Updated: Feb 21, 2019
In the UK, lower back pain affects around a third of all adults and is often the result of flabby muscle tone and poor posture. Hours spent hunched over a computer, slumped on a sofa or in a badly aligned car seat take their toll.
It is well know that doing hundreds of sit-ups is not an ideal method for strengthening your back and abdominal muscles. Working the abdominal muscles in isolation will not engage the full 360 degree circle of the body and may potentially destabilise the core. Powerhoop’s full-circle training doesn’t just strengthen the core muscles, it improves core stability.
Martial arts experts talk about building a ‘body armour’ in order to withstand kicks and punches from one’s opponent. Body armour improves the body’s ability to withstand ‘perturbations’ (meaning the ability to quickly recover and arrest a fall or survive a fall), which is the hallmark of basic athleticism. However it is important to find ways of building body armour without wearing out the spine and disks, which is why strength training that includes repetitive lifting, twisting or bending may not be ideal.
According to Dr Stuart McGill, author of The Ultimate Back and Fitness Performance, the spine thrives on small movements and doesn’t like large, heavy motions. In his experience, the best way of building amour is with exercises the cause pulsing contractions of the core muscles.
How does the Powerhoop help?
The waves on the inner surface of the Powerhoop create such a pulse, ‘flicking’ the muscles with each revolution. This stimulates the muscles through a process called mechanical collision’, causing the muscles to activate and build body armour without wearing out the spine or spinal discs.
Put simply, when the ‘bumps’ come into contact with the body, the body feels it is ‘under attack’ and reacts to the stimulation by tightening muscles. Muscle mass quickly builds to protect the soft tissue. With this in mind, one can easily appreciate why it is important to hoop for equal time in both directions.
In addition, in order to keep the hoop in motion and to prevent oneself from being knocked off one’s feet by the hoops momentum, all of the core muscles become contracted. These contractions mean that Powerhoop users are effectively increasing the body’s ability to withstand perturbations such as falls. This effect maybe especially important for older people, as those with strong,stable core muscles may be able to save themselves from falling or recover more swiftly from a fall.
Powerhooping is not only fun, it is a fitness activity that can have serious benefits. Study at Canada's University of Waterloo Spine and Biomechanics Laboratory, has confirmed that regular powerhooping causes the waist to shrink. You can read more about the study HERE.