No home gym is complete without a power tower, for it is one of the most important pieces of gym equipment that money can buy. These stations will allow you to perform various bodyweight exercises, granting you a whole-body workout without the need to leave your home.
And although I would not classify a power tower as a full body workout machine, it is about as close to one as you can get.
Isn’t that a godsend during these times?
What is a Power Tower?
A power tower is a bodyweight fitness machine that combines parallel bars, the horizontal bar, and handles for push-ups.
You can extend these features by adding additional elements to the tower, such as a punching bag or an adjustable weight bench.
We recently did a review of the top punching bag stands that also come with a pull up bar if you think you may want a power tower with a bag attachment. You can find our review article here.
This machine’s versatility, combined with the compact size, makes it a great addition to your home gym setup and a perfect tool to perform numerous exercises.
3 Best Power Towers for the Best Workouts
If you’re considering adding a power tower to your home gym, then here are the top options to choose from, in my opinion:
Body Champ VKR1010 – Overall Best
Numerous home power towers tend to be unstable. This is a turnoff for a lot of people, understandably so. However, this isn’t a problem with the VKR1010 as it comes with a well-designed base that keeps it from wobbling or swaying all over the place when you use it.
Surprisingly, the base is narrow, and its strength is how it curves out at both the front and the back. This helps to evenly spread the weight of the tower while you are using it, immensely stabilizing it.
Assembling this tower is a very straight-forward process. Alone, putting this tower together won’t take more than an hour. This allows you to easily start your exercise regime as soon as possible.
Moreover, the VKR1010 comes with nice, thick padding. However, it doesn’t have a lot of giving, which is both a bad thing and a good one. It’s good in the sense that the pads will definitely retain their shape for a long period of time, extending their life as a result. The bad is the fact that this makes the pad much more uncomfortable than the ones you’d find on most other models.
Although this tower is very stable, it is relatively basic. Additionally, the grips are a bit far apart than some would like. In other words, it’d be really difficult for a person with a smaller than usual frame to use this tower without facing any problems.
- Dimensions: 55 x 41 x 83 inches
- Weight: 65.7 pounds
- Weight Capacity: 250 pounds
- Frame Material: Steel
- Workout Stations: Pull-up bar, vertical knee raise, dip station, and lower push-up bars
- A well-designed base that provides excellent stability
- Comfortable grips
- Very easy to assemble
- Unsuitable for people with a smaller frame
- Uncomfortable padding
So, should you get this power tower?
Honestly, yes. If you’re not going to miss the forward rips on the pull-up bar, then this power tower is definitely the one to get. The only real issue that it might have is its incompatibility with people with a smaller frame.
RELIFE REBUILD YOUR LIFE Power Tower – Bang for Your Buck
More commonly known as the “Relife Rebuild Your Life” tower, this power tower the best choice for people who want the best but are on a budget. The machine is not expensive at all, and yet it allows you to perform numerous exercises that other devices at the price range won’t.
Additionally, this power tower is an excellent combination of both lightness and robustness. You can also adjust the height so that it suits your own. It can go from 149.9 cm to 225 cm. You can also adjust the back cushion according to your height, ranging from 17.78 cm to 24.38 cm.
Thanks to these numerous adjustable factors, you can perform your exercises in the most comfortable state ever. Moreover, the tower’s frame design is steel-based, with reliable support, making it an extremely robust piece, capable of supporting up to 330 lb of user weight.
Despite the robust steel frame, this power tower still manages to be on the lighter side of things and offers great stability for the user. It only weighs about 60 lb, which means you can easily move it around if needed.
As for working out, this tower allows you to work each and every muscle of the upper body.
First, it comes with a pull bar, which is perfect for doing push-ups that will strengthen both your waist and back muscles as well as improving heart and lung function.
Second, there are handles attached to the base of the tower, which can be used to perform more effective push-ups. These will help to strengthen your arms and back muscles as well as sculpting the line of the legs.
