The "wall sit" is an excellent exercise for strength building and endurance. Wall sits are an exercise that can be done pretty much anywhere (as long as there's a sturdy wall), and it doesn't take long to start seeing the benefits.
To learn more about wall sits and start taking advantage of this effective exercise, check out this complete guide to wall sit workout benefits and techniques explained.
Table of Contents
What Is the Wall Sit? How Does It Work?
A wall sit is exactly as it sounds; it’s an exercise that involves sitting against a wall. While your back is pressed firmly against a flat wall, your legs will be bent at the knee so that your calves and thighs/hamstrings form a 90-degree angle. Your feet should be shoulder-width apart as you hold the chair position for 30 seconds or more.
There are a few different styles of wall sits to choose from, and doing a variation is a great way to boost the challenge - and see more benefits! These are some of the top wall-sit variations for an added challenge:
What Do Wall Sits Do for Your Body? (10 Amazing Wall Sit Benefits)
Even though this exercise is simple and doesn’t require any additional gym equipment, the benefits of a wall sit are definitely there. Here are the top 10 benefits of adding wall sits into your regular workout routine:
1. Work the entire lower body
When you do a wall sit the right way, the entire lower body is engaged. That includes the muscles of the calves, glutes, hamstrings, and quads. While you won’t necessarily increase muscle mass, you’ll definitely increase lower body muscle endurance.
2. Burn calories
The amount of calories burned from doing a wall sit is different for everyone depending on things like age, body size, and gender. According to Livestrong, “to get a general idea of the number of calories you can burn during an activity like a five-minute wall sit, you can use a calories-burned calculator.”
3. Increase stamina and endurance
As you hold the chair position for an extended period of time, you’re working to increase your overall stamina and endurance. Wall sits build endurance by activating something called the “Slow Twitch Fiber” components of your muscles.
4. Tone and strengthen
If toning the lower body (and the core!) is a top priority for you, the wall sit is a great place to start.
5. Improve focus and posture
The wall sit can be extremely mentally challenging, so it’s a great way to improve focus. While you focus on the burn that’s developing in your lower body, you’ll also be working on your posture by keeping your back firmly pressed against the wall.
6. Enhance balance and stability
In a wall sit, your body is suspended as if you’re sitting in a chair. It’s up to your legs and core to hold you in position, and this can ultimately improve your balance and stability.
7. Improve core strength
A lot of people assume that the core isn’t involved at all when doing wall sits. That’s not the case! With your back pressed against the wall, your core will remain engaged the entire time. Plus, you can proactively work to tighten your abs throughout the exercise.
8. Lower resting heart rate
By adding wall sits into your regular fitness routine, you could potentially lower your average resting heart rate. A 2013 study proves that, saying “the wall squat may have a useful role to play in isometric training aimed at reducing resting blood pressure.”
9. Alternative to squats
Squats are another great exercise, but they can be extremely hard on the body (specifically the hips and knees). By adding in the support of a wall, wall sits are a great alternative for people who are unable to do squats.
10. Can be done anywhere (for free!)
There’s absolutely no equipment needed for wall sits, and you can perform this exercise as long as you have access to a sturdy wall and non-slip floor. That means it’s completely free!
How to Do a Wall Sit Properly: Tips, Techniques & Common Mistakes
The first step for doing a wall sit properly is to find a flat, firm wall. That’s all you need! Once you have your wall space, these are the exact steps to follow for performing a wall sit:
- 1Start with your back against a wall with your feet shoulder-width apart. Depending on your height, your feet should be about 2 feet from the wall.
- 2As you slowly slide your back down the wall, engage your core. Stop sliding once your thighs are parallel to the ground.
- 3Make adjustments to your feet so that your knees are right above your ankles (and not your toes).
- 4Keep your back pressed firmly against the wall, completely flat against the surface.
- 5Stay in this position for 20 to 60 seconds.
- 6Once you’ve met your time limit, slide slowly back up the wall into a standing position.
- 7After resting for 30 seconds, repeat the exercise. For best results, go through this process 3 times and try increasing your hold time by five seconds with each rep.
While doing a wall sit, these are the main techniques (and the ones that are most often done wrong) to keep in mind to avoid strain or injury:
How to Do a Wall Sit Using Equipment (Modifications & Variations)
One of the greatest things about the wall sit exercise is that there are a lot of options for modifications and variations. It’s possible to modify the standard wall sit by adding in additional home gym equipment. Not only will this create a more challenging workout, but it will increase the benefits.
Here are a few things you can incorporate into your wall sit for an even more intense workout:
Putting resistance bands around the outside of the thighs will create more muscle tension.
Kettlebell or Medicine Ball
Using kettlebells or medicine balls creates an upper body workout in addition to the lower body burn. All you have to do is hold the ball in front of you while you’re in the chair position.
Adding a stability ball between your lower back and the wall makes your legs and torso work harder as you are holding the wall sit. Just be careful with this one; the ball creates a less stable surface to lean on, so make sure to focus on technique.
It’s possible to perform lots of different upper body workouts while your lower body is being worked by the wall sit. Just use dumbbells and add in some bicep curls or shoulder presses.
People Also Ask (FAQs)
What happens if you do wall sits every day?
Every individual’s physical makeup is different, so the results will be different across the board. However, regular wall sits definitely have the potential to strengthen your gluteal muscles, quadriceps, hamstrings, calves, back, chest, abs, and hips flexors.
Will wall sits slim your thighs?
Not only can wall sits slim your thighs, but they'll also sculpt them. All of the muscles of the lower body are targeted with this exercise, so it's great for toning and sculpting the thighs, hams, glutes, and calves.
Why are wall sits bad?
Wall sits have gotten a bad rep in some circles, but as long as they’re done properly, they are by no means bad. Just remember that it’s extremely important to practice the proper techniques and form, or else you could risk a knee, hip, or hamstring injury.
How long should you hold a wall sit?
The recommended time frame for how to do the wall sit depends on your personal strength and endurance, but overall, it’s best to hold the position for 20 to 60 seconds consecutively. For the most benefits, Very Well Fit says that you should “rest 30 seconds and repeat the exercise three times. Increase your hold time by five seconds as you increase your strength.”
There’s no denying that there are many benefits of doing wall sits. If you’ve decided that this exercise is right for you, just make sure you’re using the right form and proper techniques. Once you’ve perfected the standard wall sit, consider adding in additional equipment to up the challenge and increase the potential for benefits.