Our Top Picks For The Best Cable & Strength Machines

When it comes to exercising and building muscle, free weights tend to be at the center of attention, and the sentiment towards cable and strength machines can range from indifference to outright disdain.

However, it's worth noting that cable and strength equipment offer distinct advantages in muscle building, to get the best results possible. Taking advantage of both free weights and machinery is highly recommended if you're looking to optimize your home gym.

Let's explore how and why strength and cable machines are able to improve your gains and which machines might be the right fit for you.

Our Top Picks:

Check out the details, Pros and Cons to see why each cable machine made our list below.

What are Cable and Strength Machines?

In this article, we'll be exploring the 7 best cable and machines for home fitness and exercise to help you make an informed decision on which one is right for you.

By understanding the benefits that each machine offers in terms of exercise range, portability and cost, you can equip yourself with the knowledge to choose a machine that fits your fitness needs. It's clear that cable and strength machines offer a great range of benefits for home gyms, so arm yourself with the knowledge to make an informed decision about which one is right for you.

Benefits of Using a Cable Machine

Great for Beginners

For those new to weightlifting, the advantage I'm about to share might not make a splash for seasoned lifters. But for rookies, it's definitely something worth considering.

When you work out with free weights, you'll find yourself spending copious amounts of energy endeavoring to perfect your exercise form. It's like a little dance, getting used to supporting those loaded barbells or dumbbells in various positions. Here's the twist: sometimes you end up tipping, stumbling, or even fumbling through exercises like bench presses, deadlifts, squats, and lunges. Trust me, it's all part of the journey. Embrace it!

When it comes to the cable machine, you don't have to worry about putting direct pressure on your body, so there's minimal risk of weight imbalance. Instead, you can zone in on the movement of your chosen exercise and really feel your limbs gracefully glide through the entire range of motion.

The beauty of cable machine exercises is that they make it a breeze to nail down the proper form, allowing you to train safely right from the get-go. Trust me, it's all about finding your groove and going with the flow!

No Direct Load

As a person who's dealt with various joint issues before, I gotta admit, the cable machine is a game-changer.

When it comes to free weights, picture this: you're hoisting a weighty barbell all on your own. Take bench presses, for instance. You're extending your arms to keep that baby in position. And what about squats? You're lugging that barbell on your shoulder. Now, if you've got wonky joints, this added load could do more harm than good. It might escalate your risk of injury or trigger discomfort. Trust me, nobody wants that.

You know, here's the thing about bench presses: they may increase the chance of a shoulder injury if you're not mindful of your form. And let's not forget about those heavy barbells loaded on your shoulders during squats – they could potentially lead to lower back injuries. Stay safe and listen to your body!

Alright, let's give that cable machine a closer look. So here's the deal - unlike other workout equipment, there's no actual heavy load pressing directly on your body. Instead, you're just pulling or pushing on the handle to lift the weight stack.

And you know what? This nifty feature significantly reduces the risk of injury and strain. It makes cable machine exercises kinder and safer, especially for folks dealing with existing injuries. Pretty neat, right?

Whether you're aiming for a shredded chest using the versatile cable machine or seeking safer, pivoting options for leg day, rest assured that the cable machine is your ultimate companion for injury-reducing lifts. Trust me, it's a game-changer!

More Time Under Tension

Let's dive into one of the most celebrated advantages of the cable machine, which is so often hyped up by fitness enthusiasts.

In order to truly grasp its significance, we must explore the concept of "time under tension" and how it contributes to muscle growth. As the name implies, "more time under tension" is all about the duration your muscles remain contracted and under strain during an exercise.

The more prolonged the stress, the more energy your muscles expend, prompting them to adapt and grow stronger.

According to experts, extending the time under tension not only promotes hypertrophy but also accelerates gains.

You might be curious, like, "How does the cable machine amp up the time under tension?"

It's like this: as long as you've got a grip on those handles and you're yanking on the cable, your muscles feel the resistance and gotta flex. So, your muscles are totally under tension throughout the whole shebang, no chill time for 'em between reps. With cable machines in the mix, your muscles get wiped out quicker, resulting in mega muscle gains.

Maximum Versatility

When it comes to free weights, you're pretty limited in terms of lifting options. You're basically just moving them up and down since they're made heavy by none other than gravity. We position ourselves under the weight, whether we're pushing, pulling, curling, or lifting, and that's how we get a solid workout.

