Build a Better Body by Taking a Stand
Take just a minute to think about how much time you spend on your backside during a given day. You sit in the car on the way to work or school; then all day in lectures, meetings or your tiny cubicle and then you follow that up with more sitting on the way home. Evenings usually result in more of the same – you’ve either got your butt planted on your couch, or if you’ve decided to have a night out, on a bar stool.
Now take a good look at the time that you spend in the gym, if it isn’t the polar opposite from the rest of your day in terms of time spent on your posterior, you aren’t reaping the full benefits of your workout. In order to engage and build the most muscle, burn the most calories and ultimately build the best body – you should be standing up for every exercise that you can.
Take a look around the gym the next time you are working out and you’ll see plenty of guys doing seated curls, seated triceps extensions and seated over head press. While performing these movements could certainly result in gains in strength and size for the targeted muscle groups, they pale in comparison to the very same standing movements for gaining functional strength and they won’t do much for working any secondary or stabilizing muscles.
If you include a number of seated movements in your workouts, simply swapping them out for standing versions can have a host of benefits. Performing standing presses, curls and extensions leaves you responsible for maintaining your balance throughout the course of the movement instead of a piece of furniture. This will call a variety of support muscles into play with each rep making each movement more of a compound exercise than an isolation exercise.
Performing exercises on your feet also adds a “real world,” functional strength element to each movement. Consider all of the times during your day to day life that you’ve got to use some of the muscle that you built in the gym: helping your buddy move, pushing a stalled car, yard work, re-loading your beer meister… the majority of time that you’ve got to put your brawn to good use, you’ll be up on two feet. If you want to be prepared for those moments, the majority of your training should be done on your feet as well.
Lots of guys will remain seated through their rest period before getting ready to perform the next set or exercise as well. Your muscles will recover just as well between exercises if you stay on your feet and as an added bonus, you can use your rest period to return your dumbbells to the rack and retrieve new ones or to load the barbell with the appropriate weight for your next lift. This will end up saving you a ton of otherwise wasted time and the continual movement through your entire workout will result in more than a few extra calories burned.
Everyone likes to be able to make their workouts more productive and everyone wants to reach their goals as fast as possible. Standing up for as many of your exercises as possible might not help to turn you from a ninety pound weakling into the incredible hulk, but it can certainly help to make the most of each individual movement. You’ll realize benefits in how you look, how you feel and how you perform in your everyday life and if you use your rest periods wisely it can also have you in and out of the gym in a lot less time.
About Jeff Wilson Jeff Wilson has been involved in some form of sports and athletic training for more than two decades: as an athlete, a trainer and a writer.