Kneeling chairs, designed to relieve back pain and improve posture, are nothing new. The first kneeling chair was designed by a Norwegian and made of wood rather than metal like some are today.
The kneeling chairs have been around for hundreds of years, and their ergonomic design has been a popular alternative to traditional desk chairs in modern times.
In a kneeling chair, the user’s thighs drop to about a 60-degree angle and the body’s weight is partially supported by their shins. The angle opens the pelvis and aligns the spine so that proper posture is easier to maintain, and core muscles strengthen. Many people alternate between a traditional and kneeling chair to improve posture and relieve back pain. There are two basic types, rolling styles and rocking types.
Are Ergonomic Kneeling Chairs Good for You?
When you sit in a normal desk chair, even one that’s ergonomically designed, you eventually stop using proper posture. Improper posture like slouching or slumping causes spine problems and muscle fatigue and strain.
Ergonomic kneeling chairs as a primary or secondary seat at your desk or while watching TV, is good for you because you are forced to maintain good posture and build stronger core muscles. Your breathing and digestion are better because your pelvis is more open. Circulation is also improved because of the better body position.
Do Kneeling Chairs Hurt Your Knees?
While using a kneeling chair to improve posture or relieve back pain, your weight is sometimes more on you shins and not your knees, but good cushioning and frequent breaks are important, regardless of the chair design, because prolonged use may cause discomfort or pain in your shins and knees. No one should sit in any one position for long periods.
Knee or shin pain can easily be prevented by getting up and sitting down carefully and by taking short breaks. Rocking kneeling chairs can be easier on knees, because when your rock, you switch weight off them. Many people switch between a kneeling and traditional desk chair to prevent putting stress on any one body part or structure.
Kneeling Chair Benefits
There are five main benefits to kneeling chairs
• Improved posture and spinal alignment - Your pelvis is tilted forward, and your spine maintains a healthy, natural S curve.
• Better breathing and digestion - Because the pelvis is opened while a person uses a kneeling chair, internal organs are less compressed than they would be in a traditional chair.
• Stronger core and back muscles - When sitting in a chair, you eventually start to rest on the desk in front of you or the chairs back and arms. You can’t do that in a kneeling chair because there is no back rest. so, muscles develop.
• Relieves sciatica pain by lessening spinal compression and distributing your body weight equally across your shoulders, neck, and back. The core to thigh angle is 110 degrees which greatly reduces pressure on the discs.
• Improved circulation promotes pain relief - Because of the upright spinal column and lack of compression on your abdomen, blood circulates more freely. The blood delivers nutrients and oxygen to the muscles and brain to relieve or prevent muscle fatigue and pain.
Are Kneeling Chairs Good for Sciatica or Back Pain?
Kneeling chairs help you place and keep your spine in a natural S curve with proper alignment. Since sciatica is caused by misaligned discs pressing on nerves, a kneeling chair is good for relieving sciatica.
This alternative to a regular desk chair also takes stress off the hips and middle back, so there’s less muscle strain and therefore, less pain. Back pain can be caused by poor core muscle tone. Kneeling chairs improve that tone, so that helps prevent the injuries and strain that often cause back pain.
Are Kneeling Chairs Comfortable?
When you first try a kneeling chair, you’ll be surprised by how comfortable it feels. You’re putting less pressure on hips and back, which feels great. However, it takes getting used to because it’s so different from sitting in a regular chair. You may have to start slowly, using the new chair style for short periods, while your muscles adjust. By adding time each day, you build your core muscles, and the kneeling chair eventually feels quite natural. Take frequent breaks to relieve pressure on your knees or shins.
Top 5 Kneeling Chairs for Posture Support & Back Pain Relief
#1) Ergonomic Kneeling Chair Adjustable Stool with Thick Foam Cushions
The VIVOHome Ergonomic Kneeling Chair is adjustable. Its frame is heavy-duty iron finished with sturdy, polished fittings that won’t corrode. The memory foam cushions are 4 inches thick and comfortable. The castors glide smoothly but can be locked in place or removed entirely
• The sturdy construction can withstand up to 330 pounds.
• This kneeling chair for back pain relief and posture improvement easily adjusts for most desk heights. Just twist the knob to choose between three heights from 21 to 28 inches.
• The choice of colors, white, grey, red, or black will fit any office or home décor.
• The easy glide castors make this chair easy to roll from place to place, but you can lock two of the castors for stability once it’s in place. You can also remove the castors if you want to keep the chair in one place most of the time.
• The memory foam cushions are 4 inches thick for maximum comfort and covered by sturdy PU leather to last for years.
The VIVOHome Ergonomic Kneeling Chair is great because it’s adjustable and has thick, supportive memory foam cushions to sit on and rest your knees or shins on. The gliding castors make it easy to move or lock in place. It comes in four great colors to fit any room or office design.
#2) The Original Ergonomic Kneeling Chair - Varier Variable Balans
The Varier Kneeling Chair is iconic in looks. The classic Scandinavian look and function were designed by Peter Opsvik in 1979 and this chair has been a favorite in Europe and the US. This one rocks which means you can move as much as you want, and shift your weight around as you work. The sturdy construction can withstand up to 330 pounds.
