The sit-to-stand transfer can be separated into a postural phase (trunk flexion) and a focal phase (whole-body extension). The aim of this study was to analyze the as yet little known whole-body muscular activity characterizing each phase of this task and its variations with backrest inclination and execution speed. Fifteen muscles of the trunk and lower limbs of 10 participants were investigated using surface EMG. Results showed that backrest-induced modifications were mostly confined to the postural phase: reclining the backrest increased its duration and the activity level of the sternocleidomastoideus, the rectus and obliquus externus abdominis, and the semitendinosus. Speed-induced variations were also predominant during the postural phase, which was shortened with an increased activity of most muscles at maximal speed.