While the process of going to a gym and strengthening your body with weight training is undoubtedly a good idea, too many people ignore the very foundation of strength; bodyweight training. Being able to perform a significant number of pull-ups, chin-ups and dips will unquestionably help you get stronger, fitter and healthier than ever before. Instead of going to the gym to perform these maneuvers, invest in a power tower to get your calisthenics workout at home.
Comparison: Best Power Tower: Dip & Pull Up Stations
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What is a Power Tower?
It is a piece of versatile fitness equipment that enables you to perform a variety of bodyweight exercises. It lets you suspend from the ground or grip a support to add an extra element of difficulty, and while there are different designs, every power tower features a pull-up bar and a pair of parallel bars to perform dips.
It should also include a padded back support to allow you to perform abdominal exercises such as hanging knee raises along with padding on the dip bars for your forearms. More advanced versions include a number of chin-up/pull-up options with angled ends on the bars to help you exercise different parts of your back. At the top end of the range, you have towers equipped with pulley resistance so you can complete triceps exercises such as pull downs. The chin-up and dip stations could also include weighted resistance to make things even tougher.
Why Would I a Power Tower?
You can benefit from a power tower whether you’re an old hand in the world of exercise or else you’re a newbie that wants to get stronger, fitter and more agile. This piece of equipment doesn’t take up an enormous amount of space and enables you to complete a full body workout. You can do dips for the chest, shoulders and triceps, chin-ups & pull-ups with different grips to train the back and biceps and leg raises for the core section.
Bodyweight training has a host of incredible benefits including:
Building & Maintaining Muscle Mass
If you think it’s impossible to build muscle mass with bodyweight training, think again! Boxers are among the fittest, and most shredded athletes on the planet and most of them survive on a diet of bodyweight exercises and cardio. British Super-Middleweight Champion Carl Froch admitted that he hardly touched a weight in his career. Instead, he focused on bodyweight training and was noted for his stamina and punch power.
Olympic gymnasts are masters of bodyweight training, and they look incredible. Even Olympic weightlifters build their strength base with bodyweight exercises. The muscle mass you build is maintained with your regime; the result is a faster metabolism and increased fat loss.
Improved Fitness & Health
If you don’t think bodyweight training can improve your fitness level, try performing 50 push-ups. Better yet, do a circuit of chin-ups, dips and leg raises; you’ll soon change your mind.
Your exercise sessions naturally reduce blood pressure, improve circulation and contribute to better heart health. Even patients that have suffered from heart attacks are advised to complete weekly dynamic exercises to slowly but surely increase heart strength and endurance.
You can even reduce the risk of diabetes because your exercise will remove glucose from the blood and send it into your muscles where it is stored as glycogen and saved as energy you can use at a different time.
Better Joint Health
Realistically, you could perform bodyweight exercise every day because it places no real stress on your joints. In contrast, daily weightlifting would negatively impact your joints and muscle tissue not to mention your Central Nervous System. When you strengthen your body, you’re less likely to suffer from conditions such as osteoporosis and bone fractures as you get older.
Top 3 Power Tower Reviews
1 – Stamina 1690 Power Tower
The Stamina 1690 model is one of the best value for money models you’ll find on Amazon.com. At just $89.45, you can place this compact power tower in your home. Indeed, one of its best features is its small size; even trainees who live in apartments can fit this piece of equipment in their homes.
At first glance, the Stamina 1690 looks like nothing more than a glorified chin-up bar, but it does have parallel bars for dips. There is even a foot bar for crunches and sit-ups, and there are shoulder width bars to hit different angles on your back. It is the very definition of ‘old school’ equipment, and while it is rather light, it is made from tubular steel and holds a maximum of 250 pounds.
It doesn’t have the bells and whistles of upmarket models, but it would be unreasonable to expect that from a power tower that costs less than $100. The relatively simple design, compact structure and the fact it only weighs 54 pounds makes it ideal for relative newcomers to bodyweight training. One of the few downsides is the lack of a backrest for leg raises, but that’s a small quibble in what is an otherwise excellent power tower.
2 – XMark Power Tower XM-4434
The XM-4434 power tower is another affordable option at just $158. While it is almost double the price of the Stamina 1690, it has a higher maximum weight capacity and extra features. The XM-4434 can handle up to 350 pounds and is made with a heavy duty steel frame construction. As it is 2.11m high, it is an excellent purchase for tall users.
Unlike the Stamina 1690, the XMark power tower is equipped with a comfortable backrest with 2-inches of padding and durable, double stitched Duraguard vinyl that is also tear resistant. The arm rest is also thickly padded so using the tower is a pleasant experience, at least until you feel the exercise burn. Speaking of comfort, the distance between the dip bars is ideal.