Last but not least, you get parallel bars that allow you to lift your legs, working your abdominal muscles in the process as well as improving your overall endurance.
- Dimensions: 35.4 x 26.4 x 58.5~89 inches
- Weight: 64 pounds
- Weight Capacity: 330 pounds
- Frame Material: Steel
- Workout Stations: Pull-up bar, vertical knee raise, dip station, and lower push-up bars
- Excellent price (cheap)
- Good weight capacity
- Can be adjusted to a number of different settings
- Sturdy construction
- Audible chirps while exercising (rare)
RELIFE Rebuild Your Life has put together an amazing product that is this adjustable, sturdy, lightweight power tower. A versatile piece of machinery that is suitable for people of all sizes, with a very attractive price!
Gold’s Gym XR 10.9 Power Tower – Best Affordable
Gold’s Gym is a household name when it comes to fitness equipment, hence why it isn’t a surprise that one of their machines made it to my very exclusive list.
The XR 10.9 power tower comes in a compact design, which makes it usable in almost any corner of your home. It’s also pretty lightweight, and as a result, you won’t find yourself struggling to move it from one place to another.
What really sets this power tower apart from the rest is the wide range of exercises that you can perform on it. In addition to the standard pull-ups, dips, and leg raises that you find in any other model, the XR also allows you to do a wide variety of push-ups and sit-ups.
There is excellently thick padding for your forearms and back, which makes this machine much more comfortable to use. The padding on the handgrips, for one, is a brilliant touch, as it is thick enough to provide the right amount of comfort without being too thick to the point where you lose grip. In other words, you won’t have to worry about your hands slipping or sliding off.
As is the case with most power towers, the XR 10.9 is not entirely stable. So, if you want to reduce the level of wobble that you might encounter when using it, my recommendation is that you add some weight to the base.
- Dimensions:57 x 41 x 84inches
- Weight: 95 pounds
- Weight Capacity: 300 pounds
- Frame Material: Steel
- Workout Stations: Pull-up bar, vertical knee raise, dip station, and lower push-up bars
- Affordable price
- Wide range of exercises
- Compact design
- Thick padding for back and arms
- Rubber grips on the base
- Sturdy, durable, and lightweight frame.
- Low weight capacity
- Slightly wobbles, especially during exercises that involve pull-ups and dips
- Difficult to assemble
All in all, the Gold’s Gym XR 10.9 is a great piece of machinery and a great value for your money, offering you an exercise that is full of comfortable and variety for an affordable price!
How to Choose a Power Tower
Which Exercises Does It Offer?
A large number of the cheaper power towers miss a number of the key options that a power tower should have at the offer.
I consider buying a power tower as an investment, and that’s why I recommend that you make sure that whatever you’re getting allows you to do as many exercises as possible.
Comfortable Hand Grips
This is an important feature to have since missing a nice grip can very well cause burning in your hands as well as blisters.
Solid Frame Bars
Any reasonable person wouldn’t want to work out using a wobbly piece of machinery. Additionally, the frame is important for both your safety and long-term durability.
One way to ensure that whatever power tower you’re getting is most likely durable is checking if it’s made of solid steels and whether or not it comes with washers, screws, and nuts.
Next up, make sure that whatever tower you’re getting has a base that can fit in wherever you plan on putting it.
Maximum Weight Capacity
My recommendation for this is to get a tower that can basically carry your own weight multiplied by 1.3. This allows you to have additional resistance by wearing a weighted vest.
If you’re on a budget, then you should definitely find a tower that suits your wallet. As I’ve demonstrated above, there is a huge number of good, affordable power towers out there.
All in all, I urge you to do some solid research on a number of products before spending any money and make sure that you get your hands on what you exactly need.
Benefits of Owning a Power Tower
There is no denying that the beauty of calisthenics resides in the fact that you don’t really need any equipment to improve. However, this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t get some specialist equipment such as a power tower.
