Looking for a machine for your home gym that is versatile, can work a multitude of muscles and do a wide variety of exercises so you never get bored?
Well, look no further. A cable crossover is a versatile and fully adjustable workout station. It would be a great addition to your home gym and it can be used to impact muscle groups in different ways and from different angles.
If you have never used a cable crossover machine or plan to buy one soon, keep reading this article. You’ll find out information on how they work, what cable machine exercises can you do, and their benefits.
Most importantly we’ll show you some of best machines available, so that you can purchase one as soon as possible and improve your training.
Best Cable Crossover Machines: Quick Picks
- Fit4Home TF-1007 Editor’s Choice
- Exigo Selectorised Adjustable Cable Crossover Best High End
- GDCC200 Body-Solid Functional Training Centre
- Body-Solid Poste à Cables Cross-over
- Powerline Cable Cross Over Machine
Note: There’s a lot more information below but clicking the above links will take you to current prices, further information and customer reviews on Amazon or Best Gym Equipment.
What is a Cable Crossover Machine?
At first sight, a cable crossover machine might look intimidating because it tends to occupy a lot of space. It consists of a steel frame that stretches overhead and features one weight stack on each side.
The user gets in between these weight stacks and grabs the handles which are connected to cables. The cables are operated by a set of pulleys which allow the weights to be lifted or lowered. By operating a metal pin and pushing it through the weight stacks, you can decide the amount of weight you want to work with for that particular exercise.
The steel frame also features handlebars on top. You can grab those and do pull-ups or chin-ups, working your shoulders, back, biceps, and triceps. You can also position the handles connected to the weight stack at the bottom of the machine to do different types of exercises.
As you can probably see, a cable crossover machine is primarily based on pulling exercises. Thanks to its broad footprint and ample space around the steel frame, you can position yourself in various ways and perform a plethora of exercises. Some machines also come with V-bars which can be connected to weight stacks, so you can do special types of pulling exercises for your trapezoid muscles.
Needless to say, the weight stacks are supplied when you buy it and they can weigh around 150 kg to 200 kg in total. The steel frame is kept stable using rubber feet on each side so, despite its size, they are very safe to use.
Why Your Home Gym Needs a Cable Crossover?
There are many reasons why you should include one in your home gym. Let’s take a look at a few of them:
Enjoy A Different Workout Each Time
One of the greatest advantages of this machine consists of its versatility. You can work your biceps in various ways, periodically adjusting the weights and changing the angle you impact your muscles. The same story is true for all major muscle groups in your body.
Your benefit? You’ll never get bored. A dedicated fitness guy or girl with a creative mind can come up with various exercise routines to sculpt large and small muscles and make them pop out.
Work Your Entire Body
At the same time, the cable crossover machine can also help you sculpt your entire body. Do you want to work on your chest today? Just stand between the weight stacks, grab the handles and push them towards the middle. Do you want to work your abs? Add a V-bar to the upper pulley, kneel in front of the weight stack and repeatedly pull the bar towards the ground with your hands. This will work your abs like crazy, making them stronger and more defined.
Do you want to work your legs? Just add the handles to the lower pulleys and use your feet to pull the handle backward, working your hamstrings. The possibilities are endless and don’t forget that you can always grab the upper bar handles to work your back and shoulders as well.
A lot of people are reluctant to the idea of just grabbing a barbell with weights and doing deadlifts. Similarly, they might have shoulder issues which don’t really let them bench press more than 80kg for reps.
This doesn’t mean that these people shouldn’t work out. A cable crossover is fully adjustable, letting you choose the desired weight, according to your fitness level. Therefore, you can work within your range of motion and slowly build up your muscles until you’re ready to lift heavy again.
At the same time, the pulley system and the overall design of the cable crossover allow for a more controlled exercise routine. You can work your chest by doing dumbbell flyes, but you have to manually balance the free weights. By using a cable crossover machine, you have more stability and you can focus completely on reaching your rep goal, without worrying that the weight might fall from your hand.
