I have shared several DIY home fitness projects with you over the years. If you haven’t seen them before, check them out here:
This week, I am bringing you yet another DIY fitness project. A cable pulley system is something that I have been wanting to implement for a few months now. I’ve seen some examples of them for home gyms in the past, but it hadn’t been a priority until I had some free time to devote to the projects. This one is a bit more specific to workout wants/needs, so it may not be as applicable to you as those found above.
The Cable Pulley System Model
Here is an example of what I was trying to duplicate; the Econo Pulley System from Spud, Inc.. As you can see, there really isn’t much to it; a cable, a pulley, a couple of carabiners and the loading strap. Given the simplicity of the system, I was pretty confident I could create something of my own.
The Spud, Inc Econo Pulley System has a retail price of roughly $100. I was able to create the system that is basically identical for around $60. The crimping tool needed does increase the cost of this project roughly $20, so if you need that, take it into account.
If you like creating projects like this and you are interested in saving about $40, this is a really simple project that will likely take you longer to go out a purchase the materials than the actual “creating”. If you’d rather just purchase the Spud Pulley System, that’s cool too – I have included a button above to pick it up from Amazon.
Why the Switch?
As I mentioned in the video, to perform some of the exercises that this new pulley system offers I was previously using my resistance bands. Obviously, a lot of these same exercises can be done to a certain degree with resistance bands. Resistance bands are great, you can take them with you when you travel and they can be used effectively for many exercises, but they are not always ideal.
Due to the nature of the material from which they are made, resistance bands offer a varying amount of resistance; they start out “light” and become “heavy” as they stretch. This can certainly be a good thing, when you want to change things up a bit. However, that is not the case if it’s the only way that you can perform those exercises. The consistent resistance that you get from a weighted cable has a totally different feeling and now that I have used it a couple of times, I prefer it over the feeling of the resistance band for these exercises.
Building Your Own Cable Pulley System
Here is a video walkthrough of me assembling my cable pulley system.
List of Materials
Below you will find a list of materials that you will need in order to complete this project. I found everything I needed at my local home center store (Lowe’s, Menards, or Home Depot). The loading pin was purchased from Rogue Fitness and you can check it out here: Rogue Fitness Loading Pin
NOTE: It’s also worth mentioning that I am leveraging my existing Rogue Fitness power rack in combination with the olympic weights I already have to complete this setup. If you don’t have either of those, this is likely not be something you need. You’ll definitely need some form of weights (olympic 2″ or standard “1”) to utilize the pulley system. However, you can attach the pulley to the ceiling securely and still have a similar setup. The length of your cable may need to differ than the one I created above.
SAFETY: Please make sure that you don’t skimp on the materials here. The last thing you want is to have the carabiners, pulley or the cable fail when using it. Make sure you have everything tightened and check the cable periodically for damage.
|1/4" Galvanized Stainless Steel Cable Vinyl-Coated|
6.5 ft @ 7x19
|3" Swivel Eye Pulley||1||$11.99|
|Rogue Loading Pin||1||$24.95|
|Ferrule Crimping Tool||1||$19.99|
|$78.70 + tax|
The Spud Pulley has a weight capacity of 550 lb, with the 3″ swivel pulley that I ended up using that weight limit jumps up to 850 lb. This is obviously way more weight than would even be remotely reasonable to pull down on, but it ensure I don’t have be concerned with the pulley faltering under use. Plus, it uses standard carabiners, so any attachment you can think of works; EZ bar, tricep bar, wide lat bar, parallel bar, tricep rope, whatever. I have listed some of the accessories that you could add to this setup and the muscle groups/exercise for which they would apply.
This is great for triceps, curls, lats. Also great for low row curls.
Revolving Curl Bar
For use as a curl bar, or low row pull bar, and can be used for lat pull downs or as a tricep bar.
Full Width Lat Bar
Perfect for wide grip lat pull downs, and may also be used for close-grip straight-arm pull downs.
Revolving Straight Bar (18″ & 34″)
Great for various lat, curl, and tricep extension work!
Palms Parallel Lat Bar
This can be used for palms facing lat pull down work, as well as palms together pulley work.
Tricep V Bar
This is great for tricep extensions, close grip curls & close grip straight arm pull downs.
Perform both low and high rows/pull.
Great for various types of tricep extensions, or standing, kneeling, or seating curls with a floor pulley.
There you have it your very own cable pulley system! I am really looking forward to incorporating some of the exercises that I can perform with this system in place.
Have you created your own cable pulley system? If so, drop me a comment below with a photo – I’d love to see what you’ve done!
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