What A Personal Trainer Says About TikTok's Core Strengthening Weighted Hula Hoop Workout

If you're among the over 1 billion active users on TikTok (via Wallaroo Media), you've likely seen the trending #weightedhulahoop video content currently circulating around the platform. The purported idea is that regular use of a weighted hula hoop will help strengthen one's abdominal muscles. In light of the emerging trend, we spoke with Jack Craig, a certified personal trainer with Inside Bodybuilding, a health clinic offering anabolic recovery and harm prevention services for professional athletes. In an exclusive interview with Health Digest, Craig shared his thoughts on the workout and whether weighted hula hoops truly live up to their viral hype.

"Weighted hula hoop exercises have been popular on social media for some time, and it can be a great way to inspire fitness," Craig says. While he emphasizes that it should not be thought of as a miracle workout, he points out that weighted hula hoops can help target some of our different abdominal muscles.

"When you use a weighted hoop, your core muscles, including your obliques, lower abs, and upper abs, will lift your hips in a coordinated movement to keep it going," Craig explains. "Part of the initial benefit you'll see from this movement is more muscle tone," he states. "As your abs become more coordinated at pushing the hoop, they'll naturally stay 'ready' or primed for activity, which means they look more engaged." As a result, Craig says that these muscles will start to strengthen over time in response to the resistance of the hoop.

Pros and cons of weighted hula hoops

"The strength that comes from using a weighted hula hoop isn't directly analogous to what we might think of as core strength," he says. "You may feel that you have more endurance through the motion of hula hooping, but you might not be able to do more crunches or hold a plank for longer. That's because these are all unique movement patterns that recruit different muscles," Craig explains. "That's why it's essential to have a more balanced fitness approach, instead of doing just one exercise to lose weight or build strength."

But that doesn't mean hula-hooping isn't a great jumping-off point for those just starting out on their fitness journey. "One benefit that will come from weighted hula hoop exercises is better balance," Craig points out. "Since you're more coordinated in moving your hips and manipulating your shoulders and core, you may find that your abs are better at holding your body upright if you get unbalanced or stumble."

Craig concludes the interview cautioning those who are new to the activity to avoid exercising for too long or using a hoop that's too heavy. "This might seem like a harmless exercise, but since the resistance of the hoop puts tension on your low back, and activates your back muscles, you may be at risk of pulling a back muscle," he states. "Building up slowly will make sure you can get coordinated in this movement, and be stronger, without risk of injury."