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  1. #1
    Registered User MartinBoy2's Avatar
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    Home Gym - Cable Pulley Set up

    Hey everyone, currently building a home gym, and would like to include a pulley set up if possible. I have looked at a few old posts on here about pulley systems but would like further advice as im kinda a noob when it comes to this stuff.

    The floor has just been concreted, 1 of the walls are already made out of brick/concrete, and another one is to be done shortly.

    Got some of the stuff in mind, a swivel pulley, it fits up to 5mm cable, with that in mind Im looking at some nylon coated cable which has a min breaking load of 960kg's, with that in mind;

    How many metres am i going to need? I would assume just 1 or 2, but im thinking if im going to make a pulley, to make both a HIGH and LOW pulley if im going to.

    Some other questions, for movements which are bi-lateral, let's say cable flys as an example, 1 high pulley and 1 low pulley wouldn't work too well? I mean they'd be coming from different directions, for purposes like this and say standing variants, i need to have 2 high pulleys, or 2 low pulleys?

    Im also wondering of a way to safely distribute the weight away from the ceiling. The ceiling at it's current state isn't that strong at all, in a sense i wouldn't recommend doing pull ups on it for now, however, there are 2 brick walls which are sturdy, what would be my best bet? Placing a beam across to take a load of the weight? I guess what im mainly asking is how can i distribute most of the weight to the wall if possible

    Would like some feedback as im pretty lost but would like to make some DIY equipment as i hear it's not too difficult and is so much cheaper than buying expensive cable equipment from gym manufacturers.

    Thank you
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  2. #2
    Registered User KBKB's Avatar
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    Given that you don't trust the ceiling joists, I think some sort of stand-alone frame to hold the various pulleys is the way to go.

    I like DIY projects, but more than a few of mine have ended up costing more than something that I might purchase off the shelf. (Sometimes significantly more.) I do these projects because they're challenging and because I usually learn something new in the course of doing it. If that is your motivation too, then go for it. If you're doing it because you think it'll be cheaper in the long run, you should do a detailed analysis first to make sure that this is really the case. Make some plans even if they're rough ones, come up with a bill of materials, and then obtain prices on the stuff you'll need. Don't forget to count any new tools that you might need to complete the project. (That's the other reason I like DIY projects; you get to buy and play with new tools too!)

    Once that's done, find out what a similar piece of pre-built equipment would cost if you were to purchase it new. You should also check craigslist to see if some used equipment is available which meets your needs. Buying it used will likely be significantly less expensive than a DIY project.
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  3. #3
    Registered User MartinBoy2's Avatar
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    Thanks for the reply, the sole reason i turned to wanting to start a home pulley system is that i hear they aren't as hard to make as they may seem and they aren't costy at all, at least no where near the amount of money that regular cable machines cost, and being a teen i can't afford those. Im also from the UK so craigslist isn't too good for me as it is for folks in other countries
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  4. #4
    Registered User KBKB's Avatar
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    What equipment, if any, do you have already?
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    Registered User MartinBoy2's Avatar
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    I don't have any at the moment, however i know a few pieces of equipment that Ive been looking at, and will probably buy once i know what im doing and properly go through with this.

    Some nylon coated rope which is specific for gym purposes 5mm - about £5 a metre.

    Stainless steel swivel pulley - may need a few of these.

    For bi-lateral exercises, say presses or what not, or more so cable flys, not seeming like a chest warrior but never done flys before, would be a good addition if im going to make a pulley set up anyways. Im assuming id need 2 low pulleys, and just 1 high pulley. I don't know where to start, really, i tried to draw out some plan last night but i didn't know where to begin lol.
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  6. #6
    Registered User KBKB's Avatar
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    I wasn't specific enough with my previous question...

    I meant to ask about what workout equipment you already owned. The other appropriate question at this point is... What are your goals? (I.e. Are you looking to become stronger? Lose weight? Are you rehabbing a shoulder injury?)

    Depending on your goals and what you already have, a cable machine might be appropriate. But if you have no training gear at all, the space and money that you have would be better spent on more basic equipment. You might want to look over this forum's FAQ. (A barbell, set of weight plates, bench, and a power rack are usually recommended for someone starting out who wants to get strong.)

