Parallel bars are used for dips

Dips are a great exercise. They work your chest and arms. You grab bars that are about 24 inches apart. The bars can be parallel or slightly angled. Some trainers encourage you to use chairs for home gyms.

Tip:It is possible to get dip bars for your home. Some kinds are inexpensive and last for years.

Weighted:With a dip belt we can do weighted dips. It is important to avoid injuries with parallel bar dips.

Chest and arms:In parallel bar dips, the muscle activation is similar to the bench press. Dips build strong chest muscles.

Big Arms


Triceps brachii muscle flexed

It is possible to use chairs,
such as folding chairs,
and do dips in between them. But dips always have a risk of wrist injury, even on the best equipment. Doing dips on chairs is more dangerous.

Caution:I do not recommend using folding metal chairs for dips. This might cause injuries, particularly if you are heavy.

Improvised parallel bars. Many sites talk about ways you can do dips at home using two couches or chairs. In my experience, this is nearly impossible. I was not able to do dips at home because nothing was convenient enough.

Dip stand

Parallel bars for home: Ultimate Body Press Dip Stand

Finding a good set of parallel bars for your home gym is challenging. It is possible to make your own. You can buy expensive and very large equipment, or buy a simple dip stand. I review the Ultimate Body Press dip stand.

Cost. The Ultimate Body Press dip stand usually costs around $90 USD. It is probably easiest to order it online at a store like Amazon.com. When it arrives, you will need to assemble it. This is easy to do.

Assembly. I had some problems assembling the Ultimate Body Press dip stand. The pipes seemed to be too tight to fit precisely in some spots. I had to use my body weight to force the final pieces together.

Note:The general approach you take to assembling the dip stand is to match the colored stickers on the pipes and attach them.

The Ultimate Body Press dip stand is essentially a bent pipe with padded handles on the top sides. Over time and usage, the stickers will tend to come off. It will then be harder to reassemble afterwards.


Strong and healthy: tips

Is the Ultimate Body Press dip stand stable and strong enough for you to use? I have never found any safety issues with it. I weigh around 200 pounds and have even been doing weighted dips on the dip stand.

Note:The dip stand is supposed to withstand 300 pounds. This is sturdy equipment—it can accommodate even the largest bodybuilders.

Muscle Man

Bench press

Man with muscular shoulders

I have found that dips are overall one of the best chest exercises at home gyms. I would tend to avoid heavy barbells overhead such as with a bench press because I exercise alone.

Question:A reader writes: is the Ultimate Body Press easy to assemble and disassemble?

Answer:It's not as easy to put together as I would like. My Ultimate Body Press is now three years old. It is hard to jam into place.


I recommend the Ultimate Body Press dip stand for simple home gyms and for beginners to the dip movement. The exercises you can do on this equipment are safe and rewarding. The dip stand here is also sturdy and fairly light.

Tip:Dumbbells and the dip stand are ideal for home gyms. Benching heavy weights alone sometimes turns out to be dangerous.


There are also other types of dip stands you can purchase. You could even build one yourself out of pipes. If you have room, a piece of equipment called a power tower can be used. A power tower also works for pull-ups.

Dips are not a trivial or unimportant exercise. They are better than pushups because you can do them with weights. For a home gym, dips are in some ways a better option than bench presses, particularly when done alone.

Tip:The risk of injury is less. There is no bar that can crush you. Dips work similar muscles as the bench press.


Caution: exclamation mark

There are problems with dips. Many beginners find doing dips impossible. This setup should appeal most to bodybuilders who have been training for at least six months. If you can do pushups, dips are somewhat more difficult.


Safety:Dips even on good equipment can cause shoulder injuries. Dips on bad equipment are more dangerous.

Also:Convenience makes it more likely you will continue with your workout. Using improvised dip bars is inconvenient.


Dumb man flexing muscles

It seems everyone has an opinion about parallel bar dips. Percy writes in to say that he prefers the bench press to dips. He doesn't agree with the concept of dips being an upper body squat.

Meanwhile:Stan writes in to say that he think dips build muscle better than bench press. He thinks it gave his chest a broader shape.

Also:He felt the bench press resulted in more a "breast" shape to his pectorals. He found this undesirable.

