Every home gym needs a cable machine – and you’ll learn the best cable machine for home gym use today.
A cable machine for home gym training will help you target specific muscle groups you’re missing, expand your home gym versatility, and they’re available at every price point you can imagine.
Let’s dive straight in so you’re in the know to get the best cable machine for home gym use.
Cable Machines: Which Cable Machine Do You Need?
The cable machine is a piece of gym equipment that lets you use a dual pulley system to keep constant tension on the muscle. They’re either made with a weight stack built in, or you can use your own weight plates (with options for standard and Olympic plates).
They’re also available at a wide range of sizes. You can get cable machines in a variety of different formats – adding to the versatility and value. These include:
Portable cable machine refers to anything that comes off, can be packed into a bag or car, and moved independently. The average portable cable machine is designed to go over a tree or supporting beam, and uses weight plates on a peg.
Compact cable machines are smaller items, often a wall mounted cable machine that saves you significant amounts of space. These can either come with a weight stack or use your own weight plates.
Home gym cable machines are the full system, built to be kept in one place and with the extra weight capacity that typically comes with it. These are the best cable machine for home gym if you have the space and money – with the best premium features.
Power rack cable machine attachments are a way to get the benefits of a compact cable machine but the quality, weight capacity, and features of a full home gym cable machine. They attach to a power rack for stability, and are more likely to have a weight stack than the usual compact cable machine.
All of these styles of cable machine are great for home gym use – and the best cable machine will depend on your home gym space, budget, and your training needs. Let’s look at some of the best examples on the market and what the best cable machines might be…
The Best Cable Machine for Home Gym: Our Contenders
Cable Crossover Machine Buying Guide: Cable Machine for Home Gym Use
The cable machine is a perfect piece of home gym equipment because of the versatility it offers. The isotonic resistance is perfect for weight training and there are options on the market for both plate loaded cable machines (and attachments) and weight stack variations.
We’re going to look at the most important factors for choosing a cable machine for home gym use: type of cable machine, weight capacity, what kind of cable system it uses, the attachments (like the lat pulldown bar or triceps rope), and design or build quality.
Type of Cable Machine
Premium quality cable machine equipment is usually more expensive and offers a weight stack, for example.
Expensive cable machine design includes a weight stack that makes it better quality because the whole cable machine is built around this design. You may even get a dual weight stacks build, which offers the most cable machine exercises and use, but costs more and is significantly larger. Having two dual weight stacks is a huge training benefit, though.
Plate loaded cable machine design is typically cheaper and more versatile, but lower quality (with a few exceptions). There are versions for both standard and Olympic weight plates, with conversion pegs, and this lets you use weight plates you own for training with free weights.
The weight capacity of your cable machine – including the weight stack or the weight plates it can use – is crucial. This determines the upper end of your loading capacity and some muscle groups need significantly more than others.
Constant tension exercises like the lat pulldown require a lot of weight, while upper body rehab like the face pull might not. A high weight capacity is always good, though, as it offers more innate durability in the system. Not all cable machines are built with this longevity in mind and it can separate high quality cable machine design from lower quality.
Home gym equipment needs headroom – it needs to grow with your long-term development. A better weight capacity is always great for this and a cable crossover machine for home gym needs some surplus weight stack or weight plate opportunities.
Cable system: design and materials
The cable machine depends on the way that the pulley system is built. A good pulley system, with high quality dual adjustable pulleys and one central weight stack is the gold standard for most home gym cable machines.
There are also attachments to squat racks that use a dual cable pulley system, which can be a fantastic way to save money and get premium quality. The materials and design of your rig and pulley system need to be high quality, well-thought-out, and not limit your max weight load.
We always consider the build and quality for home gym equipment, because it matters for both durability and cable machine exercises. It’s a question of both functionality and the lifespan of your investment. Cable machines aren’t cheap and – in a home gym – that’s your hard-earned cash you need to protect.
Cable Machine Attachments: getting the best value cable machine for home gyms
The attachments to a cable machine dictate which cable machine exercises you can do. In this way, free attachments or the ability to expand your home gym equipment out with more cable machine attachments is great for versatility, value for money, and getting the most out of your pulley system (whether that’s a portable cable machine, compact cable machine, or just an attachment to your power rack).
This is the simple idea: the more things you can use your cable machine for, the better value you get for your home gym. Home gym equipment is best when it can do multiple things, and a cable machine is no exception.
Lat pulldown bar and triceps rope are the most common accessories, but we also like to see a double bar track, ez bar style attachment, individual handles, and any bar with a 45-degree option (perfect for shoulder health).
The more creative a brand gets with attachments, the better value they offer for home gyms. Focus on getting a high quality cable machine first, then look at the options that help target a specific muscle group, that offer functional trainer cable machine use, and even specific attachments for muscles in the lower body.
Is a cable machine good for home gym?
Yes – cable machines for home gyms are a perfect match. The best cable exercises are perfect to cover the weaknesses of a free weights gym, while you can get smaller options in the compact cable machine or portable cable machine.
A wall mounted cable machine is perfect for smaller spaces, while functional trainer cable machine bundles are great value if you’re looking to spend more to get a lot more value. Cable machines for home are all about finding the product features you need, and the space/budget you can spare.
Cable machines for home come in a wide range of builds, sizes, and costs. The cable machines we’ve looked at today are just some of the best cable systems on the market, and you can decide the best cable crossover machine for your priorities – but almost all of them are an asset to your home gym.
Which gym machine is best at home?
The cable machine is probably the best weight machine that you can use at home. While most plate loaded machines are useful, the cable machine (especially the models with weight stacks or dual weight stacks) is the most useful option.
Cable machines have multiple uses with dozens – if not hundreds – of exercises they open up. If your home gym already has free weights, then the cable machine is the best supporting exercise machine. It lets you focus in on the smaller muscles – and more expensive free-standing cable machines come with a pull up bar built-in, which is another great piece of equipment.
Overall, a good cable machine is a fantastic investment for home gyms, and the best cable machines completely change home gyms’ possibilities. Most cable machines are worth the money, and the best cable machine for home gym is the one that offers the best training options for your money.
Can you build muscle with cable machines?
You can build serious muscle with cable machines – though they’re typically better for upper body training than the lower body. Most cable machines are a great choice for building muscle, you just need to make sure that you’ve got the weight stack or weight plates to use serious weight.
Cable machines use isotonic, or constant tension, resistance. This is excellent for building postural strength in the upper body, or rehabilitation and control training in the lower body – such as terminal knee extensions or adductor training.
Cable machine exercises are best with higher reps, where you can really get the most from the isotonic resistance. It’s a perfect way to hit different muscle groups to normal, with specific focus on neglected muscle groups like the rear delts, lower traps, rotator cuff, or hip flexors.
Is a cable crossover machine worth it?
Yes – cable crossover machines are usually worth it for your home gym. The value of a cable machine is in the wide range of exercises that it is possible to use, and they tend to fill out the types of exercises you can’t perform with free weights.
For most people, the development options for the upper body in particular are worthwhile. You can use cable machines for home to get full body training with a combination of free weights, cable machine training, and a pull up bar or other body weight exercise.
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