If you’re like most at-home workout warriors, you’ve outfitted your fitness space with some dumbbells, a kettlebell, and probably a few resistance bands.
But what about a cable pulley machine?
“Cable machines are great for everyone,” says Amanda Lopez, CPT, technical fitness advisor for BODi.
And contrary to what most exercisers assume, cable pulley machines, which involve pulling or pushing handles attached to a weighted cable, aren’t reserved for gym workouts.
Check out these benefits of cable pulley machines.
1. Cable Pulley Machines Are Extremely Versatile
“There are a variety of exercises you can do with a cable pulley machine,” Lopez says, including:
- bicep curls
- lat pull-downs
- chest presses
Lopez notes that each of these exercises involve moving your arms in a different direction — up, straight toward you, down, and even away from your body.
Plus, many cable machines also include ankle attachments, opening things up to a host of lower-body cable machine exercises such as cable kickbacks and hip adductions.
Meanwhile, every cable pulley machine allows you to adjust resistance levels.
Traditionally, they have either metal weight stacks or a dedicated spot for attaching weight plates. Some new high-tech options use electronic resistance.
2. Cable Pulley Machines Hit Angles Other Gear Can Miss
As you just read, there are a lot of different ways you can move a cable machine — and that’s a primary difference between machine pulley machines and free weights.
After all, when exercising with dumbbells, the force you’re working against is always gravity: You raise the weight, then lower it back down.
However, with cable pulley machines, you can also work your body diagonally, horizontally, and at virtually any other angle.
Picture moves like:
- cable chops
- chest flyes
- Pallof presses
- core rotations
By challenging your body in new ways, you can accelerate your fitness results while also preventing boredom.
3. Cable Pulley Machines Provide Constant Resistance
Another unique feature of cable pulley machines is that they apply constant resistance to your muscles.
For example, during cable machine front shoulder raises, your deltoids have to work not just at the top of the move when your arms are parallel to the floor but even at the bottom of the move when your hands are against your legs.
This extended “time under tension” is a significant driver for building strong, lean muscle and will help you get maximum benefits from every rep.
4. Cable Pulley Machines Are Beginner Friendly
“Cable machines are especially great for those who are newer to their fitness journey or those who are just getting back into it,” Lopez says.
For example, compared with compound free-weight exercises, cable machine exercises are often less complicated, requiring less total-body coordination and helping you master form before trying more technical moves.
A Better Alternative
You can enjoy all of the benefits of a cable pulley machine without the hefty price tag and square footage requirements.
“This specific piece of equipment allows you to push and pull from various heights so you can tap into different muscle groups with ease,” explains Cody Braun, CPT. “While traditional free weight training limits you to pushing weight against gravity for resistance, the Control Track gives you access to a wider array of cardio and resistance exercises.”