Isn’t hula hooping just standing still with a bit of hip action? Nope. Seems not, as I found out when I went along to The Hulagan Workshop for a hula hoop class. I showed up feeling a little sheepish, with visions of spending the entire class picking my hoop off the floor, and was greeted by a large empty concrete space with only five other people in it. Hmm.
The six of us waited around in near silence for the instructor to show. Not the most social crowd, I thought, but I was wrong! Turns out all us early birds were newcomers and as out of our element as each other. Those that knew better dropped in and out as and when they wanted throughout the class. Before I knew it there were upwards of 15 ladies gyrating and flinging hoops all around me.
The class itself had a very relaxed structure and was open to all levels. Show up, pick a hoop, your instructor Anna, aka Anna the Hulagan, puts on her music, and you’re off! A cycle of hoop, hoop, gyrate, drop, fling, clang, ‘oops sorry!’ was how I spent my first few minutes. As I fumbled on, Anna made sure she gave everyone time for pointers in technique; the main one being to loosen up and ‘channel our inner Beyoncé’. Improvement was noticeable and the more advanced hoopers kindly helped where they could. Every now and then Anna would stop to show us another move or trick to try, so we never got bored just spinning a hoop.
Let’s cut to the chase, did my muscles feel it? Yes! Who’da thunk!? My core felt worked and I even had bruises on my hips (not that that is a prerequisite for a good workout)… How? I don’t know. I never realised a light plastic hoop could cause such damage! But I digress; the trick is to move around… constantly. You will only get out what you put in from this class so if you just stand still vaguely spinning a hoop, then don’t bother, you won’t feel the benefits. On the other hand, the class isn’t so hard that you have to be super fit to do it. Most importantly, it’s fun!
A final word of warning ladies, the hoops may pick a fight with long nails and the hoop will win. This class isn’t about looking pretty, and whatever you attempt to do, at some stage you will definitely feel and look like a wally! But hey, that is half the fun, and if you’re not looking silly, then you aren’t trying hard enough. So bring some friends, loosen up, put on some music, dance around and work your core. Winner!
Drop in class: Every Tuesday 7-8.30pm
£7 for 1 hour
£9 for 1½ hours
Image courtesy of Anna Hulagan