Tag Archives: hoopdance

Hoop Downsizing

16 Sep


*Disclaimer: Lots of numbers, abbreviations and general hoop geekiness below

When I first started hooping, I was on a mission to find the “perfect” sized hoop. I read forums and obsessed a little about it before I finally made the decision to start with a 42 inch 100 psi 3/4 inch circle of plastic and tape (outer hoop above). It did turn out to be the perfect hoop for learning and I loved it. I thought it would probably take years before I would abandon my first BIG HOOP love. But then,  I “outgrew” it for my daily practice.

Sooner than I had expected, the time came for me to expand my horizons a bit. I was feeling limited. I was getting bruises (especially while learning the shoulder duck out…that move is brutal!). My next hoop was a 42 inch “lightweight” performance hoop (middle hoop above)…and it made such a HUGE difference switching to a lighter hoop. It wasn’t all that much smaller (same tubing), but the weight (or lack of) made it super easy to throw around off body tricks. I used both hoops quite happily until I started to get into breaks and reverses. A big groovy hoop just doesn’t cut it for a fast, crisp break/reverse!

I had read about people “downsizing” their hoop and I was in AWE at those who were using hoops in the 30-38 inch range. At the Hoop Technique workshop, Rich and Spiral told us their “story” and it was then that I realized that Spiral had pretty much pioneered the “shrinking” of the hoop size…and Rich had helped figure out the best plastics with his famous “tube experiments”.

So once again, I was on the hunt. While I was at the worskhop, I noticed that nearly everyone was using a 1/2 inch hoop…with most of them being made out of super lightweight polypropylene (also nicknamed “polypro”).  Click here to see Danielle spinning her polyro hoop. While I haven’t jumped on the polypro bandwagon quite yet, I’m hoping to buy one at Hoopcamp. I did opt for an HDPE (high density polyethylene) hoop (inner hoop above…photo was taken after I cut it down to a 38). The HDPE is a little more rigid than the polypro…I’ve heard it described as “polypro training wheels” 🙂

My silver HDPE hoop is a 36 inch hoop and I adore it. It’s light & peppy. It does what I tell it to do…and it does it FAST. Sometimes a little too fast 🙂 I’m still learning how to treat it so we can flow together. But for the most part, we have a lovely relationship.  I’ve found that my magic hoop size is a super lightweight 38″ hoop. Shoulder hooping is SO much easier with a 38″, compared to the 36″. Nothing can beat the 36″ for speed on the off body moves….but it can be a bit more challenging for core hooping.


I bought my silver hoop from Rich and Spiral…but when we were in Bozeman, my friend Mary and I made a bunch of our own HDPE hoops and found them to be rather easy to make. Well, I should say that Mary and Matt made them 🙂 I just reaped the benefits. Rich gives detailed instructions here.

I keep lots of sizes on hand…and I go back to the bigger sizes when I’m learning something new. But for now, my go-to hoops are 36 inch and 38 inch.  My size may not be your size. Everyone has a hoop that just feels right. Maybe you have no desire to do off body work or breaks and you’re content with the big slow groovin’ hoops! That’s awesome. I just like to do things fast 🙂 The moral of the story: if you want to spice up your hoop practice a bit…switch up your size!

If you would like to buy a high performance hoop, check out these vendors:

HappyLoveHoops
Hoop Horizon

Here is a write up on Hoop City by the fabulous Kendra (HappyLoveHoops) about her experience with polypro hoops:
“Once you go polypro”

Discussion on Hoop City regarding HDPE & Polypro

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Hooping in the Heartland

25 May


As we left Austin, TX, I was sad because I didn’t think I would be able to find many “organized” hooping events in the Midwest. And while there aren’t as many meetups to choose from, I was pleasantly surprised to find a small community of hooping enthusiasts in Des Moines!

On our last weekend in town, I just happened to come across a card that a friend had given me for a free week of yoga at Firehouse Yoga. So I went to their site to see when the classes were…and LO AND BEHOLD! There was a hooping class scheduled for the very next day! I let out an audible *GASP* and ran downstairs to tell anyone who would listen 🙂 It turns out that the woman who runs the class is good friends with the friend who had given me the card in the first place. Ahhhhh the serendipity. Love it.


Dawn is the hooper extraordinaire who lead us in our spinning adventures on Saturday. She is a sweet soul who teaches new movements with ease and makes everyone feel comfortable, regardless of their skill level. She had just gotten back from a hooping event with Hoopmamas in the Kansas City area…oh how I wish I could have gone to that!


Dawn said that there will be a new hooping session starting this summer, and there will also be a yoga-hoopdance fusion class (see Firehouse site for details). So fun! If you live in the Des Moines area, be sure to get yourself and your hoop to her class. You won’t regret it! And besides, it’s next to Mars Cafe. You can’t go wrong a little iced caramel soy latte after class! 🙂

If you are new to hooping, don’t be afraid to seek out ANYTHING and everything hoop related in your area! Even if it’s just a few other hoopers getting together in a park…GO! You will be amazed at what you can learn. Everyone does their tricks differently and has a different “style.  Every time I gather with other people hooping, I come away inspired and excited…with a few new movements to work on!

To find other hoopers in your area, you can check out Meetup or check the regional forums on Hoop City. Or, as I have said before…START YOUR OWN GROUP! Here is a great “how to guide” from SaFire if you want to gather some local hoopers.

Thanks for the hoopin’ fun Des Moines!