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 Want to build/buy something...

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Jay
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PostSubject: Want to build/buy something...   Tue Apr 27, 2010 11:07 am

I just want to do some pulldowns at home and buying something new is expensive, finding something used nearby is very difficult where I live. Buying/finding something used farther away is difficult and/or shipping is so much I might as well just buy something that's brand new and expensive.

I'm wondering about just buying a single cable and that 'wheelie thing' which the cable runs through. I have a chain, weights and a bar to attack it to. I just want to attach that 'wheelie thing' to a support beam in the garage. I'm thinking surely I should be able to buy that online pretty cheap. Except I don't even know what it's properly called and/or where to look. Any ideas? Smile
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PostSubject: Re: Want to build/buy something...   Tue Apr 27, 2010 1:11 pm

Someone else should answer this, I don't really have one, but I have come across websites before with "diy" do-it-yourself gym equipment. So "diy gym" is a fair search on google because that is what you are doing.

As an example: http://www.straighttothebar.com/2006/10/diy_homemade_gym_equipment.html

http://xray.bmc.uu.se/markh/diy/home_gym.html

Here too, something on the ceiling. I'd be a bit apprehensive about rigging up a pully to a support beam but perhaps.
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PostSubject: Re: Want to build/buy something...   Tue Apr 27, 2010 1:52 pm

Here's my guess I'd say you're looking for a pulley wheel, something like this maybe?
Or these?
I just did a google search for 'pulley wheel' & found those 2 sites in no time - probably a lot more if you spend some time.
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PostSubject: Re: Want to build/buy something...   Fri Apr 30, 2010 8:17 pm

Thank you both for the replies. Will look further into this.
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PostSubject: Re: Want to build/buy something...   Mon May 03, 2010 7:37 pm

Okay, Jay,
You've come to the right place... I've built two of these and I'd be happy to pass on what I learned.
The sites mentioned by PhysCultureFan are also relevant, so check them out.

( 1 ) The Pulleys:
You'll need two. These are common hardware store items, they're available in different sizes. In the U.S. these are measured in U.S. inches. you can convert to metric (which is a much more sensible system). I used three-inch pulleys, four-inch would have been better--the larger the pulley the less strain in the cable.

( 2 ) The anchors:
The pulleys can be anchored using "screw hooks," again these are hardware items. They are screwed into pre-drilled holes in the supporting beam. These are stronger if they're located horizontally rather than vertically, but vertically would probably be adequate.
The pulleys are anchored to available support beams above the area where they are to be used. Be sure that these beams are strong enough to support the weight you expect to be using. I anchored to 2 x 4 inch ceiling beams that were cross-braced to the roof rafters, and pulled 200 pounds. Actually this is not a serious problem since in the event of a catastrophic failure the weights probably will fall outside of your physical area.

( 3 ) The anchor points and their location:
The first of two anchor points is simple--it should be directly above the area in which you intend to be doing pull-downs. This will probably be above your weight-bench, usually near the end, although it could be above a dedicated sitzen Sie Platz.
The second anchor point should be several feet away from the end of your bench--if there's an accident you wouldn't want your feet to be under the descending iron.

( 4 ) The cable.
The cable should be plastic coated, that lessens wear. To determine the thickness--the gauge of the cable--I telephoned a leading supplier of body building equipment and impersonated a demanding pull-down purchaser--I insisted to know what gauge cable they used on their leading machine. They told me and I said Thank You and hung up.

( 5 ) Miscellaneous hardware:
You'll need two snap-hooks (I'm not sure what they call these in the U.K.), and four screw-clamps (again, I don't know what these are called Over There, but hardware clerks are generally good sources of information), and two cable-thimbles. These are the hardware that create and secure loops in the ends of the cable. They're pretty much self-explanatory. You may have to jockey around establishing the exact length of the cable for your own pull-down situation.

( 6 ) In use:
If you are using this with loose weights you will have to improvise a homemade bent metal hook to hold the weights and attach to the cable...simple trial and error engineering. I used 1/4-inch iron round-stock, which worked fine.

