Work out with a hula hoop at this New York Health & Racquet Club class

You can’t cheat with this ab workout, says creator Leislene Hendrikson.

This workout is really well-rounded.

Ever since getting hooked on the hula hoop after taking a class in Central Park nearly 10 years ago, Leislene Hendrikson is always looking for new ways to work out with the old-school toy.

Since 2011, the legal secretary has taught Wind Up, a weekly hula hoop-based dance class, at New York Health & Racquet Club’s 23rd Street location.

Last month, the Jamaica resident revamped it and launched Hula HIIT, a more challenging cardio class that uses more hand hooping, so you can do squats, kicks and lunges.

amNewYork spoke with Hendrikson, 53, about her hula hoop workout.

What are the benefits of incorporating a hula hoop into a workout?

You have a direct workout on your core without having to be on the floor. One thing that happens when you do a core workout on the floor is you may add stress on your neck, or you may use your quads to lift you up. There’s only one way to keep the hula hoop moving, so there’s no way to cheat. Having the ability to work your core while standing makes sense too if you have back issues.

What are a few key things to keep in mind to keep the hula hoop up?

One of the key things to hula hooping is just to relax the body. If you have tension, you’re not going to do well. I think as adults sometimes we’re not always comfortable with how we see ourselves in motions that we don’t always do, and so then we’re not free to let the body move. That’s one of the biggest issues with keeping the hula hoop up. Who takes the class?

I have women that are in their 20s, I have people that are in their 70s. I’ve had hula hoopers win hula hooping contests. I always tell people it’s always good to get out of your comfort zone. You could be great at doing a bicep curl, but then you’re not really challenging the body anymore.


Hula HIIT is Saturdays from 1-2 p.m. at New York Health & Racquet Club 23rd Street | membership required, non-members can purchase a day-pass for $50 | 60 W. 23rd St., 212-989-2300, nyhrc.com

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