Can Fat People Hula Hoop? (How To Find The Perfect Hoop)


LiveLifeBig.net may earn a small commission when you use one of the links on this page to purchase.
can fat people hula hoop

Being fat, big, plus-sized, or whatever else you want to call it can lead to a lot of mental limitations.

The world spends plenty of time telling you what you can’t do when in reality your body type isn’t a limitation 99% of the time. We’ve already looked at the facts behind being fat and flexible and even found that fat folks can find success skateboarding.

What about other fitness activities…like hula hooping!

Okay, hula hooping may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think fitness but it’s an amazing, fun, and confidence-boosting workout. There’s just something about the hula hooping movement that makes me feel like a woman but hula hooping is great for guys too!

But can fat people hula hoop?

Yes! Fat, skinny, or anything in between you can enjoy hula hooping!  However, most hula hoops sold in stores are only around 34 inches in diameter which makes them much harder to use. Bigger people and beginners should start with a bigger hula hoop to make it easier to learn and more fun. 

Let’s cover everything you need to know about hula hooping as a fat person along with what plus-sized people need to know when it comes to buying your first hula hoop.

How Can Fat People Learn To Hula Hoop?

It can be intimidating to learn any skill let alone one that requires you to rapidly wiggle around!

Hula hooping is one of those things that will make you look talented, graceful, and even athletic once you pull it off but during the process of learning it, you’ll look anything but graceful!

But don’t let that slow you down!

You have several choices for learning the art of the hula hoop so let’s break down a few.

Start At Home!

It’s hard to beat free training at home.

As long as you have the space for an appropriately sized hoop (more on that later), there’s nothing stopping you from learning at home. You can find dozens of hula hooping videos from plus-sized men and women but I’ve found that the instructor from HoopSmiles is the best.

You can see him in the video below explaining how to get started:

Take A Class!

Yep, you can take a hula hooping class!

Okay, I know we already talked about how awkward it can be to learn hula hooping for the first time but don’t let that discourage you from taking a class. Remember that everyone else will be learning too so they’re in the same boat!

You’ll find that a lot of classes are offered by aerial art schools which might sound intimidating at first since there’s a big difference between that Cirque du Soleil stuff and hula hooping with two feet on the ground.

However, this is completely normal!

Just look for the adult beginner class and skip the aerial arts (at least for now). It’s also a good idea to call ahead and get a feel for the types of students that typically sign up since this will vary greatly between different areas.

One-on-One Training

One-on-one training can give you the best of all worlds: you get the accountability of a coach, individual attention, and the chance to avoid exercising alone!

Many local aerial arts schools offer one-on-one training but you may have to call around to find a good match.

Bigger Folks Need A Bigger Hula Hoop

Now that we’ve got a plan for how we can learn the skills, we need to make sure we have the right equipment. We’ve already mentioned that bigger folks need a bigger hula hoop and to be clear bigger doesn’t just mean fat.

The fact is, the hula hoops you find in your local retail store are made for kids. These hoops are usually around 34 inches in diameter but many times they’re much smaller than that. This is perfect for a smaller hooper but just doesn’t make sense for most adults and especially plus-sized people.

A smaller hoop requires rapid rotation which in turn requires you to move much faster…like way faster.

Have you ever seen an adult try to hula hoop with a small hoop?

Unless they’re a pro, the only way they can do it is by frantically and aggressively moving their hips. It looks silly but it will usually give them a handful of rotations before the hoop falls to the ground.

The reason they have to move that fast and frantically is that the hoop is so small. Smaller hoops move faster…but a bigger hoop moves much slower. Slower rotations are easier to maintain and also just more fun!

Our friend at HoopSmiles does an amazing job of not only explaining this but also illustrating the difference in the video below:


Notice how much slower the big hoop rotates?

That makes a BIG difference when you’re first learning to hula hoop and it lets you focus on the fundamentals instead of going nuts trying to shake your entire body as fast as possible.

