We’ve all got a lot going on in life. We’re all trying to do well at work, maintain good relationships, keep control of our finances, take care of our families, eat healthy and… is there anything I’m forgetting? Oh yeah, maintain good posture. As the to-do list piles up and your computer’s screen becomes your regular view during the workday, our postures tend to feel the effects. We forget to engage our core, keep both feet on the floor and pull our shoulders away from our ears. I get it — it’s a lot to add on to an already hectic life. An ergonomic office chair can help with this effort, but if you want to try something new with your WFH setup — a kneeling chair might do the trick.
A kneeling desk chair takes the whole design of a classic office chair and flips it around. You sit on a stool that has shin rests built into the front of it, and the whole thing tips forward forcing you to rest on your shins throughout the workday. This position may look wildly different than what you’re used to, but it has numerous benefits.
Benefits of Kneeling Chairs
Kneeling desk chairs might look weird, but they’re a popular option in the ergonomic workspace world due to the healthy and less strenuous position they put your body into. When sitting in a kneeling chair as opposed to a regular desk chair, the pelvis is tilted forward towards your desk which takes pressure off of your lower back and bottom. The spine aligns correctly with your hips, and your body is able to breathe and digest more easily as well.
With consistent use, your core and back will strengthen as well due to the lack of a back rest to support these muscles and eventually cause your shoulders to round and trunk to cave in.
Kneeling chairs typically create a 110° angle with your trunk/thigh as opposed to the standard 90° (or smaller) angle that exists when sitting in a standard chair. This position reduces the stress on the discs of your spine, as your weight is more evenly distributed along your back, neck and shoulders.
With your spinal column upright and aligned correctly, more oxygenated blood is able to make it to your extremities, reducing pain overall and allowing you to stay focused at work with less pain.
Now, as with everything, there are also drawbacks to using a kneeling chair. The constant pressure on your knees and shins can cause discomfort over time, and the chair can be difficult to get into and out of. The best way to use one is in conjunction with a regular office chair and to switch off between them during the day. This way, you receive the benefits of the better posture and muscle strengthening, while also giving your body a chance to rest and distribute weight elsewhere.
The first kneeling chairs were designed by a Norweigan designer and made of wood. Now many of the chairs available have a metal frame instead, and some also include other components for comfort like arm rests and back rests. Many of them also have a rocking capability so you can incorporate movement into your work. We’ve found a list of our favorites available to order on the web, if you’re intrigued and want to try one out in your own ergonomic workspace.
1. DRAGONN Ergonomic Kneeling Chair
This kneeling chair from DRAGONN is very highly-rated on Amazon for its supportive build and great cushioning. The functional design is made of a heavy duty metal base, and 3-inch-thick mesh cushions that support your body from head to toe. The chair evenly distributes your weight between your glutes and legs so your back and shoulders don’t feel the load all day long. It has four caster wheels for easy movement throughout the workday and the seat is height adjustable between 21″ and 31″ and designed to suit a wide range of users. This chair can support up to 250 lbs effectively and keeps your back in an upright position.
2. SLEEKFORM Adjustable Kneeling Chair
This Atlanta chair from Sleekform has 4″ thick padded cushions for your shins and bottom and a seat that can be adjusted between 91° – 117° depending on your height. This chair fits a wide range of weights and heights comfortably — including people who are between 5’2″ – 6’6 with a max of 265 lbs. The 2″ universal castor wheels can be replaced or taken off for added stability, and they also come with the option to lock them from the front so you’re secure for your workday.
3. Varier Variable Balans Original Kneeling Chair
That original Norwegian design we mentioned in the beginning? This is it. This is the kneeling chair that was designed by Peter Opsvik in 1979, and is manufactured in Europe. It’s made of high-quality wood with no crossbar, and has the ability to rock back and forth. The wood is strong yet flexible and built to last. The design is simple and classic Scandinavian — so your pelvis is tilted slightly forward and muscles engaged to support. This chair encourage active, dynamic movements so your body gets stronger, more supportive and balanced.
4. Flash Furniture Mobile Kneeling Chair
REAL WOOD DESIGN
This kneeling chair comes with an adjustable wooden frame with a natural finish that’s protective and aesthetically pleasing. It has a firm, supportive padded seat made of 2″ of foam and breathable fabric. The height is adjustable via knobs on the back and the wheels have casters that make it easy to move around. This chair is built to strongly support you so your body can better support itself during the workday.
5. DRAGONN Kneeling Chair With Back Support
This kneeling chair combines all of the effects of the standard design with extra added back support in case you want to lean back during the day. You get all of the positive posture effects from the kneeling chair design with this modern, height-adjustable construction that can range between 21″ and 31″ high. This chair has twice the cushioning support of its competitors and has vented back support so you stay cool throughout the day. This chair also comes with support bars on either side of the seat which can be very helpful in getting in and out of this chair throughout the day.
6. Boss Office Products Kneeling Stool
EASY TO ADJUST
This kneeling chair has the ergonomic design that tilts your pelvis forward for more even weight distribution and better posture overall, as well as a pneumatic gas lift that raises your seat height and makes adjusting the fit way easier. The adjustability is similar to the height of your standard office chair, so you’ll already be familiar with how it works. The black fabric seat provides ample cushioning all day long and the knee height is adjustable as well so you can find your most ideal, and most supportive, fit.
7. Upright Rocker Kneeling Chair
MOST UNIQUE DESIGN
I really like the design of this one, and the rocking capabilities add to the core and back strengthening effects through requiring further stabilization from your muscles. Sitting on this one naturally relaxes and stretches your spine as you work, and the strong base is made of 20 supportive layers of laser-cut birch wood. The knee pads are four inches high for comfort and the thick cushion supports up to 242 lbs while also increasing blood flow and oxygen circulation. This chair is designed to comfortably fit someone working at a 29″ table height.
8. Himimi Ergonomic Kneeling Chair
This safe, stable and supportive kneeling chair design is lightweight despite the 250 lb weight capacity so you can easily bright it with you anywhere you go. The chair naturally promotes better posture and less slouching, and has a 3″ molded foam cushion that provides support for your knees and shins during the day. This chair can easily change heights for different people and is made with MOULD foam which is much more breathable and comfortable than your standard recycled foam designs.
9. Master Massage Comfort Kneeling Chair
I love the bright red cushioning and solid wooden frame on this kneeling chair that has a great adjustable seat height with six different levels to choose from. It’s made of Breech wood with durable PVC upholstery that won’t wear down or crack over time. The universal wheels can move in any direction depending upon where you want to go, and you can lower and flatten the whole seat for easy storage.
10. Cinius Kneeling Chair with Back Support
Last but not least, this kneeling chair is made with a sturdy rubberwood frame and non-deformable padding on the seats. The kicker for comfort here is the soft fabric covering on all surfaces that I think makes it look more comfortable than leather alternatives. This model has a height limit of 6′ and a weight limit of 200 lbs, which is lower than other chair designs.