What is a Kneeling Chair?

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen

A kneeling chair is a type of chair that produces a more correct postural position in the lower back, when one needs to work for long periods at a time while sitting. A kneeling chair is considered ergonomic. Ergonomics is a field which studies the positions in which people sit or stand, or the repetitive motions people make when performing actions. Ergonomically designed products like the kneeling chair are meant to reduce injury and strain of muscle groups.

A kneeling chair produces a correct postural position in the lower back.
A kneeling chair produces a correct postural position in the lower back.

Normal chairs tend to keep the back at an awkward angle, and can result in back strain or injury when one has to sit for long periods of time. The kneeling chair is designed to mimic a posture similar to that of one standing. Part of this posture is accomplished by tilting the seat forward about 30 degrees. The tilted seat results in the spine being placed in what is called “neutral,” or similar to the position one with good posture would take while standing.

A bar in front of the kneeling chair, which keeps the knees from sliding forward, reduces some of the weight of sitting on the lower back and hips. The lower legs are underneath the body, with the shins placed on a rest below the hips. The kneeling chair does not really bear weight on the knees but instead distributes the weight bearing between the hips and the shins.

The kneeling chair is very attractive to some who find that using this type of chair helps eliminate stress on the lower back. Those with poor upper body posture may not find the same benefit since the chair has no backrest and will not correct hunching. Those with shin splints may be made uncomfortable by weight being born on the shins in the kneeling chair.

Others feel the kneeling chair is a little limiting since once cannot change positions while in the chair. Also, a little coordination is required to get in and out of the kneeling chair because one has to negotiate the support in front of the knees, as well as the pad supporting the shins. One has to step out of this type of chair, and first attempts may result in tripping.

For those with consistent pain in the lower back, however, the kneeling chair may be a significant help. If lack of ability to change positions is difficult, one could spend part of the day using a kneeling chair, and other parts using a standard office chair. Even part of the day spent in a kneeling chair can result in better posture than in a traditional chair.

Kneeling chairs are now widely available through office supply stores and on the Internet. Many companies have turned to this new variant to help cut down on the days workers may call in sick due to back pain.

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen

Tricia has a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and has been a frequent wiseGEEK contributor for many years. She is especially passionate about reading and writing, although her other interests include medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion. Tricia lives in Northern California and is currently working on her first novel.

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Discussion Comments


I have a seat called the wave stool available in the UK only. My back is just as comfortable as on my kneeling chair, but they’ve cleverly got rid of the knee rests, so I can sit more naturally and move my legs around and get up easily. Searching for ‘wave stool’ should find it. They have a page on kneeling chairs and why it is better.


By far the best kneeling chair is the original kneeling chair, the Variable™ balans® by Variér, originally Stokke. Variable™ balans® was the first chair to be produced based on the Balans concept developed by Peter Opsvik. The chair lives up to its name and gives you a variety of sitting positions to move between.


"Stance angle chair" this is the best chair I know of that includes the "kneeling" concept to it.

but it can also be a "stand" chair or a regular 90 degree chair (which is not recommended)

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