T Nation

OHP: Standing or Sitting?

^trick is to arch more upper than lower back

Standing, because it’s just loads of fucking fun to grab a bar and press it over your head.

To those saying that the seated OHP places more compressive force on the spine:

How exactly does that work? Assuming that the external load remains constant.

I would have thought that the compressive forces would have been equal in both scenarios if the spine was kept in the same position.

[quote]HydraulicFluid wrote:
To those saying that the seated OHP places more compressive force on the spine:

How exactly does that work? Assuming that the external load remains constant.

I would have thought that the compressive forces would have been equal in both scenarios if the spine was kept in the same position.
[/quote]

In scenario A (standing press), the load is disbursed over your entire body, from head to toe. In scenario B (seated press), the load is disturbed over your torso only, from head to hips. If the load remains constant yet the disbursement area is cut in half, then the load will be twice as much (relatively) on what’s bearing the load.

[quote]moshcamp wrote:

[quote]HydraulicFluid wrote:
To those saying that the seated OHP places more compressive force on the spine:

How exactly does that work? Assuming that the external load remains constant.

I would have thought that the compressive forces would have been equal in both scenarios if the spine was kept in the same position.
[/quote]

In scenario A (standing press), the load is disbursed over your entire body, from head to toe. In scenario B (seated press), the load is disturbed over your torso only, from head to hips. If the load remains constant yet the disbursement area is cut in half, then the load will be twice as much (relatively) on what’s bearing the load.[/quote]

This would make sense to me if you were talking about a surface that was perpendicular to the load being applied to it. Thats basically a pressure problem. (P = F/a) This doesn’t make sense to me for an object where the height is the only variable being changed.

Do them standing, but wear a belt so you can lock your core up,…that’s the best way IMO.

Belts are a whole other can of worms haha. But sure, according to experts they add safety for people >>who have previously injured their backs<< not so much for others.

If used correctly, belts increase stability for everyone. Stability = safety for the lower back.

[quote]HydraulicFluid wrote:

[quote]moshcamp wrote:

[quote]HydraulicFluid wrote:
To those saying that the seated OHP places more compressive force on the spine:

How exactly does that work? Assuming that the external load remains constant.

I would have thought that the compressive forces would have been equal in both scenarios if the spine was kept in the same position.
[/quote]

In scenario A (standing press), the load is disbursed over your entire body, from head to toe. In scenario B (seated press), the load is disturbed over your torso only, from head to hips. If the load remains constant yet the disbursement area is cut in half, then the load will be twice as much (relatively) on what’s bearing the load.[/quote]

This would make sense to me if you were talking about a surface that was perpendicular to the load being applied to it. Thats basically a pressure problem. (P = F/a) This doesn’t make sense to me for an object where the height is the only variable being changed.
[/quote]

You are right in this. Pressure = Force/Area.

However, your understanding of area and the spine is not clear. The compressive forces of a weight are distributed throughout the skeleton to the ground. So, when you are standing, the compressive forces are distributed throughout the arms, spinal cord, down the thick femur bones (the thigh bone), all the way down to your feet.

On the other hand, when seated, the compressive forces travel through the skeleton but end at the spinal cord. The tailbone, or the lowest lumbar vertebrae, is the closest point of contact with the chair you are in, which can be considered part of the ground since it is bearing much of your weight.

So, with this in mind, it becomes a simple physics problem.

Standing, the area increases due to the inclusion of the femur(thigh bone), tibia (shin bone), ankle joints, and feet. Thus, the pressure is decreased.

Sitting, the area decreases in comparison, so the pressure is increased.

Cheers to the overhead press!

[quote]StructureInChaos wrote:

[quote]HydraulicFluid wrote:

[quote]moshcamp wrote:

[quote]HydraulicFluid wrote:
To those saying that the seated OHP places more compressive force on the spine:

How exactly does that work? Assuming that the external load remains constant.

I would have thought that the compressive forces would have been equal in both scenarios if the spine was kept in the same position.
[/quote]

In scenario A (standing press), the load is disbursed over your entire body, from head to toe. In scenario B (seated press), the load is disturbed over your torso only, from head to hips. If the load remains constant yet the disbursement area is cut in half, then the load will be twice as much (relatively) on what’s bearing the load.[/quote]

This would make sense to me if you were talking about a surface that was perpendicular to the load being applied to it. Thats basically a pressure problem. (P = F/a) This doesn’t make sense to me for an object where the height is the only variable being changed.
[/quote]

You are right in this. Pressure = Force/Area.

