Reviews Gym Equipment

7 Best Cable Machine Attachments in 2024

Reviewed by: Oleksiy Torokhtiy (21 years of Oly Lifting experience)

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If you’re investing in a cable pulley system and looking for functional trainer attachments to maximize your workouts, this guide will be of great help to you. Attachments come in various forms and it can be difficult to choose which to prioritize.

These are the best cable machine attachments you need to own to ensure versatility, comfort, and safety during common pulley exercises.

Best Cable Machine Attachments

Top 7 Best Power Rack Attachments Reviewed

  1. Tricep Rope
  2. Lat Bar
  3. D-Handle
  4. V-Handle
  5. Curl Bar Attachment
  6. Short Straight Bar
  7. Ankle Straps

Cable Machine Attachment Types

Cable machines have gained significant popularity in resistance training, being widely used in public gyms and home setups, mainly because of their versatility. These machines come in various sizes and configurations, ranging from compact single cable pulley towers to larger multi-purpose units with multiple workout stations.

By utilizing the right cable machine accessories, a single pulley can effectively replace several selectorized machines, providing a more efficient and space-saving solution. Moreover, studies indicate that cable machines offer advantages over selectorized machines in terms of muscle activation and the ability to achieve a greater range of motion. This makes them an especially popular choice among home gym owners.

The most popular attachment types include triceps ropes, lateral (lat) pulldown bars, D and V-shaped handles, as well as various multi-grip curled and straight bars. Attachments like ankle straps are specialized for one type of exercise and are most often the best choice for it. Meanwhile, attachments like the multi-grip curl bar can be used in place of multiple handlebars but may be less comfortable and precise.

Some of the most popular cable pulley attachments include triceps ropes, lateral (lat) pulldown bars, ankle straps, D-shaped and V-shaped handles, as well as a variety of multi-grip curled and straight bars. Certain attachments, such as ankle straps, are specialized for specific exercises and are generally the optimal choice for those movements. On the other hand, attachments like the multi-grip curl bar can serve as versatile alternatives to multiple handlebars, although they may not offer the same level of comfort and precision.

cable machine

1. Tricep Rope

As the name suggests, the triceps rope is primarily utilized for various triceps exercises, most popularly the triceps pushdowns or arm extensions. That said, the attachment itself is quite versatile and can be used to exercise different upper-body muscle groups, including your arms, back, chest, and core. Some of the exercises you can do with them include cable hammer curls, face pulls, standing or kneeling crunches, and more.

tricep rope

Most athletes are able to pull more weight with metal handlebars compared to rope attachments. This is because, compared to solid materials, the rope tends to bend and twist under force, requiring a stronger grip and tighter core. That said, many people prefer the triceps ropes compared to something like the pressdown bar, as they’re more comfortable to grip and easier on the elbows and wrists. This comfort factor especially comes into play when performing overhead elbow extensions, which provide increased muscle hypertrophy in the triceps brachii compared to neutral arm extensions.

Our Recommended Pick – REP Fitness Triceps Rope

rep triceps rope

REP Fitness is a U.S.-based fitness brand focused on making good quality yet affordable equipment. They primarily target the home gym market, although it’s not uncommon to see their items at public gyms and training facilities.

Their Triceps Rope boasts a simple all-black design, is inexpensive, and has overwhelmingly 5-star reviews. It’s a great pickup especially if you’re on a budget.

  • Purpose of use: Upper body exercise
  • Weight: 1.78 lbs
  • Item dimensions: 34 inches long in total
  • Material: Nylon

The attachment is made from high-quality nylon woven into a thick rope. This type of material is flexible enough that you can grip and stretch it in multiple directions, allowing for exercise versatility, without it losing shape and elasticity under pressure.

The rope is lightweight and easy to handle. It can easily be bent and stored away when not in use, and it’s also safe to leave on the pulley, as the light weight won’t stress the machine or cable. You also don’t have to worry about dropping it, as nylon won’t break from falling or damage the floor the same way a metal handle would.

39.5 EXPERT SCORE

The Triceps Rope by REP Fitness is a lightweight and durable fitness attachment made from high-quality nylon, providing flexibility and strength for versatile exercises while being safe for your equipment and floors.


