We thought it would be helpful to set out a few thoughts on how to use your RockBack chair for optimum support and enjoyment. We’ve based this note on questions and feedback we’ve had from customers.
1.Be careful when you first sit on the chair
RockBack is designed to move when you sit on it – it is one of the benefits of the chair. However, it can feel a bit alarming when you first sit on it. We have found that when some people first sit on the chair they feel that they will either be thrown forward or will fall over backwards. This is extremely unlikely to happen but the chair will take a bit of time before you are used to the movement and become confident that you will not fall over.
2.Take extra care if you have a current back issue
RockBack is designed to encourage you to sit with good posture. In the tilted forward position, you will use core muscles for sitting (active sitting). It may take a bit of time to tone these particular muscles so it may be sensible to use the chair for short periods (e.g. 30 minutes) to allow your body to adapt to using the chair. If you currently have an acute back issue where your back muscles are in spasm, it may cause further spasm as your back muscles try to protect your body against any new movements. It may be better to wait until your muscles spasms have subsided before trying your RockBack chair.
3.Arrange your bottom
It is important to ensure that your bottom is arranged at the back of the RockBack seat. This ensures that you will maintain good posture both in the rocked back position (passive sitting) and in the tilted forward position (active sitting). If your bottom is in the middle of the seat (rather than the back), then you will find some pressure in the middle of your back from the chair back rest in the rocked back position and in the the tilted forward position there can be a tendency to overarch (hyper-extend) your back if you try to use the back rest. Due to the curved profile of the seat, it is hard to slump in a RockBack chair if you position your bottom at the back of the seat.
4. Position your RockBack relative to the desk/table
This is a matter of personal preference. Personally, I find that when I get up from my RockBack I move the chair back by about 10cm. When I sit down, I move it forward toward the desk so that the front legs are about 2cm from the front of the desk. In this position, I am able to tilt my RockBack forward and work in comfort at my desk. The tilted forward position is the optimal position for working.
5. The tilted forward position
In the tilted forward position, RockBack is designed to allow your knees to rest below your hips and to use your core muscles to sit. With your knees below your hips, your pelvis is tilted forward, opening up your pelvic angle which enables your back to assume a position closer to a standing position resulting in less pressure on your lower back. Most chairs force your body to create a 90 degree angle (or even less if you slump) between your back and legs which puts pressure on your lower back. In the tilted forward position, it is your core muscles that are supporting you rather than the back rest. The position is similar to a kneeling chair. We would encourage you to try and sit tall, with your head “floating” above your body (to use an Alexander technique expression). Try to avoid leaning your head forward. In this position your back should hardly be touching the back rest. It may be helpful to have some photos taken of you working in this position as any corrections you need to make should be obvious from a picture. Your feet can be placed underneath the chair or in front depending on personal preference. My favourite position is with my toes on the bar pointing forwards with my heels in the air or I hook my feet around the front legs. I’m 6 foot tall, so I find that if I put my legs in front then I come off the tilted forward position – but feet in front may be the most comfortable position if you are less than around 5 foot 6 inches tall. You may find that somewhere between these two positions works for you. We would encourage you to try different positions as we believe that staying fixed in one position is not good for the human body anyway. Moving between different positions allows relaxation, activation of different muscles and stimulates blood circulation.
RockBack enables movement whilst sitting (dynamic sitting). I usually use the tilted forward position for intensive work (such as typing this note) and then rock back on the chair – maybe with my feet in front of the chair to proof read. I also like to see if I can balance on the pivot point of the chair – maybe I was one of those children who tried to balance on the back legs of a school chair.
7. The rocked back position
In the rocked back position, the chair is supporting you (passive sitting). As highlighted earlier, it is important to ensure your bottom is correctly positioned at the back of the seat. As with active sitting, we would encourage you to sit tall with your head “floating” above your body. Your feet can rest on the floor directly in front of the chair. If you are less than around 5 foot 4 inches tall you may not be able to rest your feet squarely on the floor. Some of our customers use a footstall (you can buy a cheap inflatable footstall on amazon) – in fact one of happiest customers is 4 foot 11 inches – she was overjoyed that her feet could touch the floor in the tilted forward position.
We hope you find these thoughts useful. Please treat them as a guide only – optimal use of the chair really is a matter of personal preference. We both passionately believe that this is an excellent chair that is both comfortable and beneficial for your back. We have taken great care in every stage of its design and production and know that it will last for many decades.
Please send us any further questions or thoughts on how you have used your RockBack chair to firstname.lastname@example.org. We wish you many years of happy sitting on your RockBack. Many thanks for your support of RockBack.
Simon and Emma Sydenham, RockBack Founders