Here are some ideas for machines utilizing springs

A machine built to accomodate resistance must be designed to withstand a tremendous amount of stress! It must be constructed skillfully as there is no room for sloppiness or error - all parts must fit together accurately and tight. All parts must be glued and screwed. All joints and corners must utilize adequate bracing and reinforcement. Build a resistance machine with the thought in mind that it will support an elephant!

Here are some ideas for wall mounted spring machines. When building a machine of this nature it is essential that all screws holding the machine to a wall be dead center of the wall studs and perfectly straight into the wall studs.

These machines are constructed with 2 x 4's with joints being created by offsetting 2 x 4's on top of one another. Steel reinforcement isn't depicted at the top to demonstrate how the 2 x 4's are placed to create a joint. The 1 x 4 in the back of the machine serves as a spacer to clear a baseboard at the bottom of a wall. It also reinforces the joint at the top.

Here's another version of this machine utilizing the 'block and tackle' concept. The main advantages here are that one cable remains continuously taut, there is no attaching and detaching cables, you have twice as much pull distance, and there is distance between both pulleys and the springs - more, if you want. The disadvantage is that the amount of resistance is cut in half, but you can build this with as many springs as you want. You can even utilize garage door springs. It also utilizes more pulleys, but, hey! It will last a lifetime! Stain and polish it, and, whoa!!

Because the springs are closer to the back, you really couldn't use steel reinforcement or a 45 degree brace as shown on the model above, but you could glue and screw 3/4" or 1" plywood to the sides as shown in the detail and that should make it strong enough.

The machine depicted here can be utilized for bench presses and squats.

Here's a sketch depicting a simple bench press machine. The spring set up is, of course, repeated on the other side. This machine shows the spring setup as being detachable. It could be used on other machines. The machine depicted at the top, for example, could be designed with a detachable spring setup. Looking at this sketch, now, the supports really ought to be set back so that the centerline of the spring setup is directly over the user. Well, that's why we do sketches.

The Hook

The World's Fastest Loading Cable Exerciser!

This item is

Adding or reducing resistance is as easy as this. Drop the bands in or take them out. Unlimited resistance! You can load these bad boys up 'til the cows come home!

With the following components, you can duplicate virtually any exercise obtainable from machines:

The Handles

The Door Attachment - can go over, under, or on the side of a closed door

Resistance Bands. Surgical tubing has the unique qualities of retaining its length, producing a uniform resistance when stretched, and retaining virtually all of its elasticity. I'm still using the same bands I made five years ago. You can make them any size or any weight you want. I've made heavy (3/8" ID, 1/2" OD), medium (3/16" ID, 5/16" OD, and light (1/8" ID, 1/4" OD) resistance bands. McMaster-Carr is a good source for surgical tubing. See the Resources page. I made my bands 22" in length when flattened out, made from a 45" length of tubing (see instructions on making bands below). You can fold a band over to use for shorter lengths and loop a couple together for longer lengths. You could also make bands of various sizes for various needs.

Here's a sampling of just some of the exercises that can be performed with The Hook:

Making one of these links (see the Useful Tips page) will enable you to use the bands with machine attachments, such as the curling bar shown here.

Here's another advantage to this system: as anyone who owns, say, Lifeline Cables knows, it's really annoying to stand on the cable and try to get the handles the same height. With this system, each handle has its own cables, so you don't have to spend a minute trying to adjust their heights.

Here's how to make it:

The Handles:

1. Cut two lengths of 1" PVC the desired length for handles. Mine are 5". Round and smooth the edges with sandpaper. For a grip, I'm using padded tennis racket wrap.

2. Cut an 18" length of 1 1/2" webbing (or more, or less, depending upon the lengths of your handles). Singe the cut edges with a flame to seal them. Push one end through one of the PVC handles, overlap the ends by 3", and then sew the ends to the webbing See the Useful Tips page for sewing webbing.

3. Punch a 5/16" hole dead center of the overlapped webbing. I used a leather punch I got from Michael's Hobby store. Singe the edge of the hole.

4. Cut a 1 1/2" x 2" sheet of 1/16" thk. rubber and punch a 5/16" hole in the center of it. Align the hole in the rubber over the hole in the webbing and glue the rubber to the surface of the webbing that is facing the handle. You can use your 5/16" U-bolt to align the holes, and you can use any type of cement you want - super glue, goop, barge cement.....

5. Seal the edges of the hole, which includes the webbing on one side, and the rubber on the other side, with a metal eyelet. Eyelet kits are available in fabric and hardware stores.

6. Screw a stop nut down the threads on one end of a 5/16" x 1 3/4" U-bolt, about 3/4" from the end. Slip the end of the U-bolt through the hole of the webbing, place a 5/16" fender washer (rounded edge facing the rubber) over the end, and then tighten it down with another stop nut. You want to tighten both nuts so that the hook that is formed by the U-bolt is perpendicular to the handle and secured tightly. Cover the exposed threads with a plastic thread cover. I covered mine with a hardwood ball, but that's actually a bit much. A thread protector will work just fine.

The Door Attachment:

Refer to the picture above.

1. Cut two 1 1/2" lengths of 1" PVC. Drill a 5/16" hole through the middle of one of those. Insert one end of a 5/16" x 1 3/4" U-bolt through the hole on one side of the PVC and screw it into the hole on the other side so that the end of the U-bolt is flush with the outside surface of the PVC. Turn the U-bolt so that it is perpendicular to the PVC. Seal the holes around the U-bolt with some super glue.

2. Tape a short length of duct tape, sticky side up, to a flat surface. Push one end of the PVC with the U-bolt in it down onto the tape and then stack stuff under the U-bolt to keep it level and to keep the whole structure in place. Fill the PVC with Casting Resin, available from hobby stores. Allow the resin to cure for 72 hours.

