Ultimately I’m finding that working out at 52 yrs old for strength, health & bodily aesthetics isn’t that different from doing it in my 20s.
— Mike (@MikesFitAfter50) December 30, 2014
During my recent visits to the gym, I’ve been doing 6 sets of (forward-leaning) dips as part of my chest & arm focused workouts. I do the dips at one of those weight-assisted towers that also has the option of doing pull-ups (I do pull-ups at my tower at home). I place the weight assistance bar in the folded position so that my dips are unassisted. So really I’m just doing body weight dips.
I now weigh 170-175 lbs and if I do as many dips as I can, I’m doing sets of 16-20+ repetitions. That’s more reps than I tend to do for any of my other lifting exercises. I’d rather be in the area of 8-12 repetitions per set.
So, as a Christmas present to myself this year, I bought a weighted dip/dipping belt. A dip/dipping belt allows you to increase the weight you are pressing out in your dips by adding some weight plates that hang from your waist.
I went to Amazon and selected the Body Solid NB56 Nylon Dipping Belt because: 1) it was inexpensive, and 2) has good reviews.
I used the belt for the first time earlier today. Here is a brief review…
When I first got the belt, I noticed that–unlike dip belts I had used in the past–you have to step through the belt loop to get it up to your waist. Previous belts I had used had open loops that you wrap around your waist (much like a typical pant belt) and then closed the loop with the chain before putting on the weight plate. I wasn’t thrilled about this, but it’s not that big of a deal in practice.
Upon looking at the relatively large loop opening that goes around your waist, I was a little worried this thing would just slip off my waist and plummet to the ground as soon as I put a weight plate on it because my waist and hips are fairly slim (size 31). In actual use, this turned out to not be a problem at all; there was no slippage.
The belt is made out of a sturdy nylon material that seems sufficiently strong and durable for my intended usage of it.
Once at the gym, I put the belt on and started with a single 25 lb plate (exactly as shown in the photo above). It worked great and I was able to do slightly fewer than the normal number of dips I usually do in a set.
I then tried it with two 25 lb plates (total of 50 lbs). I maxed out at 10-12 reps for a set, which is about where I’d want to be. Though the number of reps was good, I thought my form suffered a bit and I wasn’t feeling it in my lower chest as much as I’d become accustomed to when doing purely body weight dips. Still I did 3 sets using 50 lbs and the belt and its attached chain didn’t seem strained at all (even though the max recommended weight is in fact 50 lbs; I think it could easily accommodate 75lbs or more).
I took off one of the 25 lb plates (returning to a single 25 lb plate), widened my grip, and did three more sets of dips. Now these felt pretty good and like something was happening in the lower chest area which is really my goal when doing these.
So, in conclusion, I give this belt a thumbs up for adding 25-75 lbs to your dips. I’m going to start with and use 25 lbs for a while–until that becomes too easy and my reps get too high–and gradually add more weight as long as I can maintain good form and feel the pump in my lower chest because that’s my experiential evidence that I’m getting the development in my lower chest that I’m looking for…:-).
If I find myself needing to go up to 100lbs or higher, I might opt for a seemingly heavier duty leather dipping belt, like the Body Solid Leather Dip Belt.