We are always in pursuit of new fun workouts. While we’ve tried the hooping-craze a few times before (FBG Tish tried a Hoop Trainer class, and we did a little “hooping” at the Jamba Juice event earlier this year), mini hooping was a new concept to us. Okay, so it’s not like it’s hard to understand: it’s like hula hooping for fitness with smaller hoops. But how you go about actually spinning those things for a workout? Well, that’s where the “newness” came in. And the learning curve. Ahem, the huge learning curve for me.
Unlike most workout DVDs that we review, Hoopnotica Fitness Hula Hoop Minis DVD Level 1 is a bit different. Instead of an actual workout, it’s more of an instructional video that shows you how to mini hoop it up, step by step. After a 10-minute warm-up that gets your upper-body ready to hoop (despite the futuristic and robot-like vibe of the girls in the intro, one of the warm-up moves is the “flasher,” which really, really cracked me up), you move into the real meat of the workout: learning the basic moves. From a standing position, you learn how to hold your hand, move the hoop (thank GOODNESS you start with just one mini hoop) and cradle it in place with your thumb. From there, you begin hooping from the front to the side, one direction and then the other, stopping the hoop on a dime, hinging the hoop, and then the real craziness begins. The tricks. Oh, the tricks. And hooping with both mini hoops at once.
Obviously learning these mini hooping skills takes time. And practice—lots and lots of practice for someone like me who is a bit spatially challenged. It also takes a bit of room. I lost control of my mini hoops so much that my dog thought we were playing a game. (Be warned that the mini hoops are nicely chewable for the furry friends in your life.) And I almost took out a vase I had next to the TV. But, again, maybe you aren’t as clumsy as I am. And there is a whole section of troubleshooting tips on the DVD to help with common problems people have. (I may have needed a whole troubleshooting DVD though…)
With all of my time trying to mini hoop, I will say that because you’re so focused on what you’re doing, you forget that you’re being active at all. I imagine as you get good at it, putting the tricks together and freestyling would be a pretty fun and creative workout. And, hey, you’d be popular at parties. But, I, my friends, never got past trying, laughing at myself and then running to pick up the hoop. Which, come to think of it, is kind of a workout, too.
Also, the style of the format is kind of funny. Not in a ha-ha sense, but it’s really stylized. I already mentioned the robot warm-up, but the voice-over to women smiling and mini hooping is definitely unique from the reviews I’ve done. Not bad. Just different—and, like the brand name, it’s a bit hypnotic. (You can see for yourself here.) And I swear during the really complicated tricks, those girls were just showing off…
FBG Rating (Out of 5):
Long-Term Likeability: ★★★
Fun Factor: ★★★
Meets Expectations: ★★★★
Fit Bottomed Line: If you like hooping and are committed to putting in the time to learn the moves (or are in the circus), this is the set for you. For about $60 you get the two mini hoops and the Hoopnotica Fitness Hula Hoop Minis DVD Level 1 DVD.
Any master hoopers out there? Have you tried mini hooping for an upper-body workout? Tell us about it! –Jenn