    It sounds as though you have your heart set on building a cable-cross machine. If that's the case, I'd suggest looking at the design of some existing machines so that you can better get an idea of how things might be put together. Two to look at are:

    http://bodysolid.com/Home/item.cfm?id=668
    http://bodysolid.com/Home/item.cfm?id=667

    Yet another cost effective approach is to set up some wall mounted resistance band anchors and purchase some inexpensive resistance bands to use with those anchors. This will allow you to do similar motions to a cable machine, but will be significantly less work and will be significantly less expensive. There's still a DIY component in setting up the wall anchors, but doing so will require fewer tools and will not require as much skill.
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  7. #7
    Registered User MartinBoy2's Avatar
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    Oh sorry, easy mistake to make.

    Ive been working out on and off for at least 2 years now, i have most of the equipment i need, but seeing as the shed is being constructed at the moment to be used as a home gym, i thought i may aswell attempt to get a cable set up if possible.

    I have enough dumbbells and barbells, along with a kettlebell, a bench, a squat rack which i can use to self spot bench press too, and generally enough weight plates, i pretty much have all i need for the basics.

    My goals at the moment.. well none. Not because i don't know where im headed, but i can't really workout now at the moment, it's a LONG LONG story, i have a lot of nagging pains that im getting sorted, which includes Sacroiliac Joint pain/dysfunction, shoulder imbalances, knees + ankles achey, etc etc.

    However when im free and fully functional to train i will be training hard, sprinting to get faster, and just improving on most of my lifts to get stronger and a better athlete in general.

    Been looking at the cable cross-over machines, not for their main purpose as just doing crossovers as that's really not why i want one, but looking at them, they cover pretty much everything id need a cable set up for, a high pulley for certain exercises, and 2 low pulleys which i can use for bilateral exercises, but as you can see their cost, $2000 +, i certainly can't afford that at 19, unfortunately.

    Resistance bands seem good, but as you stated, they probably won't be most effective long term,

    Looking at those cable crossover machines have given me an idea, in my shed, there is already a concrete wall which perhaps i could come off at something. Rather than finding some piece of metal and paying someone to weild them just like the cable crossover machines, i could come off the wall somehow so that the force is taken by brick wall (shouldn't break), and not the ceiling. I'll upload a picture of the wall that i think could be used, perhaps you could give me some further ideas?

    Couldn't post the image, not enough posts, it's basically a concrete/brick wall though

    That picture was taken last year, so kinda old, and what is on the right is now not there, and will more than likely be built out of blocks, i know it's not much to go by, i can try and get some measurements if it will help?

    Thanks so far mate.
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  8. #8
    Registered User KBKB's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by MartinBoy2 View Post
    I have enough dumbbells and barbells, along with a kettlebell, a bench, a squat rack which i can use to self spot bench press too, and generally enough weight plates, i pretty much have all i need for the basics.
    Okay. Good to see that you have the basics covered.

    My goals at the moment.. well none. Not because i don't know where im headed, but i can't really workout now at the moment, it's a LONG LONG story, i have a lot of nagging pains that im getting sorted, which includes Sacroiliac Joint pain/dysfunction, shoulder imbalances, knees + ankles achey, etc etc.
    I've just started reading The Trigger Point Therapy Workbook. I too have some issues that need sorting and the techniques described in that book look promising.

    Resistance bands seem good, but as you stated, they probably won't be most effective long term.
    I don't recall making that statement about the effectiveness of resistance bands. I'm using some resistance bands for shoulder rehab. I've found them to be very effective for that purpose. I expect them to continue to be effective long term too.

    I have a cable machine too, the Ironmaster Cable Tower Attachment. It works well for lat pulldowns, low rows, tricep exercises from the high pulley, and curls from the low pulley. It cannot work at all for some of my shoulder exercises (internal and external rotations), at least as they were shown to me by my physical therapist, due to the fact that there's no middle pulley. For those exercises, I would need a pulley at about chest height. My resistance band anchors consist of a number of eye bolts screwed into a eight foot (or so) oak board mounted vertically to the wall. I use the anchors at the waist, chest, and shoulder levels for doing various shoulder movements.

    There are some other movements that the therapist prescribed which could be done from a high or low pulley, but the Ironmaster Cable tower does not afford me enough range of motion to effectively do those exercises. I do those exercises using the lowest and highest eye bolts (with a TheraBand). The bands provide me with the range of motion that I need to perform those exercises.

    This should be something you consider should you decide to proceed with your cable set-up. You will want to arrange the high pulley to be positioned as high as possible in order to allow whatever weight stack you arrange to be pulled the greatest distance possible. This issue is sometimes addressed in commercially available cable-cross machines and functional trainers by using pulleys which provide a mechanical advantage. This often means that you're pulling only 1/2 or 1/3 of the weight on the stack, but it also means that you're effectively doubling or tripling the cable run from the weight's low position to it's high position. I doubt that you will want to create such a system - it requires more equipment and more engineering - so the simplest approach, assuming that your walls are high enough is to position the high pulley at 7 or 8 feet high if possible.

