What does a good sitting position look like?

Revised 2020.03.30

Though some sitting positions are better than others, there is no single position that should be used all day.

Many, including our CSA standard on office ergonomics, promote switching between different positions throughout the day. Some examples are below.
  • Reclined
  • Upright
  • Forward tilt
Source: www.ergonomicaccessories.com

Key points for computer use

Requirements for paperwork and other tasks may be different.

Head posture

  • Ideally a straight line passes through the ears, shoulders and hips

Seat height

  • Heels comfortably on the floor or footrest [to learn when a footrest may be required, see Links at the bottom of this page]
  • Torso-to-thigh angle greater than 90°
  • Knee angle greater than 90°

Seat depth

  • With your bum all the way at the back of the seat, the gap between the front edge of the seat and the back of your knee should be 1-4 finger widths.

Lumbar support

  • Height and shape support the curve in your low back [lumbar curve]

Backrest angle

  • 90° to 120° relative to the seat

Arm posture

  • Upper arms parallel to your torso
  • Elbow angle approximately 90°
  • Wrists straight, fingers curled when typing

If your chair has armrests

  • They should not interfere with your arm position, if you don’t want to use them.

Armrest height

  • Forearms supported without you having to lift your shoulders.

Distance between armrest pads

  • NOT force your elbows away from your torso

Forward position of armrest pads

  • NOT hit the desk when you are trying to sit close to your desk
  • Front edges of pads are behind your wrists when arms are in neutral typing position