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A kneeling chair, when used correctly, can expose you to a handful of benefits. These include lower back pain relief, developing good posture, increasing your productivity, and so much more.
However, if you don’t have experience with kneeling chairs, you may get stuck trying to figure out how to use them correctly. You may be asking yourself, how exactly do you get into a seating position? How do you adjust it for the best fit? And for how long should you hang in there?
We were curious to know more about how to use a kneeling chair and how it differs from that of a standard office chair. We did lots of research and found the following helpful learning curves and tips on the best way to use a kneeling chair.
Using the kneeling chairs (The Basics)
BEFORE we get into more details on how to use this type of chair, it’s good to familiarize yourself with what it is all about.
As you may already know, the modern-day kneeling chair design was inspired by Hans Christian Mengshoel with the first-ever design he made in 1979—the Balans chair.
Today, the seat is available in many styles and designs.
But one thing all the different kneeling chairs conform to is the position.
A typical kneeling chair puts you in a position equivalent to a 110-degree angle from the buttocks all the way to your back.
And a 60-70-degree angle from your thighs to the curves.
This greatly sets it apart from the traditional chair that puts you at a 90-degree angle.
This unique position is crucial in fighting the negative effects of sitting for prolonged periods of time. It also helps keep you from slouching while working on your desk, translating to a good posture.
Better posture means evenly distributed weight and reduces the compression and tension in your back, joints, and organs. It helps alleviate the lower back pain caused by poor sitting posture throughout your workday.
Note that a good ergonomic kneeling chair is armed with padded shin pads to support your shins. This provides you with a comfortable ‘kneeling’ experience.
How to sit in a kneeling chair correctly?
Sitting in a kneeling chair for the first time might seem complicated because you have no idea how to do it correctly. There’s no rocket science involved here, though.
Just follow the steps outlined below, and you’ll have an easy time using this new office furniture.
Step 1. Get on the seat
You first get on the seat cushion just as you do on a regular chair. But make sure both your feet remain on the ground at this point.
Step 2. Get into the kneeling position
Now put your legs and shins (you can start with the left or right one) on its respective knee pad. Place the other one on its knee cushion as well. If there are any side handles, use them for support to easily and safely get into position.
Step 3. Adjust the chair for the perfect fit.
Now that you have positioned yourself in the seat, you need to adjust its height and angle to offer you the most comfortable fit. We’ll get into finer details on the correct height adjustment of your kneeling chair (don’t close that tab!)
Step 4. Distribute your weight correctly
Concentrate most of your body’s weight on your buttocks and thighs as much as it’s possible to keep you comfortable for long.
A common mistake beginners make when using the kneeling chair? It’s putting too much weight on their knees. This forces your knees to take the brunt of the entire body weight. Though the knee cushions will absorb some weight, they will not keep you comfortable for long.
To sit correctly, adjust your posture to properly position your bottom and prevent perching on the edge.
Step 5. Getting off the chair.
When it’s time to get off the chair, you simply follow the reverse of the above steps. That is, you first put both your feet on the floor and then stand up (use side handles for support if available). And that’s it!
Additional tips for using the kneeling chair:
The following tips will help you get the most out of your kneeling chair
Avoid the backrest
If your model comes with a back, we advise you to avoid using it unless you have lower back problems and need back support. If the back is removable, do away with it. This is because the point of a kneeling chair is to put your body posture upright and promote active sitting, and having back support will undo this idea.
Pair your kneeling chair with a standing desk
Another way to ensure you use your kneeling chair correctly is by pairing it with a standing desk. Most standing desks let you adjust their height. And this makes them another perfect variation to help keep your body (muscles and back) healthy.
If you don’t have a standing desk, you can also use a regular chair to help ensure you don’t spend prolonged periods in a kneeling chair. (More details on how long to spend on a kneeling coming up later in this post)
Vary sitting positions in your kneeling chair
Another tip to keep in mind when using your kneeling chair is changing your sitting posture and position throughout the day. This will help you break from one sitting position for a long while practicing various healthy sitting habits.
That said, varying positions in a kneeling chair simply come down to trying different leg positions. And the most common leg positions to try include:
- Sit with the legs in front of you: This helps you take a break from the kneeling position. It also helps relieve pressure or pain off your knees.
- Sit with one leg on the floor: Having one leg resting on the floor will help ensure your muscles don’t feel stiff due to maintaining one position of sitting. You can also alternate which leg goes to the floor and which remains on the pad.
Word of Advice: When you start using your new kneeling chair, it will feel quite off for the first few times. This is because you’re used to sitting on a traditional chair. Your core muscles may also feel sore after the initial use because they’ll be engaged for long hours. But this is perfectly normal. However, you’ll get used to it with time. Just don’t give up!
