By Strength Oldschool
* This article contains Amazon and other "Affiliated" links, which means if you click on any of the links and decide to purchase something, Strength Oldschool will receive a small commission. Your support is greatly appreciated!
* This article was originally published back in January, 2022.
Having a self-standing cable pulley machine has always appealed to me greatly. But the cost of buying a brand new machine and the lack of space within my House Livingroom training area, makes it problematic.
So I began looking online for simple DIY ways to install a "low cable pulley" onto a Power Rack. I already had a Lat Pulldown Machine, so figured I really just need a 'Low Cable Pulley'. After many hours of research, basically watching Youtube videos, the whole DIY process still appeared troublesome, meaning, I didn't see any videos that made the process easy to setup and much easier to take apart or place to the side for future use.
So I had no choice but to experiment, and through trial and error, I eventually set up my own cable pulley power rack system. Watch the video below to see it in action.
Equipment I used for my Low Cable Pulley System
Single Swivel Pulley Wheel (Quantity: 1 = Two Pulley Wheels)
Lashing Loops or Heavy Duty Hanging Straps with Looped Ends (Quantity: 1)
LFJ Fitness Steel Cable, Heavy Duty - Fixed 3m length with Gravity Ball (Quantity: 1)
Heavy Duty Swing Hanging Straps (Quantity: 1)
Heavy Duty Carabiner Clips (Quantity: 4)
Ironmind Olympic Plate Loading Pin (Quantity: 1) - You don't necessarily need an "Ironmind" loading pin. Another option is to buy one from Amazon.
- To stop the strap at the bottom of the rack (which secured the bottom swivel wheel) from moving upwards while the pulley was used, I inserted a "JCup" into the rack to act as a barrier. This worked but then I changed to a 'Band Peg' which I preferred.
Suggestions / Tips
Make sure every piece of equipment you buy has a "Strong" weight capacity. How strong you are compared to someone else will be relative. I'm not strong so the equipment I purchased basically had a load rating (weight capacity) of around 100 kg (220 lbs). This was enough for me. If you need to lift much more weight than that, I would then suggest you need to build your own pulley cables and visit a DIY store to buy heavy duty stuff. Better safe than sorry!
The heavy duty 3m steel cable I used was long enough for me and perfect to use. So I didn't need to buy two separate cables and attach them both to one another, one was enough. The Amazon link provided above offers different cable lengths. I chose 3m which happened to be perfect. You may need something longer or shorter.
For comparison, the height of my Power Rack is 225 cm (2 m 25 cm) and I attached the top of my cable pulley to my chinning bar at that height, as can be seen in my video. If you wish a "custom" made longer pulley cable, visit the cable link above and contact the company directly. They can make any length of cable you need at a relatively low price.
A Cable Machine I considered Buying
Here is a low/high cable pulley machine that I considered buying at one point:
Priced at £599.00 ($599.00) this looked great in my opinion. Light enough to move around easily and compact in design so would have fit within my Home Gym area nicely.
It also appealed to me for being "plate loading" (Ironmaster Dumbbells or Olympic weight plates can be used), but unfortunately it required either the "Ironmaster Super Bench PRO" (which I didn't have at the time) or the Ironmaster "Cable Tower Seat" in order to stabilise the cable machine when being used.
The Ironmaster Super Bench PRO V2 can be purchased directly from the links below:
At the time, I already had a weight bench which I was happy with. I wasn't looking for another one. The Cable Tower Seat did appeal to me, priced at £139.99 ($139.99). So the total cost (cable tower + seat) would have been around £740.00 ($740.00).
The only problem was, Ironmaster couldn't deliver the Cable Tower Attachment V2 for at least several months and their 'Cable Tower Seat' was sold out! So I moved on to try other companies but with no luck.
Other cable pulley machines were either too big for my home gym or needed to be bolted to the ground or wall. This was a major NO NO for me as I train in my house livingroom.
I'm extremely thankful now that I didn't rush to buy the first cable pulley machine I saw online, because the low cable pulley I've currently setup works brilliantly - Extremely smooth and on a much cheaper budget. Maybe some day I'll buy one, but for now, I'm content.
I've mentioned Ironmaster within this article. I currently own several pieces of Ironmaster Gym Equipment which you can check out here.
If anyone has any questions on my low cable pulley setup, please post your comments below. Thank you.
Keep training hard folks!
All the best,