... is not necessarily a true statement when it comes to hula hoops.
If you Google 'What is the right size hula hoop for me?', you will find a multitude of posts and videos attempting to answer this common question. I know - I just did exactly that. The problem is that the answer very much depends upon your body shape, what you want to do with said hoop and what country you live in (really).
What is my hard and fast rule?
Not those bumpy ones. Ever. No. These are sold for 'fitness' purposes. I haven't seen the science, but I have seen the bruising. Similarly, if you buy a tiny, light as a feather hoop off the shelf in the toy section, you are setting yourself up to fail.. Bigger IS better when it comes to beginner's hoops.
So, where do we start?
Here in the UK, we commonly tend to refer to the type of material used (you will fast become an expert in plastic science) and combine this with the diameter of the tubing in millimetres and the diameter of the circle (hoop) in inches. Because we like to make things complicated for ourselves. Worry not, you will soon become fluent in this mixed metric / imperial way of doing things. Step across the pond to the U.S. and they sensibly adopt an inches policy for both measurements. My head cannot cope with this level of advanced logic.
I'm guessing that if you are reading this blog post, you are fairly new to hooping. (I am also going to assume that you are an adult).
When we first start hooping, we tend to learn 'on-body' and 'off-body' (hands, feet etc) moves. Rarely do we free-flow between. I learnt with the same hula hoop for on and off body - a big heavy dance hoop. Nowadays, when I teach, I swap between heavy hoops for on body and lighter, smaller hoops for off body. This is purely because I like to hurt my students as little as possible and spending long periods of time on delicate appendages such as hands can bruise, in the beginning. It also means that injuries from fellow classmates accidentally throwing their hoop at each other are minimised (I once got a large, heavy hoop thrown at my nose by a fellow classmate learning a lift..she apologised, but our relationship never blossomed) . People may argue that separating on and off body and swapping between hula hoops prevents fluidity. I say, fluidity will come - let's maximise chance of success at the beginning and minimise chance of injury.
In a nutshell, what do I recommend as a starter hoop?
"What thickness should my hoop be?"
Get yourself a 25mm MDPE hoop, taped with some grip tape (in addition to any shiny tapes).
"What diameter should my hoop be?"
The commonly used rule of thumb is that the hoop should reach from floor to tummy button. However, this totally depends upon you - how you are put together and how you move - no-one can tell this via email.
"So how am I supposed to know if you don't know?!"
If you are going to a hoop class, they should have plenty of different sized hoops for you to try / use. Make sure you try a few different sizes and ASK YOUR HOOP TEACHER WHAT THEY RECOMMEND. They will have spent time watching you hoop and are best placed to advise you. If you aren't in class, try friend's hoops, or rely on the floor to belly button rule. Go bigger, rather than smaller, especially if you are carrying weight around the middle.
Tiny anecdote - I have never recommended a hoop smaller than a 36 inch diameter for a beginner (and only after I have watched them use different sizes) but as standard, I always recommend a 38 inch or larger diameter.
If people are keen on practising at home, I also recommend a lighter hoop for off body moves - the drive to practice indoors is strong.. In a recent poll, fixtures, fittings, ornaments, partners, children and pets replied that they prefer getting hit with smaller rather than larger hoops. (This may of course have been made up, because my *all the above* prefer it if I don't hoop inside, at all, ever.)
Last words: If you can only afford one hula hoop, buy one that you can hoop on body with. You can hoop off body with larger hoops, but at the beginning, on body hooping with a small light hoop is near impossible and it's easy to get disheartened.
So this should be enough information to send you merrily on your hoop journey! Hooray!
Here also starts your journey into hoop collecting.. let me know how many YOU end up with!
Deanne Love (U.S.A) talks about hoop size WATCH VIDEO
Lara Eastburn (U.S.A.) writes about hoop size READ BLOG