DeskCycle Tips & Exercises

The DeskCycle can be used for low and high cardio workouts and for physical therapy. Below are some tips and suggestions for using the bike.


Tip 1. Pedal downward

In order to keep the bike in place you will need to pedal downward.


Tip 2. Start out slow and listen to your body

Start out at the minimum resistance (level 1) and pedal the bike at 10 to 15mph. This will give you a chance to get used to pedaling downward. For those who don’t ride a bike regularly, it will give you a chance to get your muscles used to using the bike. Increase the resistance as you get used to the bike. The first workout should be no more than 30 minutes. If you’re not sore the next day you can increase it.


Tip 3. Keep your upper body still

Keeping your body still makes it easy to focus on your work.

  • Pedal with your legs, not your body.
  • Don’t rock from side to side.
  • Pedaling downward makes this easier.


Tip 4. Sit up straight

Don’t slouch, sit up straight. Sitting up straight while using the DeskCycle will help strengthen your core. It’s also good for your spine.


Tip 5. Keep your back supported

Depending on your chair design and your height, you may need to sit towards the front of your chair in order to use the bike. In this case, place a lumbar cushion behind your back for support. Here is a link to some on Amazon.


Tip 6. Extend your legs

When the pedals are at their farthest point, your legs should be bent at about 25 to 30 degrees from fully extended. This is healthiest for your knees.


 Tip 7. If your knees hit your desk

If your desk is short or if you are tall, your knees may hit the underside of your desk when you pedal the bike.

Below are some tips that will lower your knees:

  • Lower your chair. This can lower your knees by several inches. In most cases this is all you will need to do.
  • Point your toes upward on the upward pedal stroke. When your toes are pointing upward, your knees will be lower by an inch or more. Then point your toes forward on the downward pedal stroke. This exercises your calves as well.
  • Move the bike farther away from you and extend your legs more. Extending your legs lowers your knees. You may not be able to do this if your desk is not very deep underneath.


Below are a couple of suggestions on how you can use the DeskCycle. You can modify these to suit your needs.


Suggestion 1: Exercise while working at your desk

This is a low-speed and low-resistance exercise. When using the bike like this you won’t work up a sweat. However, wou will raise your energy expenditure and burn more calories.

Researchers have linked prolonged levels of low energy expenditure with Metabolic Syndrome 1.

Researchers at CU Boulder measured the energy expenditure on subjects using the DeskCycle. The results are shown in the table below. Other popular desk activities are listed as well.

Note that using the DeskCycle at the minimum resistance setting of 1, which doesn’t feel like exercise at all, your energy expenditure is higher than when standing at your desk.


At Desk Activity Percent Increase in Energy Expenditure Above Sitting at Your Desk
Sitting on an exercise ball 6%
Standing at your desk 30%
Using the DeskCycle at resistance level 1 (1 revolution per second) 50%
Using the DeskCycle at resistance level 3 (1 revolution per second) 100%
Walking on Treadmill desk at 1-1.5mph 100%


Be sure to read and understand all of the tips listed above before reading this section.

We recommend starting at a resistance setting of 1 and pedal for no more than an hour the first day. If you are not sore the next day then add 15 minutes each day until you are where you want to be. After that you can increase the resistance 1 step per week until you find the highest level that still feels comfortable and doesn’t interfere with your work. This gradual increase lets your legs build up strength and endurance. It also lets you get used to pedaling the bike downward. We reccommend not exceededing resistance level 3 when working at your desk.

Pedal Speed: 10 to 15 MPH. This slower pedal speed makes it easy to keep your upper body still.

Duration: 1 to 8 hours per day, 5 days per week

Resistance Setting: This depends on your strengh. Most people will be between 1 and 3. Note that higher resistance levels may make it more difficult for your to keep your upper body still.


  • Burn lots of calories. Use the Online Calorie Calculator for the best accuracy.
  • Improve your health
  • Increase the blood flow to your brain throughout the day
  • Increase your energy level
  • Extend your life; reduce the risk factors associated with the “Sitting Disease”. Note that the sitting disease is a misnomer. It should be called the “being sedentary for long periods of time disease”. It just happens that sitting still is the primary sedentary activity.



Suggestion 2: Get a cardio workout before work

You don’t need clearance at your desk to use the bike this way. It would be difficult to work anyway while using the bike at the high intensity.

In 2009, the Surgeon General recommended that people get at least 150 minutes of moderate to intense exercise per week—30 minutes per day for at least five days per week.

For moderate to intensity physical activity, a person’s heart rate should be between 50 to 70% of his or her maximum heart rate.

An estimate of a person’s maximum heart rate can be obtained by subtracting the person’s age from 220. For example, for a 50-year-old person, the estimated maximum heart rate would be 220 – 50 years = 170 beats per minute (bpm).

50% of this would be 170 x 0.5 = 85 bpm for moderate workout

70% would be 170 x 0.7 = 119 bpm for an intense workout

Pedal Speed: 25 to 30 MPH

Duration: 30 minutes total per day. You can break this up into 3, 10-minute sessions.

Resistance Setting: This depends on how in-shape you are. Most people will be between 1 and 4.

Self Heart Rate Check: Place your finger on your wrist and count the number of pulses for 15 seconds. Then multiply this by 4.
See WikiHow for details.

Start slow: The first workout should be at a pedal speed of 15mph and a resistance setting of 1. Increase the speed each day until you are up to 25 mph. Then increase the resistance each week until your are up to your target heart rate. Consult your doctor If you feel weak or dizzy during these workouts.

Here’s an excellent book outlining the benefits of exercise on the brain.
Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain