The Fit Tower is a piece of exercise equipment from Cathe Friedrich. Though Cathe created and leads these workouts you cannot buy it from Cathe’s website. You can get it from Amazon or from a special Fit Tower website.
I never expected to buy the Fit Tower. A long time ago Cathe had a different Fit Tower–back when she released STS and her Low Impact Series. But by the time I discovered Cathe and purchased STS that Fit Tower was no longer available. So I purchased a squat rack/bench press and a bench for STS. So when she released the new Fit Tower a year or so ago, I saw no point in buying it. Plus, where would I put it? I have good size room that is my home gym but it is already full of equipment.
Then Black Friday 2018 rolled around and Cathe offered it for 50% off! How could I pass that up? I couldn’t. So I now own her Fit Tower. She had other Black Friday sales as well, so I also bought the other 3 Fit Tower workouts she offered on her website.
That’s the story of why I now have a Fit Tower. The Fit Tower system comes with the Fit Tower, a flat 6 foot resistance band, a resistance loop (firewalker), a yoga mat and 3 approximately 30 minute workouts. You can also buy the optional barbell clips but they came free with the Black Friday offer (yeah–how the #@%&* could I pass this offer up?!!?!). The workouts are 3 levels–beginner, intermediate and advanced. But having now done them all, none of them are advanced and only one is intermediate. Two are beginner level. She has 3 additional workouts (so far) that she created for the Fit Tower and those 3 are available on her website. As of the writing of this review, I have not done those workouts but I have previewed one of them and it is advanced and uses more equipment than comes with the system. But all 3 of the workouts that come with the Fit Tower use only the equipment that came with it (tower and bands). (She also has some Fit Tower workouts that were done Live and can be streamed through her Cathe Live streaming service).
The Fit Tower was very easy to put together and I love the colors! My favorite color is green and the equipment that comes with the tower are lovely shades of green. Plus, Cathe’s clothes in the workouts–more beautiful shades of green.
Summary of tower & workouts: Though the Fit Tower is now taking up room in my workout room there is no buyers remorse. I love the Fit Tower and the workouts that came with it. I am looking forward to using it with some of my older Cathe workouts that used her old Fit Tower (Turbo Barre is the one that comes to mind immediately but there are more). There are certain moves that I really love that are (kind of) exclusive to the fit tower. The first is bridge work. Yes, you can use a step or a chair to elevate your feet when doing bridge work but I felt so much more stable when I used the Fit Tower for bridge work. In addition, I am much weaker than I use to be plus I now have shoulder issues that I didn’t have before cancer treatment, so using the Fit Tower to modify my push ups makes them painless for me! Even doing push ups on my knees on the floor starts to hurt my left shoulder if I am doing a lot of push ups, but it caused me no pain doing them with the tower. And finally–modified pull ups. I have a full Power Tower and a pull up assist, but at this point in my life, I do not even bother with it anymore. And I have done modified pull ups during STS and with Mark Lauren‘s YAYOG book using my squat rack/chest press but that is a heavy piece of equipment. The Fit Tower is light and stable and perfect for modified pull ups. Plus, it is perfect for barre work! Not a lot of trainers use an actual barre for DVD barre workouts. They usually use a chair, but Cathe has a few and Linda Wooldridge (Barlates) has a lot of workouts that use a barre. So I love finally being able to do those workouts using an actual barre.
Each workout is chaptered and I listed the chapter lengths in the individual workout reviews. Maybe you want a barre lower body day? Do one of the warm up and stretches and all 3 segments from each workout and you have a lower body barre workout that is under 40 minutes. Or an upper body barre/band day? Do the same thing and you have an upper body band/barre workout that is under 40 minutes.
The only minor drawback (other than finding a place to store the Fit Tower) is that the fire walker loop that comes with it isn’t very strong. So it didn’t do much for me when doing lower body work. But I have a lot of heavier/stronger loops that I will just use instead to work my lower body better.
I will eventually do and review the other Fit Tower workouts that Cathe offers but I am not sure when. I did preview one and it looked more advanced than my fitness level right now. Plus, I already have workout plans for the next few months. But I will review them eventually.
Slim and Trim (beginner) is 36:30 minutes; 3:40 minute warm up and 5:30 minute stretch. There is one background exerciser with Cathe. The warm up is done without any equipment. After the warm up, you start with the Fit Tower bar at hip height. This was an excellent beginner level workout and a great introduction on using the tower. I never broke a sweat but nevertheless felt like I got a decent workout. If you are beginner, this is a perfect total body workout. For me, I will continue to use it as a nice conditioning workout to do on Sundays, to warm me up before doing my weekly yoga. Cathe does basic barre and band exercises and doesn’t do a lot of reps. I think she does sets of 8 reps plus lots of tempo changes–usually pulsing 7 times. For most of the exercises you are doing 2 sets of everything.
This workout is chaptered: Warm up, Lower Body (10 minutes), Upper Body (11 minutes), Core (6:30 minutes) and stretch.
