Here’s How You Should Sit At Your Desk for Bigger Lifts

At BarBend, we’re constantly on the quest to improve our bodies, strength, and knowledge of strength sports. Unfortunately, much of what we do is spent sitting behind computers, so like many, we’re constantly experimenting with new ways to spend our work days without losing progress in the gym.

Sitting for long periods of time isn’t only unhealthy, but it can do a number on our posture. Poor posture can negatively impact an athlete’s performance in the gym in more ways than getting into proper positioning for compound movements. And not every company has the resources to give employees stand up desks, which makes maintaining healthy posture even tougher.

If you sit for long periods of time, and don’t have access to a stand up desk, then check out these seated posture tips below to better your desk ergonomics.

Health Posture Tips for Desk Workers

Eye Gaze and Space From Screen

The way we fixate our eyes can play a big part in our head’s position and posture. When a screen is lower than our line of vision, then we’re forced to arch and flex the neck, which can result in a craning neck position. A forward head posture can lead to neck pain, tight traps, and weak neck muscles. All of these can negatively impact an athlete’s performance.

  • Eye Gaze Path: Fixate your eyes on a screens that sit directly in front of your eyes, or at a slightly downward/upward position. This will decrease the time you spend looking down with a forward, or flexed neck posture.
  • Space Between the Screen: An easy way to gauge the appropriate distance between yourself and the computer screen is by extending your arm. This is often 20-30″ and will help you avoid eye strain and leaning forward to get closer to your screen.
  • 20-20-20 Rule: This rule requires you to stare at something away from your screen 20′ feet away for 20-seconds every 20-minutes. Research has suggested this to be a viable tactic to combat eye strain and asthenopia.
  • Screen Brightness: A screen should be adequately bright with ambient light, so your time spent squinting is reduced.
  • Try Palming: This is a method that requires you to turn away from your screen and place both of your palms over your eyes with the fingers crossed for a minute. Doing so is supposed to aid in eye strain.

Chair Position & Joint Angles

Your chair should have a few adjustments to support joint angles that won’t continually put you in compromising postures. For example, a chair shouldn’t be too high where the legs are hanging downward, or too low where the hips are overly flexed. There are a couple chair checkpoints and joint angles to perform to ensure you’re sitting in the best way possible.

  • Height: An adjustable chair can be a great way to alter heights slightly to avoid putting the hips in the same positioning for extended periods. Ideally, you want your thighs to sit parallel with the floor.
  • Arm Rests: Your arm rests should support the arms and create a 90 degree angle with the arms. If your chair doesn’t have arm rests, then position the arms so they’re laying at the height of the desk.
  • Back of the Chair: Stagger out times when you sit erect with tall posture using no support. For situations when you’re using the back of the chair, sit all the way back in the seat and ensure the lumbar curvature is supported.
  • Feet Flat: Maintain a flat foot posture on the ground, or angle them slightly up, while remaining flat.
  • Shoulders Back: Keep the shoulders relaxed and back, while thinking tall chest. Try to avoid tensing up or tightening the upper back for extended amounts of time.

Kinesiology Taping for Posture

Another easy way to promote good posture is with the light use of kinesiology tape. The easiest way to tape the body for better posture is by placing one piece over the scapulas. Doing this will provide the mind with a stimulus to pull the scapulas back and maintain an upright chest throughout the day, aka a healthy posture.

In Conclusion

Sometimes sitting for extended periods of time is inevitable, especially for those working sedentary jobs. Fortunately, there are ways to combat the negatives that come with sitting and poor postures. The above tips are only a few ways you can work with equipment at your desk to support proper posture.

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Jake holds a Master's in Sports Science and a Bachelor's in Exercise Science. Currently, Jake serves as one of the full time writers and editors at BarBend. He's a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) and has spoken at state conferences on the topics of writing in the fitness industry and building a brand. As of right now, Jake has published over 1,100 articles related to strength athletes and sports. Articles about powerlifting concepts, advanced strength & conditioning methods, and topics that sit atop a strong science foundation are Jake's bread-and-butter. On top of his personal writing, Jake edits and plans content for 15 writers and strength coaches who come from every strength sport.Prior to BarBend, Jake worked for two years as a strength and conditioning coach for hockey and lacrosse players, and was a writer at the Vitamin Shoppe's corporate office. Jake regularly competes in powerlifting in the 181 lb weight class, and considers himself a weightlifting shoe sneaker head. On the side of writing full time, Jake works as a part-time strength coach and works with clients through his personal business Concrete Athletics in Hoboken and New York City.