How to Transition from Big Hoops to Small Hoops

If you have the desire to use a smaller, lighter hoop, you have come to the right place! This article explains how you can successfully transition down from your big, heavy PE (polyethylene) beginner hoop to a smaller, lighter hoop. It also includes why you might want to downsize.

WHY would I want to use a smaller hoop?

 Izzy May sent in this photo of her friend using a HUGE hoop.Izzy May sent in this photo of her friend using a HUGE hoop.



1. It's Easier to Carry Around

 Jenn Phillips carrying her 40 inch PE beginner hoopJenn Phillips carrying her 40 inch PE beginner hoop

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Have you noticed how difficult it is to carry and travel with your big beginner hoop? Most of them are around 38-42 inches in size and weigh around 1-2 pounds. The figure-8 collapsible or sectional piece beginner hoops are great for travel but...

A. Not all of them are made collapsible or sectional, so you could be stuck with a 42 inch hoop that may not even fit in your car

B. Having them collapsed in a figure 8 can cause the connections to get ruined and make the hoop crooked and wavy.

C. All of that weight on your shoulder can irritate your back, even if it is collapsed.

2. It's More versatile

Doing knee breaks during a performance with my 31 inch polypro hoopDoing knee breaks during a performance with my 31 inch polypro hoop

The number of moves, tricks, and techniques you can do increase substantially with a smaller hoop. Coin flips, spinning the hoop horizontally in front of you, breaks, more comfortable chest/body rolls (less scary too!), more smooth and effortless isolations, and more tricks can be done with a smaller hoop.

In the beginning, you may carry one large beginner hoop, one medium hoop, and a small hoop for tricks. This is what I recommend. However, when you want to transition, it is easier to have just one hoop that you can use for all your hooping needs, whether it is waist hooping, chest hooping, or just isolations.

3. There is Less Bruising and Less Weight

Samantha Jo (left) and Nicole Irons show us their hooping bruisesSamantha Jo (left) and Nicole Irons show us their hooping bruises

Even if you can flow well with a large hoop, it is likely to continue to cause bruising. The heavier the hoop, the more pressure on your body during rotations. 

HDPE or a polypro hoops weigh between 10 ounces and 5 ounces (depending on the size and tubing width). A 5/8 width tubing HDPE or polypro hoop around 30 inches will weigh approximately 5-6 ounces. When referring to HDPE or polypro hoops, a 3/4 tubing hoop is thicker and heavier than a 5/8 tubing hoop. 

58 34 diff

HDPE and polypro are measured differently than PE hoops. PE hoops are your typical beginner hoops. They come in 3/4" or 1/2". Note that 1/2" PE is the same width as a 3/4" polypro or HDPE hoop. This is because one is measured by the inside of the tubing (ID), and one is measured by the outside of the tubing (OD). See diagram below. Companies measure the total size of the actual hoop by ID or OD. A 29" ID hoop is around 30 or 31" OD.

ID compared to OD. This can be used to describe the total size of a hoop as well. Some hoop companies measure OD while some measure ID.ID compared to OD. This can be used to describe the total size of a hoop as well. Some hoop companies measure OD while some measure ID.



4. You Can Engage in More Dancing or Flow

I find it much easier to flow and complete chest rolls with my smaller, lighter hoops.I find it much easier to flow and complete chest rolls with my smaller, lighter hoops.

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As I moved down in size with my hoops, my flow actually improved each time. I started with a 34 inch, 3/4" polypro hoop. After about 5 months of using it, I down-sized by just one inch about every 2 months. I went down to a 33", then down to 32" and noticed a huge difference in flow each time. I continued to try smaller hoops with time and now use a 30 inch 5/8 polypro. I found my perfect size and tubing.

Many people think that only big hoops help your flow because they move slower. I can see why they say this (especially for on-body), but that is not always the case. When you're lugging around large, heavy hoops, your energy is directed toward keeping it spinning and keeping it up in the air. You aren't able to just let loose and effortlessly lift the hoop as you could a hoop that is lighter and easier to control for off-body movements such as isolations, chest rolls, and tosses. A bigger hoop is usually best for on your body, but if you can get used to smaller hoops, you can have one ideal hoop for all moves. If you start doubles, you will notice just how heavy two small, light hoops can feel after a while. Double polypro 31" hoops are how I got muscle in my arms for the first time in my life!

I have noticed that as people become more advanced, they can start at a 42 inch hoop and go all the way down to a tiny ultra light weight hoop around 26 inches and even shoulder hoop with it! 

How Can I Get Comfortable with Smaller, Lighter Hoops?

#1 and #2 should be tried before trying #3

1. Transition By Very Small Increments

Transition example
Transition example

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If at all possible, you will want to follow one of the hooping rules, which is to purchase/own as many hoop sizes and weights as possible.

If you are a beginner and start with a 42 inch 3/4" tubing PE hoop, your first transition should be trying a 40 inch 3/4" tubing PE hoop. If you find that transition too easy or have gotten used to that step, move on to the same tubing and width, but reduce the size to about 38 inches (or even 36).

2. Transition Down to a Skinnier PE Tubing

12 34 pe

Another option is to keep the size the same, but actually use the 1/2" PE tubing rather than the larger 3/4" PE tubing. This will let you keep the size, but also get you familiar with a lighter hoop and holding onto a skinnier tubing.

Once you get used to that, you will want to try a 1/2" PE hoop that is smaller by 2-4 inches and then get used to that size.

3. Try HDPE or Polypro

Anne Marshall using her 30 inch polypro hoop during a headstandAnne Marshall using her 30 inch polypro hoop during a headstand

Once you have tried smaller 3/4" PE hoops or lighter 1/2" PE tubing, it may be time to move on. HDPE and polypro hoops are the most common. If you are not sure which size to start with, the most universal size is about 34". It is not so small that it is impossible to use on your body but also not too large where you can't pull off all of the tricks. If you have gotten comfortable with using a 35 or 36 inch beginner hoop, you should start with a 35 or 36 inch HDPE or polypro.  If you try to learn tricks with a big, heavy hoop, you will likely be afraid to do most of them due to how painful it is when it hits you. Example: chest rolls gone wrong can REALLY hurt.

Another benefit of this type of hoop is that you can cut them down yourself! You can actually reduce the size of these hoops by simply cutting the end of the tubing and drilling a new hole. No need to purchase a new one unless you really want to. So if you start large and realize it is too large, you can just fix it yourself. Just contact The Spinsterz if you need advice on how to do this!

Good luck and happy hooping!