They’re considered among the most ergonomically “at risk” professionals, because their jobs not only require long hours of sitting, they also have to hunch unnaturally over patients while they work. Doctors, physical therapists, ultrasound technicians, and other medical professionals have followed suit over the years, incorporating ergonomic chairs with saddle seats into their exam rooms and offices.
It allows your spine to rest in its natural S curve -- also known as a “neutral spine.” This means your weight is distributed properly to the lower half of your body, the way it should be to provide maximum support, alleviate strain on your low back, and prevent injury. Your core is engaged, which means your body actually learns to support itself while you sit because the chair is no longer a crutch.
Unlike traditional office chairs that force your legs into a 90-degree angle and cut off the blood flow to your feet, this posture allows for blood flow throughout the entire body and doesn’t shorten your thigh muscles. Another unexpected benefit: saddle chairs are intentionally shaped to enable you to move throughout the day, whether that movement is to change position or get up easily to stand and stretch.
You might be hearing about saddle chairs for the first time, but lucky for you, designers have been adapting this style of seating since the late 1970s. The result is a variety of options ranging from narrow and subtle, to downright cowboy.
No matter which option you choose, it’s important to note that if this is a new way of sitting for you, it may take you a few weeks to get used to this new posture. Cisco has a sophisticated contoured saddle chair with a backrest that works for nearly every body type.
It’s one of the key features of Cisco’s human-centered design, which allows more healthy and active sitting postures in a single chair than three others put together. Ilia’s triangular padded seat allows for a more intentional saddle position, with added support for your thighs.
Created by mole and industrial designer Jonas Hakaniemi, Ilia is a statement piece that comes in five colors. The seats of our Tic TOC chairs are just slightly raised in the center, letting you control just how much or how little you separate your knees.
Both saddle stools also boast a rocker base, which means you can gently sway back-and-forth to keep your body moving, your back aligned, and your circulation flowing so you feel more engaged, more fully yourself, in every moment. With its tilting spring base and dramatic saddle, it’s a truly active seating option that responds to your body’s shifting weight and can’t fail to keep you engaged.
You’ll be able to naturally sit in the most ergonomic posture, one that achieves a neutral spine Sitting has been linked with diabetes, obesity, back problems, and many other health issues.
Unlike the traditional office chair, a saddle stool helps improve your posture as it’s designed to make slouching close to impossible. It rotates the pelvis forward and maintains your lower back’s natural position.
It could take some time for your muscles to get used to this position, so it could feel a bit uncomfortable at the beginning. Saddle chairs don’t have an armrest so getting up and sitting down requires a bit more effort than a regular chair does.
Other than that, since the design of a saddle stool helps your posture and activates your muscles more, it’s good for fighting sitting-induced weight issues. It’s quite an improvement from the traditional office chair that lets your muscles be lazy which in turn makes your posture suffer.
Having good circulation reduces fatigue, improves your concentration, and prevents memory loss. Scientific studies show that sitting in a saddle chair could help in preserving your lumbar curve.
The design of a saddle stool makes it so your lumbar curve is at the same angle as it would be when you are standing upright. Sitting in this position also strengthens your muscles, so your lower and upper back will be at ease.
When you bend forward, the saddle seat will keep your spinal curves at their optimal states which will in turn eradicate back pain and soreness. It may be hard to feel stable on a saddle seat right when you first start using it, but when you finally get used to it, you will notice some great improvements when it comes to your overall balance.
Many people with neurological issues that impact their balancing capabilities report great improvements when they start saddle -sitting. You will become much more mobile, so these chairs are perfect if your job requires a lot of reaching and moving around.
Pay attention to features like adjustability, wheels, general shape, etc. If you are unsure even after researching everything, you should check out places like Ergonomics Health Association where you’ll find useful advice from the industry professionals.
Still, the optimal thing would be to sit with your legs apart, feet flat on the floor, which will make your back parallel to the ground. Standing up or walking, at least in small amounts, is always a good practice no matter what kind of chair you’re sitting on.
Saddle stools have traditionally been popular in workplaces where people need to be able to move around easily while they work, such as healthcare clinics and hairdressing salons. As a result, your spine is held in its natural curve, which prevents you from slouching and thereby reduces tension and pain in the neck, shoulders and lumbar region.
The open hip angle lets you lean forwards more effectively than you can on an office chair without affecting your posture. Your legs have to do more work to stabilize yourself, which takes the pressure off your lumbar region and reduces strain on the discs, helping to alleviate back pain.
This means that you can adapt the stool to your body and task to find your ideal sitting position. A saddle stool allows you to get closer to your work so you don’t overstretch and put strain on your muscles.
Some saddle chairs come with a split seat, which puts no pressure on your pelvic floor and lowers the temperature in the genital area. As your muscles grow stronger and your spine adjusts to the change in posture, it will become easier to use your saddle chair for longer for more active sitting.
If you’re a medical professional, artist, or office worker, choosing an ergonomic saddle chair requires some careful consideration. The stool or chair needs to be practical for work, ergonomically comfortable, highly adjustable, and can be easily maneuvered.
Full disclosure, this is kind of a hybrid of an ergonomic chair and a saddle stool. That’s why it was famously endorsed by Joe Roman, a guy who spends over 10 hours + seated each day.
If you want to read more about the finer details of this chair, check out our HAG Cisco review. Used by hair stylists, tattoo artists, dog groomers, the Frame adjustable saddle chair is our favorite all round choice.
Its height can be set to up to 29.5” which is notably higher than most other saddle chairs, making it one of the best choices for tall people. The seat and the backrest are both comfortably padded and covered with high-quality leather that’s great in both cold and hot weather.