• This rocking kneeling chair is made from beech wood and only weighs about 13 pounds so you can easily move it from room to room
• The Varier is designed to be used at a standard height desk.
• The wood comes in either natural ash or black ash and your cushion cover materials can be black, dark blue, grey, orange, yellow, or red.
• The curved runners encourage you to move, so you can adjust your position for comfort or just rock gently as you work.
• The rocking motion helps you stay energized and develop stronger core muscles.
• By varying your angles, you prevent muscles from getting stiff and keep knees or shins from getting sore.
The Original Ergonomic Kneeling Chair by Varier is great because of its curved runners. You can rock as you sit. It’s beautiful wood structure makes it light weight but strong. This is the classic rocking kneeling chair. Some people even use it as a meditation chair.
#3) Luxton Home Ergonomic Kneeling Chair with Memory Foam Layer
The Luxton Ergonomic Kneeling Chair has a modern, all black design that fits into any home or office setting. The chair adjusts easily to three different heights to fit people of any height for any surface level. The double layer of memory foam makes the two resting surfaces very comfortable.
• This kneeling chair is ideal for posture improvement while working at a desk or tabletop.
• It easily adjusts with the twist of a knob to one of three positions between 21 and 28 inches, so people of different heights can use it comfortably for most desks and tables.
• The kneeling chair can be assembled in less than 15 minutes with the included tools.
• The 4-inch double layer, premium memory foam is covered by an easy-to-clean material.
• The construction is sturdy enough to hold up to 390 pounds.
• The casters swivel 360 degrees so you can move around easily. The casters also can lock if you want to stay stationary.
The Luxton Ergonomic Adjustable Kneeling chair is great because of its double layered memory foam and cleanable surfaces. The slick, all black look is modern enough to fit into any office or room décor. The 360-degree swivel means you can move easily from one task to another without getting up.
#4) DRAGONN by VIVO Ergonomic Kneeling Chair, Adjustable Stool
The Dragonn by Vivo Ergonomic Kneeling Chair has an angled seat to promote better posture and a stronger core. The alloy steel frame can be adjusted more than most kneeling chairs so shorter people can use it. The chair is quick to assemble and can roll easily from place to place. The covers come in three colors and can be wiped clean.
• This kneeling chair can be adjusted to any height between 21 and 31 inches just by turning the disc. The higher 31-inch height makes this great for shorter people or higher desk surfaces.
• The angled seat and kneeling pillow come in your choice of black, gray, or white.
• The four casters move in any direction and two casters have locks so you can keep from sliding around as you work or game.
• The three inches of premium memory foam supports up to 250 pounds.
• The sturdy frame of alloy steel holds up to daily use without corroding.
The Dragonn by Vivo Ergonomic Kneeling Chair is great because it adjusts to any height between 21 and 31 inches. Most chairs have three positions, but by turning the disc along a screw shaft, the user can choose any height. Most chairs have a maximum height of 28 inches so the 31-inch height on the Dragonn helps shorter people enjoy the kneeling chair.
The Sleekform Austin Kneeling Chair has rockers that encourage active sitting and healthy posture. The heavier wood frame and extra cross bar make this chair sturdier than some other wood versions. The cushion fabric is breathable and soft and the memory foam thick.
• The frame is constructed with 20 ply light colored wood rather than the average 14 ply.
• There are three crossbars to help make the chair sturdy enough for up to 265 pounds.
• The rockers encourage movement which increases blood flow to muscles.
• The chair fits people of heights between 5’2” and 6’6”, and although there are rests for your shins, you can also use the chair with your feet on the floor in front of you.
• The assembly kit comes with stick-on felt pieces you can apply to the rockers to protect wood floors.
• The 120-degree angle opens the user’s hips to promote better breathing and digestion.
• The cushions are a full 4 inches thick and covered by a breathable fabric.
The Sleekform Austin Rocking Kneeling Chair is great because the wood is a little thicker than other wooden chairs and there are three rather than two cross bars. The rocking motion makes it easy to use this chair for longer periods and you can alternate between placing your feet on the floor in front or behind you.
Frequently Asked Questions
What’s the advantage of a rocking kneeling chair?
Some people like to fidget, and a rocking kneeling chair is ideal for that. Because it rocks, you can also shift your weight slightly any time you want. The rockers encourage you to move, gently rocking back and forth while you think and work. Because you are moving, your core muscles develop more quickly, and your circulation is improved.
Can I use a kneeling chair exclusively?
Most experts recommend either alternating between kneeling and traditional office chairs or taking frequent breaks from the kneeling chair. You will probably find that you need to start by only using the kneeling chair for short periods at first. The change in your body posture takes getting used to and you may develop knee or shin pain or soreness if you overdo it. You could also alternate between a kneeling chair and a standing position if you have a standing desk. A good rule of thumb is to listen to your body and do what’s comfortable.
Can I use a kneeling chair if I am only five feet tall?
There are kneeling chairs that work better for shorter people because they adjust to higher heights. A lot depends on how long your legs are and the height of your desk. If most regular desk chairs work for you, there shouldn’t be a problem. You can ask individual suppliers about their recommendations for shorter people. Make sure to choose a chair that you can return if it doesn’t fit you well.