Easy To Use
Another major benefit of the cable crossover is that nearly everyone can use it. You just have to adjust the weight stack, grab the handles and pull. There are no weights to add, no barbell buckle clips, no complicated techniques. The fact that this machine is easy to use makes it accessible to people with different fitness levels, so it basically encourages men and women to use it.
What Cable Machine Exercises Can You Do?
The list of exercises you can do with a cable crossover is long and comprehensive. We’ll take a look at a few exercises in this article and let you discover the others while using the machine:
This is one of the simplest exercises and it’s ideal to work your chest. To perform the exercise, you adjust the weight stacks on each side (should be the same weight on both sides), you grab the handles and pull to bring them towards the middle.
Make sure that you lower the handle position so that they are situated in line with your chest. The pulley system has a mechanism to lower and lift the handles, so use that before starting the exercise.
This exercise is good for your biceps, shoulder and oblique muscles. It is performed on each side of your body and you begin by lowering or lifting the handle to your desired position. Then you should grab the handle with both hands and pivot on your left or right heel to turn your body in the other direction, just as if you would chop a tree with an axe.
Once you have completed the reps on one side, turn and do the same on the other side. You can also rotate your hips at the same time to have more power while pulling the handle.
Cable Forward Lunge
If you want to work your legs, particularly the quads and the hamstrings, you can use the cable forward lunge exercise. You sit between the weight stacks, grab the handles as if you’re doing a cable fly, and do a forward lunge while holding on to the handles.
The weights will pull you back while you lunge forward, creating resistance. This works your legs in a safe and controlled manner. If you have a V-bar, you can use that instead of the handles, for a more controlled exercise.
Cable Split Squat
Ready for another exercise for your legs? The cable split squat is ideal for strengthening your quadriceps. You perform the exercise a few times for each leg and you begin by positioning the handle at the bottom of the pulley.
You then grab the handle with one hand and do a split squat on the left or right leg, similar to the forward lunge. The weights will pull you towards the machine, but you push hard on the quads of the bent leg to propel yourself backward, against the pulling force.
This exercise is great for your shoulders and triceps muscles. It’s very simple, yet efficient at building muscle. You begin by positioning the handle mechanism somewhere at your chest level. Then you grab the handle with one hand, turn your back towards the weight stack and try to “punch” the air.
While you try to punch, you hold tightly onto the handle and you meet resistance from the weight stacks behind you which will pull the handle back. Repeat on the other side and take breaks as needed.
Lastly, remember that you can always grab the handles on top of the steel frame to do a wide variety of pull-up and chin-up exercises. Some machines provide handles with a wide or close grip, so you can impact your muscles in different ways.
What Should You Look for in a Cable Crossover Machine?
Cable crossovers are relatively similar to each other. They consist of a frame, a pulley system, weights, and handles. However, it’s important to know a few things before buying so you can make the correct decision.
Types of Weights
Most cable crossover machines come with weight stacks included and these can weigh up to 180 kg. These weights are incorporated into the machine and are selected by operating a metallic pin. The benefit of this setup is that you just move the metallic pin higher or lower to adjust the weight and that’s it. The drawback is that you’re limited to 180 kg of weight or as much as the machine comes with initially.
Other cable crossover machines come with free weights. This means that you have to buy weight plates separately and add them to the pulley system to add resistance when working out. The advantage of this setup is that you can add more weight to the machine in comparison with having built-in weight stacks. The drawback is that you have to buy the weight plates separately.
If you’re a beginner, we recommend going with weight stacks until you familiarize yourself with the potential of the machine and learn how to perform the exercises with correct form.
Whether you go with weight stacks or weight plates, they will be attached to a system of pulleys. These pulleys help to lift the weights using strong cables. This entire system causes the weight stack to be reduced by a certain factor. For most machines come with a reduction factor of 2 to 1. This means that if you set the weight to 50 kg, the real weight at the handle is 25kg.
The reduction factor should be mentioned somewhere in the specs when you buy the machine. Certain cable crossovers have a different reduction factor such as 4 to 1. If you’re loading up to 180 kg, you’re actually lifting 45 kg in this case. The reduction factor is determined by the design of the pulley system. If you’re not sure what to do, go with a machine which has a reduction factor of 2 to 1.
