How to Set Up Your Standing Desk for Optimal Back Health

How to Set Up Your Standing Desk for Optimal Back Health


The standing desk is trendy for those seeking to work in a seated environment. It lets you move around and switch off between sitting and standing, with healthy posture in mind. But, to get the best from your standing desk, you need to adjust it correctly.

This guide covers how to enjoy optimum posture with a standing desk. It explains how to:

  • adjust your chair
  • monitor height
  • ergonomic accessories
  • configure your workstation to keep healthy and avoid health problems due to sitting for too long

Read on for tips on how to properly set up your standing desk and remain healthy and comfy at work!

Benefits of Using a Standing Desk

A standing desk has many benefits; physical & mental. It’s not necessary to stand all day. Instead, alternate between sitting & standing. Here are the steps to adjust your workspace:

  • Benefits of periodic standing: more focus & alertness, better posture, more calories burned, more productivity, and more.

Experts recommend proper setup of a standing desk. Place the monitor 20-30 inches away, at eye level or slightly lower. Room near your feet to plant them firmly on the ground. Both wrists should be at 90 degree angles when typing to avoid joint damage.

Choosing the Right Desk

Need a standing desk? One that’ll help your posture and avoid back/neck pain? The main thing to think about is how it suits you. Pick a desk that can be adjusted – that way, you can pick the ideal height, width and depth.

More things to consider? Here they are:

  • Get the right desk for optimal back health.

Desk Height

Choosing your standing desk’s height is important. Depending on body size and type, the ideal height is when your elbows are in line with your fingertips when placed on the work surface, near your body. Ergonomic positioning is often preferred. To find it, measure yourself from head-to-toe, then subtract 12 inches.

Place two locking casters on the bottom of the desk frame, so adjustments can be made easily. Whether manual or electric, make sure the desk has enough range of motion to accommodate different users and tasks.

Take regular breaks throughout the day and alternate between sitting and standing often.

Desk Surface

When it comes to picking the perfect desk for your standing desk, there are a few tips to bear in mind:

  • Make sure it’s big enough so your legs and arms can move without feeling cramped. A surface of 80cm wide by 110cm long is ideal, but it depends on your build and what feels comfortable.
  • Try to avoid hard materials like marble, granite or concrete, as they can put strain on elbows and hips. Wood or bamboo are better options, as they have an average hardness.
  • Lastly, make sure the surface is stable and doesn’t wobble – this supports good posture and prevents accidents.

Desk Accessories

When it comes to a successful standing desk workspace, the correct accessories can be important. Items like ergonomic chairs, adjustable monitor arms, anti-fatigue mats, and footrests can help you feel comfy and productive.

  • For the chair, find one that adjusts for your spine’s support.
  • For the monitor arms, make sure they fit your height and preferences.
  • Anti-fatigue mats provide cushioning and support for your feet.
  • And footrests can reduce lower body discomfort when your feet aren’t in use.

Combining the right accessories can guarantee a comfortable day at your standing desk!

Setting Up Your Desk

Set your standing desk up right! It’s essential for your back health. If your desk accessories and monitor aren’t in the right spot, it could lead to pain and injury. Here’s some tips to make sure your desk is ergonomically correct:

  • Position your monitor at eye level.
  • Place your keyboard and mouse at elbow level.
  • Keep your feet flat on the floor.
  • Adjust the height of your desk to fit your body.
  • Take regular breaks from standing.

Monitor Height

The most essential factor when setting up a standing desk is monitor height. Eyes should be level with the top of the monitor. To make sure it’s in the right place, use an adjustable desk or a height-adjustable arm.

Your monitor should be about 15-20 inches away. This distance allows you to see everything onscreen without straining your neck. It also reduces glare from peripheral objects and eye fatigue during the day.

Everyone has their own preferences for eye level height and room setup. Take time to see what works best for you by experimenting with monitor positions and other adjustable elements of a standing desk, such as:

  • Monitor height
  • Monitor position
  • Desk height
  • Desk position
  • Chair height
  • Chair position

Keyboard and Mouse Placement

It’s essential to have your keyboard and mouse positioned right for your back health. Keep your shoulders relaxed and arms bent. Wrists should be straight, not twisted. Arms should form a 90-degree angle from the upper arm. Elbows should be supported by the desk or armrests of the chair.