However, your understanding of area and the spine is not clear. The compressive forces of a weight are distributed throughout the skeleton to the ground. So, when you are standing, the compressive forces are distributed throughout the arms, spinal cord, down the thick femur bones (the thigh bone), all the way down to your feet.

On the other hand, when seated, the compressive forces travel through the skeleton but end at the spinal cord. The tailbone, or the lowest lumbar vertebrae, is the closest point of contact with the chair you are in, which can be considered part of the ground since it is bearing much of your weight.

So, with this in mind, it becomes a simple physics problem.

Standing, the area increases due to the inclusion of the femur(thigh bone), tibia (shin bone), ankle joints, and feet. Thus, the pressure is decreased.

Sitting, the area decreases in comparison, so the pressure is increased.

Cheers to the overhead press![/quote]

I get what you’re trying to say but I think you’re using the pressure equation incorrectly. My understanding is that for pressure the force needs to perpendicular to the surface its being applied to. Considering this, a change in height (adding the legs) would make no difference to the pressure being applied to the spine.

Increasing or decreasing the thickness of the trunk would affect the pressure but not changing the height .

If the bar is held overhead in the hands then the line of action of the external force would run through the body. We can assume that the external force is equal at all points.

Something else that came to mind…The body is well equipped to handle compressive forces, especially the spine, shouldn’t we be making an effort to reduce shearing forces instead?

[quote]HydraulicFluid wrote:

[quote]StructureInChaos wrote:

[quote]HydraulicFluid wrote:

[quote]moshcamp wrote:

[quote]HydraulicFluid wrote:
To those saying that the seated OHP places more compressive force on the spine:

How exactly does that work? Assuming that the external load remains constant.

I would have thought that the compressive forces would have been equal in both scenarios if the spine was kept in the same position.
[/quote]

In scenario A (standing press), the load is disbursed over your entire body, from head to toe. In scenario B (seated press), the load is disturbed over your torso only, from head to hips. If the load remains constant yet the disbursement area is cut in half, then the load will be twice as much (relatively) on what’s bearing the load.[/quote]

This would make sense to me if you were talking about a surface that was perpendicular to the load being applied to it. Thats basically a pressure problem. (P = F/a) This doesn’t make sense to me for an object where the height is the only variable being changed.
[/quote]

You are right in this. Pressure = Force/Area.

However, your understanding of area and the spine is not clear. The compressive forces of a weight are distributed throughout the skeleton to the ground. So, when you are standing, the compressive forces are distributed throughout the arms, spinal cord, down the thick femur bones (the thigh bone), all the way down to your feet.

On the other hand, when seated, the compressive forces travel through the skeleton but end at the spinal cord. The tailbone, or the lowest lumbar vertebrae, is the closest point of contact with the chair you are in, which can be considered part of the ground since it is bearing much of your weight.

So, with this in mind, it becomes a simple physics problem.

Standing, the area increases due to the inclusion of the femur(thigh bone), tibia (shin bone), ankle joints, and feet. Thus, the pressure is decreased.

Sitting, the area decreases in comparison, so the pressure is increased.

Cheers to the overhead press![/quote]

I get what you’re trying to say but I think you’re using the pressure equation incorrectly. My understanding is that for pressure the force needs to perpendicular to the surface its being applied to. Considering this, a change in height (adding the legs) would make no difference to the pressure being applied to the spine.

Increasing or decreasing the thickness of the trunk would affect the pressure but not changing the height .

If the bar is held overhead in the hands then the line of action of the external force would run through the body. We can assume that the external force is equal at all points.

Something else that came to mind…The body is well equipped to handle compressive forces, especially the spine, shouldn’t we be making an effort to reduce shearing forces instead?
[/quote]

I’d have to check Mcgill to give a better explanation, but the main point is that you are negating the glutes as a huge part of core stabilization, and their role in spinal stability. Also, alot of the time the setup in the seated pos. with your pelvis tilted, hips flexed, spinal muscles stretched are all things that can lead to greater shearing forces as well, which you are right, are just as much a potential risk if not more than compresion.
The human body does seem to be designed to resist compression, but only if we allow it to operate functionally.

