Dip Bar Alternatives
Dip bars are the main apparatus for doing the dip exercise -- an advanced body-weight movement that targets the triceps muscles. Many gyms and fitness centers have dip bars, but they are not a common piece of equipment in home gyms. If you don't have access to dip bars, try one of these exercise alternatives that also target the triceps muscles.
Use a weight bench, park bench, chair or even the edge of a bathtub to perform the bench dip exercise. It is the same basic movement as a parallel bar dip except your feet remain on the floor, making the exercise easier. Set both feet flat on the floor for the easiest version. Extend the legs with your heels on the floor for a more challenging version of the bench dip.
Rail extensions isolate the triceps even more than dips because they eliminate any movement at the shoulder -- the only movement occurs at the elbows. Use a sturdy rail about waist-height -- a Smith machine bar or a barbell set in a power rack will also work. Kneel in front of the bar and grab it with an overhand, shoulder-width grip. Start with your arms fully extended. Bend your elbows until they are at a 90-degree angle, pause for a count and then press back up, straightening your arms. For a more challenging version, lift your knees off the floor and do the exercise from a plank position, with your legs extended behind you.
Replace dip bars with chairs. The chairs should have high backs and be sturdy enough to hold your weight. Set the two chairs about 1.5- to 2-feet apart with the backs of the chairs facing each other. Grab the top of the backs of the chairs, bend your knees to lift your feet off the floor and cross your ankles to stabilize your lower body. For extra safety, have people sit in the chairs or place objects in the chair seats to make sure they won't tip over.
Target your triceps with no equipment by performing triceps pushups. Start in a pushup position with a shoulder-width or closer grip. When you lower your body, keep your elbows tucked in; do not allow them to flare to the sides as in a traditional pushup. This transfers the load from the chest to the triceps. For an easier version, set your knees on the floor.
Based in Austin, Texas, Jolie Johnson has been in the fitness industry for over 12 years and has been writing fitness-related articles since 2008 for various websites. She received her Bachelor of Arts in English and philosophy from the University of Illinois.