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March 08, 2023 11 min read

Welcome to this article about upper body workouts on a power tower! Here we will take a look at the different exercises you can do with this versatile piece of fitness equipment to increase your upper body strength and build muscle.

We'll also discuss the benefits of using a power tower for your upper body workouts and how to get the most out of your time on the tower. So, let's get started and learn more about how to use a power tower to get the most out of your upper body workouts!

What is a Power Tower?

A power tower, sometimes referred to as a knee raise station or a captain's chair, is a piece of fitness apparatus designed to boost the upper body and core muscle strength. In some cases, the power tower does not include the Captain's Chair feature.

A multifunction power tower is a comprehensive strength training apparatus consisting of a horizontal bar, parallel bars, and various adjustable handles to facilitate a whole-body exercise regime. Power towers are an ideal choice for home gym equipment as they offer a variety of weighted and bodyweight exercises like triceps dips, pull-ups, and hanging leg raises.

A power tower workout is focused on doing bodyweight exercises that can assist in developing lean muscle.

You can adjust the difficulty level of the power tower workout, making it less or more challenging by using additional gear such as resistance bands, weight vests, or extra weights. The power tower makes it possible to do many pushing, pulling, and core exercises.

Power Tower - Image from Shutterstock

A power tower fitness station is an uncomplicated device that offers a range of exercises without the use of weights. All power tower exercises share one key feature – they are all bodyweight exercises that involve multiple joints. This means that all the muscles are taken into account during the activity.

It should not be seen as a negative that the only resistance being utilized is your own body weight.

Even the most basic bodyweight movements can be modified to cater to all fitness levels and can be made more or less challenging to suit your personal requirements, which minimizes injury risks.

Should you choose to integrate the power tower into your workout routine, this post will be of great benefit. It contains thorough instructions for the most frequently done power tower drills. These ten basic exercises can be used to construct an ideal upper-body workout, as long as the exercises are performed correctly and with the appropriate number of repetitions and sets.

What are the Benefits of Working Out on a Power Tower?

Power Tower benefits - Image from Shutterstock
  1. Increased Muscle Strength: Power tower workouts help to build strength in your upper body, core, and lower body muscles.

  2. Improved Flexibility: Power tower exercises help to increase the range of motion and flexibility in the arms, shoulders, and back.

  3. Improved Balance: Power tower exercises help to improve balance and coordination.

  4. Improved Posture: Power tower exercises also help to strengthen the back muscles that support your spine and improve posture.

  5. Increased Cardio Endurance: Regular use of a power tower can help improve your cardiovascular fitness and endurance.

  6. Effective for weight loss: Power tower exercises help build strength and muscle while burning calories. A balanced approach to weight loss should also include cardiovascular exercise and a healthy diet.

  7. Improved Core Strength: Power tower exercises help to strengthen the core muscles, which provide the foundation for all movement.

  8. Increased Overall Fitness: Power tower workouts help to improve overall fitness levels and help you reach your fitness goals.

The 10 Best Power Tower Exercises for Upper Body Power

1. Pull-ups/Chin-ups

Target Muscles: Latissimus dorsi, biceps, forearms, core.

Training your back and bicep muscles without the use of a floor-based bodyweight exercise is difficult. Utilizing a power tower, however, is a great way to conveniently focus on those pulling muscles. Pull-ups and chin-ups, two interchangeable compound exercises, can be performed on most power towers.

Here’s how to do it:

  1. Grasp the power tower with either a shoulder-width or narrower underhand grip on the chin-up bar for chin-ups or a wider-than-shoulder-width overhand grip for pull-ups.

  2. Make sure to maintain a neutral head position. Always look straight ahead or slightly up.

  3. Keep your arms straight and roll your shoulders back and down.

  4. Activate your core and engage your abs and glutes.

  5. Lift your feet off the ground by flexing your knees.

  6. Pull your chin up and above the bar without jerking or swaying your body.

  7. Push your elbows backward and down to engage your upper back.

The movement is complete once the lats are fully flexed, so don’t continue pulling past that.

Move slowly and controlled on the way down and don't let your shoulders slack in between reps.

Reduce Difficulty: If you need to, you can use a resistance band to reduce difficulty. Choke a band over the pull-up bar and hook one or both of your legs into the band. The more the band is stretched, the easier the pull-up will be.

Increase Difficulty: Make this exercise tougher by wearing a weighted chin/dip belt or a weighted vest.

Pull-up versatility: Remember that pull-ups can be done in different ways, each one focusing on a different set of muscles. For those just starting, the neutral grip is the best option, but if you want to build the most strength, then do a combination of chin-ups using a supinated grip, and pull-ups using a pronated grip.

The width of your grip will also activate different muscles:

  • Wide Grip Position: Using a wide grip position when doing pull-ups on the power tower will target the upper back and lats, helping to build strength and size in these areas.
  • Standard Grip Position: Using a standard grip position when doing pull-ups on the power tower will target the posterior chain, which includes the back, shoulders, and arms.
  • Narrow Grip Position: Using a narrow grip position when doing pull-ups on the power tower will target the biceps, forearms, and grip strength.

2. Dips – Chest/Triceps

Target muscles: Pectoralis major, deltoids, triceps, core.

Dips are an exercise that primarily focuses on the chest, triceps, and shoulders, but still engages many of the muscles of the upper body. It is a compound movement that is similar to the decline press when using barbells or dumbbells.

It is considered to be one of the most effective basic calisthenic exercises for strengthening the chest and developing more muscular triceps.

For a triceps dip, you should strive to keep your upper body as upright as possible. This will ensure that the most pressure is placed on the triceps, rather than the chest.

For a chest dip, you should lean forward to engage the chest muscles.

However, never transition from the chest dip position to the triceps dip position.

Do the two body postures separately.

Here’s how to do it:

  1. Stand facing the power tower dip station and grab the parallel dip handles with your thumbs pointing outward.

  2. Steady your body with straight arms.

  3. Gently bend your legs and push your shoulders down and back while keeping your gaze forward.

  4. Engage your abs as you lower your arms until your chest is even with your hands. Push back up and repeat.

Dips are a great alternative to bench presses and other chest exercises using free weights or machines.

Be mindful of your shoulders and don't go too deep with the dip.

You can also use a resistance band to make the exercise easier, similar to how you would with pull-ups/chin-ups. Wear a weighted vest or a weightlifting dip belt to make dips more challenging.

Dips can be difficult to do since you need to use your arms to lift your full body weight.

Nevertheless, with sufficient practice, most people can eventually become proficient in performing dips to build their muscles.

3. Vertical Knee Raises

Note: Exercises 3 to 7 are all demonstrated on one video, posted after exercise #7

Target muscles: Rectus Abdominis, External Obliques, Hip Flexors

A vertical knee raise is a must if you’re aiming for toned six-pack abs. This exercise works all sections of the core but especially benefits those who want to attain an attractive “V”-shaped midsection.

With the elbow pads and backrest on the power tower, these abdominal-strengthening movements are much more comfortable than when done while suspended from a bar

Here’s how to do it:

  1. Position yourself between the two upright supports of the power tower.

  2. Grasp the grips of the power tower.

  3. Use your arms to push your body upwards until your chin is higher than the handles of the power tower.

  4. Bend your knees so they draw close to your torso.

  5. Pause momentarily at the highest point of the motion.

  6. Lower your legs gradually and controlled to enhance the intensity.

  7. Perform this exercise the necessary number of times.

Tip: Beginners can commence with single-leg lifts to master the proper form and technique. Be sure to raise your knees over your hip flexors to target your abs.

4. Weighted Knee Raises

Target muscles: Rectus Abdominis, External Obliques, Hip Flexors

The weighted knee raise is similar to the vertical knee raise above but is significantly more intense. It will really test the strength and control of your rectus abdominus, as you have to lift not only your legs but also the additional weight.

Make certain to secure your ankles to guarantee you can maintain control of the dumbbell.

Begin with a low weight, and increase the weight once you can complete 20 reps.

Here’s how to do it:

  1. Secure the handholds and press your forearms against the padding while keeping your back against the backrest.

  2. Stabilize your torso and shoulders.

  3. Begin with your legs dangling beneath you and your feet together, gripping a dumbbell between them.

  4. Lift your knees up to your chest, and slowly lower them to their starting position.

  5. Do this for the desired repetitions.

If you want to increase the resistance, try using a kettlebell or a resistance band instead of a dumbbell.

5. Straight Leg Raises

Target muscles: Rectus Abdominis, External Obliques, Hip Flexors

The straight leg raise is comparable to the vertical knee raise, as it utilizes the same muscles. However, it requires more focus on core and hip flexor strength, as your legs are outstretched in front of you.

You should maintain engagement of your core through the entire exercise and keep any movement to a minimum.

To optimize the benefit of the exercise, it is essential to move slowly and deliberately.

