While other devices do all the work for you, the Upright actually trains you to have better posture.
Reviewed By: Conor Hockett on February, 17th 2017
Note: Over the past few weeks, we’ve experimented with Upright’s device placement and movement updates. Check out our thoughts below.
I convinced my coworkers to let me try the Upright because I see a walker in my not-too-distant future. At 25 years old, this might sound like a sad, pathetic story I told to try out the newest gadget in the office, but it’s a potential reality if my posture doesn’t improve. I’m one of many with back pain, but mine isn’t related to an injured disc or pulled muscle. Instead, I suffer from a condition I like to call chronic slouching.
That’s where the Upright comes in. It provides real-time feedback on your posture and creates training programs to help you build core strength and muscle memory. While other devices hold you up through a medieval-looking contraption, the Upright actually trains you to stand up straighter on your own.
While it does reduce back pain and improve awareness, the Upright ($129.95) has several performance limitations that keep it from standing alone as the best posture corrector on the market. My overall experience was positive, but the Upright has some work to do to completely distinguish itself from the Lumo Lift.
Upright describes the device as wearable technology that actually trains you to sit upright, and to that point, it certainly succeeds. Unlike the BetterBack, which stabilizes your pelvis with a strap and does all the work for you, the Upright improves your posture through systematic training and reinforcement.
Here’s how it works:
Upright’s method is simple and, for the most part, it works. After just a few sessions, the tension in my back lessened, and I started becoming more aware of my posture. Convenience is also a big plus with this device: I didn’t have to wear it for long stretches of time throughout the day.
With that said, there a few issues holding the Upright back from being the best posture corrector on the market.
In one of the app’s introductory videos, the narrator recommends that you attach the device above your hip bone and below your lowest rib for optimal results. It goes on to say that if you’re unsure of the correct position, push the Upright a little higher — but this advice did little for me. Most of my posture problems exist in the upper back from slumping my shoulders, so I didn’t get the necessary responsiveness (vibration) until I moved the Upright to the top-third of my spine. It worked great from there, but this goes against what the device tells you to do.
Secondly, the Upright requires that you sit throughout your training exercises. The sessions aren’t terribly long — they last between five to 60 minutes — so being confined for a certain period of time isn’t the issue. Rather, it’s that Upright isn’t programmed to work while standing, walking, or any other physical activity. I’m sure trials are being done to implement more movement into the program, but for now, the device doesn’t address how much I slouch while standing.
The Upright also asks you to sit toward the edge of your seat and keep your feet planted on the ground while training. Leaning against the back of your chair affects readings and could potentially turn off the device. This wasn’t a huge issue, but the rigidness of this position was a little uncomfortable.
The device syncs through Bluetooth and works in conjunction with Upright’s mobile app, which is simple, yet informative. The company takes a very cerebral approach to correcting posture, and the app does a great job of explaining each part of the process, including setup and application.
In one of the first videos, the narrator helps you locate your “neutral spine,” which he describes as your natural, upright position. He talks you through the position’s importance, how to find it, and common mistakes people often make with their posture. It’s important to understand this information because each time you use the Upright, you must calibrate the device based on your “neutral spine” and slouched position.
After a few more clips on best practices and what to avoid while training, you’re ready to get started. Upright customizes their training programs, so you must enter some personal information — height, weight, gender, and age — to generate your specific plan.
The app has plenty of tools, such as daily breakdowns, detailed help videos, relevant articles, and chat rooms, to get support or track progress throughout your training. There’s even a sidebar that lets you manage how sensitive you want the vibrations to be when you slouch.
Battery life on the Upright is phenomenal. Throughout my two weeks of training, I only had to charge the device twice. Granted, I never used it for much longer than an hour and always turned it off afterwards, but that’s impressive nonetheless. The Upright’s battery life is trackable through the app’s dashboard.
Some devices that charge through magnets on a power station tend to be touchy and get disconnected, but I never experienced any problems with the Upright. It provides colored feedback as it charges, and the station itself is small, easy to transport, and connects to any USB port. The Upright takes around two hours to fully recharge.
Really, no complaints here.
The Upright is small, discreet, and comfortable. It attaches to your back through an adhesive patch, which attaches to Velcro on the back of the device. Pulling the tag off your back doesn’t hurt, and there are 60 single-use adhesives per pack. When you’re wearing loose clothing, which the company recommends, the device won’t push your shirt out. Even when the vibrations are turned up to maximum strength, they aren’t loud or distracting to the people around you. The Upright is also backed by a one-year warranty, but I’m confident it could last much longer than that.
If you want to address the root cause of bad posture, rather than just treat the side effects, the Upright is worth your time and money. It offers an effective, systematic approach to building muscle memory and attacking the problem at its source. The device has some performance limitations, but if you stick to the program and are willing to put in the work, the Upright will noticeably improve your posture.
Upright’s previous placement restrictions — above the hip bone and below your lowest rib — were limiting and didn’t address my specific problem area (shoulders). The device can now be positioned just about anywhere on the spine, but the app recommends putting it on your lower or upper back.
When attaching Upright to your upper back, the app says to place it between your shoulder blades on the center of your spine. This is the optimum spot “if you hunch from your shoulders or suffer from tech neck.”
I was already experimenting with higher placement before, but the update helped me better address my own tech neck. Initially, the device catered to people with posture problems in their lumbar, so the update was necessary to address a wider audience.
Upright used to only work if the user was seated, but you can now stand, walk, and move around with the device on. Being confined to a chair for upwards of an hour was my biggest complaint initially, but the improved functionality makes Upright much more practical.
The device is unique in that it improves posture awareness while remaining relatively unnoticed by the user. Although I needed some help to place Upright higher on my back, I never felt restricted or like it was going to fall off as I walked around the office.
Whether I was sitting, standing, walking, or otherwise moving, there weren’t noticeable differences in the device’s responsiveness. Upright’s effectiveness still boils down to efficient calibration.
After using the device for several more weeks, I noticed that it responds better to slouching during training sessions if you don’t over-slouch while calibrating. It’s tempting to go full hunchback during calibration, but slightly curving your shoulders actually delivers better results.
Still, the device isn’t foolproof. There were times when I noticed I was slouching, and Upright wasn’t vibrating. It takes some time to calibrate correctly and find the best placement, so don’t be afraid to experiment with different positions. The app says it best:
"There’s no one right way to wear Upright, and it usually takes a few sessions to find your sweet spot."
With the update, however, Upright’s overall rating has improved. It is, without a doubt, one of the best posture correctors on the market.
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