The power tower, also known as the captain’s chair, or the knee raise station, is a versatile piece of exercise equipment. Adding a power tower to your home gym can be a game changer for your core and upper body workout routines, opening up a whole range of exercises. If you’re ready to get that washboard stomach, lean, muscular arms and a sculpted back and chest, purchase one of these great power towers.
In this article, you’ll learn everything you need to know about purchasing the best power tower, what you can use it for and how to use it for a great workout. We’ll also guide you through the purchasing process.
Why the Power Tower
The power tower allows individuals to perform a wide range of exercises that target the upper body and core. Using primarily your body weight, the power tower allows you to perform a variety of exercises that help you develop muscles and build endurance.
As fitness gear, power tower products do vary quite a bit in terms of what they offer. However, generally, they offer the following components that allow you to perform these exercises:
Leg or Knee Raises
The back and forearms of the chair give you support so that you can perform full leg or knee raises. This exercise was deemed one of the most effective for working the rectus abdominis and the obliques in a review of over 13 popular ab and core exercises. Second in the rectus abdominis category only to the bicycle maneuver and first place in working obliques, the power tower is the best pieces of exercise equipment for developing your abs.
Pull Ups and Chin Ups
Most power towers also feature a large pull up bar above the chair that allows for various grips. Pullups and chinups are among the most effective exercises for shoulder and back strength, according to research.
Power tower stands also feature push up stands at the base. The stands allow users to perform a variation on standard push ups called Atlas pushups that allows for greater depth. These pushups put a greater focus on your back. However, you can also perform more variations by using a stool for your feet. This modifies the amount of your body weight use as you exercise. While standard push ups involve lifting 50-75% of your bodyweight, inclined pushups use 36- 45% of your body weight. (1)
Recent research has shown that push ups are a great measure of your overall health. More specifically, the more pushups you can do, the better your heart health may be. It’s an exercise that uses various muscle groups in the body, including your chest, and can also be modified depending on your ability. So, adding pushups to your exercise routine is good not only for building muscle, but for your overall health.
The best power tower products also offer dip bars. Typically located on the ends of the arms of the chair, the dip bars allow you to work your triceps, chest, and shoulders.
As you can see, the power tower gives you the equipment you need to perform a great range of exercises that work on major muscle groups in your body. From the back to chest, arms and core muscles, when used correctly, the power tower allows you to achieve great muscle definition and growth.
What to Look for (and Avoid!) in the Best Power Tower
Now that you know what the power tower can do for you, it’s time to discover how you can find the best power tower product. There are lots of options on the market, so it’s easy to become overwhelmed when searching for your home power tower. In fitness gear, power tower products are common, but not all are equal. Here are the features you should look for in the best power tower products:
A power chair must support your full weight. When performing pull ups, for example, you’ll want to be sure that the equipment doesn’t wobble. The best power tower products are made of steel. However, for comfort you’ll also want some foam hand grabs and pads, so make sure you check for these as well. Always check the weight capacity to make sure that the equipment is designed to handle your body weight and any additional weights you’ll use on the machine.
Avoid: Don’t purchase power tower equipment made of sub-par metals or that don’t feature grips and pads. One indicator of the quality of the metal is the weight of the product – so keep this in mind when purchasing. The heavier the equipment, the more stable and thicker the metal probably is. Also, avoid products that don’t offer protectors for your floor that also keep the equipment stable. Finally, don’t purchase power towers that won’t accommodate your weight. Remember to take into account any weight belts that you might use for additional resistance when working out.
You’ll need to make sure the equipment not only fits in your home, but that you have a bit of extra space for performing pull ups. So, choose a piece of equipment that leaves you at least a foot of extra clearance from the top of the equipment to your roof. This will leave you enough space to pull your whole head above the bar.
Not all power towers offer you all of the exercise stations listed above such as pull ups, dips, push ups, and knee raises. Some, like our top pick, offer even more than the listed exercise stations. So, when you pick your power tower, select one that offers the full range of exercises you’re hoping to perform with the equipment. The best power tower options will offer you at least the four basic exercises highlighted in this article, giving you the opportunity to achieve a full upper body workout when using the equipment.
Avoid: Avoid purchasing a power tower that doesn’t include the basic exercise stations you need! The more stations, the better.
