Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Homemade Dip Station

Here's a dip station that I have for performing the dip exercise. Basically, the body of this homemade dip station comes from the safety squat racks I built (click the link for instructions).

Dips are good for building overall muscle mass around the tricep, chest and shoulder areas. Even if you're not strong enough to perform full dips, you can begin by just performing the negative phase of the exercise.

The dipping bars are made thicker and more comfortable with these homemade thick grip handles.

How to Perform Dips

The dip is one exercise where the negative phase starts the movement. Here are some pointers to remember when performing dips.
  • With arms straight, but not locked, lower yourself slowly and in control.
  • When the upper arms are horizontal or parallel to the ground, raise your torso up.
  • Avoid the shoulders going below the elbows if you have shoulder problems.
  • There should be no swinging or jerking movements.
  • A narrow width between the dip bars work the triceps more, while a wider grip works the chest more.
  • If your body leans forward, the tendency is to work the chest. If the body is straighter and more vertical, you work the triceps.
  • By looking and facing upwards, the body becomes more vertical.
  • Using angled dip bars (facing the inside of the angle) as shown in the photo below may minimize stress on the wrists.
  • If you have to bend and fold your knees to perform this exercise, put a padding on the floor to cushion your knees just in case you reach muscle faiure.



Advantages of this Homemade Dip Exercise Station

Apart from the obvious advantage that this dip station is collapsible and easily stored away, here are other advantages in using this exercise station.
  1. Distance Between Dip Bars

    Because the dip bars are individually set on freestanding racks, you could easily adjust the distance between the dip bars. Having a narrower grip, or decreasing the distance between the two dip bars works out the triceps more than the chest. A wider grip works out the chest more, although more width is not necessarily better. A few people (like me) find wide grips very difficult.

  2. Angled Dip Bars

    I found that dip bars that are parallel to each other put a bit of stress on the wrists and forearms. By forming a V-angle and facing the inside of the angle, the dip exercise becomes more natural. Again, because the dip bars are on freestanding racks, you could adjust the angle of the dip bars.

    The photo below shows the dip bars on freestanding racks that you can move around easily so you can can adjust the distance as well as the angle of the dip bars.


  3. Thick Dipping Bars

    The regular grips found on commercial dip machines can be painful on the hands and wrists. This is especially so if you're a beginner on the exercise. It's soreness on the hands rather than muscle failure that can cause you to stop.

    Shown below is the thick grip handles that were attached to the dip bars. You can make homemade thick grip handles and then fasten them on the dip bars with a pair of hose clamps.


    I found that by using a thick dipping bar, the exercise becomes more tolerable. And it isn't anything like using weightlifting gloves as others may suggest. The added surface area on the thick bar helps distribute the weight more evenly across the hands and wrists, resulting in a more efficient exercise.

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