  • Keep the keyboard on the desk in front of you. Don’t reach too far when typing. Nowadays, keyboards have adjustable legs at the back. This helps to reduce pressure in your wrists and arms.
  • Avoid items under the keyboard as it can cause an uneven typing surface.
  • Your mouse should be on a flat surface, close to you. Use a wrist rest if possible, to cushion your palms and wrists while using the mouse for long periods.


A footrest is great for a standing desk set-up. It allows for more adjustments, to switch between sitting and standing. It gives support to your feet and reduces strain on the lower back and legs. Plus, it promotes comfortable circulation. Invest in an adjustable footrest.

When standing, the lowest level of the footrest should be high enough so feet are flat on the ground. When seated, raise the footrest higher than your knees, so it’s out of view from the desk.

Having a footrest can provide comfort for long standing stints. Plus, it helps avoid round backs from bad habits.

Final Tips

Stand up desks need an accurate setup. Proper ergonomic adjustments can help you adjust the desk to your body size and posture.

Here are some tips for setting up your standing desk and protecting your back health:

  • Adjust the desk to a comfortable height.
  • Position your monitor at eye level.
  • Keep your elbows at a 90-degree angle when typing.
  • Make sure your feet are flat on the floor.
  • Take frequent breaks from standing.

Take Breaks

Long standing is as tough on your body as long sitting. Set a timer to remind you to move around every half hour. When you take a break, stand tall and don’t hunch or slouch. During the breaks, do some stretching and strengthening exercises. This will help your posture and reduce the chance of muscle misalignment.

If you can, take a walk outside. This will give you a productivity and enjoyment boost!

Wear Comfortable Shoes

When standing, comfort matters. Get supportive shoes with cushioned soles that fit well. Avoid flip flops or heels – they can cause strain. Orthopedic inserts help balance your weight and avoid foot and leg fatigue. Short socks can absorb sweat. That’s a must!

Use a Back Support

When setting up a standing desk, back support is key. It helps keep good posture and distributes body weight. Aim to keep the lumbar spine in its natural “S” curve and adjust torso angle as needed.

Using a chair or stool with the standing desk is recommended. The seat should be level or slightly higher than the desk top. This allows for alternating between sitting and standing without strain.

Adjustable backs with lumbar supports are ideal. They reduce fatigue by allowing you to sit upright with minimal effort, and offer spinal support.


Once you have your standing desk, be aware of posture. Feet should be on the floor, hips higher than knees, curves in line with body curves. Sitting too long can cause discomfort and pain, so change position throughout the day. Stand for two mins every hour to prevent back pain.

Keep monitor at eye level – looking down for extended periods may cause neck strain and upper back pain. Raise keyboard several inches for typing activities. Use ergonomic supports for proper alignment when sitting or standing.

Set reminders to move around and stretch periodically. Enjoy the full benefits of standing desks while preventing harmful health risks.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Why should I use a standing desk for back health?

Using a standing desk can help improve posture, reduce strain on the back, and increase circulation, all of which can contribute to better back health over time.

2. How do I determine the correct height for my standing desk?

Your standing desk should be adjusted to a height where your elbows are at a 90-degree angle and your screen is at eye level. You may need to experiment with different heights to find what works best for you.

3. What type of mat should I use for standing at my desk?

An anti-fatigue mat is recommended as it provides cushioning and support for your feet and legs, reducing strain and improving circulation. Look for a mat that is non-slip and easy to clean.

4. How often should I switch between standing and sitting at my desk?

It’s recommended to switch between standing and sitting every 30 minutes to an hour to avoid muscle fatigue and strain. Listen to your body and adjust your routine as needed.

5. What kind of shoes should I wear when standing at my desk?

Choose shoes with good arch support and cushioning, and avoid high heels or shoes with a narrow toe box. Consider wearing comfortable sneakers or supportive loafers.

6. Can using a standing desk help alleviate chronic back pain?

Using a standing desk may help alleviate chronic back pain by reducing stress and strain on the back muscles, improving posture, and increasing circulation throughout the body. However, it’s important to consult with a healthcare professional for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan.

the back recovery program by alex larsson
Jane Smith is a natural health enthusiast on a mission to uncover effective methods for achieving pain-free living. Through her personal journey with chronic back pain, she has become well-versed in holistic approaches such as yoga, Pilates, and essential oils.

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