All cable crossovers have a solid steel frame. Somewhere around the center of the frame should be an overhead chin-up station. This station consists of a chin-up bar with handles arranged at different angles. You can use these handles to impact your shoulder muscles, triceps, biceps, and chest in various ways.
If you’re really interested in building a stronger upper body, go for a machine which has a chin-up station. More compact machines usually don’t have this feature, but they occupy less space in your home gym.
The pulley system is usually designed to be flexible which means that you can lift it or lower it according to your preferences. For example, if you want to do an exercise similar to a biceps curl, you lower the pulley, grab the handle, and move it upwards to create resistance in your biceps.
If you want to do cable flyes, you lift the pulleys to your chest level or even higher and pull them vigorously, trying to make the meet at the centre. A great cable crossover has an adjustable pulley design with a minimum of 10 adjustments. This means that from top to bottom, there are 10 settings for you to move the pulley from. More sophisticated machines come with 20 adjustments, but you should go with what feels comfortable for you.
A Detailed Look at the Best Cable Crossover Machines
Now that you know more about cable crossovers, how to use them, how to buy one, and what type of exercise you can do with them, let’s take a look at a few great examples for your home gym.
Fit4Home TF-1007 Cable Crossover Machine Editor’s Choice
This model from Fit4Home is another great example of a cable crossover with two weight stacks of 100 kg. It’s ideal for those who are looking to build muscle, stay in shape, and enjoy a different workout every day.
The machine comes with a solid steel frame and it includes a chin-up station which supports users with a weight of up to 100 kg. The black paint on the frame makes it look very attractive and it will stand out in your home gym. The legs have rubber feet to avoid scratching your floors and to increase stability. As for the pulley system, it’s a single-ratio design and it allows you to switch to the desired weight in just a few seconds by operating the metallic pin.
We love the fact that this model also comes with a wide variety of bars for your exercises. For example, you get a wide bar, a V bar, handles for your triceps, a triceps rope, and other types of curled bars. Use these accessories to impact your muscles in different ways. On top of that, the upper side of the frame features 2 metallic hooks which allow you to lock the weights in place when doing various exercises.
This cable crossover is shipped in 7 different boxes for easy handling. It has a total weight of 211 kg and it comes mostly pre-assembled, so you just have to put the pieces together and tighten up the bolts.
- Compact and attractive design
- Comes with chin-up station
- Comes mostly pre-assembled, you just have to put the pieces together
- The package includes numerous bars and accessories
- The weight stacks have 150 kg, other models have at least 180 kg, but this is a minor drawback
If you’re looking for a stable, affordable cable crossover, this model from Fit4Home might be suitable for you. It comes with numerous accessories, it’s easy to assemble and use, and allows you to enjoy a great deal of flexibility when working your upper body, midsection or legs.
Exigo Selectorised Adjustable Cable Crossover Best High End
Cable crossovers have been staples in gyms for a long time, and for good reason. This machine gives you the ability to target several different muscle groups, so you really can achieve a full body workout.
- Lifetime warranty on mainframe
- Additional pull up handles makes this even more versatile
- Doesn’t come with benches/seats, so seated cable rows and lat pulldowns will require an auxiliary bench
Cable cross over machines are great for lot of different exercises, but they’re also enormous. If you have the space for one, there’s really no reason not to add it to your home gym setup. In addition to all the upper body work you can do with crossover cables, this machine can also help you work on your glutes and core. This is a great add to your setup – provided you have the space!
If space is a serious concern for you and you want a really compact crossover machine then why not taking a look at this model from Body-Solid.
This cable crossover has 2 weight stacks of 72 kg each, so the total amount you can lift is 144 kg. However, these stacks can receive an upgradable to a total of 90 kg each, so the total weight would be 180 kg. The upgrade possibility is a very nice thing and it’s suitable for those who become more experienced with the machine.
The frame is made from thick steel and it has a strong overhead bar which acts as a chin-up station. Although there are no handles attached to this bar, you can do pull-ups and chin-ups using basic sport gloves to prevent injuries to your palms. The legs of the machine are also made from steel and feature rubber feet for stability.
