Whether you choose a kneeling chair or saddle seat depends on the nature of your task demands. Both kneeling chairs and saddle seats offer health benefits, primarily because of the open hip-angle posture. While kneeling chairs generally have more attractive pricing, saddle seats provide greater mobility and postural stability.

 


Kneeling chairs position you with an open hip angle, but constrain movement and circulation in your legs.

Sitting with wide hip abduction provides spinal stability and postural support.
SIMILARITIES between kneeling chairs and saddle seats
  • Both kneeling chairs and saddle seats support an open hip angle for better spinal health, more efficient breathing, and improved posture (i.e., a 135° angle between thigh and torso vs. a 90° hip angle in conventional seating).
  • Both kneeling chairs and saddle seats can be a challenge to get in and out of.
DIFFERENCES between kneeling chairs and saddle seats
  • Saddle seats offer more freedom of movement in the legs and the ability to navigate around your work area. When you saddle-sit at the appropriate height, you can actually "walk around" in it. When you sit in a kneeling chair, you're stuck in one location.
  • Kneeling chairs constrain leg movement and impede circulation to the legs. Saddle seats improve leg circulation and reduce the foot swelling common with prolonged sitting.
  • Saddle seats preserve good spinal postures for awkward reaching, including far reach distances and reaching to the side. Kneeling chairs facilitate forward reaching only. In a kneeling chair you can hurt yourself if you often reach to the side or try to push/pull objects positioned to the side.
  • In a kneeling chair your knees are relatively close together. In a saddle seat your knees are spread wide (called "hip abduction"). A sitting posture with wider hip abduction provides greater spinal stability and postural support.

    Try it now! Sit with your knees together and see how far you can slump. Now sit with your knees apart and try to slump again. Feel the difference?

  • In a saddle seat there is more contact to your "private parts" and more weight-bearing on your "sit-bones." This can take some getting used to and is uncomfortable for some. Kneeling chairs generally have a flat seat, so there's no discomfort there. On the other hand, kneeling chairs put more weight-bearing pressure on the knees, which can cause problems for some.
Recommendations
  • Kneeling chairs are good for upright and forward-reaching hand tasks that are short-term, do not require forceful hand activity, and do not involve awkward reaching or viewing postures.
  • Saddle seats for good upright and forward-reaching hand-tasks, especially when the activity is prolonged, when the activity requires forceful hand movements, or when the activity involves awkward reaching and viewing postures or navigation around the work area.