Note that when you are using this rig the weights tend to begin to swing--the swing exaggerates at each lift and can become annoying on sets of ten. To damp the swing attach a short length of rope to the weights and let it trail on the floor.

Good luck on this, let us know how it works out.

Oh, and I assume that you can improvise a pull-down bar, or buy one that can be attached by means of the snap-hooks mentioned above.

Consider too that you can get double duty from your pull-down rig. A knotted rope looped around the bar of a pull-down machine makes a good "pull-down crunch" machine.
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PostSubject: Re: Want to build/buy something...   Sat May 08, 2010 12:01 pm

For #1 I was thinking I could do with just one pulley but I guess getting a second wouldn't hurt.
On #2, I was thinking perhaps 80 pounds would be the max. Was thinking to just do one arm at a time. And I want something for lighter than bodyweight pulldowns as I'm already set-up for regular pullups and weighted pull-ups.
For #4... what was the gauge?
For #6 I was going to use the chain from my weight belt.

...I hadn't considered the swing. That's good advice.

I live in West Virginia by the way. Bigger question is just where exactly to buy these things, which I haven't done much searching for yet. Actually I'm having a serious health problem I wouldn't want to burden you all with, which has me not doing any exercise at all, unfortunately, at the moment.
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PostSubject: Re: Want to build/buy something...   Wed May 12, 2010 2:41 pm

Your description of how you intend to use this pulldown makes the engineering a lot simpler.
For example, I came back to post here that if you were planning to pull down anything close to your own body weight you’d need to anchor yourself down--otherwise the weight stays where it is but you go up. With the last home-built pulldown, I was sitting on a weight bench with my legs hooked under a T-bar which was connected by a short length of chain to the bench which had a couple of hundred pounds of iron on it.
If you’re planning to pull 80 lbs. max you probably don’t have to anchor yourself at all.
(By the way, if you’re just getting into lifting start way below what might be your max lift! The object is to get in shape gradually, not to win a weight lifting contest.)

Your choice of an 80 lb. max weight also simplifies the question of cable size. You shouldn’t have a problem with 3/16” plastic coated, galvanized wire rope--it’s breaking strength is measured in the hundreds of pounds. This type of cable, and the mscl. clamps and hardware mentioned earlier, are common hardware store items, and not particularly expensive.

There are two reasons for using two pulleys rather than one.
( a ) It’s easier on the cable if it only has to make two 90-degree turns rather than one 180-degree turn. Probably smoother to pull too.
( b ) There’s also a safety factor: With a one-pulley system you would be sitting pretty much under the weight…not a good place to be in the event of a dropped weight.
With a two-pulley system a falling weight is more likely to land somewhere other than on top of you.
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PostSubject: Re: Want to build/buy something...   Thu Jul 15, 2010 7:22 pm

Hey, Jay in West Virginia, how are you doing?

(this may be a repeat of an earlier post.)
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PostSubject: Re: Want to build/buy something...   Sun Jul 18, 2010 5:27 pm

Physically or with regards to building this? Smile
Physically good. Very strangely it seems eating cinnamon can cause my heart to beat irregularly. Quit eating it and have been fine. Worrisome still in that I had eaten it for many years without any problems.

As to building this, I've not gone forward now with it I'm afraid. This was to be for higher reps and higher reps has really been giving me insomnia lately. Went today and got supplies for blueberry smoothies as I used to knock out more than 100 chinups everyday followed by a blueberry smoothie and slept great...
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PostSubject: Re: Want to build/buy something...   Mon Jul 19, 2010 2:01 am

Wow! 100 chins a day - I don't think I ever approached that (pretty sure a max for 24hrs would be nearer 50 when I was working hard on them - not every day for that even!)
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PostSubject: Re: Want to build/buy something...   Mon Jul 19, 2010 9:42 am

I've done 180 in 30 minutes. First a 5 rep set every 50 seconds and then later on managed a 6 rep set every minute. But at 7 reps my grip just started giving out really bad and I hit a wall. Unfortunately all those chinups just made me weaker at one set for maximum reps.
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PostSubject: Re: Want to build/buy something...   Thu Jul 22, 2010 3:24 pm

Jay wrote:
I've done 180 in 30 minutes. First a 5 rep set every 50 seconds and then later on managed a 6 rep set every minute. But at 7 reps my grip just started giving out really bad and I hit a wall. Unfortunately all those chinups just made me weaker at one set for maximum reps.

