How to Sit Your Way Fit With the Swopper

Staying Active at the Office

Laura Williams

In the early 2000s, stability balls became a popular workplace alternative for the office chair. They were touted as a tool for active sitting - a way to help those with office jobs squeeze more activity into their day. And while some people still use stability balls while working, their popularity has fallen by the wayside. The problem is, stability balls aren't all that comfortable for long periods of time. They're also sometimes impractical and can even lead to unintentional injury - the ball can simply roll away as you're sitting down.

Today's attempts at workplace activity lean more toward standing desks, treadmill desks and "walking meetings." Living a life filled with long periods of sitting is a known independent risk factor for obesity, heart disease and diabetes, so finding ways to encourage all day activity is an important part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

The problem with standing desks and treadmill desks is that they take getting used to (you have to gradually work your way up to standing for long periods of time), they're not always comfortable, and they're not always well-tolerated. Not to mention, they can cost thousands of dollars, putting them outside the reach of many companies and individuals.

That's why I was excited to test out the Swopper. The Swopper is an active sitting chair that's actually a chair, but with properties that encourage constant movement.

Swopper Features

  • The Swopper does not come with a back, although you can purchase one separately. The backless version looks a bit like a stool, and much like a stability ball, encourages good posture because the user doesn't have the option to slouch against the back.
  • The Swopper's seat is convex - again, much like a stability ball. This upward curve encourages proper posture by forcing the user to sit up and engage the core to maintain balance.
  • The Swopper's seat sits atop a heavy-duty spring. This is where the real genius of the Swopper begins. This spring moves in every direction - froward, back, and side-to-side - constantly¬† changing position as the user adjusts her body position. This is where active sitting gets interesting. Unlike a stability ball, which rolls around on the ground, the Swopper's base is fixed, while the seat constantly moves. The user doesn't have to worry about the chair rolling out from under her, but must constantly make minor body position changes to maintain an upright position on the chair. For instance, if the user leans left to pick up the phone, the seat moves to the left with her, causing her to engage her muscles more fully to remain upright.
  • The Swopper's seat spins 360-degrees. In addition to the spring movement, the chair also spins 360-degrees. Not only is this functionally beneficial for an office environment, where you might have to turn your chair frequently, it's also another way to encourage activity. When your chair spins and tilts in every direction, movement is unrestricted and easy to engage in.
  • The Swopper's seat is fully adjustable. Like other office chairs, the Swopper's seat can be adjusted up and down with the pull of a lever, and the spring's tension can be adjusted to increase or decrease the amount of movement of the spring. In other words, you can increase the tension to decrease the spring's movement, or decrease the tension to increase the spring's movement.


The biggest benefit of the Swopper is that in addition to encouraging movement throughout the day, it's just practical. It works like a regular ol' office chair, it's comfortable, easy to use, easy to move around, and does exactly what it claims to. While it might not be in everyone's budget at $700, many companies are more than happy to foot the bill for ergonomic office furniture that's designed to support a healthy lifestyle.

Using the Swopper to Workout

In addition to active sitting, I've discovered the Swopper's a more versatile piece of equipment for performing exercise at the office than most other chairs. This is largely due to its backless design - you can perform exercises 360-degrees around the Swopper without worrying about the chair's back or arms. Plus, I like that the standard version comes without wheels - when doing exercises, you don't have to worry about it rolling away. Check out a few of my favorite Swopper moves, then put them to use at the office.

Swopper Plank

Laura Williams

In an extended arm position, your palms directly under your shoulders, hold your body in a straight line from head to toe.

Swopper Single Leg Lunge

Laura Williams

Standing a few feet in front of the Swopper with your back to it, place the top of one foot onto the Swopper's seat. Bend your front knee and lower your torso straight down until your front knees is at a 90-degree angle. Press through your front heel and return to standing. Make sure your front knee tracks in line with your toes, but that your knee remains behind your toes throughout the exercise.

Swopper Pushup

Laura Williams

Start in a pushup position, your arms fully extended, and your palms on the seat of the Swopper directly under your shoulders. Step your feet out until your body forms a straight line from heel to head. Widen your feet to create a stronger base of support. When you're ready, bend your elbows and lower your chest toward the Swopper, keeping your core tight. When your elbows make a 90-degree angle, press yourself back to start.

Swopper Dip

Laura Williams

The Swopper dip is very much like a regular chair dip, but with an additional balance component. Sit on the front edge of the Swopper, your feet planted on the ground, hip-distance apart. Grasp the front of the Swopper, just to either side of your hips. Press your hips up off the Swopper as you press down through your palms. Scootch your hips forward slightly, so they're in front of the Swopper. Bend your elbows, keeping them close to your body, and lower your butt toward the floor. Stop when your elbows bend to 90-degrees and press yourself back to start.

Swopper Back Extension

Laura Williams

To perform a back extension, lean across the Swopper, your belly resting on the seat. Step your feet wide behind you, creating a strong base of support, the balls of your feet engaged with the floor. Tighten your core and lift your torso up until you form a straight line from heel to head - if you can comfortably lift your torso past 180-degrees, so your back is slightly hyperextended, that's fine, just make sure you're using your core and back to perform the motion, rather than using any sort of swinging momentum. Hold the position for two seconds and reverse the movement.

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