However, the cable machine takes things to a whole new level. This bad boy employs a fancy system of pulleys that allow you to switch up your workout routine in ways that are simply mind-blowing. As the cable effortlessly lifts and lowers the weight, the pulley grants you the freedom to adjust the angle to your liking. Whether you desire an upward pull to sculpt your biceps or perform overhead presses, they're both well within your reach.

You can also opt for a forward press, executing cable flys with finesse. And if your preference leans towards a downward pull or an invigorating push, conquering cable pulldowns or iron crosses becomes a viable choice. Without a doubt, the cable machine reigns supreme in its versatility! Thanks to the ingenious pulley system, you can unleash your strength and prowess in any direction imaginable, liberating yourself from the confines of convention.

You've gotta check out the insane range of exercises you can rock with this mind-blowing, one-of-a-kind machine. Seriously, it's crazy how you can hit every inch of your bod using just this single badass equipment.

And hold up, there's a massive selection of cable machine attachments, like dope lat pulldown bars, killer tricep ropes, ankle straps for epic kickbacks, and so much more goodness. The possibilities? Endless. You can mix it up and create your very own killer workout routine like a true fitness pro. It's like having your own personal gym right at home, no joke.

Greater Whole-Body Engagement

Okay, listen up. Cable machines, my friends, let you zero in on those muscles you want to target. But let me tell you, it's not just those muscles doing the heavy lifting. Nope, your other muscles get in on the action too, working hard to keep you balanced in whatever position you find yourself in. Pretty cool, right?

So, check this out:

When you're curling using the cable machine, your body can't help but counterbalance the movement of your arms. It's like a perfectly orchestrated dance.

With cable crossovers, your body gets to maintain an awesome posture in a forward half-lunge position. It's like being a superhero and striking a cool pose.

And when you're rocking those pull-downs, your body instinctively braces against the seat, giving you the power to pull against the weight like a boss.

All of this leads to this incredible engagement of your entire body. We're not just talking about the prime movers here, no. We're talking about those awesome, unsung heroes known as stabilizer muscles. They're the unsung MVPs of your workout.The absence of support adds spice to your workout — no bench for presses, no pad to pull against for rows. Secondary muscles jump in, boosting your overall resilience and posture. And guess what? You can target those muscles that keep you balanced and stable if you're up for it. There's a whopping array of cable machine exercises that take you through twisting, rotating, raising, and crunching, giving your abs, lower back, and obliques a grand performance.

Prepare yourself to be awed by your newfound resilience and agility as you conquer the cable machine. You got this!

Challenging for All Fitness Levels

Let's get real for a second. The first highlight I mentioned was how awesome the cable machine is for beginners. But hey, don't you dare make the mistake of thinking it's only for newbies. Nope, not at all!

In fact, the cable machine is like a secret weapon for those badass weightlifters who are on a whole different level. It's a versatile tool that lets them fine-tune their moves, perfect their postures, and target specific ranges of motion.

And here's the kicker: this bad boy opens up a whole new world of possibilities for your workout routine. You can spice things up with some seriously advanced movements that will take your gym game to the next level. How cool is that?

So, whether you're just starting out or you're a seasoned pro, the cable machine has got something for everyone. It's a true game-changer. You won't regret incorporating it into your fitness journey. Trust me on this one.

This weight stack can handle the load and then some, catering even to the most jacked bodybuilders and powerlifters out there.

And the beauty of this machine? It's so versatile, offering a myriad of movement options. There's always a fresh exercise you can throw into your routine, challenging your body in exciting new ways.

The Best Cable and Strength Machines

Best Overall Cable Machine

Rep Fitness - FT-5000 2.0 Functional Trainer
Rep Fitness - FT-5000 2.0 Functional Trainer

The REP Fitness FT-5000 is not your average cable and strength machine. It's a true fitness marvel, engineered with laser-cut steel frames that provide unrivaled stability and durability. When you step up to this workout powerhouse, rest assured that your fitness journey will be both safe and efficient. The FT-5000 boasts a distinctive 7-post design, complete with 6 weight horns, allowing you to customize your workouts to the max. And that's not all!

Thanks to its pull-up bar attachments, chin-ups, hangs, and muscle-ups become a breeze. But wait, there's more! With the FT-5000's 2 adjustable weight stacks, you have the flexibility to choose different weights for exercises like chest press or leg extensions. Trust me, I'm absolutely smitten with this remarkable fitness machine.