    Looking at those cable crossover machines have given me an idea, in my shed, there is already a concrete wall which perhaps i could come off at something. Rather than finding some piece of metal and paying someone to weild them just like the cable crossover machines, i could come off the wall somehow so that the force is taken by brick wall (shouldn't break), and not the ceiling.
    How far apart are the walls? It seems to me that you could construct two pulley systems on opposite walls. You will need both a high pulley and low pulley for each wall. I know you are only interested in low pulleys for bilateral exercises, but you need the upper pulley as well in order to redirect the cable for pulling the weight upwards. (The low pulley cable will run through the bottom pulley, up to the high pulley and then down to your weight stack. You'll probably want to use a loading pin - a piece of pipe with a flange on the end to keep the plates from sliding off - with your existing plates.)

    You will need to find a way to mount the pulleys eight to sixteen inches away from the walls. Exactly how far away from the wall it needs to be depends upon the size of the pulley and the size of the weight plates that you'll be using to load it up. You don't want the plates to bang into the wall on the way up or down.
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  9. #9
    Registered User MartinBoy2's Avatar
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    Ive been doing a lot of soft tissue and mobility work lately, i think i have requested a book similar to that at my local library too just for additional information .

    I can probably get the pulley to go up to about 7 or 8 ft, i will take a look in a moment to get the measurements. I will still gain benefit from using the high pulley and i would like it's use for moves like face pulls, i'll try to get some measurements in a moment, i really am puzzled into trying to understand what to do, sorry! I was thinking of maybe using a loaded dumbbell as a weight source?

    The walls are next to eachother where i can't post a pic to the site i'll show it in a link,
    For God sake, can't even post a link to the image, not sure what to say, as the wall on the right will be connected in a sense to the back wall when it's built on.

    Although the wall on the right is no longer there as we have taken it down (was made out of plywood), and will be making from concrete/brick blocks, i'll measure the height and width of the back wall now.

    Ok the back wall which is a concrete wall from another shed (back of another shed), is 7'5 in height, 8'4 in width.

    The wall to be made at the side has more scope however as it is about 16 inches in width.
    Last edited by MartinBoy2; 08-14-2011 at 11:54 AM.
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    I'm still fuzzy on the layout.

    What are the shed's interior dimensions? Is it a rectangular room?
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    Registered User MartinBoy2's Avatar
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    Im sorry about the lack of description, a picture would of been much more useful, yeah it's more like a rectangle type shape.

    The concrete is practically finished, bit of a dilema as to whether to buy an actual shed in size, seen one that's 10x20ft for around £1200, and that's with installation. But it's made out of wood so may not be fit for the purposes (cable appartus), although the roof would probably be more stronger than what the current one is.

    May be better off just finishing the job :P
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    [QUOTE=KBKB;734684613]Okay. Good to see that you have the basics covered. I've just started reading The Trigger Point Therapy Workbook. I too have some issues that need sorting and the techniques described in that book look promising. tp therepay is awsome, i have competed in ironman triathalones for the past few years and have all the tp stuff, it has helped my shoudler out alot i tore my rotator cuff, and then dislocated it about two years ago. the basic kit with the quad roller, ball and the smaller roller are a slick system, i thought they were a gimic at first but cant live without now. www.tptherapy.com
    Last edited by tubtime; 08-14-2011 at 01:02 PM. Reason: i wish i could spell
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    Originally Posted by tubtime View Post
    tp therepay is awsome, i have competed in ironman triathalones for the past few years and have all the tp stuff, it has helped my shoudler out alot i tore my rotator cuff, and then dislocated it about two years ago. the basic kit with the quad roller, ball and the smaller roller are a slick system, i thought they were a gimic at first but cant live without now. www.tptherapy.com
    I have a case of plantar fasciitis that I'm looking to fix... hopefully it'll be of some benefit.
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    Registered User MartinBoy2's Avatar
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    KBKB - Have you tried rolling your feet with a tennis ball? That might help.

