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Power towers can offer many benefits but you may want other options. What are some alternatives to power towers with similar benefits?
A power tower is a combination of a pull-up bar, dip bar, and often captain’s chair. This setup allows you to do a variety of power tower exercises.
The main body parts these exercises on the power tower target include upper back, biceps, triceps, and core. Which muscles the power tower works depends on the exact exercise you do with it.
Whether you don’t like using a power tower, you want a cheaper alternative, or you want an alternative for any other reason, these power tower alternatives can help you train similar areas of your health.
Keep in mind that implementing these alternatives can offer benefits but like while using any exercise equipment, there is always some risk of injury. Make sure you use these equipment options in a safe way and if needed, get guidance from an expert.
1. Resistance bands
One of the benefits of the power tower is that it allows you to do a variety of different exercises with a single piece of workout equipment. In this area, resistance bands can definitely be a good power tower alternative.
Resistance bands are an inexpensive type of fitness equipment that are basically elastic cords. These do not look like power towers in any way but they can actually benefit your workouts in similar ways.
Some exercise swaps include a resistance band lat pulldown or bent-over row instead of pull-ups, tricep kickbacks instead of dips, and kneeling resistance band crunches or side bends instead of captain’s chair exercises.
Resistance bands are even more useful than a power tower in many ways. They allow you to make movements at basically any angle more challenging.
That means the potential for bicep, hip abductor, hip adductor, hamstring, etc. isolation. Additionally, loop resistance bands can help you work up to a full pull-up or dip if these are currently too challenging.
On top of that, some of the other benefits of resistance bands are that they are relatively inexpensive, easy to store, and very portable.
One downside is that resistance bands are not the type of fitness equipment you can use for the rest of your life. At least every few years you will need to replace the last set with new resistance bands. For certain exercises you may also need a resistance band anchor.
2. Pull-up bar
A complete power tower may be cheaper than a pull-up bar, dip bar, and captain’s chair bought separately. However, if you are only interested in one of these three, a power tower may feel too expensive.
The pull-up bar is arguably the most key component of a power tower. You can use this part of the machine to do pull-ups, hanging core exercises, and other pull-up bar exercises.
With the right accessories, a pull-up bar can basically replace the captain’s chair part on its own.
Once you have decided you could use a pull-up bar, you have a few different types to choose from. The end goal of each one is the same but the best way to get there depends on a lot of factors.
Some of these, like doorway pull-up bars, are inexpensive and easy to set up. In turn, they are not as sturdy as for example a wall-mounted pull-up bar. This last type in turn has stricter installment requirements.
The main benefit of this power tower alternative is that most types of pull-up bars are cheaper.
A downside is that you may need to put more effort into installing a pull-up bar. Besides that, you also need the right type of wall or doorframe. Lastly, a pull-up bar does not enable the same number of exercises as a power tower.
3. Yoga mat
One of the areas where power towers are especially great is core training. On the captain’s chair or hanging from the pull-up bar, your legs are free. In turn, this enables you to do a variety of powerful core exercises.
An alternative that can benefit your core training to a larger extent too is a yoga mat. This is a mat of soft material, often foam, that is used to make many exercises on the floor a lot more comfortable.
Some examples of core exercises you can do on a yoga mat include crunches, sit-ups, and lying toe touches. For these, a yoga mat is definitely not an unnecessary luxury. Additionally, you can use a yoga mat for other types of exercise like stretching and yoga.
On top of that yoga mats are also very inexpensive, certainly compared to power towers and the pain you can avoid from working out on the ground. Yoga mats are also easy to store, set up, and take with you.
One downside of yoga mats as a power tower alternative is that the floor core exercises are not always effective enough for a lot of muscle growth. Besides that, a yoga mat is not particularly helpful for training your upper back, bicep, and tricep muscles.
4. Dip bars
Similar to the pull-up bar, you may only be interested in the dip bars of power towers. In that case, buying dip bars separately is generally cheaper, easier to store, and easier to bring with you.
Besides the dip exercise, there are plenty of other dip bar exercises you can do too. Similar, to the power tower, dip bars are also sturdy and generally last a long time.
A straightforward downside of dip bars compared to power towers is that they are less versatile. At the same time, dip bars still require a decent investment.
5. Squat rack
A power rack is a steel construction. This piece of fitness workout equipment offers many uses. For most people being able to hold a weighted barbell will be the most important point of a power rack.
Among the variety of possible uses of a power rack is the potential to add many other attachments. This includes a pull-up bar, dip bars, captain’s chair but also lat pulldown systems, a landmine setup, and a barbell holder.
While it is generally more stable, a power rack may not be the optimal choice if you only plan to do power tower exercises in your home gym.
However, this piece of equipment can be a worthwhile investment if you plan to do barbell exercises like back squats and bench presses with it on top of that.
When buying these other attachments separately keep in mind that not all attachments fit all racks. Make sure you check the dimensions of both the squat rack and attachment to see if they are a good match.
Even though steel power racks do not lose their value fast, keep in mind that these do require a relatively high initial investment.
6. Free weights
Free weights are heavy pieces of fitness equipment that are not attached anywhere. Some examples of free weights include a barbell, medicine balls, dumbbells, kettlebells, weight plates, exercise sandbags, wrist weights, etc.
These look far from a power tower alternative but you can use free weights to make upper back, bicep, core, and tricep exercises a lot more effective.
Some examples of free weight exercises you can do instead of using a power tower include bent-over rows, bicep curls, tricep extensions, bent-over rows, dumbbell pullovers, weighted core exercises, etc.
One of the benefits of free weights is that you can use them in a wide variety of exercises for many body parts besides the ones already mentioned.
Additionally, they generally last an extremely long time. One dumbbell can potentially improve your workouts for many years and potentially even decades.
Lastly, many free weights do not really lose their value. This means that if you decide to stop using dumbbells or other free weights you can likely sell them for a very similar price as what you put into them.
A disadvantage is that free weights often require a relatively high investment compared to power towers. If you really love doing pull-ups, tricep dips, and floor core exercises, free weights may also feel too boring.