If you thought your hula-hooping days were left behind in childhood, think again. These hoops are making a major comeback in the fitness scene—and they've gotten quite the upgrade since the plastic toys we used to swirl around our hips. The best weighted hula hoops engage your core, hips, and leg muscles and get your heart pumping, for a fun and challenging way to move your body.
Like any nostalgia-based trend, the appeal is easy to understand: The dance-like motion required to keep the hoop moving feels like a playful game and an excellent workout, all in one pretty affordable piece of equipment. To uncover the benefits of bringing back this childhood activity, we spoke with a CPT and researched the options available today. Learn more below, and find our picks for the best weighted hula hoops of 2023.
The best weighted hula hoops of 2023:
The best weighted hula hoops of 2023:
What is a weighted hula hoop?
Weighted hula hoops have the same design as the one that might still be in your parents' basement but with built-in weight. Although nostalgic and fun to use, weighted hula hoops are not to be used as toys. Instead, they rely on centrifugal force to increase core engagement and cardiovascular demands for a fun and effective workout.
What are the benefits of a weighted hula hoop?
Kiki McClellan, IFBB professional athlete, coach, and NASM-certified personal trainer, says weighted hula hoops can provide a few specific benefits for your health and fitness. "Hula hooping, especially with a weighted hula hoop, can provide a low-impact cardiovascular workout. This can help to improve heart health, increase endurance, and burn calories," she explains.
According to McClellan, a weighted hula hoop also provides resistance, for a more challenging exercise that can help build muscular endurance in the arms, shoulders, back, and core.
"Hula hooping requires balance and coordination, and using a weighted hula hoop can help to improve these skills. Hula hooping can also be a fun and enjoyable form of exercise and provide a way to release stress and tension," she adds.
Do weighted hula hoops work?
Most people struggle with motivation and exercise adherence at least once in a while. When you find a workout that's fun, engaging, and effective, you're more likely to actually carve out the time for it and to make it a regular practice. Of course, no particular exercise is going to solve all your problems. "Overall, a weighted hula hoop isn't a one-stop solution, but it can make parts of workouts more fun," McClellan agrees.
Some studies have indicated similar benefits, with reduced waist and hip width after several weeks of consistently using a weighted hula hoop, but research is quite limited.
How to choose the best weighted hula hoop.
Choosing the best weighted hula hoop depends on a number of factors. Most importantly, you'll want to decide whether you want a regular hula hoop with added weight inside the hoop or prefer the centrifugal force resistance design, which has a weighted ball attached. Both are effective for cardiovascular work and core engagement, but many users feel the hula hoops with the weighted ball attached require increased lower-body engagement and work your leg muscles more than the traditional shape, which users say engages the core better. Your best bet is to try both options and see which works for you.
Once you've landed on the type, consider the weight capacity you're looking for, the size you want, and how much you are willing to spend. Very cheap weighted hula hoops will often catch, scratch, or be difficult to adjust and use. Even the most premium hula hoop we chose is under $50 and extremely high quality.
How we picked:
Fitness gear has to stand up to repeated heavy use, so we looked for the best weighted hula hoops that are made from higher-quality materials. Materials such as high-density foam, metal bearings, and ABS plastic were on our radar.
Two types of hula hoops made the list, and we chose those designed to be comfortable, adjustable, and effective. We've called out any special features for each product.
We chose weighted hula hoops that are reasonably easy to put together, take apart, adjust, and use (once you get accustomed to the product and movements).
We read plenty of user reviews to help guide product choices based on positive experiences and the perceived value of these weighted hula hoops.
Our picks for the best weighted hula hoops of 2023:
Best budget: FCXJTU Weighted Hula Hoop
- Adjustable for 19.7 to 50-inch waists with added links
- Noise-reducing rollers
- Silicone padding
- May be challenging to add or remove links
- Weight can get stuck on hinges
Similar in design to the Fithoop style, this hoop uses centrifugal force to add resistance and challenge your core strength and stability. It’s a great choice for beginners, or people who want to test out the exercise before committing to a sturdier, more expensive design. Users report getting a decent leg workout using this weighted hula hoop, while also challenging their cardiovascular system.
At under $20, if you want to try weighted hula hoops, this one is worth the purchase.
Despite its budget pricing, this hoop has a 4 out of 5-star rating, from over 1000 customers. One reviewer loves how fun the weighted hula hoop makes her workout sessions. “It makes working out a blast, and it works well! I use it every day for a few minutes at a time, a couple of times a day, and I can definitely feel it working.”
Best lightweight: Bettersense Smart Weighted Hula Hoop
- Lighter than most weighted hoops (2 pounds)
- Smooth foam padding
- Comes with a jump rope and resistance band
- Foam padding may scratch easily
- May cause soreness for some
If you are looking for a weighted hula hoop lighter than most, this 2-pound hoop is a great option. It provides just enough resistance for beginners who are still getting ready to move to a heavier hoop. What’s more, the hoop comes in three different adjustable sizes from 28.5 to 37 inches, making it ideal for a range of body sizes.
With a 4.3 out of 5-star overall rating and almost 700 reviews, this hoop has mainly positive feedback. One reviewer notes choosing it after a heavier option was too difficult to use: “After buying a hoop with an attached ball on it, I chose this "traditional" hoop. The attached weighted ball hoop engaged my leg muscles but this one engaged my core muscles, which was what I wanted. I found it easier to use. As a complete beginner using weighted hoops, the 2-pound [hoop] is perfect.”