Safety:0
Compatibility:0
Versatility:0
Price/Quality:0

Positives:

  • Affordable
  • Made from durable nylon
  • Lightweight, easy to handle, won’t cause damage if it falls

Could be better:

  • Rope can be slippery when you sweat compared to the metal counterparts

2. Lat Bar

The lat bar is a long bar attachment primarily used for lateral pulldowns and row variations. High-quality lat bars are typically made of steel to withstand the push/pull force exerted by the athlete and the machine.

lat bar

Lateral pulldowns are a popular exercise for developing your back, particularly the latissimus dorsi (lats), hence the name. That said, a correctly performed lateral pulldown also works your traps, biceps, and shoulders, as well as pull and grip strength, among other benefits. According to studies, the most effective lat pulldown is a front-of-the-neck pulldown with a pronated grip, regardless of grip width.

Our Recommended Pick – Rogue Stainless Steel Straight Lat Bar

rogue lat bar

Rogue is a brand that commands high respect due to supplying high-quality products, most of which are made in the U.S.A. They make some of the best gym cable attachments at reasonable prices. Their straight Lat bar is made from the same quality steel they use in their world-famous barbells.

  • Purpose of use: Upper body exercise
  • Item dimensions: 6.6 lbs (shorter version),12.2 lbs (longer version)
  • Handle diameter: 28.5MM (roughly 1.12 inches)
  • Material: Steel

This top-of-the-line bar is manufactured in the U.S., more specifically the Rogue factory is in Columbus, Ohio. It’s made exclusively from stainless steel, which is about as high quality of a material as you can find in commercial fitness products.

Apart from the bar itself, your package will also include a strong black carabiner with which you can attach to your cable machine. This is a welcome addition compared to cheaper bars that don’t include carabiners, which can be a hassle to attach and detach from other handles just to use them.

In addition to the bar itself, your package will also include a strong black carabiner to attach it to your cable machine. Compared to cheaper bars that usually lack carabiners, this is a welcome inclusion. It eliminates the inconvenience of using the same carabiner for different handles, causing wear and tear, and ensures the correct size for the swivel tab.

The bar is fully knurled with a fine diamond-shaped knurling to provide a sturdier grip, which is especially useful when pulling higher weight amounts. On top of that, the 40-inch version has IPF-specified knurl markings that can help you quickly and easily determine your ideal hand position.

39 EXPERT SCORE

Rogue's straight Lat bar is a high-quality gym cable attachment made from stainless steel, providing a secure grip and including a black carabiner for hassle-free attachment to your cable machine.


Safety:0
Compatibility:0
Versatility:0
Price/Quality:0

Positives:

  • Made in the U.S.A
  • Made from Stainless Steel
  • Attachment carabiner is included
  • Fine diamond-shaped knurling
  • Knurl markings for easy identifying hand positions

Could be better:

  • No curvature at the end, less comfortable on the wrists

3. D-Handle

The D-handles are highly versatile gym handles for cable machines. They can be used individually to focus on targeted and isolated exercises, or used in pairs to perform a wide range of arm, chest, and back exercises.

Most often, they’re used as cable crossover attachments for exercises such as the cable chest fly, cable shoulder press, core twists, and more. However, they can just as easily be used for single or double-handed biceps curls or triceps pushdowns, among other exercises.

Our Recommended Pick – Rogue Single Handle Cable Attachment

d-handle

The Rogue single-handle cable attachment sets itself apart from typical D-handles due to unmatched durability and comfort. Its patent-pending design eliminates common discomfort and functional issues found in traditional handles, making it a unique product on the market.

  • Purpose of use: Upper body exercise
  • Weight: 1.5 lbs
  • Length: 8.5 inches
  • Handle width: 5 inches
  • Handle diameter: 25mm (roughly 0.98 inches)
  • Material: Nylon, steel

The Rogue single handle is designed for high durability and performance. It features a robust frame made of 1.5-inch wide nylon webbing that won’t break no matter how hard you pull. The steel handle, approximately 1 inch thick, is coated with a black cerakote finish and has a fine, non-abrasive knurl pattern. This combination offers a comfortable and secure grip during your workouts.

Additionally, the strap is thoughtfully grommeted and connected using shoulder bolts. This unique design allows the handle to spin independently, providing flexibility and preventing discomfort, such as digging into your forearms.

The handle connects to the pulley system using a strong zinc-plated D-ring, however, it's important to note that a carabiner is not included.

38.5 EXPERT SCORE

The Rogue single-handle cable attachment is a durable and comfortable fitness accessory with an innovative design, featuring a strong nylon webbing frame, a coated steel handle for a secure grip, and independent spinning capability.


