A vertical knee raise or knee up is probably the most challenging exercise for your core and abs. But you know what they say, no pain no gain….
They really do work, and you can expect results fast!
If you want to do knee ups regularly, your best bet would be to invest power tower machine.
The beauty of these machines is that they’re so versatile- you can design a workout that goes way beyond your core.
You can target upper body muscle groups such as back, shoulders, chest, biceps, and triceps.
If you’re looking to buy a new power tower machine, pay particular attention to build quality and sturdiness. This is by far the most important factors and the biggest pain point for customers.
And this was my biggest focus when creating my list of best power machines.
Whether you’re beginning your fitness journey or you’re a seasoned gym pro, I’m confident you’ll find a suitable machine on this list.
Favorite Knee Raise Machine
BangTong Power Tower Pull Up & Dip Station
- Designed with heavy-duty materials and high-density foam rubber grips for comfort and maximum security.
- A versatile dip stand, supporting a variety of upper body exercises.
- Adjustable pull-up bar according to your height.
- Excellent customer service.
This multi-functional power tower is perfect for vertical knee raise exercises, but it is also useful to perform triceps dips, chin-ups, pull-ups, and push-ups.
It has non-slip handles specially designed to remain steady even if you have sweaty hands, plus special end caps to prevent wobbling and protect your floor.
It also features a rotating safety back cushion made for your comfort and to reduce the pressure on your spine.
Assembly and Placement
The BangTong Power Tower is manufactured with sturdy and durable materials, but to ensure a longer product life, the seller advises not to keep it outdoors.
This machine is stable, strong and does not take too much room. However, its height, which may go up to 89” should also be considered.
Assembling it can be quite easy, but the product is made of steel and is very heavy.
The majority of its users are satisfied with the materials and only complain that the assembly might be a little tiring for only one person to complete.
What we like:
- It has high-quality materials, very comfortable to use.
- It’s as versatile as a power tower can be.
What we dislike:
- It’s a very heavy piece of equipment, not recommended to move around in your house.
Second Best Workstation
HI-MAT Adjustable Power Tower Gym Station
- The U-style base and the non-slip foot sets make it very stable and safe.
- Adjustable backrest with 6 levels, according to your height.
- Comes with removable arm cushions and dumbbell stands to allow for a bigger variety of exercises.
- It supports a wide variety of upper body exercises, including knee raises.
- Good customer support and easy assembly.
This sturdy power tower is one of the most customizable you will find in the market. It has 11 levels of height adjustments for your arm cushions and a barbell rack, plus 6 adjustment levels for your back cushion.
The only thing you can’t adjust is the top pull-up bar. The red model has a maximum capacity of 1100 lbs, and the dumbbell stands can support up to 88 lbs.
What customers are saying
Most users report that this power tower met their expectations, especially because of its stability and high-quality materials.
However, if you’re considering using this one as a squat rack, you might not like it, because it’s a bit too narrow for that, plus the weight distribution might make the barbell slide to the side when putting 45 lbs plates at a time.
What we like
- It’s highly customizable with adjustable heights.
- It’s very stable and safe to use
What we dislike
- You aren’t able to use it as a squat rack, as the design apparently suggests.
Best Quality & Most Versatile
Fitness Reality X-Class High Capacity Power Tower
- 400 lbs weight capacity, made with a coated steel tube frame.
- Adjustable handlebars with 7 mounting positions.
- Forearm cushions and angled backrest for support and comfort.
- Dip station with a 3-position stability beam.
- Multiple grips throughout to support a very wide variety of exercises.
This machine is by far one of the most versatile and complete pieces of equipment to buy if you’re considering having a gym at home.
It supports all the important upper body exercises, and it is exceptional if you are thinking about your knee raise exercises.
Assembly and Placement
Due to its versatility, it is larger than others, and ships in two different boxes that may sometimes arrive separately.
It is 83’’ in height, and takes considerable space, so it is best to assemble and use fixed in a separate place of your house.
Besides the common grips and handles in a power tower, you will also have a pair of handlebars that you can adjust in many positions. It also includes a step support that will be very useful for leg raises and dips.
What we like
- It is functional, versatile, and made with high-quality materials.
- The adjustable handlebars are really useful for a variety of exercises.
What we dislike
- It is a large and heavy piece of equipment, not meant for outside use.
Most Comfortable Machine
Marcy Power Tower Multi Workout Home Gym
- An excellent power tower, designed to fit in your home.
- Perfect for knee raises, as a dip station, and for pull-ups.
- Multiple grip handles and a comfortable backrest.
- Triangular base frame to fit in a corner of your room.
If you’re more interested in keeping your available space, the Marcy Power Tower is probably your best pick. It is designed to fit in your home and offers everything you need to exercise your core muscles and upper body.
Besides your knee raise station, you can also use it to support your crunch exercises and your planks.
Assembly and Placement
Both assembly and disassembly are very easy. The maximum height is 86’’ and it’s not extremely heavy (79 lbs), so it is possible to move it around if needed.