As long as you’re comparing similar machines that offer the same exercises and are made of high quality materials, you’ll want to pick the most affordable choice. You’ll have to take your home gym budget into account and pick a power tower that will allow you to exercise without breaking your budget. So, keep that in mind as you search.
Now that you know what you’re looking for, take a look at our favorite power tower products:
Fitnessator’s Top Pick
The Stamina X Fortress Power Tower is a high quality piece of home gym equipment that features an impressive number of exercise stations. Including above and beyond your basic pull-up station, the Stamina X also features rock climbing handholds and stronghold grips. These sort of more challenging pull ups that feature greater instability may activate your trapezius and grip forming muscles better than standard pull ups. Furthermore, this power tower offers ab straps that add a layer of instability to the exercise, giving your muscles a really great workout. Finally, the tower also features a plyo box you can use for power jumping and strengthening your legs as well.
- Exercise features: knee raises with ab straps, various pull up stations with a variety of holds including wide grip, neutral grip, rock climbing handholds and stronghold grips, adjustable plyo box and dip bars.
- Steel construction with foam hand grabs
- Dimensions: 57 inches long, 48.5 inches wide, 85 inches (7 feet, .08 inches) tall
- Weight Limit: 250 pounds
The Bottom Line
We love the Stamina X Fortress power tower thanks to its great quality, stability and wealth of variety in exercises you can perform using the equipment. Although it’s not the cheapest power tower on the market, it’s well worth the cost and will prove a valuable addition to your home gym.
Fitnessator’s Runner Up
Our runner up choice is a great piece of equipment that features all of the basics you need in a power tower for a reasonable price. In addition, customers love this power tower thanks to its stability. Featuring an adjustable height range, this fitness equipment is ideal even for spaces with low ceilings as you can make it as short as 5 feet 5 inches.
- Exercise Features: Pull up bar, leg and knee raise station, dips, deep push up station
- Steel construction, foam hand grabs and padding
- Dimensions: 25.6 inches long, 29.5 inches wide, adjustable height ranging from 64.6 inches to 89.8 inches (5 feet 5 inches to 7 feet 6 inches)
The Bottom Line
This power tower workout dip station features all of the exercise stations you need in a power tower. It features quality materials and offers great stability while you workout. Although it doesn’t have any extra bells and whistles like our top choice, it gives you a good, basic power tower that will serve you well.
Fitnessator’s Honorable Mention
This formidable power tower can withstand a whopping 400 pounds, which shows it’s built like a tank. Don’t expect any wobbling when performing exercises on the Fitness Reality X Class power tower. It also offers a great variety of exercise stations including adjustable foam roller and grips so that you can do reverse push ups and push ups with raised legs with ease.
- Exercise Features: Pull up bar with several grips, leg and knee raise station, dips, deep push up station, adjustable foam rollers for varied leg position while performing push ups
- Sturdy steel construction with padding and foam hand grabs
- Dimensions: 63.4 inches long, 49 inches wide, 83 inches (6 foot 11 inches) tall
- Weight Capacity: 400 pounds
The Bottom Line
There’s nothing not to love about this great power tower, although it is a bit pricier than our top pick, but offers slightly less variety in exercises. Despite the pricetag, it’s certainly worth the investment for heavier individuals or people who want to add weight belts to their exercise routine. In addition, the stability of this power tower can’t be topped. If stability and a high weight capacity are important to you, consider this solid piece of equipment.
A Solid Power Tower Alternative
The Stamina power tower offers you all of the exercise stations you’d expect in a power tower. While not as heavy and stable as some of the other options we’ve listed, it still gets the job done. Among it’s highlights is that it offers several push up stations and throws in a great bonus station to help you with sit ups.
- Exercise stations: push ups, pull ups, dips, knee or leg raises, and sit ups
- Steel construction with padded supports and foam hand grabs
- Dimensions: users report the pull up bar reaches 81 inches (6 foot 9 inches) tall
- Weight capacity: 250 pounds
The Bottom Line
The Stamina power tower is a good option, especially for those who prefer a model that’s short enough to use in a space with an 8 foot ceiling. However, for the same or lower price, there are other products that offer basically the same features, such as our runner up.
Larger Back Support Power Tower
The Body Champ power tower is another alternative that offers a basic quality power tower for a reasonable cost. Offering a larger back support than the Stamina model and even our top pick, the Body Champ is a great power tower that makes the captain’s chair portion a prominent feature. Made of durable steel, the Body Champ power tower is a solid piece of equipment you’ll love to have as part of your home gym.
