The hula hoop is not just a children’s toy that was all the rage back in the 1950s.  The history of hula hooping dates back thousands of years to Egypt and ancient Greece when hoops were made of grapevines and were actually used for exercise.

Modern hooping started primarily as a form of dance expression using larger, weighted hula hoops, but in recent years it has found its way back into the fitness world. Trendy gyms have incorporated hooping into Pilates and yoga classes.  Some fitness professionals believe it is a full-body workout.


In an American Council on Exercise study on hula hooping conducted by Jordan Holthusen, M.S., John Porcari, Ph.D., Carl Foster, Ph.D., And Scott Doberstein, M.S., with Mark Anders in 2011 to understand the activity’s potential cardio and calorie-burning benefits the findings were as follows:

“Hooping compares pretty favorably with most other group classes, in terms of heart rate and calorie burn,” in fact, exercisers can expect similar results from hooping as they’d get from boot-camp classes, step aerobics and cardio kickboxing—all of which meet fitness industry criteria for improving cardiovascular fitness. Also, by burning approximately 210 calories per 30-minute session, hooping falls within accepted guidelines for exercise that can contribute to weight management.”

Get the Right Size Hoop for You!

The most important thing to do is to find the right size hula hoop for you.  Professional “hoopers” share that the perfect fitting hoop should measure from the ground up to about your belly button. Adult hoops for beginners are larger, heavier and MUCH easier to use than kids hoops. The added weight of a larger hoop spins more steadily than lighter hoops.

Where to Hoop?

You can hoop indoors or outdoors.  Allow yourself enough space to move freely.  You’ll need room for you, the circumference of the hoop and space to move around.

Hoop to Tunes

Music makes everything more FUN!  It may also help your body and hoop find “their groove” making everything become more fluid.  Put together a playlist of your favorite songs to keep it playful. 

Focus on FUN!

Hooping takes a little practice. If you’ve never done it before or want to hone in on your skills, be patient, don’t be hard on yourself and don’t give up! Remember…this is supposed to be FUN!


  • Stand inside the hoop with your feet parallel and hip width apart. You may move one foot slightly in front of the other. Bend your knees slightly.
  • Hold the hoop at waste level parallel to the floor.
  • Check your posture – shoulders back and down, chest lifted, abdominals contracted and spine aligned with neck and head.
  • With one hand on each side, hold the hoop horizontally so it firmly touches the small of your back.
  • Give the hoop a flat and firm push with your hands to spin it in the direction that intuitively feels best. The hoop should rotate around your body several times from momentum even if you make no movement with your body.
  • As you spin the hoop start a rhythmic pulse with your middle torso.
  • Keep your hands and elbows above the hoop.
  • Push your hip and belly slightly side to side if feet are parallel or back and forth if one foot is in front of the other slightly shifting your weight as the hoop spins around your waist.
  • Stabilize your torso and legs, and mobilize your midsection. Only use your abdominal muscles and hips to keep the hoop spinning.


  • Pulsing Parts – Pulse the part of your body where the hoop is.
  • Falling Hoop – The hoop will be drawn down of there is too much movement below the hoop in your hips and knees. If the hoop starts to fall, lengthen your spine, push forward and back, or side to side moving faster.  If the hoop continues to fall to the floor, you may need to start with a larger hoop.
  • Droopy Hoop – If hoop droops to one side or another, you might be leaning to one side more than another. To level the flow of the hoop, correct your posture and /or adjust the position of your feet.
  • Slow Hoop – Avoid moving your hips in a circular motion…this will slow down the hoop. You may also find your hoop automatically slows down after a few rotations. You can amp up the hoop speed by intensifying your torso pulse.
    • YouTube & Websites– Check out a few of the countless YouTube videos on how to hula hoop to prefect your skills or visit some of these websites:

Hoopnotica: www.hoopnotica.com • Hooping: www.hooping.org • Hooked on Hooping:  www.hookedonhooping.com

  • HAVE FUN! Hooping is a playful way to be active and exercise.

Earn Bonus Entries in to the Drawings:

Let us see how much fun you’re having!  Send your pic or video jumping rope to Coach MJ at [email protected]  


Coach MJ


Jumping rope is a FUN way to get in a workout and be more active almost anywhere.

This extremely effective and efficient form of cardiorespiratory exercise doesn’t require much space, equipment, time or creativity.

