Get Your Clients Off of the Bench: How to Use Different Exercise Stances

Different stances to use: (L-R) Regular, Split Stance, Kneeling, Half-kneeling
Different stances to use: (L-R) Regular, Split Stance, Kneeling, Half-kneeling


Seated and standing with your feet shoulder width apart are not the only ways to do an exercise.
The majority of your clients may sit all day long at work, so it is more beneficial for them to perform exercises in a different position as much as possible. Standing with your feet shoulder width apart is the next version that most personal trainers will go to. Standing is a great alternative, but are you aware that there are many other different exercise stances you can get your clients to perform an exercise in?
The following three exercise stances are a great way to provide a different challenge, depending on your client’s needs.

Tall Kneeling

If your clients are lacking core stability, a tall kneeling stance is a great way to teach them how to properly brace themselves while performing an exercise. By removing the use of their feet to help provide them with stability, a tall kneeling stance places more demand on the glutes and abs. It is important to ensure that your clients maintain a neutral spine and not excessively arch through the lumbar spine.


The half-kneeling stance can be used as a regression to the tall kneeling stance if your client has trouble maintaining a neutral spine. The half-kneeling stance helps to stabilize the lumbar spine, making an extended posture more difficult.
Both knees should be at a 90 degree angle. Make sure that the hips and shoulders are square. The hips should also be level. If the hips are uneven (usually the hip on the down leg is lower), roll up an exercise mat to place under the knee to try and even out the hips.

Split stance

As in the half-kneeling stance, a split stance helps provide additional stability to the standard standing position. For clients who tend to arch through their lumbar spine while standing, the split stance is a good alternative to use until they learn how to properly stabilize their core.
Again, ensure that the hips and shoulders are square.
Changing the stance is a great way to add some variety to your clients’ programming. However, care must be taken when deciding which version to use in order to provide the most benefit to your client.
Don’t just haphazardly choose a different position just to change things up. Ask yourself what your client needs most at this moment in time.
Does your client lack core stability? Then using a tall kneeling stance helps to provide them with additional core work.
Are you working towards maximum strength gains? Then a standing position would be most beneficial, as it will allow your client to lift the most amount of weight.
Always ask yourself what benefit a certain exercise or position will provide to your clients. There should always be a reason for a particular exercise choice.
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