My comment here is that a lot of weightlifting exercises have benefits. Some have more drawbacks than others. It is uncertain which is best. It might even depend on the individual. Our bodies are all different.


Powerful male chest

Parallel bar dips are one of the best exercises for the upper body. Most beginners to strength training will not be able to perform a dip. I ask how long it might take a new trainee to perform dips.

Note:The number of dips you can do depends on your strength. It also depends on your weight.

When you first try dips, you will often be disappointed at your performance. You need to learn the correct movement and you need the strength to perform the movement. Overweight trainees have a much harder time on dips.

Muscle pictures, arms

After two months, your proficiency with dips is a matter of persistence in your strength training. At first, you can start with mostly negatives. After a while you will be able to do 10 dips in a set with your bodyweight.

And:After this, you can proceed to weighted parallel bar dips in sets of 10. This is the goal for male bodybuilders.

Then:Weight lifters who practice the dip movement are able to do several sets of 8-15 dips or weighted dips.

Dip belt

If your exercise routine includes dips, you will become strong enough that these are easy. You can use a dip belt to gain more strength. Next, I describe my experience with an inexpensive dip belt.

Note:Dip belts help make dips harder. This leads to increased muscle mass for bodybuilders.

Dips with weights. Parallel bar dips build your chest and triceps. It is important that you practice them regularly as you train. You may need to purchase your own dip belt to add plates to your dips and gain more strength.

Weight plates for an Olympic barbell

With a dip belt, the weight is attached usually by a chain at the front between your legs. It is supported by pushing against your lower back with a large pad. Several inexpensive dip belts are available.

Depending on your bars, you may need to wrap the chain through the plate a couple times. This ensures it does not touch the ground at the low point of your dips. I found that dips are more enjoyable and balanced with a dip belt.


Tip:Dips are an excellent exercise for your entire upper body. At some point you will need to add weights onto a dip belt.

And:It is better to use a dip belt than to try to hold a dumbbell with your feet. A dumbbell reduces the stability of the movement.


Sometimes when I do dips,
particularly weighted dips,
I get a headache
or feel lightheaded. After a few moments, the feeling goes away. This is a combination of the exertion and my holding my breath during the exercise.

Dips have always caused me some degree of lightheadedness. For me, this is an aspect of strength training that I enjoy—the hard exertion and even the pain. In fact, for many bodybuilders, the pain is addictive.

Lifting Weights, Addictive?

Note:I have no way to prevent the headache after dips. Using less weight or fewer repetitions may be helpful.

And:Over the years, the headache has not caused any problems for me or proven to be a serious concern.

Triceps dips

Man wearing muscle shirt: strong arms and chest

As a trainer I encounter lots of interest in arm muscle. People want more and want ideas on how to get more. There are many exercises that can help with triceps size. I describe the triceps dip.

The triceps dip requires a flat bench, as for weight lifting, and a folding metal chair. Position the chair at a length away from the bench. Then put your feet on the metal chair and your arms to your sides on the weight lifting bench.

Next:Lower your butt down in front of the weight lifting bench. Your feet will remain perched on the chair.

Then:Repeat this ten times or however many times are possible. Try not to go too far down—this might cause an injury.

Triceps dips: 2 sets

1 x 10
1 x 10


Muscle man wearing jeans

How do muscles grow? Every detail is not known by science. Exercise changes the hormonal environment of the body over the following days. This then causes the change in muscle size and body fat percent.

Isolated exercises, such as triceps dips, are less useful in getting big arms than they might seem. Doing compound movements like bench presses or even squats provokes faster muscle growth with more hormones.


Tip:Dips are a good exercise for your arms—particularly the large muscles on your upper arms.

Also:Arm muscles grow in response to hormones which might be better increased with other exercises.

TestosteroneGrowth Hormone


How can you do pull-ups at home? If you do not have handy bars, or are near a park that does, you can install a pull-up bar in your home. Special bars fit in door frames. They are sturdy and efficient for your workouts.



If you want to do dips at home, it is best to buy some special parallel bars. You can purchase these cheaply. They cost about as much as a simple weight lifting bench. Dips are an important exercise for bodybuilders.

And:They can even be used to replace the bench press for a home gym. This has safety benefits.

Strong: Exercises