If you’re new to strength training or new to the gym in general, the cable machine can be an extremely intimidating piece of equipment. The last thing we want to do at the gym is feel like we’re lost, so I’m here with a full breakdown of how to use the cable machine.

In this quick video, I talk all about the attachments I use the most often and how to attach them, how to determine how much weight to use, exactly how to use the cables for specific moves, and more.

The attachments I use most often include:

  • Ankle Straps (I only use Rec Sweat)
  • Ropes
  • Single Handle
  • Pull Bar

All About The Cable Machine

+ hot tips you might not have known:


If your cable machine lists the weight as 1, 2, 3, 4, etc, you just add a zero to determine the actual weight in lbs. So the ‘2’ actually indicates that you’re lifting 20 lbs. Some cable machines have an additional attachment that you set on top of the weights to add ~5 lbs and sometimes ~2.5 lbs so you can be between the increments of 10 if that works better for your lift. Not all gyms will have this attachment! (More info on this at 2:20 in video linked.)

Pro tip: start lighter than you think you should! The cable machine adds resistance in both directions, which is an added challenge for your body. If you’re new to using a cable machine, start as light as you can and experiment with adding more weight over time.

Adjusting The Attachments

Every cable machine will have a lever to adjust the height of your attachments. If you’re following along with one of my guides, you’ll always be able to look at the pictures included to determine which level your attachment should be at.

Pro tip: adjust the height of your attachment before you add the attachment! This mitigates any risk of injury for you and any damage to the equipment.

If you’re looking for more fitness tips, check out my fitness blogs where I break down all your popular questions and the latest fitness myths.

If you’re interested in strength training but not sure where to start, I designed 16 weeks of gym-based workouts to guide you through lifting weights in a way that will make you feel so confident. The gym is not just for the guys, and so many women have found success using GOOD // SWEAT Strength 1.0 and 2.0 to get stronger than ever.

Read more about the guides here, and make sure to check out some of the reviews!

cable machine workout guide

Welcome! I’m Rachael.

I enjoy sharing my love for food and fitness. I'm a registered dietitian, certified personal trainer, and a New York Times Bestselling author. Here you'll find all kinds of recipes and kitchen hacks, as well as workouts and fitness motivation. Enjoy! — xx Rachael

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