    I really want to give this cable crossover machine design a go, that design will allow me to do all the stuff i need it too, i know what type of cable and pulleys to get, but i can't help but think there's serveral additional pulley wheels on the crossover machines for a reason :
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    Originally Posted by MartinBoy2 View Post
    KBKB - Have you tried rolling your feet with a tennis ball? That might help.
    Yeah, tennis ball, racquet ball, and a golf ball too. I like the racquet ball and the golf ball the best. The golf ball really hurts at first, but it does a great job of digging in nice and deep. If I'm in a lot of pain from the condition, rolling either the racket ball or the golf ball with my heel makes my fioot feel better.

    I'm also wearing a night splint which really helps with taking the first few steps out of bed in the morning. It keeps the fascia stretched as you sleep.

    I really want to give this cable crossover machine design a go, that design will allow me to do all the stuff i need it too, i know what type of cable and pulleys to get, but i can't help but think there's serveral additional pulley wheels on the crossover machines for a reason :
    The additional pulleys are either used to create a mechanical advantage or to cleverly allow you to do either a high pulley or low pulley movement without making the user do a lot of work with attaching and detaching cables.

    Mechanical advantage will be gained when one or more of the pulleys is directly attached to the weight stack (load). Wikipedia's pulley page has a good discussion of this.

    The other type of system usually looks something like this:



    This is the York Barbell FTS Lat Machine.

    The cable for the lat pulldown part of it runs through the high pulley just above where the bar is attached. After that, it runs horizontally to another pulley at the same level. It then runs down to and back up from the double pulley. From there it again runs through a high pulley, the end of which is attached to the weight carriage. None of these pulleys create a mechanical advantage. They merely redirect the cable. When you pull down on the bar, that center pair of pulleys stays mostly stationary - there may be a slight amount of movement at the beginning, but it's only very slight. If you look closely to the left of the bottom pulley, you'll see a snap hook (carabiner). To the right of that is a little round ball that's firmly attached to the cable. When you pull down on the lat pulldown bar, an upward force will be exerted on that middle pair of pulleys. This will cause tension in the lower cable to increase. If there is any slack in that part of the system, it'll be sucked out at that point. That stopper ball on the end of the cable will be jammed up against the low pulley and will go no further.

    The high pulley has a similar stopper ball which prevents the cable from being pulled through when using the low pulley. When pulling on the low pulley cable, however, the pair of pulleys in the middle will move downward at the same rate as the weight carriage moves up. The upper portion of the cable to the left of that pulley pair stays fixed. The upper right portion runs to the load and will be pulled dowward at the same rate as the lower section of cable.
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    I don't know if this will be any help, but for awhile I've been messing around with bar mounted pulleys for pulldown and crossover. Might give you some ideas. Here is a link to a draft of the user guide www.shermworks.com/cpkguide.pdf. Note. This rig is not intended to equal the capabilities of full blown pulldown and crossover setups.
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    Hey guys, firstly apologies for the slow reply, haven't had much use of pc, otherwise i would have got back to you guys sooner!

    KBKB, thanks again for the time and help, that image, along with the explanation does help. So, the additional pulleys, not applying any more mechanical advantage, does this mean they're not completely necessary? I guess if i start buying additional pulleys and such this is where the money will add up, but no point investing for the equipment and it not working properly.

    On second thoughts, with the shed, have 1 concrete wall, but may not be able to make the other wall out of block and it'll either be wood or wood type from an already built shed, with that in mind, perhaps i can use the concrete wall for a cable crossover type system?

    It's really hard to show without being able to post pictures or videos, the stopper balls i think i can get hold of, the same place that i can get the nylon coated cable from, which is rated to 960kgs, they sell gym specialized equipment.

    This is going to seem a bit selfish on my part as i can't post videos or images, but on youtube Ive seen a set up;
    "Home Workouts: DIY cable apparatus "
    That shows basically a high pulley set up, which is made very simply and has encouraged me to make my own. However, a high pulley is good, but ideally i would like to get 2 low pulleys if i can. But in the end, i'll make do with what i can. However, in that video, it looks like a good deal of the weight is submitted to the ceiling, or at least the pull up bar which is attached to the ceiling, with the ceiling not being too strong, maybe i should try and find a way around having the weight directed up to the top? So it doesn't pull the roof through.

    Another video from that user which looks handy is "self spotting rig", basically self spotting for dumbbells, which is a similar idea.


    I understand the function of the stopper ball on the lower pulley, if it weren't there, then it would be like pulling air, as the low pulley would freely move through, thanks for explaining that.

    With regards to the roof problem and looking at that picture you provided, i could come off of the top part of the wall, but if i came off before the cable touched the ceiling, im guessing id need something to support it.

