Gym Cable Machines | The Ultimate Guide to Getting Fit with Cable Trainers

Gym Cable Machines | Getting Fit with Cable Trainers - The Ultimate Guide

Gym Cable Machines | Getting Fit with Cable Trainers - The Ultimate Guide & 5 Cable Exercises

The cable crossover machine can often be seen as a daunting and neglected piece of equipment. This is because, for many gym goers, it is not an intuitive piece of equipment to use in comparison to dumbbells and barbells. However, with a bit of guidance, the cable machine can provide a great workout that many other machines can't offer.

The cable machine is a bit like a personal computer - once you know how to use it, you won't be able to imagine life without it! It's very versatile and can be used to train your whole body without needing to move away from the machine.

We have compiled a list of the best ways to use a cable machine and get a great whole body workout, to show off the amazing workouts that can be achieved with a cable trainer.

The Benefits of cable cross over machines in brief

  • Provide a full-body workout by targeting multiple muscle groups at once
  • Offer a wide range of resistance levels, making it easy to increase resistance as you get stronger
  • High level of control and stability, making them ideal for people recovering from injury or rehabilitating specific muscle groups
  • Versatile and easy to use, offering a wide range of exercises that can be performed to target different muscle groups
  • Help to prevent boredom by keeping workout routine interesting.

Read below for the full benefits of using a cable trainer and see why it is a great bit of exercise equipment?



When you walk into a gym, you're bombarded with options. So many machines and weights and gadgets, it can be tough to decide where to even begin.

If you're considering the cable crossover machine but stuck on what to do or wondering why anyone would bother with it, let us explain.

This machine can actually offer some unique benefits compared to working with free weights or other machines. So if you're serious about building strength and improving your fitness, it's worth incorporating cable exercises into your routine.

The benefits of using the cable pulley machine!

  • Cable machines provide constant tension which is pretty unique in the world of strength training. This is different from other types of equipment like dumbbells or barbells, which have certain points where there is less resistance. Thats the benefit of variable resistance training machines like cable machines they offer the user smooth workouts.

    The constant tension provided by cable machines leads to increased strength gains by building strength in supporting muscles.
  • Cable machines offer a unique resistance that most other machines don't. With free weights, the resistance is against gravity, but with cable machines, the resistance is in the direction of the cable pull. This allows you to target any muscle from any angle, which is why many people prefer this type of machine.

  • Cable machines are one of the most versatile pieces of equipment in any gym because you can adjust them to meet your needs. You can change the height by using the adjustable pulleys, weight by changing the weight stacks, angle and direction as well as use different attachments on the cables.

    You can even use two functional trainer cable machines together and utilise dual weight stacks to create the best functional trainer for your home gym.

    This allows you to do a variety of exercises, working out several different muscle groups.

  • Cable machines offer a lot of stability and safety compared to other weight-lifting exercises and machines. When you work out with a cable machine, you don't have to worry about dropping a weight as the weight stacks are secured in the machine, because of this you don't have to worry about getting someone to spot you.

    If you do drop the cable and your exercising safely, you shouldn't be near to any falling weight

  • Cable machines are a great way to work your core and stabilising muscles. Most exercises are carried out standing up, so your core and smaller stabilising muscles have to work hard to keep you and your movement steady.

  • Cable machines offer a unique range of flexibility not just due to the different weight stacks you can utilise but due to the various attachments that can be fitted to them, there are attachments for biceps curls, dual cable bar attachment, such as lat pulldown bars, straight bars, ankle straps, tricep ropes, pull up bars, and ez bars for specialised workouts and bent bar attachment's for forearm training to mention just a few.

    Because of this the cable pulley system works as a great functional trainer and can be used for targeting specific muscle groups such as the lower body, upper body to major muscle groups onto a full body workout.

    Due to the range of range of motions and versatility cable machine workouts offer the best strength training workouts per floor space used in your home gym, to build muscle mass and get fit on a budget or for homes with limited space.




When it comes to strength training, one of the biggest decisions that you'll have to make is whether to use cable exercise machines, functional trainers, or free weights.

Whilst cable exercise machines are a form of functional trainer, you can get variations of all the machines so make sure you have researched your equipment for use or purchase.

Both cable exercise machines and functional trainers have their own set of benefits and drawbacks, and the choice ultimately comes down to personal preference and fitness goals.

Cable exercise machines are a popular choice among gym-goers. They are easy to use and provide a high level of control and stability. The cables and pulleys allow you to focus on one muscle group at a time and provide a full-body workout. Additionally, the resistance can be adjusted to suit your fitness level. This makes cable machines a great option for people recovering from an injury or looking to rehabilitate specific muscle groups.

