Posted on

Do We All Hoop the Same? The Kinetics of Hula Hooping


Studies from Sensorimotor Neuroscience Laboratory at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada show for the first time that hoopers utilize slightly different methods of invoking and sustaining our hula hooping oscillations. This means that all of us hula hoop just a little differently. View the study white paper here

During a biomechanical analysis of lower limb joint coordination during hula hooping, the team set up a lower extremity inverse dynamics model that incorporated kinematic input and force platform data that was developed to compute the angular velocities, moments about and powers produced at the lower extremity joints. Amazing, right? They discovered that abductor moments and powers proved to be really important in one’s ability to hoop and maintain hooping oscillations, something shown to be true in all three participants. However, further analysis of their hula hooping also showed that there were variables between all three of them in terms of involving the flexor and extensor moments and powers of the ankle, knee and hip joints, variables that ultimately result in the adoption of varying hula hooping strategies by each of the three participants. View the study white paper here

Three women voluntarily participated in the experiment and all three were intermediate-level hula hoopers selected based on their ability to comfortably sustain the hoop in terms of speed, smoothness and stability. Their age range was 16 to 23 years and for the purpose of scientific simplicity, each participant used a standard edition Wham-o hula hoop. The participants were required to hula hoop at their self-selected pace for 20 seconds and data was collected once the participant expressed that they were hula hooping comfortably. Five 20 second trials were collected for each participant and these moments were recorded using a five-camera Vicon motion analysis system.

hula-hoop-kineticsFourteen-millimetre reflective spherical markers were positioned bilaterally on the participants’ limbs at the hallux (TOE), 1st and 5th metatarsophalangeal joints
(MT1 and MT5), calcaneus (CAL), medial and lateral malleoli (MAN, LAN), shank (TIB),
medial and lateral femoral condyles (KNE, MKN), thigh (THI), greater trochanter (HIP),
and the anterior (ASI) and posterior superior iliac spines (PSI). The marker set permitted six degrees of freedom and the requisite three independent, non-collinear surface markers necessary to track motion in a 3-dimensional space. The analog force platform signals were filtered with a fourth-order Butterworth lowpass digital filter and the joint and segment kinematics were incorporated into a standard link segment model to compute joint angular velocities (rad/s) and body mass normalized, moments of force (N m/kg) and moment powers (W/kg) at the ankles, knees, and hips of both lower extremities.

The results showed an average of the five sessions which were then normalized based on individual body mass per hooper to ensure that differences in body size were not a factor. What they learned was that all three participants move differently. Some utilized their leg joints more than others. Others demonstrated more power in their hip thrust. Some of us involve our ankles more, yes our ankles, to keep the hoop in rotation. For others the knee plays a stronger role – while for someone else it may remain rather motionless. When it comes to hooping most of us already know that we’re really pretty much pushing our hips at two points rather than in a circle, right?, But how many of us are aware that the front or positive motion may be significantly greater for one person while the negative (rear) motion which can be significantly higher for another?

With regard to Knee Hooping some people’s knee’s don’t really move much, if at all.. This research shows that just because some of us don’t involve our knees in the basics of hooping, doesn’t mean the same is true for others. These small facts may help explain why a few very active hoopers have developed a condition known as Hoopers Hip, while most have not. These subtleties may help explain why, when pretty much anyone can learn how to hoop in just a few minutes, there are the rare individuals that just don’t pick it up at all. Perhaps what works for one hooper, doesn’t work for another, meanning they need their own personal oscillation\ in the world.

Info source:

[fb-comments width=”650″ height=”600″ posts=”15″ border=”no” variant=”light”]