How To Do Weighted Dips Without Belt (5 Workout Options)

Adding weights to regular dips can really help you sculpt your upper body, but you need to find a way to carry the extra weight without impacting your form. A dip belt is often used, but if you don't have one, you might think you’re unable to do any weighted dips.

However, that isn’t the case, and in this guide, we'll show you how to do weighted dips without a belt.

Dip belts are specifically designed for weighted dips, but that doesn’t mean they’re the only solution out there. Here are 5 alternatives that will work just as well in any home gym:

1. Loaded Backpack 

Lifting a loaded backpack is the simplest and easiest way to perform a weighted dip without a belt. Just take your backpack and load it with weight plates. Zip it up tight, secure it to your back, and then perform your dips.

Make sure it's secured tightly to your back throughout the movement, or you could risk tweaking some lower back muscles.  

A loaded backpack is an excellent alternative to a dip belt because you don't need any specialist equipment.

The only downside is that the material can start to rip if you've got too much weight in there, so this is probably only a suitable option for beginners and intermediates who won’t need really heavy loads.

How To Do Weighted Dips Without Belt (5 Workout Options)

2. Dumbbells 

Almost every home gym has a set of dumbbells, and you can use them to perform weighted dips without a belt.

First, start in the dip position and have somebody place a dumbbell between your lower legs, so you're holding it with your ankles. The easiest way to do this is to cross your legs over, but it may take you a few attempts to get it right.  

This is a useful alternative to a dip belt because almost everyone has a few dumbbells available. The only limitation is that you can only add one dumbbell at a time, so unless you have some huge dumbbells, it will not add very much resistance.

Therefore, this solution is best for beginners and won't provide enough resistance for advanced lifters.

Related Article - Chest Dips Vs Tricep Dips

weighted dips with dumbbell

3. Weighted Vest 

Weighted vests are often used to make your standard workouts a bit more of a challenge. Runners will often wear them when training, but they can also be used in strength exercises. All you’ll need to do is put it on, zip it up, and then perform dips as usual.

Weight vests come in a wide range of sizes, and some can provide up to 150 pounds of extra weight.

This makes them suitable for people of all abilities, and many people prefer weighted vests to dip belts because the weight is more evenly spread across their body, which can help you feel more stable and even improve the form of your dip.

The downside is that these weighted vests can be expensive because they are specialist equipment, and you’re unlikely to have one lying around. See below for a great option!

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4. Regular Belt 

You don’t actually need a dip belt for weighted dips, and a tough normal belt will work fine. Just thread the leather belt through the weight plate and put it on your waist as normal. You can then perform dips as usual with the added extra resistance.  

This is an excellent alternative because you won't have to spend a cent on extra gear. Some people may be worried that a normal belt won't take the load, but leather belts can be surprisingly tough.

However, you shouldn't expect them to be able to take more than 100 pounds, and you should always test the weight on the belt first. This is a good solution for beginners and intermediates but probably won't work for advanced lifters who need higher weight loads.

regular belt for adding weight to dip

5. Chains 

You’ve probably seen social media celebrities performing dips with massive chains wrapped around their necks, but it isn’t just a gimmick because it can work as a dip belt alternative.

Chains come in a range of sizes, and you can just wrap them over your shoulders and perform dips with the extra weight.

Chains look pretty cool, and they're a good way to add extra weight without attaching anything to your waist. You can also get really heavy ones, so they're well suited for advanced lifters who want to add a lot of weight to their dips.

The only disadvantage is that they can be expensive, and you probably won’t have them at home already. This means you'll have to go and pay for them, and they can be more expensive than a dip belt. 

Read More - Push Ups Vs Dips

chains for weighted dips

Benefits Of Doing The Weighted Dip Exercise

Everyone knows that dips are very effective, but weighted dips can take your work out to the next level. They offer a few key benefits that make them really worthwhile to include in your training routine: 

Increases Muscle Mass 

Weighted dips are incredibly effective for developing your upper body. They engage your triceps, chest, and shoulders in one compound movement so that you can build lean muscle quickly.

Performing weighted dips regularly can help you develop large pecs, triceps, and traps, giving you a much bigger pump than regular dips.