    I have a lat pulldown attachment for my york bench, but it's fair to say it's pretty useless, only works up to 50kg, but i tried it for face pulls before, and the bench was going all over the place, coming off the ground, not ideal really.

    What would you suggest i do? I mean a cable crossover type design would allow me to use low pulleys, similar to the above, maybe id need 2 of those types of set ups?

    @Sherman, thanks for the link, i'll bookmark that and read it shortly.


    Just did a quick price check on that model above to see how much it was roughly, £490, quite pricey, could get a cable crossover for another £10
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    Ive read over that guide and it's given me a few ideas, never thought of using a barbell to go off of, i guess it's an alternative to a pull up bar. I have an old barbell that's rusted i could use for that purpose, however with my set up, im not sure where id install it, as id only ideally have one solid strong wall, and in the guide, some of the pictures it looked as though it's a door mounted pull up bar, to show an idea.

    The equipment such as, eye bolts, locking pins i could probably get somehow, (basically an allen key), rope clips should be available too

    Stuff like the kwikwire clamp, never heard or seen of those before, and did a quick search and didn't find nothing on them.

    Worth a read though, just need to figure out the best type of set up with my current situation.
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    Originally Posted by MartinBoy2 View Post
    So, the additional pulleys, not applying any more mechanical advantage, does this mean they're not completely necessary? I guess if i start buying additional pulleys and such this is where the money will add up, but no point investing for the equipment and it not working properly.
    It all depends upon how skilled you are at building / engineering things. If I were doing it, I would not mess around with the extra pulleys, stopper balls, etc. It just adds complexity and it will be more difficult to get right.

    I think a simple set-up will be easier to construct and maintain.

    You first need to figure out a method for attaching attaching pulleys to the wall. I'm guessing that you've already thought about this and have some ideas along these lines. You do need to make sure that the pulley is far enough away from the wall to ensure that the attached weight does not drag against the wall on the way up. (I would not attach them directly to the wall, but rather to some wooden cross members that would extend from one wall to the other.)

    For the upper pulley, position it so that the cable running through it is nearly out of reach. If you can get some "stopper balls" for the upper pulleys this would be a good idea so you won't have to worry about constantly threading the cable through the pulley when it pulls through. For this high pulley, you'll need a cable long enough to hang down an inch or two in the front, go around the pulley, and then go all the way down to the floor to whatever mechanism you decide to use for attaching the weight. This might another carabiner which you could use to attach to a loading pin or a strap girth-hitched to a dumbbell. The upper end of the cable will have a carabiner attached to it too. You'll use this to attach pulldown bars, handles, etc.

    The low pulley can be attached to the floor or to low point on the wall. You'll have to think about how to keep it out of the way of the weight attached to the high pulley cable. You will have a second cable with a carabiner on one end and a loop on the other. The end with the loop will be fed from the front to the rear of the pulley and then up to the high cable's carabiner. You'll connect that loop when you want to do low pulley work and disconnect it when you want to do high pulley work.

    You'd construct the same set-up on / along the opposite wall.
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    I agree, im not really experienced with this stuff at all, so id like to get by rather than do anything i don't specifically need to.

    Hmm, just been thinking, the brick wall i have access to, what about drilling into the wall and placing some eye bolts into it? I could possibly thread the cable and pulleys onto that? That would solve the problem of the cables coming off of the wall? I know if i could post a picture of the wall i have access to, that would make things much easier to understand.

    There's nothing wrong with your answer at all, you are providing me with great information, just where i don't have experience with this sort of stuff at all im finding it difficult to understand from just reading. So what type of equipment would i need? Eye bolts, cable, pulleys, stopper balls,

    Could i come off of the same brick wall? Perhaps spaced a few feet apart, so i have 2 pulley set ups, but with a space between them? Hopefully that would work.

    Glad that we seem to be getting somewhere and im getting a few images in my head, thanks a lot so far mate.
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    Originally Posted by MartinBoy2 View Post
    Hmm, just been thinking, the brick wall i have access to, what about drilling into the wall and placing some eye bolts into it? I could possibly thread the cable and pulleys onto that? That would solve the problem of the cables coming off of the wall? I know if i could post a picture of the wall i have access to, that would make things much easier to understand.
    You need to find a way to keep the pulley away from the wall to allow sufficient clearance for the weight to move up and down. You should either build some sort of bracket for the pulley or put up a horizontal cross member spanning from one wall to the other from which you can hang/mount the pulleys. Of the two, I like the latter idea better. Or you could improve the roof trusses so that they would support the requisite weight...

