How do I Stop Getting Hoop Bruises?

Ouch: hoop bruises. Learning to hoop and practicing new moves can beat you up a bit. You might not even notice it happening until later when you change out of your sweaty clothes. The music courses through your body and you are just getting the hoop to do what you want. Meanwhile, parts of you are turning black and blue.

I forgot about the bruises until I introduced a bunch of my friends to hooping. “Look at this!” more than one said afterward. They loved hooping, but were concerned because their hips were blotched with purple. Suddenly I remembered that I looked like I’d been in some kind of weird accident for the first several weeks I took up hooping. In fact, every time I start learning to hoop around a different part of my body I get bruised.

The good news is, it stops happening. Why? As you get better at hooping, your movements become more subtle so that the hoop doesn’t crash into you body but lightly rebound. Watch an experienced hooper and you will see she or he doesn’t move as much as a beginner to keep the hoop spinning. As you become more proficient you will find your movements naturally become smaller and your hooping more graceful.

With practice, you also become more aware of the way your body and hoop interact so you can control where and how the hoop lands against you. Without thinking about it, your body knows how to anticipate by tensing muscles, using your momentum, or choosing where the hoop is most comfortable.

For example, when you are learning to move the hoop from your waist to your butt the hoop will inevitably slam into your hip bones, since they are between those two points and jut out. When you master the transition, you will find yourself able to skip over your hips and avoid this discomfort. Similarly, for women, hooping right across your breasts is…um…uncomfortable. But when you learn to shimmy the hoop up gracefully from the waist over the rib cage and up to your armpits, the hoop will stop pummeling your boobs on the way.

So the short answer to the bruising question: keep practicing.

More advice: Try making your motions purposefully more subtle, trusting the hoop to stay up. (And if it falls down, so what?) Listen to your body and take a break from the bruising if you need to. Play with the hoop off your body, twirling it in your hands. Spin the hoop around some other part of your body, if you can. Keep having fun with your hoop and those bruises will stop soon.

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