The difference in the benefits of performing a given exercise seated or standing is probably minimal in the grand scheme of bodybuilding, but
as we all know, the little things often separate good from great. Every time you change the way an exercise is performed, whether it's the angle
of stress or body position, the involved muscles are worked in a slightly different fashion. Such variety can help keep training fun and ensure
that all parts of the muscle are stimulated.
Aside from machines, the majority of exercises that can be performed seated or standing are for the upper body. The most striking difference between the two positions is the involvement of the torso and leg muscles. Sitting, especially with the back supported, effectively removes the lower body from the movement. This allows you to focus more keenly on the targeted muscle instead of on keeping soft knees and a straight back. Subsequently, efficiency and intensity (as a measure of absolute weight) for seated movements can he greater than that of their standing counterparts.
Eliminating the lower body from an exercise can also prevent unnecessary cheating. Without the ability to use your legs or back to whip out those last few reps, stricter form must be used. Not only may this be a safer way to train, but it keeps the stress where you want it on the target muscle group.
So seated is better, right? Not entirely. It may be more desirable to exercise standing, which provides greater whole-body involvement and uses the stabilizer muscles to a greater degree. Compared to sitting, the legs, abs and back will be stressed more strongly when exercises are performed standing. For example, the muscles of the abdominal wall and lower back form a natural girdle around the midsection and keep the spine in alignment. Strength in this area is critical for a healthy back and for carrying out daily activities like standing, bending and lifting.
Caution should be used when lifting heavy weights overhead, however, particularly from the standing position. Not only does control become an issue, but so does the stress placed upon the spine and lower hack. If the lower back isn't held in place by the muscles of the lower torso, the chance for injury increases.
If you want to focus all your efforts on one muscle group, the seated version of an exercise is recommended. If your goal is to incorporate a greater number of muscles, including those used for stabilization and support, standing exercises will he more advantageous. Regardless of your goals, the benefits of variety outweigh those of either a standing or seated position. In other words, a successful training program will incorporate movements performed from several different positions.