Quick Tips for Proper Desk Setup

Posted on February 9, 2015

With our society of screens and desk jobs, we tend to sit a lot.  Sitting too much can get us into trouble.  One of the best ways to improve our sitting posture is to have a proper chair, desk, keyboard, and monitor set up to align your body better.  This will decrease the load on your joints and muscles so they don’t have to work as hard.  This set up is intended to stack your head over your shoulders over your hips and bear some weight through your feet to limit stress.  Even still the muscles in your back will be lengthened, and in your front will be shortened.  This will require proper strengthening of your back muscles and stretching of your front muscles.  Visit our YouTube channel and our Desk Strengthening and Stretching playlists to get going!  For now, to get yourself set up for success without doing an exercise, try our tips below!

#1 Tip: Take frequent breaks from sitting! Every 15-30’ if you can!  Variability is key!  If you have the ability to have a standing desk, do it!  Even more ideal, have a desk you can stand and sit at and alternate 1 hour of standing and 15-30 minutes of sitting, take a stretching break, and then repeat throughout the day.  Just like you rotate your tires on your car, you should change the stress on your body during your day to limit wear and tear!


  • Height: raise it as high as possible with feet flat on ground
  • Seat Pan: tilt the front of the bottom of your seat (seat pan) down slightly
    • Create trunk/thigh angle at about 100°-130°
  • Back Rest: move it forward and/or use lumbar support
  • Arm Rests: Lower/remove to get as close as possible to desk


  • Height: forearms angle down slightly (elbow angle 90°-120°)
  • Distance: Set close to body so arms can relax at side


  • Height: directly in front of you top of screen at eye level
  • Distance: close enough to read comfortably without desire to lean head forward

You can also reference our video blog discussing and demonstrating all of the above!

– Dane Happeny, PT, DPT, Doctor of Physical Therapy

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