When it comes to building muscle and sculpting your body, cardio can only get you so far. If you want to see huge gains and really transform the way you look, you need to make sure that you are introducing some form of weight or strength training into your workout routine.
This can be achieved using your body weight, by making the most out of the range of free weights available, and by learning to use machines and systems offered by gyms.
As well as basics such as budget friendly treadmills, free weights, and air exercise bikes, a home pulley system is an essential item to include in your home set-up. This will allow you to perform exercises such as lat and face pulls, offering a wider range of strength and weight options, and enjoy a more well-rounded workout.
Starting to research home pulley systems can leave you a little overwhelmed however: there are a huge array of machines available, and choosing the best one for your needs can prove to be more than a little tricky.
Fortunately for you, we have taken care of the hard stuff and put together a list of the very best home pulley systems for you to choose from, as well as the ultimate guide to choosing your own product. If you are looking for everything you need to know about investing in a home pulley system, read on!
OUR TOP PICK
If you are looking for something simple, accessible, and easy to use, then the SYL Fitness Cable Pulley System is an ideal choice for your compact home gym. With a single hanging strap and one strap handle, this can be attached to any bar, tube, or hook with minimal fuss, making it an easy and accessible option.
The system is made up of a single pulley, as well as a single cable with a weight loading pin on one end, and space for attachments on the other - in short, it has everything you need. Whether you want to attach the system to a pull-up bar, a ceiling hook, or a power rack, you can rest assured that you will be secure and safe, giving you the security you need to carry out an effective workout.
As an added bonus, this is a system that is super easy to set up and does not require any additional tools. Able to withstand weights of up to 340 pounds, this is an ideal tool for helping you to build your chest, back, triceps, and other key muscle groups.
- Super easy to install - with no additional tools requires
- Supports a range of weights - including Olympic weights
- Smooth and quiet when in operation, making it perfect for shared homes and spaces
- Can be added to attachments including straight bars and tricep ropes
- Cable length is a little short
Versatility is one of the major keywords with this Mikolo Fitness system, which comes with a free straight bar, and tricep rope attachments, as well as a 70 inch and 90-inch high strength cable, allowing you to adjust the height of the pulley to your exact requirements.
An upgraded loaded pin means that the system can be used with both standard and Olympic weight plates, and these can be easily secured using a dumbbell clamp - this is included in your purchase.
A 360-degree silent pulley allows you to workout without worrying about excessive noise and high-strength cables allow you to carry out a wide range of moves, including tricep pushdowns and cable curls, without needing to invest in any extra equipment.
Enjoy two exercise modes by altering the connection between the cable and the house buckle; this allows you to switch between lift up and pull down, while the inclusion of a detachable handle makes it easy to change the attachment to the best option for different workouts and exercises.
Rather than spend your money on a range of different machines, you can invest in one system, and enjoy multiple advantages, making this a great space saver, as well as excellent value for money.
- Comes with two detachable handles - allowing you to switch up your workouts as and when you need.
- High strength sheathed cable for safety and support
- Can be used with a range of weights - including Olympic plates
- 360-degree rotating pulley for added flexibility
- Can be a little tricky to assemble, and does not come with instructions.
One of the most important things to ensure when using a home pulley system is that you use the correct technique, and this Archon system makes this easier than ever thanks to a sturdy pair of pulleys, combined with two weight straps and handles.
A pair of 70 inch long cables allows you to experiment and try out a wide range of exercises and moves, including those that require two pulleys, such as cable crossovers.
Rather than needing to invest in multiple systems and types of equipment, you can enjoy a variety of options, including the ability to hold heavy Olympic plates to really take your workouts to the next level.
Adaptability and versatility are part of the appeal of the Archon system - it can be installed on pretty much any bar or hook, allowing you to work out in the location or method that is the best fit for you. With an ability to hold up to 400 pounds in weight, you can really push yourself to the limit, and enjoy a wide range of benefits.
- Makes it easy to use the correct technique - keeping you safe and secure at all times, as well as minimizing your risk of injury
- Use Olympic plates or alternatives by switching your Olympic plate adaptors for 1-inch post options
- 70-inch cables allow for plenty of versatility
- Can be installed on any hook or bar for convenience
- Cable must be removed from pulley while changing weights - this can break your flow
Whether you are looking to build your triceps, strengthen your back and core, or improve your squat technique, this SERTT system is the ideal way to have it all, while still enjoying a compact and easy-to-use home gym experience.
