Build Your Own

My treadmill desk setup when it was first completed.

My treadmill desk setup when it was first completed.

If you’d like to build your own homemade treadmill desk, here are my suggestions on how to do it:

Supplies needed:
– Basic Treadmill (mine was a $75 Craigslist buy)
– (2) 8′ boards (mine were 12″ across)
– (2) 48″ adjustable shelving rails
– (4) 10″ adjustable shelving brackets
– (6-8) Drywall anchors
– Misc. screws
– Saw
– Drill
– Measuring tape
– Level (helpful but optional)
– Paint (optional)


  • Setup your treadmill in the location you are planning to use as your workspace
  • Measure and mark locations for the shelving rails.  I placed mine 30″ apart.  Measure carefully to make sure they are parallel to each other and perpendicular to the floor.  A level is handy for this step.
  • Mount rails using drywall anchors if necessary.  Remember that these shelves will hold your laptop, monitor and other valuable items.  You don’t want them pulling out of the wall.
  • Install shelving brackets.  Place the first set so your monitor(s) will be at eye level when walking on the treadmill.  Place second set at a height a few inches above the height of your monitor.
  • Cut boards.  Start by cutting both 8′ boards in half.  Places two of the cut pieces on the shelving brackets and another across the arms of your treadmill to form the foundation of your work platform.
  • Carefully setup your laptop and secondary monitor on the first shelf.  Remember, the shelf is not anchored so you need to be careful to not let your computer fall.
  • Determine a good working height for your wireless keyboard and mouse.  I used double-sided mounting tape to temporarily hold the base of my work platform in place.  I used two different cardboard boxes to determine the ideal height for my keyboard.  There was a 6″ box and an 8″ box that I used for an hour each, evaluating for fatigue and strain as I worked.  The ideal height for my purposes was 8″.  This allowed my forearms and wrists to be perfectly straight.
  • For some, the arms of your treadmill may be angled down.  I leveled this out by attaching a 1″ wide strip of wood to the front edge of my platform base.  It is essential that your working surface be level.
  • Using the remaining 4′ length of shelving material, I cut two 8″ lengths to be the risers for my work surface.   You are left with a 32″ board for your work surface.
  • Set the work surface on top of the risers and attach with nails or screws.  I used a nail gun but a hammer or screwdriver would work as well.
  • Center the work surface assembly on the platform base, mark, and attach with screws or nails from below.
  • Secure the wall shelving to the brackets using the screw holes in the brackets.
A closer look at my work surface and shelving.

A closer look at my work surface and shelving.

Remember, this is a DIY project.  My design works well for someone that is 5’11 and has the same torso and arm length as me.  You will need to work to find the perfect height for you.  You might have to take your setup apart a few times and make adjustments to find the perfect height for you.  It is key that your wrists be straight to avoid fatigue.  The first day I worked on a surface that was too low, with my wrists bent backwards just a bit, and the pain lasted for several days after that.

Once you have your treadmill desk setup just the way you want it, you can attach the work platform to the treadmill arms with screws.  My platform is held by one screw on each arm.  You will need to pre-drill holes in the metal treadmill arms.  I painted my treadmill desk using Behr Premium Plus Enamel primer and paint in one.  This has provided a durable one coat finish for my work surfaces.

Below is a small gallery of images that might help as you design your own treadmill desk:

walking treadmill desk treadmill desk ikea treadmill desk how to build a treadmill desk homemade treadmill desk










Disclaimer: I am not an ergonomics professional nor am I a professional carpenter.  These instructions are offered for use “at your own risk.”  It is possible that injury or damage could occur during this project.  Proceed at your own risk.


Build Your Own — 5 Comments

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    • Hi Tom… I can only speak from my experience. My traditional treadmill has served my needs just fine for almost 2 years of walking and working. I know these units aren’t geared for slow walking but it seems to be holding up without any issues. I would love to have one of the treadmill models made to use with a desk but don’t have that kind of cash. I am sure the walking experience would be a bit smoother but I am happy with the results I get from my current expenditure of money.

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