Safety:0
Compatibility:0
Versatility:0
Price/Quality:0

Positives:

  • Patent-pending design is unique on the market
  • The handle spins independently from the frame, letting you freely adjust your grip
  • Zinc-plated D-ring is stronger and long-lasting

Could be better:

  • Quite expensive for this type of attachment, especially since it’s sold individually

4. V-Handle

The V-handle, also known as the "triangle" or "pyramid" grip, is a specialized attachment shaped like the letter "V".It’s specifically designed for double-handed pull exercises, making it highly effective for movements like lat pulldowns, row variations, face pulls, and more.

While it may not offer the same versatility as some other attachments, it excels in its main purpose of engaging multiple muscle groups during pull-based exercises and is especially good at back development. For example, studies have suggested V-bar pulldowns are a good alternative to front-of-the-neck lat pulldowns.

Our Recommended Pick – Titan Fitness Triangle Grip Attachment

v-handle

The Titan Fitness Triangle Grip Attachment looks and feels premium, even though it comes at an average to below-average price. It’s also a true standout in design, sporting an elegant all-black finish complemented by a clean laser-cut "T" logo positioned at the center.

  • Purpose of use: Upper body exercise
  • Weight: 10 lbs
  • Item dimensions: 8 (handle spread) x 6.25 (grip length) inches
  • Handle diameter: 1.9 inches
  • Material: Steel

The attachment is crafted from strong and durable heavy-duty steel which will last you a long time with proper use and care. With a 1.9-inch handle diameter, it provides a thicker and wider grip compared to standard attachments, offering enhanced comfort and control.

Additionally, it features a curved opening at the bottom for more versatile usage, such as gripping onto barbells for exercises like landmine rows. Each purchase of the attachment includes a strap and carabiner for added convenience.

38 EXPERT SCORE

The Titan Fitness Triangle Grip Attachment offers a premium look and feel, with durable steel construction, comfortable grip, and a stylish all-black finish, making it a versatile and high-quality choice for your workout routine.


Safety:0
Compatibility:0
Versatility:0
Price/Quality:0

Positives:

  • Sleek all-black design looks and feels premium
  • Curved opening at the bottom can fit around barbells for additional exercise variety
  • 1-year warranty
  • Wrap strap with carabiner included with purchase

Could be better:

  • Heavy, has to be handled with care and can cause damage if dropped

5. Curl Bar Attachment

Curl cable pulley attachments are often designed in a W-shape, similar to a standard EZ bar used for bicep curls. This specific shape offers advantages over using a straight bar. It allows for a more relaxed wrist position and outward rotation of the elbows, reducing strain on the flexed muscles, and leading to more comfortable and higher weighted lifts.

Curl Bar Attachment

While the curl bar attachment is primarily intended for biceps curls, its length and versatile grip positions make it suitable for various exercises. It can be used as a substitute for other attachments in exercises like triceps pushdowns, cable rows, lat pulldowns, and other arm, shoulder, and back movements. This versatility makes it a popular budget-friendly purchase that can serve multiple purposes.

Our Recommended Pick – REP Fitness Multi-Grip Curl Bar

rep Curl Bar Attachment

The REP multi-grip curl is exactly as the name suggests - a versatile curl with multiple grip points, meant to imitate the benefits and comfort factor of your typical EZ bar. It’s also highly versatile beyond just biceps curls and is a good pickup as one of your first cable machine accessories.

  • Purpose of use: Upper body exercise
  • Weight: 7 lbs
  • Item length: 28.3 inches
  • Handle diameter: 25mm (roughly 0.98 inches)
  • Material: Chrome

The bar is made from durable hard chrome, ensuring good quality and longevity. It’s covered in a standard-shaped knurling that provides moderate traction without being harsh on the skin. It is slightly shorter than the average size, with a length of approximately 28.3 inches, so keep that in mind before you blind-buy. The handle has a thickness of roughly 1 inch, allowing for a secure grip when wrapping your fingers around it.

The curved design of the bar enables comfortable gripping in various positions. The handle has smooth rotation to it, allowing for attachment from different angles, which enhances exercise variety and versatility.

37.5 EXPERT SCORE

The REP multi-grip curl is a versatile and durable cable machine accessory with multiple grip points, offering a comfortable and secure grip for a variety of exercises, making it a valuable addition to your fitness routine.


Safety:0
Compatibility:0
Versatility:0
Price/Quality:0

Positives:

  • The smooth rotation makes it feel less stiff and lets you attach it from different angles
  • Curved shape allows for comfortable grip angles
  • Knurled handles with markings allow for easy hand positioning

Could be better:

  • Slightly shorter than average, may force you into a narrower grip depending on your arm spread

6. Short Straight Bar

A short straight bar is among the more simple and more versatile cable attachments for gym pulleys. It’s designed to be short and compact compared to a standard bar, typically not exceeding 20 inches in length.

