The 10 Best Water Barbells

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This wiki has been updated 30 times since it was first published in October of 2015. Moving in water, whether in a swimming pool, a lake, or the ocean, is an excellent way to exercise, as it provides a low-impact workout that is gentle on your joints. But if you want to kick your aquatic activities up a notch, add some weight-like effects to the mix with these barbells and dumbbells. They're also great for adding resistance to any physiotherapy regimen. When users buy our independently chosen editorial choices, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.

1. AquaLogix Blue Max

2. Speedo Aqua Fitness

3. Water Gear Bar Float

Editor's Notes

December 14, 2020:

Exercising in the water is great for anyone who needs a low-impact method of working out. It is easier on the joints that using standard dumbbells or barbells on land, and many simply find being in the water to be a more enjoyable way to meet their fitness needs. One of the first things we decided to do during this update was increase the versatility in the offerings. We immediately noticed that the Bintiva Aqua and Trademark Innovations Aquatic were essentially the same as the Speedo Aqua Fitness, so we didn't see how including all three added any value to our readers. The TheraBand Hand Bars also have a very similar design, however these are available in three resistance levels, which can be quickly identified by their color, making them great for use in commercial gyms.

We also chose to remove the TYR Dumbbells. Though the ends of these have an unusual shape that allows you to alter the resistance by how you hold them, the Trademark Innovations Triangular also offer this same ability and we felt that removing one of these would free up space for more variety in the options for our readers. For example, the elimination of the three mentioned models allowed us to add the Aquastrength Ultimate Bundle, which is unlike any of the other selections. It includes paddle-like pieces that you can strap to your legs, as well as pieces that you can either hold in your hands or attach to the included bar to create a dumbbell, making it one of the most versatile options and the best for those that want to activate a lot of muscles at the same time.

The PectoFino Water Weight was also added during this update. It combines floats with paddles, so it can be used to create resistance in every direction. The Kiefer Water Workout and AquaLogix Blue Max are also capable of producing resistance in every direction, so if you want to be able to do curls and other exercises that require you to pull upwards, you'll want to choose either one of these three models or the Aquastrength Ultimate Bundle. Foam dumbbells and barbells, like the Water Gear Bar Float and Power Systems EVA, for example, are great because they are soft and shouldn't cause any harm if you accidentally hit somebody with them, but since they rely solely on buoyancy for resistance, they aren't of any help when performing exercises where you need to pull upwards.

December 18, 2019:

Because water dumbbells and barbells keep the pressure off your joints while still forcing you to condition your muscles thanks to underwater drag, they're great for all fitness levels, whether you're elderly, recovering from injury, or a serious athlete. While the general design is similar from model to model, things like weight, shape, and size can greatly affect your training. Combining them with items like buoyancy belts and aquatic gloves can help take physical therapy and aerobic exercises to the next level.

We wanted to ensure this list had a diverse assortment to cater to the myriad needs users might have, from lightweight options good for beginners to professional units that can provide a high-intensity workout.

To that end, you'll find the TYR Dumbbells and Trademark Innovations Triangular are both excellent for those who want to add resistance to their workout but not strain themselves too much. Arthritic users will appreciate the TheraBand Pool Training for their oversized padded handles, while the Speedo Aqua Fitness are great for those who want something more challenging.

We removed the Power Systems Dumbbells due to persistent quality complaints, as well as the Aqua Sphere Ergobells because of availability concerns. The vacancy left by the Aqua Sphere models gave us a chance to add the AquaLogix Blue Max. This professional-grade set is crafted in San Diego, California, and is meant for high-intensity training. Their resistance can be controlled to cater to a variety of regimens, but they're likely too much for beginners.

4. Aquastrength Ultimate Bundle

5. TheraBand Hand Bars

6. TheraBand Swim Bar

7. Power Systems EVA

8. PectoFino Water Weight

9. Trademark Innovations Triangular

10. Kiefer Water Workout

Maximizing Exercise Efficiency: Water Barbells

Most people choose a standard shape with a central handle and cylinders at each end.

Aquatic exercise offers a plethora of benefits. When you work out in water, you can achieve both cardiovascular training and muscular toning at the same time. Exercising in water is also one of the best ways to reduce the damage working out can have on joints and bones that can be caused by jogging, skiing, playing contact sports, and so forth. Many people use swimming as their primary activity for staying healthy and fit, and indeed a dedicated swimmer can achieve a strong heart and lungs, as well as toned muscles.

But even those who don't enjoy repeated laps doing the butterfly or backstroke can still reap plentiful rewards from exercising in water. The best way to make the most of a water workout is to grab a pair of water barbells before you jump into the pool, lake, or ocean.

(To be clear, we are not discussing water-filled weights, such as those that can be deflated for transport and storage and filled with water for weight training, but rather buoyant barbells designed for use in water.)

