A few years ago, the general rule of thumb for new hoopers was to get a hoop that measured from the floor to your belly button. Although this worked for some people, it didn’t necessarily work for everyone. Someone who is tall might have a small waist, just like someone who is shorter might have a larger waist. So rather than determining your hoop size based on height, it was concluded that you should consider your waist size instead.
Shortly after the “belly-button” rule of thumb proved to be mainly inconclusive, Kristen McQuillin, aka Tink from Tokyo, created a mathematical system for figuring out an individual’s ideal hoop size. Tink’s system is based mainly on waist size and rhythm. Although I feel this is a great place to start, I feel that there are a few other things to be considered. Let’s break it down!
Waist Size and Rhythm
As mentioned earlier, waist size is an important factor in determining which hoop size is best for you. If you have a larger waist, you will probably need a larger hoop, whereas, folks with a smaller waist will probably want a smaller hoop. Tink calls this the “hoop to hooper ratio.” I typically reference the term, “revolutions per minute.” A revolution is defined as a full rotation of an object around a fixed point. A larger hula hoop is going to take longer to make one full rotation or revolution; it will also have fewer RPM’s than a smaller hoop (making it seem like the hoop is moving slower). A smaller hoop is going to take less time to make one full rotation/revolution; in turn, it will end up having more RPM’s than a larger hoop (making it seem like the hoop is moving faster).
Your rhythm, or the pace/speed in which you hoop, is also a key factor. Do you like to hoop to move slower or faster? Remember that a larger hoop is going to move slower; a smaller hoop is going to move faster.
Tubing Type, Size, and Weight
There are many different tubing types, as well as tubing sizes. Within these various types and sizes, there are also weight differences. These are important factors in determining hoop size because all hoop tubing moves and responds differently. Larger tubing sizes and weights are going to be heavier, which means they are going to move slower. This is great for beginning waist hooping or learning new tricks. Smaller, lighter hoops are going to move faster. This is great for all ranges of off-body tricks (beginner or advanced), as well as intermediate/advanced on body movements.
Note that 100 psi (Pounds per Square Inch) PE (PolyEthylene) tubing is lighter than 160 psi PE tubing. The 100 psi PE has a thinner wall than the 160 psi tubing. If you need added weight, purchase your hoop in the 160 psi PE tubing.
Your experience and coordination level plays another part in figuring out which hoop size is best for you. As you progress through hooping, you will gain knowledge and experience in the touch, feel, manipulation, and responsiveness of the hoop. Typically, as hoopers progress, they gain more control over the hoop and their body.
For example, when I was a newbie hooper, I started with a 37″ hoop made out of PE tubing (black irrigation tubing). I hadn’t yet learned the motion of many core/on body moves, nor did I have a good feel for the responsiveness of the hoop. Over time, I learned to better control and manipulate the hoop; therefore, I felt comfortable slowly bumping down in diameter, as well as switching to polypropylene (polypro) tubing.