Functional trainers, also known as "functional training stations" or "cable crossover machines", are similar to cable exercise machines. They allow for a wide range of exercises that can be performed, such as rows, press, pull-downs, curls, and leg exercises. They are designed to mimic natural human movements and help to improve balance, coordination and stability. They are also great for functional training and sports specific training.

Free weights, on the other hand, are a more traditional option. They include dumbbells, barbells, and kettlebells. They provide a wider range of exercises to choose from, and allow for more natural movements. Free weights also help to improve balance, coordination and stability. They are also a more affordable option for home gym setups.

Another benefit of free weights is that they provide a more dynamic workout experience. With free weights, you have to engage your stabilizing muscles, which can lead to better overall fitness and muscle tone. Additionally, free weights can be used to perform compound exercises, which work multiple muscle groups at once, making your workout more efficient.

Both cable machines, functional trainers, and free weights have their own set of benefits. Cable machines and functional trainers provide a high level of control and stability, while free weights provide a more dynamic and natural workout experience. Both can be effective tools for improving overall fitness and muscle tone, so it's worth experimenting with both to find out which one you prefer. It's always recommended to consult with a trainer or doctor before starting any new workout routine, especially if you have any health conditions.



The cable machine is a great way to build strength. It works by providing resistance for your muscles to work against. You can use it to improve your strength, endurance, and overall muscular fitness.

The key difference between working out with weights or other machines is that a cable trainer uses, well, cables! that connect to various weights either directly or via pulleys.

You train by moving the cables around, while they stay under constant tension against the weights. This means that your muscles are also under constant tension during an exercise.

This constant tension is great for building muscle across the whole range of movement, providing a better toning effect and will build supporting muscles better, improving your bodies overall tone and strength.

The Types of Cables Machines

Generally there are two types of cable trainers

  • The single cable machine, that allows single arm exercises, or double arm lateral movements - These can be good for areas that don't have the room for a bigger double setup, They only contain one weight stack.

    Workouts can be a little awkward as you will have to use your legs and core to balance a lot during the workouts, you also can't complete as many workout such as crossover chest workouts.

    A single cable machine

  • The double cable machine has two weight stacks that are connected to two cables. The space in between the weight stacks is where you stand during your workout. The two outer pulleys are adjustable so you can fix the cable attachments at different heights.

    The double cable machine give a host of additional benefits like a balanced workout and the ability to complete cross over, arm, shoulder and chest workouts

    A double cable trainer



A cable machine is a super versatile piece of training equipment, so there can be an overwhelming amount of workouts that can be undertaken often making it hard to know where to start.

So here are five exercises that can get you seeing the benefits of cable training

Cross Over Chest Press

Cross Over Chest Press

One of the very best exercises you can undertake with a cable machine is the cable chest press, when you undertake this great exercise for your upper body, you will see how the flexibility of cable training really allows you a great range of movements.

It works your pecs, triceps, shoulders and as your going to be standing up, your also going to get a bit of a core workout.

How it differs from a dumbbell press!

The standing cable chest press is actually very similar to a standard dumbbell press, but rather than fighting with gravity the cables allow you better and more fluid range of movements and, because your standing you can also lean into the exercise and squeeze your chest, pecs and abs to make the workout extra efficient.

How to do a cable cross over chest press?

This exercise is designed to be performed on a double sided cable machine

  1. Set both of the pulleys to chest height.
  2. Select an appropriate handle attachment on each cable.
  3. Set your desired weight on each side (matching the weights of both sides).

Facing away from the machine, take hold of each handle. Step forward until you feel tension in the cables and the weights “un-rack” from their stacks.

With your palms now facing away from you, simply push the handles out in front of you for repetitions, much like you would if you were undertaking a dumbbell press.

Cable Machine Row

Cable Machine Row

A cable row is a great exercise for targeting the muscles of the upper back, and traps. It is also a great toning exercise for the biceps and triceps, making it a great all-around exercise for developing the upper body.

How it differs from a traditional bar row!

A traditional row, involves lifting a weighted bar, such as a barbell or a Olympic bar with a set of weight plates, up to your chest whilst bent over at an angle, by using a cable machine instead, you can workout with increased safety as you don't have to worry about dropping the weight.

When using a cable you also only have to lift weight once your in the correct position.

How to do a cable row?  

The exercise can be undertaken seated or standing and can be achieved with just a single cable machine. 

  1. To start, you'll need to attach an appropriate handle to the cable, you can use a triceps handle, a row handle or for the best results use a double rope attachment which will double as a great forearm trainer.
  2. Set the required weight on the stack.
  3. Face the machine, either sat down or with your knees slightly bent if your standing.
  4. With arms straight out in front of you, take a few steps back until the weight is released from the rack.
  5. Simply pull the attachment back to the middle of your chest with your elbows going past your body and level with your back, slowly and in a controlled manner release the weight back to the stack and then continue to another rep.