Jump Rope

Jump Ropes Are…


Jump ropes are a relatively inexpensive piece of cardio equipment, ranging in price from about $4-16.

Easy to Use

They are relatively easy to use…even for beginners.  Jump ropes are an excellent equipment option for both indoor and outdoor workouts.


They travel well taking up very little space and can be used almost anywhere.  Portability and ease of use can really help you commit to working out wherever you go, regardless of how much time or space you have.

Jumping Rope…

Can help improve your coordination. 

It’s a cyclic activity…meaning it is performed at a steady, regular cadence and rhythm which improves coordination between your eyes, feet and hands.

Can help improve your cognitive function. 

Jumping rope involves learning new motor patterns, which improves the nervous system communication between your brain, wrists and lower leg muscles.  This can help improve overall cognitive function…an important benefit as we age.

Increases the elasticity and resiliency of lower-leg muscles.

Activities such as jumping rope strengthen calf muscles and improve the elasticity of surrounding tendons and fascia, which can reduce the risk of lower-leg injuries.

Can help you kick it up a notch

Try adding a jump rope station to increase the intensity of circuit-training workouts.

Strength-training workouts that alternate between different muscle groups can increase heart rate and provide a cardiorespiratory benefit.

It’s Easy to Start…

  1. Purchase or borrow a jump rope.
  2. Get a timing device. Use a timer, phone, stopwatch, fitness tracker a clock.
  3. Remember to Track

Track your time in the way it works best for you.  You can jump one time/day or multiple times/day, etc.  I’ll want to see your total time for the two weeks of the session.  So, just remember to track your time for each day from June 4 – June 17.

Warm Up…

Perform a quick warm up to prep the muscles and connective tissues of your lower legs.

  1. Without using the rope – perform 8 to 10 jumps
  2. Rest for 30 seconds
  3. Repeat steps 1 & 2 two more times

Technique Tips…

Wear comfortable clothing and athletic shoes.

Always start with good posture!

  • Shoulders back and down
  • Chest lifted
  • Abdominals tight
  • Spine aligned with neck and head

Split Leg Jumps

Start with your right foot forward and left foot back. As you jump, move your left foot forward and right foot backward before landing.

Frontal Plane Jumps

Alternate jumps…start with jump from shoulder-width apart then jump to move feet directly under the hips.

Rope Jumping Ladder

This traditional jump rope technique is where you take off and land on both feet at same time.

Single Leg Jumps

To perform this jump, take off and land on one foot at a time.

Split Leg Jumps 

Start with right foot forward.  Then, switch to left foot forward while in the air.  Continue to alternate feet while jumping.

Running in Place

While jumping in place, alternate between right and left foot.

Get Started!

Now…set your timer and GET JUMPING!

Cool Down…

Calf Stretch:

  1. Face forward toward a wall.
  2. Place both hands on a wall.
  3. Lean towards the wall placing your left leg in front of you with a slight bend.
  4. Place your right leg straight back behind you.
  5. Keep your hands on the wall and press the right heel into the floor while keeping the knee fully extended.
  6. Keep your hips and shoulders facing forward towards the wall.
  7. Hold for 30 to 45 seconds and then repeat.
  8. Reverse leg positions and do 2 sets.

Quadriceps Stretch:

  1. Stand upright with your abs tightened.
  2. Lift your right foot behind you.
  3. Gently grab your ankle with your right hand and gently move your heel towards your glute.
  4. Keep a slight bend in your supporting leg.
  5. Try to keep your right knee close to and in line with your left knee.
  6. Hold for 30 seconds.
  7. Switch to the left leg and repeat steps 2-6.

Earn Bonus Entries in to the Drawings:

Let us see how much fun you’re having!  Send your pic or video jumping rope to Coach MJ at [email protected] or using the instagram hashtag #AHCASummerChallenge and tagging @coachingbymj.

Core strength is essential for everyday and long term health and well-being. A strong core protects the spine, reduces back pain, enhances movement patterns, and improves balance, stability, and posture.
There are countless methods and programs designed for developing core strength utilizing body weight and equipment. Forearm and side planks, marching bridges, bird dogs (on all fours) and all stability ball movements increase core strength.
When doing any core strengthen exercises, listen carefully to your body, avoid using momentum and focus on bracing and engaging the core.