The power tower can give you an excellent workout that hits many of the major muscle groups in your body while also training you to excel in bodyweight movements, a key to maintaining an active and healthy lifestyle throughout your life.
Despite its simple design, a power tower is your ticket to a multi-movement workout that specializes in activating your abs, obliques, triceps, biceps, chest and back muscles. With a few affordable accessories, use the power tower to get in a lower body workout as well. A plyobox, resistance bands, and/or a weight vest allow you to design dozens of different strength training, aerobic, or circuit training workouts, all within a compact space and for a reasonable cost.
Benefits of the Power Tower
The power tower helps you develop and excel in bodyweight movements, like pushups, pullups, and dips. Bodyweight movements are also an excellent way to tone your body, build lean muscle, and target entire muscle chains instead of working out isolated muscles (and overlooking others).
Every movement can be modified to meet your fitness level. In this article, we will discuss modifications to some of the more challenging movements that will help you build the strength and confidence you need to eventually perform the movements unaided.
Not sure how to add a power tower into your exercise routine? Let’s take a look at five exercises you can perform with this versatile machine. (You can also get some great ideas from our previous power tower blog post.)
Power Tower Exercises
Knee Raises — Abs
The power tower is made to blast your abs. Start by stepping up onto the pushup bars at the bottom of the machine. Turn around and hop up so your back is pressed against the back pad, and your elbows are on each elbow pad. Hold on to each upright grip, and your legs should be dangling.
Take a deep breath, tighten your abs, and raise your knees to your chest. Hold for one second and then slowly lower your legs until they are straight. Don’t relax your abs between reps. Keep your upper body tight.
The key to great knee raises is to keep the movement slow and controlled. You want to increase the time your ab muscles are under tension, so they get a good workout. If you do these correctly, it won’t take long to feel your abs burn.
Recommended Intermediate Workout: Three sets of ten knee raises with two minutes of rest in-between each set.
Make It Easier: Lower the volume of reps; for example: three sets of five knee raises.
Make It Harder: Try straight-legged raises; hit an “L” position at the top of each rep.
Hanging Side Knee Raises – Obliques
The key to achieving excellent abs is to also train your obliques, the long muscles groups on each side of the abdominal. Strengthening your internal and external oblique muscles will add more definition to your abs and can help strengthen and protect your entire core.
Start in the same position on the Power Tower as the knee raises. Instead of lifting your knees straight up in front of you, angle your knees so they are pointed toward your right hand. Lower your knees and then perform the raise again. This time angle your knees toward your left hand. Focus on squeezing and activating your obliques. You should feel the burn on the opposite side of where your knees are facing.
Make sure that each rep is slow and controlled. Pause for a second at the top of the movement and remember to switch sides with each rep. This can be a challenging movement. Be patient and experiment until you feel the right muscles engage.
Recommended Intermediate Workout: Three sets of ten reps (five on each side) with two minutes of rest between each.
Make It Easier: Lower the number of reps. Keep the reps even, so each set of obliques gets an equal workout.
Make It Harder: Pause for three seconds at the top of each rep.
Pull-ups – Back, Chest, Biceps
Do pull-ups for an incredibly defined upper back. Pull-ups engage the long, triangular shaped Latissimus Dorsi muscle that connects to your shoulders and runs down the center of your back. This exercise also engages your chest and your biceps. It’s a great exercise if you want to be able to lift yourself up and over obstacles.
To perform a pull-up, grab the handle bars at the top of the Power Tower. If needed, step up on the push-up bars to reach them. Make sure your hands are about even with your shoulders and that your knuckles are facing toward you. (If your hands are close together and your knuckles are facing outward, you’ll put a lot more emphasis on your biceps and less on your chest and shoulders.)
Starting with straight (extended) arms, tighten your core and pull yourself up until your chin is level or above your knuckles. Slowly lower yourself down. Keep this movement controlled. Don’t try to “kip” up, and don’t let your body drop from the top of the pull-up.
Recommended Intermediate Workout: Three sets of five pull-ups (work on adding more pull-ups until you can do three unbroken sets of ten). Rest for two minutes between each pull-up.
Make It Easier: Position a plyobox under the handlebars and stand on the box while holding the handlebars of the power tower. Bend your knees, so that you are partially hanging from the bar while still balancing on the box. Pull yourself up until your chin is above your knuckles. You can make this movement easier or more difficult depending on how much you push off the box. Experiment until you find a setup, where it is difficult to complete five pull-ups in a row. Over time, give yourself less slack and try to pull more of your weight on each pull up.
Make It Harder: Hold for three seconds at the top of each pull-up. To make it even more difficult, wear a weight vest.
Push-Ups – Chest, shoulders, arms
Most power towers include raised bars at the bottom. These can help you perform push-ups and even deficit push-ups (think push-ups times ten). Grip each bar and then get into the standard push-up position, with your wrists, elbows and shoulders aligned. Your back should be flat.
Slowly lower yourself down until your chest is parallel to your knuckles. Keeping your body completely straight, push yourself back up until your arms lock out. The key to making this simple movement one of the most challenging parts of your workout and defining your chest, shoulders, and triceps is to focus on good push-up form. Many inexperienced exercisers let their hips fall and back slope. Others push their butt out to make the movement easier.
Keep your body straight, and you’ll realize that push-ups are a lot harder than you ever thought! This is especially true with the power tower, because you can now dip a little lower to give your muscles an even harder workout.
Intermediate Workout: Complete three sets of ten push-ups with one minute of rest between.
Make It Easier: Perform the push-up on your knees.
Make It Harder: Wear a weight vest.
Dips – Shoulders, chest, and triceps
The opposite movement of a pull-up is the dip. Start by facing the power tower. You should see two grips sticking out toward you. If you are tall enough, grab the grips and jump up, so that you are holding your body up on the grips, with arms fully extended. If you are not tall enough, step onto the push-up bars.
To perform the dip, lower yourself down until your elbows are at a 90-degree angle, and your chest is near to the level of your hands. Engage your triceps (the muscles on the back of your upper arm) and shoulders to push yourself back up until your elbows are locked out. Many exercisers find it more comfortable to cross the feet at the ankles or to bend their knees during the dip.
The dip looks simple. However, it is difficult to perform and requires a high amount of upper body strength to complete. New exercisers may try to “skimp” by only lowering themselves an inch or so before popping back up. To get the full benefit of the movement, try to hit a 90-degree angle with your elbows.
Intermediate Workout: Four sets of five dips with two minutes of rest between each set.
Make It Easier: Use a box to help support your weight. Bend your knees while standing on the box. Allow your arms to take some of your weight. Make sure the movement is challenging. Over time, put more weight on your arms to increase the resistance.
Make It Harder: Perform three sets of ten dips.
Get Your Power Tower Today
Just by performing these five movements three times a week as prescribed, you will noticeably and quickly improve your upper body and core strength. If you want to add some legs into the mix, consider adding resistance bands to your routine. Attach them to the power tower for resistance leg lifts, side kicks and more. The power tower lets you get a complete workout from the comfort of your home.
Check out all the great exercise equipment Marcy offers in order to assemble your complete home gym.