Effective and well-rounded bodyweight training requires the ability to perform a wide range of exercises, including standard pulling and pushing exercises (e.g., pull ups and dips). And if you want to be able to do those exercises in the privacy of your own home, you’re going to need some equipment.
Power towers are a really versatile and valuable piece of bodyweight equipment, and in this post we’re looking at one of the better beginner / intermediate level options.
Welcome to our Gold’s Gym XR 10.9 Power Tower review. The XR 10.9 happens to be one of our 5 best power towers for the money.
In this review, we’ll take a detailed look at XR 10.9 power tower, and give you a good understanding of the following aspects:
- The range of exercises you can do on it
- The quality of the design and the materials it’s constructed from
- How easy it is to assemble
- How easy it is to use for your bodyweight training
- The value for money you’ll be getting
Of course, detailed reviews aren’t for everyone, so here’s the short and sweet version:
With that out of the way, let’s get into the detailed review.
Gold’s Gym XR 10.9 Power Tower Review
Beginner / intermediate level power towers tend to sit in the $100 – $250 price range (other similar power towers include the Weider Power Tower, Xmark XM-4434 Power Tower, and the Soozier Fitness Power Tower), and the Gold’s Gym XR 10.9 Power Tower is usually at the lower end of that range. Therefore, it presents good value, especially if you can grab it on sale. That said, it’s a relatively large power tower, and will be suitable for some people but not for others.
Simply stated, the XR 10.9 Power Tower is big and heavy compared to other similar power towers. It weighs in at approximately 95 lbs (43 kgs) and has a footprint that’s 41 inches wide (3’5″; 104 cm), 57 inches deep (4’9″; 145 cm) and 84 inches tall (7’0″; 213 cm). It takes a up a fair bit of room, and can be difficult to move around. If you aren’t planning on using your power tower often (i.e. almost every day), then you may want to consider a power tower that’s a bit smaller and lighter, like the Body Vision PT600.
As is the case with all beginner / intermediate level power towers, the Gold’s Gym XR 10.9 Power Tower is suitable for people who plan to do ‘regular’ bodyweight exercises. This power tower will be completely unsuitable for advanced users who wish to do hardcore crossfit workouts, or advanced bodyweight moves like muscle-ups. It simply wasn’t designed for those uses.
Gold’s Gym XR 10.9 Power Tower
|Range of exercises|
|Design and quality|
|Ease of assembly|
|Ease of use|
|Value for money|
Range of exercises
Here’s the thing with the range of exercises: Basically all power towers with a vertical knee raise (VKR) station allow you to do a very solid upper body and core workout. The XR 10.9 is no different. Due to its design, it offers very little in the way of lower body exercises. If you want a power tower that will help you build strength in your legs, then take a look at the Bowflex Body Tower. Below are the main exercises you’ll be able to do on the XR 10.9 Power Tower, including the muscles you’ll be working:
Pull-ups / chin-ups
The padded pull up bar will allow you to do both pull ups and chin ups. Both are excellent pulling exercises, and will primarily work your latissimus dorsi (lats) and biceps and to a lesser extent your trapezius, posterior deltoids, abdominals, and pectorals (pecs). The pull up bar on the Gold’s Gym XR 10.9 Power Tower is well-designed and allows you to vary the width your grip between wide, standard and narrow. Varying the width of your grip alters the extent to which each muscle is worked. For example, narrow grip pull ups work the biceps more intensely than wide grip pull ups, while standard grip pull ups work both more evenly. The pull up bar can also be used to do hanging knee raises, which provide a great abdominal workout. However, in our experience you’ll need to face away from the power tower, and weigh down the base in order to do hanging knee raises safely.
Performing dips with the dip bars will work your pecs, anterior deltoids and triceps.
Vertical leg / knee raises (VKR station)
Working your lower abdominal muscles is fun and effective with the VKR station. Start off easy with knee raises (performed with bent legs) and work your way up to leg raises (performed with straightened legs). For shorter people, there are platforms to help you get into the VKR station, which can also be used to do calf-raises. If you’re strong enough to support your own bodyweight, then you can use the dip bars to do unassisted vertical leg or knee raises, which will give you a more intense abdominal workout.
The padded handles below the pull up bar are for platform push ups. Platform push ups allow you to lower your chest below the level of your hands, which works your pecs, deltoids, and triceps more intensely than regular push ups (performed on the floor).
Design and quality
The Gold’s Gym XR 10.9 Power Tower boasts a 4-station design that’s very similar to most other beginner / intermediate level power towers. However, the XR 10.9 is more stable than many of those other power towers because the frame is relatively heavy (95 lbs; 43 kgs), and the base is wider. This means that you won’t get as much wobble when using the various stations.
That said, the XR 10.9 isn’t perfectly stable. No beginner / intermediate level power tower is. It’s a fact of life with this kind of ‘made-for-home’ equipment. Power towers like this one need to be light enough for people to be able to get into their house and assemble, but that comes with a trade-off in stability. What does this mean? Well, while working out on the Gold’s Gym Power Tower, if you don’t have very controlled form then you’re likely to feel a little bit of movement, most noticeably while using the dip station. This will be especially apparent for people who weigh more than approximately 220 lbs (100 kgs).
Experiencing some wobble in the power tower when using it isn’t necessarily a bad thing because it tells you that your form is slightly off. Therefore, once you can do both pull ups and dips without causing any movement in your equipment, you’ll know you’ve got your technique down pat.