Best portable: Gate Fitness Weighted Hula Hoop
- Can be disassembled for transport
- Comes with a carrying bag
- & one extra if there’s really something special
- Thin foam padding may tear easily
- May cause initial bruising
This 3-pound foam padded hoop is adjustable and portable, with removable linking sections. An exercise card comes with your purchase, with various recommended movements and workouts targeting your hips, legs, core, and cardiovascular system.
The hoop is made from a robust and firm plastic called acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS), which is a thermoplastic used to make light, rigid, molded products. The plastic is padded with foam, so it’s more comfortable than some other options, and will likely stand the test of time. It also comes with a carrying bag that makes it easy to transport on trips or to the gym.
With an overall rating of 4.2 out of 5 from over 2,000 ratings, this is a solid pick. One user reports using it to help break up periods of inactivity during the work day, and another loves the convenience: “The carrying case is a perfect touch because storing a giant hoop isn't exactly convenient or practical. The assembly is so easy that it isn't a hassle to take it apart and put it right back together.”
Best for beginners: ACU Hoop
- Foam padded
- Wavy structure helps the hoop stay at waist height
- Heavy and large enough for a challenging workout
- May be difficult to assemble
- Some users report initial bruising
The ACU hoop is a larger padded and weighted hoop, designed to provide an excellent cardio and muscular endurance workout for adults. At 3 pounds, the weight of this hoop is higher than other options. Due to the increased circumference, you’ll be forced to really engage your legs and core to keep the hoop moving well.
The hoop is 41 inches across, and padded with foam to improve comfort. Some reviewers mention slight bruising after their first use, which stopped after they got used to the activity. Wavy ridges on the hoop help keep it from slipping down so it stays put on your waist. Just note: read the instructions carefully, as many users struggled with assembly.
The average customer review is 4.5, with reviews from beginners to more advanced hula hoopers. One reviewer chose this hoop while looking for something else to do besides her daily trip to the gym. “As I recall, I wasn't great at hula hooping when I was a young girl, and at 50, I was unsure if I was going to be able to make this work…It took me about 4 tries to hoop and I had it!” The same reviewer goes on to say, “I can really, really feel it in my stomach and legs. I can see this is going to be an excellent workout.”
Best adjustable: Ansiovon Weighted Hula Hoop
- Adjustable up to 62” waist
- Attached calculator tracks mileage and calories
- Made of sturdy ABS plastic
- Some users report pinching
With an expandable 62-inch circumference, this hoop can accommodate larger body shapes than many other designs. A PVC-weighted ball provides a centrifugal force that you can adjust by moving it closer or farther from your body to control the difficulty. An attached calculator tracks revolutions, approximate calorie burn, and distance.
Made from sturdy ABS plastic, this weighted hula hoop should stand up to frequent use. Make sure you adjust the size for your body so that the links don’t pinch you, which is a complaint some users have.
According to reviewers, it is easy to attach and detach pieces to make the hoop smaller or wider. One adds, “Overall, this is perfect for those who can't lift weights or don't have the time to go to the gym but still want to burn some calories. I also like how I can track how many I have done or estimated calories I have burned.”
Best smart hula hoop: FitHoop
- Shock absorbers prevent bruising or soreness
- Weighted ball adds increased resistance
- Easily adjustable
- May need to order additional links
This viral weighted hula hoop uses a weighted bag that attaches to the hoop, causing centrifugal force as resistance. The bag moves around you while you circle your hips, pulling you with gravity, and causing your core muscles to fire up to keep you balanced and steady. All the while, the movement required to keep the hoop spinning increases your heart rate. This leads to an effective cardio workout.
Shock absorbers inside the hoop help prevent bruising and soreness and keep the hoop moving smoothly around you. The basic model comes with 24 removable links that you can adjust to fit your body. Additional links are available for a custom fit if you need a bigger hoop.
The Fithoop has a 4.8 star rating out of 5, from over 14,000 customers on the brand’s website. One reviewer says the Fithoop really required them to work their lower body, and they could feel it the next day. “I never really work out, and it's a good starter. I put my wireless headphones in and do 4 upbeat songs for about 30 mins, and I'm done with it for that day…very easy to take off and on links. And it spins effortlessly when you get the rhythm down,” they add.
Which type of weighted hula hoop is best?
The best weighted hula hoop is one that provides you with a challenge while being comfortable and easy to use. There are more traditional weighted hoops, and then hoops that include a ball-like weight that rotates using centrifugal force. Both provide fun and challenging workouts, but many people feel the centrifugal force type of weighted hoops require more leg work than the traditionally shaped hoops, which some feel may engage your core better. Choose whichever option appeals to you the most.
Does the weighted hula hoop actually work?
Weighted hula hoops will work to burn calories, boost your cardiovascular health, and engage your core, increasing stability and spinal mobility. However, they will likely need to provide more challenge or resistance to build muscle size or strength. Many claims about weighted hula hoops helping shape your waist or burn abdominal fat are exaggerated. That said, it is still a worthwhile fitness tool if you enjoy using it.
What is the best weighted hula hoop for weight loss?
The best weighted hula hoop for weight loss is one you enjoy using and will be consistent with. So long as you are moving your body in a fun and engaging way, you'll be more likely to stick to it, which is the best way to ensure you keep active and create the calorie deficit necessary for weight loss.
Weighted hula hoops are a fun and nostalgic fitness tool that can boost exercise adherence and help you stay consistent with your activity, if you enjoy using them. Although some claims surrounding weighted hula hoops have been exaggerated, they can still provide a fantastic cardiovascular challenge while helping you connect to your core muscles and build spinal mobility and core stability. To continue your gym equipment search, check out our top picks for your home gym.