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How to Sit In A Gaming Chair: Neutral Posture Video Guide

Gaming chairs provide the tools to enjoy long periods of healthy sitting. But proper usage of a chair’s ergonomic features is essential for success. Many new gaming chair users struggle in the early going to find their comfort zone. This article makes it easy with video and written instructions. Learn how to sit in a gaming chair to supercharge health, wellness, and productivity.

How do you sit in a gaming chair?
Learn how to sit in a gaming chair in less than 10 minutes.

The simple definition of ‘ergonomic’ is adjustable. The point of any ergonomic chair is to support users into dynamic neutral sitting positions. Proper adjustments in lumbar support, armrests, and backrest recline help make that happen.

This video covers everything you need to know in under five minutes:

The sections below break down the video’s main points in quick-skim format. Keep reading to master gaming chair neutral sitting fundamentals in a flash.

How to Sit In A Gaming Chair

The human body is not designed to sit for long periods. When standing with good posture, the lower back has a healthy curve of between 20-45 degrees.

Sitting versus standing mechanics
Slouching flattens the lumbar curve and tilts the hips forward.

Sitting without support reduces the curve by half. It also forces spinal muscles to hold the spine up against gravity. When back muscles tire, the curve completely flattens. That curls the spine into a slouch while tilting the hips forward.

Unsupported sitting demonstration
Without support, the spine curves into a “c” shape while sitting.

Slouching for long periods forces back muscles to work much harder. Over time, that manifests as stiffness and pain in the back, neck, and shoulders.

Neutral Sitting Positions

What’s the healthiest way to sit for long periods? For the past two decades, ergonomists have reached a consensus. Over long periods, the healthiest way to sit is in dynamic neutral positions.

Neutral sitting Titan vs Aeron
Neutral postures in a Secretlab Titan and Herman Miller Aeron chair.

Following three steps makes it easy to sit up straight:

  1. Plant your feet firmly on the floor.
  2. Tuck your hips deep into the seat pan.
  3. Adjust your lumbar support to provide mild pressure to your lower back.

Neutral Posture Muscle Memory

Getting used to sitting this way relies on muscle memory. When you practice any skill, you force your brain to coordinate muscle movements.

Developing muscle memory in a gaming chair
It takes a few days to develop the muscle memory to sit in a neutral style on auto-pilot.

The brain does so by using neurons to receive and send information. With repetition, neural pathways develop to perform tasks more efficiently.

Ideal desk size for kids
Most children sit naturally in a neutral posture before learning sloppy habits.

In a gaming chair, it should take around 2-3 days to acclimatize to a neutral sitting style. Then, sitting this way becomes effortless.

Movement While Sitting

Humans are not designed to sit for long periods. Sitting in a neutral posture mitigates stress on the spine and surrounding muscles. Adding frequent position changes helps even further.

Static vs dynamic sitting
Small position changes help the body to stay fresh over long periods of sitting.

The dynamic sitting concept combines neutral postures with movement. Doing so engages back, leg, and abdominal muscles while you sit. That boosts blood flow and keeps muscle groups active.

Active sitting in a gaming chair to prevent back pain
Fluid position changes: combining a 100-degree recline with sitting upright at 90 degrees.

Even small changes are enough to switch up active muscle groups. Over time, this helps users to develop a stronger core with improved circulation and no back pain.

Neutral Sitting Fundamentals

Beyond emphasizing neutral sitting, our tutorial video touches on key gaming chair adjustments. Here are the highlights:

Keep Feet Planted Flat On the Floor

Video timestamp: 0:50

The first step in a healthy neutral position is to keep feet planted firmly on the floor. This provides all of the power your back muscles need to hold the torso upright.

Gaming chair feet usage

If used to dangling your feet or curling them under the seat, you’ll need practice and discipline. Expect around 2-3 days of effort for the habit to lock in as muscle memory.

Planting your feet while sitting in a gaming chair
Planted feet provide the muscle that holds the spine upright while sitting.

