T Nation

Homemade Dip Bar

Hi CT,

I just made a dip bar out of pipe that inserts into one hole in my power rack. It kinda looks like bike handle bars except that it mounts horizontal rather than vertical as it would in that front mount on a bike. Do you think I would benefit by having the bars slightly above (or below) parallel?

I know you like to bench that way and I do have a history of shoulder problems. Not sure what that would do to the wrists though. What do you think? Thanks.

I do dips in the power rack by running a pair of long 2 x 4s across the catchers. It actually gives me a nice flat surface to push against.

And I can put one end higher or lower than the other by 1-2 notches in the rack. If the front side is higher, you will hit your triceps more, and if the back side is higher you get more pecs and scapular supressors (think of push-ups plus movements).

Thanks and yeah I agree w/ you but CT says he likes to do flat benches slightly inclined or declined to lessen stress on the shoulders and I’m l wondering if that would work for dips also.

Not sure if CT would agree, but if I understand correctly what you’re intending or hoping to do, I don’t think it would make a difference (except maybe to make it either more or less uncomfortable on your WRISTS).

  • Pressing is an open-chained motion: limbs move an external weight around or away from the body;
  • Dips are closed-chain: weight is the body itself, which the limbs move in space around a stationary object.

So even though you’re using the same limbs and main muscles in both exercises, the effect on the shoulder joint is somewhat different. Angling the stationary “thing” you “press” in Dips (bars or handles or whatever) wouldn’t have the same effect on your shoulder as happens when you tilt the bench on which you lie to press a barbell or dumbbell. In the Dips example you’re of course not really pressing the dip handles, but pressing AGAINST them so your body rises away from them, against the pull of gravity - the body goes pretty much straight up. In Bench Press variations your shoulder moves weights through a slightly different arc or range depending on where your torso rests, which in turn obviously depends on the angle of the bench. Gravity always pulls straight down; therefore changing the angle of the bench changes the extent to which the shoulder joint is exposed to the load at various points along it arc or ROM.

In Dips the best you could probably do for such a source of variation is try to push / rise in more of an arc, or lean your torso forward while pushing (think sort of like mid-air Push-ups, or the opposite of Lean-Away Pull-ups). BUT I have tried this before, and believe me, if you have shoulder troubles you will probably NOT find that more comfortable.

Thanks and I agree: moving in an arc would apply more shear stress, but I’m not so sure about the rest, at least for now. I tried it w/ 2 bars and I think I can tell the difference, although I had to go 6" down on one side to feel it, which was further than anticipated. Maybe the angle causes a very slight change in the pull of gravity, but enough to make a difference?

Facing up feels better. Facing down I tend to flare out as you would expect and it feels a little awkward, but I haven’t done dips in years because of my shoulders so it’s to early to tell. And even if it feels OK, that doesn’t mean it’s a smart move. Plus I want to use a “V” setup rather than parallel. The wrists don’t seem to object. I also used Fat Gripz

If CT doesn’t respond I guess I’ll find out the old fashioned/hard way as I increase volume.

You don’t have the hand position and degree of flexion that cause the shoulder issues in the bench when performing dips. Angling the bars is just going to irritate your wrists.

Just make sure your shoulders don’t round in when dipping.