Smart hula hoops explained - the latest home fitness trend that can be twice as effective as a treadmill

What are smart hula hoops and how can this new fitness trend change your life?

smart hula hoops
(Image credit: Alamy)

Smart hula hoops are the latest evolution of the humble waist spinning hoop that's been around since the fifties. First there was the hula hoop, then there was the weighted hula hoop and now is the smart weighted hula hoop.

After a TikTok video of a girl opening and assembling her smart hula hoop went viral, Amazon has struggled to keep them in stock. What's all the hype about? These manage to straddle the line between being fun while also getting you fit – they even give you a massage for your efforts.

So while a weighted hula hoop is still a large ring that you spin around your waist – only with weight to make it harder for better fitness results – a smart hula hoop works totally differently. 

These smart hula hoops promise to tighten up your waist to give a smaller end result, while being fun in the process. And we think they could be the sort of equipment that starts to belong in your home gym, next to your exercise bike, weights and mat. So what exactly is a smart hula hoop and how does it work? 

What is a smart hula hoop?

Active 21 Smart Hula Hoop

(Image credit: Active 21)

Unlike traditional hoops the smart hula hoops feature a fixed ring that clips closed around your waist. The weighted part is attached with a cord and hangs from the hoop. Where it is attached, that point can slide around the hoop, on a rolling flexible axle, moving about your body. So the hip movements are similar to traditional hoops, only this stays on easily and can be sustained for longer periods of time.

This popular TikTok video, that got 3.2 million views, helps to show how it works.

@mariarmasaidyliegh (opens in new tab)

♬ original sound - Mariarma Saidyliegh (opens in new tab)

How does a smart hula hoop work?

There are two types of smart hula hoop, those that come pre-made and those you put together yourself. In either case it ends up being a plastic hoop that can be adjusted in size to fit snugly around your waist - ideal no matter how big your home gym. Once clipped into place you can start swinging your hips to get the weight flying around you.

Some smart hula hoops even come with inner padded parts which push into you as you move, helping you get a massage as you work out. It's also claimed that this massage action helps to shift waist fat. 

A few hoops also have displays that allow you to keep track of how long you've been at work, how many calories you've burned, how many loops you've swung and how your battery is doing.

Where to buy a smart hula hoop

One of the best selling options is the Dumoyi Smart Weighted Fit Hoop (opens in new tab) which is good for adults of all abilities. Another, very well designed option is the Active 21 (opens in new tab), pictured top, which has a screen, a heart shaped weight and a smoothed-out finish that makes it look more premium than many, but without a high price tag.

Can a smart hula hoop make me fit?

Smart hula hoop

(Image credit: Amazon)

Getting those hips swinging is what these hoops are all about. Add that weight and you have yourself an easy to use and long-term sustainable, fun way to engage your core. That means you can work your abdominals, for a flatter stomach, obliques for more definition and even your quads and glutes for strong and flexible legs.

All that adds up to a tighter body as a result of this fun to do workout. Get into longer stretches or work faster and it can even give you a decent cardiovascular workout, which is great for overall health and wellbeing.

Many smart hula hoop makers claim that a half hour of exercise is the equivalent to burning a whopping 800 calories, a figure it normally takes an hour at a solid 6 mile pace on a treadmill to burn. Of course this claim will vary based on lots of factors like age, fitness, technique and so on, but it helps to show this can be a viable weight loss tool. That massage against your flesh also helps to shift the fat from that area as you work to help tone up and tighten the waist.

One great thing about a smart hula hoop is that it's much easier to do than a traditional hula hoop. A bonus for anyone struggling with how to stay motivated to workout. That also means you can keep going for longer but can also integrate other movements. You could do a whole workout with lunges, squats and anything else you can manage while hooping. Or have this hooping as a part of an interval workout with other movements like press-ups, jumping jacks and so on.

What is the best smart hula hoop?

Smart hula hoop

(Image credit: Amazon)

This area has really blown up and there are now lots of smart hula hoop options to pick from. So what do you need to think about when picking your smart hula hoop?

Some have screens while others don't, so if you need one of these that can help narrow down your choice right away. 

Another area to look at is  assembly. Some come partially assembled, or at least come with instructions while other can be more of a self-service affair. 

Size is a very important area to consider. You'll need to make sure the size goes small or big enough to offer you a comfortable fit.

Luke is a veteran journalist and editor of over two decades where he has written about everything but specialises is technology, science, health and fitness, smart homes and health. He contributes to Real Homes, T3, Tom's Guide and TechRadar, among many other titles. As a father of two, any spare time he gets is enjoyed surfing, reading, hiking, camping and generally getting out in nature.