Are armrests good for ergonomics?

Are armrests good for ergonomics?

Are armrests good for ergonomics? This is a question that has been asked by many people who have to spend long hours at their desks or in front of a computer. The answer depends on the individual and the type of chair they are using.

In general, armrests can be beneficial when it comes to ergonomics. Armrests provide support to the arms and elbows, which can help reduce stress on the neck and shoulders. They also allow for better posture and provide a place to rest one’s arms instead of having them hang by their sides or stretched out in front of them.

Additionally, armrests may help with circulation as they allow the user to distribute their weight more evenly and improve blood flow.

However, armrests can also be detrimental if not used properly. If they are too high or too low, they can cause discomfort or even pain. Also, having an armrest on a chair that doesn’t support the back can actually contribute to poor posture.

In this article, we will discuss the benefits of armrests from an ergonomic standpoint to help you decide if they are right for you.

What Are Office Chair Armrests?

The History of Armrests

The history of armrests goes back centuries. From the King and Queen’s throne to Board rooms, they are still used today as status symbols by executives or heads of households who want their dignity respected with an upright posture.

The importance and use of armrests at a computerized workstation are validated by recent research in the last 25 years. The value they provide for the prevention of musculoskeletal disorders cannot be overlooked, as it has been proven time after time from many clinical ergonomics experiences with patients who suffer these types of issues due to their posture while typing on keyboards all day long.

What Are Office Chair Armrests?

The armrests of an office chair provide an area for you to keep your forearms, so the wrists and shoulder can be relieved while typing or working and it helps you to maintain a neutral posture as well. 

Types of armrests

If I talk about the shape of an armrest then here are the three most common types of armrests.

T-Shaped Armrests

T-Shaped Armrests

The second type of armrest is the one that looks like the letter T. T-shaped armrests are typically height adjustable and almost 90% come with t-shaped armrests.

T-shaped armrests are perfect for people who want to be able to adjust their armrest height because it offers different types of adjustments like Height Adjustments, Width Adjustments, Length Adjustment, and inward outward Adjustment. 

Circle-Shaped Armrests

Circle-Shaped Armrests

Unlike t-shaped armrests, looped armrests are not adjustable. This type of armrest forms a circle and usually, they are upholstered with a form.

L-Shaped Armrests

L-Shaped Armrests

This type of armrest is flippable so you can flip them up when not in use and you can put them down when you have to put your forearms.

Benefits of Armrests from an ergonomic standpoint

Do you ever get tired of sitting in a chair for long periods of time? Do your arms start to feel stiff and achy? If so, you may want to consider investing in a chair with armrests. Armrests can provide many benefits, including relief from discomfort and improved posture. In addition, they can also help keep your arms and hands warm while you’re sitting.

Here are some of the top benefits of armrests from an ergonomic standpoint.

1. Comfortable Chair Positioning

Armrests can serve as “safety zones” for your forearms, elbows, and upper arms while you’re sitting in a chair. If you find yourself beginning to shift forward in the chair or hunch over because of muscle discomfort, simply move your arms onto the armrests for more support and better positioning. This will eliminate your discomfort and help you maintain an ergonomically correct seating position.

2. Relieve Muscle Tension

The added support that armrests provide can keep your muscles relaxed, which will help reduce muscle tension. This is an especially useful benefit for people with rounded shoulders or forward head posture, who tend to sit in awkward positions that can lead to muscle tension and discomfort.

3. Improved Posture

Having your forearms on armrests forces you to sit up straight in the chair with your back properly positioned against the chair’s backrest. This will improve your posture, which in turn can reduce fatigue and lower pain levels.

4. Prevent Slouching

If you tend to lean forward when you’re sitting at the computer, armrests can help keep your back and neck in a more upright position. Slouching or leaning forward can lead to discomfort and fatigue due to reduced circulation and muscle tension.

This is especially important if you have a desk job where your workstation is located at or below elbow height; armrests can help keep you in a better position.

How high should your chair armrest be?

It depends on the height of your chair. Ideally, when your feet are flat on the ground and your arms are resting by your sides, the armrests of your chair should be at the same height as your wrists. This will allow you to rest your forearms comfortably on the armrests while keeping your shoulders relaxed.

Why Do People Use Armrests?

Armrests are typically used by individuals who spend a lot of time at their desks, which can cause fatigue in their shoulders due to repetitive arm movement. Armrests not only prevent this type of strain, but they also maintain an individual’s posture by keeping their shoulder blades back and preventing hunching over. They also work to support the weight of one’s arms, allowing some individuals to rest for periods of time without tiring.

What research and does BIFMA Say?

In 2013 a book was published by BIFMA(Business and Institutional Furniture Manufacturer Association) in which they stated that,

“Armrests can support the muscular system of the neck and shoulders and can be an aid to standing up and sitting down. For armrests with height and width adjustability, the range should cover the range from 5th percentile female to 95th percentile male of the intended user population.”


Armrests help you to have your upper body relaxed which can prevent injuries and discomfort when sitting at a desk or in front of the computer all day long.

If you’re feeling any kind of pain in your wrists and arms due to sitting an extended period of time at the desk, you might want to invest in an office chair with armrests so that you can keep your wrist, arms and upper body relaxed without having any kind of muscle strain. 


Are armrests good for gaming?

A study done by the University of Tokyo found that when people play video games, they use their arms more than average humans do when sitting at a desk without armrests. 

This is because gamers need to reach out with their arms and physically manipulate objects in 3D space during gameplay which requires greater muscle activation than just sitting on a chair with no reaching required. 

The researchers concluded that providing gamers with adjustable-height gaming chairs with built-in armrests would help them maintain an optimal position while playing, reducing fatigue and strain on muscles resulting from extended use of upper body muscles.

Should a desk chair have arms?

It is ultimately up to personal preference, but having arms on a desk chair can help provide additional support and stability while sitting.

Should I use armrests while typing?

Generally, it is a good idea to use armrests while typing if you are doing a lot of typing. This will help to reduce the amount of stress on your arms and will help to keep them in a more neutral position.

Is it better to have a chair with armrests?

Having armrests on a chair can be beneficial as it provides extra support and comfort for your arms. It also helps keep your posture in check while seated.

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