If your desk is too high to sit with planted feet, add an ergonomic footrest. That will let you sit taller in your chair and reduce pressure on your thighs as you sit.

Constant movement while sitting
Easy seated movement: change recline angles and use a footrest.

Another big benefit is that ergonomic footrests make it easy to move while you sit. Imagine the blood-boosting benefits of working your ankles and calves while you play video games!

Sit Taller And More Dynamically With A Footrest

Tuck Hips Deep Into The Seat

The fundamental problem when sitting without support is that the back flattens and the hips curl forward. When upgrading to a gaming chair, muscle memory causes many to continue sitting this way!

Sitting without lumbar support
Unsupported sitting flattens the lumbar curve and curls the hips forward.

Break this habit by replacing it with a new one. Every time you sit down in your chair, make it a habit to tuck your hips as deep as possible into the seat.

Secretlab Titan posture support tips
Tucking your hips ensures that you get the best back support benefits from your chair.

That will keep your hips in a healthy alignment while you sit. It will also ensure that your spine makes optimal contact with the backrest. That’s where the posture magic happens!

Apply Lumbar Support

Video timestamp: 1:17

Based on the feedback we’ve received over the years, this is the part people struggle with the most. The trick is to position your lumbar support to fill your lower back curve.

Gaming chair lumbar pillow placement

Lumbar support set too low will curl your hips forward. Lumbar support set too high will encourage upper body slouching. Aim to adjust your lumbar several inches higher than the seat pan. References:

  • Human Factors and Ergonomics Handbook: lumbar support should be 6-10 inches higher than the seat.
  • Secretlab Titan 2020 Series: the integrated lumbar sits 6.7 inches higher than the seat
  • Personal preference: I like my lumbar support around 7 inches higher than the seat.

An easy way to get a feel for your sweet spot is to try sitting with simple support. Use a rolled-up towel, yoga mat, or weightlifter’s belt to apply lumbar pressure while you sit.

DIY lumbar support for a home office
Mild lumbar pressure reflexively straightens the upper back.

With your feet planted, mild lower back pressure reflexively straightens the upper back. It also provides tactile information about your posture. If your body begins to curl into a slouch, lumbar pressure lowers. As soon as you feel that, it’s a reminder to straighten up.

Gaming Chair Lumbar Support Biomechanics

Common Problem: Overly Fat Lumbar Pillow

Many gaming chairs come with stiff lumbar support pillows. Without breaking a new one in, it might not compress as you lean into it. That can leave a gap between your spine and the backrest.

Lumbar pillow gap in DXRacer chairs
If your lumbar pillow causes a gap, squish it down.

Sitting with a gap will still help you to sit straight, but isn’t ideal. Without the gap, you can lean your entire spine and body weight against the backrest. Then, you’ll feel like you’re floating on air!

If using a conventional lumbar pillow, squish it down to make it more malleable. Ideally, it should compress enough to let your spine rest directly against the backrest.

Memory Foam Lumbar Pillow Upgrade

Cheaper gaming chairs stuff accompanying support pillows with low-grade material. An easy (and potent) upgrade is to a memory foam lumbar pillow. On Amazon, one of the most popular on Amazon is the Everlasting Comfort Pillow ($32.95).

How to use a memory foam lumbar pillow
Achieve perfect support with a Secretlab memory foam lumbar pillow.

The best support I’ve ever tried is Secretlab’s Omega lumbar pillow. It’s stuffed with high-quality memory foam. After six months of using it full-time, mine still looks and works like new.

Secretlab Omega lumbar support pillow
Omega memory foam lumbar pillows come in 8 styles and work with all types of gaming chairs.

As a bonus, Secretlab’s pillow works with all types of gaming chairs. There are no straps. In any type of chair, simply check it behind you, align it to fill your lumbar curve, and then lean back.

Secretlab Omega Lumbar Pillow $59

Available from Secretlab in North America, the EU and UK, Oceania, Singapore, and Malaysia.