The goal here is to make your home workout as simple as possible by incorporating a range of possibilities into a single system, and the SERTT home gym offers two pulleys for maximum versatility.
You can connect the pulley system to pull-up bars, folding squat racks, or power racks, and the unit can be set in in pretty much any location, ensuring that this is a home gym that really works around and fits in with your lifestyle - all you need is somewhere to install the strap.
This is also a system that is built to last and will be able to handle even intense daily workouts. When weight or strength training, it is important to ensure that you are targeting different muscle groups on a daily basis, and the SERRT allows you to develop a productive, engaging and challenging workout in the comfort of your own home. Solid welding and durable, heavy-duty materials are also included to help ensure your safety.
- Flexible and versatile - the system can be set up almost anywhere, making it a great option for home gyms where space is limited.
- Target a range of muscles - to ensure a comprehensive, full-body workout, and long term training success
- High-quality materials offer excellent value for money, helping ensure that your system will last, and keeping you safe and secure.
- Easy to assemble - allowing you to start working out more quickly.
- Straight bar does not offer 360 rotation, which could limit some exercises.
If you are new to the world of home workouts in general, or in working with this type of machine in particular, the Pellor system is a great place to start thanks to a super lightweight, portable system that is an ideal option for newbies looking to train forearms, wrists and other muscles.
EVA foam grips mean that you can maintain a strong, even grip, without having to worry about your palms getting sweaty or uncomfortable. The 10-inch strap can be hung from a 15-inch straight bar, allowing you total control over where and when you work out - this is a compact, versatile system designed to work around your lifestyle.
A smaller, compact size does not mean that you are skimping on quality however - you can still enjoy a 360 degree, fully rotatable pulley, and professional-grade equipment, as well as thick nylon rope for stability and security.
Detachable handles and a choice of two exercise modes allowed you to change the settings and connections as needed, offering the option of multiple forms of exercise from a single, simple machine - there is no need to worry about investing hundreds of dollars in multiple machines.
By changing the handle, you change the workout and the area of the body that you are targeting, offering amazing value for money 0 you are in complete control at every step.
- Very compact, requiring minimal storage space.
- Very lightweight and easy to carry - making it ideal for transporting, or using as a travel gym
- Versatile and flexible - change up your workout to target multiple muscle groups and areas of the body
- EVA grip handles ensure that you are safe and supported throughout your workout, without having to worry about slipping or sweaty hands
- 40-pound weight capacity - may not be suitable for Olympic plates or heavier weights
For those on the hunt for a valid replacement to their gym workouts in the comfort and convenience of their own home, this BoxerPoint system is an ideal option.
This is a home gym designed to target a greater number of muscle groups than most other systems of this type and offers super strong steel wires, each around 6mm in thickness, allowing them to bear greater weight, and offering better durability and longevity, even if you push the system to its limits.
The Boxerpoint system also comes with a wide range of additional equipment, and this means that you can change things up and switch pieces in and out to offer a comprehensive, full-body workout, without the need to invest in multiple pieces of equipment.
You have the option to exercise every muscle in the body, and this is ideal for building overall strength and fitness, as well as targeting specific muscle groups for a particular task or objective.
It is also a space saver - rather than the need to dedicate large swathes of your home to a personal gym, you can enjoy the same benefits with a single, simple machine. Whether you are training in a small space, or simply enjoy maximum convenience, this versatility is a major perk of the system.
- Versatility allows you to train the whole body, or target specific areas and muscles, without the need to invest in new equipment.
- Thicker, stronger cables increase the weight that the system can bear, allowing you to push your workouts to the next level without fear
- Easy to assemble - even in a small space
- Comes with extra equipment to allow you to really target every muscle in the body, in the best way for your workout.
- A convenient alternative to the gym, or as an extra to enhance your routine
- Pulley is a little less smooth than some expensive options - though this does not impact performance.
If full customization and versatility are your number one concerns, then this YaNovate system is the ideal option for your needs, thanks to a fully adjustable cable which is ideal for a range of heights.
The cable itself is 90 inches in length, offering plenty of flexibility, and can be easily adjusted to meet your exact requirements with a fixing ring, U screws, and combination wrench - all of which are included in the purchase.
