• With one hand, stand a hula hoop in front of your body
  • Extend your arm so the hoop can not touch your body
  • Turn your wrist, twisting the hoop as quickly as possible
  • Step away allowing the hoop to spin until it comes to a complete stop

My students have been twisting hoops for years. It began as a challenge. I would instruct 5-7 students at a time to  “twist your hoop, then run to a wall and return before the hoop comes to a stop.” “Can you touch two walls and return before it stops? Three?”  The students loved this challenge, pushing themselves to go for the extra wall.

*I allow no more than seven students to run to a wall at a time to avoid collisions.

I soon began to brainstorm other ways to use the hula hoop twisting skill.


The most popular hula hoop twisting activity without question is THE HULA HOOP FITNESS TIMER. This is when the hula hoop becomes a stopwatch. I use this activity throughout the year as an individual or partner activity. The premise is simple.

  • Choose and exercise or movement.
  • Spin the hoop as quickly as possible.
  • Perform a self-selected exercise or movement while the hoop is spinning.
  • Stop performing the exercise when the hoop stops.
  • Choose a different exercise and repeat.

Sometimes, as a class, we’ll brainstorm ideas for different movements and write them on a whiteboard or add them to a google slide. This way the students have a visual from which to choose. For my older students we can choose a particular muscle group to focus on or a type of exercise. For example, as an instant activity students may have to focus on aerobic movements. Therefore, they must choose movements which increase their heart rate. Another time they may need to focus on static movements like plank variations, wall sits, and yoga poses.

The HULA HOOP FITNESS TIMER has proven to be an exciting way to motivate students to move. Below is a look at it in action.


PARTNER FITNESS TIMER – one partner spins the hoop, one partner chooses the exercise

Another game I like to play with my students

In the early 2000’s  BEYBLADES were gaining popularity, Beyblades are basically spinning tops that collide with each other. The goal is to be the last top spinning. With this in mind, my classes started playing a hula hoop version of Beyblades.


  • 2-4 students stand facing each other ready to spin their hoops.
  • Simultaneously, each student yells, “BEYBLADES, let it rip!” With this, each hoop is twisted.
  • The hoops will spin and collide until on is left spinning alone. This hoop is the winner of the round.
  • After each round, students find another partner or group to challenge.


I use 1, 2 Switcharoo early in the year as a partner team building challenge.

  • Partners face each other, each with a hula hoop.
  • On the the command, “1, 2 SWITCHAROO!,” partners quickly spin their hoops and switch places, trying to catch the opposite hoop before it falls to the ground.
  • Partners can move back one step for each successful attempt.

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