In this article I am going to introduce you to the ergonomic kneeling chair. I have been using this chair since 2007 while I was recovering from chronic lower back issues following a slipped disc injury.
I found it to be my rescue chair as prior to my injury I was sitting slumped in a conventional office chair for 8 or more hours a day, which led to my debilitating lower back problems.
To this day I use it daily as my main office chair despite no longer suffering from any back pain issues.
Below I will explain what the kneeling chair is and outline some of the key benefits it provides you as a back pain sufferer, I will explain why I think this type of chair would make a great investment in helping you and your lower back so lets get started…
The Ergonomic Kneeling Chair – What Is It?
The ergonomic kneeling chair is a revolutionary design that promotes a healthy way of sitting. It does this by helping you keep your posture correctly aligned by promoting a natural S-Curve in your spine.
The main idea behind using it is to distribute your weight over to your shins and buttocks and away from your lower back, thus eliminating strain and pressure placed on your lumber region which is often the case when sitting in a traditional office chair.
I highly recommend using the kneeling chair especially if you suffer from lower back pain as it takes the weight away from the lower back and gives it a chance to heal if you are suffering from an injury or if your regular office chair is causing you lower back problems.
At first glance the kneeling chair may look very unconventional to other chairs found in your office, however with regular use you will see a significant improvement in your spine health and posture as a result.
I don’t say this lightly and it is based on my own experience and daily use when sitting at my desk as a computer programmer.
Due to its simplistic and elegant design, the kneeling chair comes with one basic property which is the height/angle adjuster.
Unlike traditional office chairs where you can adjust the chairs height, backrest, arms, seat position… The kneeling chair has one simple adjustment.
This adjustment will simply increase or decrease the angle of your seated position which will determine the height at which you will sit at on the seat.
There are different types of height adjusters available depending on the type of kneeling chair you buy.
For example, with most wooden types of chairs you will generally get either a swivel adjuster or a wooden pole where you can manually lock it into a given slot:
On some of the more designer wooden rocking chair types you may not get a height adjuster at all:
If you go for the aluminium/metal based kneeling chairs then the height adjusters these come with are either swivel or my favourite gas leaver style where it uses the seats gas to adjust the height like those found on traditional office chairs. I have personally found the gas style adjuster much more convenient to use as I can frequently change my chairs height throughout out the day depending on how I’m sitting.
When Should You Use It?
If your existing chair is causing you lower back issues then I highly recommend you try using a kneeling chair for some portion of the day. It is ideal for both short term and long term use, providing you take breaks and/or you combine it with your regular chair.
It will initially take a few days to get used to sitting in a kneeling chair especially if your body has got used to using your regular office chair. You may find that you feel very tired after a few hours of sitting and this is perfectly normal. The reason for this is that your muscles are working extra hard to keep you sitting upright without a back rest. However, over time this will strengthen the muscles in your core and lower back region.
How Should You Sit On One?
The bulk of your weight will be placed on your bottom when you sit, the knee rest will then allow you to distribute some of this weight over to your knees or shins depending on your positioning. I have found this to be a much safer way to sit for long periods as your lower back is kept in a healthy position without any weight bearing tension.
What Are The Benefits Of Using This Chair?
Now that we have a better idea of what the kneeling chair is, lets go over some of the key benefits you can gain from using it:
1 – Takes the weight off your lower back
Due to the way you sit in a kneeling chair, or more to the point, ‘kneel’ in the chair, this takes a lot of your upper body weight away from your lower back. This takes away any strain or pressure that might be pushing on the lower discs. I especially found this to be the case following my slipped disc injury which I suffered in 2007.
2 – Aids in Improving your posture
When you sit on the kneeling chair, the seat is angled at 20 to 30 degrees with a support pad at the front for your shins/knees. This position naturally creates the ’S’ curve on your spine helping you evenly distribute your body weight.
3 – Prevents Slouching
One of the main problems with traditional office chairs is that it does nothing to stop you from slouching. Slouching for longer periods over a longer time frame will cause all sorts of issues on your spine. However the standard kneeling chair doesn’t come with a back-rest so you don’t have any options to slouch in the first place! Thus protecting your spine…
4 – Works your core muscles
When sitting in a kneeling position you are automatically strengthening your back and ab muscles. The reason being is that there is a lack of back support and hence your body is forced to get the muscles working to keep you sitting upright in the kneeling chair. As I’ve said previously, it is when our muscles are not being actively engaged for long periods of time that causes issues in the lower back due to weaknesses in the supporting muscle groups.
After regular use you will be able to feel an improvement in your core strength as a result.
5 – Small and takes up little space
A non-health benefit I’ve found is that it takes up very little space in the office and can be easily moved around. If you lack space and want something portable then this is the perfect chair for your office.
6 – Economic Price
There are many ergonomic chairs on the market, however a lot of them in my opinion are not fit for purpose as they make it too comfortable to sit on. On top of that, these chairs come with a hefty price tag as well.
The kneeling chair on the other-hand, due to it’s simplicity is very cost effective and you can pick one up in the region of $70-$90.
Can I Get A Kneeling Chair With A Backrest?
You beta ya! – See below, isn’t she a thing of beauty? You can adjust both the seat and also the knee pads with this one. A kneeling chair with a backrest can be used both as a posture chair and if you need to sit back you can simply make use of the backrest that is attached to the base. However, please note that this style of chair comes with a premium price tag in the region of £700 which is vastly different to the price of the standard kneeling chair I’ve mentioned above.
What Are The Drawbacks Of Using This Chair?
Overall, there are NOT many disadvantages that i could find when I sat down to write this post, which I guess reinforces what I’ve already said so far… However the 2 drawbacks you could say are:
1. Not suitable if you have a knee or shin problem
As the main concept of the chair is to rest your shins/knees on the rest pad, this could cause further aggravation if you are suffering from knee or shin problems
2. Tired from sitting for long periods
This is both a drawback but easily a benefit. You see, when using it for long periods, if you don’t take breaks, you will start to feel tired from using it. However, this can easily be combated from taking regular breaks, which is what you should be doing for a healthy back in the first place!
I hope I have provided you with a good in-depth review of the ergonomic kneeling chair and the different types available with both its benefits and drawbacks. Based on my on experience I can’t say thank you to this chair enough for saving my lower back at a crucial point in my career. With a low price point, small footprint and multiple health benefits from using it makes the kneeling chair a worthy investment for your lower back.