a couple of months ago

BackJoy’s SitSmart… is it worth buying?

The goal of this blog is to provide you with authoritative information on how you can decrease your body pain with improved posture and alignment.  This mission includes giving my independent opinion on products in the marketplace that also align with this same vision.

One particular company got my attention a few years ago, because of their mission to change sitting posture habits. Upon first glance, Backjoy’s tagline had me hooked: “Change Your Posture, Change Your Life”.

Of course I had to investigate their flagship posture product, SitSmart Posture Plus.

At first glance, SitSmart looked brilliant. It helps to avoid a posture deviation called the posterior pelvic tilt.  This posture deviation happens when we sit for hours on end in a “rounded” back position.  

When we sit rounded like this, we begin to lose the natural curvature of our lower back (lumbar spine).  Our lumbar spine is supposed to curve backwards, the opposite direction from this picture above. Without this curvature, our glute muscles are no longer in the correct position to fire when asked upon.  Without our glute muscles properly working, the lower back muscles suddenly have to take over. These muscles were not meant to be as strong and powerful as our glutes. Suddenly our lower back starts to hurt.

The rounded back position also has the same effect on the upper spine.  It accentuates rounding and kyphosis, which creates a shortening of the lats (side back muscles), pecs (chest muscles) and facilitating a protrusion of the head.  This ends up leading to mid back and neck pain.  None of this is any fun, but it’s real, and a direct cause of our sitting posture.

The SitSmart device sits on a chair and promotes a better sitting position. The design is meant to pull the pelvis out of this rounded position and promote a more proper position of sitting high on the sitz bones (the bony landmarks at the base of your pelvis).

When I saw this image online, was thrilled and even immediately emailed some friends to encourage them to purchase one.  I contacted BackJoy, who was happy to send me a free version to review for my blog (and I’m independently reviewing this for no fee). 

So, does it work?

As much as I love the concept of something that automatically pushes the pelvic where it should be, I am saddened to report that in my opinion, Backjoy misses the mark.  I tried it on multiple surfaces, and felt very little “push” of my pelvis.  In fact, numerous times I found myself pushing against the product and rounding my back into the exact position I was NOT supposed to be in. It just didn’t provide enough “support” to really affect my sitting posture.

With any product or technology there is always the option of user “override”.  This happens when the user is able to complete the incorrect movement pattern despite the product’s attempt to correct it.  This is why I promote exercise and awareness as a better option for really affecting change!  At the end of the day, some products can really help.  Backjoy just isn’t designed to provide enough “push” and change to make it worth the investment.

If you are looking for a sitting option that will help you move out of this rounded position, my favorite is still the Gaiam ball chair (check out the blog post on this for more info). However the really true way to combat long term sitting posture is to not sit for that long.  Take breaks, move to a standing position, and do daily stretches to keep your pelvis (and back) happy.

Are there any posture products that you LOVE? I’m interested to know if there are any you can’t live without! Comment below.

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