Gaming chairs come with thin manuals. You’ll find instructions for assembly, warranty information and some tools in the box. How do you use your gaming chair? What are the purposes of the different settings? What do the neck and lumbar pillows serve? This guide will help you fill in the blanks. Find out how to get the best value from your gaming chair investment.
How to use the ergonomics of a gaming chair to support neutral sitting positions
Gaming chair users who experience back pain or discomfort while using their gaming chair are probably using it incorrectly. A few minor adjustments can make your disappointments into joy.
A gaming chair, even a cheap one, should support neutral and dynamic sitting positions. This will allow you to understand the adjustments of a gaming chair. This video shows neutral techniques using a Secretlab Titan chair.
Dynamic neutral sitting is the best ergonomic choice for deskwork. This requires planted feet, a supported curve in the lumbar spine, and a slight recline at the back.
The Fundamentals of Neutral Gamer Posture
Homo sapiens lived a hunter-gatherer lifestyle for around 90% of its history (200,000 years). The athletic human form was then lost. Sitting too much can slow down metabolism, circulation, cardiac output, and even cause some heart problems. It can also cause damage to the musculoskeletal and cardiovascular systems.
Gaming chairs are a vital part of modern esports players’ computing routine.
Many esports professionals are becoming fitter despite sitting for long periods. It’s not a coincidence that most elite teams also use gaming chairs to train full-time.
Gaming chairs, like all ergonomic chairs can support neutral positions. This technique was first used in outer space in 1973. NASA researchers then observed astronauts aboard Skylab Space Station.
Measurements of 12 people in zero gravity aboard Skylab to determine neutral body positions
They discovered that the body can be more neutral in body postures (NBP), which reduces its need to resist gravity. This reduces the body’s need to exert gravity against it, and thus spinal stress. These parameters were also used to port NBP technology into desk chairs in the late 1990s.
- Lumbar supported recline: This is when the spine is supported by the support curve of the lumbar.
- Arm support adjustable: Adjustable arm support: Armrests that are set at the correct height relieve strain from the neck, shoulders and back. This reduces disc pressure further.
- Sitting: Regular position changes can keep muscles active and boost circulation. This reduces the negative effects of sitting down.
These steps will help you to sit comfortably in a gaming chair
1. Adjust the seat height and place your feet on the ground
To ensure a good posture, the first step is to place your feet on the ground. Your spine will be supported against gravity by pressing down on your feet. Your back muscles will take the strain if your feet are allowed to dangle.
No matter what type of chair you choose, it is important to place your feet in order to support your spine while you are sitting.
Adjust the seat so your feet are flat. You can add a footrest if you feel that your feet are too small in relation to the desk.
If your feet are too short to fit on the desk, you can add a footrest.
Set the seat height so that your knees are a little lower than your hips. This is the best angle for your spine to remain neutral.
2. Tuck your hips into the seat
Start with neutral sitting. Make sure to keep your hips in the seat pan. When you sit down, resist the temptation to curve your hips forward.
Your lumbar curve will be flattened if you move your hips forward. Your top spine will then brace against the backrest. Tucking your hips to the backrest will allow for optimal contact between your lower spine and the chair’s support.
3. Make sure the armrests are in sync with your desk height
A 170-pound individual’s average arm weighs in at around 10 pounds. Proper armrest arrangement is necessary to offset the combined weight of both arms.
Armrests offer a second layer of weight distribution when your feet are planted. You can achieve this by matching the height of your desk with the armrests’ height.
For those who are short, an ergonomic footrest can be added to enhance armrest sync.
The best configuration allows your arms to fall naturally from your shoulders. Plant your feet so that your legs don’t reach the desk. To give yourself more height, consider adding a footrest.
Armrests come in a variety of designs, including 1D, 2D and 3D. The number refers to how far the armrests can move in. The 1D armrests can only be adjusted vertically, while the 4D armrests can adjust in four directions.
Astralis esports player demonstrates how to use gaming armrests.