Learn More - Calisthenics Body Vs Gym Body

Burns More Calories 

Everyone knows the secret to getting lean is growing your muscle mass and burning calories. Performing weighted dips will help you achieve that, and you can burn up to 100% more calories compared to doing regular bodyweight dips.  

Builds Functional Strength  

Weighted dips will make you look bigger, but they improve your functional strength by increasing your wrist strength and stability. This will help you feel stronger and will make it easier to perform other exercises so you can build strength across your body.  

Easy To Perform Anywhere 

You can perform weighted dips pretty much anywhere with very little equipment. This means you can still get a great strength workout in, whether you're in the gym, at home, or on the road.

doing weighted dips without a belt

Weighted Dip Training Program (For Chest & Triceps)

Weighted dips involve moving your whole body and extra weight down below the height of a dip bar.

This can be challenging for beginners, and it's important not to push yourself towards weighted dips until you've got the form completely right, or you could risk injuring yourself. Wait until you can comfortably perform 10-15 bodyweight dips without stopping before you consider adding in weight.  

Once you feel comfortable with weighted dips, you should add them to your workout routine. Weighted dips are a compound movement best incorporated into your chest or upper body routine.

We find it best to perform weighted dips on our chest and triceps day, but it depends on how you organize your training.

Ideally, you’ll be performing 10 reps in a set of weighted dips, 2-3 sets in a workout, and 1-2 workouts a week. This is sufficient to train your upper body and should give you significant gains while still giving your shoulders, chest, and triceps time to recover fully.

If you're a beginner, you will need to start slower, and you should aim for just 5 reps. Take it slowly and keep the weight light until you've got the form nailed down, and then increase the number of reps little by little until you can comfortably do 10 weighted dips without stopping.

Once you reach 10 reps, you can consider adding more weight to challenge yourself further. Weighted dips won't replace any key exercises (except perhaps push-ups), so you should still be performing your bench press and triceps exercises as part of your regular training.


How Much Weight Should You Add To Your Dips? 

There are 3 key factors that will impact how much weight you should add to your dip: 

  • Bodyweight 
    On average, heavier people can lift more weight because they tend to have more muscle mass. However, if you have a higher body fat %, then you will naturally have less muscle mass, and you won’t be able to lift as much. 
  • Training Level 
    You’re regarded as a beginner if you’ve been training for less than 2 years, an intermediate if you’ve been training 2-5 years, and advanced if you’ve been training for over 5 years. The longer you’ve been practicing your dip, the more weight you’ll be able to lift, and over time you should be able to carry more and more weight.  
  • Number of Reps 
    The more reps you're doing, the less weight you'll be able to bare. You should generally aim for 5-10 reps at a time, but knowing your 1 rep max for weighted dips is also useful. Ideally, a good 1 rep max for weighted dips is your body weight plus an extra 120 pounds. This is what advanced lifters will aim for, but it won’t be possible for everyone.  

Generally, beginners should look to add 5-15% on top of their body weight, intermediates should look to add 20-45% on top of their body weight, and advanced lifters should look to add 50-75% on top of their body weight.

Only the most advanced lifters should consider going above 80% on top of their body weight because you can risk serious injury.  

Progressive overload is the key to your progress. Start with a light weight and try to build on it every week. After a few months, you'll be surprised how far you've come, and you’ll be doing heavy weighted dips before you know it.  


Common Weighted Dip Questions Answered 

What are the alternative exercises for weighted dips?  

If you don't want to perform weighted dips, you can do push-ups, bench presses, or chest flys, which will all target the same muscle groups 

Related Article - Best Alternative Exercises For Dips

How many dips can an average person do? 

The average male lifter can perform 15-20 dips, though the average person who hasn’t trained at all may not even be able to perform 5.  

How can I increase my dips? 

Negative dips are the best way to increase your strength. Hold onto the dip bar and lower yourself so you’re just off the floor. Hold that position for as long as possible and it will help you build your upper body strength.

Are weighted dips safe? 

Yes, as long as you use weights that are balanced and stable. Just make sure you focus on your form and don’t use heavy weights until you feel comfortable.   


Conclusion

Incorporating weighted dips into your training routine can have serious benefits, and you'll quickly develop a much stronger upper body.

You don't need a dip belt to perform them, and hopefully this guide has given you some ideas of how you can do weighted dips at home without any specialist equipment.  

Last Updated on August 17, 2022