The YaNovate is also super easy to use thanks to a detachable widen loading pin, allowing you to load and stack Olympic weight plates safely and effectively, as well as a standard loading pin for standard weight plates, all of which are kept securely in place by a barbell clip.
Not only does this make the equipment easy to use, but it also helps to ensure that your initial investment stands the test of time - the ability to hold both regular and Olympic weight plates means that this is a system that can grow and evolve with you.
As you get stronger and gain fitness, you can increase the weight and resistance up to 280 pounds, eliminating the need for purchasing a replacement, or extra equipment.
- Weight capacity up to 280 pounds - allowing your machine to grow with you.
- Can take both regular and Olympic weights for total control over your workout
- Adjustable cable for total flexibility
- Install on any hook or bar for convenience, even if your home is small
- Accommodates both pull-down and lift up movements, eliminating the need for extra equipment
- Comes with a straight bar and heavy-duty tricep rope for convenience
- Cable length adjustment can be tedious - but this is not compulsory to use the machine
If you are new to the world of strength and weight training, trying to rebuild strength following injury or time away from the gym, or simply looking for something simple to supplement an existing gym practice, this system from Taeku is ideal for ticking every box.
It combines simple, easy-to-use operation with a range of perks - including a 3.55-inch silent pulley - to offer you the best of both worlds. This is not a case of giving up resilience and strength for durability and safety - instead, you can enjoy both in one easy-to-assemble package.
Safety is prioritized thanks to a reinforced nylon pulley, which is used alongside the impressive 100-inch nylon cable and reinforced, PVC sweat sleeves on the handles for reinforced grip - all of this combine to offer total security and peace of mind, even as the resistance increases.
The length of this cable is another major advantage, offering plenty of chances to switch up your workouts and try something new, and ensuring that users can target and isolate a wide variety of specific muscle groups in every workout.
As an added bonus, the pulley is designed to operate in total silence - this is perfect if you are sharing your home or workout space, and want to cause minimal disruption. You can even work out in the middle of the night and not disturb housemates or family members!
- Plenty of safety features, including reinforced pulleys and cables, and non-slip sweat sleeves for a safer grip.
- 100-inch nylon cable offers plenty of versatility
- 220-pound weight capacity allows your equipment to grow with you
- Silent operation is convenient for shared living arrangements
- Comes with a tricep rope and straight bar so you can get started straight away
- Cannot handle Olympic weight plates
For experienced lifters or those who need a heavy-duty machine to meet their needs, there is no better option than this impressive 3 in 1 system from BZK, which is designed to meet your fitness goals - no matter how intense!
The impressive set comes with two cables, one adjustable, and one fixed-length, to offer you complete control over your workout - you can create pretty much any configuration to ensure that you are targeting the muscles and areas of the body you need to train.
The inclusion of three detachable handles means that you can enjoy up to eight exercises, simply by adjusting the connection method of the house buckle. Rather than invest in full body workout machines, you can target biceps, pecs, delts, and more with a single, simple system.
The sturdy, heavy-duty nature of the system is apparent right out of the box, and you can push yourself to the limits safe in the knowledge that the equipment can handle it.
With a maximum weight capacity of 280 pounds and a 360-degree rotation on the steel pulley, this is a great investment for serious lifters, athletes, or those looking for something that is designed to last and support your workout for years to come.
- Adjustable cable, with three attachments - offers maximum versatility and flexibility
- 280-pound weight capacity - ideal for those looking for something sturdy, hardwearing, and able to withstand higher resistance
- Range of exercises available with a simple change or adjustment
- Silent, smooth pulley for comfort and convenience
- Heavy-duty material - built to last
- Loading pin may not be suitable for Olympic weights due to a smaller diameter
If you are pushed for space in your home or time to complete a workout, the Yes4All system is a great option, thanks to the inclusion of a hanging strap already attached to the pulley - this allows you to get on with your workout more quickly, and ensure that you have one less task to worry about.
In some cases, this can help you to succeed - the easier it is to get started with your workout, the more likely you are to get on and complete it!
This is also a perfect option if durability is your primary concern - the system has a weight capacity of an impressive 400 pounds, launching it head and shoulders above most competitors, and offers a 75-inch cable for flexibility in your workouts.
The 360-degree rotating pulley also allows you to move and manipulate the equipment depending on the muscle group you wish to work with, and a high-quality steel pulley is ideal for increasing your weight and resistance without concern or issue.