    Could i come off of the same brick wall? Perhaps spaced a few feet apart, so i have 2 pulley set ups, but with a space between them? Hopefully that would work.
    This might be made to work, but you'd have to construct bracing which'll keep your brackets from being pulled towards each other when you stand in the middle and pull on the cables.

    Do you have experience with hanging heavy things on walls? If not, you should research this matter first.

    If I were doing it, I'd probably build some kind of wooden frame or cage from which to hang the pulleys. If I used the wall(s) at all, it'd be simply for stability to keep the thing from falling over. Most of the weight would be supported by the wooden frame, not the wall(s).
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    What other alternatives are there for a horizontal cross member? Or another term for that item if possible? Ive done a bit of looking around but can't find nothing related or an image for that matter .

    If it's a relation to it's name and being a cross shape, id guess id connect it to the brick wall with the horizontal sides of the cross sticking out where the 2 high pulleys on either side would connect? It seems a good reasonable idea but i don't think those 2 small sides would be able to support the weight and force that the pulley cables will distribute to them?

    There's a chance im only going to have the 1 wall which is solid out of brick/concrete and the rest will be made from wood (budget problem), or the whole shed may be made from wood, again it's nowhere near as strong as concrete/brick, i have tried sending you a picture of the link to an image of the wall to show you what i mean, not sure if it's got through though.

    Id love to support the roof trusses so they can support the weight, this would be the easiest solution as id be able to hang a pull up bar up there too. However the roof isn't strong, i guess because it's made from wood and it's not completely watertight yet, unfortunately i don't know how to strengthen the roof, perhaps because it's expanded over a large area that it's weak?

    I don't have experience with hanging heavy things from walls, only minor construction work in the past, drilling into walls, fitting raw plugs that kinda simple stuff.

    The wooden frame or cage seems a good idea, any suggestions on where to start? Im guessing the wood would be less expensive, but the cage more solid.
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    Here's a photo of Martin's eventual work out area:



    Martin, could you explain to us which wall you want to use for mounting your pulleys?

    Now, for your questions:


    Originally Posted by MartinBoy2 View Post
    What other alternatives are there for a horizontal cross member? Or another term for that item if possible? Ive done a bit of looking around but can't find nothing related or an image for that matter .
    By that, I meant adding in your own 2x6, 2x8, or some other kind of wood truss; something that will be able to support the weight of the pulleys and whatever weight you're eventually pulling.

    Id love to support the roof trusses so they can support the weight, this would be the easiest solution as id be able to hang a pull up bar up there too. However the roof isn't strong, i guess because it's made from wood and it's not completely watertight yet, unfortunately i don't know how to strengthen the roof, perhaps because it's expanded over a large area that it's weak?
    In that photo, it looks to me like the roof trusses are 2x4s? Could you get an additional two or three 2x4s of that same length and run them from the wall on the right of your photo to the wall on the left? (It looks as though you may have to find a way to support them on the left.) You'd nail or screw all three of them together to make a much stronger truss than you have with an individual 2x4. It would be used for supporting your pulleys, weights (attached to the cables), and maybe even your pullup bar.

    The wooden frame or cage seems a good idea, any suggestions on where to start? Im guessing the wood would be less expensive, but the cage more solid.
    Basically the same as the ideas mentioned above, except it would be (largely) self supporting. Obviously, you'll need some vertical members (maybe 4x4s?) to support a horizontal beam running from one side of the machine to the other. If you want to make it entirely self supporting, you'll need some supports at the bottom and some bracing as well. (Just take a look at a commercially available machine made out of metal. Now imagine making it out of wood, but with additional bracing because, well, it's wood.)
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    Im pleased that the picture got through, should make things more clear.

    The back wall, the one straight ahead, that's a really old picture from last year, the wall on the left is pretty much made from old bits of wood and the right side currently has no wall. Dead conifers are behind it so we took it down and need to cut those out as they're just putting pressure onto the wall. The window lies into another shed, but has been boarded over, so ideally would use that as the middle section as it won't really be strong to come off of.

    What's wood truss? Sorry im not too good at trade terms, the beams supporting the roof i normally refer to as joists, although they probably aren't as strong. The actual roofing between the joists is made from plywood sheets i think (not ideal i know, was already up before i had access to it).

    I think the roof truss's may be 2x4's if need be i can probably measure them to clarify though. I feel even if i hanged some sort of pull up bar from the joists across it would pull the whole roof down, if i were to attempt to use it. Running them from the right to the left seems possible, i guess they'd mount to the top of the wall on the left, tell you what, i'll go get another picture now as that's an old one.

