Is Standing or Sitting Better While Weightlifting?
Weightlifting can be done while sitting or standing, but which is better? The answer is entirely dependent on your current fitness levels and your fitness goals. The same exercise can be performed standing and sitting, but the results will be different. It's best to understand the benefits of each position and then design your workout to achieve your fitness goals.
Advantages of Standing
Standing while lifting weights will allow you to work your target muscles, as well as several other muscles throughout your body including your back, core, hips and legs. Standing will also improve your overall balance and stability. Take the shoulder press, for example. The exercise is meant to work your shoulders and arms, which is about all it will do if your sitting down. But if you do it while standing, the muscles in your abdomen and back will have to work hard to keep your torso upright under the additional weight. The muscles in your hips and legs will also be called upon to keep your pelvis, knees and ankles stable.
Advantages of Sitting
Sitting while lifting has its own set of advantages. It's a great idea to lift weights while sitting if you're new to exercise and in the process of learning proper techniques. Sitting will keep you from using other parts of your body, such as your legs, to build momentum for an upper-body exercise. Sometimes you don't have a choice but to sit if you're recovering from a lower-body injury, have poor balance or if you suffer from back or other joint problems.
Take your own fitness goals into account when deciding whether to sit or stand during your lifts. For example, standing will yield a higher exercise intensity because more of your muscles are involved in the lift. Standing should also be your preference if you're looking for improvements in power, performance and coordination. On the other hand, sitting may be more appropriate for you if you are working with heavy weights. Although you can stand while lifting heavy, you'll likely fatigue quickly and experience a breakdown in proper technique, which could lead to injury. Sitting is also preferable if you're working on isolating specific muscles.
As with anything, it's always good to keep your workouts new and fresh. By always changing up your exercise routine, you can constantly challenge your muscles and experience results. As far as standing versus sitting goes, keep changing that routine, too. For example, if you primarily do your lifts sitting, try standing during one workout a week and vice versa if you normally stand.
- Essentials of Strength and Conditioning, Third Edition; Thomas R. Baechle, et al
- ACSM's Certified News: Resistance Training Intensity: Research and Rationale; Peter Magyari, PH.D., HFS, CSCS
Jen Weir writes for several websites, specializing in the health and fitness field. She holds a Bachelor of Science in exercise science from Montana State University, is an NSCA-certified strength and conditioning specialist and maintains a personal trainer certification from the American College of Sports Medicine.