Short Straight Bar

The short straight bar attachment is versatile and can be used for many exercises, including the popular biceps curl and triceps push variations. However, its straight shape may make it less comfortable on the joints compared to specialized alternatives, such as triceps ropes or curl bars that are specifically designed for these exercises.

Our Recommended Pick – REP Fitness 20" STRAIGHT BAR

REP Fitness 20" STRAIGHT BAR

The REP 20-inch straight bar offers a simple and sleek design and is made from decent-quality materials. Compared to similar products on the market, it also falls on the more affordable side.

  • Purpose of use: Upper body exercise
  • Weight: 5.5 lbs
  • Length: 20 inches
  • Shaft diameter: 25.5mm (roughly 1 inch)
  • Grip diameter: 30mm (roughly 1.18 inch)
  • Material: Chrome

The bar is made from the same durable hard chrome as the REP multi-grip curl bar. It measures precisely 20 inches in length, which is standard sizing for a short straight bar.

The bar shaft boasts a diameter of approximately 1 inch, while the grip portion is slightly thicker at around 1.2 inches. This intentional design provides a heightened level of comfort compared to conventional 1-inch bars, as it fills the palm gap, ensuring a secure and firm grip. Furthermore, the shaft is covered with a standard-shaped knurling with markings on both sides for easy hand placement.

37 EXPERT SCORE

The REP 20-inch straight bar offers a sleek design, durable hard chrome construction, and a comfortable grip, making it an affordable and versatile option for a range of exercises.


Safety:0
Compatibility:0
Versatility:0
Price/Quality:0

Positives:

  • Made from durable hard chrome
  • Versatile, can be used in a variety of exercises
  • Increased shaft thickness in the grip portion makes it more comfortable to use

Could be better:

  • The straight shape makes it less comfortable than specialized attachments

7. Ankle Straps

Ankle straps are functional trainer attachments meant to be worn around your ankle. A typical ankle strap is made from a padded strap that wraps around using a velcro closure system, with a metal loop meant for attaching to the cable machine.

Ankle Straps

This attachment is meant to be used for lower-body workouts and is particularly well-suited for developing your hips and glutes. Some of the popular ankle strap exercises include cable kickbacks, cable hip abductions, cable leg curls, and similar.

Our Recommended Pick – Rogue Ankle Cuff Cable Attachment (Pair)

 Rogue Ankle Cuff Cable Attachment (Pair)

Rogue makes some of the best gym cable attachments and their Ankle Cuff is top-notch. It’s manufactured in the U.S. using high-quality materials and was co-developed with World Champion bodybuilder and Mr. Universe winner Tim Martin.

Although they may appear costly at first glance, it’s important to note that these are sold in pairs, unlike competitors who often sell them individually to save on the price.

  • Purpose of use: Lower body exercises
  • Weight: 0.75 lbs (pair)
  • Item dimensions: 15 L x 4 W inches
  • Circumference: 9 - 14 inches
  • Material: Cordura (nylon), foam

The Rogue Ankle Cuffs are uniquely designed with a patent-pending left and right foot design. They are constructed using Cordura, a highly durable nylon variant used in high-quality outdoor and military equipment. Cordura is known for its exceptional strength-to-weight ratio and will easily outlast cheaper polyester straps.

The strap is designed with an adjustable circumference of 9-14 inches, accommodating a wide range of athlete sizes. To enhance comfort, the interior features a 0.25-inch thick foam padding, which is covered with an antimicrobial inner lining, ensuring safe use even on exposed skin. Additionally, the ankle cuff includes a bottom foot strap to prevent shifting during exercises. The strap also aids in evenly redistributing exercise forces, enabling you to lift heavier weights with greater stability.

The Rogue ankle cuffs differ from most ankle straps by offering not one, but four attachment points – on the front, back, and each side of your ankle. This design eliminates the need to twist and readjust the strap when switching exercises. Additionally, the rings on the cuffs are fully welded, ensuring their strength and removing any potential weak points, prolonging their life span.

36.5 EXPERT SCORE

Rogue's Ankle Cuff is a top-quality gym cable attachment, made in the USA with Cordura nylon. It features adjustable straps, foam padding, antimicrobial lining, and four welded attachment points.