Recline and Tilting Functionality

Most people need around 2-3 days to develop the muscle memory that turns neutral sitting a habit. While getting acclimatized, maintaining a limited recline range will help your body adjust daster. of between 100 to 115 degrees.

Recline changes in a Secretlab Titan chair
Maintain a limited recline range while you adjust to a neutral sitting style.

In my experience, between 100 to 115 degrees is the optimal range to support typing at a desk. Most ergonomic research agrees. For instance, this study suggests a baseline recline of 110 degrees with lumbar support 1.5″ (4 cm) deep. That produces produces an optimal seated lumbar curve of 47 degrees.

Bottom line: stick within the 100 to 115 degrees as you acclimatize to a neutral style.

Deeper recline angles

The big advantage of a gaming chair over an office chair is the recline. This Secretlab Titan vs Herman Miller Aeron clarifies the advantages of deep recline functionality. For upright working, it has no use. However, for relaxing, a deep recline is hard to beat.

Secretlab chair WFH versatility
In a work-from-home setting, a deep-reclining backrest provides versatile all-day support.

When working from home, an Aeron will force you to sit upright at all times. In contrast, a Titan will support both work and play activities. When you need a break, pop the recline and relax.

  • 105 degrees: crisp upright typing posture.
  • 115-degree recline: good for passive deskwork (reading, casual browsing).
  • 135-degree recline: ideal for watching movies or reading.
  • 165-degree recline: good for napping.

Seat tilting functionality

Seat tilting functionality isn’t useful while mastering a neutral sitting technique. Rather, it’s a relaxation method that lets you work your hips.

Gaming chair tilt lock feature in pictures
A multifunction mechanism lets you tilt and lock the seat at angles.

Most cheap gaming chairs under $200 come with a standard tilting function. That lets you rock the seat bucket or lock it in place. Premium gaming chairs instead come with a multifunction tilt lock. Beyond rocking, it also lets you lock the seat at upward angles.

Cheap vs pro quality seat angle tilt lock
Standard tilt mechanism versus a multifunction one.

Look under the seat right away to see what a chair offers. A chair equipped with a multifunction device will have two levers under the seat instead of one.

Tilt and lock a gaming chair seat
Angling the seat stretches the back, but isn’t suited for deskwork.

Sitting with an upward-tilted seat changes the angle of your hips and knees and stretches your spine. It feels good, but also pulls you away from a desk. As such, it works best supporting passive tasks like reading or watching movies.

How to Use a Multifunction TIlt Lock

Supplementary Information

In brief, neutral postures minimize spinal and muscular strain. Dynamic neutral postures relieve fatigue, work core muscles, and boost circulation.

Neutral sitting posture examples
All ergonomic chairs are designed to support fluid, neutral postures over long periods. (click to enlarge)

The following sections explain the physiological realities of healthy sitting in greater detail.

How gaming chairs boost productivity

Spending a few days forging neutral sitting habits can pay massive dividends. All you need to do is stick with the basics and wait for your muscles to get used to it. Then, you’ll be able to sit longer, feel better, and be a lot more productive.

Good posture boosts energy levels

When your spine is misaligned, muscles work harder to hold the body up against gravity. In contrast, sitting with good posture balances muscles. Then, they work more efficiently and consume a lot less energy.

Tired office worker versus energetic person using gaming chair
Healthy back support can boost wellness, energy, and focus.

That has a direct effect on productivity. Neurologist Roger Sperry famously noted that when the body is tired, brain functioning falters:

Better than 90 percent of the energy output of the brain is used in relating the physical body in its gravitational field. The more mechanically distorted a person is, the less energy available for thinking, metabolism, and healing.

Sitting with strained muscles leaves only 10% of a person’s energy for thinking, metabolism, and healing. Using a gaming chair lets you ‘hack’ this ratio.

Gaming chair support for full-time sitting

Adjusting to a neutral sitting style will take massive pressure off of the back, neck, and shoulders. That delivers a surplus of energy to feed the brain.