  • High-grade construction and a heavy-duty steel frame and coated aircraft grade cables mean this machine it built to last
  • The optional dip station attachment is great for adding upper body strength exercises into your routine 
  • The accessories included are great. Pulley handles, tricep rope, ankle straps, curl bar, straight bar and lat pulldown bar are to really get you going
  • The option to upgrade the resistance on the weight stack up to 200lbs gives room for vets and beginners to grow into their fitness goals 
  • Expensive compared to other home gym options with fewer features 
  • If you're looking for built in preset workout programs this might not be the best for you
  • Cable adjustments require a little more time compared to some quick-change systems available on the market

Best Interactive Cable Machine

NordicTrack - Fusion CST Studio
NordicTrack - Fusion CST Studio

The NordicTrack Fusion CST Studio is a multi-functional cable and strength machine that offers a variety of exercises to help you reach your fitness goals from the comfort of your own home. This machine can be used for a wide range of exercises, including chest presses, pull downs, squats and more.

The intuitive touch screen also allows you to choose from over 50 pre-programmed workouts along with tracking stats like reps, sets and calories burned, super helpful if you're a little forgetful like myself sometimes.

The heavy-duty construction is no joke, this machine is durable and stable while also providing a smooth and quiet workout experience. Great if noise is an issue in your space. The Fusion CST Studio is a great pick for anyone looking for a supportive and tech-fueled leg up in their home gym space.

  • Super versatile—Able to do both cable and strength exercises from the same machine, making it ideal for a wide variety of home workouts
  • Compact design—It folds up easily minimizes the amount of space it takes up in your home, ideal for apartments
  • Extremely easy to use - With the built-in touchscreen console, you can access all of the controls without needing to learn complicated settings
  • Access to iFit membership - With the Fusion CST Studio, you get a free one-year subscription to iFit, which provides personalized coaching and access to hundreds of workout videos.
  • Costly - With a price tag of $2,499, the NordicTrack Fusion CST Studio is a pricier option compared to other strength machines on the market
  • Heavyweight - Weighing in at approximately 260 pounds, this is one of the heavier strength machines available and it can therefore be difficult to move around
  • Limited warranty - This product only comes with a 1-year limited warranty which covers only mechanical and electrical defects (not wear & tear)

Best Attachable Cable Machine

Rogue CT-1 Cable Tower
Rogue CT-1 Cable Tower

The Rogue CT-1 Cable Tower is a compact powerhouse of home fitness options. Its 11 height adjustments and two weight stacks offer plenty of motion and exercise choices. Looking for a smooth ride? The linear bearings ensure you can focus on getting the most out of your workout without being distracted by noise or vibrations.

Its industrial grade pulleys support up to 500lbs per stack, giving you the confidence that this machine won't let you down as you bump up the intensity of your workouts. No to mention it looks great.

Using this tower for my strength training sessions, I'm blown away by how much freedom it provides me. I'm able to really tailor my workouts and push myself further and further with each session. It's also incredibly solid with its 11 gauge steel construction, so it's a safe platform you can trust as you work on your fitness goals. . Highly recommended.

  • All meaningful accessories included, including four adjustable pulleys for up to 8 possible cable column configurations.  
  • Compact, adjustable design allows for both floor and wall mounting in a small area—perfect for home gyms with limited space. 
  • The Rogue CT-1 Cable Tower comes with a lifetime warranty, so you can rest assured that your machine is protected for years to come. 
  • It’s not designed for powerlifting exercises, so if you’re looking for something specifically made for weight lifting this might not be the best option for you. 
  • It does not come with any instructional videos or tutorials which could be helpful for beginners who are still learning

Best Premium Cable Machine

Force USA G20 All-In-One Trainer
Force USA G20 All-In-One Trainer

The FORCE USA G20 All-In-One Trainer is an absolute beast in the gym! Whether you're a fitness newbie or a seasoned lifter, this bad boy has got your back. It's got everything you need for an epic workout—from versatile cable machines to intense strength training. But that's not all! This bad boy even comes with an attachable dip bar for max gains. Oh, and did I mention the adjustable resistance levels? They let you dial in that perfect level of intensity based on your fitness prowess. And let me tell you, the ergonomic design is a game-changer. It ensures a full range of motion for every exercise, leaving no muscle untouched. Plus, the durable construction and heavy-duty frame make it built to last. Get ready to crush your strength goals and take your workout to the next level with this mean machine!