- Impressive 400-pound weight capacity - ideal for serious, heavy lifters and athletes.
- Durable, heavy-duty weight strap offers greater security and stability
- Suitable for use with Olympic weights for a range of options
- Versatile and flexible - suitable for a range of exercises
- Steel pulley offers extra stability
- Weights slanted while using - this could be annoying for some users
Best Home Pulley Systems for Performing Face Pulls, Lat Pulls, and More Buying Guide
Now that we have taken some time to explore the very best cable machines on the market, just how do you go about picking the best one for you?
Rather than merely close your eyes, point, and hope for the best, we have put together the ultimate guide, offering everything you need to know to make a smart, informed decision that offers you the best results in your workout, as well as the best value for money. There are a number of elements you will need to consider, and we will explore these in greater detail below.
One of your main priorities will be size - cable and pulley machines tend to be on the large side when compared to equipment such as exercise bikes or treadmills. In addition, they will not offer the same “foldaway” option as other pieces, so you will need to ensure that you have plenty of space to place your item, and leave it in place without causing an inconvenience or a danger in your home.
In addition, some systems will require a good overhead clearance in order to uninstall the unit properly, so you will need to pick a place that offers this. Also, remember that you will need plenty of space around you when you are actually working out.
When choosing your system, you need to ensure that you have the necessary measurements and dimensions to hand - the last thing you want is to get your equipment home, only to discover that there is nowhere to actually set it up!
Ease Of Use
Another important consideration is just how easy your chosen item is to use - particularly if you are a beginner, or fairly new to the world of strength and weight training. Where possible, opt for a system that is relatively easy to set up - customer reviews can be very useful here.
If you have to spend torturous hours setting up your machine, chances are that you will be less keen to actually work out on it - negative connotations and associations can last a lifetime! To make your life easier and your workouts more positive, try and pick a unit that can be installed with minimal fuss.
You will also want to make sure that the machine is easy to use once it is safely in place - how easy is it to change to a different exercise, or switch up the weights? Do you need to practically take the whole thing apart to shift from a shoulder press to a lat pull, or is it a simple matter of shifting a cable?
Just as with assembly, the easier your machine is to use, the greater your chances of success and sticking to your routine - a large percentage of any workout is as psychologically tricky as it is physically challenging. Make sure that you can adjust the weights and pulleys quickly and easily, making your life easier, and increasing your enjoyment.
Ease of use is also a safety concern - if you are not comfortable and confident with using the equipment, you increase your chances of injury. This may occur through not assembling the unit properly, or by doing something wrong during your workout. To avoid this, make sure that the system you pick is easy to operate for all of your exercises.
Time is another factor here: the easier your machine is to use, the faster you will be able to get to work, and the less time you will need to spend on your routine. Over the week or month, these minutes add up, and in a busy schedule, can be the difference between a long-term, sustained fitness program and a short-term project that is quickly abandoned thanks to a lack of time.
The price of the equipment is also likely to be a large factor in your overall choice - these types of machines tend to be fairly significant investments, and so you will need to ensure that you are totally happy with your choice.
The good news is that there is a wide range of options and systems available at a variety of budgets, so having less to spend does not necessarily mean that you will be forced to put up with sub-par equipment.
With that said, it is a good idea to opt for the most expensive model you can afford within that budget, rather than skimping and purchasing the cheapest simply because it is the cheapest. Consider your cable machine as an investment in your health and wellbeing - if you choose correctly, you could be looking at a healthier and stronger future.
As a rough guide, you can expect to pay more if you are an ardent fitness fan. This is because the higher-end machines come with a wider range of options for exercises and adaptations, as well as the ability to bear more weight.
If you are just starting out or supplementing a hefty gym routine, you are unlikely to need a complex system, and a cheaper option will meet your needs just as well. Buying the best you can afford is a smart investment - just remember that this does not have to be the most expensive on the market. Ultimately, the flashiest, priciest model will do nothing to build your fitness if you lack the correct form, technique, or commitment to your workouts!
Your exercise needs and goals will also have an impact on the system you choose - more complex requirements will require a more flexible, versatile system, while newbies looking to get started will likely require a simple set-up. If you are interested in performing a wide range of workouts and exercises, you will need equipment designed to handle this.