Uhhh... Jay...?
Never mind the pull-down rig... you don't need it.

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PostSubject: Re: Want to build/buy something...   Fri Jul 23, 2010 3:27 am

Grayfox wrote:
Jay wrote:
I've done 180 in 30 minutes. First a 5 rep set every 50 seconds and then later on managed a 6 rep set every minute. But at 7 reps my grip just started giving out really bad and I hit a wall. Unfortunately all those chinups just made me weaker at one set for maximum reps.

Uhhh... Jay...?
Never mind the pull-down rig... you don't need it.


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Laughing Hate crimes don't make the list of those who stalk?? The law will show you all, if we can just have the names of these stalkers, these people who steal jobs and separate families, these baby killers.
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PostSubject: Re: Want to build/buy something...   Sat Jul 24, 2010 6:42 pm

Uhhh... PhysCultureFan...?
Are you okay...?
This last post sounds a little dingy...
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PostSubject: Re: Want to build/buy something...   Sun Jul 25, 2010 3:05 am

Grayfox wrote:
Jay wrote:
I've done 180 in 30 minutes. First a 5 rep set every 50 seconds and then later on managed a 6 rep set every minute. But at 7 reps my grip just started giving out really bad and I hit a wall. Unfortunately all those chinups just made me weaker at one set for maximum reps.

Uhhh... Jay...?
Never mind the pull-down rig... you don't need it.

I wanted to do much higher reps than I can manage with bodyweight chinups. Like upper body aerobics perhaps. There is a machine at the gym at work that sort of does a swimming motion using wind resistance that I really like. The only thing I ever found similar online was 2000 dollars though!

I still think that I do want to go ahead and build this eventually.
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PostSubject: Re: Want to build/buy something...   Sun Jul 25, 2010 3:08 am

PhysCultureFan, huh?
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PostSubject: Re: Want to build/buy something...   Sun Jul 25, 2010 4:52 am

Couldn't you do upper body body aerobic style exercise with some light dumbbells &/or bands - it's simply getting the heart rate into the right range & keeping it there. I'm sure you could figure out some upper body stuff for that.
Personally I prefer a combo upper/lower stuff, stuff like kettlebells, sand bags, med balls etc, they can work pretty well. Add in a few shuttle sprints & you've got an awesome CV program (with some weights as a bonus Cool )

@PhysCultureFan

Are you alright? A GF said you seem a little bit 'off' you sound like you might have had a heavy night? Hope you're ok - let us know?

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PostSubject: Re: Want to build/buy something...   Mon Jul 26, 2010 4:39 pm

I'm actually looking to improve my strength to bodyweight ratio for the chinup movement and going against conventional lore just want to experiment with much lighter, higher reps.
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PostSubject: Re: Want to build/buy something...   Mon Jul 26, 2010 6:49 pm

Jay wrote:
I'm actually looking to improve my strength to bodyweight ratio for the chinup movement and going against conventional lore just want to experiment with much lighter, higher reps.

I understand what you're talking about, been there too. Have you considered looking for a second-hand pulldown machine? If there are no "preciously owned" equipment dealers in your area, run an ad in your local paper seeking a pulldown machine. A lot of equipment is standing unused in other people's basements, that's where a lot of my iron came from.

However I agree with Pete, you'd probably do better with light dumbells than to spend time building the pull down rig I mentioned earlier.
Relevant to this, can you find a copy of Bill Pearl's books at your local library? These are encyclopedic, and are a gold mine of instruction re. how to get the best out of weight training.

