It's no secret that one of the best moves for upper body fitness is the dip. Properly executed dips engage the pecs, triceps, anterior deltoids, and the rhomboid muscles of the back. Now there are many different means by which to perform dips, from professional equipment to the mundane (two kitchen chairs, for example), and many ways to build your own station from inexpensive parts. I have seen many ideas for the use of PVC pipe, so I decided to try my hand. As crashing to the floor would not be a good thing, I have added extra supports to this construct, making it more of a 'dip cage' than anything else. Aside from stability, I have also made this in such a manner that it can come apart for easier storage.
This unit can be built for under $40. Store-bought dip bars are usually in the neighborhood of $80 and up.
Parts include: Seven 90 degree elbows, one 90 degree street elbows, four tees, two wyes, and three 10-foot pieces of PVC pipe, all 1 1/2 inch diameter. You will also need some PVC primer and cement.
Necessary tools: A saw, measuring tape, and marker.
First of all, you will need to cut your pipe. Do not forget to mark each one, that you do not get them confused during the gluing process. You will need:
a) two pieces 24"
b) four pieces 36"
c) two pieces 31"
d) one piece 25.75"
e) one piece 26.75"
f) one piece 32.5"
Now let's build the top and bottom pieces. Take all four of the 'b' pieces and glue all of the elbows on, as shown. The white box highlights the street ell, which is necessary for the bottom piece (I'll show you why in the next step). The yellow boxes show the top pieces, which have had a small piece (1.5") of PVC pipe glued into them as well (see detail pic). This is necessary for the top rails to fit into the sides.
** PVC glue sets very quickly! You must be careful when gluing, making sure the elbows are facing the same direction!
Let's do the most complicated side first. All of the pieces go together as shown below. For the easiest assembly, glue e and f into a wye first, then glue the second wye onto the bottom of f. Glue d into the lower wye and then set the assembly aside. Glue a tee on either side of part a.
Now, cut a small piece of PVC (1.5") and glue it into the top of the wye where e and f come together. This will allow you to glue the rest of the assembly together.
Notice that the lower wye is where the street ell will connect when you put the bottom rails on.
This step is easy. Glue the remaining two tees to the last a and then glue a c into each tee, as shown.
Now let's put it all together! As I mentioned before, since gravity and the weight of the user will hold these pieces together, I did not bother to glue them. This will allow you to take the assembly apart for easy storage. This design is exceptionally sturdy, though it does require you to duck into it. PVC pipe, in lateral compression, is very strong. a piece of 1.5" PVC can easily support 200 lbs. You should always check all the glued joints before each use, just to be safe.
Besides triceps and chest dips, you can also use this station for suspended rows and core work.
Any refinements or suggestions are always welcome!