One of the greatest advantages of this machine is provided by the adjustable pulley system. The pulleys can be lifted or lowered down the vertical steel axle, depending on your preferences and needs. You just have to pull a metallic pin, lift or lower the pulley and insert the pin back to lock it into place. This machine comes with more than 10 pulley adjustments, so you’ll have a great deal of fun trying them all.
The machine is supplied with handles and it comes packed in several different boxes. It is mostly pre-assembled, so you’ll need to unpack, attach the pieces together according to the instructions and begin your workout routine.
- Compact and it’s ideal for those with limited space in their home gyms
- The weight stack can be upgraded from 144 kg to 180 kg
- Adjustable pulley system
- Doesn’t come with more accessories as other models do
As you can probably see in the specs of the machine, this model is a more “boxy” type machine, so it’s suitable for smaller home gyms. It comes with a decent weight stack, adjustable pulleys, and it even has a set of pull up bars, so it ticks most of the boxes asked by fitness enthusiasts.
Another great space saver, this time from Body-Solid!
This machine is really economical when it comes to dimensions, but at the same time, it offers you most of the advantages provided by the other cable crossover machines. For example, it measures around 1.5 m in length and width, so you should be able to fit it even in a fairly crowded home gym.
The total weight stack is 150 kg which is held in place by a strong frame which features an overhead bar for those of you who love to do pull-ups and chin-ups. Best of all, this machine also incorporates an adjustable pulley system with more than 10 adjustments, so you can lower or lift the pulley according to your preferences. The pulleys can be lifted or lowered to do various types of exercises for your upper or lower body.
When it comes to accessories, you’ll find basic handles in the package as well as the tools required for the assembly. The machine comes mostly pre-assembled, so there isn’t much work for you to do.
- One of the most compact cable crossover machines out there
- Adjustable pulley system
- Comes with an overhead bar for doing chin-ups
- Very stable thanks to its wide base
- The manufacturer could have included more bars and handles in the package
- Doesn’t have rubber legs
It’s hard to find a more complete crossover machine than this one. It has a decent weight stack, you can use it for pull-ups, it has an adjustable pulley design, it basically does everything you want it to do. Add in a flat bench to do bench presses and you have quite a package for a great all-round workout session.
The last one if our list comes from Powerline and it’s a cable crossover that uses free weights. In other words, it doesn’t feature a weight stack, you just have to add Olympic weight plates depending on your goals and fitness level.
The machine features a large metallic frame, so it might not be ideal for small home gyms. The whole structure is nearly 50 kg in total and it’s stable enough to support a lot of weight plates. The frame also features chin-up handles, so you can use them to strengthen your upper body.
One of the biggest advantages of this machine is the adjustable pulley system. You can lower or lift the pulleys depending on your needs. The free weights can be attached to these pulleys and secured with spring collars. The manufacturer also includes the handles and one ankle strap to perform various types of leg exercises.
When it comes to dimensions, this machine is nearly 285 cm long, so you’ll need some space for it in your home gym. However, it can also withstand a lot of weight plates, so you’ll be unlikely to outgrow it in the upcoming years.
Another thing we like consists of the large-diameter pulleys. As you probably know, cables tend to deteriorate in time, especially if they operate on small pulleys. This machine features oversized pulleys which prolong the lifespan of the cables and ensure a smooth operation each time you work out.
- You can use a lot of free weight plates with this machine
- Comes with a chin-up station
- Adjustable pulley system
- Large-diameter pulleys prolong the lifespan of cables
- Occupies a lot of space in your home gym
If you already have free weights (or plan to purchase in the near future), this cable crossover machine can be a great addition to your home gym. It allows you to do a wide variety of exercises and choose your preferred resistance levels, without being limited by a built-in weight stack.
As you probably already figured it out, it’s nearly impossible to feel bored with a cable crossover machine in your gym. It gives you tons of options for working your upper and lower body, not to mention that you can control the intensity and resistance. On top of that, these machines also reduce the chance of injury, so you have all the right reasons to buy one!