As a gamer, you probably spend many consecutive hours at your desk. Sometimes, your body hurts more than usual, and you wonder why.
Perhaps it’s the desk height that needs to be fixed, or maybe it’s the gaming furniture you’re using to game with.
What is the ideal height of a desk for gaming? And how can you adjust your height settings to be ideal for your body measurements?
The ideal desk height for gaming is at a height where your feet touch the floor. Your ankles, knees, hips, and elbows should be as close to 90 degrees as possible, and your wrists are as neutral or slightly extended. This is the ideal position for gaming for long periods.
Also, it’s extremely important to take frequent breaks. This is great for your eyes and your joints. Especially as you age, your body will thank you.
Go drink some water, go to the bathroom, walk around between games/sessions, etc.
To find out how to make your desk perfect for you, keep on reading because many of these fixes shouldn’t cost any or minimal amounts of money.
How to Make Your Desk Best For You
There are many possible fixes that you can do to adjust the various pieces of furniture to obtain the best angles in your joints.
These are some ideas. However, feel free to get as creative as you would like to.
Getting the Right Chair Height
The table and chair go hand in hand. If one is too high or too low, the other needs to be able to compensate.
Start off by putting your chair in the position where your feet touch the floor.
If this isn’t possible for you, then try and find some books or a short stool to place underneath your feet.
Ideally, you want your ankles to be at 90 degrees also rather than dangling underneath your chair or swinging.
The reason for this is to equalize the weight of your leg that is on the chair. If it’s no balanced properly, you will experience the chair digging into the bottom of your thighs and possibly bothering your blood circulation.
The opposite of this is when your knees are close to your chest. This creates an uncomfortable position in the other way. If you stay in this position too long, you will get extremely tight hip flexor muscles.
In this case, try and position your chair in a higher position. If this isn’t possible to do, this is when it’s better to go and get a taller chair. It could be a chair from another room or part of the dinner table, something else.
Okay, so we have your ankles, hips, and knees at approximately 90 degrees. Next is the table height.
Getting the Right Desk Height
Scoot in at your table in the position that you will game in.
Now ask yourself, where is your desk positioned relative to your elbows when they’re bent and on the keyboard and mouse?
Are your forearms reaching down or up to reach the table? In either case, we should try to be as close to 90 degrees on the elbows as possible as well.
If your forearms are reaching up, then the table is too high. To try to fix this, raise your chair and consider putting more things underneath your feet to achieve the position we got to before.
If your forearms are reaching down, then the table is too low. To try to fix this, we can place wooden blocks or same-height objects (stable objects, of course) underneath the table legs to elevate the table.
A simple fix is to go to a home renovation store and pick up some 2x4s and cut them up to place underneath the legs.
The forearms should be parallel to the table with the wrists in a neutral position and elbows in 90 degrees.
Ideal Armrest Position
I have tried various different layouts, and as long as your armrests are not higher than your table, it will be fine.
The reason behind this is that you don’t want to scrunch up your shoulders while gaming. Even if your chair lacks armrests altogether, it will be okay because your shoulders are relaxed.
Ideally, the armrests should be at around the same height as the desk (but this isn’t really reasonable to ask of anybody’s setup).
Should You Get a Wrist Rest?
Sometimes a wrist rest will be helpful when gaming. If you’re typing, it’s likely that you’re floating your wrists up and moving your fingers and hands around.
While gaming, however, it’s likely you rest your left wrist on the desk in and extended position, where your fingers are higher than your wrist.
Being in this position for too long will shorten the muscles on top of your forearms and lengthen the bottom muscles. Not ideal.
So a wrist rest will be beneficial in this case. This will allow your wrist to be more neutral or in a very minimally extended position.
If Nothing Can Be Changed, Do This Frequently
If your desk and chair as stuck as they are and in non-ideal positions, there is still something you can do to ensure that you don’t feel pain long-term.
And that is taking frequent breaks and completing mobility or stretching routines at least once per day.
A good mobility routine is called Molding Mobility. Unfortunately, the original website isn’t online anymore, but we did manage to do a full video of the routine on YouTube if you’re interested in following along.
Why Ergonomics Matters With Gaming
Ergonomics matter the most in activities where you spend a bunch of time in a single position, and this occurs commonly in gaming.
Endless hours and hours of gameplay pass by easily without you even knowing how much time has passed. Sound familiar?
When you’re stuck in the same position, your body begins to lose its end range of motion in many of its joints.
That’s why it’s so beneficial to stretch and mobilize often, and take frequent breaks.
It’s the use it or lose it principle. If all you use is the middle ranges of your range of motion, eventually you won’t have access to the end points. Or it’ll be hard to get there or even painful.
Once you lose it, it takes time, effort, and discipline (possibly even some discomfort) to get the range of motion back to where they used to be. This basically just means it takes hard work to get more flexible.
Our bodies are meant to move, so go take care of it.
One of my favorite streamers is Xaryu, and that’s because he focuses on gaming, health, AND longevity. Check out his dailies and even his Bodyweight Fitness program. And his Twitch stream for daily follow-along workouts.
Ideal Desks for Gaming: Adjustable Ones
The best desk you can get for gaming will be those that are adjustable in height with a push of a button. They can be a bit more pricey, but they’re well worth it in the long run.
We have two very solid recommendations: the Flexispot Adjustable Desk and the Fully Jarvis Adjustable Standing Desk. There are other, more feature-filled, and expensive options, such as the Uplift Desk, but you can check that out more for yourself.
Try and make the best of what you have first. And then consider purchasing if necessary.
Perhaps this was a little overwhelming. Take your time, get better slowly at improving your desktop ergonomics, desk height, chair height, etc.
We discussed many topics. The ideal position, to be in for long periods of time (although frequent breaks and movement are still necessary), is for the ankles, hips, knees, and elbows to be as close to 90 degrees as possible. The wrist should be neutral or minimally extended. The neck should be neutral.
But even if you do all this, frequent breaks are still encouraged, especially mobility and end-range stretching.
For an in-depth article on stretching for people who are at their desks often, check out this article.
Also check out this guide on ergonomics, but you can ignore the keyboards listed there.