Safety:0
Compatibility:0
Versatility:0
Price/Quality:0

Positives:

  • Great value due to coming in pairs
  • Four attachment buckles let you approach the exercise from various angles
  • Foot strap better distributes exercise pressure, preventing wear and tear
  • Made from Cordura, a highly durable nylon
  • Antimicrobial interior surface

Could be better:

  • At 4 inches wide, they are somewhat large

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FAQ

What Cable Attachment Is Best For Bicep Curls?

The best gym cable attachments for doing biceps curls tend to be either the curl bar or straight bar, depending on your preference. You can also use D-handles, especially if you want to isolate one arm at a time.

What Cable Row Attachment Is Best For Traps?

The best cable machine attachments for targeting your traps are ones that fit the common exercises for that muscle group, such as face pulls, row variations, and cable shrugs. The triceps rope and triangle attachments are particularly effective, while the curl or straight bar can be used as substitutes if you don’t have the first two mentioned.

Which Cable Attachment Should I Get First?

It’s a good idea to get multiple attachments if your budget allows for it. Among the best to get first are the triceps rope or curl bar, as they’re quite versatile.

You’re also going to need ankle straps if you plan to do lower-body exercises. Meanwhile, a V-handle aka triangle is particularly good for popular upper body exercises, such as pulldowns and rows.

Conclusion

Cable pulley attachments offer a diverse range of options in terms of shapes and sizes, each serving a unique purpose. Some of the popular attachments include the triceps rope, lat bar, V-handle, and ankle straps, among others. Incorporating a wide selection of cable machine accessories provides you with ample exercise variety and enhanced comfort during your workouts.

Out of the hundreds of attachments tested throughout the years, we narrowed the list down to 7 of the best cable machine attachments. Our selection comprises well-established fitness brands, ensuring both quality and affordability.

What is your favorite cable pulley exercise? Which of these attachments do you prefer using the most? Let us know by leaving a comment and make sure to follow our social media pages where we post similar fitness content.

Also read:

References:

  1. Differences In Muscle Activation And Kinematics Between Cable-Based And Selectorized Weight Training // Researchgate: https://www.researchgate.net/ publication/303635227_ Differences_In_Muscle_ Activation_And_Kinematics_ Between_Cable-Based_And_ Selectorized_Weight _Training
  2. Triceps brachii hypertrophy is substantially greater after elbow extension training performed in the overhead versus neutral arm position //NIH: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov /35819335/
  3. Grip width and forearm orientation effects on muscle activity during the lat pull-down // NIH: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/ 20543740/
  4. Electromyographic analysis of three different types of lat pull-down // NIH: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/ 19855327/
  5. Differences in electromyographic activity of biceps brachii and brachioradialis while performing three variants of curl // NIH: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/ pmc/articles/ PMC6047503/

Why Trust Us?

With over 20 years in Olympic Weightlifting, our team does its best to provide the audience with ultimate support and meet the needs and requirements of advanced athletes and professional lifters, as well as people who strive to open new opportunities and develop their physical capabilities with us.

All products we select are primarily approved and tested by the Olympic Weightlifting Champion Oleksii Torokhtiy. Under his guidance, we provide honest and reasonable assessments of the products we review by checking their characteristics, packaging, design, comfort and durability features, and general product rating. We select products from only high-quality and trusted sports brands, thus vouching for their quality.

The product testing process is described in more detail here

Ihor Shymechko

Author: Ihor Shymechko
Pro Olympic Weightlifter, Coach

Experience: 26 years
Best Results: Snatch – 208 kg,
C&J – 240 kg

Ihor has been a professional weightlifter since 1996, boasting over two decades of competition experience. His notable achievements include clinching the European Championship in 2009 and securing a silver medal in the 105kg division at the Senior World Championships in 2011. Ihor represented his country in the 2008, 2012, and 2016 Summer Olympics. After retiring from competitive weightlifting, he transitioned to coaching, leveraging his vast experience to guide athletes who now compete on both national and international stages.

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Oleksiy Torokhtiy

Reviewed by: Oleksiy Torokhtiy
Olympic Weightlifting Champion

Experience: 21 years
Best ResultsSnatch – 200 kg,
C&J – 240 kg

Oleksiy Torokhtiy is a professional athlete boasting 20 years of experience in Olympic weightlifting. With multiple European and World titles under his belt, he has showcased his prowess in two Olympic Games (Beijing 2008 and London 2012). Upon concluding his illustrious career, Oleksiy dedicated himself to coaching. By 2022, he had conducted over 200 weightlifting seminars worldwide. He is the visionary behind an international sportswear and accessories brand known for its motto, “Warm Body Cold Mind.” Additionally, he is an esteemed author and the creator of a series of training programs and eBooks.

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