    I guess for some metal stuff if i were to attempt to make a cage of some sort, id need to look at things like a scrapyard and find a welder? I was hoping the back wall would be of some use as it's pretty solid (being concrete/brick built)

    I'll get a photo of the shed now.
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    Originally Posted by MartinBoy2 View Post
    What's wood truss? Sorry im not too good at trade terms, the beams supporting the roof i normally refer to as joists, although they probably aren't as strong. The actual roofing between the joists is made from plywood sheets i think (not ideal i know, was already up before i had access to it).
    Actually, I think "joist" is the correct term to use for what I had in mind. Sorry for the confusion.

    Here are updated photos from Martin, along with his annotations:

    Outside;


    Inside left corner;


    Inside right side;


    Dead conifers:


    Back wall (opposite end):


    Part of the roof:


    I'll look these over and post again if I have any new thoughts on the matter.
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    I just took a closer look at those photos.

    I agree with Martin's assessment of the roof. As constructed, I would not want to subject it to any additional stress.

    FWIW, it appears to me that the joist orientation shown in the roof photo is incorrect. Those 2x4s (or whatever they are) should be oriented so that the 4" (actually 3.5") part is vertical instead of horizontal. I.e.:



    Anyway, based upon what I see, I think that a free standing approach is the way to go. It may be possible to use part of a wall for support, so long as the wall is solid enough. However, I really don't think that much is gained (or saved) by doing so. Plus, you make it more difficult to later dismantle the machine or move it if part of it is semi-permanently attached to a wall.
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    Hey KBKB, i really appreciate the time and effort your putting into help me, so thanks for that.

    I feel dumb, but i have trouble understanding the above picture, maybe im not looking at it the right way. Let me try and interpret it, so judging from that diagram, id need some joist beams being added to the back wall (concrete wall) to help support the roof? I must of looked at that wrong.

    Do i need extra joists? I mean i feel even if i add as many as i can, the roof won't be strong enough to handle weight, especially for a pull up or pulley machine?

    Im really sorry for my poor understanding of the picture ;(

    So you think my best bet would be to use a metal cage/wooden frame to use for my pulley set up? It's getting the materials i suppose, i mean for the cage it would be harder, as i wouldn't really know where to get the ideal equipment, plus id have to pay someone to weld them together. Ugh, kinda confusing, sorry, please bear with me!
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    Originally Posted by MartinBoy2 View Post
    I feel dumb, but i have trouble understanding the above picture, maybe im not looking at it the right way. Let me try and interpret it, so judging from that diagram, id need some joist beams being added to the back wall (concrete wall) to help support the roof? I must of looked at that wrong.
    Adding additional joists may well help, but that's not what I meant.

    Take a look at that photo I posted again. Noticed how the joists are arranged vertically? The diagram isn't complete obviously because there's nothing supporting the joists at the near end. Anyway, imagine reaching into that picture and grabbing the ends of one of those joists and then rotating it 90 degrees; You're basically making it "fall over" so that instead of resting on the narrow part of the joist at the far end, it is instead resting along the wide part of the joist. That's how yours are set up - or at least that's how it looks to me. If there's some sort of optical illusion at work and you have it correct, then I apologize.

    Anyway, I think it's the "flat" orientation of the joists that is making them bend somewhat and causing that roof to sag a little bit. Again, I could be wrong, but that's how it looks to me.

    Do i need extra joists? I mean i feel even if i add as many as i can, the roof won't be strong enough to handle weight, especially for a pull up or pulley machine?
    Extra joists could help. But, what I think will really help is if you could somehow reorient them so that they were standing up instead of laying flat. But, that said, it appears to me that you need other vertical supporting members too. (I.e. you need more studs as well.)

    If you decide to reconstruct the roof, you might arrange for an extra strong joist formed from several 2x4s. If you used three of them, and oriented them so that they're standing up, it'd be (nominally) 6 inches wide and 4 inches high. (Remember that 2x4s don't really measure 2" by 4", but rather 1.5" by 3.5", so in reality that joist would be 4.5" wide and 3.5" high.)

    If you could reconstruct the roof with 2x6s, it'd be even stronger. Again, you'd want to orient them so that they're standing up as they're much stronger and will bend less in that configuration.

