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Super cheap DIY Treadmill Desk

My friend Anne-Marie Faiola, CEO and founder of Brambleberry, tweeted that she just put in a treadmill desk in her office. I saw a picture of it and was inspired to make one for my wife and I. I figure I could probably get an hour of exercise every day just by having a desk on top of my treadmill. This weekend I went to Home Depot and bought the materials to build out a super cheap DIY treadmill desk. I did a little research on the Internet to see what other people had made and it seems like most people screw the desk onto the treadmill which requires drilling holes into the handles and using mounting brackets. I watched this YouTube video before I came up with my own idea. I decided to take a different approach. I wanted to secure it on but have the flexibility of being able to remove the desk without having to unscrew it.
I ended up using the following materials:

  • Wood shelf (11.8″ D x 35.8″ W): $7.84
  • Hook and Eyes (need four): $1.96
  • 24″ Bungee Cords (need two): $6.89

Tools used:

  • Dewalt Cordless Drill

For less than $17.00 in materials, I constructed the desk in less than 15 minutes. It feels very sturdy. I’m pretty sure that I will be putting one of these inside thinkspace too.  I think our team office will have one so that my team can use it when they want to. I’m on the hunt for a used treadmill on Craigslist which I’ve seen running anywhere from $150 – $250 for the same Nordic Trac treadmill that I own. Cheap! If you’re in need of more table space and money is not an object, you can get a Steelcase Walkstation which costs $4,199. It’s quite amazing looking and if I had money to burn I’d like one of these. Another option is the TrekDesk Treadmill Desk which has a larger surface area and costs $479.

Chief Pot Stirrer @thinkspace


  • Anne-Marie

    May 24, 2010

    Great job on the treadmill desk. The bungee cords are a nice touch. My desk comes off too because you never know when you'll actually want to (crazy idea), use the treadmill for its intended purpose and run on it =)

  • Peter Chee

    May 24, 2010

    Anne-Marie, thanks for the inspiring idea. One of these days I would love to come up to your offices and see your operations. I bet your workspace is a lot of fun!

    • Natali

      July 26, 2017

      Could you share where you got the bungee cords? Are they really tight?

  • joesunga

    May 25, 2010

    Sounds like I need to make a visit to Lowe's. Thanks a lot for sharing, definitely going to add sticky adhesive so that my laptop doesn't fall. 🙂

  • Peter Chee

    May 25, 2010

    I haven't been running on the treadmill just walking at an incline. However, I have considered spray on rubber on one side of the desk so that the laptop doesn't slide around. Have to keep the other side of the table smooth for the mouse…

  • Peter Chee

    May 25, 2010

    I just finished reading Anne-Marie's blog post about her treadmill desk. She's got some great links about how “your metabolism is damaged by sitting too much during the day and people who sit longer die earlier”. Check out her blog post!


    Funny, two EOers in the same day write about treadmill desks!

  • This seems like a great idea to work while one exercises. You can term it as a mobile office which can be carried at any place.

  • Michael Brown

    June 1, 2010

    AWESOME! I'm doing this at my home office…

  • Peter Chee

    June 1, 2010

    Michael, glad you think it's awesome. I'm definitely happy with it — no excuse to not get exercise anymore now that I can spend time reading email while running around on the treadmill.

  • Colleen Carrington

    June 2, 2010

    AWESOME! I've been thinking about doing this for a while. Kudos to you and Anne-Marie 🙂

  • Peter Chee

    June 2, 2010

    Thank you Colleen. I hope you do make one and if you need any additional instruction let me know! Peter

  • Charlotte Freeman

    July 14, 2010

    I built one out of a used treadmill ($199 at Play It Again SPorts), an old folding table, a tie-down strap, a chunk of 2×4, and some packing foam. So far I've been using it for about a month and it's working great. Wish I was losing more weight, but I have leg muscles again, and the more I read about Levine's research at Mayo, the more convinced I am that sitting in chairs is going to kill us all. Here's the link: http://livingsmallblog.com/2010/07/07/treadmill

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  • WalkerDeskRanger.com

    September 24, 2010

    This is a clever way to lose weight without adding hours of working out to an already full schedule! I decided to build my own treadmill desk. I’ve been walking on it and blogging my results.
    My goal is to lose 80 pounds!

  • Dex

    January 15, 2011

    Here’s a fresh idea …… go outside and walk … really, I know it can be done.

    • Daisy

      October 9, 2012

      The whole idea is to walk while you work. This is an amazing idea for those confined to a desk during the working day.

  • Sarah Mandish

    June 14, 2011

    So… a year later. Is it holding up okay? Do you still like it? Would you recommend any changes after using it for awhile? I definitely need a removable one because I also run on my treadmill daily.

    • thinkspace

      July 21, 2011

      Yes, it’s holding up great and I’m using it more now than when I initially built it. No changes that I can think of — it’s still really simple to remove if you need to. I’m actually able to run full speed on it with the table still attached.

  • Gina Spadoni

    October 26, 2011

    I love this idea, Peter! I’m totally going to make one of these for our treadmill — would be GREAT to be exercising while working.

    • Peter Chee

      November 13, 2011

      Did you make your treadmill yet? I still use mine all the time. Going to run on it tonight as I train for #sm21k!

      • Gspadoni

        November 29, 2011

        Yes I did make it! I just shared a pic on Twitter today. I’ve been using it for three+ weeks now. Here’s a link to the pic: http://yfrog.com/z/nw4p3juj (it’s not nearly as nice as yours).
        I found an old shelf in our basement that was left by the previous owners. I don’t know what it was for but it fit over the treadmill arms with a little room to spare so I thought “why not”? As the shelf was made out of plywood, it is really heavy — thus it stays put without needing any bungie cord’s or anything. Then I wanted a second level, so I wandered around Fred Meyer until I found something I thought would work; turns out a wire storage shelf was just the thing!
        It’s great because I can just unplug and then lift the whole thing off easily when I want to go faster (and am not trying to work while moving). I find my limit for speed while typing is about 2 mph right now — I’m most comfortable between 1.2 and 1.5 mph. It’s definitely an adjustment to being able to move and type and think all at once, but it keeps getting easier.
        Thanks so much for the inspiration. And congratulations on the half-marathon. Very awesome that you and Shauna both went for it. I’m still trying to complete a non-stop 5K. But I have a little farther to go to be at an “in-shape” baseline. Regardless, I’m working on it and can’t wait to be able to even contemplate a half marathon. Your challenge thrown out at Maya’s “See you soon” party, by the way, was the thing that got me started using the “Couch to 5K” app, so thank you for that, too!

        • Peter Chee

          November 29, 2011

          This is great that you made something to work for you. Somehow I’ve managed to keep the top on the treadmill while running at full speed. I’ve even watched movies on a laptop while running.
          Glad you’re using the “Couch to 5K” app. Pretty sweet! Sounds like you’re getting in-shape for the Seattle Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon next June! Next time you see Shauna ask her if she’s up for that one!

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