How To Build A DIY Pulley System For Gym (Cable Machine)

Having a DIY pulley system in your home gym is essential. It works different muscles and helps you get the best possible workouts- without having to go to the gym. The best home gym equipment allows you to perform several different exercises. 

If you want to work on your strength training from the comfort of your home gym, then make sure to keep reading! This guide covers everything you need to know. 

The cable machine is simple to use and make at home. It’s designed to tone your muscles and can be used with a variety of different workouts. You can choose the resistance settings to change the intensity of your workout. There are more basic alternative exercises you can do if you but these machines are among our favorite for home gyms.

You can do several different exercises, including:  

  • The standing shoulder press 
  • Wood chop 
  • Glute kickback 

These exercises work your upper body and lower body- you get a ton of variety with this workout equipment.

However, not everyone can fit cable crossover machines in their home. But, making your own allows you to tailor it to your space. 

Body-Solid PCCO90X Powerline Cable Crossover Machine

Why Build A Cable Pulley System In Your Home Gym?  

A cable pulley system adds a lot of value to your home gym. You’ll be able to do many more workouts and gain more strength. If you can’t afford to buy one, that’s alright! You can even make your own cable pulley at home. 

Cable Machines Are Versatile  

Your cable pulley system can offer a large range of exercises. Rows, bicep curls, and chest presses are just a few of the workouts you can try. They even work your upper and lower body, giving you the complete workout experience at home. 

Hit Angles Other Gear Can Miss  

Weights only hit one area on your arms again and again. Switching it up will help you build strength in more parts of your body. You can even use this tool to build your abs, while weights wouldn’t reach that section well. 

Provide Constant Resistance  

Your body is always working with a pulley. When your arms are raised and lowered, the resistance is the same. That means you’re always working hard under the tension. 

Beginner Friendly  

Finally, these cable pulleys are very beginner friendly. They’re simple to use and offer many beginner level exercises for you to try. You can move onto more complicated ones as you get used to it. 

DIY Pulley System: How To Build Different Types For Home Gyms

Building a DIY Cable Machine 

You’ll need: 

  • Lighter 
  • Wire cutters 
  • Nylon rope - Should be twice the height of where you want to suspend the pulley. You want some additional length for tying knots. 
  • A pulley 
  • One foot of PVC pipe for handle 
  • Three feet of galvanized wire 
  • A carabiner 
  • A heavy weight 

Building Steps 

  1. 1
    Cut the galvanized wire in half with your wire cutters. 
  2. 2
    Start from the middle of the wire and wrap it around the middle of your pipe handle. You want to make sure it’s very tight, so twist the ends around the wire.  
  3. 3
    Make a knot at the end of your rope. Then, use the lighter to melt the knot. This prevents it from coming untied. 
  4. 4
    Tie your next knot around the first. You want to connect it with the S hook. 
  5. 5
    Suspend your pulley high up. Bars in a garage or even high tree branches work well. 
  6. 6
    Run the remaining wire through the pulley and use your pliers to wrap it securely. You want to make sure it’s tight and that the wires aren’t going to poke you. 
  7. 7
    Run the nylon rope through the pulley. Then, tie a knot and melt it with your lighter. This prevents the rope from coming out of the pulley. 
  8. 8
    Tie another knot behind the one you just made and attach it around your carabiner. 
  9. 9
    Take the handle with the wire loop sticking out of it- you can easily connect it with your carabiner! 
  10. 10
    Attach the S hook on the end to something heavy. Buckets of rocks, sand, and a real weight are the best options. 

DIY Tricep Pulldown Machine 

You’ll need: 

  • One swivel pulley 
  • One pull up bar or other bar to connect the pulley 
  • One foot of PVC pipe that fits around your bar 
  • 30 feet of rope 
  • One short rod for the handle 
  • A heavy weight or other object 

Building Steps 

  1. 1
    Attach the pulley to the bar by sliding the hollow PVC pipe over it. This prevents the bar from breaking. 
  2. 2
    Cut one foot of the rope off. Use this to tie the swivel pulley to the pull up bar. Use a very strong knot. 
  3. 3
    Cut a length long enough to go through the pulley and hold the weight on the other side. Run your rope through the pulley. 
  4. 4
    Tie the rope to your weight and the other end to your belt. They should be strong since you don’t want to drop the heavy item too hard! 

People Also Ask (FAQs)

Can you build a rolling pulley system for the garage?  

Yes, the first method we described above works for a garage. Garages often have open or exposed pieces of wood. These beams are perfect for using alongside a pulley system. 

Are cable weights effective in building muscle?  

Yes, they’re very effective. There’s no resting with the constant tension they put on your muscles. This makes it a very effective tool to use. 


Pulley systems are wonderful to have at home. They build muscle, are great for all skill and strength levels, and are simple to make as a DIY project. If you want to add one to your home gym, you can craft your own for cheap! 

Last Updated on January 13, 2023

Paul J

Paul J

Paul J is is an ex-professional footballer who has seen a gym or two and is an expert at knowing what is required for home gym setups. When he isn’t testing out products for his readers, he’s usually going for a run in the park or out for coffee.