3. Cut a 12 1/2" length of 1 1/2" webbing. Singe the ends with a flame to seal them. Punch a 5/16" hole, centered, 3 1/4" from one end. Seal the edges with a flame. Insert the U-bolt with the PVC through the hole, wrap the webbing around it, and then glue the webbing so that the webbing is wrapped as tightly around the PVC and meets as close to the PVC as possible. Clamp it until the glue has set. Sew the webbing together as close to the PVC as possible.

4. Spread super glue on the other end of the webbing and then wrap it around the other 1 1/2" length of PVC, encompassing the PVC as tightly as possible. Clamp the webbing and allow the glue to set. When clamped, that end of the webbing should meet the other end, and there should be about 2 1/2 to 3" between the two PVC's. More or less isn't critical, just so long as the door attachment can fit over a door. Sew the webbing as close to the PVC as possible, and then sew the two ends of the webbing.

5. Place a thread protector over the the exposed threads.

My personal setup. I've put black tape around the shorter bands to easily identify them.

The entire gym will fit easily into a handsome travel bag such as this one, available for free from any retail outlet:

- Shenandoah

Surgical Tubing Exercise Band

Surgical tubing makes the best Exercise Bands. Resistance is almost consistant throughout a stretch, and it looses virtually none of its elasticity. I'm still using the same bands I made five years ago.

Here's how to make a Band:

1. Get a wooden dowel the same diameter as the inside diameter of the tubing. Determine how long you want your band to be when flattened out, and then cut a length of tubing twice as long plus one inch.

2. Make a Tool. Cut an 8" length of dowel and then round out and smooth one end with fine sandpaper.

3. Make a Plug. Cut a 1 1/2" length of dowel and then chamfer and smooth the edges with fine sandpaper.

4. Using a felt marker, mark 1" in from the end of the tubing. Do the same for the other end.

5. Slip the rounded end of the tool about an inch and a half into one end ot the tubing

6. Spread the end of the tubing back over itself to 1", or up to the mark made on the tubing. It doesn't matter if a portion of the tubing rolls up a bit. Next, take hold of the folded back portion of tubing, and the tool, and then ease the tool back out of the tubing.

7. Slip one end of the plug about 1/4" into the folded back tubing.

8. Straighten out the folded back tubing so that it encompasses the plug as shown. When straightened out, there should be about 1/4" of the plug sticking out.

9. Follow steps 5 and 6 for the other end of the tubing. Take the folded back end of the tubing and slip it over the exposed end of the plug. Make sure that you don't twist the tubing before inserting the plug into the end.

10. Straighten out that end of the tubing so that it overlaps the other end by about an inch. Overlapping the ends in this manner will assure that the exercise band will never pull apart.

- Shenandoah

Squat and Deadlift Platform for Bands

It's just made from scrap timber. It could be prettier but I really dont give a %#@& about that for this kind of thing.

I mostly loop the bands at the front as shown but the bands can also be looped under at the sides instead to perform a suit case lift. Oh and yes I do use more than just the red band. That was just for demonstration purposes. If I loaded my usual amount of bands on you would hardly be able to see the platform under the mass of bands.

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Wall Mounted Cable Machine

On this machine, the Lifeline cables are attached to a 12 2 x 4 through 5/8 holes drilled down the middle of the 2 x 4 and spaced 1 apart, 6 apart at the center. 1/4 slots are cut into the holes to allow installation of the cables. All edges are rounded and smoothed. An eyebolt is secured through the center of the 2 x 4 for weight machine attachments. The cables loop around 18 x 1 steel pipes that run straight through the top and lower 4 x 4s which are surrounded by rotating 1 1/2 PVC sleeves cut to size and held in place by caps on the ends of the steel pipes. These serve as pulleys.

Four cables combined with seven 5/16 hex head wood screws spaced evenly along the vertical 2 x 4 allows combinations of dozens of resistance levels. The cable/2 x 4 device can be moved between the low and high pulleys for lifting and pull down exercises. The device can be made to accommodate as many or as few cables as desired. Cables with handles can also be used on this machine.

With this machine, the resistance begins right at either the bottom or the top, because once you've made your settings, the cable holder is drawn up tightly against either the top or the bottom extensions. From there, you connect whatever lifting attachment you're going to use; curl bar, lat bar, triceps bar, etc. So, it's just like having a weight-stack machine with a high and low pulley, except that the resistance is provided by cables rather than weights. . Also, with the top extension extending out, you can get right under it for pull downs or lat pulls. You could put a chair under it.

Instead of drilling holes and cutting slots, the cable holding device could be set up with a string of eyebolts for cables with hooks. In this case, a wooden dowell instead of a 2 x 4 could be used. See the Cable Booster below.

- Shenandoah

Cable Booster

I made the device shown here so that I could utilize curling and triceps attachments with my Lifeleine TNT Cables. I loop the cables over either a high or low heavy-duty hook in my wall.

- Shenandoah

Elastic Bands

Here are some examples of exercises that can be performed utilizing long elastic bands. The bands pictured here were purchased from Jumpstretch.


the bands are held together with webbing

- gruntbrain

Steel Spring Machine

Obviously, this machine isn't something you would build with some wood and a few tools. If I had the money and the know-how, this is the machine I'd like to have. The springs that are being unused rest in countoured recesses in a tray. The springs being used are drawn up tightly into the carriage and locked into place by handles utilizing a cam action. There are six springs; 100 lbs., 50 lbs., 40 lbs., 30 lbs., 20 lbs., and 10 lbs. which provide from 10 to 250 lbs. of resistance in 10 lb. increments. The amount of resistance could be increased by using heavier springs.

- Shenandoah


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