The benefits of having a power tower station are many, including:
It Targets Different Muscle Groups
As I’ve already mentioned, having a power tower means that you’ll be able to improve numerous muscle groups:
- Abdominal muscles
It Allows You to Perform Compound Exercises
All of the main movements that I’ve mentioned in this article are compound exercises. In other words, they engage more than just one muscle group.
According to experts at the American Council on Exercise (ACE), compound exercises are one of the key foundations to strength training, and they provide the following benefits:
- Burn a lot of calories
- Ameliorate flexibility and coordination between your muscles
- More beneficial to your cardiovascular system than isolation exercises
It’s Easy to Use Ease of Use
One of the key benefits of a power tower is how easy and simple it is to use. Some fitness machines tend to be complex, having numerous lights, buttons, sliders, knobs, and gadgets, which end up making them somewhat hard to use.
On the other side of the spectrum, you have power stations, which are one of the simplest of the bunch to use.
You just climb on and perform whatever exercise you feel like performing, be it a pull-up, a hanging leg raise, etc. This simplicity is probably one of the main reasons why power towers are popular.
Power towers tend to be durable and incredibly sturdy. They are, more often than not, constructed from heavy-duty metal. As a result, you won’t find yourself worrying about them buckling due to your weight.
However, as is the case with any product in the market, there are exceptions. And the last thing that you want to happen is for your tower to start creaking, rocking, or any of that funny stuff while you’re in the middle of your exercise. Such problems can be anywhere from annoying to life-risking, and for that, I highly recommend that you get an idea of what you’re getting into.
One of the key elements to successful training is variety. Continuously switching things up comes with a lot of benefits.
Performing the same one or two exercises each week can quickly become boring, and your body will probably end up adapting sooner than later, rendering the exercises somewhat useless. Besides, you won’t be able to cover all major muscle groups.
And this is where the power station comes into play as it’ll allow you to try numerous different exercises such as triceps dips, pull-ups, push-ups, inverted rows, squats, leg raises, etc. Consequently, you won’t be getting bored anytime soon.
It Has a Compact Design
Most power stations tend to have a compact design, which is quite an underrated benefit, in my opinion. So, if you’re a gym owner and your gym lacks space, getting a few power towers isn’t a bad idea. It’s no different if you want an addition to your home gym but can’t provide much space.
The fact that these machines can offer so many different exercises and workout options without taking up a lot of space is just great.
Finally, It’s Affordable!
Last but not least, power towers are super affordable for what they provide. This is mainly due to the fact that they’re basically just a sturdy metal frame without any LCD display, sophisticated computer, or any of that stuff.
So, if you’re looking to build a functioning home gym, but you’re light on money, then a power tower would make for a great addition and, most importantly, an affordable one!
Power Tower Exercises
A typical power tower workout consists of performing all the possible exercises that you can pull off using that particular tower, which usually are:
- Pull-ups (pronated grip)
- Chin-ups (supinated grip)
- Low incline push-ups
- Chest dips
- Triceps dips
- Knee raise (vertical chair)
Such a workout routine would activate most of your upper body muscle groups: back, shoulders, biceps, triceps, chest, abdominal muscles, etc.
Here’s how you can properly perform a pull-up:
- Leap up, grip the bar with your hands shoulder-width apart and your palms facing away or in a neutral grip position. Hang with your arms fully extended.
- Make sure to keep your shoulders back and your core engaged. Then simply pull up. Try to focus on getting every muscle of your upper body to achieve such a task.
- Get yourself upward in a slow and controlled manner until your chin makes it above the bar. Once you make it, slowly lower yourself down until your arms are extended again.
- Aim to perform at least ten pull-ups, but it’s not a problem if you fall short since most people tend to during their first few tries.
In case you feel like performing 10 pull-ups is a near-impossible task, then I recommend that you start by getting used to hanging your bodyweight by simple dead hanging for as long as possible without moving up or down.