- Exercise stations: knee and leg raises, pull ups, dips, push ups
- Steel frame with cushions, supports and foam hand grabs
- Dimensions: 58 inches long, 56 inches wide, 83 inches (6 foot 9 inches) tall
- Weight Capacity: 250 pounds
The Bottom Line
While not the top choice as there are other, more affordable options that offer similar features, the Body Champ tower is still a solid choice. If the chair portion of the power tower is important to you, you may consider this model. It also includes all of the other features you’d expect such as pull up, dip and push up stations.
A Comparison of Popular Power Towers
How do these power tower products compare to other well-known and popular products? Some gym equipment gains fame thanks to the name of the brand that makes it. For example, Gold’s Gym power tower is well-known amongst fitness enthusiasts, as is the power tower Weider makes.
Our choices for runner up, honorable mention and Body Champ power tower models are quite similar to both Gold’s Gym power tower and the power tower Weider. However, our preferred products have achieved overall better reviews from customers and seem more sturdy than these other popular models. Fitnessator’s top pick outperforms Gold Gym and Weider’s power towers on many counts, offering more exercises and a sturdier machine. Both our top pick and honorable mention weigh much more than the Gold’s Gym and Weider power towers, also suggesting greater stability in our picks.
A Sample Power Tower Workout
When you have your power tower in place and you’re ready to workout, what workout should you do? What exercises can you accomplish?
Here’s a sample workout you can follow for great results for your upper body:
Pull Ups, Chin Ups or Flex Arm Hang
Depending on your ability, you can choose the best exercise for you. They’re listed in order of difficulty from most difficult to least difficult. Pull ups are performed with your hands facing away from you and chin ups are done with your hands facing inward. Try to do at least 10 reps.
If you can’t do a pull up or chin up, try doing the flex arm hang for as long as you can manage. To do this, grab the pull up bar and jump up, holding your chin just over the bar. Hold yourself in place at least 30 seconds, or whatever you can manage.
You can vary your grip for each set to include a wide grip pull ups if you are able.
Leg Raises or Knee Raises
Next, position yourself in the chair area of the tower. Your arms resting on the arm rests, grab the grips and keep your back against the backrest. Then, without swinging, lift your legs straight out in front of you until they are parallel with the floor. Then, slowly lower them. If you are unable to do this, simply raise your knees, bending them at a 90 degree angle. Do 10 reps of either version.
As a variation during one of the sets, alternate twisting to the left and right with each knee raise. This will work your obliques.
Using the hand holds near the bottom of the equipment, put yourself in plank position and do push ups, dipping as deep as you can. If you are unable to do the push ups from your toes, do them from your knees. Do 10 reps.
Grasp the hand holds that are in front of the armrests. You should be facing the chair. Raise yourself up so your arms are straight, then, bending your elbows, dip until your upper arms are parallel with the floor. Do 10 reps.
Now, repeat the workout 2 or 3 times.
When working out, modify the number of reps to match your abilities. This means you should add or remove reps so that you can complete the whole workout or make the workout appropriately challenging. Over time, you may want to add a rep or two each time you perform the workout. You can also add a weight belt to increase the difficulty of the exercises.
Alternatively, you can turn the workout into a HIIT style workout, set a clock for 30 seconds of exercise and 15 seconds of rest. During the exercise portion, you do as many reps of the exercises as possible. Then, rest for 15 seconds before moving on to the next exercise. You can increase the amount of time you spend exercising as you grow in strength.
Before you know it, your chest, back, arms and core muscles will grow significantly in strength, giving you a body you love to show off.
The Bottom Line on the Best Power Tower
A power tower offers you a complete piece of exercise equipment that gives you a variety of stations you can use to boost your strength, especially in your upper body. With a quality power tower, you get a piece of equipment that will add great value to your gym, serving as the base for your upper body workouts. You’ll have no more excuses to avoid completing a complete a full body workout with this excellent equipment on hand.
So, pick out your power tower and start working out right away! Before you know it, your shipment will arrive and you can set up your very own power tower featuring 4 or more exercise stations that you can use to get that chiseled figure you’ve been dreaming of.
Do you have a favorite power tower for your home gym? Tell us about your favorite products and your power tower workouts in the comments below.