Would about the fact that on a seated barbell press, the upper back is up against the back of the seat? Making it almost like an extreme incline.

[quote]Fletch1986 wrote:
Would about the fact that on a seated barbell press, the upper back is up against the back of the seat? Making it almost like an extreme incline. [/quote]

What do you mean?

[quote]SILVERDAN7 wrote:
I’d have to check Mcgill to give a better explanation, but the main point is that you are negating the glutes as a huge part of core stabilization, and their role in spinal stability. Also, alot of the time the setup in the seated pos. with your pelvis tilted, hips flexed, spinal muscles stretched are all things that can lead to greater shearing forces as well, which you are right, are just as much a potential risk if not more than compresion.
The human body does seem to be designed to resist compression, but only if we allow it to operate functionally.[/quote]

i have read a lot of mcgill’s work as well. he doesnt really like anything seated when it comes to exercise.

and for those reading this that dont know who he is:

think of him on the level of louie simmons, mike robertson, and dave tate but for spinal biomechanics.

[quote]SILVERDAN7 wrote:

[quote]Fletch1986 wrote:
Would about the fact that on a seated barbell press, the upper back is up against the back of the seat? Making it almost like an extreme incline. [/quote]

What do you mean?[/quote]

We never hear anything about stress on the low back while benching and it seems like a seated bb shoulder press would be about the same (seat with a back).

I do them standing with no belt because the seated version is for pussies.

[quote]HydraulicFluid wrote:

[quote]StructureInChaos wrote:

[quote]HydraulicFluid wrote:

[quote]moshcamp wrote:

[quote]HydraulicFluid wrote:
To those saying that the seated OHP places more compressive force on the spine:

How exactly does that work? Assuming that the external load remains constant.

I would have thought that the compressive forces would have been equal in both scenarios if the spine was kept in the same position.
[/quote]

In scenario A (standing press), the load is disbursed over your entire body, from head to toe. In scenario B (seated press), the load is disturbed over your torso only, from head to hips. If the load remains constant yet the disbursement area is cut in half, then the load will be twice as much (relatively) on what’s bearing the load.[/quote]

This would make sense to me if you were talking about a surface that was perpendicular to the load being applied to it. Thats basically a pressure problem. (P = F/a) This doesn’t make sense to me for an object where the height is the only variable being changed.
[/quote]

You are right in this. Pressure = Force/Area.

However, your understanding of area and the spine is not clear. The compressive forces of a weight are distributed throughout the skeleton to the ground. So, when you are standing, the compressive forces are distributed throughout the arms, spinal cord, down the thick femur bones (the thigh bone), all the way down to your feet.

On the other hand, when seated, the compressive forces travel through the skeleton but end at the spinal cord. The tailbone, or the lowest lumbar vertebrae, is the closest point of contact with the chair you are in, which can be considered part of the ground since it is bearing much of your weight.

So, with this in mind, it becomes a simple physics problem.

Standing, the area increases due to the inclusion of the femur(thigh bone), tibia (shin bone), ankle joints, and feet. Thus, the pressure is decreased.

Sitting, the area decreases in comparison, so the pressure is increased.

Cheers to the overhead press![/quote]

I get what you’re trying to say but I think you’re using the pressure equation incorrectly. My understanding is that for pressure the force needs to perpendicular to the surface its being applied to. Considering this, a change in height (adding the legs) would make no difference to the pressure being applied to the spine.

Increasing or decreasing the thickness of the trunk would affect the pressure but not changing the height .

If the bar is held overhead in the hands then the line of action of the external force would run through the body. We can assume that the external force is equal at all points.

Something else that came to mind…The body is well equipped to handle compressive forces, especially the spine, shouldn’t we be making an effort to reduce shearing forces instead?
[/quote]

You are indeed MOSTLY correct. The thing to remember is distribution of force… There is lets say 100lb… If it is resting right on the ground, the normal force will be exactly the weight, and direct exactly straight upward into the weight. But now, we put the block on top of a chair. Now, the force is split and runs through the four legs. The pressure may be higher depending upon the size of the legs, but who cares - the force running through each will be less.

