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The Best Power Tower Exercises For a Full-Body Workout

Tyler Sellers
Published by Tyler Sellers
Fact checked by Donald Christman, BHSc FACT CHECKED
Last updated: February 23, 2021

Although this multi-functional gear might look a bit scary and confusing at first, it’s fantastic for building strength, increasing power, developing a muscular physique, and even supporting weight loss.

People who have tried it know how engaging and fun a power tower workout can be with various exercises to do using your body weight.

Let’s dive deeper into the potential of a power tower workout and show you all its benefits, examples of exercises with descriptions, comparison, pro tips, and a sample workout.

The Best Power Tower Exercises

1. Pull-Ups

man Pull-Ups

The pull-up is fantastic for improving your grip and upper body pulling strength.

Using your back muscles and arms, lift your body so that your chin gets above the power tower pull-up bar. Hold. Then, slowly lower yourself to the starting position, fully straightening your arms.

Don’t build up momentum and ensure you keep your abs contracted, elbows in, shoulders back, and legs straight and tightly together to prevent swaying.

A standard pull-up with a wider pronated grip primarily targets your lats. But different grip widths and types allow you to emphasize biceps and other muscles in your arms or shoulders more.

Beginners lacking enough strength for performing correct technique can do easier assisted variations of pull-ups or use a resistance band.

2. Chin-Ups

woman doing Chin-Ups

Chin-ups are another effective power tower compound exercise on your way to a strong, broad back.

Chin-ups differ from pull-ups in a way you grab the chin-up bar - with a close, supinated grip so that your hands are facing toward you, not away.

Unlike pull-ups, chin-ups focus on the biceps more than the back muscles. [2]

You can make both exercises easier by using a resistance band or a partner’s assistance, or harder by adding weight and slowing down the movements.

3. Dips

man doing dips

Grasp the dip bars on the power tower dip station with your arms straight, knees bent at 90 degrees, and abs tight.

Slowly bend your elbows to 90 degrees and lower your body without swinging your legs. Pause and return to the starting position.

The dip works your arms, shoulder, back, and chest muscles.

Chest dips differ from triceps dips.

To emphasize the chest (pecs) when performing the dip, slightly lean forward, flare your elbows out to the sides a bit, and squeeze the chest at the top.

To isolate the triceps, squeeze them at the top, keep your upper body straight, elbows close to the body, and arms locked out.

Make sure you warm up your elbows well and don’t sway to avoid injury.

Beginners can do assisted dips or use a resistance band to make the exercise easier to perform with the right technique. Advanced athletes can use a kettlebell, weighted vest, or dip belt to add extra weight and challenge.

Related: Dips Vs. Bench (Which One Is Better?)

4. Push-Ups

man doing push ups

An effective full-body calisthenics or power tower workout can’t be imagined without the push-up in any variation.

Most bodybuilders and other athletes do the push-up to strengthen their chest, triceps, shoulders and improve core stability.

Position the dip handles at a low height, or use the two low parallel handlebars many power towers come equipped with.

The handles take the pressure off your wrists and let you go deeper to stimulate your muscles better.

Grab the handholds in a neutral grip and perform a low incline push-up.

Besides incline, you can do decline push-ups or knee push-ups if you lack strength.

5. Inverted Rows

man doing inverted rows

This bodyweight exercise helps strengthen your grip, back, biceps, forearms, core, and some stabilizers.

Set the dip bars around your waist height, holding the handles with an overhand grip slightly wider than your shoulder width.

Position yourself under the machine face up, leaning back until you’re almost parallel to the floor (or higher if this is too hard for you).

Pull the body up to the handles, keeping your abs tight and the whole body in a straight line from head to toe.

Pause and get back down, fully extending your arms. Focus on the correct technique.

6. Vertical Knee Raises

man doing vertical knee raises

Also known as the Captain’s chair, this is one of the best power tower exercises for abs because it can engage the abs 212% better than crunches if done correctly without momentum. [3]

Stand straight, pressing your back against the padded vertical panel, with your legs freely hanging, arms bent at 90 degrees, and forearms resting on the padded parallel bars (gripping the handles).

In a slow controlled movement without swaying, lift your legs bent at the knees until they’re parallel to the floor.

To increase the rectus abdominis activation and exercise effectiveness, raise the knees toward your chest/shoulders until your hips are fully flexed and tilt the upper body forward slightly at the top.

Pause and slowly lower your legs.

7. Alternating Side Knee Raises

woman doing Alternating Side Knee Raises

If you want a strong lower back and perfectly shaped abs, you shouldn’t neglect your obliques during your total body workout.

One of the best ways to engage this muscle group is this variation of the previous exercise, a.k.a. oblique twists or hanging oblique knee raises.

Here’s how it differs:

Instead of using the Captain’s chair, you hang from the top horizontal bar, so your muscles are more stretched and engaged.

You twist and alternately rotate your knees to the sides while lifting your legs.

To increase the challenge, you can fix ankle weights or rubber bands to the feet.

8. Alternating Straight Leg Raises

man doing Alternating Straight Leg Raises

Alternating straight leg raises or flutter kicks involve the same starting position as vertical knee raises.

But it’s more challenging and excellent for strengthening your lower abs and core.

As the name suggests, the difference is that you alternately raise straight legs a bit faster.

To contract your abs properly, try to lift the feet higher than the waist.

You twist and alternately rotate your knees to the sides while lifting your legs.

To increase the challenge, you can fix ankle weights or rubber bands to the feet.

