Healthy Hollywood: Get Movin' Monday -- Hula Hoop For A Killer Upper Body!

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Cameron Diaz arrives at the 84th Annual Academy Awards in Hollywood, Calif., on February 26, 2012 -- Getty Images
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Cameron Diaz arrives at the 84th Annual Academy Awards in Hollywood, Calif., on February 26, 2012 -- …

Healthy Hollywood is always inspired to hit the gym after watching the Oscar's Red Carpet. Who isn't? The actresses parade their famously fit form in gorgeous body-skimming gowns.

This year, I was particularly impressed with the ladies who flaunted perfectly sculpted shoulders in their strapless gowns. Cameron Diaz, Natalie Portman, and Michelle Williams all worked the look sensationally.

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Healthy Hollywood recently stumbled upon Mini Hoops; it's a workout that promises to tone and rejuvenate the entire upper half of the body. In as little as two weeks, shoulders become shapelier and arms more lithe, while the upper back and abdomen reveal new definition. Sounds too good to be true!

We recruited Hoopnotica founder, Gabriella Redding to let us in on the secret. "The mini hoops directly target the arms, shoulders, chest, and back. While focusing primarily on the upper body, your core is automatically engaged through gravitational resistance. Just like our traditional Hoopnotica workouts (a fave of Pink & model Marisa Miller), hoop practitioners will benefit from 'losing themselves' in their practice, making it easier to get through challenging poses."

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Unlike other hoop workouts, the Minis require no spinning and relies upon the use of two smaller hoops, which are controlled by both of your arms at once.

Gabriella shared with Healthy Hollywood 3 of her favorite Mini Hoops exercises.

Heartbeat : Our most basic move in the minis program. Heartbeat is the act of moving each hoop around your hand in a controlled, intentional manner. When Heartbeat is practiced correctly, there is no "flopping" around- the movement is rhythmic and graceful.

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Steps: Bring the Mini up and around your hand in a full rotation, push your thumb down into the hoop with a bit more force and turn your palm all the way to the floor. Keep your hand perfectly still, allowing the hoop to trace a path around it, and then close your fingers around the hoop to stop it in its tracks after one revolution. The time to stop the hoop is when you feel it roll into the webbing between your pointer and thumb, or when you see your hand at six o' clock. Turn your hand into the hoop so your palm is facing down and grab. Repeat this process until it feels comfortable and controlled.

Archer : Archer develops and tones your shoulders, and adds a simple but striking accent to your dancing.

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Front Archer : From Side Ready Position (hands grasp hoops at 6 o' clock on each side of body; hoops are vertical and parallel to one another), lift your arms straight in front of you, parallel to the floor. Holding your forearms, arm perfectly still with your elbows locked and strong, initiate a single Forward Heartbeat and then stop the hoop firmly after one rotation. This is a quick, powerful move, so focus on keeping the hoop close to your arm and stopping it with strength and intention.

Try Front archer one arm at a time until you feel comfortable with the movement. When both arms are up to speed, try to perform Front Archer with two hoops.

Side : Open your primary arm 90 degrees to come into Side Archer position. You will be standing with your arms parallel to the floor, arms 90 degrees from the trunk of your body. In this position, you will be holding the hoops with your hands at 3 and 9 o' clock, hoops pressed to the outside of your arms against your elbows. Your arms will slice through the center of your mini hoops. Release one hoop at a time into a Forward Heartbeat and stop it cleanly after one rotation. Keep the hoop snug against the back of your arm and try again. Switch sides and, when you're feeling solid with both arms, put them into play simultaneously. Without breaking the straight line, angle your arms to one side by bending slightly at your waist. Release the hoops for one rotation, and then lean to the other side and try the opposite angle.

For more information on the Mini Hoops workout, check out www.hoopnotica.com.

Copyright 2012 by NBC Universal, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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