We hear the term saddle stools toss around a lot, especially in conversations about healthy, comfortable seating for work; and if you wonder what type of stools these are, don’t worry, we have got you covered. Let’s look over everything there is to know about saddle stools and what are the advantages of using saddle stools over different types of seating. First, let’s start with…
What is a saddle stool?
A saddle stool is a high, adjustable stool that comes with a tilt-adjustable seat which you can adjust according to your body. The saddle stools have a seat shaped like a saddle and these days they usually have a five-legged base (much like a regular office chair), casters, and a pneumatic cylinder for adjusting seat height.
Traditionally, saddle stools are more popular and used in workplaces as they enable people to move around easily as they work while still keeping good posture. Nevertheless, due to their practicality and comfortability, these days they are used in homes as well.
Below is just one example of a saddle stool however they come in a wide variety of styles as you can see from our article: 28 Different Styles of Saddle Stools All in One Place
How to use a saddle stool?
As you may guess from the name, you sit on a saddle stool as if you are sitting on saddle ready to ride a horse. You can adjust your saddle stool for your own height and the height of your desk. When you sit on a saddle stool, you usually sit 20-30 cm higher than you usually would on a normal chair; moreover, sitting in this position opens up the angle between your hips and knees to 135° opposed to 90° for a regular office or usual chair.
This makes you sit in a rather unconventional position as you feel like you are halfway between sitting and standing. In most cases, people who had used inappropriate types of seating for long hours will need time to adjust to the saddle stool.
If you recognize yourself in this description, then it is best that you gradually start getting used to the saddle stool: start by using it for one hour a day, for two weeks, and then gradually increase this time, while changing between the saddle seat and your regular seating.
Feel free to explore all seat tilt and height variations to find what suits you the best. Always try to give yourself a small break, especially in the beginning: every hour or so, get up, move around, do some light stretching and try to relieve the tension caused by sitting.
Another example of a saddle stool with a different saddle shape…
Why use a saddle stool?
The most important questions are, is a saddle stool good for us, and why we should use them? There are several reasons why everyone should consider saddle stools, and we can get to them by answering the most important questions that we must ask about any type of seating, like:
Are saddle stools good for posture?
When you sit on a saddle stool your posture is much better: sitting in a position where the angle between your hips and knees is 135° enables your spine to be held in its natural curve, which prevents you from slouching; this not only helps you to strengthen your core and back muscles, reduce the back pain as well as the aches and soreness from bad posture, but it also helps you reduce the tension and pain in your neck and shoulders, which furthermore makes you more comfortable, which then results in higher productivity.
This open hip angle you have when sitting on the saddle stool also lets you lean forward more efficiently, without damaging your posture or putting extra pressure on your internal organs and as result, you are no longer restricted by your chair, you can freely do your work, and you can bend over easily without hurting your posture or experiencing severe back pain.
Are saddle stools good for you?
Saddle stools are a really good choice for anyone, in general…
On one hand, they are great for your body: When you sit on a regular chair, meant for occasional sitting, your body usually is in c-shape, which is really bad for your posture and body.
However when you sit on a saddle stool, specifically designed or adjusted to your own height, then your pelvis can act as a solid foundation for your spine allowing it to retain the natural s-shape which it usually takes when you are in a standing position.
This is possible because the unique shape of the saddle supports your pelvis enough to stop it rotating backwards; moreover, because of the height you sit on and because the bump back on the saddle stool is slightly higher than a standard seat, when you sit on saddle stool, your thighs are angled on 35 to 45 degrees, which means you hamstrings aren’t stretched which is another reason why on an ordinary seat the pelvis is forced backward.
Your body is in balance, you can’t slouch, your diaphragmatic breathing is improved, you facilitate correct movement at the hips instead of bending at the waist, and your organs don’t feel extra pressure when bending.
On the other hand, saddle stools are also good for you from a practical standpoint: they are easily adjustable and movable; you can easily move them around, and this won’t cause you any inconveniences as they utilize the larger thigh muscles for movement instead of the calf muscles.
