This tip is something I've done for years but never thought about offering up. I thought it was one of those things that everybody knew, like how you should put pool noodles in your cowboy boots to keep them straight.
Of course, maybe, somehow, you didn't know about pool noodles. And maybe you didn't know about the following trick. Anyhow, I changed my mind when some guys saw me doing the following to a weight stack and they got all big-eyed and slack jawed.
You've no doubt been in a situation where a particular cable weight stack just didn't provide enough weight. Most stacks go up to about 95 pounds, which is fine for most lifters when they're doing triceps pushdowns or cable curls, but it might be limiting when you want to do something that requires a heavier load, like cable pull-throughs.
All you need to do is max out the weight stack by putting the pin beneath the bottom weight-stack plate (the heaviest weight). Then you grab a second, longer pin and jam it in the same weight stack, usually under the 35-pound or 45-pound plate. You then literally hang a free-weight plate over that second pin.
Voila! You've instantly added 10, 25, or even 35 pounds to the stack. The free-weight plate will hang on and go for a wild ride while you do your reps.
Where Do I Find a Second Pin?
Most of the pins that come with weight stacks are too short for you to use as a secondary pin; they're just not long enough to allow you to hang a weight off them. That means you can't just steal one off another cable stack.
You need something else, something that's roughly 6-inches long. Most of the time, you can just pull the pin off the back of a leg press machine, the one that's used to secure the seat of the leg press.
Alternately, go to the hardware store and buy a 6-inch long, 5/16th or 3/8th inch bolt. It's just about the perfect size and the hex head will keep the plate from sliding off.
Just throw it in your gym bag for when you need to supersize your weight stack.