Objective. To evaluate the effectiveness of arm and wrist supports in reducing the workload during computer work. Design. Female subjects (n=10) performed computer work in conditions with arm or wrist supports and in a condition without supports. Background. Sustained muscle tension in the trapezius muscle is a risk factor for trapezius myalgia. Arm and wrist supports are used at the workplace with the intention to reduce the muscle tension. The effectiveness of these aids in reducing the load is not clear. Methods. A typing task and mouse task were performed, each with four types of supports and without support. Electromyography and subjective ratings were used to quantify the workload.Results. Lower levels of trapezius muscle activation were recorded with the use of arm supports. Wrist supports did not reduce activation. The rated perceived workload did not discriminate. Conclusions. Reduction of muscle activation in the neck-shoulder region during standard visual display unit work can be achieved with arm supports. Wrist supports do not reduce the strain on the neck-shoulder region. Subjective ratings seem not of use in selecting ergonomic aids in low intensity tasks. Relevance. Visual display unit workers are at risk of developing complaints of the neck and upper extremity. Arm and wrist supports are introduced at the workplace to reduce the workload. If arm and wrist supports are effective in reducing the workload they might be of use as preventive measures to reduce the risk of neck-shoulder complaints. Copyright (C) 2000 Elsevier Science Ltd.