Dr. McBabe’s Walking Desk Product Review
The only way in which Dr. McBabe's Walking Desk Platform is superior to a roughcut plank of wood with adjustable straps is that it won't give you any splinters. If people actually started using these things at gyms you'd hear howls from gym owners and fellow users alike.
[Editors Note – June 1, 2018 – as far as we can tell this company is no longer in business. Below is the original review from 2013.]
At WorkWhileWalking we’ve gone through great efforts to educate treadmill desk enthusiasts on the importance of proper equipment selection and ergonomic settings. Then along comes a product that brings it all into focus by literally violating every piece of sage advice that we’ve ever passed along to prospective treadmill desk users.
In short, the only way in which Dr. McBabe’s Walking Desk Platform is superior to a roughcut plank of wood with two adjustable straps is that it won’t give you any splinters.
There are numerous promoters out there trying to ride the coattails of the legitimate treadmill desk revolution by introducing poorly engineered products, making false health claims or both. You can guess what category we feel this one falls into. Apparently investors have had the same opinion about McBabe’s Kickstarter campaign (pulled), which failed – as have other similar attempts at strapping a board to the arms of a treadmill and calling it a funding-worthy product.
So at this point you’re surely wondering is Dr. McBabe actually a doctor? Founder Laurie McCabe claims she earned her PhD in organizational leadership and human resources development from Regent University in 2012 after spending 18 months writing an entire doctoral dissertation while walking 3 mph. We’ve confirmed that McCabe is not a medical doctor and apparently has no formal training in ergonomics to speak of. According to her website, “McBabe” was a recurring nickname going back to high school, continuing through college and beyond.
If nothing else, by walking at 3 mph (the same exertion level as climbing stairs), McCabe herself isn’t “treadmill desking” in the traditional sense of raising her Basal Metabolic Rate by walking at the recommended 1-2 mph, she’s exercising and sweating. At this speed it is nearly impossible for anyone to type or to focus on their work.
Does the platform have any redeeming value?
For getting actual typing done without risk of injury (carpal tunnel, neck, shoulder strain, etc.), no. For holding your laptop up so you can watch a Netflix movie? Sure, if your deck is long enough and you can safely reach the STOP and speed setting buttons on the console without risk of stumbling. In this hilarious YouTube testimonial McCabe, off camera, can be heard feeding lines to her subject, who raves about her ability to type at 2.3 mph, yet her hands never touch the keyboard the entire time.
Giving treadmill desking a bad name
Bring one of these things into the gym with you and two things are likely to happen. First, if your gym is one of those where treadmill time is already scant enough, you’ll likely get ugly glares, or worse, from fellow gym members who’d rather you worked at home than take up one of their cardio machines doing your email; or they may enjoy reading your confidential PowerPoint over your shoulder. Second, gym owners will surely freak out about liability issues, and they will not be very happy when their $8,000 treadmills start burning out from people using them at under 2 mph for hours on end.
If you still want to try it…
You say we haven’t talked you out of wasting $80 on plank and two straps? No worries. McBabe’s website says she’ll take a return for up to 60 days. So give it a whirl and please let us know what you think of it after 60 days of regular use. You may be the first, though. There are no user reviews to be had and McCabe’s website has an Alexa traffic rating that indicates there are 5 million websites with more traffic. The world does not seem to be beating a path to this particular door. Our recommendation? Run, don’t walk, away from this product. At a good 3 mph clip.