I enjoy doing the exercise known as dips. You position yourself between two parallel bars about chest high, grab the bars and then raise yourself off the ground until your arms are straight. Slowly you lower yourself between the bars until your upper arms are parallel to the floor. I do this as a chest exercise by tilting my body forward as I lower myself. This way the chest is targeted. If you dip while your body is upright, you target the triceps more. I find this exercise easy and for the past couple of years I have been doing weighted dips. I got myself a dip belt, a simple belt with a thick pad and a chain and loop attached to either end. I thread barbell plates through the chain and attach the clasp to the loop. Today I was able to do dips with eighty pounds of plates hanging from the chain. I started my routine today with sixty pounds then increased each subsequent set by five pound increments. My long-term goal was to hit eighty before I left for Europe and now I made it to eighty two and a half months before my departure. I did sets of ten then eight reps as I progressed with a greater weight each time. After all my sets with less than eighty pounds, I was getting tired and I could only do one set of six and one set of seven reps with eighty pounds. Perhaps by early July I will be able to dip with ninety pounds, or two enormous 45-lb. plates dangling between my legs on a chain. Two years ago right before I left for Switzerland, I attempted this exercise with sixty pounds, and I must have pulled a pectoral because I was sore afterward and was glad to have had a month off to recuperate. It took more than four weeks for my right chest to heal, because I avoided doing dips for weeks after I got back from Europe in 2007. After feeling that pain of a muscle pull I am more careful and will not attempt to hit ninety pounds if I feel I feel I can’t make it.

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