Monday, 12 April 2010

Home-made Equipment: Dip station

I have been out of action for quite some time for a few reasons lately; I know ideally there should be no excuses, but my time is exclusively reserved for decorating until we get our new house in order. In the mean-time, I have been preparing for my return to training by making some equipment using some of the scrap left over from the DIY jobs. After gutting the bathroom, I found it was kitted out with copper 40mm waste pipes. Although copper is usually quite a soft flexible metal, these pips are at least 1.5mm thick (copper didn't used to be as expensive as it is now), thus make for great handles for a dip station. I had some old wood lying around that I constructed into a frame, using the wall as the main anchor for the load.

First get a 42mm hole cutter and cut holes in a 2x6 inch piece of drywall stud. The hole need to be cut as close to the horizontal edge as possible, but not too close to what will be the vertical edges. This will provide plenty of strength for supporting your weight, combined with a 3:2 pivot ratio on the bars. Use some long 6M or 8M screws to secure it to the wall; I have used 3 x 6M 80mm screws, which will be plenty to support my weight plus 50kg of ballast (tested using sandbag).

Next place your 40mm copper tube (use steel tube if you plan on putting a load of more than 130kg on them, I am not sure of their capacity beyond this before they will start to bend). They should sit on a slant with plenty of slack, not too tight.

Next, get your spirit level and mark a line on what will be the supporting ground post for the frame. You want to cut the post so that it is almost level with the top of the 6x4 where it is mounted on the wall. If your floor is even and level, you can just mark it by standing it next to the 6x4. I preferred a level since I didn't trust the level of the floor enough, so held it in place.

Saw the post in two, hopefully you have enough for both posts. I chopped my post roughly in half in the end and used a floor strut to retain and raise the height of the posts slightly. If you have more wood at your disposal, cut them more precisely; I actually found the floor strut makes the structure more rigid, although I fitted it later on so don't have a picture of that, but it essentially mimics what the platform strut does. Cut a 42mm hole in the top of each post as shown; doesn't need to be much material above the hole, just enough to get some screws in for fixing the platform strut.

The platform should be secured to the 6x4 attached to the wall and to the supporting ground posts. This prevents any lateral movement in the frame, keeping it sold. You only need a couple of wood screws, nothing heavy duty since there shouldn't be much lateral stress on it. Conveniently, my platform strut was already cut to this shape and size, left over from building my son a table. Just ensure you have an area cut out between the posts to allow room for your chest should you lean into the dips.

Finally you should be able to neatly insert the pipes into the holes through the posts and into the wall brace. They aren't secured and shouldn't need to be; I like to be able to remove them when it's not in use so it doesn't take up too much space. Just ensure you always check the pipes are fully inserted before putting any load on them!

Here is a quick demo of the dip-station using just my body weight. I have also tested it using my 50kg sandbag held between my legs; seems suitable for heavy loads. I may upgrade the bars to some 40mm steel tubes at some point just for peace of mind.


  1. Hi, nice work, I punched home made dip station into Google and this came up, what a great idea, I had all sorts of feats of engineering swimming around my head, but this seems simple and strong, will give it a go and let you know how I get on.

  2. The wooden sheet just stabilises the whole thing. Dors not have to be a sheet, but i had it to hand. Without it, it is too wobbly for performing dips.

  3. To be honest this is the best suggestion I have come across online, so simple im definitely going to knock one up
    cheers rob

  4. I made this after looking at your post....great idea for my home gym, no excuse now...back on dips!!
    I cut the pipes a bit longer, wrapped some old 2" thick foam round them and then some carpet.I tightened it up with strong joined together tie clips.
    They pull off the pipes on slip back on and allow me to do hanging leg raises with the back of my elbows parallel with the pipe, I cant do sit ups e.t.c as my back is buggered. Still got some abbs because of this superb bit of kit!

    Cheers bud.


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