Best Aqua Cuffs

Updated October 2019
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
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Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
How we decided

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

11 Models Considered
5 Hours Researched
1 Experts Interviewed
136 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Buying guide for best aqua cuffs

Last Updated October 2019

If you want to make a big splash with a new exercise routine, doing it underwater is a good place to start. A resistance training program in your swimming pool that employs aqua cuffs is an excellent way to build muscle, enhance flexibility, improve balance, and increase endurance without putting undue strain on your joints.

“Aqua cuff” is the general term given to the cuffs, belts, dumbbells, or other devices that you wear or hold while exercising in the water. These sometimes weighted, semi-flotation devices can be worn on the wrists, ankles, and waist or pulled and pushed through the water. They are designed to add resistance to an aquatic exercise routine. The water itself provides resistance as well, so the combination of the two factors forces your muscles to work harder and more efficiently.

These water workout aids are available in myriad styles, shapes, and types, which makes choosing the right one difficult. But don’t sweat the shopping — save the perspiring for your underwater workout. Read our buying guide to narrow the options and find the best aqua cuffs for your individual exercise needs.

There is no such thing as starting too late. A study of 87-year-olds who trained three times a week for 10 weeks found that they increased their strength by an average of 112%.

Key considerations

Exercises

There are a wide variety of aqua exercises to choose from when designing your water routine. Aqua cuffs and other water resistance training devices normally come with instructions for a few basic exercises, but the internet is also positively swimming with good water workout suggestions. Consult a trainer or physical therapist if you need more specific guidance. If you have specific exercises in mind, you will need specific devices in order to get the most resistance bang for your buck.

Type

  • Wrist cuffs: A proper fit and secure latching device is essential for wrist aqua cuffs. If your wrist cuffs are loose, they’ll slide up and down while you exercise, limiting the resistance provided. If the cuffs are way too loose, they’ll slip right off. Don’t use cuffs designed for the ankles on your wrists. Most people can’t handle as much resistance on their wrists as on their ankles, so a cuff or device that works on your feet or ankles may be too much for your wrists.
  • Ankle cuffs: Cuffs or wearable devices for your ankles may include shoe-like straps or portions that fit under your foot in addition to the part that wraps around your ankle. This assists in keeping the device securely anchored. Otherwise, it could float up toward your knees. As with wrist cuffs, securely fitting ankle cuffs or devices help ensure a seamless aqua workout.
  • Waist belts: Waist belts maintain your balance and keep you upright in the water during your exercise routine. An upright posture gives you better resistance on your arms and legs. If you’re not wearing a belt and the resistance on your arms or ankles knocks you over, you’ll wind up swimming — which is good exercise, but it’s not resistance training.
  • Free weights and other devices: Water workouts and resistance training can also employ barbells, push plates, kettlebells, and various flotation devices that you can push or pull through the water to work different muscle groups for a balanced workout. The possibilities are virtually limitless, so it’s easy to keep your aqua workout fresh.

Features

Material

Neoprene, rubber, and low-density plastic are the primary materials used with aqua cuffs. Much of the resistance comes from the fact that they float, which forces the user to exert downward force the whole time they’re in the swimming pool. Out of the water, aqua cuffs are very lightweight. The straps that hold them in place are typically webbed nylon.

Weighted cuffs for arms and legs are not recommended for use in the water unless you’re certain there is no way you can be pulled underwater or the depth isn’t over your head.

Resistance

There are two kinds of resistance with aqua cuffs. The first kind, fin resistance, comes from fins attached to the cuffs. The fins are fixed in place and make it difficult to move your arms and legs through the water when you’re exercising. They may be attached at multiple angles, providing resistance no matter which way you’re moving. This ensures a solid workout throughout a full range of motion.

The second kind of resistance, flotation resistance, requires continual exertion to keep your arms and legs down. There is also a second form of resistance for flotation cuffs that comes into play from the bulk of the cuffs. The bulkier the cuffs are, the harder it is to push or pull them through the water. Most cuffs provide low to medium resistance, but some are larger and provide greater resistance.

