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Hoop Types

Published: 19 Jan 2013

Whats the difference in hoops

Hoops are generally hand-made and can be made of polyethylene or polypropylene piping, wrapped in a variety of colourful tape or fabric, which is not only for decoration but for grip as well. Generally speaking the larger more weighted hoops cause for a slower rotation and controlled movement therefore ideal to learn in, whereas the lighter and smaller hoop is a lot faster and harder to use, ideal for the more experienced hooper. Below are some of the types of hoops available and a little bit about them.

Weighted Hula Hoop

Is mainly used for aerobic and fitness hooping. The weight is from using a thicker piece of tubing to make the hoop such as a 25mm thick pipe, the piping can also be filled to make it heavier. It has been said that this kind of hooping is great for toning muscles, spine strengthening and burning calories. The size of the hoop ranges from 100cm (medium) to and is ideal for people who are just learning to hoop, as it is easier to keep it going. As you get better and used to this hoop you can go down a size and/or weight especially if you are learning to dance hoop or do tricks. You may also want to go down a size to increase your aerobic workout as the smaller the hoop the faster you have to work!! See our section on hoop sizes to find out, which is best for you.

Dance Hula Hoops

This hoop uses thinner tubing than the weighted hoop at 20mm or less, although some tricks can be achieved in the weighted hoop it is ideal to move onto a thinner hoop for comfort and better tricks as you get used to hooping. Although these hoops are generally lighter they are still fairly large in diameter, which allows you space and time to master new tricks. When learning new tricks it is easier to swap between hoop sizes mastering it in a larger hoop first before moving on to a smaller hoop.

Travel Hoops

Travel hoops are hoops that are designed to be folded in a way that can be easy to transport. This may be a connection that has been made so that the hoop can be pulled apart from one point, twisted and reconnected so that it forms two joined hoops half the size. There are some hoops that use the same idea but involve no connection, but by using a more flexible material that you can twist and fold. Although these hoops are great in that they can be folded to up to half their size I would warn that it shouldn't be folded down for long periods of time as your hoop may lose its shape. Some weighted hoops can be taken apart to form six or less separate pieces that just slot into each other.

Fire and Led Hoops

Fire hoops consist of a hula hoop with 4-6 prongs directed away from the hoop with detachable wicks/ flammable material at the end. This is usually Kevlar as it can burn but is not completely consumed and therefore can re-used. The wicks are soaked in fuel and set alight. There are a variety of fuel that can be used most hoopers tend to prefer Lamp Oil (100% pure) as this it provides a longer burn time, and has also been said that it is less easy to transfer liquid flame to skin/clothes once it is lit. There are some downsides to this such as being expensive, leaving oily grease and not eco-friendly. Other hoopers tend to use strasght parrafin as it is cheaper. Tricks can be limited compared to a standard hoop. It is very important to have the correct safety procedure when using these hoops, as is protective clothing and having completed a lesson in fire safety. Be extremely careful this one is definitely for the more advanced hooper. Below are a couple of websites that offer great advice and even a DVD on safety whilst fire hooping, which you must check out before attempting this.

LED and glow hoops

LED and glow hoops are a much safer way with playing with light and hooping without having the risk of an accident with fire. It can be a lot of fun creating shapes and patterns with the lights when performed at night.

LED hoops are fantastic, if a little pricey.  The light display created when performing is mesmerising to say the least. The variety of colours and effects are great (single colour, multiple colours, changing colours or even strobes). You can get an LED made out of a range of hoops materials and sizes including polypro because of their price it is best to be sure exactly what you wnat before you choose. LED hoops are mainly battery powered. Generally larger hoops made out of larger tubing have a longer glow time than the smaller sizes (such as polypro) as it can hold a larger battery, however by having a supply of rechargeable batteries on hand means you never run out of glow time and some hoops are now rechargable. There are plenty of varieties available why not check out our favourites on the hoop page.  There are also fully programmable Super LED available now which put out a light show to die for!

Glow hoops are hoops that glow in the dark after being exposed to light. This is achieved by wrapping the hoop in some glow in the dark tape. It has been said that the tape can last any thing from 3 months to 20 years, depending if it is used outdoors or not, as direct sunlight will shorten the lifespan of the tape. It can be 'recharged' by any type of light and can last for twelve hours, gradually getting less brighter. This is also a much cheaper alternative to the LED option.  There is also glow in the darker tubing available now, which charges in the same way as the tape, but it can wiped clean which the tape can not.

PolyPro Hula Hoop

This hoop is very light-weight and thin. It is ideal for fast moving tricks, dancing and multi-hoop tricks as it is very fast and responsive. It is also great for isolations and anyone with weak wrists that wish to use it just for hooping on the hands. As this hoop is harder to use it is generally not recommended for beginners but for the more advanced hooper. They are often custom wrapped in a variety of patterns but commonly wrapped in full sparkle tape with a line of Grip on the inside.  they can also be sanded on the inside for grip, or left plain with a line of grip on the inside, which are great for practise, so you do not damage your expensive sparkly ones!