Which aqua cuff is best?
Exercise performed in water is a safe, low-impact option that provides modest resistance. If you’d like to take aquatic aerobics to the next level, start wearing aqua cuffs for an extra challenge through added resistance.
Aqua cuffs are an inclusive category for resistance-adding devices, which include cuffs as well as dumbbells, ankle weights, and waist bands. Given the varied shape, weight, and materials of aqua cuffs, you experience different resistance with each of them. Many sets come with more than one resistance level to help you progress in your water aerobics program.
Improve your aquatic exercise by investing in aqua cuffs. Our buying guide includes a few recommendations at the end, such as our top choice, AquaLogix Maximum Resistance Hybrid Aquatic Training Fin. This set’s flexible foam cuffs can be worn on the wrists or ankles by ages 14 and above.
What to know before you buy aqua cuffs
Types of aqua cuffs
- Wrist cuffs: Wrist cuffs are for upper body water aerobics. It’s best to choose styles that are snug on your wrists, as looser ones can slip off or be distracting during exercises. One thing to note with wrist cuffs is that while they may resemble ankle cuffs, their resistance level is typically lower, as most individuals have more lower-body strength than upper.
- Ankle cuffs: Ankle cuffs are used for lower-body exercises, which are almost always done entirely underwater. These attach to your feet or ankles by way of strap systems to provide a secure, shift-free fit. It’s important to consider the circumference of your ankle, as some styles geared toward teens or petite individuals may be too snug on some adults.
- Waist bands: If you need posture support during water aerobics, consider a set that includes a waist band. This helps stabilize your core in the water, letting you focus on lower and upper body resistance exercises instead. Waist bands attach to your midsection with strap systems, which need to be fairly snug so the currents in the water don’t unbuckle or detach them.
- Free weights: Some aqua cuff sets include free weights, including dumbbells and kettlebells. While they’re nowhere as heavy as regular gym weights, merely pulling these weights in and out of the water makes for a challenging workout.
What to look for in quality aqua cuffs
The vast majority of aqua cuffs are made with neoprene or nylon webbing and have rubber, silicone, or plastic fins. These materials work well because they’re soft, flexible, and, of course, water-resistant. Some of these materials are also UV- and heat-resistant, making them far more durable for outdoor use.
Fin vs. flotation resistance
Fin resistance comes from the shape and positioning of the aqua cuff’s fins. Since they’re angled and contoured, it’s harder to cut through water with them.
Floating resistance is designed to impose a challenge by forcing you to keep buoyant aqua cuffs submerged. These are also difficult to push and pull through the water, as they’re fighting to reach the surface while you manipulate them in other directions.
Aqua cuffs attach to your body by way of buckle or Velcro straps. Buckle straps are easy to adjust, but poor-quality buckles can unravel with intense motion. Velcro straps are soft and easy to put on, but their loops can be abrasive to skin or damage swimsuit materials.
How much you can expect to spend on aqua cuffs
You can find basic aqua cuffs for less than $20, but they tend to have lower-quality construction. Sets in the $20-$40 range are made with quality materials and reliable strap systems. Therapeutic-grade sets run $40 and above and come with multiple cuffs for an extensive resistance variety.
Aqua cuffs FAQ
Can I bring aqua cuffs to water aerobics classes at my fitness center?
A. Yes, and you’ll probably find other students using them as well. Depending on the rules of the fitness center, you may need to approve your aqua cuff use prior to class. As you’re essentially bringing new equipment to their pool, they may want to confirm it’s not a safety hazard to other students.
Can’t I just use aqua wrist cuffs on my ankles, and vice versa?
A. While there are some interchangeable sets on the market, these usually offer the least amount of resistance. Given the vast difference between upper- and lower-body strength, it’s not recommended to use the same resistance level on ankles and wrists. Not only can it be uncomfortable, but it can also be unsafe, depending on the design.
What are the best aqua cuffs to buy?
Top aqua cuffs
Our take: Popular choice for maximum resistance in low-impact aquatic exercises.
What we like: Offers varying degrees of resistance. Easy to attach and adjust with Velcro straps.
What we dislike: Fins might not stay in place during some rigorous movements.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Top aqua cuffs for the money
Our take: Affordable set for ages 14 and above, as it’s made from soft foam.
What we like: Set includes webbed gloves, belt, and dumbbells. Comes with a quick-start instructional video.
What we dislike: Belt buckle can loosen up as you move around.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Worth checking out
Our take: Leading therapeutic-grade kit with adjustable resistance and fin angles.
What we like: Soft Santoprene fins. Comes with a mesh carrying case. Easy-to-wear buckle system.
What we dislike: Cuffs can feel a bit too snug for some wearers.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
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Sian Babish writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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