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If you’re experiencing discomfort or pain at your desk after more than a year into working from home, it may be time to consider more ergonomically friendly seating, like a kneeling chair. While kneeling chairs may look a little unconventional to some, they’re just another way to improve your overall comfort and efficiency.
“Ergonomics plays a vital role while sitting at home working,” said Jon Cinkay, a physical therapist at the Hospital for Special Surgery. “[Kneeling chairs are] another option to help the employee determine what makes them the most comfortable, and if it helps set [them] up for success, that’s a win.”
If you’re in the market to upgrade your work-from-home setup, we’ve consulted experts on finding the best laptop stands, adjustable desks, ergonomic keyboards, ergonomic mice and even noise-cancelling headphones. A good kneeling chair can work jointly with these other products, encouraging proper sitting posture and reducing neck strain. Thinking of getting a kneeling chair? Here’s everything you need to know first, including why kneeling chairs are important to your physical health in the first place and what to consider while shopping for one.
SKIP AHEAD Kneeling chairs and ergonomics
Notable kneeling chairs 2021
Based on guidance from experts, we highlighted some kneeling chairs below that can help improve lumbar support, reduce pain and keep you focused throughout the day.
Affordable kneeling chair: Office Star
This basic kneeling chair comes with two thick foam knee cushions to support the legs while sitting and a knob for height adjustment. It has wheels on the bottom and a 360-degree swivel for easy mobility around your home office. If you want to test out a kneeling chair without shelling out too much, this chair is a great option.
Comfortable kneeling chair: Sleekform
This ergonomic kneeling chair’s height can be adjusted from 21 to 28 inches via a knob at its base, and it can hold up to 250 pounds. The cushions are extra thick (4 inches) and are made of durable mesh. Sleekform’s chairs also have built-in rollers for mobility.
Foldable kneeling chair: Flash
This affordable kneeling chair can be easily folded up and stored away when not in use, making it ideal if you’re low on space. The wood chairs, which can be manually height adjusted, have two fabric-padded cushions for added comfort. This model comes in two colors: Black and Grey.
Rocking kneeling chair: Varier
Varier’s kneeling chair is sleekly designed with a wood base and colorful fabric cushion. But what’s unique is its rocking base, which helps your body move throughout the day, maintain core strength and improve balance. The chairs are height adjustable, have a weight limit of 240 pounds and come in eight different colors.
Kneeling chair with backrest: BetterPosture
This chair comes with a backrest for added lumbar support, though it can be removed. It’s set on rollers and the pads are made of thick memory foam for a comfortable seat. These chairs can hold up to 275 pounds, and the seat can be adjusted between 21 and 28 inches.
Kneeling chairs and ergonomics
Ergonomics is all about making your workstation comfortable to increase your productivity, said Cinkay. Sitting for hours in any position can put stress on your shoulders, back and neck and cause long-term health issues like carpal tunnel and neck strain. The way you sit matters, too: Slouching or poor sitting posture can cause anterior pelvic tilt, which forces your spine to curve, explained Ashley Cruz, a chiropractor in New York and founder of Cruz Chiropractic and Wellness.
Kneeling chairs take pressure off your lower back by shifting your weight forward and allowing you to be supported by your shins and core, putting your body into a more natural “S” shape, said Cruz. One small study found that kneeling chairs do a better job maintaining your body’s natural curve than standard chairs, and another study published in Annals of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine found that kneeling chairs can reduce back pain. Kneeling chairs can also help engage your core and prevent slouching, which can stop your spine from curving, Cruz said.
“We spent so much time in our chairs, especially as we work from home,” she said. “When you sit in a typical desk chair, you’re left to your own devices and may hunch forward. Kneeling chairs may help fix this.”
Sitting in any type of chair for an extended amount of time is not a good idea.The key is scheduled movement: Cinkay recommended standing up and moving around for a few minutes after 30 or 40 minutes of uninterrupted sitting.
How to shop for a kneeling chair
Kneeling chairs typically come with a knee pad attached, allowing the user to lean forward in a kneeling position while working, said Cinkay. In order for a chair to have any ergonomic benefits, its seat height must be adjustable, said Cruz. The next most important consideration is comfort. If possible, look for a kneeling chair with back support to additionally help maintain your lumbar curve.
“The more adjustable it is, the greater [the] opportunity to be more comfortable and, therefore, more successful,” said Cinkay.
Like with any ergonomic chair, make sure the chair accommodates your body shape and size, and is appropriate for your daily work. Most kneeling chairs can support up to 250 pounds, less than a standard ergonomic chair. Kneeling chairs are also typically more affordable than standard chairs, said Cinkay. But don’t assume a chair is higher quality just because of a higher price tag.
“You’ll see some brands that have these sleek, expensive chairs that are super thin with no padding or support,” Cruz said.