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How to Remove Weights From Home Gym? (5 Easy Steps)

Tyler Sellers
Published by Tyler Sellers | Senior Coach
Last updated: August 5, 2023

Having moved twice in the last ten years, I have first-hand experience with the stress and frustration that comes with looking at your home gym and trying to figure out how to move it.

On the first occasion, I gave up and called a moving company to help with the process, and watching those guys in action gave me a load of ideas.

It also meant that the second time around, I knew exactly what to do, especially when it came to the weight stack on the cable machine I had.

Here are the main tips I can share.

Quick Summary

  • Smith machines with cable pulley systems can be very complicated pieces of equipment, and moving them to a new location requires careful planning.
  • Taking the weight stack apart can also pose a few safety concerns, as you don’t want to get a nasty injury from those heavy plates.
  • But it’s just as important to know how to reassemble the entire system so that it keeps working just as intended.

Weight Stack Removal Process

A close up shot of weight stacks in a gym

One tip before you get started is to set up a smartphone to either video record the process or take regular photos. It’s a lot easier to then look over the process in reverse for reassembly.

  • Step 1: First of all, find the original instructions or contact the manufacturer for a digital copy. All machines have slightly different systems, and you want to follow that process.
  • Step 2: Typically, the first thing you do is disconnect cables from the weight stack. To do this, set the pin to the lowest weight setting so that you can get a little bit of slack on the cable.
  • Step 3: With the cable removed, you need to check the rear weight stack assembly. The weights will be within a rail system, and to ensure they keep a smooth movement, there will be an assembly holding them in place. Use a wrench to remove that assembly.
  • Step 4: Check the top of the guide rods so that the weights move up and down, and remove any stoppers. Without these removed, you won’t be able to slide the weight plates off the stack.
  • Step 5: Move each weight plate one by one up and off the guide rods and place them in a box in the right order. Most machines will have weight numbers on them, so keep those ordered to make reassembly a lot easier.

Installation Process

A man reading the manual for a weight stack in the gym

After moving your home gym equipment, take a quick look at the photos or videos you took of the weight removal process and aim to follow the same process in reverse.

  • Step 1: Check that the guide rods are properly secured and lined up properly. Ideally, measure the distance between the rods at the bottom, middle and top to ensure they are parallel.
  • Step 2: Take each weight plate in reverse order and gently guide it down the stack rods. It’s important to be careful with the lifting process, as twisting your back can cause severe strain and injury [1].
  • Step 3: Once all of the plates are back on the weight stack, it’s time to secure the stoppers at the top.
  • Step 4: Now, it’s time to replace the rear assembly to ensure that the weight stack is properly secured.
  • Step 5: Set the stack to the lightest setting in order to lift up the top of the stack to meet the cable. Securely attach the cable and try out the movement at the lightest setting.

“Strain from heavy lifting, twisting the spine, lifting from the ground, or an item overhead are common causes of low back strain. Safe lifting practices include tactics such as keeping the item close to the chest and avoiding twisting the upper body while lifting.”

- Kojo Hamilton, MD at


How Do You Take Apart An Exercise Machine?

You take apart an exercise machine by first removing the heaviest parts, which will generally be the weight stack. From there, it’s important to follow the instructions to remove the cable pulley system in a safe way.

How Do You Move Heavy Gym Machines?

You can move heavy gym machines by using a furniture dolly or sliders. These will carry the majority of the weight, allowing you to focus on slowly maneuvering the equipment by damaging it or suffering a common furniture moving injury [2].

Take the Safe Approach to Removing Weight Stacks

It’s vital that you always put safety first with heavy gym machines, and the best way to do that is to follow the instructions and have a friend help you.

Bishnu Pada Das, certified personal trainer and founder of fitness blog Crazy Athlete, says it is important to seek assistance from fitness professionals around and be mindful of the proper lifting techniques to minimize injury risks.

It can also help to invest in compact gym machines as they generally are a lot easier to put together and remove the weight plates.

We tested many of these and found a few that still give you a great range of exercises despite their smaller size.


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