IKEA Jerker Do-It-Yourself Treadmill Desk

July 26, 2010

The muscle soreness I'm experiencing today after walking around Comic-Con all weekend made me realize: I've got to incorporate more standing and walking into my daily routine. Maybe a treadmill desk? There are some expensive desks made to fit over a treadmill (sold separately), but someone on Hacker News modified an IKEA Jerker desk to do the job. The discontinued but beloved model of desk, which I already own, plus one of those utilitarian wire shelving units gives you a wide monitor stand with plenty of component/wire storage and keyboard and mouse room. Click on the image to see the whole setup. It's not the prettiest thing in the world, but it looks really tempting to try. The owner says:

Coding while walking works fine for me. As far as the mechanics, it's not hard to walk and type at the same time. 2MPH isn't very fast. I can't draw with the mouse while walking, so the occasional graphics work has to be done standing. Mentally, the consistent motion sometimes helps with flow, sometimes not. It's hard to tell, but switching between walking and standing seems to be enough for me to support the various required mental states. I've been doing this for about two months now, and while I have no hard data, I've done what I consider to be some of my best and most creative work ever in the last two weeks, so worst-case the walking isn't too great an obstacle to my coding. And this is indeed a huge improvement for my back over both sitting and standing.

I pace while I think, so this whole walking-while-typing thing is something I'd love to try. For now, I may just adjust my Jerker tabletop to standing position, and try that for awhile, before making the treadmill investment.
My Treadmill Desk [Hacker News]

I’ve been trying to switch up how I sit / stand at my desk every few hours. I’ve got two different ergonomic chairs and a jury-rigged standing desk (laptop + kitchen island + box). I do like the idea of the treadmill desk, but I’d really like to try it out before I completely rearrange my office trying to fit it in.

Thursday Bram [+3]
Jul 26 10 at 5:58 pm

I’ve been toying with the idea of setting up a stationary bike at my desk and using it to generate electricity while I work. It might be a little more difficult to set up at a desk, but the savings on my energy bill would be nice.

Michael C Gorman [+1]
Jul 27 10 at 9:23 am

Isn’t that why Leo sets on that big rubber ball? It takes some core muscles to keep your balance.
I like the treadmill idea but would want to be able to switch back to sitting easily.

In the olden-days professional drafting departments had drafting boards that could switch from sitting to standing with the flick of a lever and pulling the spring balanced board up or down. I just found one, but I’m sure the price is astronomical (I found the price on one, $3450):

Another idea I’ve seen is to have your desk at standing height and then use a stool when you want to sit.

Here’s a post by Jamis at 37 Signals about switching to stand-up. The comments are good too:

I may have to think about doing this myself.



RobShaver [+3]
Jul 27 10 at 11:49 am

Looks great, but is that HAL’s eye I see on the left?

Roger Tessier
Jul 28 10 at 5:17 pm

Gina, sorry for off-topic. Is JavaScript which open a full-size picture when clicking on a thumbnail a part of WordPress platform? It’s pretty neat.

“isn’t that why Leo sets on that big rubber ball?”

Rob, BTW you can buy it here http://goo.gl/Rt01 (I did)

Aug 26 10 at 3:43 am

Hi Gina,

I would be interested to know if you have any advice based on your experience over the last month with this type of set up.

I am considering a similar treadmill desk and work long hours on a computer.

What have you found to be the best way to use a mouse and keyboard? Is it easy enough to use a laptop and integrated laptop tracker pad, or would I need an external keyboard and mouse?



Aug 30 10 at 10:38 pm

If the IKEA Jerker is discontinued do you have a recommended alternative for someone in the market for a customizable desk like that?

scary but one of the smartest ways that I can think of to get geeks in shape…

techrandy [+1]
Sep 8 10 at 10:47 pm

Comments are closed. Thanks for reading!