  • Offers over 70 exercises with a single piece of equipment – great for those who have limited space but want to get the most out of their workout. 
  • High weight capacity - This machine can handle up to 400 lbs/181 kgs of resistance, so heavier lifters need not worry about maxing out quickly.
  • Adjustable seat and back pad makes it easy to find that perfect fit to support your posture and form
  • Weight stack supports up to 400 lbs, so it’s suitable for users of all sizes and body types. 
  • No chest press attachment – If a chest press is an important exercise for you then unfortunately this gym won't be able to provide it. 
  • Small pull-up bar – While there is a pull-up bar included, it's only suitable for bodyweight exercises and not for additional weight plates. So if you like to add resistance to your pull-ups you'll need something else.

Best Cable Machine For Full-Body Workouts

Bowflex Xtreme 2 SE Home Gym
Bowflex Xtreme 2 SE Home Gym

If you're after a killer full body workout without the hassle of multiple machines, you've got to check out the Bowflex Xtreme 2 SE Home Gym. This bad boy offers an impressive array of 70+ exercises, with Power Rod resistance cranking up to a whopping 210 pounds. Not to mention, it comes equipped with a leg extension and curl attachment to really focus on those lower body gains. But the real game changer? The "No-Change Cable Pulley System" makes switching between exercises a breeze – no fiddling with cables or weights required. As a cable and strength exercise enthusiast, this versatile machine is an absolute game changer in my home gym. It's fun, it's organic, and the ability to seamlessly transition between exercises has seriously saved me some valuable gym time.

  • The included Power Rod technology allows a resistance range from 5 to 210 pounds, which can also be increased with upgrades up to 410 pounds. 
  • Its space saving design makes it an ideal option for those who live in small apartments or have limited space available in their homes. 
  • It comes equipped with several extras and accessories such as safety strap, ankle cuff weights and squat bar, among others – making it a complete workout package that doesn’t require additional purchases. 
  • Assembly and setup can be tricky, some extra guidance via Youtube or a trusted friend might be needed depending on how handy you are
  • Despite its quiet operation, some users may find the sound of the rods uncomfortable during workouts. 

Best Budget Cable Machine

Synergee Wall Mounted Adjustable Dual Pulley Machine
Synergee Wall Mounted Adjustable Dual Pulley Machine

When it comes to home workouts, the Synergee Wall Mounted Cable Machine truly shines. This fitness powerhouse offers adjustable pulleys, allowing you to personalize your regimen and target specific muscle groups. Its robust steel frame, complete with rubberized feet for stability, ensures a sturdy and reliable performance. Setting up the machine is a breeze, and once adjusted, you can dive right into your exercise routine.

The control you have over the weight on each pulley is outstanding, resulting in a noticeable difference in muscle engagement compared to other machines. If you're in the market for a high-quality piece of strength equipment, the Synergee Wall Mounted Cable Machine is definitely one to consider. If you're looking for a great machine at a friendly price, I got one for you right here.

  • Easy to mount on the wall, saving valuable space in a small home gym area 
  • Affordable pricing on this model makes it a great investment for anyone looking to begin upgrading their home gym or personal training studio

  • Solid build - strong steel frame, robust construction with solid bolts that hold up under tension without any wobbling or shaking in sight.
  • Lifetime warranty - Synergee offers a lifetime warranty on its frames, which is great peace of mind for your investment.
  • The weight plates can only hold up to 220 lbs so it isn't suitable for more advanced exercises with heavier weights. 
  • The pulleys can be noisy when used, so may not be ideal for use in shared living spaces. 

Best Cable Crossover Machine

FreeMotion - Genesis™ Dual Cable Cross G624
FreeMotion - Genesis™ Dual Cable Cross G624

The FreeMotion GENESIS cable crossover is an absolute gem in any home gym setup. With its incredible versatility, thanks to the adjustable cables that smoothly transition from low to high pulleys, and fully customizable arms for precise control, this fitness machine is a game-changer. It's not just user-friendly; it's like having a personal trainer right there with you. It caters to all fitness levels, making it ideal for the whole family to experience the thrill of an invigorating workout.

Personally, I've been able to target specific muscle groups with ease, and boy, does it make sweating it out all the more enjoyable and efficient. Crush your goals in style, and watch those gains skyrocket like never before. 

