My Parents Never Taught Me How to Sit in a Chair

Have friends, family or co-workers this could help? Spread the word.

Did your parents teach you how to sit in a chair when you were young? 

My parents are my heroes and they did everything they could to help me, but I have no memory of them explaining to me how to properly sit in a chair to prevent pain.

This sounds like a silly question, but as parents, we teach our kids everything we can that will help them. We teach them how to brush their teeth, ride a bike, swim in the water, eat with manners, but sitting in a chair to prevent back pain is not a topic I ever remember. Do you? Are you teaching your children how to sit in a task chair?

You might be saying that of course, YOU know how to sit in a chair right? Your kids know, but do they? I would estimate that 85% of people do not understand how to properly sit in a task chair.  Out team conducts hundreds of ergonomic assessments each month. Hands down, one of the most common risk factors we see every day is employees who are not sitting in their task chairs properly. “Perching” as we call it is one of the most frequent culprits creating back, neck, hip, buttocks, shoulder, and neck pain.

As a company that sells high quality ergonomic chairs, I will tell you that it does not matter how excellent your ergonomic chair is, if your employees are not properly sitting in the chair 6-8 hours a day, their body will experience pain. Education and understanding of how to properly sit in a chair is essential. 


There’s a lot of false information about the proper posture you need to use when sitting at a desk. Cornell University ergonomics professor Dr. Alan Hedge sets out why the 90˚ rule does more damage than good, and what the proper way to sit at your desk is.

Video: “You Have Sitting at Your Desk All Wrong”

Three Tips on How to Sit in a Task Chair

Tip #1: Lean Back in your chair

Some people believe that sitting up straight is what they are supposed to do. Many people believe that it helps strengthen their back muscles? It doesn’t. Others have said they believe it even helps prevent back pain. The opposite is true.

There are tremendous compressive forces on your back and neck from leaning forward for any amount of time. Not only that, if you are leaning forward in your chair, the chances are great you might be also stretching your arms out with awkward postures which creates another set of problems.

Remember: The back support of a chair is there to be “supporting your back” all day. It is not designed to “perch.” Make sure you are not perching on your chair. Your back will thank you.


Tip #2: Invest in a High-Quality Ergonomic Chair that Has Back Adjustment Capability Where You Can Sit in a Relaxed and Comfortable Way  
An ergonomic chair that can adjust 10-20 degrees helps put you in a natural position. Also, it depends on what you are doing. If you are working at the computer you may want your seat more upright then when you have clients come into your office for a discussion. Flexibility to adjust your backrest is very important. It helps improve the circulation of your legs and reduces compressive forces of your back and hips.

A wonderful ergonomic chair that provides excellent lumbar, thoracic and opens up your chest for better posture is the Tranquility task chair

Adjustable backrest support is one of the features that you typically don’t get cheaper ergonomic chairs. 


Tip #3: Make Sure Your Know How to Adjust Your Chair 
1. Your arms and legs should be at a 90-degree angle when you are typing.
2. Both feet should be on the floor. If they are not, you need to know how to adjust your chair up or down to get in this position.
3. Learn how to adjust your armrests.
-Perhaps your armrests are blocking you from moving close enough to the desk so your arms are not extended, well you need to know how to adjust the armrests to prevent this.
4. Learn how to adjust your seat pan (what you are sitting on) to ensure that there are no more and no less than two fingers between the back of your knees and the chair.

The good news is that most quality ergonomic chairs have 5 paddle adjustments. Learn how these paddles work with your chair so you know how to go up and down, adjust the back support, adjust the arms, adjust the seat pain, and some chairs you can adjust the lumbar and the thoracic.

Pacific Ergonomcs provides training brochures for all of our products so our clients know how to properly adjust their chairs. It is very important.

One of our excellent ergonomic task chair suppliers is RFM. This is a good video to explain how to adjust a 5 paddle chair. Many of the chairs are similar you just have to make sure you are comfortable with the chair that you have.

Happy and healthy sitting! 

About the author

Annie Berzanski
CEO at | 619-546-0872 101 | | Website | + posts

Annie Berzanski is proud and honored to be the CEO of Pacific Ergonomics, a full-service San Diego ergonomic company with consulting and ergonomic product solutions. Her team helps employees and employers thrive. Annie leads a customer service obsessed team with certified ergonomists and Account managers who help employees increase productivity and feel great working. At the same time, Pacific Ergonomics helps companies decrease and prevent costly Workers Comp claims from work-related Musculoskeletal Skeletal Disorders (MSDs.) Annie is a certified office and industrial ergonomist. She is passionate about helping her customers create customized solutions that have a bottom line impact, make employees healthier and decrease risk of injury.