    So you think my best bet would be to use a metal cage/wooden frame to use for my pulley set up? It's getting the materials i suppose, i mean for the cage it would be harder, as i wouldn't really know where to get the ideal equipment, plus id have to pay someone to weld them together. Ugh, kinda confusing, sorry, please bear with me!
    It depends, I think, upon how much rehabilitation can be done for the roof. To recap what I wrote above: 1) The joists should be oriented so that they're standing up. 2) It appears to me that you need more studs. Someone more familiar with construction techniques than myself might have more to say on the matter.

    I remembered a video that Wildtim had posted in the past. I think you'll find it interesting because it shows a wooden lat / low row machine and a lot of other wooden equipment too.



    If you're impatient, skip ahead to about 3:45. I think the rest of the video is worth watching though because he has a lot of cool looking equipment too. Anyway, you could do something like that for a cable crossover machine - just build two of them. Or, you could replicate the design of a commercial cable crossover machine, but make it out of wood. As I said in an earlier post, it'll require additional bracing due to being made of wood. But it could be done.
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    Originally Posted by MartinBoy2 View Post
    Hey everyone, currently building a home gym, and would like to include a pulley set up if possible. I have looked at a few old posts on here about pulley systems but would like further advice as im kinda a noob when it comes to this stuff.

    The floor has just been concreted, 1 of the walls are already made out of brick/concrete, and another one is to be done shortly.

    Got some of the stuff in mind, a swivel pulley, it fits up to 5mm cable, with that in mind Im looking at some nylon coated cable which has a min breaking load of 960kg's, with that in mind;

    How many metres am i going to need? I would assume just 1 or 2, but im thinking if im going to make a pulley, to make both a HIGH and LOW pulley if im going to.

    Some other questions, for movements which are bi-lateral, let's say cable flys as an example, 1 high pulley and 1 low pulley wouldn't work too well? I mean they'd be coming from different directions, for purposes like this and say standing variants, i need to have 2 high pulleys, or 2 low pulleys?

    Im also wondering of a way to safely distribute the weight away from the ceiling. The ceiling at it's current state isn't that strong at all, in a sense i wouldn't recommend doing pull ups on it for now, however, there are 2 brick walls which are sturdy, what would be my best bet? Placing a beam across to take a load of the weight? I guess what im mainly asking is how can i distribute most of the weight to the wall if possible

    Would like some feedback as im pretty lost but would like to make some DIY equipment as i hear it's not too difficult and is so much cheaper than buying expensive cable equipment from gym manufacturers.

    Thank you

    Here's a pretty good thread to checkout. I made a cable cross over with my powertec power rack and it works very well. http://forum.bodybuilding.com/showth...1#post60977731

    I've made some minor mods to it, but you can get the main idea with it. The rope at the top where pulley connects to the power rack is now replaced by a small length of chain.
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    Oh, NOW i see what you mean, with the last picture i posted.

    That joist, well there only thin beams i don't think there even that strong at all myself, the piece in the picture is very small as it was an old cut out end and it was attached to two of the beams that were already going across horizontally. I can't remember why it was put there, i think just to quickly test the strength of the beams to see if they'd improved? Sorry can't really remember it's purpose of being there.


    The roof is definitely weak and needs work, i may have to attempt to take matters into my own hands as my dad who originally put it up doesn't have much time to work on it and doesn't ideally want to take the whole thing down and do it again - even though i feel it's what it needs. You may be able to see that in some of the photos, the far end near the concrete wall has actually started to leak. That part of the shed isn't watertight. Water has been getting in and it's significantly weak without a doubt. I think money was tried to be saved, but there's saving money and having the thing leaking.

    More studs, i can see how they'd help, however, where would they go? You see the ones at the right corner, my dad was thinking of putting more in there, but the whole width of the roof from there to the other wall, seems if you pulled on it, it would still fall to pieces. But i don't understand it, it's something like 8.5ft wide if i measured right, but that isn't HUGE really, so there must be ways this can work, it may be to do with the plywood sheets? I think it may be the beams/joists though like you said, if i could get bigger ones that are stronger maybe that would help, maybe it's worth a look into. Maybe it's a case of just getting the right pieces of wood and nailing them together? It's having wood which is STRONG though, not like the beams we have at the moment.

    That video is very creative, i watched the whole thing, but it seems to me that you'd have to have some good knowledge and skill in carpentry to do something like that, im not sure if im capable. It looks as though that lat machine could also be used as a power rack.


    @Creatine, that's also a good idea, bit annoyed i didn't get a power rack in the past, instead i got one of these as it's works for the purposes i need it for and it was cheaper;

    Just remembered i can't post links, but "CF415 squat and dip rack" on a quick google image will show you what i have, you can see it in one of the pics too.
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