It is fairly easy to assemble although there have been some complaints about missing parts. We recommend that you ensure each part is available before beginning assembly. It weighs slightly over 70 pounds, but you can easily slide it across the floor. The square steel tube construction does a fabulous job of absorbing side-to-side movement, so it doesn’t wobble when you train.
3 – BodyChamp Power Tower
We are spoiling you with affordable power towers because the BodyChamp model is available for just $144. However, it costs a whopping $140 for ‘expert’ assembly. Frankly, it isn’t that difficult to put together, so we advise you to save your money. The heavy-duty steel frame and D-frame base make it one of the steadiest power towers around. It is 2.10m high, so taller users will get the most out of it.
The BodyChamp is so well constructed that the manufacturer offers a warranty for the tower even if it is used in a light commercial setting. It weighs a hefty 88 pounds so you can feel secure when you train.
It allows you to perform a wide range of exercises as it has a wide pull-up bar, dip handles and a backrest for leg raises. The backrest and all of the bars are padded, so comfort is guaranteed. About the only thing, it is missing is a pulley system but you have to ask yourself if it is worth paying a few hundred dollars extra for something that isn’t essential to your fitness. The BodyChamp is an expertly designed power tower that looks good in any home gym.
What to Look For in a Power Tower
Your power tower will suspend you in the air for many of your exercises so it must be constructed from solid steel or another strong metal. The fewer pieces used in its assembly, the better. The best brands tend to be made from 2-inch square steel tubing. It should be heavy enough to remain stable when you use it. Make sure it is capable of holding significantly more than your bodyweight in case you want to add extra weight resistance.
You must take into account the amount of space you have available before making a purchase. Take note of the dimensions on Amazon.com and carefully measure the area where you intend to place the power tower.
Having personally suffered the inconvenience of trying to perform dips on bars with no grips, I can tell you that comfort is crucial during bodyweight training. Look for models that have thick padding on the hand rests; you’ll need it for dips, and hanging leg raises. Solid padding is also required on the backrest and the chin-up/pull-up bars.
Value for Money
There are cheap models on the market for around $100 but if they are incapable of holding your weight and wobble while you use them, what’s the point? If you’re going to invest in something that can help you train for years, why not splash out a bit and get a power tower that will stand the test of time?
Don’t underestimate the importance of a counterweighted power tower as it will ensure the unit doesn’t tip forward when you use it. Placing a weight stand on the back will do the job.
Warranty & Shipping
It is common sense to only choose a model with a reasonably long warranty. As a power tower is a large item, check the cost of shipping to ensure you don’t get stung by obscene charges.
Pros of Power Towers
Despite their relatively simple construction, power towers are an immensely versatile piece of fitness equipment. You can perform practically every exercise you need to improve your strength, help your joints and boost your stamina. Depending on how much weight it can handle, you could even rest a barbell on the hand rests and perform squats. Advanced models also include weight resistance, so there is no danger of running out of room to improve.
Faster Recovery Time
Compared to weightlifting, bodyweight exercises are less stressful on the Central Nervous System which means you recover faster. Having less stress on the joints is a godsend to trainees who routinely suffer injury, and since you can train daily, your strength and fitness levels can improve rapidly.
You can purchase a high-quality power tower for less than the price of an annual gym membership and get years of usage. Once you’ve purchased it, there is no need for any additional extras unless you need or want them to progress.
Store the power tower in your home, and you can exercise anytime you want. There is no limit on how long you can exercise for either. Fancy a marathon session? There’s no one to stop you. Likewise, if you’re feeling lazy, just knock out a few sets of chin-ups, and you’ll at least feel as if you’ve accomplished something.
Cons of Power Towers
There is only so much you can do with a power tower. Although you could theoretically use the hand rests for squats, it is inconvenient. Also, you don’t have stoppers so there is nothing to save you if you squat down with a heavy weight and can’t get up!
Lack of Sturdiness
This isn’t a problem when you purchase a high-quality unit, but if you pay good money for an average power tower, you’ll soon find it unusable. It is a real pain to hop on and perform dips only for the equipment to wobble.
Again, this is an issue you can circumnavigate with a little research. However, power towers aren’t exactly tiny, so you won’t be able to use one if you live in an enclosed space.
The three power towers we have selected are among the best on the market, but we recommend that you perform more research to find the right model for you. It is a one-off investment in your general health that could pay huge dividends in the years to come. With a power tower, you can gain strength, fitness, and stamina while keeping your joints and cartilage healthy. Best of all, you can do it from the comfort of your home.