If you’re anything like me, you do not have time to travel back and forth to the gym. So, for me, a simple and convenient home gym is essential. No crowds, no lines and no waiting.
I get a great full-body workout in a minimum amount of time with minimal equipment. All you really need is your own bodyweight and few pieces of key equipment. While I do own and use a pair of adjustable dumbbells, a sturdy bench and two well-used kettlebells, my go-to piece of equipment is my Power Tower.
My power tower is a single, sturdy, free standing piece of equipment that allows me to perform a variety of pull ups, chin-ups, dips, knee raises and pushups, my power tower will even hold my feet when I do my old school military sit-ups! I can get a multi-joint full-body workout using my power tower and adding a few hybrid plyometric exercises at the end. Read on for details.
Selecting a Power Tower
You can purchase a sturdy entry level unit for about $150 USD and a professional gym quality power tower can be purchased for around $300-500 USD. Both units will probably last you a lifetime and will enable you to do (almost) all of the resistance work you will ever need, including dips, chin ups, push ups and abdominal knee raises.
You want a STURDY power tower, and look for a unit that includes:
- A multi-grip pull-up AND chin-up station with a wide bar that goes completely across the unit and extends well past on either side. This will allow you to vary your hand width and grip so that you can perform a variety of chin ups to target your arms and several varieties of pull ups for your shoulders, rotator cuff, back and lats and arms.
- Look for a simple push-up station as well. Padded handles at the base of your power tower will allow you to do deep and intense push ups to stretch and build your pecs. If you want blast your upper body, immediately after you finish a set of wide pull ups, drop down and start pumping out those push ups until failure.
- Be sure your unit has a vertical knee raise station. Simply a padded back and a padded rest for each arm to support you while you lift your knees to your chest, or legs straight out or side to side working your abs and core.
- And don’t forget the dip station. Slow controlled dips will help strengthen your rotator cuff, stretch and open your chest, and build your triceps. Your triceps, those three muscles at the BACK of your arm are what defines BIG arms, don’t neglect them!
See this list with reviews of the best Power Towers available.
Power Tower Workout
Use your Power Tower for a full upper body workout and to gain significant upper-body size and strength utilizing only your bodyweight as resistance. Once the Power Tower exercise becomes too easy, add weights to your ankles, or around your waist, or use a timer to perform intervals of X repetitions in XX seconds to increase the intensity.
What about those plyometrics I mentioned? To add some lower body training to your power tower workouts, I add intervals of bodyweight squats, lunges and jump squats to my training. I also have my speed rope handy before and after my power tower work for a little added cardio.
Once you are able to perform pullups easily, try this “power tower burpee”. Position yourself below the crossbar, lower yourself down slowly into a deep squat and explode upward, grab the bar and do a controlled pullup then drop down, stabilize yourself, squat, leap, pull up and repeat. Add a simple, sturdy box to your home gym and incorporate more plyometrics into your power tower routine to challenge yourself even more! Bring a towel and water, you’ll need them!
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