- With legs wider than hip width apart, toes turned out and one hand on Fit Tower bar, do plie squats (singles and pulses); changes to a plie squat then raise onto toes at top of move; changes to raising onto toes then lower into plie squat then raise back up and lower heels
- Still standing beside Fit Tower w/ one hand on bar and legs together, raise and lower one straight leg to the front; changes to pulses at top of lift
- Repeat #2 but with toe turned out to side and insole facing ceiling
- Still standing beside Fit Tower w/ one hand on bar, lift and lower outside leg out straight to side; changes to pulses at top of lift
- Face Fit Tower w/ both hands on bar and raise and lower one straight leg behind you; changes to pulses at top of lift
- Repeat 2-5 on other side of body
- Still facing Fit Tower w/ both hands on bar, do stationary lunges (singles and pulses)
- Stand facing Fit Tower with resistance band draped over top of tower and holding one end of the band in each hand with elbows bent and held close to sides, pull band down beside thighs working your triceps (singles and pulses)
- Raise bar up to level 9 on the tower and sit on mat under Fit Tower with hands gripping bar, using arms, pull bottom up off floor and hold for a few seconds then lower (a very modified pull up)
- Lower bar to level 1 on the tower and kneel in front of it w/ hands on bar and do push ups on knees (3 sets, all at different tempos)
- Stand and wrap resistance band around back at armpit level, holding an end of the band in each hand, push arms/band straight in front of you (singles and pulses)
- Hold band in both hands w/ about one foot of distance between hands, arms extended straight in front of you, open straight arms out to sides of body them bring back in front of you (straight arm standing chest fly) (singles and pulses)
- Stand on band w/ one foot, one end of band in each hand, do bicep curls; changes to pulsing one arm 7x
- Raise bar to level 8 on tower, drape band over bar and stand beside tower, place one hand over band on bar anchoring it into place and grip one end of band in the other hand, raise band out straight to side (singles and pulses)
- Lower bar to level 2 on the tower and lay on mat w/ legs bent, feet resting on bar, hands behind head, do basic crunches
- Start in same position as #15 then extend one arm out straight to side on floor (other hand is still behind head) and extend same side leg straight over bar, bring knee in to chest and bring opposite elbow to knee then extend leg straight (cross crunches)
- Start in same position as #15 but arms are extended straight along side body, lift head/neck/shoulders while reaching hands toward hips and hold isometrically
- Repeat #17 but this time flutter hands while holding isometrically (modified pilates 100)
- Raise bar to level 8 on tower and drape band over bar (you are still sitting on mat with legs extended under bar, hold both ends of band together in both hands and roll down to mat then rise back up slowly, using band like a rope and climbing it, hand over hand then tapping bar at top of climb
- Sit up on mat and cross legs, hold band in both hands w/ about 2 feet between hands and raise arms/band overhead, lean torso/hands side to side, tapping floor with same side hand
Long and Strong (intermediate) is 34 minutes; 3:30 minute warm up and 3:30 minute stretch. There is one background exerciser with Cathe. The warm up is done without any equipment. After the warm up, you start with the Fit Tower bar at hip height. I didn’t really feel like this was an intermediate level workout. Still beginner level, maybe a tad bit more challenging than Slim and Trim (above). I never broke a sweat (except when I had a hot flash during the core work, but that doesn’t count) but like Slim and Trim, I did feel the work. So it is another solid beginner level workout and I will continue to use it for the same purpose as Slim and Trim–a conditioning warm up before doing yoga. It is very enjoyable. The 34 minutes flew. I was actually surprised when it was over!
This workout is chaptered: Warm up, Lower Body (10 minutes), Upper Body (11 minutes), Core (6 minutes) and stretch.
