What are Water Dumbbells?

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  • Written By: N. Madison
  • Edited By: Jenn Walker
  • Last Modified Date: 24 January 2020
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Water dumbbells are special dumbbells designed to be used in aquatic exercise. This type of dumbbell is intended to offer a person buoyancy and stability on top of the water. When used under the water, it is intended to offer resistance. Water dumbbells can be used in both shallow and deep water for a wide range of exercises.

There are different styles of water dumbbells, which resemble traditional dumbbells, but are often made out of material that floats, such as foam. They have a straight bar that allows the exerciser to grip and hold onto the dumbbell, with floats positioned on each end of the bar where the weights are on traditional dumbbells. The bar of a water dumbbell is usually cushioned to ensure that gripping it won’t hurt the exerciser's hands.

Often, water dumbbells are classified as light, medium, or heavy instead of according to their weight like traditional dumbbells. A light water dumbbell might offer a resistance force of about two pounds (907.18 grams) when used in the water while a medium set might offer a resistance force of about four pounds (1.81 kilograms). Heavy water dumbbells might have a submerged force of about nine pounds (4.08 kilograms). The exact resistance of a water dumbbell varies based on its design and manufacturer.


Water dumbbells are often made of foam that doesn’t harbor bacteria or absorb water and won’t become brittle, break, or shred. They are usually designed for immediate use, without any prior preparation. There are some water dumbbells, however, that must be filled with water prior to use. Some water dumbbells are even designed to be filled with air.

An individual can use water dumbbells with just about any type of water exercise. For example, a person may use them to help tone his arms while in the pool. To do a bicep curl, an individual submerges to his neck and holds a water dumbbell in each hand, keeping his palms facing up. He then lifts both arms straight up to the level of his shoulders, bending at the elbow. Finally, he lowers his arms again, returning to his starting position.

A person may also perform squats in a pool while holding a dumbbell in each hand. To do so, a person stands in the pool with his feet shoulder-width apart. He then bends at the knee, lowering himself into a squat and stopping when his legs are at a 90-degree angle. He finally contracts the muscles in his rear end and legs before standing up once more. He may hold the dumbbells at his sides while doing these squats or bend his arms at the elbow and hold the dumbbells level with his shoulders.


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