Another benefit is that you can easily gain close proximity to your desk or any other equipment you are using, and if you are bending or moving constantly, you won’t put extra pressure on your internal organs.
Another saddle stool design…
Are saddle stools ergonomic?
Although saddle stools don’t really resemble the regular ergonomic office chairs you may be used to, rest assured that they are ergonomic very much, and even though they may look a bit weird, they can help you feel much better and preserve your health while working at your desk for 8 hours a day.
Are saddle stools comfortable?
With saddle stools, you are halfway between sitting and standing. This may not sound comfortable, but it actually is; you will need some time to get used to them, but once you do, you will feel like nothing can replace them.
The comfortability that comes from sitting in the right posture and not feeling pressure or back pain will definitely make you appreciate the comfort of the saddle stool.
Some saddle stools come with back support as well…
What are the saddle stool benefits?
There are many benefits of using a saddle stool:
- Easily adjustable
- Relieves back pain
- Improves posture
- Prevents musculoskeletal disorder
- Improves and strengthens muscles
- Strengthens the spine
- Improves leg circulation and reduces foot swelling
- Balances the body
- Makes it easier to get up and sit down
- Improves diaphragmatic breathing
- Causes no pressure on internal organs
- Offers easy, effortless movement
- Great for reaching, getting closer to desk/work without overstretching and putting a strain on muscles;
Saddle stool vs. regular stool
There is a big difference between sitting on a saddle stool versus sitting on a regular stool…
First of all, the design is different, many regular stools don’t have adjustable height, opposite to saddle stools which do.
Second, saddle stools, as we mentioned are 25-30 cm higher than regular stools; they also have the back of the seat a bit taller than the rest of the seat for extra support and convenience to the pelvis, which is not the case with the regular stools whose seating is the same height throughout the entire seating.
Regular stools usually are not movable in a sense that you can’t move while sitting on them.
Also, as we discussed before, there is difference in our posture while sitting on regular/saddle stool: On saddle stools, the angle between our hips and knees is 135° which enables our spine to be held in its natural s-curve, opposite to regular stools and seating where the angle is 90 degrees and our spine is held in c-curve.
On a saddle stool, we facilitate correct movement at the hips, while with regular stool the bending is at the waist, causing more pressure on our organs.
Saddle stools promote mobility and reach, while that is not the case with the regular stools.
You will need no time to adjust to sitting on a regular stool, however, when it comes to saddle stool, you will need some time to adjust and get used to it. Nevertheless, it is worth it.
Here is a saddle stool with a footrest…
Saddle stool vs. kneeling chair
Depending on the task ahead of you, you may wonder which option is better for you, kneeling chair or saddle stool. Before you decide which one you want to go with, there are few similarities and differences between the two seating that you need to take into consideration:
On kneeling chair, your thighs are dropped to an angle of about 60° to 70° from vertical (as opposed to 90° when sitting in a normal chair), with some of the body’s weight supported by the shins.
- Similarity: Both kneeling chairs and saddle stools are specifically designed to support an open hip angle for better spinal health, improved posture and more efficient breathing. If you haven’t used them before, you will need time to adjust and learn how to get in, sit, and get out of them properly.
- Difference: The main biggest difference between these two is that with kneeling chairs your leg movement is constricted, your leg circulation is impeded, and your legs are relatively close together and you get extra pressure on your knees; on the other hand, with the saddle chairs, your leg movement is not constricted, your leg circulation is improved, you get no pressure on your knees which are spread widely and you get higher spinal stability and postural support. Moreover, with a kneeling chair you can’t move, you can’t reach far or to the side because you risk getting hurt, and with saddle stools, you are able to move around and do all forward-reaching hand-tasks.
Here is an example of one of the best selling kneeling chairs on Amazon…
It is best that you use kneeling chairs for short term tasks that do not require forceful hand activity and use saddle stools for the prolonged tasks that include forceful hand activity.
So now you know what a saddle stool is and what it can do.