Understanding Cable Machines, Ratios and Variants.

March 20, 2023 5 min read

Understanding Cable Machines, Ratios and Variants.

Whether its a single or a Dual Adjustable Cable machine, they may not be the first thought of many when it comes to home gym equipment, yet they are potentially a rewarding expenditure for those with the room/height & with various budget options. With versatility, beneficial strength-training capabilities, muscle-building potential, and durability with proper care, they can be a wise purchase.

The best cable machine to be part of your home gym design or to buy stand alone, is the one that fits your training needs, space, and budget. 

Cables offer a different form of resistance than traditional free weights (dumbbells and barbells). They supply steady tension throughout the lifting and lowering motions, which is linked to strength and muscle growth. Additionally, they facilitate the targeting of different planes of motion and angles.

Benefits of using Cables Machines:-

  • Cable exercises can benefit your gym routine by assisting with the growth of bigger, stronger and more defined muscles.
  • They use a continuous resistance during both the concentric and eccentric motions, which is different from free weights and gym equipment, thus providing a more effective and efficient workout for your muscles.
  •  Vary handle attachments to utilize multiple grips and hand positions, enabling distinct muscle or muscles to be worked in alternative ways to augment growth.
  •  Weight adjustment speed and simplicity make them suitable for use in drop sets and other techniques for extending sets for muscle development.
  • This piece of exercise equipment enables a full-body workout, targeting major muscle groups.
  • They enable unique motion patterns, variations of motion, and planes of direction difficult to replicate with free-weights or machines to compel muscle growth and strength.
  •  Beginners can gain foundational knowledge and secure experience in fundamental moves using these tools, prior to undertaking weighty activities with dumbbells, barbells, and more intricate apparatus.
  • These machines are ideal for post-injury rehabilitation by allowing weakened muscles and joints to be strengthened gradually and securely.
  • they target the smaller supporting muscles around your joints for improved stability, compared to stationary weight machines that don't.
  •  Experienced lifters can maximize muscle growth by precisely targeting a single muscle group with these items.

Understanding Ratios and there relevance to your Training needs

 Ratio: A 1:1 ratio means 50Kg on the cable creates 50Kg of resistance for you to move. These are also called single-pulley machines. A 2:1 ratio means 50Kg feels like 25Kg . These are also called double-pulley machines. A 2:1 ratio is great for functional training, when you want a faster-traveling cable. Don’t mistake two single-pulley machines for a double-pulley; the resistance you will feel is different.  

For functional movements, "fast cables" are preferred, meaning cables that can be rapidly extended and retracted without much slack buildup. We obtain this through mechanical advantage, a mathematically-calculated arrangement of pulleys that gives us a cable ratio of around 2:1 (some flip it around and label it 1:2, but understanding the concept is key). When the cable is pulled, the weight stack moves up one foot for every two feet the cable moves. Since the stack's inertia is reduced in this setup, the cable is more responsive. In exchange, the total weight available is the reduced and that's the trade off.



There are different Cable Solutions for your home, based on your space, your training needs and of course budget. Plenty of different styles to consider below or you can explore our Cable Machines for Home Gyms feature.


  • Single Stack Cable Machine
  • Dual Stack Cable machine
  • Functional Trainer with separate Smith Machine
  • Functional Trainer with integrated Smith Machine



 Single Pulley Cable Machine


Watson single Cable machine article

The Watson Adjustable Pulley is the ideal machine for comprehensive body training and conditioning, offering a comprehensive range of multi-joint, isolation and core exercises and quick setup between exercises. The 2:1 ratio provides an exceptionally smooth feel, making it optimal for sports training and rehabilitative work. The micro-adjuster feature allows for further increases of 1.5kg, and the 100kg weight stack provides an ample challenge for advanced users. Standard and thick-grip cable attachments also available. There is also another variant with two handle's which allow you to switch between 2:1 ratio & 1:1 dependant if you use one or two of the handles.


Dual Stack Cable Machine


Inspire Ft1 lifestyle article


The Inspire Fitness FT1 Functional Trainer is the perfect compact dual cable apparatus for domestic or commercial use in schools, hotels, gyms and personal training facilities. This machine provides unrestricted movement in any direction or plane while executing weight-resistance exercises, making it ideal for targeting and strengthening muscles from all angles.

Its various freestanding exercises activate core, secondary and stabilising muscles, enabling you to enjoy a more efficient workout. Featuring a versatile range of exercises, the Inspire Fitness FT1 Functional Trainer is not only great for beginners but also perfect for more experienced users looking to hone their skills and increase their strength.

Another Dual Arm Variant that is popular due to its movable arms.is the Primal Performance Series Functional Trainer

Primal Performance Dual Arm Functional Trainer

The dual arm design of the Primal Performance Series Functional Trainer enables users to perform a virtually limitless range of exercises, aiding in stability, coordination, and strength. The adjustable rotating pulleys and movable arms provide an enhanced degree of movement access. Aluminum pulleys with bearings ensure fluid movement on an almost unlimited range of exercises.

 Dual Adjustable Cable Machine with Smith Machine options   ( Functional Trainer)

Watson power gym, dap article

Experience optimal training with the Watson Power Gym, an ideal choice for home gyms and personal training studios. Showcasing superior quality and customisable to suit individual style and space, this machine offers efficient use of limited space and eliminates worries about inadequate weight stacks, unresponsive cables, and instability during use.

Our cutting-edge Watson Power Gym is an ingeniously designed amalgamation of: Dual Adjustable Pulley with 2x 100kg Weight Stacks, a 4 Way Smith Machine Option that moves the Bar both Horizontally and Vertically, and a Half Rack with Removable Safety Beams and Lift Off Hooks. You will need to add your Olympic plates to the Smith Machine.


Dual Adjustable Cable Machine with  integrated Smith Machine 

Inspire FT2 schematic

The versatile Inspire Fitness FT2 Package is an ideal choice for residential and light commercial use, as well as small studios and personal training facilities. Its 8 pull point functional trainer and integrated smith machine make it a comprehensive and reliable strength training solution, while its construction quality and lengthy warranty elevate it far beyond other potential options.


This complete package - featuring the FT2, SCS Adjustable Bench, Fitness Leg Developer, Conversion Kit and 2 x 50lb Weight Stack Upgrade Kit - offers the most comprehensive training experience available. The Inspire FT2 Functional Trainer Package is the ideal choice for any gym.

The Smith bar is connected to the two wide adjustable pulleys, allowing the apparatus to move like the standard Smith system, with adjustable spotters to ensure security. Its one-to-one weight ratio multiplier enables up to 430lbs of weight to be loaded, suitable for squats, deadlifts, and bench presses when used in combination with the SCS bench. Additionally, the FT2 contains a selection of accessories, such as a straight bar, EZ curl bar, belt, swing handle, tricep rope, and ankle cuff.

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