If, however, the instability concerns you, then you can do one or both of these two things:
- Place some protective foam flooring beneath the power tower. This is just good practice, and will both improve the stability during use, as well as protect your floors from damage.
- Place a couple of sandbags or weight plates (if you have them) on the base. This is by far the best way to sort the instability issue out.
In terms of quality, the Gold’s Gym XR 10.9 Power Tower is mostly made from solid materials. The frame is constructed from a heavy steel that feels nice and strong. This is the most important aspect of any power tower, as it’s really the only thing that can’t be changed. The 300 lbs weight capacity means you’ll be able to give this power tower a lot of good workouts without ever worrying about the frame bending or breaking.
The padded back and arm rests in the VKR station are double stitched and vinyl covered, and although they aren’t the highest quality, they do do their job just fine. The same goes for the foam grips on the various handles (i.e. pull up bar, dip bar, VKR grips). Although they work OK and won’t give you much cause for concern, they aren’t particularly comfortable. To improve the thickness and comfort of the grips, you could try replacing them with some good quality tennis grip.
Overall, the Gold’s Gym XR 10.9 is well-designed and strongly made.
Ease of assembly
The process for assembling the XR 10.9 is straightforward and easy. The manual takes you through a 12-step process (don’t worry, that sounds much worse than it is) and includes both written instructions and exploded diagrams.
All of the parts are well-packaged and labelled, which definitely makes things much easier. It does, however, come in a single large box, which weighs about 100 lbs (45.5 kgs), so you’ll want to get someone to help you bring it into your house.
We recommend giving yourself 1 – 1.5 hours to assemble this power tower completely. As it’s reasonably large, you’ll need to assemble it in the room in which you plan to use it. It will be almost impossible to get it through doorways or up and down stairs once fully assembled, and disassembling it will be a massive pain in the butt. You’ll also want to set it up in one spot and leave it there. Because it’s quite large, and relatively heavy, it’ll be difficult to move around.
Below are some tips to help you get it together as easily as possible:
- Although you should be able to assemble it on your own, it’ll be quicker and easier if you have someone to help you.
- If you have a socket set, this will come in handy. At the very least, you’ll need two adjustable wrenches, a standard screwdriver and a Phillips screwdriver .
- Wait until you have the power tower fully assembled before tightening all of the bolts. Once it is fully assembled, tighten the bolts from bottom to top. This applies to almost all fitness equipment that requires assembly, and will help to ensure that your power tower sits level.
- Be careful not to over-tighten the screws and bolts as they may strip easily.
Ease of use
Ultimately, the Gold’s Gym XR 10.9 Power Tower is very similar to comparable power towers in how it’s used, and most people will find it very easy to workout on. That said, there are a couple of minor issues we want to mention straight up:
- The frame is wider than some other power towers; the dip bars are approximately 24″ apart. For most people this won’t pose any issues, but for those with fairly narrow shoulders, the dip and VKR station may place some extra strain on the shoulder joints and be a little uncomfortable to use.
- The cross bar between to the uprights is placed at such a height that you may find yourself knocking the backs of your legs against while using the VKR station. This is more of an annoyance than anything, and you’ll quickly figure out the technique you need to avoid it.
As we’ve already discussed, this power tower can get a bit of movement (especially back and forth) in it during use. As with most power towers, this will be most noticeable when doing dips, as the dip handles sit the furthest from center. However, due to the extra weight of this power tower, it’s likely that this will only be noticeable for people who are on the heavier side. That said, this power tower IS NOT suitable for doing advanced bodyweight movements like muscle-ups, and it’s certainly not suitable for doing kipping pull ups (i.e. the crossfit style pull ups). As long as you do controlled dips and pull ups, there’s little chance of this power tower tipping over. However, if you’re concerned about its stability, place weight plates or sandbags on the base. Alternatively, you may need to spend some extra cash and get a more heavy duty power tower, like this one.
Finally, the Gold’s Gym XR 10.9 Power Tower’s pull up bar is exactly 7 feet off the ground. Therefore, the room you have it in will need at least 8 ft ceilings so that you have enough clearance for your head while doing pull ups. This power tower is not adjustable.
Value for money
As mentioned, The XR 10.9 sits at the lower end of the price range for beginner / intermediate level power towers. Expect to pay somewhere between $100 and $160 for this piece of equipment. Considering the high-quality upper body and core workouts you’ll be able to do with this power tower over a number of years, we think that’s a fantastic investment in your health, fitness and physique. All you’ll need then is something for your lower body, and there’s nothing better for a killer leg and butt workout than a good barbell / barbell set.
All-in-all, the Gold’s Gym XR 10.9 offers great value for money, especially if you can get it for close to $100.
If you have a good-sized home workout space, then the Gold’s Gym XR 10.9 Power Tower is an excellent choice for bodyweight strength training. It offers a great range of exercises, and will provide some great upper body and core workouts. It’s also well-designed and the frame is nice and heavy, which adds to the stability. You shouldn’t have much problem assembling it, and aside from a couple of minor issues (which won’t actually affect everyone), using it will be no problem at all. It’s definitely one of the best beginner / intermediate level power towers
If you think the XR 10.9 is the one for you, you can check the current price here.
Thanks for reading our Gold’s Gym XR 10.9 Power Tower review. Leave any comments or thoughts you have in the comments section below, and if you found it valuable then consider sharing it with your friends on social media.
All the best with your home workouts. Remember, when it comes to our health and fitness, we can make the effort or we can make excuses, but we can’t make both.
THFF (The Home Fit Freak)