Is Hooping Safe?
Occasionally we are asked whether it is safe to use weighted hoops, and if there is any risk of damage to the kidneys or other internal organs. Many people have never tried weighted hoops and are unsure of what to expect.
Most people don't realize that their kidneys are deep in the abdomen and are protected by the spine, lower rib cage, and strong muscles of the back. This location protects them from all but violent impact, such as blunt trauma from a car accident or penetrating injury from a gunshot wound. Your doctor will confirm that these types of injuries are not something you would get from a hula hoop™. Even mild bruising of the kidneys, caused by trauma, is characterized by extreme pain and blood in the urine. There have been no such reports from our customers or in the medical literature. (You can read more about kidney injury with this MedlinePlus article.)
Bruising: Those who follow Pulsehoop's user recommendations rarely experience much discomfort, but beginners who "overdo" are certain to notice some stiffness and soreness, and even bruising around the waist. The purpose of a wavy, weighted hoop is to challenge the body and cause it to build a protective shield of core muscle, and the fact that soreness goes away so quickly is a testament to the hoop's effectiveness. Still, bruises can be alarming and painful, they can create negative attitudes, and they are completely unnecessary for getting fast results.
We at Innertrak have been selling weighted fitness hoops since 2007, have sold over 200,000 Pulsehoops and Powerhoops in Scandinavia and are avid hoopers ourselves. We pay close attention to the medical literature, and to our knowledge there have never been reports of internal injuries or any illness associated with hooping, aside from bruising in new users who overdo. We know a number of physical therapists who use Pulsehoops in their practice because they stabilize the spine and build protective core muscle, and our hoops have also been tested and studied in a university laboratory with only positive results. Innertrak's motto is that we are committed to keeping people healthy and fit, and we're proud to promote a product with such a strong record of safety.
With that said, there are some conditions that preclude training with weighted workout hoops:
Pregnancy: There have been no safety studies about hooping and pregnancy and we do not recommend it. Medical professionals suggest that women should not hoop for at least three months post-partum and at least six months after a C-section. Check with your doctor if in doubt.
Bleeding disorders or certain illnesses: Hooping is contraindicated for those who have bleeding disorders, are taking blood-thinning medications, or have other medical conditions that can lead to frequent bruising. If you bruise easily, we suggest using the Pulsehoop Slim, which has a non-wavy interior and extra-thick high density foam.
Prior injury, surgery, or damage to the joints or spine: As we age, our bodies experience wear and tear from physical activities - especially repetitive movements. Although hooping provides effective core training, it should be just one part of a varied exercise regimen. If you experience any worsening of back pain or any neurological symptoms (such as tingling in the hands and feet), it could indicate an underlying condition that should be checked out by a medical professional before you pursue hooping or any other sports activity.
The outcome of surgery or injury is different for every individual. Only your doctor or physical therapist is qualified to give you medical advice.
Here are some important ways to ensure desirable results while using weighted hoops:
Not all weighted hoops are created equal! Cheap, narrow, knobby or poorly-padded hoops give hooping a bad name. You will want to use your hoop often, so minimize discomfort by treating yourself to a high-quality product from Pulsehoop, with shock-absorbing compression zones and a wide profile (the inner part of the hoop that touches the body).
As with any new exercise, don't overdo it in the first few days. We know it's hard to put down your hoop, but start with sessions of 2-3 minutes per day so your body can build up core muscle without discomfort. If you notice bruising, back off, wait a few days and start again gradually.
Do not place undue stress on your knees while hooping. Your basic, static hooping stance should be with one foot forward, and a front-to-back motion. Lunging and squats should be strictly avoided when hooping. When bending your knees, keep the weight in your heels and your knees aligned with your toes.
Keep your shoulders relaxed to prevent tension from building up in your upper body.
- Always hoop for equal time in both directions. It may seem awkward at first, but it's necessary to maintain balanced training.
Important: People who "hoopdance" with lightweight hula hoops™ rightly assume that if you copied their complex, full-body maneuvers with a heavy hoop, you could be setting yourself up for trouble. It's important to understand that dance hula hoops™ and Pulsehoops are two very different breeds, and are used in very different ways. Pulsehoops are meant to be use as a resistance tool for strength training, and for spinning around the trunk of the body. Never use a weighted hoop around your neck, arm, leg or ankle.
Safety starts with common sense. If you have concerns about your health, or prior damage to your spine or organs, please do not engage in any kind of sports activity without first speaking with your doctor.