tubing size.
Honestly, every hoop has its own feel, flow and magic. And it really depends on your style, flow, speed, mood, etc, what hoop specification would best work for you. However, as a general rule, the bigger and heavier the hoop, the slower it is, the easier it is to hoop with (i.e. beginner friendly). The smaller and lighter the hoop, the faster it is, the more challenging it is to hoop with (i.e. more suited for intermediate/advanced hoopers).
Hoops come in quite a few different tubing sizes. This refers to how “thick” the hoop is. A smaller tubing size will be thinner and a bigger tubing size will be thicker. This affects the weight of the hoop and also the grip and feel of it as well. “Fitness hoops” tend to have thicker tubing (1″ (inch)), dance hoops usually have medium sized tubing (3/4″ (inch)). Lighter hoops (such as PolyPro) vary between 1/2″, 3/4″, 5/8″ and 7/8”. For beginners, it is recommended to go for ¾” tubing size. It is the most comfortable for most and the most “standard” size. As you become more comfortable with different types of hoops, you can experiment with different tubing sizes, and see which you may prefer.
Here’s a cross-sectional look at different tubing sizes:
Image courtesy of moodhoops.com
And here’s a comparison of different hoop tubing sizes and material:
Image courtesy of hooptricks.org
This is possibly the most important aspect of a hoop when choosing one. Different companies measure the diameter either from one end of the inner wall to the other end (ID or Inner Diameter), or from one outer wall extreme to the other (OD or Outer Diameter). Hence, a 36” ID hoop is actually bigger than a 36”OD hoop, as it is 36”plus the tubing diameter and not 36”including the hoop tubing diameter.
The size of hoop really depends on its purpose. For on-body beginner hooping, a good rule of thumb is to buy a hoop that reaches your belly button or higher when placed vertically on the ground parallel to your body. Again, the bigger the hoop the better it is, so even if it feels too big, trust me, it isn’t! My beginner hoop was 42”OD, and it reached my chest. As you progress in your hooping journey you can “graduate” into smaller hoops, depending on your preference. For off-body tricks, smaller, lighter hoops are generally easier to use (and also less fatal if the hoop finds its way to your face!). Since the hoop size is also relative to your height, I would say for on-body a good range would be 42”-38”OD hoop, off-body 36”-33” OD, and for multi-use 38”-34”OD.
Honestly though- you will end up having a family of hoops eventually that cater to your different needs, flow mood, tricks you want to practice, and time of day! I currently own a 42”, 38”, 37”, 36”, and three 35”hoops (all measured by outer diameter).
PSI. You may hear this term thrown around when researching hula hoops. PSI, or pounds per square inch, refers to how many pounds of water pressure per square inch the tubing could take for irrigation purposes. This is because the material used for hula hoops is also used for irrigation tubing, and the more pressure a tube can handle, the heavier it would be. For our purposes, though, the PSI tells us how thick (and thus, how heavy) the tubing wall is. Thinner and/or smaller = lighter and faster. Thicker and/or larger = heavier and slower. I wouldn’t worry too much about this category of hoop classification. If you know the diameter and tube size, you’re set.
At the end of the day, it really all comes down to preference and what you feel comfortable hooping in. It will take experimentation, research and hours of play for you to understand what your body wants and needs. Your relationship with the hoop is a personal one, and only you can decide what will make you happy.
Please note that these are just tips I picked up from nerding up on hoop articles, watching hours of YouTube videos on hoops and my personal experimentation.
The global hoop community is very loving and giving, and there are many useful websites and articles that discuss hoop size, material, weight and other hoop-related aspects extensively. Some links that I found particularly useful are:
If at any time you feel overwhelmed or confused as where to start and what hoop is best fit for you, you can always contact the Flowground team.
Flowground also has a beautiful selection of hula hoops to choose from here.
And if you’re not quite ready to delve into a long-term relationship with your future hoop, you’re always welcome to come play with us at our weekly Flowjams in The Fridge at Al Serkal Avenue, Al Quoz to meet some wonderful souls from the flow community and ask whatever question you may have about the world of hoops.
Stay tuned for more Hoop Hacks to come!
Hoops of love,