- Squats w/ one hand on bar; release bar and do pulse squats with both arms reached overhead (3 sets of singles and pulses)
- Legs are a little more than hip width apart, toes pointed outward, raised up on toes, lower into squat and pulse (one hand on bar for balance) (she has you do different arm positions including releasing hand from bar)
- Face the tower, hands on bar and do stationary lunges (singles and pulses)
- Put loop around ankles and face the tower, hands on bar, and raise one leg out behind you w/ foot turned out slightly (singles and pulses)
- Remove band from ankles and lower bar to level 1; put band around ankles again, lay on back and raise legs to ceiling, open straight legs and pulse 3x; changes to singles then pulses
- Remove loop and scoot bottom closer to bar, place heels on bar and grip the tower base with your hands, raise and lower hips (singles and pulses)
- Push ups on knees w/ hands on bar (still at level 1) (different tempos)
- Loop band around bar and hold one end of band in each hand, place one foot on bar and press straight arms behind you (singles and pulses)
- Raise bar to level 7, sit underneath the bar w/ knees bent and feet on floor, grip the bar underhanded, do seated chin ups (raising bottom off ground but feet stay on the ground)
- Stand on band w/ both ends of the band on one hand and do single arm bicep curls
- Raise bar on tower to level 9, hang band over bar, and stand beside tower, place one hand on top of band on bar to hold it in place and hold hanging part of band in other hand (hand farthest away from the tower), raise arm to at least shoulder height and extend arm straight out to side away from tower (horizontal tricep kickback/extensions) (singles and pulses)
- Same set up as #11 but this time you are holding band with an underhand grip, elbow close to side and pull band out to side (away from tower) keeping elbow close to side
- Lower bar to level 1 on tower and lay on mat , bottom close to tower, heels on bar and hands behind head, extend one leg toward ceiling and do crunches; place both heels on bar and continue doing crunches; turn hips to side so sides of feet are on bar and continue doing crunches
- Raise bar to level 2, lay on back w/ legs extended straight under bar, roll all the way up, extending arms over bar toward feet then roll back down
- Still laying on back w/ legs straight, lay one leg on top of bar and the other is still extended straight underneath, hands behind head, raise head/shoulders, raise bottom leg up to tap bar, lower leg, then lower head/shoulders
- Sit up, legs extended in front of you w/ knees slightly bent, resistance loop is around hands w/ palms facing each other and arms extended straight in front of you, do a Russian twist, tapping same side hand to floor on each side
- Raise bar up to a high level (so it is out of the way), get into modified elbow plank (on knees) on mat under the tower; raise knees so you are in full elbow plank and hold for 4 counts, then lower back to modified plank for 4 counts
Lean and Mean (advanced) is 34 minutes; 3:45 minute warm up and 4 minute stretch. There is one background exerciser with Cathe. The warm up is done without any equipment. After the warm up, you start with the Fit Tower bar at hip height (later she says it is at level 8). You are on the floor with the core work and when it cuts to the stretch Cathe is standing and the barre is higher–and oddly, she gives you no time or instructions to raise your barre. So you will have to move fast. This workout is more advanced than the other two. It still isn’t “advanced” as Cathe labels it. I would say intermediate. It could be high intermediate if she had done more reps. She does more advanced moves but usually not enough reps to really burn the muscles out like she does in workouts she sells on her website. Except for the core work. I found the core work very challenging and it was burning my abs out. But my core is weaker than it used to be–everything is relative! It might not have challenged me a year ago, but who knows. Just like the others, I really enjoyed this workout and it worked me well.
This workout is chaptered: Warm up, Lower Body (9:30 minutes), Upper Body (9 minutes), Core (7 minutes) and stretch.
- Stand beside tower w/ one hand on bar and do step out squats (remain in squat, step one foot out 3x, farther with each step)
- Wide plie squats; add a small hop (just lifting heels but adding power) and pull one arm down
- Facing tower with both hands on bar, do crossback lunges (curtsy lunges)–pulse 3x and when you raise up, lift knee out to side; changes to singles (no pulse, just curtsy straight into knee raise)
- Stand beside tower again and place forearm on bar, do hydrant pulses; continue pulsing but move leg forward 4 counts and back 4 counts
- Put loop around ankles and step side to side
- Face the tower, hands on bar, loop still around ankles, pull one foot partially out of loop so loop is around sole of foot, bend knee and press foot back behind you
- Lower bar to level 3, place hands on bar w/ legs in split stance, do push ups in this position
- Hands still on the bar, step feet out into plank and do more push ups
- Hold one end of resistance band in one hand overhead, grasp other end of band with other hand behind back, raise and lower top arm doing one arm, overhead tricep extensions
- Raise bar to level 4 and stand in front of tower, facing away and do tricep dips (hands on bar behind you)
- Raise bar to level 6 and lay beneath bar, hands on bar, pull chest up to bar and hold for 4 counts
- Lower bar to level 1, loop band around bar and hold both ends in one hand, place one foot on the bar and do single arm rows
- Place loop around hands, palms facing each other, elbows bent and held close to sides, pull band out in fast pulses (she does do a lot of reps of this exercise)
- Raise bar to level 7, wrap band around one foot and hold ends of band in one hand, place free hand on bar and step foot w/ band around it back so you are in a lunge, do single arm bicep curls in this position
- Lower bar to level 1, lay on back w/ hands behind head, one foot on bar and other raised straight to ceiling and do basic crunches in this position
- Still on back with head/chest raised, one leg extended straight over bar the other knee pulled into chest, grip knee of leg pulled into chest and pulse extended leg 2x then switch legs and repeat
- Raise bar to level 3, do full crunches, bringing both knees to elbows then extend both legs out straight over bar, bring knees to elbows again and when you extend legs straight again, press them under bar, keep alternating over and under the bar
- Sit in C sit w/ legs under bar and palms on top of bar, roll down to your back, roll back up and place hands on bar, raise straight legs and scissor legs 6x
- Sit in C sit, resistance band is folded in half and raised overhead, holding one end in each hand, twist band down to one side, tapping one hand to floor; changes to alternating side twists (lots of reps of this exercise)