WorkSiteRight helps Martha Stewart Living prepare for gardening season

Seven Garden Kneeling Benches That’ll Help Protect Your Knees and Back
By Caroline Biggs at Martha Stewart Living

For as fun and beneficial as gardening can be, it can also wreak havoc on your joints and back. “Prolonged poor posture, heavy lifting, and repetitive twisting and bending motions pose the biggest risks when gardening,” says Dr. Chad Henriksen, a chiropractor and director of WorkSiteRight at Northwestern Health Sciences University. “These risks can result in lumbar sprains and strains, arthritic flare-ups, and even damage to the discs in the lower back.”

Fortunately, Henriksen says a well-designed garden kneeling bench can save your back from lots of future pain associated with slumping and your knees from pain due to prolonged kneeling. “A garden kneeling bench is a gardening tool that helps you work in the proper mechanical position while relieving pressure on high-stress points of the body, such as your arms, knees, and spine,” he explains. “The best kneeling benches can be used in both kneeling and sitting positions, and provide adequate cushioning as well as stable side supports and handles.”

The only thing better than a good garden kneeling bench is one that doubles as a seat. The Ohuhu Upgraded Garden Kneeler and Seat, pictured above, lays flat on the ground for an extra-plush kneeling pad, but also has a sturdy steel black frame that can be raised to make a chair that supports up to 330 pounds of weight. “An added bonus is that this bench comes with pockets to keep your tools close by,” Henriksen says.

Shop Now: Ohuhu Upgraded Garden Kneeler and Seat, $54.99,

Posture Perfect
If you ask professional gardener Melinda Myers, the best garden kneeling benches provide support and flexibility when working in a variety of positions. “Improper bending can result in stress on your back, muscle strain, and more,” she says. “Consider a kneeling bench that will help position you properly to work in both in-ground gardens and raised beds, and with sturdy handles that can help you stand up from a kneeling position.”

Shop Now: Deep-Seat Garden Kneeler, $54.95,

Whether you’re weeding, seeding, or planting, Christopher Landercasper, Director of Farming Operations for the Sonoma’s Best Hospitality Group, says a garden kneeling bench with a foam mat that’s at least one-inch thick is essential. “Also make sure that the mat is composed of a waterproof material, like EVA, or features a water-resistant coating,” he advises. “This will help keep your knees dry when you’re working in wet conditions.”

Shop Now: Ebung Garden Kneeler and Seat, $38.99,

Hidden Storage
A supportive garden kneeling bench with built-in storage is a many-splendid thing. Along with a half-inch thick kneeling pad that raises into a cushioned bench, the Centurion Multi-Purpose 3-in-1 Garden Bench offers tool storage space under the seat, complete with a snap-lock that ensures it stays shut even when it’s turned over.

Shop Now: Centurion Multi-Purpose 3-in-1 Garden Bench, $28.99,

For a reliable kneeling bench that you can move around a garden with ease, Henriksen recommends the TomCare Garden Kneeler. Composed of strong but lightweight metal, this portable kneeling bench weighs just five pounds and quickly folds up into a compact shape for simplified portability and storage.

Shop Now: TomCare Garden Kneeler, $49.99,

Extra-Thick Padding
According to Henriksen, the thicker the pad, the more comfortable the kneeling bench. The SONGMICS Folding Garden Kneeler features a foam pad that’s over an inch thick to ensure plenty of back and knee support when you’re sitting and kneeling. “Position the garden kneeling bench to directly face your work, to help minimize twisting and reduce stress on the spine,” he says.

Shop Now: Gardener’s Supply Company Plastic Garden Kneeler and Seat, $19.95,