When it comes to working a busy desk job, you may not always have time to spend getting the proper amount of recommended exercise per day. Even if you had the time, who wants to go to a crowded gym and have to wait for a machine that is in use by another person? You can always exercise outside, but that may not be possible year round depending upon where you live.

While most of the devices come in the form of an elliptical motion, a few devices use a swinging type motion to help keep you active.


  • Space saving design
  • Compact and lightweight, easier to move
  • Lower cost


  • Simpler design, less overall functionality
  • Lower stability compared to larger machines due to lighter weight
  • Noise can distract coworkers in quiet office environment


  • Cubii
  • DeskCycle
  • Vive
  • Sitflow
  • Hovr

Space Requirements

Unless you have a very limited amount of ground real estate beneath your desk, you should have enough room for either the elliptical or swing motion devices. Depending upon which brand and model that you go with, you can expect to need about a 22″ (55 cm) wide, 26″ ( 66 cm ) long and 12″ ( 30 cm ) tall area for the elliptical version.

The needed height may be a more limiting factor depending on your desk height over the length or width of the machine. Due to the design of the elliptical motion, your feet are going to need to be elevated off the ground. DeskCycle recommends that you should have at least 27″ ( 68 cm ) of height clearance for users 5’8″ ( 1.73 m ) or shorter.

Consumers interested in the swing type motion have 2 options available depending upon brand

  • Hanging
  • Floor stand

The hanging version uses a bracket to attach to the bottom of your desk with an adjustable strap that attaches to the device that you rest your feet on. Both Hovr and Sitflow recommend that you suspend the foot rest about 2″ ( 5 cm ) above the ground.

If you go with the floor standing model, you’ll need to have a 22″ ( 56 cm ) wide, 21″ ( 53 cm ) long and 19″ ( 48 cm ) tall space.

Elliptical vs Swing

If you are wondering which type of exerciser to use, the most important consideration may be the amount of vertical space under your desk. The swing type devices require less space overall as the foot rest sits closer to the ground compared to the ellipticals.

Additionally, while using the ellipticals, your kneels will move up and down as you pedal. While the distance from the bottom of the motion to the top won’t be as large as riding a bike, it is still something to consider.

Whereas with the swinging motion you can expect a somewhat static position with your knees as the lower part of your leg will do the majority of the moving.

If you have the available space for either type, the most important concern is most likely the amount of exercise you’ll get. Due to the nature of how the ellipticals are designed and depending upon the type of model you get, you can typically expect to get more exercise from an elliptical over a swing motion.

This is because the majority of the ellipticals have various different levels of resistance that you can apply when using the machine. As the resistance increases, the more strength it takes to move the pedal in a complete revolution. Thus, more calories are burned over the same distance as more work is required.

The swinging motion doesn’t offer a way to increase the resistance unfortunately. That said, the ellipticals only offer a single form of motion, that is pedaling. While the swing type devices allow you to move in a much larger range of motion overall such as forward, backward, side to side, diagonal or a circular motion. This type of variety in motion can help further exercise the different types of ligaments and muscles around the knee due to the different movement.

Another benefit to using an elliptical is that the majority of the models offered have digital tracking setup. Meaning that you can track your overall exercise activity such as speed, time, distance pedaled, calories burned and other metrics. Some brands offer a community functionality as well where you can upload your workouts to share with friends or other users.

As far as pedal design goes for the ellipticals, depending upon the model some offer a smaller pedal like you would expect on a bike with a strap to help keep your feet secured or use a larger pedal that spans across the entire length of your foot. Some users may find the larger pedal more comfortable but it would be a preference/comfort type deal as either one would provide the same type of motion.

A disadvantage to the hanging swing motion exerciser is that it isn’t as portable as a floor stand model or an elliptical because of needing to attach the bracket to a material that can support it.

Both Hovr and SitFlow recommend that you attach the hanging bracket into a piece of wood at least 1″ ( 3 cm ) thick.


Of course, another important deciding factor is the price of the device. Not considering any sales or special offers, you can expect to spend between the following

  • Elliptical: $25-450
  • Swing: $70-200

Whether you decide between an elliptical or swing under desk leg exerciser, either one can help you get closer to achieving your exercise goals.