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Retro Fit: Hula-Hoop Workouts

The Hula-Hoop is making its comeback, but this time as workout equipment. Focusing on core strength, hoopers can burn 400 to 600 calories an hour while slimming their waists and toning their arms. Classes are available by certified instructors worldwide, but companies like Hoopnotica sell DVDs and heavier fitness rings to let you hoop at home. Take these six moves for a spin. You'll have a blast and boost your energy while rounding down the pounds.

By Emily Smurthwaite

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Basic stance
Courtesy of Hoopnotica
Courtesy of Hoopnotica
Courtesy of Hoopnotica
Courtesy of Hoopnotica
Courtesy of Hoopnotica
Courtesy of Hoopnotica
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Basic Hoop Stance

Place one foot in front of the other. Put your hoop over your body so it touches your lower back. Stand up straight and tuck in your pelvis. Spin the hoop either to the right or left, whichever feels more natural. Bend your knees slightly and rock back and forth until you're confidently hooping. Try reversing the hoop's direction and then try switching your stance. Notice that the weight and size of the hoop create a momentum, and "push" into the hoop as it passes around your body. Contrary to popular belief, this move is not a circular swivel, rather, it is a subtle motion front/back or left/right.

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Cabaret Kicks

First step outside the hoop and grab the ring in one hand, palm facing down, arm straight out. Then swing the hoop in front of you and transfer it to the other hand, and swing it behind your back; return it to your original hand and repeat (so the hoop is circling you in one continuous motion). Now kick as you hand off the hoop under your leg—this may require a little bounce—and alternate legs with each rotation. Be sure to keep your palms facing downward as you move the hoop from hand to hand around your body.

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Halo

Grip the hoop in your right hand and lift your right arm so it's parallel to the floor. Holding the hoop straight out, begin circling your body toward the left. Slowly raise your arm and the hoop higher until you've used your momentum to bring the hoop over your head. Stop turning and release your grip so the hoop spins around your hand, with your arm extended and close to your head. You can let the hoop rise up to circle around your fingers once you're used to the motion. Think "Tomahawk." This move looks like "waving" front to back palm facing sideways (open to the left or right). Be sure to keep your thumb out, otherwise the hoop will drop down your arm.

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Halo Handoff

Start by doing a halo again. Slide your opposite hand up your arm and connect your palms together. Hold and then slide the other hand down and keep repeating. Also practice circling with hands pressed together over your head, in "prayer" pose. This move will work your arms and challenge your coordination.

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Walk and Hoop

Place one foot in front of the other and begin hooping. Push your pelvis forward (into the hoop) as you take each step. Once you've conquered this move, try doing a grapevine from one side to the other. These steps will help you if you take a hoop class that incorporates dancing.

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Spin Round

This move will turn you in a circle. Plant your left foot slightly in front of your right foot and start hooping to the left. Now let your right foot slowly pivot you around in a circle until you return to where you started. Then plant your right foot and circle in the other direction. Be sure to always move in the same direction as your hoop!

Copyright © 2011 Meredith Corporation.

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