Cable Fly Press

Cable Fly Press

Cable fly's are a great exercise for building your pectoral, chest, shoulder and upper back muscles, they will also bring beneficial improvements to your core and abs.

How it differs from a dumbbell fly!

The traditional dumbbell fly uses free weights such as dumbbells to perform the exercise, the problem is, when your arms are at full extension, you will be placing a lot of strain on your wrists and arms.

However, when using a cable machine you can lean into the exercise to get started reducing that strain, its also easier to workout with additional weight as you won't need someone to spot you, like you will with free weights when at full arm stretch.

How to perform a cable fly? 

To perform the cable chest fly you will need a double sided cable machine, you can then follow the steps below.

  1. Fit appropriate cable attachments such as handles.
  2. Set the required weight on the weight stack.
  3. Stand with your back to the machine and grab the handles in each hand.
  4. Step forward until your arms are stretched out level.
  5. Pull them together with straight elbows until they are in front of you and about to touch each other.
  6. Return back to arms stretched out in a slow and controlled motion so as not to put too much strain on your shoulders or elbows.

Cable Assisted Squat

Cable Assisted Squat

The cable machine can be used for a variety of workout and to prove this we are going to show you two methods of using it to undertake a squat.

To undertake both of these exercises your going to need a single cable machine, with a row or rope attachment.

High cable assisted squat

During this workout your going to have the pulley set at the highest setting and your going to lower your body weight into a squat position whilst holding onto the cable, this will allow you to undertake a squat for a longer period of time, allowing greater toning effect and also adding toning to your shoulders, triceps and biceps.

The best methods for the High Cable Assisted Squat

Try and work with the resistance on the cable, to lower and raise yourself in a controlled manner to gain additional benefits, and make sure you select an appropriate weight before descending.


Low cable assisted squat

During this workout, your going to set the pulley to the lowest setting, step back from the machine so that when you crouch down in the squat position the cable is taught, then stand up with a straight back and pull the cable with you as you stand.

This exercise ads extra resistance to your training, helping to tone your triceps, biceps, shoulders, abs and core, it can also help to maintain good form, as you will need to keep a good posture to ensure the cable doesn't pull you off balance.

The best methods for the Low Cable Assisted Squat

Ensure you keep good posture and hold a tight core and back position as you start to stand up, hold a good stance in your legs as you power through to keep your balance when pushing again the cable tension.


Cable Operated Glute Workout 

Cable Operated Glute Workout

A glute cable exercise is an exercise that targets the glutes, buttocks and also offers great leg muscle training. Glute cable exercises are often utilized to increase the strength and size of the buttock muscles. This is important for women who want a more shapely, lifted rear end as well as for men or women who want to increase their athletic performance.

How it differs from a traditional glute exercise!

Weighted glute exercises can be tricky without specific machines, they can involve laying on your front and awkwardly lifting dumbbells between you feet, which isn't the safest thing in the world.

This Cable Operated Glute exercise however, is great for targeted safe glute and buttock exercise.

How to perform a cable glute exercise? 

A cable restrictive glute exercise begins with you standing and facing the a single cable machine with the pulley on the lowest setting.

After selecting the required weight, you will need a ankle attachment for the cable, once all attached hold onto the cable machine in a safe manner, making sure of any hazard from moving parts and weights, and raise your leg backwards with a straight knee in a slow and controlled manner.


Fancy a cable machine for your home gym?

Check out our range of cable machines for sale at the Home Fitness Store



In conclusion, cable machines offer a variety of benefits for aerobic exercise and strength training by providing a full-body workout, offering a wide range of resistance levels, whilst offering a high level of control and stability, and are easy to use and versatile.

They are a great option for people of all fitness levels looking to improve overall fitness and muscle tone. 

Cable machines are a popular piece of exercise equipment that can be found in most gyms. However they can also be used in your home gym are great for strengthening the back, chest, core, abs, legs, shoulder and arms, in fact pretty much every muscle in the body.

They bring a totally new way of working out with many benefits over existing free weight training improving safety and workout options.

As well as the obviously Strength Benefits of a Cable Machine they also bring a huge range of aerobic benefits and the following health benefits.

- Strengthens back muscles and helps with spinal health.

- Increases strength in the chest and arm muscles.

- Can help to improve posture by strengthening the back muscles.

- Can help with weight loss by burning calories and building muscle mass.

- Can provide a safer way of working out.

- The smooth & consistent movement makes them great for sports rehabilitation 




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