Water barbells add efficacy to your aquatic exercise both by adding resistance as you move through water and by requiring you to expend effort to hold the floating devices beneath the water's surface. Their use therefore necessitates water that is at least chest deep for most exercises to prove effective. When selecting water barbells, the larger the physical unit, the more resistance they will create both in resisting motion and through added buoyancy. Most people choose a standard shape with a central handle and cylinders at each end. Some options provide even more resistance against motion thanks to broad, flat surfaces, and these are a good choice for the person who likes to perform semi-submerged jogging exercises. The shape of a water dumbbell has little to no effect on its floatation properties, though, so if you are more interested in static muscular exercises, feel free to shop by price as opposed to design.

Three ideal exercises that use aquatic barbells are the chest fly, the arm curl, and the deltoid raise.

A chest fly is performed with the feet at shoulder width, one foot often placed slightly forward of the torso, and one a half step back. Hold your buoyant barbells straight out in front of your body with your palms perpendicular to the ground, then steadily pull your arms apart until they are extended to both sides of your body. Repeat until fatigued.

The aquatic arm curl sees you begin with each barbell held down by your thighs with your palms facing away from your body. Slowly let the barbells rise by bending your elbows, stopping when the floats breach the surface. Now turn your palms to face downward, and lower the barbells again.

Deltoid/shoulder raises also commence by the thighs, but with the palms facing down/in. Keeping your arms extended with elbows almost locked, let your arms rise until the barbells reach the surface, then lower them again.

Who Should Consider Water Barbells?

Exercising in water is a healthy activity people of all ages and fitness levels should consider, but it is especially well-suited to those who cannot readily workout in other conditions due to limitations caused by age, injury, illness, or another issue.

Aquatic exercise is commonly recommended for the elderly and for those undergoing physical rehabilitation in particular, as the natural properties of water take pressure off joints and reduce the strain on the skeletal and muscular systems, and as such exercise can be performed at whatever pace and intensity level best suits a given individual. Someone with an injured knee may not be able to run, jog, or even walk at any speed on dry land, for example, but in the water he or she may have enough pressure taken off the damaged joint to complete various exercises.

The person who is unable to properly exercise out of the water is the greatest candidate for using water barbells, especially if the individual has already become comfortable with an aquatic fitness routine. Incorporating these buoyant exercise tools into an established regimen can add just enough extra challenge to make a workout productive without making it too strenuous for safety.

Anyone of compromised health who is considering the commencement of any fitness regimen should first speak with a doctor and/or a certified fitness instructor, of course.

The perfectly fit individual can also use water barbells. While not as effective as standard free weights for building large, toned muscles, floating barbells can help serve as core training tools when gripped in the hands and used for underwater shadowboxing or as you jog along in chest-deep water.

Other Aquatic Exercise Accessories

As discussed, many people who choose aquatic exercise may be doing so because traditional workouts are implausible based on their age, health issues, or other conditions. Thus, a few accessories that can make water activity easier and safer while still allowing for enough challenge for productive activity are well worth consideration.

To incorporate those arms more explicitly, there are webbed aquatic gloves that greatly enhance the efficacy of each stroke, pulling you through the water at top speed.

Seniors and those undergoing physical rehab alike should consider incorporating a buoyancy belt into their routine. These devices add enough flotation to keep the body reliably upright and reduce the pressure gravity exerts on the joints, yet still allow their wearer to use the properties of water resistance as he or she moves about in the pool or works out with water barbells.

The healthier individual looking to improve his or her kicking technique (or simply to have fun in the pool or ocean) can use a kick board that supplies some flotation and also limits the use of the arms, thus allowing the swimmer to focus on their legs. To incorporate those arms more explicitly, there are webbed aquatic gloves that greatly enhance the efficacy of each stroke, pulling you through the water at top speed. These are ideal training tools for the swimmer who wants to strengthen his or her arms, and are often used with the swimmer's legs immobilized by a pull buoy.

And for the athlete who is quite comfortable in the water, one exercise accessory that is quite the opposite of the water barbell is worth considering: the swimming weight. If you are certain you're up to the added challenge, adding water weights to your aquatic exercise routine will help you quickly tone and build muscle.

Brett Dvoretz
Last updated by Brett Dvoretz

A wandering writer who spends as much time on the road as in front of a laptop screen, Brett can either be found hacking away furiously at the keyboard or, perhaps, enjoying a whiskey and coke on some exotic beach, sometimes both simultaneously, usually with a four-legged companion by his side. He has been a professional chef, a dog trainer, and a travel correspondent for a well-known Southeast Asian guidebook. He also holds a business degree and has spent more time than he cares to admit in boring office jobs. He has an odd obsession for playing with the latest gadgets and working on motorcycles and old Jeeps. His expertise, honed over years of experience, is in the areas of computers, electronics, travel gear, pet products, and kitchen, office and automotive equipment.

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