Straps

  • Buckling straps: The best way to fasten cuffs is plastic or lightweight-metal buckles. They hold the cuffs securely in the water and are easy to put on.
  • Velcro straps: Some manufacturers employ Velcro to hold the cuffs in place, though Velcro fasteners aren’t as secure as buckles for underwater use.
EXPERT TIP

Training in water uses opposing muscle groups because the water is resisting your movements from every direction at all times.


Staff  | BestReviews
EXPERT TIP

Resistance training raises your metabolic rate, which is an important factor in lowering or maintaining your body weight.


Staff  | BestReviews

Accessories

Pool Noodles are those long, hollow, brightly colored floating tubes can be used in a wide variety of exercises. We like the Oodles of Noodles multicolor assortment six-pack, which gives you a handful of 52-inch floats to choose from. They do double duty as a fun toy when you’re finished working out.

When you’re in the water, a good set of swim goggles is a nice addition to your equipment. If your workout is lengthy, the chlorinated water can irritate your eyes. Goggles will keep the water out of your eyes so you can concentrate on burning calories instead of your eyeballs. We like the Aegend anti-fog goggles for their snug fit, UV protection, and useful carrying case.

Getting a nose full of water isn’t fun. If you’re working out regularly at the pool, rest assured that sooner or later it will happen to you — unless you have a good nose plug. There are many good choices out there, but we like the Splaqua soft latex nose clip.

Aqua cuffs prices

Aqua cuffs generally cost from $10 to $40. In the $10 to $20 range, you’ll find basic aqua cuffs, though many of these tend to be lower-quality products that may not be that durable.

From $20 to $40 is the middle price range. Aqua cuffs in this range tend to have good nylon straps with buckles. The quality and workmanship of these mid-range aqua cuffs will also be far better than lower-priced options.

Anything above $40 is usually a full kit rather than just cuffs. A resistance belt will normally be part of the kit. At the high end you will also find aqua cuffs with multiple fins on them for a full range-of-motion water workout.

DID YOU KNOW?

Resistance training breaks down muscle tissue in a process called “catabolism.” It then repairs and strengthens the tissue in a second process known as “anabolism.”

Tips

  • Less is more. A good water workout takes about 30 minutes a day, including warm up time.
  • Go the distance. “Water running,” where you run in waist-deep water for three to four minutes at a time, will feel like running 10 times as long with water cuffs on your ankles.
  • Crush your core workout. Stand in shoulder-deep water with your feet shoulder-width apart. With cuffs on your wrists and your arms extended to the side, twist as far as you can to the left and then to the right. This is a great exercise for your core.
  • Hey, batter batter batter—swing! In shoulder-deep water, assume a baseball batter’s position. With cuffs on your wrists, swing your arms together as if you were swinging a bat. This works your shoulder and core together.
  • Step into a hip workout. In shoulder-deep or waist-deep water, with cuffs on your ankles, goose step around the pool without bending your knees to give your hips a good workout.
  • Try underwater weightlifting. In shoulder-deep water, with cuffs on your wrists, raise and lower your arms from the elbow like you are lifting weights. Do it as quickly as possible for maximum resistance.

Other products we considered

We like the All Pro Five-Pound Aquatic Ankle Weights. They’re covered in neoprene to keep out water and have buckle straps to fasten securely. They are soft and stay in place. However, you should never use them in water that is over your head. That is dangerous.

We also like the Speedo Aqua Jog Water Aerobic Swim Training Belt. This is more of an accessory to aqua cuffs than anything, but if you get a pair of cuffs without a belt, this makes a nice addition. It will help you get a better workout than you would with just the wrist or ankle cuffs.

Resistance training in water is the safest method of training because it is low-impact. This prevents you from jarring your body while still getting the benefits of the training.

FAQ

Q. Do aqua cuffs have a warranty?
A.
Most aqua cuffs will only have a 30-day return policy or warranty. Beyond that, no, you shouldn’t expect much of a warranty. Be sure you use your new aqua cuffs as soon as you receive them to make sure you’re happy with your purchase.

Q. Can you swim with aqua cuffs?
A.
They are intended to be used for exercises, but yes, you can swim while wearing them to increase the intensity of your workout.

The team that worked on this review
  • Enid
    Enid
    Editor
  • Kristin
    Kristin
    Writer
  • Melinda
    Melinda
    Web Producer
  • Michael
    Michael
    Writer

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