More brain power supercharges productivity

Besides straining muscles, slouching compresses the rib cage. That reduces oxygen intake by up to 30%. With less oxygen, computational speed in the prefrontal cortex slows. That is why those with poor posture often suffer from brain fog and listlessness.

In contrast, a good sitting posture aligns the body in a relaxing position. With energy and oxygen levels on-point, higher levels of brain activity kick in.

Good posture improve brain functioning
Good posture helps the brain to operate at peak efficiency.

The bottom line is that when people are rested and comfortable, they perform better. Thus, using a gaming chair correctly will yield these benefits:

  • More energy and brainpower: an aligned body doesn’t need to work as hard. As a result, the brain gets more power to play with. That enhances cognitive functioning.
  • Fewer headaches: good posture reduces neck and shoulder tension (the source of migraines).
  • Reduced muscle strain: misaligned postures force the muscles to work harder. Proper alignment reduces that strain.
  • More oxygen: good sitting posture opens the chest cavity and increases oxygen intake.
  • Better digestion: slouching compresses organs. That slows down the passage of waste.

Learn more about productivity-boosting benefits below:

Gaming Chair Health And Productivity benefits

Step-by-step user-guide

Beyond our video guide, we also have a step-by-step written guide. Here are the steps:

  1. Adjust the seat height so the knees bend at 90 degrees. At the same time, feet should plant firmly on the floor.
  2. Tuck your hips deep into the seat of your chair. This ensures proper contact with a chair’s lumbar support.
  3. Sync the armrests with your desk height. If the desk is too high, add an ergonomic footrest.
  4. Adjust the height of your lumbar support to comfortably fill your lower back curve.
  5. Use the recline or rocking function to keep your body moving. Avoid sitting in fixed, rigid positions.

Avoid crossing your legs, dangling your legs, or scooting your hips forward. After a few days of practice, your body will adapt to sitting this way.

Gaming chair ergonomic user guide
Neutral sitting habits can unlock the full ergonomic potential of your gaming chair.

Then, you can sit comfortably for long periods without health issues or fatigue. If you need more help, check this tutorial:

Step-by-step: gaming chair user guide

Peer-reviewed guidelines for healthy sitting

We’ve already documented the most relevant peer-reviewed studies on healthy sitting science. Below is a super-condensed summary:

Seeking the optimal posture of the seated lumbar spine

This 2001 paper reviewed existing posture studies and reached a firm conclusion. (source)

A lordosed seated posture, regularly interspersed with movement, is the optimal sitting posture to maintain lumbar postural health and prevent low back pain.

It highlights lumbar support and a reclining backrest as essential ergonomic supports.

  1. When standing, a healthy lumbar curve has an angle of 20-45 degrees. Sitting without support reduces the curve by around 50%.
  2. Lumbar support decreases disc pressure and reduces lower back pain.
  3. Sitting in a 110° recline with lumbar support 4 cm deep produces a lumbar curve angle of 47 degrees. This is ideal.

Handbook of Human Factors and Ergonomics

The fourth edition of The Handbook of Human Factors and Ergonomics came out in 2012.

Human factors and ergonomics book cover

This book is the reference for ergonomic researchers, graduate students, and product designers.

Each chapter posts clear concepts backed by hard science useful for real-world applications. On Amazon, this edition is priced like a textbook for $310.03.

Here are the key ergonomic bits we’ve condensed from the book:

  1. Adjustable seat height: adjust so that the feet rest flat on the floor (not dangling). If the operator is too short, add a footrest.
  2. Seat depth: the seat should be deep enough so the user can sit far enough back to use the backrest. At the same time, it should be short enough to not put pressure on the back of the knees.
  3. Ergonomic chair seat depth standards
    Best practice: sit against the backrest without placing pressure on the inside of the knees.