Here’s how to do it:

  1. Secure your grip on the handles and rest your forearms on the pads while leaning against the backrest.

  2. Activate your abdominal muscles and keep your shoulders steady.

  3. Begin by dangling your legs underneath and placing your feet together.

  4. Lift up your legs, keeping them straight, until they are parallel to the floor.

  5. As you progress you can lift your legs past 90 degrees, but not high enough to touch your hands.

  6. For an isometric exercise, hold your legs in the elevated position for as long as you can.

  7. Gradually lower them back to starting position.

  8. Perform the move for the desired number of reps.

6. Side Hip Raises

Target muscles: External/Internal Obliques, Hip Flexors

This particular version of the vertical knee raise emphasizes the obliques rather than the rectus abdominis. To tone and firm this troublesome spot, where many individuals store fat, you will want to angle your legs up to the sides. While this will build muscle, ultimately the visibility of the obliques will depend on your body fat percentage.

Here’s how to do it:

  1. Grasp the handles and put your arms on the cushions with your back against the backrest.

  2. Tighten your core and secure your shoulders.

  3. Begin with your legs dangling and feet together.

  4. Contract your oblique muscles, bringing your knees up, and tilt your hips and your ankles to the side in a controlled way.

  5. Gently lower them to the original place then switch sides.

  6. Repeat as many times as desired.

7. Cross Scissor Kicks

Target muscles: Abs, Obliques, Hip Abductors, Hip Adductors

This Captain's Chair workout is a challenging core exercise. You must have a powerful core to do it correctly since your muscles will be strained throughout the movement to hold your legs up.

Here’s how to do it:

  1. Grasp the handles and rest your arms on the pads.

  2. Pull in your abdominal muscles and keep your shoulders straight.

  3. Begin with your legs hanging down.

  4. Slowly lift both legs up to form a 90-degree angle with your body, and keep them straight, about a foot apart.

  5. Move your legs inwards, crossing them over each other, and then back outwards.

  6. Perform this alternating motion for the desired number of reps.

  7. For a simpler version, keep your legs bent at a 90-degree angle and open and close them for the desired reps.

8. Incline Push-Ups

Target muscle groups: Chest (pectoralis major and minor), shoulders (anterior deltoid), triceps, and core (abdominals, lower back, and obliques).

Any 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 push-ups to strengthen their chest, triceps, and shoulder muscles and improve core stability.

Here’s how to do it:

  1. Place the handles of the power tower at the highest setting.

  2. Position your body in front of the power tower with your feet together.

  3. Place your hands on the handles and keep your back straight.

  4. Step your feet back so that your body is in an inclined position.

  5. Slowly lower your body towards the handles until your elbows are bent at a 90-degree angle.

  6. Push up and straighten your arms, and return to the starting position.

  7. Repeat the movements for the desired number of repetitions.


9. Bicycle Crunches

Target Muscles: Rectus Abdominis, External Obliques, Hip Flexors.

Performing bicycle crunches at a fast pace can be beneficial for toning your core and elevating your heart rate. However, if you are aiming to target your abdominal muscles, it is recommended to lift your legs in a deliberate, slow manner.

Here’s how to do it:

  1. Grab the grips, put your arms on the pads, and lean back against the backrest.

  2. Tighten your core and keep your shoulders steady.

  3. Start with your legs dangling and your feet close together.

  4. Slowly lift one knee until your thigh is perpendicular to the ground.

  5. Lower it back to the starting point.

  6. Lift the other knee and repeat the same motions.

  7. Concentrate on using your abdominal muscles to lift your legs, not momentum.

  8. Do this for the number of repetitions you want.

10. Bent-leg Sit-ups

Target muscles: Rectus abdominis, hip flexors

Bent-leg sit-ups have been less popular recently due to the fact that they target the hip flexors almost as intensely as the abs. However, this is actually how your abs are designed to work biologically, so it is not necessarily a useless exercise as some may think.

They can be tough on the lower back, so it is recommended to do bent-leg crunches instead if you find them to be uncomfortable.

Bent-leg sit-ups - image from Shutterstock

Here’s how to do it:

  1. Start by lying on the floor with your knees bent and your feet flat, secured beneath the straps of your power tower.

  2. Instead of placing your hands behind your head, rest them on your temples.

  3. Engage your abdominal and hip flexor muscles to lift your spine and hips off the floor. Let your elbows touch your bent knees.

  4. Lower your body back to the floor and repeat.

The Bottom Line

With the power tower, you can access a variety of exercises. This equipment can be a great way to build strength and physical fitness, but it can prove challenging to start. As you become more experienced working out on this piece of equipment, you will notice a significant improvement in your strength and general physical condition.

Power tower exercises usually involve working out the whole upper body, even if you are just starting out. With some practice, you can use the power tower to its full potential. useful tips and tricks. A combination of the best exercises for the power tower will not only benefit your upper-body muscles but could give you a full-body workout.

Provide a day of rest between strength workouts to permit your muscles to recuperate. Additionally, consult a medical professional before initiating any new strength training schedule.