This variation of the pull-up is used to target upper back muscles, such as the latissimus dorsi. Such a movement is essential if you plan to have a good workout routine, and to master, it will benefit you both from an aesthetic standpoint and a strength one.
Here’s how you can properly perform a wide-grip pull-up:
- Stand straight underneath a pull-up bar.
- Reach up and grab the bar with each hand, with your thumbs pointing toward each other.
- You should position yourself in a way that your arms and torso form a “Y.” More specifically, each arm should be 30 to 45 degrees from your body, no more, no less.
- Look straight ahead and pull yourself upwards towards the bar
- Pause, then lower yourself to the original position
If you wish to make the wide-grip pull-up exercise more challenging, then I suggest that you simply add more weight, all within the power tower’s weight limit, of course. The main three ways that you can do this is by wearing a belt with attachable weights, a weighted vest, or cradling a dumbbell between your feet.
The close-grip pull-up is a variation of the pull-up exercise that’s mainly used to build the muscle of the arms and the back, more specifically, your lats and biceps.
Contrary to the wide-grip pull-up, the close grip helps to alleviate any unnecessary strain on your shoulders. However, you have to keep in mind that the closer grip results in more bicep involvement to the point where they might slightly overshadow the lats.
Here’s a step by step on how to perform a close-grip pull-up:
- Grasp the pull bar with a grip on the width of a shoulder.
- Breathe in, brace your abs, and squeeze your glutes. Depress your shoulder blades, then drive down to the floor.
- Pull your chin up towards the bar to the point where your lats are fully contracted.
- Slowly return to the initial position and repeat for the needed number of times.
Here are a few tips regarding close-grip pull-ups:
- To ensure that the biceps don’t overshadow the lats, use a thumbless grip.
- Make sure to maintain a neutral head position; To do that, look slightly up or ahead.
- Make sure to squeeze your glutes and brace your abs each time.
- The pull-up is done once the lats are fully flexed, so don’t continue pulling to the point where you start activating the pecs to compensate. This isn’t good in any way or form, so avoid it.
Here is a video that Illustrates the close-grip pull up exercise on a power tower
Close-Grip Pull-Up Video Illustration
Yet another variation of the pull-up exercise, the chin-up, is mainly used to build the muscles of the back, more specifically, the lats.
Such exercises like the chin-up are essential to have in your workout program since they’ll help you to build a strong and well-balanced physique.
Here’s how to properly perform a chin-up:
- Grasp the bar using a shoulder-width, supinated grip.
- As usual, take a very deep breath, brace your abs, and squeeze your glutes. Depress your shoulder blades, then, while activating the lats, drive the elbows down to the floor.
- Pull your chin up towards the bar. Stop when your lats are fully contracted.
- Lower yourself back to the initial position in a slow and controlled manner and repeat for the needed number of times.
Here are a few tips about chin-ups:
- If you wish to increase bicep involvement, use a false grip (thumbless).
- Make sure to maintain a neutral head position. In other words, always look straight ahead or slightly up.
- Always squeeze your glutes and brace your abs. Yes.. Chin ups and pull ups do work abs.
- The movement is done once the lats are fully flexed, so don’t continue pulling past that.
Dips work a variety of muscles and most people don't know that there are two versions of power tower dips that target two different areas in the body.
As the name suggests, the chest dip is a great way to target the muscles of the chest. It will also indirectly improve your triceps and shoulders as well.
Chest dips will effectively affect the lower region of the pec, similar to a decline bench press. However, given that it follows a vertical pressing movement pattern, it’ll provide a unique approach when it comes to hitting the muscles of your chest.
I recommend that you try and master the bodyweight variation of this exercise before you add any weight.
Here’s how to perform chest dips:
- Step up on the dip station of your power tower, then position your hands using a neutral grip.
- Unlock the elbows and slowly lower your body until your forearms are almost parallel with the floor.
- Control the descent to parallel.
- Drive back to the starting position by pushing through your palms, then repeat.