A higher degree of adjustability allows you to customize the armrests to meet your specific needs. This reduces strain on your body and provides better support for your wrists and arms.
4. Support pillows that can be configured
Many people make the error of setting their lumbar support either too high or too low when they first use it. Either way, your hips will tilt forward and you’ll be slouching.
Gaming chairs can be detrimental if the lumbar support is too high or low.
Other gamers have reported problems with the depth of certain gaming chair pillows. These are two quick solutions:
Proper Lumbar Pillow Height
For men, the average human spine measures around 30 inches and for women, it is 24 inches. The average chair’s lumbar support should not be more than 7.5 inches above the seat. It should be 5.5 inches higher than the seat for women.
The lumbar pillow of a gaming chair should be approximately 7 inches higher than its seat.
It may take a few days for you to find the perfect height setting if this is your first gaming chair. These are some troubleshooting tips.
- Too low lumbar pillow: Pushes the hips forward, not filling the back curve. After a few days, lower back pain can occur.
- Too high lumbar pillow: Lower back tightness, upper spine slouching.
- Perfect height pillow: Fills the lower back curve and sits about 5-7 inches higher than the chair.
Proper Lumbar Pillow Depth
Even if the lumbar pillow height is correct, the support of the pillow might be too low. Many pillows are filled with dense foam, which is why they come in new. It might cause a gap between the backrest and your spine.
To make your lumbar support pillow more flexible, you can squash it down if it is too thick.
It is easy to take the pillow out and put it on the floor. You can then use it again once it is more malleable. The spine should be flush against the backrest.
You can also upgrade your pillow to a luxury memory foam model. It offers three benefits. It’s a long, thick pillow that covers more than your lumbar curve.
For beginners, a high-end memory foam lumbar cushion is the best option.
Second, it’s strapless. You simply need to place it around your lumbar region and then lean back. The memory foam also compresses under weight. This fills your lower back and allows your spine to rest comfortably against the backrest.
This guide provides detailed information on how to troubleshoot lumbar support problems.
5. Moving your body while sitting or standing
Even if you are in a neutral position, sitting down can clog your circulation and stress muscles. Gaming chairs encourage movement while seated. It is sometimes called an active’ or ‘dynamic’ style to sit in a seated position that changes frequently.
Over long periods of sitting, small changes in position can stimulate circulation and muscles.
Dynamic neutral seated engages leg, back and abdominal muscles. Sitting with active muscles groups reduces the risk of being sedentary. To integrate even more movement, add an ergonomic footrest.
Gaming Chair Recline Optimization
Supported recline angles of 110deg to 130deg (1) are the best for lumbar disc pressure and lower back activity. A (lumbar-supported), backrest recline angle of 110deg lowers the muscle activity around the cervical, lumbar and thoracic spines. Your back muscles are freed up to do the heavy lifting.
For desk work, the ideal recline range is between 95 and 115 degrees.
You can adjust your desk position to anywhere from 95 to 115 degrees. A recline of 110 degrees is ideal for most people. These are the benefits to consider:
- Improved spinal positioning, less pressure on the vertebrae.
- More fat tissue is burned when core muscles contract frequently.
- Greater control and awareness of the position of your body.
Seated Movement Supercharge 1: Add A Footrest
To integrate even more movement, add an ergonomic footrest. An ergonomic footrest allows you to sit higher in your chair, allowing for more movement.
A footrest is a great option for those with short legs.
One also helps to reduce pressure on the back and thighs. It also increases pressure on the lower back. It is even more easy to sit in neutral when there is good lumbar support.
Seated Movement Supercharge 2 – Frequent Breaks
Sitting full-time increases the risk of obesity, depression, diabetes and other health problems. It is easy to reduce the risk by getting up every 20 minutes and moving around. It has been shown that this can improve mood, energy levels, and focus.
Healthy sitting habits can be combined with a home exercise program to boost your wellbeing.
It is simple to get started on this path. Get a yoga mat. If you are feeling adventurous, add dumbbells or a reclining chair. Youtube has many videos that you can use to learn yoga or workout routines. Next, take advantage of your equipment when you are taking a mini-break.
