Cubii manufactures seated workout elliptical devices that allow users to get a workout in while they’re working, watching TV, or really doing anything seated at home. It’s a unique product to say the least.
In this article we’ll review whether this type of exercise machine is actually healthy, compare it to treadmill desks, and highlight some of the pros and cons.
Are Low-Intensity Workouts Effective for Overall Health?
Low-intensity workouts are defined by the Cleveland Clinic as workouts that increase heart rate but still allow you to have a conversation. Typically the heart rate stays below 50% of its maximum capacity. We would categorize Cubii as a low-intensity exercise machine, although this will vary based on the fitness of the user.
We know from previous medical research that sedentary behavior is associated with increased all-cause mortality. The linked research study analyzed data from over 50,000 patients and demonstrated that total sitting time was associated with worse health outcomes. We evolved to be moving intermittently throughout the day, and extended periods of sitting are detrimental to human health.
Given this information, we believe that the Cubii is likely to be effective for improving health overall. Even though it’s used while sitting, it increases heart rate and shifts sedentary behavior into active behavior, which is beneficial. Someone who used the Cubii for one hour per workday would have one hour less of sedentary time.
Will Cubii Help Me Lose Weight?
There hasn’t been any research specifically on the Cubii and weight loss, but any type of exercise will lead to reductions in weight if calories consumed aren’t in excess of maintenance (the amount required to sustain bodily functions).
A 2019 medical review examined the health benefits of indoor cycling, which is very similar to indoor seated elliptical use, and one of the categories analyzed was weight loss. In all 9 individual medical trials that tracked body mass, the patients performing indoor cycling exercises lost weight on average.
High-intensity exercise tends to cause greater weight loss because it burns more calories, but low-intensity exercise like the Cubii is a great weight loss option for older patients or those who aren’t physically fit enough yet for higher-intensity exercise (like a patient who is morbidly obese).
Another benefit of the Cubii for weight loss is that it may be easier for patients to sustain a consistent workout regimen given that the low intensity makes the workouts more comfortable. Higher-intensity exercises like sprints can be physically uncomfortable, even for trained athletes, and this can lead to people quitting altogether.
Should I Sign Up For Cubii Studio+?
Cubii’s follow-along workouts come as part of their workout app, and the service is called Cubii Studio+.
Cubii Studio+ is billed at a subscription rate of $7.99 per month, or $74.99 for a year when paid upfront.
For consumers with high discretionary income, signing up for Cubii Studio+ makes sense because it’s likely to make the workouts more engaging and fun, which can improve workout consistency.
We don’t believe overall that this subscription is necessary though, and especially not for lower-income consumers. This isn’t a complicated device or one that requires expert instruction; you just pedal on it like a stationary bike to burn calories. And since you can use the Cubii while watching TV, working, or surfing the internet, we don’t believe paying more for a follow-along workout makes sense economically for most consumers.
One of the main benefits of a personal trainer is they can reduce risk of injuries to novice athletes, but there is essentially no risk of injury with the Cubii since it’s a stationary device, so we don’t recommend paying for a trainer workout subscription in general.
Which Cubii Device Should I Purchase?
The Cubii devices have very similar technical specs, and very similar prices (ranging from $269-$299), so many consumers ask us which device we recommend they purchase.
If you’re set on purchasing a Cubii, we recommend the Cubii Go. It retails for $299 at the time of writing, but is often on sale.
Like the other Cubii models, it syncs with Apple HealthKit and with FitBit, as well as the Cubii app, but it’s 25% lighter than the other Cubii models which make it more portable and convenient to move around the house as you complete your seated workouts. The Cubii Go weighs 19.4 pounds.
The Cubii Go also has a newly-designed flywheel called the ZeroGravitii Flywheel, that’s quieter than previous models. This means it will be less distracting when used while watching TV or during work meetings.
At the time of writing, the Cubii Go is significantly cheaper on their website than on Amazon ($299 vs. $328).
The Cubii JR1 (their oldest model) is currently cheaper on Amazon than on Cubii’s website ($249 vs. $269).
Clearly the company doesn’t set fixed prices across different sales channels, so checking both Cubii’s official Amazon Store and their website before making a purchase is worth doing.
Cubii Vs. Treadmill Desk
One of the most popular workout devices used at the home and office is the treadmill desk. It operates on the same principle as the Cubii; reducing hours spent sitting by engaging in low-intensity exercise should improve health and not impact work productivity.
There is extensive medical research on the efficacy of treadmill desks for improving overall health. A review published in the Preventative Medicine journal analyzed whether standing and treadmill desks could improve the health of patients with sedentary office jobs.
The study authors found that treadmill desks were more effective than standing desks. Users of standing desks saw improvements in HDL cholesterol levels, postprandial (after-meal) blood glucose levels, and there were no negative impacts on work performance.
A separate clinical trial found that participants intermittently using a treadmill desk had significantly lower cortisol levels than those with a traditional sitting desk. Cortisol is the main stress hormone, so this suggests that the treadmill desk decreased chronic stress levels over time.
We would recommend a treadmill desk over the Cubii, because there’s more medical research backing its efficacy. A treadmill desk also engages more of the body in movement, which should lead to superior outcomes compared to the Cubii which only engages the legs.
Cubii Negative Reviews
Before purchasing any expensive workout device, it’s important to read some of the negative reviews to accurately weigh the pros and cons.
Some people who bought the Cubii JR2 device posted 1-star reviews on Amazon. Several of the reviews complained of device failures. A consumer named Hai Shao, who was a verified purchaser, posted the following: “the two rubber strips at the bottom (to stop the device from sliding) came off after less than 400 strides. i have it on a hardwood floor surface. the wheel stopper ring slips off the fastening hole easily so can’t really exercise from a rolling chair. no other issues so far, but overall disappointed after a few hours since unboxing.”
Some other commenters complained that the device wasn’t ergonomic enough, making it challenging to comfortably use while watching TV or using the computer, which is the entire purpose of the device.
Cubii Pros and Cons
Here are the pros and cons of the Cubii device in our opinion:
- Can increase daily calories burned
- Usable by people of all ages and fitness levels
- Less expensive than most gyms after 1 year
- No medical research proving efficacy
- Seems inferior to treadmill desks for overall health
- Follow-along workout classes require monthly subscription
What muscles does the Cubii work?
Because it’s an elliptical device, the Cubii will work the quads, hamstrings and calves primarily. It’s a lower-body workout that will engage the leg muscles.
Does Cubii work?
The Cubii is likely to be effective for reducing sedentary time, and burning calories, if it’s used regularly. However we don’t believe it’s the best workout product for these outcomes; a treadmill desk would be better in our opinion.
Does Cubii burn calories?
Cubii is a low-intensity exercise machine, so it does burn calories. Any type of movement burns calories. Even walking is an effective way to burn calories.
Cubii hasn’t published any research regarding how many calories are burned per fixed unit of time on average.
Is Cubii good for seniors?
We believe that Cubii is likely to be a good option for seniors, because it’s a low-impact and low-intensity form of exercise. Seniors are more sedentary on average than younger people, and the Cubii can help them be active for more hours of the day, even when sitting on the couch.
Because it’s low-impact, the Cubii is less of a risk for joint injury than many forms of cardio like running.
Can you stand on a Cubii?
We don’t recommend trying to stand on a Cubii and use it like a traditional elliptical machine. This is not what it’s made for, and will increase risk of falls and injuries.