Primal Action Point: Sit Better (When You Have To Sit)

Inline_Live-Awesome-645x445-04“Sitting on a tucked-under pelvis places constant pressure on the sacrum (the triangular bone at the base of the spine) that can negatively impact the health of the pelvis, pelvic floor (the muscles that fill in the bottom of your pelvis and are, essentially the basement of your entire torso), and spine. Adjusting your pelvis instantly changes the mechanical environment of your sacroiliac (SI) joint, your pelvis, and your lumbar spine.”

For improved sitting posture:

  • Use a flat-seated chair (like a kitchen chair), or fill in your car’s bucket seat or desk chair with a rolled towel.
  • Sit close to the edge of a chair. This rolls your pelvis forward, lifting the bone away from the chair.

Source: Don’t Just Sit There by Katy Bowman

About the Author

Mark Sisson is the founder of Mark’s Daily Apple, godfather to the Primal food and lifestyle movement, and the New York Times bestselling author of The Keto Reset Diet. His latest book is Keto for Life, where he discusses how he combines the keto diet with a Primal lifestyle for optimal health and longevity. Mark is the author of numerous other books as well, including The Primal Blueprint, which was credited with turbocharging the growth of the primal/paleo movement back in 2009. After spending three decades researching and educating folks on why food is the key component to achieving and maintaining optimal wellness, Mark launched Primal Kitchen, a real-food company that creates Primal/paleo, keto, and Whole30-friendly kitchen staples.

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16 thoughts on “Primal Action Point: Sit Better (When You Have To Sit)”

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  1. Great advice…always love what Katy Bowman has to say. I tend to sit on the floor a lot. Assuming that’s ok since it’s a flat surface. And I challenge myself to get up without using hands or knees…great for quad strength and balance!

  2. Many, many years ago a chiropractor told me humans should spend their time either standing/moving upright or lying down-sitting was the worst for the back. It’s what I tell myself when I lay around reading 😉

  3. Thanks for sharing. I usually stand at work, via a make-shift standing desk (thank you Amazon boxes), but for two months I sat due to pain in my sciatic nerve. Never again. The repercussions on my body were worse than just dealing with the nerve pain. We’re not meant to sit for eight hours at a time and my body was letting me know it! But I’m glad for this tip for times when I do need to sit (like going out to dinner).

    1. I have to laugh at the so-called experts who say we should hardly ever sit down–like one famous internet doctor I can think of. Common sense tells me that’s nonsense. We ARE meant to sit; otherwise we wouldn’t have evolved with nicely padded backsides and the ability to comfortably bend our bodies into a seated position. We just weren’t meant to sit for hours on end without getting up, moving around, and doing something different. Our bodies require motion and variety. Too much standing can be problematic too.

  4. ok so the advice for the car: does she mean, use a rolled up towel vertically to shore up the back, or horizontally to sit on it, so your bum doesn’t sink back so much?

  5. This is great advice. I’m at my desk a lot so lower back is always a given. Does the rolled up towel go at the bottom of the seat and how big a towel are we talking about?

  6. What about the various products that help you tilt forward? Are they worth the money or a waste of time?

  7. What about the whole “sitting on an exercise ball” concept? Is that still acceptable? Because I’m considering it to take pressure off my tailbone (thanks, ankylosing spondilitis).

    1. Shannon, I think this falls under the realm of self-experimentation. A ball might help. A friend of mine with AS mentioned he’s had recent success using a kneeling chair.

    2. My dad, who’s a physiotherapist, doesn’t think the ball is a good idea unless you’ve got decent core strength and start slowly. He’s seen patients who went from sitting on a chair all day to sitting on a ball all day, leading to problems. Better to start with shorter periods and work yourself up from there. The better your core to begin with, the longer the time you an start with.
      Hope this helps!

  8. I started using a ‘saddle seat’ stool — after a great picture in Esther Gokhale’s book — showing one guy sitting on a horse with his “monkey tail” tucked under him — hunched back — it just looked painful! The other guy sat his horse with his ‘tail’ ‘out behind him. (Really, imagine a monkey with tail — a lemur or some such.) The “antiverted pelvis” she recommends has made a HUGE difference for me! (I still sit WAY too long too often — but the saddle seat chair means I CAN’T slump! My lower back automatically takes the correct orientation. My hips are open and relaxed. Takes a week or two to let your body adjust, but now I look wistfully at my living room chairs — not nearly as comfortable!

  9. I really appreciate your post. I am a 51 year old that suffers from a stage 3 spondy that requires daily posture vigilance. When I have to sit I work on grounding my feet and using my meditative breath to keep things stacked properly. Over time my body craves that stable position.