Strict vs Casual Neutral Sitting Styles
These tips are applicable to all racing style gaming chairs. While the adjustability is less than that of a $200 chair, they offer similar levels of support. Flat vs. bladed gaming chair styles have a greater impact than expensive vs. cheap.
Flat seats are more comfortable, but they don’t last as long as maintaining good posture.
The former gives you more freedom and provides short-term comfort. However, it can lead to poor posture and back pain over time. The former forces you to sit with your feet planted. This helps you maintain a neutral posture.
Over the short-term, a strict neutral style is not as appealing as one that is more flexible.
This brings us to another point: strict or relaxed sitting styles. For your long-term health, strict styles are better. But, it can be oppressive to sit in the same position every day.
After many years of testing, I have concluded that neither style is the best. Choose an ergonomic gaming chair, or an office chair to suit your needs. You can then fill it with a vigorous fitness routine.
BONUS: Add Exercise For Best Results
Gaming chairs are used by most of the top pro-esports teams. Most of them believe that players who are well rested and healthy perform better. Top teams often have mental coaches, nutritionists and physical therapists.
Pro esports players will perform better if they get enough rest, nutrition, exercise, and other healthy habits.
ChairsFX interviewed a few of the most prominent esports doctors. Jordan Tsai is a doctor who works with Cloud9 and TSM, Evil Geniuses and 100 Thieves among other top teams. He is also a member of Secretlab’s Ergonomics Advisory Board and a gaming chair owner.
To perform at your peak, you need to exercise + good nutrition + sound rest.
He insists that a good seat is the most important element for productive deskwork. Instead, he recommends “A regular range in motion, strengthening and stretching are all important.”
Dr. Duncan (pictured), believes that fitness is essential to achieve peak computing performance.
Dr. William Duncan works both with esports as well as traditional athletes. He is in agreement with Dr. Tsai. A chair by itself will not solve your problems. You can resolve your symptoms by strengthening and endurance, and using a good chair.
Testimonial: Gaming Chair and Fitness Link
Top esports therapists recommend physical fitness to improve computing performance. My case was the opposite: I found that using a gaming chair sparked a passion for fitness.
In 2017, I purchased my first gaming chair. I was a terrible person, had chronic lethargy, and had a beer belly at the time. After a long day sitting in my cheap office chair, it was exhausting. This changed when I learned how to sit in neutral positions on a gaming chair.
My 1.5-year transformation from a neutral sitting position.
My energy levels shot up after a day of sitting in a neutral gaming chair. After that, I couldn’t sit still because my energy levels skyrocketed. To burn the extra, I began going to the gym. It became easier to sit in neutral positions after I had stronger muscles.
I found that I was able to use a gaming chair as a full-time desk worker, which gave me the energy and motivation to exercise.
This increased my energy levels. Today, I have a lot to do in computing, exercising, eating well, and sleeping well.
Conclusion + Troubleshooting
The best results are achieved by using dynamic neutral positions in a gaming chair. This will align your spine, support muscles and provide mild stimulation. You’ll be able to sit comfortably for long periods without feeling pain.
These are the steps to follow:
- You can adjust the seat height to ensure your feet are flat on the ground.
- To fill your lower back curve, configure your lumbar support.
- Place your hips in the seat pan and rest your spine against the backrest.
- Settle into a neutral sitting position.
- Adjust the armrests to support each arm’s weight.
- Every five minutes, you should slightly change your position.
- Every 20 minutes, take a standing break and move around.
A person who is too short can have sore shoulders and a rounded lower back.
If you’re still feeling pain after following the steps in this guide, there may be one of these three things:
- Bad size of the chair: If your gaming chair is too small, or too large, neutral techniques will not help.
- Unsafe usage: If your hips curve forward or your lumbar curve flattens, it is a sign that something is wrong.
- Poor nutrition and sleep habits can reduce the effectiveness of an ergonomic chair.