Many users wonder why the unit has a cable in the back. The cable was made to counterbalance the unit during pull-ups.
So, if you experience shakiness, the manufacturer recommends checking the tension of the cable and the tightness of the nuts and bolts.
What we like
- It doesn’t take much space, and it is easy to carry around and store in a corner of your room.
- It provides support to multiple core exercises.
What we dislike
- It is not as heavy-duty as other power towers.
- Pull-up handles can be difficult to reach for short users.
Vertical Knee Raise Exercises
Vertical knee raises are very useful when exercising your core, only one step beyond step-ups and crunches.
You can do it in a knee raise machine, a power tower, suspended between parallel bars, or suspended in a pull-up bar.
This exercise activates the rectus abdominis, the muscle that makes up your six-pack and assists your movements as you sit up or pull your chest toward your hips.
As such, it excellently builds core strength.
Hip flexors are also targeted through the vertical knee raise.
These muscles help you bring your knees up to your torso while the rectus abdominis stabilizes your core.
How to do vertical knee raises properly
After positioning yourself in any of the machines described above, place your back comfortably against the backrest and rest your arms on the parallel bars.
As you exhale, bend your knees, lifting them towards your torso in a controlled movement.
Lift your knees as high as possible without rounding your back and then return them to the initial position as you inhale.
Maintaining form is very important as you perform these movements. So, keep in mind and avoid the following mistakes for a proper technique:
- Do not let your legs drop too quickly. Return them slowly to their initial position.
- Do not swing your legs up and down using momentum.
- Keep your knees bent – extending your knees places less stress on the abdominal muscles and more on your hip flexors and lower back.
Safety & Warning
Avoid performing knee raises if you had a recent abdominal surgery or are recovering from injuries in your arms, legs, back, and/or neck.
It is contraindicated in pregnant women who are recovering from childbirth, and in patients with rectus diastasis.
If you identify with any of the above, be sure to talk to your physical therapist in order to know the most appropriate exercises or knee raise variations for strengthening your core.
FAQ’s About Knee Raises
Are hanging knee raises effective?
Hanging knee raises are one of the best exercises to target your abdominal muscles.
It stimulates your rectus abdominis more than crunches, leg raises and planks, but only if you perform the proper technique at all times.
Keep in mind, however, that even the most effective exercises won’t give you a visible six-pack unless you combine them with a careful diet and appropriate weight control.
Will knee raises burn fat?
Done properly, knee raises can increase your calorie expenses and help you burn fat.
So be sure to do this exercise slowly and calmly, to balance your body more easily. Plus, use a low-calorie diet combined with cardio for more rapid results.
How can you make vertical knee raises more intense?
There are many variations of the vertical knee raise which could increase the intensity of the exercise.
For example, you can hold a weight between your knees and increase the load progressively according to your fitness levels.
Another variation is directing your legs sidewards while maintaining your knees extended, but this may put some strain on your back, which is why you should always exercise with caution.
How many vertical knee raises should you do?
The most appropriate number of repetitions for your knee raise exercises is between 10 and 25 reps.
Other Recommended Power Towers
Diophros Power Tower Pull Up Bar
If you’re looking for stability and a sturdy design, this is definitely a hot pick for you.
One of the most distinguishing features of the Diophros Power Tower is the heavy-duty materials and the skid-resistant feet base.
This power tower is also customizable, and you can adjust the height of the pull-up bar to your comfort.
It supports knee raises, pull-ups, dips, and pushups, it also gives you enough room if you want to engage your obliques on your way up to complete your vertical knee raises.
The only bad thing is the massive space it takes, and how heavy it is. It is also not very tall if you’re over 6’’ but if you have enough room and are not very tall, this one will probably be worth the money.
CITYBIRDS Power Tower Dip Station
This power tower is straightforward and does exactly what it’s made to. It does not take excessive space in your room and holds up to 400 lbs of body mass.
The adjustable holes in the frame allow 7 different positions of the pull-up bar to accommodate your own height, and it has a very high rating with many good user experiences after a 90-minute assembly.
YouTen 700 lbs Rated Power Tower Multi-Function
One of the most interesting features of the YouTen Power Tower is the 3D adjustable backrest, which can be moved to the front and the rear, but also up and down.
It is multifunctional and supports most compound exercises for the upper body, plus it has a 90-day warranty on the backrest and cushions and a 30-year warranty on the frame.
It is sturdy and resistant, and the assembly takes a few minutes to one hour.
However, some users complain it is not as stable as one would want, especially if you’re a large guy or girl.
HYD-Parts Power Tower
These guys aim for simplicity and convenience in assembly and installation.
The weight capacity of this power tower is 550 lbs and has an adjustable weight of 64.6’’ to 84.6’’.
It’s great for the major upper body exercises and has excellent reviews by satisfied users.
However, be sure to align everything and assemble tightly to prevent wobbliness and tilting forward, especially if you’re heavy.