How to adjust the kneeling chair for your height?
To comfortably sit for hours, you must customize it for the most ergonomic fit. Luckily, nearly all the kneeling chairs out there offer you various adjustments options, including the height, angle, and even swivel adjustments.
Seat height adjustment
Height is the most important adjustment option in this type of chair.
Ideally, you need to bring the seat height up/down until you feel your shins are correctly placed on the knee pads.
The tall users usually struggle because their legs are too long to comfortably fit in the chair. That’s why we recommend you get a model with an extended range of height adjustments.
This will increase your chances of finding a comfortable position where the pads properly align with your shins for comfortable sitting.
Seat angle adjustment
The angle adjustment is also important for excellent chair ergonomics. The wider seat angle adjustment a chair range a chair offers you, the better.
This increases the chances of finding a comfortable setting where your shins sit comfortably on the pads.
If your budget restricts you from finding a high-end model with wide-angle adjustment, try looking for one with at least 25 degrees angle to offer you some room for adjustment.
Swivel angle adjustment
Some kneeling chairs will also provide you with a swiveling function. This enables you to adjust your position to sit direly in front of you.
If your model lacks this angle, you need to adjust the chair itself so that you’re positioned directly in front of your workstation.
This will prevent turning/twisting at awkward angles in an attempt to reach your work.
How long should you sit in kneeling chairs?
You should sit in a kneeling chair for approx. 45 minutes. We don’t advise kneeling chair use for long hours, especially if it’s your first time using it.
Kneeling chairs are primarily intended for short-term tasks.
You ought to change how you sit throughout your workday. Keep the existing chair handy so that you can easily switch between it and the kneeling one.
Therefore, you should switch to a standing desk or traditional office chair after every 45 minutes on the kneeling chair.
If you’re a first-time user, you need to focus on building up muscle strength to enable you to do ‘active sitting’ on this seat for more than just a few minutes per session.
Are kneeling chairs better than traditional office chairs?
If you’re wondering whether to go with ergonomic chairs or kneeling chairs, this is your part.
A typical kneeling chair gets your body weight distributed evenly. This helps reduce lower back pain, promotes upright posture, and even reduces hip pain. By using a kneeling chair, you’ll also build your core muscles, improve your digestion and breathing, and increase your productivity.
However, getting into and out of a kneeling chair takes longer than the traditional chair. This limits you from changing your position frequently.
It may also put too much pressure on your knees and cause knee pain. The chair is also unsuitable for long periods of sitting. This is due to lack of backrest, armrests, and the fact that it engages your core muscles which can get fatigued quickly. People with knee problems might also want to avoid using these chairs.
An ergonomic chair, on the other hand, can help you achieve correct posture. This allows you to sit upright and maintain correct spine curvature that minimizes/prevents lower back pain.
Traditional chairs offer you multiple ergonomic features to let you easily change postures as you like, including reclining, rocking, etc., while allowing you to sit on them for long hours.
However, this chair doesn’t meet all the ergonomic criteria needed for correct posture, so you might hurt your back when sitting on a standard model. Sitting on this chair for prolonged periods can cause obesity and heart problems that lead to premature death.
As you can see from this discussion, each chair has its good and bad sides. So, it’s hard to point out either as superior over the other. The perfect model for you boils down to your unique needs.
We advise you to alternate between these two types of chairs in your home office to enable you to enjoy the benefits offered by each.
Here are brief answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about using a kneeling chair.
Can you sit cross-legged on a kneeling chair?
You can sit cross-legged on a kneeling chair whose design allows for a cross-legged sitting position. However, typical kneeling chairs aren’t meant for use with your legs crossed. Make sure you get specific models with this unique design.
Do kneeling chairs hurt your knees?
Kneeling chairs won’t hurt your knees if you use them correctly. As we have explained above, you should put your body posture upright so that your weight is mostly distributed to the bottom and not the knees. This will help prevent pressure on the knees for hours of comfort.
Are kneeling chairs good for long hours?
A kneeling chair isn’t good for long hours. The chair forces you to sit upright, which requires core muscles activation. This causes muscle fatigue when used over extended periods of time. Additionally, kneeling chairs lack back support and armrest, further proving them unideal for long hours of sitting.
That’s it for our in-depth guide on how to use a kneeling chair. We’ve equipped you with every bit of you need to know before using your kneeling chair for the first time.
Hopefully, you now know how to properly sit in this chair, how to adjust it correctly, and how long you should stay in it.
Remember, using your kneeling correctly is the surest way to enjoy all the benefits it comes with.
Don’t ditch your traditional office chair for a kneeling chair, though. We suggest using both types of chairs in your office for the best results.