T Nation

Sitting Or Standing? Greater Benefit?

You guys gave some GREAT responses on the Military Press thread; THANKS! (Keep it going though!)


Now this is an age old debate that may not have a right or wrong answer, but I’ll run it by everybody:


With exercises like Military Presses, Dumbbell Presses, Dumbell Side Laterals, etc. that can be done either sitting or standing, which is the “better way” in terms of overall benefit?


In other words…some would argue that sitting gives you greater isolation of the Prime Mover, with less of a tendency to “cheat”.


The other side would say that with standing, you build greater “core” strength and stability (ALWAYS a good thing) by firing secondary movers (or “stabilizers” for clarity).


(Please don’t make this “there’s no such thing as stabilizers” thread! You guys get the point I’m asking!)


Fire away! (Coach Davies, Don Alessi, Christian T…your imput would be GREAT!!)

Here is something to consider. Start in the seated position, work to positive failure. Then stand and continue working, again in good form. Once again to positive failure in good form. Now add a little body english (cheat) and do a few more reps. And if you are a real masochist use your legs to power the weight up and do a few negatives followed by burns. Best of Luck.

Here’s an article on some of the benefits of standing movements:
http://drsquat.com/index.cfm? action=viewarticle&articleID=45

I think both have their benefits. I incorporate both into my workouts. I know, Mufasa, not the scientific answer you’re looking for. But what about “kneeling” movements, like glute ham raises? or laying face down like reverse hypers? Then there’s Turkish get-ups which are lying down and standing up :slight_smile:

I vote for standing all the way. I think the core benefits from standing far outweigh the supposed isolation benefits from sitting, especially if you’re extra careful with your form while standing.

Def standing. Safer and more effective.

Depends on your goals.

If real world, practical strength is your goal, it makes sense to do your lifts in a standing position. After all, how many times can you think of where you've had to lift something over head while seated? And while it's certainly good thing to lift with strict form, "cheating" (e.g. push pressing the weight up) can also be beneficial.

On the other hand, if hypertrophy is the goal, or if you are working on a particular weakness, it might be appropriate to lift while seated in order to load the prime movers. I'd only suggest this occasionally though.

I have always been told to lift as much as you can while standing on your own two feet.
will42

Another good topic, as usual, Mufasa. I’m with KB on this one. I enjoy the practical and functional strength that my iron work provides. In a real world situation, when I need to press something overhead, such as a heavy box, pipe, etc, I will most likely be standing, and my back will not be artificially propped. What good are strong upper and lower bodies if they are not connected by a strong core?

I vote for the standing variety. Everytime I have opted for increasing my functional strength, my power lifting ability has improved. So finding ways to lift when the bod is in awkward positions pays off…doing the MP standing or any variation thereof has improved my powerlifting via improved supporting muscle development…my two cents…

None of my athletes ever do an exercise siting down. Sitting down to perform an exercise (especially an overhead exercise) is actually more dangerous for the lower back than doing it standing up. Why? Because while sitting down your spine in compressed, or squeezed between the load (up) and the seat (down). At least, when you are standing up there is some absorption by the lower body and the spine is thus under less stress.

Furthermore performing exercises while standing up do indeed develop the capacity to “brace” the body, which is very useful in sports and in real life.

Like I said on the other thread, I always prefer standing to sitting down. It feels a lot more natural to me and sitting always feel awkward to my spine, probably for the reason Christian T. mentioned. It’s the way I was taught and I see no reason to perform something sitting if I can do it standing. The one exception would be low rep dumbell presses, I don’t think I can clean and stabilize that much weight. I’m sure I could learn though.

Standing. Lateral raises could be done seated, if you choose to do them. It’d keep you from doing the angry eagle, bobbing chicken-headed, lateral dumbell jerks that I see.