Numerous people don’t know that there are two different ways to do dips. One focuses on your chest while the other focuses on your triceps.
Here’s how to perform the version that focuses on your triceps most:
- Grasp the parallel dip bars using an inward grip.
- Jump up off the floor and focus all of your weight on the bars.
- The key to hitting your triceps is to keep your body as straight as humanly possible without leaning forward. In other words, you’ll have to keep your legs hanging around instead of crossing them.
- Slowly lower yourself until your elbow is at the same height as your shoulders. Then, raise your body back up without.
- Repeat for a desired number of reps.
This video demonstrates the difference between the to dip versions
Difference Between Chest Dips and Triceps Dips on Power Tower Video Illustration
Vertical Chair Knee Raise
The vertical knee raise is an essential exercise that lets you add some variety to your ab workout in a more advanced approach. If you’re after the famous six-pack abs or even the 10 pack set of abs, then adding the vertical knee raise is a must.
Here’s how to properly perform one:
- Allow your legs to dangle by taking them off the support, then take a deep breath.
- Bend your knees and lift them towards your chest while you exhale. You should bring the up until your thighs are parallel to the floor.
- Continue to bring them as high as you can without looking down or around the upper back off the rest.
- Slowly return your legs to the initial position while inhaling.
- Repeat for desired reps
Low Incline Push Up
A low incline push-up targets the two main muscles of the chest, the pectoralis major and minor. It also engages the deltoid of the shoulders, the triceps of the arms as well as the back, hips, legs, and abs. Such a slow and precise motion can really engage most of your body.
Here’s how to perform a low-incline push-up:
- Face the power tower standing.
- Place your hands on the push-up brackets. Make sure that your arms are straight without locking your elbows.
- Bend your elbows so that you slowly lower your chest while inhaling. Make sure to keep your body both straight and rigid during this.
- Push your body away from the brackets while exhaling until your elbows are extended but not locked.
- Repeat the motion in slow, steady repetitions.
Beginner Power Tower Workout
If you’re a beginner, then I recommend you repeat the following 30-minute workout three times per week:
Warming Up (5 to 7 minutes)
The best way to warm is to do jumping rope or jumping jacks
Your aim is to warm up the muscles and ligaments to prepare both your nervous system and body for the exercise. Start at a minimum pace and gradually increase the intensity.
Pull-Ups (10 to 15 reps)
Your goal is to start training the larger muscle groups. Your back’s in this case.
Push-Ups (15 to 20 reps)
These are for your chest, muscles, and shoulders.
Tricep Dips (15 to 20 reps)
Perform this exercise to work on your triceps
Close Grip Pull-Up (10 to 15 reps)
Perform this exercise to train both your brachioradialis latissimus dorsi and biceps.
Quads/Glutes (10 reps for each leg)
Stand straight while facing away from the tower. Extend one leg backward and place it on top of it on the pad. Squad down until the knee of the second leg touches the floor. Return to the initial position and repeat with the opposite leg.
This exercise is great for your legs.
Vertical Knee Raise (15 to 30 reps)
Perform this exercise to train your abs
Intermediate-Advanced Level Power Tower Workout
This is an upper-lower 4-day workout split with the upper days on the power tower. This is how a 7-day schedule should go:
- Monday: Upper
- Tuesday: Lower
- Wednesday: Off
- Thursday: Upper
- Friday: Lower
- Saturday & Sunday: Off
Day 1 & 4 – Upper
- 10-minute warm-up
- Pull-ups: 4 sets x 8 to 12 reps
- Chin-ups: 3 sets x 8 to 12 reps
- Chest dips: 3 sets x 8 to 12 reps
- Triceps dips: 3 sets x 8 to 12 reps
- Incline push-ups: 1 set to failure
- Ab crunches: 2 sets to failure
- Vertical knee raises: 2 sets to failure
- Roman chair sit ups: 3 sets to failure
Day 2 & 5 – Lower
- Glutes, Upper Legs, Calves