  4. Backrest height: the backrest provides back support in various postures. For full support, the top of any ergonomic backrest should be at least 18″ higher than the compressed seat height.
  5. Lumbar support: this maintains a natural curve in the lower spine. The lumbar support area of the backrest should be roughly 6-10 inches (15-25 cm) above the seat height.
  6. Backrest angle: using a variety of recline angles reduces fatigue. An ergonomic backrest should recline to at least 115 degrees.
  7. Armrest height: armrests set to the right height provide crucial support for the neck and shoulders. Armrests should be height adjustable with an adjustment range of at least 4 inches (10 cm).

Summary of studies

For long periods, neutral sitting postures are ideal. To support those, an ergonomic chair needs three adjustable components.

Standard ergonomic features on a gaming chair
All ergonomic chairs have three key features that provide customizable posture support.

Small adjustments in your lumbar support, armrests, or backrest recline can make a huge difference. Learn more about these and other ergonomic studies from Cornell, BIFMA, etc:

Peer-reviewed ergonomic seating guidelines

Best ergonomic chairs for your back

Any chair with adjustable lumbar, adjustable armrests, and a reclining backrest qualifies as ‘ergonomic’. Proper neutral sitting techniques are more important than the type of chair.

Even so, there are some clear standouts in the seating industry. Among racing-style gaming chairs, the Secretlab Titan 2022 Series is well ahead of the competition. Among ergonomic office chairs, the Aeron also serves as the gold standard of its genre.

Secretlab Titan vs Herman Miller Aeron
Secretlab Titan vs Herman Miller Aeron.

Despite a huge price disparity, both offer merits when compared head-to-head. The Aeron is easier to use. In comparison, when working from home, the Titan offers more versatility.

Beyond the industry leaders is a range of specialty gaming chairs for small, large, and budget users.

Herman Miller Aeron

$1445 from Herman Miller

If you want the easiest entry into neutral sitting, the Herman Miller Aeron is the clear front-runner. Once you set the seat height and lumbar support, this chair will keep you locked in perfect posture at all times!

Herman Miller Aeron neutral posture
The Aeron chair forces you to sit with perfect posture at all times.

Several aspects stand out. For one thing, it’s the only chair on the market offering lumbar and sacral support in one unit. You can slide the Aeron’s PostureFit unit up and down and adjust the depth of both the lumbar and sacral pads. That supports your lower back curve while also keeping the hips in alignment.

Herman Miller Posturefit
Herman Miller’s PostureFit is the most advanced lumbar support system on the market.

Supporting the PostureFit is the world’s most adaptive mesh upholstery. 8Z pellicle mesh has eight zones of tension that adapt to micromovements to keep users perfectly balanced at all times.

Herman Miller 8Z Pellicle Mesh
8Z Pellicle Mesh is the best upholstery of its kind in the world.

It’s one of the most expensive chairs available, but also one of the few with a 12-year warranty. Summary of features:

  • Synchro-tilt: seat pan angle -1° to 16°; backrest 93° to 104°
  • Upholstery: Pellicle 8Z mesh provides eight zones of varying tension for ultra-responsive support..
  • Seat: adjust the height; limit the tilt range; adjust the tilt tension; sync-tilt with the backrest.
  • Backrest: forward tilt option; height and depth adjustable PostureFit lumbar support.
  • Armrests: 3D adjustable.
  • Warranty: 12 years.

Learn more: Top-5 Herman Miller Ergonomic Task Chairs.

Aeron from Herman Miller $1445

Secretlab Titan 2022 Series

$449 from Secretlab

Secretlab’s latest iteration stacks up well with the Aeron chair. It also comes in three sizes with a range of industry-leading features. First, all small, medium, and XL models come in a growing collection of 30+ designs.

Secretlab Titan Evo 2022 Series
The Titan EVO comes in three sizes and 30+ faux leather and fabric designs.

Second, Titan gaming chairs now come with the world’s most advanced integrated lumbar support system. Other versions only let you adjust the depth. In contrast, Titan chairs add height adjustment control as well.

Secretlab Titan lumbar support

Laid over the top is a matrix of 63 hinges that flex in response to a user’s micromovements. Beyond the lumbar, Titan chairs also now feature a strapless headrest pillow.

