To say we were excited to check out the Level from FluidStance is an understatement. From its early roots as a Kickstarter project, it has grown into a truly viable business with multiple product lines all built around the same core principle; to keep people healthy and improving workspace conditions. Yes there are similar products on the market, but none are as visually striking and well-designed, but the big question is does it actually work?
A Little History
I have been a standing desk user for the past 5 years. While my desk has the ability to raise and lower itself at the push of a button, I tend to find myself standing 99% of the time. It keeps me feeling active, less sedentary and honestly, I have just grown accustomed to it. There are days however when I find myself leaning hard on my elbows against my desk, not standing up properly with my shoulders back, and generally kind of slumping against it. These are things you typically find in people who sit all day long, but just because you have a standing desk doesn’t instantly mean it’s going to get better and as the day goes on one has a tendency to lean over more. You’re getting tired after all. This is where FluidStance comes in and what they were trying to solve and the idea is simple to some degree. they were trying to find a way to apply a level of movement and enforce proper posture through what amounts to subtle micro adjustments in your core.
How It’s Different
All the FluidStance products work in functionally the same way. It’s what many would refer to as a balance board and you probably have used one in the gym before even or thought about trying them. In this case, they are applying the same technology and ideas into how you spend the majority of your day. The issue with using a normal balance board at a standing desk is that it’s too much on your body. You will find yourself consistently tightening and loosening throughout and it actually at some point is detrimental because soreness will set in. People in the office have tried and they literally can’t use that type all day.
FluidStance products are less aggressive and almost easier to integrate in your everyday life because it feels like just a small tweak on what is normal for your body. Top is larger and rectangular allowing you to spread your legs more and wide your stance. This allows your core to still get some use, but only in a very minimal way and that in turn allows you to stand on it all day.
Construction & Quality
Earlier, I touched on the quality and the overall construction, design, and quality of the FluidStance product line. They fit perfectly at work or home and in almost any environment. From the smooth hardwood finishes of the Original and Level to the recyclable features of their newest model, the Plane. They honestly look like they belong in a modern design catalog as they are just beautiful. We tested the Level and on this model the base rocker is made of military grade aluminum with a matte finish. The Original is hand cast aluminum and the Plane uses recycled plastic and tired to form their base. Honestly, it’s just as much fun to flip the thing over and show someone how the base looks because it’s so intricate.
The Level is heavy, but that just hints at the quality. They include a storage bag with it, but I’ve never really put mine back in the bag. It stays out 100% of the time and is only slid under my desk when I head home in the evening.
The visual design is most definitely not lost on others. You will find yourself routinely having conversations about this amazing looking new device you now have at your desk. Most folks definitely want to take it for a test ride as well. There is also a bit of fun factor as well as you routinely will find yourself taking your hands off your desk, engaging your core, and balancing in place. You will find yourself spinning to have conversations and routinely swinging your hips side to side, it’s almost playful and the enjoyment isn’t lost on others.
How Well Does It Work
I looked at the Level from two perspectives. First, as a runner and asked how it helped with recovery, pain, muscle soreness, etc. Next, I looked at it as an everyday person who just happens to work at a standing desk. From both perspectives, it exceeded expectations.
As a runner, I experience a lot of lower leg soreness post run. I stretch quite a bit, I cross train, I warm up/cool down, and yet the specter of soleus and calf tenderness haunts me daily nonetheless. The range of motion design as well as their optimal limits model helped with this quite a bit. I am not standing flat and occasionally my heels are above my toes and vice versa, left leg straighter than right, hips flexed and un-flexed, etc. This all leads to an overall comfort level and this increased movement keeps my legs feeling a bit more active. It is supposed to result in small ticks in heart rate of about 15%, but I didn’t notice this a ton unless I was actually rocking/moving on it continually and forcing this. This didn’t bother me at all though.
As an normal person in the office, I found the Level to be fun, conversational, and increased my overall feeling of productivity. I simply enjoyed standing at my desk more. I also found I could still do all my normal tasks without any issues including typing, designing, editing, etc. I also just kind of loved how it worked, coming up to my desk became oddly enough, more exciting, as I found myself ready to just hop on and go.
The FluidStance Level is one of the things you never knew you would want until you try it, but I can honestly say it’s one of the best additions I’ve made to the office since moving to a standing desk in the first place. It is beautiful yes and it makes a statement, but functionally it works really well and really just makes standing more fun. Physiologically, I feel better after morning runs when I spend the day on it so it truly helps me with recovery. It also holds the core tight so it can strengthen your mid-section if you want to take a minute and focus on that. The price is high but the quality is also so high and it feels so well built that it warrants it. This is a reason to retire that chair once and for all.
Check out all their products at https://fluidstance.com/ and the prices range from $499 down to $199 depending on the model.