What is a Dipping Belt?

Mike Howells

A dipping belt is a weightlifting device that allows weights to be slung around the waist, increasing the difficulty and load for a variety of exercises, including dips and pull-ups. Most dipping belts are made of leather or heavy-duty nylon, with a chain attachment to cinch the belt closed. A dipping belt does not attach securely to the waist, but rather remains semi-secure as the dangling weights keep the belt tight. A dipping belt is generally used in conjunction with various free weights known as dumbbells.

Woman posing
Woman posing

Essentially a dipping belt performs the same function as a rope or chain, and that is precisely what some people use to loop on additional weight while exercising. A rope, however, can be uncomfortable and even painful as the added weight can cause it to dig into the skin. A dipping belt is much wider around the back, and offers more comfort by distributing the pressure over a greater area.

The most popular exercises done with dipping belts are dips and pull-ups. A dip involves gripping set of bars or rings, with the shoulders locked over the hands and the torso above the bars, and then slowly descending until the upper arms are roughly parallel to the ground, at which point the exerciser pushes back up. This exercise targets the chest, shoulder, and arm muscles, which must stabilize and then lift the entire weight of the body.

The pull-up involves hanging beneath a set of bars or rings and simply pulling one's self up, until the chin is above the bar. This exercise too involves using one's body as the weight, and targets the back, shoulders, and arm muscles. A natural and obvious limitation, in both cases, occurs when the exerciser progresses past the point where his or her own body weight is sufficient to make the exercise challenging. This is when a dipping belt becomes essential.

By threading weights through the belt and letting them hang between the legs, a person can add as little as a few pounds or kilograms to their load, and up to several 45 pound (20 kg) plates. When used with dips, in particular, a dipping belt can offer a safe, alternative form of upper-body strength training, compared to exercises such as the bench press, in which the entire weight being lifted is positioned above, and not below, the body. In addition once the weights touch the ground, the belt tends to go slack, meaning that the exerciser is rarely bound, or unsafely hampered, when wearing a dipping belt.

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