The small hula hoop problem is even worse for fat folks since the proportions between the hula hoop and your body effectively make the hula hoop smaller and is just another reason why it’s so important to go for a bigger hula hoop!

What Size Hula Hoop Is Best For Fat People?

Honestly, it’s pretty difficult to go too big when it comes to hula hooping. Sure, it’s possible but it’s not something you should really worry about if you’re just getting started.

Instead, you need to make sure the diameter of your hula hoop is at least 4 inches bigger than your waist. So if your waist is 45-inches, you’d do best with a 49-inch hula hoop and so on.

You can absolutely go bigger and that will typically make it much easier to learn.

We’re going to share our favorite hula hoops a little later on but if just want to keep ahead you can check out this adjustable and weighted hula hoop on Amazon makes a great starting point- just be aware you may need to buy more than one to get the right diameter for your body. We’re going to cover that in much greater detail further on so feel free to skip ahead.

Do Fat Folks Need A Weighted Hula Hoop?

Weighted hula hoops are a growing trend in the social media world and there’s some real science behind them- they’re also a great option for fat folks.

Pros of Weighted Hula Hoops

First, weighted hula hoops are even easier to use. The medical experts at the Mayo Clinic explain, “The smaller and lighter the hoop, the more energy it takes to keep the hoop going. But the bigger and heavier the hoop, the easier it is to keep going, which means you may be able to do it for a longer period of time.”

Again, this explains why adults have to frantically shake their hips when using a typically store-bought hula hoop. Not only are those hoops small in terms of diameter but they’re also very light since they’re usually made for children.

Second, fat folks may be putting more power into the hula hoop, and having a hoop with some weight behind it can prevent extra wobbling or instability. Again, this makes weighted hoops easier for fat folks to use.

Third, there have been several studies that specifically looked at the health benefits of weighted hula hooping. A 2015 study found that after 6 weeks of weighted hula hooping female participants lost an average of almost 1.5 inches around their waist.

A 2019 study found the same waist slimming benefits as the previous study but also documented favorable changes in muscle mass and LDL (also known as “bad” cholesterol).

If you weren’t already convinced that hula hooping was more than just a pastime for kids then that kind of data should convince you that it’s a serious workout!

Just to be clear, I’m fat and happy with my weight so I’m not going to throw a party over losing an inch on my tummy. Instead, I’m more interested in the overall health benefits since even though I am fat I still love a good workout and a weighted hula hoop is a great way to get the heart pumping!

Cons of Weighted Hula Hoops

While the pros greatly outweigh the cons weighted hula hoops aren’t completely perfect.

Too much weight can end up hurting and if you’re really hooping hard even a few pounds can make a big difference. Since I’ve got plenty of extra cushion on my tummy (and I’m assuming you do too) I haven’t had a problem with the extra weight.

But the bigger concern comes from weight adding up as you expand the size of the hula hoop to match your body.

There are, of course, diminishing returns on weight and a hula hoop that weighs too much could be harder to hoop with. This isn’t a problem for most folks but a bigger person that needs a bigger hoop could end up with a surprisingly heavy hula hoop.

I’ve already mentioned that I recommend combining multiple hula hoops to build one big one and that’s truly the best way to get what you need. But if your starting material is already heavy you could end up with a huge and heavy hoop!

What Weight Is Best?

Some of this will come down to preference but as a general rule, avoid going with a hula hoop that weighs more than 4 pounds. Anything more than that can start to get pretty uncomfortable no matter how much extra cushion you have.

Most folks seem to find that the 2 to the 2.5-pound range gives them the benefits of a weighted hoop without the downsides.

Researchers in the studies above used a weighted hula hoop that weighted between 3.3 and 3.7 pounds. You will absolutely notice the difference between 3.5 and 2 pounds but if you’re looking to maximize health benefits matching the weight used in research is a good way to go.

What About Smart Hula Hoops For Fat Folks?

Yep, the world of hula hooping just keeps gets bigger!

We’ve looked at jumbo-sized hula hoops and weighted hoops but now it’s time for…smart hula hoops!

