After receiving an online ad promoting a portable pulley/cable system for around $70.00 and change, of course I could not resist the urge to invent my own version.

After visiting Ace Hardware, Lowe’s, and the REI Mountaineering section, here’s my version:

First, I picked up two 1 and 1/2″ heavy-duty swivel pulleys at Lowe’s, for $5.98 each. These are rated at 420 pounds apiece. I think I’m safe in assuming I will never come anywhere near exceeding that rating with my degenerating, aging body.

Next, I picked up a couple of quick links at ACE for $5.99 apiece, rated at 880 pounds apiece. 

Then, also at ACE, I picked up 7 feet of 1/4″ vinyl-coated cable, for a price I can’t recall, because I lost the receipt already, but it was pretty cheap, maybe 1 dollar per foot? 


Next, I cruised over to REI and hit the rock-climbing department and was ecstatic to find Metolius  18mm “Sling Straps” rated at 22 kilonewtons, for $3.95 x 2. This must be a European thing, but a quick Google search tells me that these wimpy-looking straps are rated for a weight of almost 5,000 pounds!!!! Wow. I think these will do fine in the weight room. 

I also picked up some Metolius FS Mini II Carabiners for $5.95, also rated very highly for strength at 7 kilonewtons, which is equivalent to over 1,500 pounds!!! Okay, these’ll hold up. 

If money is no object, REI also has pulleys on hand, but they cost a small fortune compared to the hardware store variety.


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I was able to attach this whole concoction to an overhead aluminum frame loading-ramp anchored to the ceiling of a small barn. Here is what my setup looks like.


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In Florida, you can workout outdoors all year, if you don’t mind being eaten alive by mosquitoes.


portable pulley system

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So, for 7 feet of vinyl-coated cable, two carabiners, two straps, two quick links and a pulley, I spent about $45.00, so I saved $25.00 compared to the advertised version, and mine is rated over twice as high for safe poundage limits. Of course, two are better than one, so you will spend about $90.00 for a pair, plus travel expense.



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