You already know I think the Valor BD-7 is a great budget buy if you’re in the market for a squat rack. I spoke highly of it in my review and nothing’s changed in the past seven days to make me think otherwise.
One thing that’s not perfect about it, though: its extensions. My guess is you’ll probably want to shop outside of the Valor brand for your handles, chains and carabiners – but you will definitely want to stay on-brand for the dip handles. Give Valor your money for these.
These Handles Are Good And You Should Buy Them
You make some compromises when you go the garage gym route. I make compromises. You give up a lot of movements that you got used to doing in commercial gyms because you don’t have the room or the budget to stock up on inner-thigh adductors and single-arm donkey kickback machines.
So, every time you can not only come up with a replacement for an exercise you liked to do in the gym, but actually find equipment that 1) is that exact same movement and 2) doesn’t take up any more space, it’s worth celebrating. And so it is with these dip bars, which Valor sells separately (here’s a link to buy them on Amazon; you support the blog if you buy anything through this link – thank you!) from the BD-7.
Solid steel handles lock in with a rock-solid weld to a steel faceplate, and that locks in to the BD-7 holes without moving a millimeter. They slide in and out quickly, so it’s not a hassle at all to put together programming that might involve adding them to or removing them from the rack (like, say, a superset of dips and pull-ups).
I’m not a pro welder, so far be it from me to say, “By golly, that’s a darn good weld,” but by golly, that’s a darn good weld. I know that I weigh 200 pounds and I like to do dips with plates hanging from a belt, and you know what? The handles never flinch.
Now, to get picky: I can’t definitively say that these dip bars are for everyone, because they do seem a bit wide apart, gripped normally (hands neutral). For me, it’s not a problem – I’m 6-foot-3 with long arms and wide shoulders, though. To be sure, pretty much the only knocks I see about these handles on Amazon reviews are exactly about this issue. If you are grasping too wide and performing full range of motion dips, you certainly could open yourself up to excessive torque at the shoulders and elbows.
The part you actually touch is the slightest bit on the slippery side, because the handles are pebbled plastic. I, for one, have had more than a few very sweaty workout sessions and not slipped at all with these handles; your mileage may vary if you’re absurdly sweaty in your hands. I do have to say, though, I kind of wonder if they wouldn’t be better off without the handles at all. And that’s not a ringing endorsement for a feature.
- Solid steel construction
- Lock in firmly to the BD-7 front frame
- Small space footprint makes it perfect for garage gyms
- Set width of handles may be too wide for some to execute dips safely or comfortably
- Grip material on handles isn’t anything special
I was delighted to find that Valor made these handles after I’d bought my BD-7. They feel high-quality and stand up to the same kind of punishment you’d inflict on a commercial dip station. Yes, the handles could stand to be a little closer together, and for some, this may even be a disqualifying factor. But I’m a happy customer and these aren’t going anywhere.