  • Dual weight stacks provide an effective way to train opposing muscle groups simultaneously for improved balance and flexibility.
  • Innovative swiveling pulleys allow for unrestricted movement throughout the entire exercise range of motion.
  • A multi-angle adjustable seat makes it easy to find comfortable positions when performing seated exercises from different angles without moving the machine around. 
  • It’s large and heavy; at 997 lbs with a footprint of 65 x 113 in, this machine requires enough space to accommodate it in your home gym. 
  • The price is quite high compared to some other machines on the market, putting it out of reach for many buyers on a budget.

Getting the Most Out of Your Cable Machine 

Let me give this a shot: Wanna master the cable machine? Here's what you need to know.

Before you start crushing those cable exercises for your legs, chest, back, or arms, let's dive into the ins and outs of using the cable machine like a pro.

So, make sure to keep these handy tips in mind as you get ready to rock your next cable machine workout.

Patience Pays Off

When it comes to free weights, it's tempting to give it a little extra oomph or even swing to power through a challenging set. But when you're working with the cable machine, you have the freedom to lightly decrease the weight so you're not straining yourself on those final reps.

This way, you can really focus on what you're doing and truly master each exercise's form.

Moving in a deliberate and controlled manner throughout the entire range of motion will lessen the strain on your joints, prolong the time your muscles are under tension, and ensure that you get the most out of your workout.

As you plan your next cable machine session, keep these pointers in mind.

Play with the Height

You know what's cool about the cable machine? You can totally adjust the height for every exercise you're tackling. If you're into cable crossover flys, you can set it at head height for that classic feel, lower it a bit to focus more on your lower chest, or drop it even more to amp up that triceps and abs game.

And when it comes to curls, guess what? You can totally mix it up by tweaking the height and getting a different muscle engagement angle going.

So, here's my suggestion: give different heights a whirl for each exercise you undertake and watch how your muscles respond. Trust me, switching things up can really make a difference.

Make Sure You're Using the Accessories to Their Full Advantage

Alright, let's dive in and explore the countless attachments that you can clip onto your trusty cable machine. Just picture it: the possibilities are endless! Here are a few juicy examples to get those creative gears turning.

  • The Double-D handles are excellent for close-grip rows that target the upper back muscles close to your spine, while the long bar targets the outer upper back muscles.
  • The curl handle allows you to focus on mastering the curl form.
  • The rope handle gives you flexibility for curls, kickbacks, and extensions.
  • The single handle makes for great unilateral training.
  • The leg attachment allows you to focus on your glutes and hamstrings.

When it comes to cable machines, the options are endless! Seriously, there are dozens of attachments you can get your hands on. From tricep ropes to ankle straps, each one serves a specific purpose and can level up your workout game.

So, go ahead and unleash your inner gym ninja! Try out different attachments and tinker with them until you find the perfect fit. Trust me, it's all about finding what works best for you and getting the most bang for your fitness buck. Time to get creative and take your workout to new heights!

Check Your Form

When tackling new exercises, it's crucial to be mindful of your movements and form throughout the entire range of motion.

Cable machines are usually positioned near mirrors, providing an opportunity to observe your complete body while you work.

Take a moment to examine not just the targeted muscles but all the muscles at play, ensuring proper posture, preventing unnecessary muscle engagement, and emphasizing fluid, consistent movements that optimize time under tension.

Which Machine Should I Buy For My Home Gym?

If you are looking for the best machine to equip your home gym, it can be hard to decide which one is right for you. The overall type of machine, features, size and budget are important considerations when purchasing a strength and cable machine.

Interactive machines provide an immersive experience with access to virtual trainers and workout programs that can record your progress on apps. Attachable machines have accessories that allow users to customize their workouts with different sized bars, plates and other tools. Premium machines offer high-end features like adjustable weight stacks or fully automated systems.

No matter your budget or fitness level, there is a perfect home gym device out there for you. For beginners who want to build up their strength with basic exercises at home, there are basic cable and strength machines available. Cross-over devices offer a wider range of exercises that appeal to experienced lifters on a budget. For top-of-the-line performance, spend more for an advanced system with adjustable weights and interactive digital features.

It is important that you choose the right machine for your needs, size of space available and personal fitness goals. Taking into account these considerations will help you make the best decision when selecting a cable and strength machine for your home gym. With so many options available, you can be sure to find one that fits your lifestyle and helps you achieve your fitness goals!    

Denver Matheson

I spend a lot of time at the gym and even more time in the kitchen giving my body what it needs to repair itself and grow stronger. The third most important place for any athlete is their research zone. That's exactly why this site exists, to help me share all of the information I've learned throughout the years just like people did for me in the first place!

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