Secretlab 2022 Series magnetic headrest pillow

The pillow uses magnets instead of straps. That provides a greater adjustment range and a much cleaner look. Other highlights:

  • Functionality: 4D armrests; multifunction tilt-lock; recline from 85-165°.
  • New 2022 Series Features: integrated 3D-adjustable lumbar support; magnetic headrest pillow; pebble seat base with waterfall edge.
  • Sizing: small 4’11” to 5’6″; medium 5’7″ to 6’2″; XL 5’11” to 6’9″.
  • Warranty: five years.

The Titan is cheaper than the Aeron, and also more versatile. On the downside, it doesn’t force you to sit straight as the Aeron does. As a result, you’ll need a bit more discipline to master neutral sitting tactics.

Titan EVO 2022 Series Hybrid Leatherette NEW Softweave Plus NEW
Small $429 $449
Medium $449 $469
XL $499 $519

Learn more in this Titan 2022 Series Gaming Chair Review.

Speciality gaming chairs

If you want the easiest entry to neutral posture techniques, the Aeron is unparalleled. Secretlab’s Titan takes a bit more discipline to master but works just as well. Beyond the gold standards, you can find the best gaming chair for your needs based on either price or size.

Best desk chairs by price

ChairsFX has reviewed the best chair collections across all price ranges:

  1. Cheap gaming chairs under $200: slim-fitting models with 2D arms and conventional tilt.
  2. Affordable Gaming Chairs $200-$300: 4D armrests; multifunction tilt; 1-year warranty.
  3. Premium Gaming Chairs Over $300: 4D armrests; multifunction tilt; 2-5 year warranty.
  4. High-end Task Chairs ($600-$1200): sync-tilt, 12-year warranty, luxury features.

Best desk chairs by size

If money is no object, choose the right size of gaming chair to ensure the best results. ChairsFX size-based ratings include a mix of premium, affordable, and luxury options.

To find the right model, choose a price or sizing range and check out our top-rated picks.

Using a Gaming Chair For Posture Therapy

One way to address poor posture is through physiotherapy. Posture correction physiotherapy uses movement exercises, physical therapy, education, and advice. Usually, it takes around 6-12 weeks of therapy to achieve results.

In my experience, a gaming chair can also correct posture in a way that’s faster and easier. As an example, the conclusion of the video outlines my own 5-year experience using gaming chairs. Here’s how I filled physiotherapy objectives by sitting at home in front of my computer:

Posture physiotherapy objectivesReason for objectiveGaming chair posture therapy
Normal muscle lengthTight muscles curl the spine into a 'c' shape. Sitting for long periods in a neutral posture will loosen muscles.
Core muscle strengthStronger core muscles make it easier to maintain good posture.Using seat tilt angles works hips and stomach muscles.
Muscular endurancePostural muscles must work for long periods every day. Without endurance, the back can wilt into a slouch. Regular movement keeps muscles active and engaged.
Improve spatial awarenessTherapists provide verbal and visual feedback to 'coach' patients into better habits.Use the tactile sensation of the pillows to gauge your positioning.

If you suffer from poor posture, back pain, or lethargy, physiotherapy can help with around 2-4 months of therapy. Alternatively, pick up a gaming chair and follow the steps in this guide.

After around a week of full-time sitting, you should start seeing results. Looking for changes in this order:

  1. Back pain vanishes.
  2. You’re able to sit for longer periods without discomfort.
  3. Instead of feeling tired, sitting in your gaming chair delivers an energizing effect.
  4. Hours pass by in a blur of high-octane productivity.
  5. Out of the chair, you stand taller without trying to.

Conclusion

This article explains how to improve posture by playing video games. Any chair with an adjustable lumbar, armrests, and backrest can provide the support you need.

Neutral sitting using a footrest
Improve posture effortlessly while you play video games!

Choose the right model for you based on size, budget and aesthetic preferences. No matter which type of chair you buy, maintaining neutral postures is the key to success.