Saturday, 27 July 2013

Homemade dip bars


Press ups are great, so are straight bar and ring dips, but I wanted to be able to do some weighted dips or high rep parallel dips as well (Weighted dips are also an excellent alternative to bench press). So I looked around at a whole lot of different set ups for dips; I saw lots of fixed dip stations made of pipe or wood. I also saw a few fixed to walls with two pipes coming out to grip. These were all great but I wanted to be able to change the width and angle of my bars. I finally settled on building two free standing bars which could be moved around. They take up more room than pipe fixed to a wall, and the design isn’t prefect but I’m happy with them. If I had the room I would set up full parallel bars outside, but these are a nice compromise.

Finding your measurements

Since I workout on my own and I’m relatively tall I measured everything to suit me. The bars are just less than 500mm wide each and stand just under 900mm off the ground. The only key measurement to make is how high off the ground to set them. To find this I kneeled down, set my arms up in the highest dip position I could manage (elbows above shoulders). From here I measured the height of my grip off the ground and my bar had to be higher than this, only 50-100mm higher is needed. This allows me to do full range weighted dips but if I fail the drop is very manageable. All the other measurements such as the width of the base are up to you, 500mm wide would make it more than stable enough.

The build

Sorry I didn’t get any build pictures of this one either, but it is a fairly simple design. I used all scrap wood, it would have cost about $20 to buy, the pipe was scrap too and would cost less than $10 to buy. The diagonal braces are just for extra stability, not sure if they are really necessary.

The two bars together, if the bases are staggered they can be placed closer together

Tips and suggestions

  • If you have access to a drop saw you could do a much better job than I have, one of my bars in out of square but it is very solid, just looks a bit funny.
  • When wearing my weight belt if the bars are not far enough apart the belt can catch on the wood under the bar, is takes all the momentum out of the dip and makes things difficult. You could design your bars differently to prevent this but I just check the spacing of the bars before I start my dips.
  • I have set up dips with an added 32kg, not loads of weight but I’m confident my bars will hold up under a lot more weight.


I’m not currently working on my dips but this set up is very comfortable and fun to throw in every now and then.

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