(I'd offer to send my copies but I donated them to my local library last year [wish I had them back now]...naugh, they'll be valuable to aspiring body-folks here, and I don't need them any more}.
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PostSubject: Re: Want to build/buy something...   Tue Jul 27, 2010 2:39 pm

I really like "Keys to the inner universe" (if that's the Pearl book you mean?). I mean it's a bit dated these days, & the volume is pretty high, but I still like it as it has a lot of exercises in & a lot of info straight from a guy who's really done it. I like Pearl generally though he really stuck with training & is still a beast!
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PostSubject: Re: Want to build/buy something...   Fri Jul 30, 2010 10:13 am

I used to have a second hand pulldown machine. My wife threw it away while I was on the other side of the country working. I've been looking for another used one ever since.

The area where we live is just a little too rural unfortunately. I'm sure there's a ton lying unused in people's garages but I haven't come across one. I'm always looking at yard sales and in the paper, although haven't put in an ad.

Actually last I looked on craigslist, they didn't have a craigslist listing near where I live. Looks like now they finally do. Maybe I can find something on there now.

Pullovers are very useful for quickly knocking out lots of reps. (Just "bouncing" out of the bottom part of the movement.) But otherwise I think you have to either do pulldowns or actual chins/weighted chins, in order to improve at chinups. (Or I guess climbing.)

I've read at least one book by Pearl. Probably read at least 20 books on weightlifting over the years.
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PostSubject: Re: Want to build/buy something...   Sat Jul 31, 2010 7:41 pm


Quote :
Fri Jul 30, 2010 5:13 pm
I used to have a second hand pulldown machine. My wife threw it away while I was on the other side of the country working. I've been looking for another used one ever since...
Hmmm... yeah... been there before too, although not lately.

Have you considered buying a cheap combination bench and other stations? I looked briefly on the net and found several for under $200, and a couple for under a grand.

For instance:



Available from Amazon, or Walmart, or Target, or some such.
Granted, you wouldn't want to load these much over a hundred and fifty pounds, nor pass these down to your grandchildren, but they do the job for a while.
Actually I own two of the cheapo Weider - Walmart benches, one is here in the corner of my home gym, the other is back in town where I'll be during the winter
I'm rebuilding the in-town bench to beef it up a bit, and--of all things-- to add the home-built pull-down rig I mentioned earlier on this thread.


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PostSubject: Re: Want to build/buy something...   Mon Aug 02, 2010 2:14 pm

Thank you for mentioning Amazon. Hadn't thought to look there in a while. The one I had ten years ago was only 75 dollars used and that's made it hard to spend the hundreds of dollars these normally sell for. But on Amazon there was one for 197 that I've just bought. So finally after 6 years I'll have a pulldown machine. Hooray!
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PostSubject: Re: Want to build/buy something...   Mon Aug 02, 2010 6:40 pm

Jay wrote:
Thank you for mentioning Amazon. Hadn't thought to look there in a while. The one I had ten years ago was only 75 dollars used and that's made it hard to spend the hundreds of dollars these normally sell for. But on Amazon there was one for 197 that I've just bought. So finally after 6 years I'll have a pulldown machine. Hooray!

Bingo! Good for you!
And, there's so much more you can do with a pulldown machine... Wide-grip, close-grip, light-loading, heavy-loading. If it has a low placed pulley you can buy some extra cable and use it for seated rows.
I've provided mine with a knotted pull-down rope--obviously good for rope pull-downs, but from a seated position it works well for pull-down crunches.
Since I had an extra bar and weights I improvised a T-bar for calf-raises... stand by and I'll see if I can sketch this for you.
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PostSubject: Re: Want to build/buy something...   Mon Aug 02, 2010 7:42 pm



Well, okay... it's a quick sketch...

FOR CALF-RAISES:

The bar is anchored at the back of the pulldown machine with extra plates (this could also be done with a regular bench).
The person faces away from the machine (or bench).
The bar is connected to a 2x4 (or similar) with a short length of chain.
A 2 x 4 is provided for a toe rest.
With toes (or more) on the above mentioned 2 x 4, load the weight onto upper legs *

Lift weight with toes for desired reps **2.
Return weight, replete for reps & sets, and finish****3.
---------------------
*Note: Loading the weight onto the knees, and returning it are a BEAR! Do this carefully, injury is possible!
**2: Mine is loaded for 125lbs... ( a joke for real lifters ).
***3: ... three sets of 30 reps.
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