Image courtesy of Polestars
What: Hula Hoop Dance
Hooping has recently taken off as one of London's most swingin' fitness crazes and it's easy to see why. The basic movement is relatively easy to do-once you've got the hang of it, that is, but the potential for learning all sorts of cool maneuvers and tricks goes on and on.
Where: Hoopsters can head to a variety of locations to get their fix, including Polestars' upcoming six week course, which should be in the Oxford Circus/Bond Street vicinity You can also check with the London Hula Hoopers or join their Facebook group to find classes closer to your neighbourhood.
When: Polestar hasn't quite set the dates yet for their six week course but it should be starting this month. They are offering taster courses for anyone curious but not quite ready to sign up for the full course from 7-9pm on October 5, 12, and 19. Each taster is £20 and should be booked in advance. Head to the Polestar website for more details. You may also wish to check with London Hula Hoopers for further class times.
The Rundown: Classes typically last between one to two hours depending on location. The two hour class we attended began with a warm up, which included some tips for how to keep that hoop swirling for several minutes at a time. Just as each person is either right handed or left handed, everyone naturally spins either to the right or the left. After mastering our 'right' direction, we moved onto the 'wrong' direction, which was all sorts of awkward at first, but definitely great for those abdominal muscles. We then learned how to 'save' the hoop, meaning getting it back up over our hips before it clattered, ever so ungracefully, to the ground. Other techniques included learning how to speed up the hoop, slow it down, and how to go from spinning the hoop on one hand to getting it back to the waist all without stopping. The class ended with a demo of what we could expect to learn in the future from our fabulous instructor, Emma McCarthy, as well as a go at her magical LED hoop. One of these days, we too shall be able to hula hoop from one foot!
Is it the right fit for you?: If you're looking to strengthen your core muscles and want to try something a bit more active than Pilates, then hooping is a great option for you. You will certainly break a sweat and you will feel the burn in your abs and glutes the next day. Classes are great fun, never dull, and provide for much amusement as you all make some spectacular mistakes and achievements.
See our previous entries on Alternative London Workouts.