Dipping belts have been in the gym bags of many bodybuilders and athletes for a while now, and for good reason. They allow for progression on certain exercises (which we’ll get into shortly) and help you to build fantastic real-world strength. Dipping belts allow for weight to be added on bodyweight movements, which is great news for us natural weightlifters (Can’t forget the cardinal rule of progressive overload). Also, let’s admit it: bodyweight exercises are simply bad-ass. Now, let’s look at the key benefits and exercises that come from the dipping belt.
Dipping Belt Exercises
The list of exercises that can be performed using a dipping belt is pretty short, but I’ll stick to the most effective and efficient ones (and the one’s that can be done safely, keeping you injury free).
✓ Weighted Chin Ups & Pull Ups
This is personally my favorite back-builder right beside the deadlift. With a dip belt, you can add weight to these two exercises. When people ask me, “how do you build a big back?” I ask them how many weighted chin ups they can do with two 45 lb plates dangling from their waist. If you can build up your weighted chin ups or pull ups to at least half your bodyweight, your back will be a muscle shield, I can guarantee it.
✓ Weighted Dips
(Both Triceps & Chest variations). Weighted dips are an incredible exercise for the chest, triceps and shoulders. I think it was the old bodybuilding legend Mike Metzer that called dips the upper body squat, and he sure as hell knew what he was talking about. Like the squat, dips are a close chained exercise, which means it is generally easier on the joints overall (When I say “close chained,” I mean that the hands are fixed and the body moves). If you can build your weighted dips up to 100+ pounds, I can guarantee you’ll be rocking some solid pecs, bulging triceps, and defined shoulders.
✓ Hip Belt Squats
Hip belt squats are an overlooked, but highly effective exercise. While they’re not a direct replacement for a barbell back squat, they’re worth doing as a supplementary exercise (or if you suffer from any kind of upper body injury, as you won’t have to support the weight on your shoulders). These are done by setting up two boxes in a “V” shape and standing on top of it with your loaded weight using the dip belt. The next step is simple: squat (to parallel or lower). Hip belt squats are a quad dominant movement, and should also be used along with posterior chain work (deadlifts, hamstring work, etc).
*Tips & Tricks
I find that dips are the easiest to progress on, you can add about 5 pounds each workout and greatly improve your pressing power. When it comes to these exercises, try adding a small 2.5 pound plate each workout. This may not sound like much, but in a month that’s 10 pounds. This kind of progression is known as microloading and is highly effective for increasing strength. It’s much easier to just add 2.5 pounds than it is to add 5 to 10 pounds each workout. Also: keep your body as tight as possible. I call this, “plugging the energy leaks.” By staying tight, glutes flexed, lower body tight, abs contracted, you’ll be able to transfer far more power and generate more reps while doing these exercises. Try it out!
Benefits of a Dipping Belt
I think the benefits of using a dipping belt speak for themselves. Adding weight to bodyweight movements like these build a killer physique, especially if you can get extremely strong on them. Obviously there’s a point when you can’t keep progressing due to natural strength limits, but you’ll get plenty far enough to get to where you want to be. Trust me on this one: get a dipping belt, and get strong. Your physique will thank you.
So, what’s the Myprotein Dipping Belt like?
I’m currently using the Myprotein dipping belt, and it’s one of the best ones I’ve ever used. The chain is comfortable and doesn’t rip off your goods whenever you use it, and is extraordinarily durable. It can hold up to 220 pounds, which is more than anyone needs. If you can do more than that, you’re a beast.
Personally, I’ve been able to work up to 95 pound dips for 5 reps and weighted chins for 80 pounds for 5 reps all at a bodyweight of 165 lbs. If you want to add weight to your weighted chins and dips, this is the belt to use.
Take Home Message
If I could pick just three exercises to build an amazing physique, weighted chin ups, dips, and hip belt squats would be those exercises. However, the key is to do them weighted to apply progressive overload. Get the belt, get strong, and I promise you’ll be packing on muscle in no time.