9. Sit-Ups

man doing sit ups

Sit-ups are intense exercises that activate your chest, core, hip flexors, lower back and legs.

Lie flat on your back, with both legs bent at the knees, feet hooked under the power tower footrests/bars, hands crossed on your chest, or placed behind your head that’s tucked forward.

Keeping your back straight, curl your upper body forward until you’re seated (but don’t bring your chest right up to the knees).

Lower back towards the floor without touching it to keep the tension in your abs.

“I don’t count my sit-ups; I only start counting when it starts hurting because they are the only ones that count.” -Muhammad Ali, Boxer

You can use a fitness mat for more comfort and do different exercise variations, twisting and turning to the sides, or add weights to increase the challenge.

10. Split Squats

man doing split squats

These bodyweight squats strengthen your glutes, quads, and hamstrings. [4]

Stand with your back straight, core tight, and chest up, relying on one leg while keeping its hip, knee, and ankle in line.

Place the other foot behind you on the low power tower horizontal bar.

Slowly squat until your front knee is bent at 90 degrees and your back knee gets close to the floor.

Pause and return to the starting position without letting your knee move inward.

After doing the planned reps, swap the legs and repeat.

Beginners may find it difficult to keep the balance while doing these rear-leg elevated split squats. Make sure you stay level and don’t look down.

Advanced athletes can add weights.

Sample Full-Body Power Tower Workout

man working out using a power tower

A simple power tower workout routine that effectively activates almost every lower and upper body muscle group could consist of the following bodyweight exercises.

  • Warm-Up The beginning of every workout should include 5-10 minutes of warming up all your muscles, ligaments, and joints to prepare the whole body for the training and reduce the risk of strains, sprains, and other injuries.

    You can skip a rope, perform jumping jacks or other dynamic movements and stretches that will get the blood flowing, increase your heart rate, and make you sweat a bit.

  • Pull-Ups - 3-4 sets of 15-20/max reps

    Those who can easily perform the recommended sets of 15+ reps with the proper technique could add extra weight to make the exercise more challenging.

  • Push-Ups - 4 sets of 15-25 reps
  • Dips - 4 sets of 15-25 reps
  • Vertical Knee Raises - 3 sets of 30-40/max reps

    For an additional challenge, do rotational leg lifts.

  • Inverted Row - 3-5 sets of 20-25/max reps
  • Split Squats - 2 sets of 20-25 reps
  • Sit-Ups - 3 sets of 25-30/max reps
    Stretching all your muscles after exercising is necessary to relax them and prevent cramps and injuries.

Tips: 

The quality of reps matters more than the number, so ensure you focus on the right technique, performing slow, controlled movements.

“Remember that form is crucial. Don’t sacrifice technique just to get a few extra reps in. Take some extra rest instead.” Christian Finn, Personal Trainer

If completing at least 3 sets of 10 reps for each exercise is too difficult for you, aim at as many reps as you can or do easier variations of exercises as suggested.

If this sample full-body workout routine is too simple for you, pick more challenging exercise variations with added weight and increase the rep count.

Minimize the rest breaks between each exercise for better effectiveness and take a 60-second rest between sets (maximum 2 minutes).

You can always adjust the number of sets and reps, rest time, and exercise difficulty to suit your specific goals, needs, fitness level, and limitations.

Do the workouts regularly, spreading them out evenly to 2-3 weekly sessions with alternating rest days.

Diversify exercises to avoid boredom or overtraining particular muscles.

What Is a Power Tower Used For?

A power tower is used for performing a variety of bodyweight exercises that can emphasize and strengthen different lower and upper body muscle groups, depending on your body position, grip, and technique variation.

(More details in the subsection about power tower exercises below.)

The Benefits of Power Towers

man working out using a power tower

With multiple bars combined at different heights and angles, a power tower can provide a solid, consistent, full-body calisthenics or bodyweight workout. But unlike standard calisthenics training, power tower workouts ensure additional stability and support.

You can enhance your cardiovascular fitness, build functional strength, boost power, increase calorie burn, improve flexibility, muscle coordination, and overall body composition by doing pull-ups, push-ups, dips, and other compound exercises on a power tower. [1]

Even better:

All these movements are natural and gentle on your joints and muscles. So, you can train safely, effectively focusing on particular body muscles while avoiding injuries that often happen with dumbbells, barbells, and other commonly used heavy-duty gym equipment.

The power tower gives you an opportunity to experiment with multiple variations of exercises for different muscle groups that suit all fitness levels, inspiring confidence even in newbies.

Not only that you don’t need any other equipment, but you can build a strong, muscular body even without visiting a gym if you have a power tower at home.

Investing in one turns out to be time-saving and affordable in the long run if you’re going to incorporate it into your everyday workout routine.

Many power tower models are portable, not too heavy but sturdy enough, with a compact, ergonomic design that takes up little space and ensures stability, comfort, and easy storage.

Are You Going to Try This Power Tower Workout?

Besides offering a full circuit of safe exercises for effective total-body strength and muscle building, power towers have many other benefits.

After reading this guide, you have all the information necessary to reap them, including detailed instructions and expert advice.

No excuses as power tower workouts are easily adapted to any fitness level and goal.

Kickstart your power tower workout routine without delay, and remember to share your impressions with us.


References:

  1. https://www.acefitness.org/education-and-resources/professional/expert-articles/5811/5-benefits-of-compound-exercises/
  2. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21068680/
  3. https://www.acefitness.org/getfit/studies/bestworstabexercises.pdf
  4. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20231745/

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