If you are thirsty, will you wonder, “should I be drinking water?”
In the same way
On a shoulder day, will you ask yourself, “should I be doing shoulder press?”
A shoulder workout without a shoulder press exercise is like a gym without weights – empty and pointless.
Yes, we can debate whether you should be using a barbell or a dumbbell but, not whether you can give the shoulder press a miss. Shoulder Press provides you with bigger, rounded, symmetrical, and aesthetically appealing shoulders.
There are two main variations of shoulder press –
- Standing Shoulder Press
- Seated Shoulder Press
The question is, which variation is superior when it comes to building bigger shoulders?
In this article, we will see five reasons why standing shoulder press is better than seated shoulder press?
Reason 1 – Seated shoulder press is bad for your lower back
People think that the seated shoulder press is safer for your lower back. Nothing can be farther from the truth.
In seated shoulder press, when the weight feels heavy, it is tough to maintain a neutral spine.
Under a heavyweight, you will over-arch your back. It creates massive pressure on your spinal disk, which can cause lower back injury.
In the standing position, the load shifts from the spine to the hip joint. The hip joint is a weight-bearing joint. It is capable of handling heavy loads. Thus, keeping your lower back safe.
Reason 2 – Greater muscle activation in standing shoulder press
Yes, you can lift heavier weights in seated shoulder press compared to standing press. But that doesn’t make it a better shoulder exercise.
A 2013 study compared four variations of shoulder press to see their effect on the three heads of shoulder muscles (Anterior, Lateral, and Posterior).
The four variations were
- Standing Barbell Shoulder Press
- Seated Barbell Shoulder Press
- Standing Dumbbell Shoulder Press
- Seated Dumbbell Shoulder Press
The research showed, even with the lesser weights, Standing Dumbbell Shoulder Press had 8% greater muscle activation than Seated Dumbbell Shoulder Press.
In the standing press, the demand for stability is more while lifting the weights overhead.
So, along with lifting the weights, the muscles are getting an additional challenge to keep the weights stable. This added challenge provides greater stimulation to the shoulder muscles.
Reason 3 – Standing press increases core strength
Have you ever wondered why, under heavyweights, your upper body doesn’t collapse like a loose chain?
The answer is your core muscles.
These are a complex group of muscles that provide stability and balance during any physical activity.
Having a strong core is a prerequisite for any sports activity. It protects your spine and helps in maintaining a good posture.
Standing shoulder press targets your core muscles as the standing position demands greater stability and balance.
Core muscles engage at a maximal level to keep your upper body in a neutral position.
All the strength sports like, Olympic lifting, Weightlifting, Powerlifting, Strongman competitions will have a carry-over effect by doing the standing shoulder press.
In a seated shoulder press, the bench is supporting your body. Thus, taking away the challenge from the core muscles.
Reason 4 – Seated shoulder press has no functional benefit
While travelling on a bus, if you want to keep a heavy bag on the rack above, which movement will you mimic standing shoulder press or seated shoulder press?
As discussed above, the standing shoulder press helps you develop a strong core which helps in performing any high-intensity physical activity.
Can you think of one instance in any sport or day-to-day life where you have to lift a heavyweight in a seated position?
Let me know in the comment section below if you could find any.
Reason 5 – Standing press burns more calories
Standing shoulder press primarily targets your shoulder muscle along with the triceps and upper chest.
Not only that, it efficiently targets your core muscles. It also involves the entire lower body from the hips, legs, ankle, to the feet to stabilize the body while pressing, making it a full-body exercise.
Compared to this, the seated shoulder press only works on your shoulders, triceps and upper chest.
Involving more muscles means burning more calories. So if your target is to burn more calories and lose weight, then you should be doing the standing shoulder press.
So it’s time to stand your feet and lift weights the right way. And use your whole body to handle those weights.
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I’ll do exercises seated when i get old.
When you get old, you’ll be sitting all day long anyways. At least during your workouts, you should be standing.
This was very helpful! I usually do seared Barbell and yesterday the standing DB was so much harder. This explains it. Thank you!