Instead of the traditional hoop, a smart hula hoop consists of a belt-like loop with a weighted ball attached via a rope. Once the hoop is snug around your waist, your job is to rotate the ball using the same motion that you’d use for a traditional hula hoop.

It’s probably easier to see it in action instead of just describing it so check out this great instructional video of a hula hoop pro teaching a plus-sized beginner how to use the smart hula hoop:

So should fat folks jump on this latest trend in hula hooping?

Honestly, it’s going to come down to your personal preference. I can be a bit old school (or stubborn according to my husband) so I prefer the classic hula hoop design.

However, the smart hula hoop can be a little easier to use since you don’t have to worry about the hoop constantly falling to the floor. That makes it easier to stop and start the process which means beginners will likely get into a rhythm a bit faster.

A smart hula hoop will weigh more than a traditional hoop as well which means you’re more likely to get the added cardio and muscular benefits of a weighted hula hoop as we saw in the studies above.

So what’s the downside?

In many cases, you could run into a sizing issue and fat folks will need to buy two in order to link them together and get the size you need. Most smart hula hoops only size up to a 47-inch waist which may work for skinny folks but if you’re plus-sized this could be a tight squeeze.

While it’s great that you can link two together to build the perfect fit, it’s a shame that fat folks have to buy two just to get what we need.

Still, if you’re looking to give the smart hula hoop a try, I recommend checking out this one from Opoll which you can see on Amazon.  They have exceptional reviews and use what feels like a higher quality material for the design.

Where Can I Find A Plus Size Friendly Hula Hoop?

Now that you know what kind of hula hoop will work best for a bigger body, the only question left is where to get one?

While you’ve got a ton of options on the market, we’re going to narrow it down to only three and look at the best traditional, weighted, and smart hula hoop for fat folks and plus-sized bodies.

These are hoops that have everything we’re looking for or at least can be adjusted to work for bigger people. They aren’t all budget picks but I did try to find a good balance of cost and value.

Let’s get into it!

Best Weighted Hula Hoop: Dynamis Weighted Hula Hoop

Dynamis Weighted Hula Hoop
2,089 Reviews
Dynamis Weighted Hula Hoop
  • Weighted to 3.6 pounds to resemble the hula hoops used in several studies
  • Comfy foam padding to help prevent discomfort
  • Two hoops can be combined to create a fat-friendly size
  • More than 1,300 five-star reviews on Amazon

If you’re looking to go the weighted route, this heavily padded hula hoop from Dynamis could be a good starting point. They not only have a 2.4-pound option but also a 3.6-pound option which is quite close to the weight that was used in several weighted hula hoop studies.

What I really love about this hoop is the padding! We’ve already talked about how weighted hoops can be a bit uncomfortable and once that hoop gets moving even a difference of one pound can be noticeable! The pad isn’t perfect but it goes a long way in making your hooping more comfortable.

Unfortunately, it’s hard to find weighted hula hoops that are truly built for big bodies and this hoop is no different. With the standard hoop, you’re looking at a diameter of 36-inches which will be too small for many fat folks.

That means you may need to buy two in order to get a size that’s truly beginner-friendly for a bigger person. If you do go for the double purchase, know that it will impact the weight and you don’t want to end up with a hula hoop that’s too heavy.

Remember that there are 8 sections to this hoop so you can figure out the weight of the hoop you make based on how many sections you’ll use. This quick chart will break it down further:

2.4 Pound Hoop 3.6 Pound Hoop
Weight Per Section 0.3 pounds 0.45 pounds
Length Per Section 4.5 inches 4.5 inches

From here, you just take the diameter you’re looking for and divide it by 4.5 inches to get the number of sections you need. Then multiple those sections by the section weight to find out how much your final hoop will weigh. This chart will show you exactly what this looks like:

Diameter Segments Weight With 2.4 Pound Hoop Weight With 3.6 Pound Hoop
40 9 2.67 4
45 10 3.00 4.5
50 11 3.33 5
55 12 3.67 5.5
60 13 4.00 6
65 14 4.33 6.5
70 16 4.67 7

I know, this might seem a little complicated just to figure what hula hoop to get but this is the world fat folks have to live in. When things aren’t built for you, that means you have to do a little extra work sometimes.