All that is placed on top of a sturdy aluminum base and legs that can withstand up to 350 pounds of weight. The heavy-duty nylon wheels too are of great quality and can effortlessly and quietly move the chair on most indoor surfaces.
The 5 heavy-duty nylon casters are sturdy and noiseless enough even at maximum weight pressure. The sturdy but versatile base of this chair follows the movements of your body in every direction.
This high quality Norwegian ergonomic stool will get you sitting correctly while engaging your core. In fact, the Mayo Clinic have tested it- reporting that you will burn 18% more calories while using this stool.
It is also soft and comfortable to sit in, plus it’s specifically designed with smooth and rounded edges to further enable your movement with the chair. There doesn’t seem to be any customers dissatisfied with this Varied chair other than the few that simply aren’t used to saddle stools.
The materials and Norwegian design of this saddle stool make it exceptionally durable and long-lasting. Sally Eagerest Multi adjuster Split Saddle Stool Upper limb support.
The Sally split saddle stool has a unique design that supports the hands and upper bodies of professionals while they’re doing repetitive tasks that require precision. It is designed to redistribute the pressure that builds up in your buttocks and to strengthen your core muscles.
This chair is recommended for surgeons, dentists, tattoo artists, and other professionals who often put their upper limbs under stress. Customers love how this chair was designed, the base is made of black aluminum, and you can choose to receive it with a chrome finish.
The only downside customers report is the high risk of damaging the Eagerest handles which could happen quickly if you use them for support when getting out of the chair. Simply place it down on your existing seat, and you get an instant saddle chair that has no weight limit.
This saddle chair works with a swinging motion that is supposed to relax your back but also keep you in an upright position. The saddle swings in all directions and engages your core and muscles as you try to stay upright.
The Human tool is mostly used by yoga practitioners, office workers, and people that work around high counters. The Dr Lomilomi hydraulic massage stool wins top honors in our dental category.
The seat is very well-designed and offers great back and spine support even for prolonged sitting sessions. Kane well Twin Adjustable Saddle Stool Designed to relieve the stress on your pressure points for extra comfort.
The split also helps for a great airflow under and around the seat, making it ideal for hot summer days. And while the padding is minimal due to the split nature of the seat, the leather upholstery is of excellent quality.
Those that aren’t used to split saddles can find the seat to lack padding but that’s normal for this type of chair. The rolling saddle chair is a budget option for people that need to improve their sitting posture.
The seat can be tilted to allow the user a sitting angle of 135 degrees which follows the S-shaped curvature of your spine. It’s used by a pretty versatile crowd such as lab scientists, dentists, college students, and office workers.
The Cisco ergonomic saddle style chair was designed for people that need extra softness added to their sitting experience. The seat height can be adjusted from 23’’ up to 33’’ from the floor and the manufacturer recommends pairing it with a standing desk.
The best part about this saddle chair is that you can reverse your seating position and lean into the backrest. The Master massage ergonomic stool is lightweight and should prove helpful for daily use.
It is recommended for massage therapists and tattoo artists to help them ease the strain that comes from staying in one position for too long. This model is highly customizable, so upon purchase, you’ll get to choose the base color, upholstery, pole height, and which type of casters you’d prefer.
The Perch saddle stool comes with rubberized casters that can be rolled over tile, ceramic and wooden floors without damaging them. This chair is a good choice for people who need to sit upright but also need to lean into a backrest now and then.
The Perch stool was made in the US with high-quality materials that come with a 12-year warranty and cylinders that have a lifetime guarantee. Job BetterPosture’s saddle chair shines with its ergonomic “waterfall effect” seat design.
The base and legs of the chair are exceptionally durable even though that’s slightly undermined by the lackluster wheels. Master Massage Ergonomic Swivel Saddle Stool The seat of this Master Massage saddle stool is 2.5” wide and is padded with an exclusive small cell foam for extra comfort.
The maximum weight capacity of Master Massage’s saddle stool is 550 pounds. For a heavyweight option, Master Massage’s saddle stool can withstand up to 550 pounds of weight while still providing excellent comfort with its padded seat.
The cushion of this stool is made out of soft and comfortable foam, as well as thick PVC leather. The metal base and frame make it very sturdy while the comfortable seat is a pleasure to use even for prolonged sitting sessions.
Not all saddle chairs were created equal, and you’ll really have to look at the fine details to figure out which style works best for your professional needs. The Mica Dental chair is fully adjustable and offers improved lumbar support.
It was made for professionals that need a good-looking quality chair that will keep them seated upright. The seat is cushioned with molded foam plus the upholstery is made of waterproof, oil-resistant, and scratch-resistant PU leather.
The Spa Luke rolling stool is extremely attractive and boasts a PVC vinyl upholstery that is very easy to clean. It has 3 adjustment levers that are easy to use and let you control the seat tilt, backrest position, and the height of the chair.
Although it takes some time to get used to, the seat is designed to offer comfort and give you a more natural posture. The only downside to the Spa Luke chair is the hard plastic wheels that tend to be stiff.
Some customers have noticed that the anatomic design of the seat wouldn’t be recommended for males since the center of the saddle is way too high to be comfortable. The Blurrier salon chair was made to provide extra comfort on a busy day.
The castor wheels are rubberized to protect hard floors and the seat is height adjustable. The split seat is preferred by people that feel too warm when sitting for too long and wish to stay cool longer.
The width of the split seat can be further adjusted to relieve any pressure on your pelvic area or prostate. When choosing the best saddle chair, keep in mind that your legs will play a huge role in supporting you, and giving you balance.
More contoured saddle chairs will do a better job at supporting you, but if you choose an incorrect size they will be very uncomfortable. Saddle chairs may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but they do offer a lot of benefits to people with sitting professions.