In ergonomics, there’s theory, and then there are real life examples of how good ergonomic design has helped people. If you’re a fan of The Joe Rogan Experience, then you’ve probably heard the host gush about his office chair. In fact, he credits the chair as one of the main reasons he no longer suffers from debilitating back pain. So what chair does Joe Rogan use?
Joe Rogan uses the HAG Capisco, a derivative of the classic saddle chair with a T-shaped backrest and adjustable seat height and depth. It can be equip with a foot ring and headrest as optional accessories.
Joe Rogan’s Story and Battle with Back Pain
Joe Rogan is an American comedian, UFC commentator, and podcast host. Back in the day a lot of people know him for hosting Fear Factor and his supporting roles in sitcoms like Hardball and NewsRadio.
These days, Joe Rogan is better known for his audio and video podcast called the Joe Rogan Experience. First launched in 2009 with just a two men crew – Joe Rogan and Brian Redban as the video editor- the show really took off when episodes of the show starting getting uploaded to Youtube, with videos frequently attracting millions of views.
Because of its popularity, in 2020, the 12 year old podcast The Joe Rogan Experience landed an exclusive Spotify deal worth more than $100 million. , Full episodes of the show ceased to be available on Youtube starting December 2020, though episode highlights can still be found on the free platform.
If you think about how long Joe Rogan sits prepping and hosting, it’s no wonder that he has a really bad back. It’s so messed up that in his JRE episode 1202, he mentioned that his doctors were adamant about putting him under the knife to fix it.
Joe’s belief throughout the ordeal however was that his condition can be self corrected. A part of the eventual solution involved changing his chair to the HAG Capisco.
What Is the Capisco?
The Capisco is an ergonomic chair produced by Norwegian furniture manufacturer Flokk under the product brand HÅG. Inspired by a horseback rider’s posture, it was designed by legendary industrial designer Peter Opsvik in 1984.
This aim of the Capisco is to allow for as many sitting positions as possible. Variety is an important part of sitting ergonomics. You can either sit or half stand while facing forwards, backwards, or sideways.
Since its release, the Capisco has undergone several updates to reduce its weight and improve its sustainability and carbon footprint. Notable awards for this chair include the “2015 Best Recycled Plastic Product in Europe”, and “2018 Nordic Design Competition winner”.
What Type of Chair is the Capisco?
The Capisco is essentially a modified saddle chair with a seat that is raised in the center and depressed on the sides. The contoured shape helps distribute the weight of your bottom more evenly while opening up your hips (as you need to sit with your legs open).
The tapered edges on the Capisco seat also puts your hips and thighs at a slight downward slope, creating what is called declined sitting. The biggest benefit of declined sitting is a reduction in back pressure as you sit, by helping your lower back retain its natural curvature much easier, and also, shifting some of the body weight to the large muscles in the legs. This may be a big reason why Joe Rogan found relief from back pain after switching over to the Capisco chair.
What are the Main Features of the Capisco Chair?
As mentioned, Joe Rogan’s Capisco Chair is based on the saddle chair design with an equestrian seat. However, it adds a host of other ergonomic features that improve comfort and introduces variety in the ways you can sit on it.
To allow you to sit for longer and in different positions, the Capisco chair comes with a contoured T-shaped backrest. When facing forward, it acts as both a backrest and armrest where you can rest your elbows temporarily on. When the chair is turned backwards, it supports your chest as you lean into the backrest. And when the chair is turned sideways, you can rest one side of your shoulder on it.
Another standout feature of the Capisco’s backrest is that the backrest is height adjustable by up to 2″ to provide more back coverage when you need it.
Height and Depth Adjustable Seat
While most saddle chairs come with adjustable seat height, very few can be adjusted for depth. The two features go hand in hand in maximizing the benefits and comfort when sitting in a saddle seat.
The Capisco’s seat (which measures 19.5″W by 15.5″D) can be raised between 22.5″ to 33″ high. At its highest setting, you can use it with a standing desk, by sitting or perching on the seat’s edge to offer some respite from standing.
The seat can also be adjusted for depth up to 3″ to cater to the length of your thighs..
Tilt with Tension Control and Lock
The Capisco also comes with a synchro tilt mechanism to let you lean back up to 25° to reduce spinal pressure. You can adjust the resistance to make it harder or easier for you to tilt. When facing backwards, you can lock the tilt function. The ability to tilt the backrest is another nice addition to the Capisco that separates the chair from most saddle chairs out there.
Environmentally Friendly Design
Apart from the metal frame, most parts of a regular office chair usually are not recyclable.
For those looking for an eco friendly office chair, the HAG Capisco aims to be Cradle to Cradle green. The current model is made of 50% post consumer recycled materials and is up to 90% recyclable.
Warranty and Weight Capacity
The HAG Capisco comes with 3 years warranty on upholstery, 5 years on the arm caps, casters, back liners and exposed wood parts and finished parts, and 10 years on the pneumatic lift.
The product is tested for a maximum weight capacity of 250 lbs.
Two accessories can be purchased separately for the Capisco chair: An optional foot ring and headrest.
The foot ring is most useful if you wish to pair the chair with a standing desk and intend to fully sit on (instead of just perch) on the chair. The headrest is useful for sitting on the Capisco chair for extended periods of time.
What does Joe Rogan say about his HAG Capisco Chair?
On The Joe Rogan Experience, Joe specifically credits the Capisco chair as playing a role in helping him avoid back surgery.
Apart from just being very comfortable to sit on he says, Joe points out that unlike sitting in a regular chair where his spine is constantly under compression, with the Capisco, it has the opposite, relieving effect of spinal decompression. This is most likely due to the saddle seat and the benefits I mentioned earlier above.
Joe Rogan also mentions how the chair helped strengthen his lower back as he sits. He remarked that sitting in the Capisco sometimes feels like a glute exercise. This is another benefit of a forward leaning chair such as a saddle or even kneeling chair– it helps engage your core while simultaneously opening up the hips. A strong back is the foundation of a healthy back.
While Joe Rogan doesn’t explicitly mention this, I suspect another contributing factor of the Capisco chair that brought him back relief is its ability to be used in different ways. When the back feels strained, one can turn the chair fully around and forward bend into the backrest, or partially and lean to one side supported by one side of the backrest. The variety of sitting positions engages different parts of your spine while resting other areas.
Other Things Joe Rogan Mentions Helped Him Recover from Back Pain
On his show, Joe Rogan emphasized three things that were so crucial in helping him come back from debilitating back pain:
- Decompress the spine, such as by using the Capisco and inversion table
- Strengthen the lower back and neck through exercises
- Stretch and loosen the hamstrings
Watch the following video on what Joe Rogan has to say on these points:
So Should You get the Capisco Chair?
So now that you know what chair Joe Rogan uses on the show, the question is, should you get one?
My personal take is that the Capisco is better suited for people who already have back pain, or are looking for a secondary chair to use for the purpose of altering the way their sit throughout the day. There’s no denying the Capisco has helped at least one person, Joe Rogan in this case, come back from back pain. If it’s helped one person, it could very well help you as well.
Having said that, I’ve tried enough saddle and kneeling chairs to know that chairs like the Capisco most likely won’t be comfortable for sustained sitting lasting more than a couple of hours at a time. The chair’s very design misses some of the main elements that are crucial for prolonged comfort – that is, a wide and tall backrest, fully extended armrests, and a softer uniform seat pan that doesn’t force you to always sit with your legs open.
In other words, try the Capisco if you have back pain, but don’t ditch your regular office chair either way.