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The Sitting Series: Kneeling Chairs

What chair is best for me and my health?

Not everyone is lucky enough to sit back in a la-z-boy at work. Ergonomic chairs that offer improved leg, pelvic and lumbar positioning are increasing in popularity, but they still have their own downsides. Using one of these chairs can be taxing on your muscles and may take some getting used to. In this series we will go through various chairs, advantages, disadvantages and sitting tips in general.

Kneeling chair

The benefit of kneeling chairs is that the knees are below the hips which allows the lumbar spine to have the ideal curvature. Using some tried and tested engineering knowledge from our friends in Pisa (with that not-so-straight tower) we know that posture at one end of the spine should affect the other end. In theory this should lead to an ideal posture throughout the body. In reality, this is only true if your desk and the rest of your workstation are set up correctly, and if you don’t slouch.
Unlike other chairs, kneeling chairs don’t require the user to place their feet on the floor to displace pressure. This means they are great to use for a desk at any height as the user can be fully supported away from the floor.

Kneeling chairs are also very generic with only the height as a variable feature. Meaning there is no back support to alter or tilt to change. This fact means the chair can easily be altered for multiple users. This makes the stool ideal for a communal desk or perhaps a desk used by separate people over different shifts.

Unfortunately due to the design of the stool a bar in the centre makes it difficult to sit at unless wearing trousers or shorts. This factor is worth taking into account when getting these kinds of chairs.

This chair also may not be ideal for someone with knee issues. The knees are usually bent at slightly less than 90 degrees, which can put undue pressure on the knee joint – not ideal for meniscal injuries or problematic osteoarthritis.

This chair also requires some postural strength. Without the added lumbar support from the back of a chair the erector spinae muscles in your back will need to keep you upright. Although this is a great way to strengthen your back, it will take a while to build that strength to allow you to sit comfortably all day.

By Tristan White MOst DO ND