Consider whether you can practice a full range of movements, target different areas of the body, and change the cables to meet your needs? Can you isolate specific muscles and muscle groups such as biceps, chest, and triceps quickly and easily, as well as enjoy a full-body workout?
As well as helping you stay in shape, a versatile machine is also important for helping to keep you focused and engaged in your workouts; make sure that you can change things up and play around to keep yourself active, and prevent exercises from becoming dull or repetitive. This will increase your chances of success in the long term.
Weight is another important part of versatility - not all systems will be able to handle Olympic plates or heavier weights. As you increase in strength and fitness, you will want to focus on building the weight you can manage, and the weight that will be exerted on the machine.
With this in mind, you should ensure that the system you buy can handle not only the weight you plan to exert at the start, but also continue to meet your needs as you grow and develop.
By making sure that the equipment you invest in can handle your needs from the start, you are saving yourself time, effort, and money - your machine can grow alongside you. You will also save space, and ensure that your workouts are accessible and convenient. These factors massively increase your chances of a long-term lifestyle change, rather than a temporary hobby.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I use a cable machine?
Using a cable machine is simple once you have your head around the basics, and works in much the same way as any strength building equipment. The basic premise of the workout is that the movement of cables remains tense thanks to the addition of weights.
Your muscles are forced to remain under constant pressure through the whole length of your movement, and there is no “resting point”, helping to ensure a constant, consistent pressure which is great for increasing strength.
What does my cable machine come with?
No matter which option you choose, your machine will come with two stacks of weights, attached with two cables. There is a space in the middle of these, and this is where you stand to perform your workouts, and a set of outer pulleys - these are adjusted to fix the cable attachments at your preferred height.
The cables can then be stretched and moved as required, and accessories can be added to increase resistance and variety - not all sets will come with these included, so make sure you double-check.
How does a cable machine build strength?
A cable machine works by providing resistance for your muscles to work again. The equipment uses weights that are attached to cables using pulleys, and these offer resistance for each exercise. As your muscles are forced to work harder, they grow and develop, building strength over time.
What exercises can I perform with a home pulley system?
Investing in a home pulley system allows you to carry out a range of muscle-building exercises, including those focused on the chest, shoulders, and triceps. Exercises targeting the lower back are also an option, as well as the lower body such as the knees, legs, and abdominals. Some of the most popular exercises include:
- Standing cable chest press
- Standing cable row
- Cable forward lunge
- Cable machine squat
- Exercises to tighten and strengthen the core
- Side plank cable row
- Pall of press
- Anti-rotation press
- Face pull
- Single-arm chest fly
- Shoulder rotation
To name just a few!
How can I build strength using a home pulley system?
The basic formula for success with a home pulley system is to focus on lower weights and higher reps. Patience is the key here - the weight limit for these machines means that they are ideal for isolating smaller muscles, but you will need to go slowly and focus on repetitions to see progress and build strength while minimizing your risk of injury.
What is the difference between a cable machine, cable crossover, cable crossover machine, and home pulley system?
It is easy to get confused and overwhelmed with the lingo, but these terms are all referring to the same thing - a machine with adjustable pullets on the side, and a space in the middle for you to stand and train in. Not all machines are created equal; a greater number of pulleys offers a smoother motion, while extras such as adjustable grips and bars offer a greater variety. Ultimately, however, these are all the same type of equipment at their core.
Can’t I just use the pulley on my home gym instead of purchasing a new system?
While the pulleys available on most home gyms are good quality, they typically only offer one pulley - ideal for moves such as bicep curls or tricep extensions.
If you are keen to try two-arm exercises, such as a cable fly or cable crossover, however, then you will need two pulleys, and a separate home pulley system.
Do I need attachments?
In some cases, the home pulley system itself may be enough to meet your fitness goals - you are able to enjoy a full-body workout, as well as target specific muscles.
In some cases, however, you can increase your capacity and options by adding attachments such as a rotating straight bar, a V handle, or a pulldown rope. You should check the system you are planning to invest in to see if any attachments come included, or whether you will need to make a separate purchase.
Can I get a whole body workout with a home pulley system?
One of the major benefits of this type of equipment is that it allows you to enjoy both a full-body workout, and to isolate smaller groups of specific muscles such as the biceps, lower back, and legs.
This allows you to enjoy a convenient workout, as well as save money investing in a range of different types of equipment.