Is Hooping Safe?
Occasionally we are asked whether it is safe to use weighted hula hoops, and if there is any risk of damage to the kidneys or other internal organs. Many people have never tried weighted hoops and are unsure of what to expect.
Most people don't realize that their kidneys are deep in the abdomen and are protected by the spine, lower rib cage, and strong muscles of the back. This location protects them from all but violent impact, such as blunt trauma from a car accident or penetrating injury from a gunshot wound. Your doctor will confirm that these types of injuries are not something you would get from a hula hoop™. Even mild bruising of the kidneys, caused by trauma, is characterized by extreme pain and blood in the urine. There have been no such reports from our customers or in the medical literature. (You can read more about kidney injury with this MedlinePlus article.)
Those who follow Powerhoop's user recommendations rarely experience much discomfort, but beginners who "overdo" are certain to notice some stiffness and soreness, and even bruising around the waist. The purpose of a wavy, weighted hoop is to challenge the body and cause it to build a protective shield of core muscle, and the fact that soreness goes away so quickly is a testament to the hoop's effectiveness. Still, bruises can be alarming and painful, they can create negative attitudes, and they are completely unnecessary for getting fast results.
We at Innertrak have been selling weighted hula hoops since 2007, have sold over 200,000 Pulsehoops and Powerhoops in Scandinavia and are avid hoopers ourselves. We pay close attention to the medical literature, and to our knowledge there have never been reports of internal injuries or any illness associated with hooping, aside from bruising in new users who overdo. We know a number of physical therapists who use Powerhoops in their practice because they stabilize the spine and build protective core muscle, and our hoops have also been tested and studied in a university laboratory with only positive results. Innertrak's motto is that we are committed to keeping people healthy and fit, and we're proud to promote a product with such a strong record of safety.
With that said, there are some conditions that preclude training with weighted workout hoops:
Pregnancy: There have been no safety studies about hooping and pregnancy and we do not recommend it. Medical professionals suggest that women should not hoop for at least three months post-partum and at least six months after a C-section. Check with your doctor if in doubt.
Bleeding disorders or certain illnesses: Hooping is contraindicated for those who have bleeding disorders, are taking blood-thinning medications, or have other medical conditions that can lead to frequent bruising. If you bruise easily, we suggest using the Powerhoop Slim, which has a non-wavy interior and extra-thick high density foam.
Prior injury, surgery, or damage to the joints or spine: As we age, our bodies experience wear and tear from physical activities - especially repetitive movements. Although hooping provides effective core training, it should be just one part of a varied exercise regimen. If you experience any worsening of back pain or any neurological symptoms (such as tingling in the hands and feet), it could indicate an underlying condition that should be checked out by a medical professional before you pursue hooping or any other sports activity.
Here are some important ways to ensure desirable results while using weighted hoops:
Not all weighted hoops are created equal! Cheap, narrow, knobby or poorly-padded hoops give hooping a bad name. You will want to use your hoop often, so minimise discomfort by treating yourself to a high-quality product from Powerhoop, with shock-absorbing compression zones and a wide profile (the inner part of the hoop that touches the body).
As with any new exercise, don't overdo it in the first few days. We know it's hard to put down your hoop, but start with sessions of 2-3 minutes per day so your body can build up core muscle without discomfort. If you notice bruising back off, wait a few days and start again gradually.
- Do not place undue stress on your knees while hooping. Your basic, static hooping stance should be with one foot forward, and a front-to-back motion. Lunging and squats should be avoided when hooping. When bending your knees, keep the weight in your heels and your knees aligned with your toes.
- Keep your shoulders relaxed to prevent tension from building up in your upper body.
- Always hoop for equal time in both directions. It may seem awkward at first, but it's necessary to maintain balanced training.