Sorry, but that viral 'criss-cross' office chair from Amazon is probably going to ruin your back...
Turns out, sitting cross legged for long periods of time isn't going to do your body any favors, explains an ergonomics expert
It's easy to get sucked in to making an impulse purchase of something you've seen on TikTok. After all, chances are anything that's made it to your For You page is going to be a clever idea that will have you thinking 'why hasn't anyone thought of that before?'
As someone who works from home 80% of the time, that's exactly what I thought when I came across the latest viral Amazon buy, the so-called 'criss-cross' chair. It's christened as such because, basically, it's big enough to sit on cross-legged while still being the right proportions for an office chair. Wide, deep and armless, it looks like pure comfort compared to my existing home office seating situation, but like any diligent shopper, before I reach for my credit card, I looked at the comments.
While those TikTokkers that have bought the chair, which has over 5.2 million views across the social media platform, all share how much they love their purchases, the comments on these posts are full of people questioning whether it's a design that's ergonomic enough to use for working at a desk.
Of course, social media is full of naysayers, but fortunately, I knew exactly who to ask to get the lowdown on whether investing in this style of chair was going to be a good idea or not.
Lucinda is an ergonomics specialist at Back in Action, a family-owned company that specializes in chairs for the relief of (and prevention of) back pain. We asked her to cast an expert eye over the viral criss-cross chair to let us know whether this type of chair is a good idea for our homes.
@kaitmurray_ ♬ Everybody Wants To Rule The World - The Moving Stills
Should I be sitting cross-legged at a desk?
I can understand the appeal of sitting cross-legged at a desk, especially when you're in a more relaxed environment when working from home. And, chairs that allow you to sit as such aren't unheard of, but according to our expert Lucinda from Back in Action, this isn't something we should be gunning for when shopping for the very best office chair. 'People speculating about this style of chair aren’t wrong, chairs which encourage being sat crossed-legged for long periods of time are not good news,' she explains.
So what's the problem? 'Sitting cross-legged for extended periods of time is bad for your circulation, which means blood and lymph systems will work more slowly,' Lucinda tells us, 'while also damaging to your back, causing pain further down the line.'
'In fact, I wouldn’t advise sitting with your legs crossed for any longer than an hour,' she adds.
LEAGOO fabric padded armless home office desk chair, Amazon
You'll find several versions of this trending office chair on Amazon, including this beige fabric number which costs just over $200.
Is the criss cross chair worth the hype?
Even if you're just looking for a nice office chair, not to sit cross-legged at, and this design has caught your eye, it's still not ideally designed when it comes to ergonomics for everyday use.
'While chairs that allow the body to move and reposition are great, this chair’s shape doesn’t support a normal seating position,' Lucinda explains. 'This chair’s shape is too deep and will catch the backs of the knees, pulling the lower back out of the backrest, resulting in you being slumped.'
What should I be looking for in an office chair instead?
The only saving grace of the criss-cross chair then is the ability to change how you sit on it - something that Lucinda says we should be looking out for when buying a new chair for our home office desks. 'The human body is not well adapted to long hours spent sitting in a static position, so while I don’t advise being sat cross-legged, I do advise embracing repositioning yourself, and incorporating movement into the way you sit.'
'Investing in ergonomic furniture such as the HÅG Capisco or Varier Ekstrem will allow more variation in seated posture whilst offering ample support.
The problem for many people is that the most ergonomic office chairs aren't always the prettiest, especially if you're shopping on the budget end of the scale. It's no surprise then that this chair, which is undoubtedly comfortable in the short term, is gaining traction, with a price tag of just over $200.
What is the best ergonomic office chair?
If you're looking for a chair that delivers on Lucinda's expertise, this is the one for you. I've personally tried the HÅG Capisco chair before, and can attest it's pretty much a best in class for comfort, and can be sat on in a vast array of positions. Including to the side and backwards. It does, however, come with a huge price tag.
If you're looking for an alternative, keep in mind this design, which has an interesting seat shape with cut-outs to allow yourself to reposition in the chair throughout the day.
Hugh is the Deputy Editor of Livingetc.com. From working on a number of home, design and property publications and websites, including Grand Designs, ICON and specialist kitchen and bathroom magazines, Hugh has developed a passion for modern architecture, impactful interiors and green homes. Whether moonlighting as an interior decorator for private clients or renovating the Victorian terrace in Essex where he lives (DIYing as much of the work as possible), you’ll find that Hugh has an overarching fondness for luxurious minimalism, abstract shapes and all things beige. He’s just finished a kitchen and garden renovation, and has eyes set on a bathroom makeover for 2023.
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