We can all agree that movement is important. Unfortunately, if you have a desk job, it’s hard to keep your blood flowing. You can try a standing desk, which is still static. And most offices frown upon you sticking a treadmill under your desk. Enter Cubii Pro, which is the bottom half of an elliptical for under your desk or workspace.
The idea behind Cubii is that you can remain seated at your desk but still get in some form of a workout. It’s not going to get you ready for a marathon, but it’s good for blood flow and to keep you moving. At the very least, it’s better than doing nothing while seated, whether you’re working, watching television, or playing video games. Cubii makes it easy to incorporate movement into being seated, with a dead-simple setup, companion app, and very quality construction.
Setting the Cubii Pro up was an absolute snap. I unboxed it, and Cubii helpfully provided all the tools I needed to get up and running. They not only provide screws and instructions but also thoughtfully included a screwdriver. Which is quite handy, because there’s an inverse relationship in my house between the need for a screwdriver and the location of all known screwdrivers (I once had to install smoke detectors with a pocketknife), so Cubii’s tossing in a screwdriver was much appreciated. In any case, setup was quite simple and mostly consisted of making sure I had the screw threading lined up correctly with the foot pedals. The device is extremely solid and well made. The pedals can be flipped up and down for maintenance, and the action of the pedal rotation is extraordinarily smooth thanks to wheels that stay in contact through each rotation. Even at high resistance, there’s no stutter or hesitation in the mechanism, which frankly is better than the ellipticals I’ve tried in some gyms. The company also includes two disks for rolling chairs to keep them in place in the event of super-enthusiastic pedaling.
The actual act of using the Cubii takes a little adjusting. For one, you need to figure out seat placement and Cubii placement to keep anything from sliding around. You also need to get used to doing two things at once, pedaling away and also typing/gaming/reading. It’s not difficult, but it does feel unnatural for the first minute or two. It’s more comfortable in a regular chair, but I also was able to use it sitting on the couch. The only issue with Cubii is that depending on your leg length and the desk or table you plan to work at, you may need to sit a little further back than you might normally unless you like banging your knees on each rotation. You can adjust the resistance to make it more interesting and challenging or keep it low if you want to just gently pedal all day. If you’re unsure about whether Cubii will fit, they recommend 25 inches of space from the underside of the desk to the floor and 2-3 inches from the desk to your knees. Cubii itself is 23.5″x17″x10″, so it should fit under most standard desks.
Cubii Pro also comes with a companion app, and the device connects to your phone via Bluetooth. You can run it without connecting it, but you do need to charge it if you want to sync it and make your little biker avatar move along as you pedal. It allows you to set goals based on miles (or kilometers), calories, or stride, and you can view your daily, weekly, and monthly progress. There are also social elements if you want to connect with other people using Cubiis, or if you want to connect your Cubii Pro to a Fitbit or Apple Healthkit, you can capture those precious steps and beat your cousin’s step count for the day.
There are a few limitations to consider with Cubii that might or might not be dealbreakers depending on your needs. One, this is solely for seated exercise, and you cannot and should not use it standing. Second, as I mentioned above, you may need to adjust how far you sit from the desk to keep your kneecaps intact. Finally, it’s 25lbs, which isn’t heavy per se but it’s not something you’re going to want to drag around everywhere. It’s also $349, and while you could get a low-end full-size elliptical for the same price, the build quality and overall construction of Cubii is likely significantly better. I thought Cubii was a lot of fun to use, and what was interesting was how much my 6-year-old loved playing with Cubii too. He wanted me to drag it over to his favorite chair, and as he played on his Switch and watched TV, he slowly pedaled. It’s not a replacement for keeping active, but it’s better than just sitting and not moving. Cubii said they’ve received feedback from gamers who like it, so there’s definitely a use case for the Cubii as a companion while you’re marathoning Super Smash Brothers. I also found the Cubii Pro to be a good recovery tool. I had a very rough leg day last week, and instead of just sitting on the couch and being sad about my hamstrings going on strike, I gently pedaled on Cubii which helped immensely when I had to actually stand. In other news, creating a workout program of 45 minutes of squats and lunges should definitely fall under some sort of human rights violation.
Cubii is a bit of a niche, but if you’re in the market for a way to stay fit at your desk, it’s a phenomenal choice. The social aspects and Fitbit/Healthkit integration add a lot of value, and the app lets you keep track of your progress daily. It’s not cheap, but if it’s something you’re going to use daily, it’s a worthwhile investment.
The Cubii Pro sells for $349, and it is available directly from the manufacturer.
Source: Manufacturer provided a review sample
What I Liked: Smooth operation; Healthkit and Fitbit integration with the companion app; 8 levels of resistance; Easy to set up
What Needs Improvement: Expensive; Use with a low desk may bang knees; Included charging cable is a little short