The dip bar exercise equipment usually consists of two separate bars in the form of a U-shape. You could call them the bigger brother of the parallettes. They are about waist height for most people, and some dip bars are attached. I believe a pair that consists of two separate ones is better because they offer more options for exercising and are easier to store.
Some dip bars are higher than the regular ones and even allow for more movements. Like the Australian pull-up or an L-sit pull-up. Since most of the accessible dip bars out there are waist high we will keep these in mind while we go into the dip bars exercise equipment.
What exercises can you perform with dip bars
To get you going with your (new) dip bars let’s get into some examples of uses you could do with the dip bars. Please note that some of them might not be suitable for your particular bars. Some exercises mentioned are performed in the regular stance, the bars side to side, and in the other part, we will use them as elevation.
In the regular stance
The dip bars allow for regular dips which focus on training your triceps and part of your back. Stand between the bars and grab the bars with one hand on each. Lift your body up and keep your arms straight and your shoulders and scapulas down. While keeping your body straight bend your elbows and lower your body. After that bring your body up. Repeat for any amount of set repetitions.
Leg or knee raises
As an alternative to hanging knee or leg raises the dip bars provide a perfect alternative to these exercises. It is essential that you keep your scapula’s and shoulders down and keep your arms straight during the movement. Raise your knees or legs and keep everything at a 90-degree angle. Bring your legs up in a controlled matter. After that lower them down. Keep in mind to keep your feet in front of your body to prevent swinging.
This one is for the more advanced calisthenics athletes out there. The higher elevation compared to the parallettes also ads a little more “danger” because a possible fall will be from a more elevated position.
As I am writing this article, I am not able to perform these yet. Since I only go into exercises I understand at a proper level I will not give you any guidelines at this moment. But for some of you, the handstand push-ups are perfect since the dip bars allow for a lot of room for motion. Therefore you can combine the exercise with the L-sit for instance.
Using them for elevation
Decline or incline push-ups
For the decline push-up, you could stick to using just one of the bars. Put your feet on top of the bar or lock them behind the bar while you keep your hands on the floor. This position will create a decline. A decline push-up is harder than a regular push-up and puts more emphasis on the shoulders.
For the incline version put your hands on the side of both the bars. Using only one might result in the bar falling over, therefore, I advice to use both. You could consider using one and lying it on the floor for a less incline. Use the elevation to perform the incline push-up.
Elevated pike push-ups
Just like the decline push-up put your feet on top of the bar or lock them behind the bar. Instead of creating a plank position to start the push-up, form a 90-degree angle with your legs and upper body.
Now lower your body by bending your elbows but keep your upper and lower straight and in the 90-degree angle. After that push your body up again.
Bulgarian squats are a perfect way to overload the squat movement by using one leg to lower your body. During this squat, you put one of your feet on the dip bar and the other on the ground. As you lower yourself down the dip bar will provide stability.
This movement is a lot harder than it looks. Even though the foot on one of the bars ads stability this move will still require you to attain a lot of balance. The more you do this move, the more you will stop shaking during this exercise. Shaking? Yes, shaking.
As the above exercises show, the dip bars are more versatile than they seem at first glance. Be creative with it. Use the elevation, lie them down on the side or use them in the regular stance. Please make sure to read the instructions because maybe yours do not allow for any pressure with the dip bars in a different position.
Next to that they are very mobile and are easy to put away. This can be very convenient when you do not have a lot of room to work with, and you want to move on to the next exercise in your workout regiment.
You could even consider creating your own set of dip bars. I do appreciate some DIY from time to time, so if I’m considering making them, I will be sure to share this with you.
Are the dip bars essential in your equipment arsenal?
In short, I would say no, but they do offer a lot of additional possibilities when working out. With the dip bars, you have a great tool to target your triceps. There are other ways to focus your triceps, but the dip bars are one of the best options when you stick to calisthenics.
Most of the workout parks already offer dip bars, and that’s another reason why I think they are not essential. Next to that most dip bars that you could purchase are about hip height. This means that during the dip you will have to bend your knees. Even though the bending is not a real issue, I prefer the ability to stretch my legs and focus on perfect technique.
Benefits of dip bars
Some of the benefits of dip bars I already mentioned. As the bigger brother of the parallettes, dip bars provide a bigger range of motion and elevation. The parallettes are perfect for static holds. You can use the dip bars for static holds to, but they also allow for dynamic moves like dips or knee raises.
Let’s go into two other benefits of the dip bars. In calisthenics, a dip station is one of the best ways to create strong triceps. If you do not have a dip station, sphinx push-ups are a good alternative.
The dip bars allow you to train with your whole body weight. A push-up is a similar exercise to dips, but they don’t allow you to train with your entire body weight.
Do you own a pair of dip bars?
I’m very curious if you own a set of dip bars and if so where do you use it for most? If you do not own a pair of dip bars or a dip station do you think you should? I have owned a pair for some time, but I would like to put them to more use so please share your experience in the comments below so I can start using the heck out of them!