Spino review: improve your posture at work

  • Greater than 5 minutes, my friend!

    It is obvious that good posture is important for your health and well-being: bad posture not only harms your back and causes pain, but can also influence your productivity. Sitting upright all day can be a challenge however. For people suffering from poor posture there is Spino – a simple yet nifty tool to help with that.

    The dangers of bad posture

    People working at their desks all day, as most translators do, are at risk of ruining their health because they lack good posture. While a good ergonomic chair and desk and the right position of arms and legs can help a great deal in avoiding an awkward position, there is still a lurking danger that people will bend their head and upper back forwards – thereby neglecting all the rules of a good and healthy position for working. The results of such a posture do not always present themselves directly, but after a while they can appear as pain in the (upper) back and a lower energy level. In the worst case this pain is present the whole day – not only when you are at work.

    However, bad posture can not only have painful consequences, but it also makes people appear less confident because their shoulders bend forwards. That can have an impact on the way others perceive you and can even provoke the idea in business partners that you are not much of a force to reckon with.

    Working towards a good posture

    Having a good posture starts with awareness. As a translator (or other freelance professional) if you want to look confident, you should walk with your head up high and your shoulders slightly backwards. If you are not used to doing that, you should think about it, consider your posture and tell yourself to improve it. Pain is a good signal as well: if you experience an uncomfortable feeling in your neck, shoulders, upper back or upper arms, that should lead you to think about your posture. What is causing the pain and what is wrong with your posture?
    Otherwise, there are plenty of tools that you can use. Spino is one of them, and we got one to test for the xl8 review project.

    Review of the Spino - close up of the Spino bag

    xl8 review: the Spino

    The Spino is a simple solution for a healthy back. The product was developed by Notion Innovations and is meant to help people quickly improve their posture and the health of their spine. In stating that the Spino is a simple solution, I mean it is really simple. In fact this lightweight product consists of a backpad and two kneepads that are attached with straps to the backpad.


    Users simply put the backpad behind their lower back, adjust the straps and place the kneepads in front of their knees. That’s all. The pressure of your knees on the kneepads ensures that the backpad pushes against your back and makes you sit upright – an ingenious and simple solution that does not add weight and can be used everywhere.

    To avoid a sweaty and sticky solution the people behind the Spino used a breathable fabric and a soft and flexible cushion for the backpad. The kneepads have the same comfortable cushion but also have a durable ABS outer shell so they can rub against desks and other materials. The Spino was sent in a useful and waterproof bag with drawstrings, making it easy to take wherever you want – perfect for digital nomads and people who work on the go.



    Spino review as part of the xl8 review project

    My Spino experience

    With such a simple solution I was curious to test the Spino. Setting it up is quite easy: simply place the back pad behind your back, adjust the straps, place the kneepads in front of your knees and you’re all set. The adjustable straps are well-located around the hips, so there is no need to bend or reach to a difficult position to increase the comfort of the Spino. The first time using it sometimes required a quick adjustment of the length of the straps: in some cases these straps were too short, making the pressure between the back and knees too high, leading to an uncomfortable feeling. On the other hand, too loose straps made the Spino utterly useless, and increased the bad posture.

    It must be said that the Spino only works well when the hips and knees are at a horizontal level and bent at 90 degrees. If the angle of the lower leg to the upper leg is more or less than 90 degrees the kneepads can easily come off, undoing the work of the Spino. On the other hand, the design of the Spino allows some flexibility: users can also cross their lower legs without fearing that the Spino will come off.
    It is also worth noting that the adjustable straps should be of a comfortable length: if they are too short they increase pressure and pain in the upper back. However, the Spino was sent without any instructions as to setting it up, so it was a matter of trial and error before I made right adjustments – at the risk of something going utterly wrong with my back.

    As I am used to working in a slightly slumped position, the Spino did a great job in helping me to sit upright. However, after some time I felt the kneepads cause a tingling sensation in my knees and sometimes the stress on my back was a bit too high. That could be resolved by changing my position or leaving the Spino aside for some time, but it still made me wonder what was going on.
    On the other hand, the Spino does not avoid the tendency to bend over to a less healthy spine position. It is still possible to have a slumped posture, and not sit upright as the Spino only works because of the pressure of your knees and back on the pads: the design does not avoid the wearer’s inclination to bend over.

    Spino review: conclusion

    The Spino nevertheless did a great job, by increasing my awareness of my posture and improving the position of my spine. It did not lead to any added feelings of confidence, but it still triggered my keeping head up and shoulders straight. Thanks to the lightweight design and the useful bag it does not add weight while traveling and it is ideal for taking with you. The simple design with its comfortable and useful fabric and the well-thought out position of the adjustment mechanism on the straps makes the Spino useful in a range of applications – whether at work or home. The biggest caveat is the lack of clear instructions about adjusting the straps: in a worst case people could increase their back pain or worsen their posture because of a too tight fit. A set of good instructions would be a great addition. But at a price of $49 the Spino is still a tool worth considering for all those translators struggling to find the healthiest position at their desk.

    Pieter Beens

    About Pieter Beens

    Freelance translator English-Dutch. Works for high-profile clients worldwide. Professional. Punctual. Passionate.

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