Now, we put a stool ontop of the chair with the weight on top. etc etc… So the idea is that the longer the path with more diversion etc will create a larger distribution of force. More distribution of force will mean les strain at each position… like the spine! (Think about building an arch bridge… Seems like it ought to be physically impossibly, but it’s merely the distribution spreading of the force/weight outwards through the arch that makes the middle seemingly weightless).

[quote]Fletch1986 wrote:

[quote]SILVERDAN7 wrote:

[quote]Fletch1986 wrote:
Would about the fact that on a seated barbell press, the upper back is up against the back of the seat? Making it almost like an extreme incline. [/quote]

What do you mean?[/quote]

We never hear anything about stress on the low back while benching and it seems like a seated bb shoulder press would be about the same (seat with a back).[/quote]

One is vertical loading, the other is horizontal, the implications for the spine are not comparable.
Second, you can most definitely fuck up your low back from benching, just not as easy as a press.

[quote]maraudermeat wrote:
couple from tonight.

paused seated overhead press- 315x2 + 20lb PR

seated dumbell overhead press- 145’s x 6
http://youtu.be/wepy_BRHL3U[/quote]

I guess I’m still way south of “for pussies”.

and I really don’t disagree with the standing is better argument…

[quote]HydraulicFluid wrote:

[quote]StructureInChaos wrote:

[quote]HydraulicFluid wrote:

[quote]moshcamp wrote:

[quote]HydraulicFluid wrote:
To those saying that the seated OHP places more compressive force on the spine:

How exactly does that work? Assuming that the external load remains constant.

I would have thought that the compressive forces would have been equal in both scenarios if the spine was kept in the same position.
[/quote]

In scenario A (standing press), the load is disbursed over your entire body, from head to toe. In scenario B (seated press), the load is disturbed over your torso only, from head to hips. If the load remains constant yet the disbursement area is cut in half, then the load will be twice as much (relatively) on what’s bearing the load.[/quote]

This would make sense to me if you were talking about a surface that was perpendicular to the load being applied to it. Thats basically a pressure problem. (P = F/a) This doesn’t make sense to me for an object where the height is the only variable being changed.
[/quote]

You are right in this. Pressure = Force/Area.

However, your understanding of area and the spine is not clear. The compressive forces of a weight are distributed throughout the skeleton to the ground. So, when you are standing, the compressive forces are distributed throughout the arms, spinal cord, down the thick femur bones (the thigh bone), all the way down to your feet.

On the other hand, when seated, the compressive forces travel through the skeleton but end at the spinal cord. The tailbone, or the lowest lumbar vertebrae, is the closest point of contact with the chair you are in, which can be considered part of the ground since it is bearing much of your weight.

So, with this in mind, it becomes a simple physics problem.

Standing, the area increases due to the inclusion of the femur(thigh bone), tibia (shin bone), ankle joints, and feet. Thus, the pressure is decreased.

Sitting, the area decreases in comparison, so the pressure is increased.

Cheers to the overhead press![/quote]

I get what you’re trying to say but I think you’re using the pressure equation incorrectly. My understanding is that for pressure the force needs to perpendicular to the surface its being applied to. Considering this, a change in height (adding the legs) would make no difference to the pressure being applied to the spine.

Increasing or decreasing the thickness of the trunk would affect the pressure but not changing the height .

If the bar is held overhead in the hands then the line of action of the external force would run through the body. We can assume that the external force is equal at all points.

Something else that came to mind…The body is well equipped to handle compressive forces, especially the spine, shouldn’t we be making an effort to reduce shearing forces instead?
[/quote]

I have to agree; I think sitting is potentially more dangerous, but not because of the above explanation. Intradiscal pressure increases in sitting postures compared to standing. Sitting also causes flexion of the lumbar spine, which increases disc annulus stress. This posture has produced disc herniations in the lab. And…more upright sitting (likely during a seated press) and concomitant psoas and other muscle activation impose additional compressive force on the spine. This is from “Low Back Disorders” by McGill, pages 84-85.

To paraphrase: Sitting changes the normal lumbar curve and increases compressive force on the disc. This has been measured in a lab setting and has caused disc herniation in a lab setting.