You can see that the ideal scenario for most folks is to pick up two of the lighter hoops and combine them into 12 or 13 sections. That will create a fat and beginner-friendly starting point that’s also not too heavy. Just keep in mind, these are just estimates based on standard specifications. I wouldn’t count on the weight to be correct down to the gram but this should put you in the right direction.

Phew!

Now that math class is over, if you want to read more reviews and check the latest price on the Dynamis hula hoop you can click here to see it on Amazon.

Best Smart Hula Hoop for Fat Folks: Opoll Smart Hula Hoop

Opoll Smart Hula Hoop
108 Reviews
Opoll Smart Hula Hoop
  • 47.24-inch diameter is a good starting point
  • Comfortable, even if you need it snug
  • Feels sturdy and stable
  • Built-in counter to track your rotations

We’ve already mentioned the Opoll smart hula hoop as a great option for plus-sized people and while there are a lot of smart hoops on the market this is one of the more comfortable options.

No matter how fun or effective a smart hula hoop workout is you’re not going to want to do it if your smart hoop is uncomfortable to wear!

While the total diameter of this smart hoop is 47.24 inches, because it attaches directly to your waist that’s going to be too small for anyone bigger. The hula hoop is comfortable enough to squeeze in and you do want it to be at least a little tight but if you need bigger than 47 inches you’re going to need to buy a second hula hoop and link them together.

Not perfect, but again no one said being fat was easy and this is just another area where you need to pay a little more to get something that works for your body.

You can read more reviews and check out the latest price on Amazon by clicking here.

Best Traditional Hula Hoop For Plus Size People: Moodhoops Blank Hoop

Not interested in anything fancy and just want to keep things simple?

In this case, I recommend the specialty retailer MoodHoops. These folks offer all kinds of products so it’s worth taking a look around the store to see if something else catches your eye.

But back to their hula hoops.

I suggest their basic blank hula hoop which you can see here. This hoop is available at 42-inches across 5 segments which won’t be enough for most fat folks but as one of the more affordable options, it’s at least not going to break the bank to pick up two.

The idea behind a blank hula hoop is that it allows the hooper to decorate their hoop with their own style. You’re welcome to leave yours blank but you can also add some decorative tape or other designs to make a hula hoop that’s 100% custom for your own style.

Is Anything About Hula Hooping Easier For Fat Folks?

We’ve already talked about what’s harder for fat people when it comes to hula hooping but what about what’s easier…is there anything?

Not exactly.

A little more fat may add some extra cushion that can make weighted hooping more comfortable but that’s no guarantee. In some cases, fat folks may have a different center of gravity that can make getting into an optimal spot a little easier but even that isn’t a guarantee.

Overall, as long as you get the right size hula hoop, fat folks won’t notice any major advantage or disadvantage when it comes to hooping.

Are There Any Famous Fat Hula Hoopers?

Heck yeah, there are!

Okay, maybe famous isn’t the right word but there is a lot of fat representation in the world of hula hooping.  You’ll find hundreds of fat folks on YouTube and across the internet showing off their hooping skills.

These folks are showing that the world of exercise and fun isn’t just for skinny folks!

Will you be the next plus-sized hula hooper on YouTube?

Closing Thoughts

That’s everything you need to know about hula hooping as a fat, plus-sized, or big person!

Whatever you call yourself, one thing is clear: hula hooping is absolutely something you can do for fun and a good workout!

Personally, I’d much rather hula hoop in my own home than run outside or step foot in a gym.

What do you think? Are you going to start hooping!

Camila R.

Camila is a body positive blogger and fat activist that's focused on helping people of all sizes live life big! That means accepting yourself at any size and just enjoying life! She lives in New Mexico with her husband and two chihauhuas.

Recent Posts