At first sight, the WaterBells’ design appears to be nothing more than a neoprene cover for a water balloon. However, it is precisely its simplicity that makes it an effective and versatile piece of exercise equipment. WaterBells work by placing a balloon inside the neoprene cover, then filling it with water to the desired load (or size), and tying off the balloon to create a seal. The WaterBell is great for throwing exercises. Trying to catch a shifting mass like a water balloon requires additional dexterity, grip strength and focus, which makes it fun for a play-based training program.
The WaterBell is an effective, cost-efficient option for replacing static medicine balls with dynamic, load-shifting water-filled resistance and are completely portable for travel (requires additional replacement balloons). It is also a useful strength-training tool for individual workouts, one-on-one personal training, or small group exercise programs. This review included 10-15 pound WaterBells (the exact weight of the WaterBell will change, based on amount of water added).
Holding the WaterBell by the edge is easiest and works well.
The only downside is that the neoprene can be slightly abrasive on the fingertips, which takes some getting used to. When a balloon is filled to a higher capacity, it leaves less slack in the neoprene cover and may take more grip strength to control. One way to progress the training for grip strength is to start with little water in the balloon, which leaves more material for gripping, and then progress to heavier loads.
It might seem like the WaterBell would be easy to break, but the neoprene cover is actually quite effective at providing additional stability and protection to the water-filled balloon. We found the WaterBells to be durable for lifting, swinging and even tossing. More extensive testing showed that the burst limit of the balloon was achieved only by repeatedly throwing the WaterBell over 20 feet in the air, allowing it to crash-land and slam into asphalt (*it should be noted that the product instructions indicate that throwing and slamming the WaterBell creates an increased risk of bursting and should be performed in locations where water leakage will not be an issue). Under regular use for traditional lifting exercises, and even throws between people, the WaterBell proves to be both, durable and reliable. One way to make this product more effective would be a refillable bladder/liner as opposed to using water-filled balloons.
What we liked:
- Surprising durability
- Shifting, unstable load
- Opportunity to develop grip strength
- Simplicity of adding or reducing amount of resistance
What we didn’t like:
- The neoprene can feel a little rough on fingertips; this is due to the surface of neoprene as a material and is not a design issue.
- Changing the load (weight) of a WaterBell requires bursting one balloon and using another. Having a refillable bladder would provide a faster, more time-efficient option for changing the weight/load of a Waterbell.
November – December 2011