Do Kneeling Chairs Work?
There’s a good chance if you made it this far into our website you are either highly interested in the science of ergonomics (if that’s the case- call us, let’s grab a coffee!) or you’re still skeptical about whether or not kneeling chairs are as ergonomic and beneficial as we claim them to be.
Skepticism is warranted when it comes to this style of sitting- we understand that kneeling posture chairs seem a little counterintuitive, so let’s clear up any questions you might have about the benefits of using a kneeling chair at work.
How is your body posture benefited when using a kneeling chair?
- When you use a kneeling chair, your pelvis is tilted forward. The reason for this is to ensure the correct alignment of your spine, and it stops you from hunching forward, creating a C-shape with your spine.
- Opening up your pelvis like this while sitting in a knee chair will help to improve your breathing due to the correct posture. There is less compression of your internal organs when the pelvis is in an open position, and this helps improve digestion.
- When you sit on a kneeling chair, you gradually strengthen your back and core muscles. The strengthening happens because the chair requires you to engaged your abdominal and back muscles because most kneeling chairs don’t come with backrests (although check out our Tokyo model if you’re not ready to get rid of the backrest completely). It will most likely take time for your body to adjust to this new way of sitting and for it to strengthen, so keep in mind it’s perfectly normal to experience discomfort and to have to take frequent breaks at first.
- As opposed to the usual 90° torso/thigh angle that is provided by the traditional right angle chair, there is a 10° trunk/thigh angle provided by the kneeling chair. This angle allows for reduced pressure to the disc found in your spine as you sit and it relieves a lot of pressure in your lumbar (lower) spine.
- When you’re using a kneeling chair, your hips slide forward. The forward angle is essential as your weight gets evenly distributed, and your neck, shoulders, and back are aligned. Therefore, there is less stress on your lower back and prevents spinal compression and helps keep your shoulders effortlessly rolled back and down, allowing for relief in the upper spine and neck as well.
- With specific models of kneeling chairs, you have the option to adjust the height of the seat. This means that you adjust the slope. By so doing, you can control the pressure on your shins. Check out our Alpharetta, Atlanta and Tokyo models if you’re looking to be able to customize the kneeling chair to your body’s needs.
- Pain can be a great distraction as you work- you lose focus, your productivity levels suffer, and you can begin to dread your time at your desk. When you use a kneeling chair, you work with your spinal column upright. Therefore, you have better circulation, and this helps carry nutrients to your brains, helping you focus while you work as your core muscles get engaged. No pain, more gain!
- When you are first transitioning to using a kneeling chair full time, we recommend alternating between your traditional chair that your body is used to your new ergonomic kneeling chair.
Kneeling chairs are proven to offer an excellent alternative to the traditional right angle chair. We get a lot of questions about our rocking balancing kneeling chairs. Many of you are unsure if this style of kneeling chair is appropriate for full-time work, and whether or not you will find them distracting throughout the day.
To be clear- all of our kneeling chairs are designed to be used all day long (although, be sure to get up and walk around every hour- get those steps in!).
The rocking motion of our Austin and Amsterdam models offer the option for “active sitting”. The separated footrests give you plenty of opportunities to sit with your knees on the pads or straight out in front of you (this is particularly good for people hesitant about putting prolonged pressure on the front of their legs). The subtle rocking motion keeps your core engaged, back healthy, and tricks your brain into thinking it’s in full motion, so you do less fidgeting and counting down the minutes until your next break. The emphasis here is on subtle rocking. You do not (and cannot, really) rock in an extreme way that would make you feel out of control or distracted while you work.
One of the most common questions we get from people when they are first introduced to the concept of the kneeling chair is “uh… but how to do I sit in it?” and to that I say “....great question!”. It’s a bizarre-looking piece of furniture and is so far from a traditional looking chair. We’ve been asked on multiple occasions if our Austin kneeling chair is a massage chair! We aren’t 100% how that would work be we appreciate the creative use of imagination (and it always makes us laugh!).
What is the proper way to sit in an ergonomic kneeling chair?
The biggest misconception about our Sleekform kneeling chairs is that they are painful for your knees. We know why- when you look a photo online of someone sitting it, it seems like most of your weight is in your legs. The truth is: Your butt should be carrying the bulk of your weight! Knee pads act as a support for your shins and (to a lesser extent) your knees, but just like a regular chair, your rear end is doing most of the work still.
When you first take a seat in your kneeling chair, you should begin by sitting on your seat, before moving into the kneeling position with the bulk of your weight on your bottom. There’s no need to do any acrobatics- take a seat and then put your knees into place.
It’s essential to vary your position throughout the day.
Here are some sitting options you can take to promote active sitting during your workday:
- Leave your right knee on the knee pad, but place your left foot on the floor with your leg extended in front of you. Do the same but reverse the role of your legs.
- Place both feet on the floor with both legs outstretched in front of you.
As I mentioned above (but I feel it’s important enough to say twice) It’s always a good idea to keep your existing office chair so that you can alternate between the two, especially when starting.
I hope this helps to clear up any questions you have about why you should use a kneeling chair, the benefits of switching to a kneeling chair, as well as any misconceptions you may have about this style of sitting being hard on your knees. If you still have questions or curiosities about anything, please don’t hesitate to reach out! My inbox is always open, and I love talking about ergonomic furniture! You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Still not sure about the benefits of our ergonomic kneeling chairs? Check us out our feature on the Painless movement blog!