On average, we spend most of our time sitting than we do sleeping. You may see no harm in that, but sitting is not only a passive thing, but it can also affect your body negatively. Sitting too much can result in low back pain and tight hips. It can also increase the risks for diabetes, depression, and many other things. Because sitting is unavoidable, one can find a way to make some sedentary time a little more active. If you are looking for a simple workout to do at home, you are in luck because wall sitting benefits are as good as any other exercise.
Wall sit is an exercise done by leaning against a wall with the knees at a 90-degree angle and feet planted on the ground. No matter how busy one is, these can be sneaked into any routine because they do not consume a lot of time to perform, and no equipment is needed to do them. It may seem too simplistic and basic, but the move comes with all sorts of strength-building benefits such as hamstring strength, quad strength, glute strength, and pain tolerance (5).
How To Do The Wall Sit Correctly?
You cannot perform the wall sit correctly if you do not know what it means. So, what is a wall sit? It is an exercise done by leaning against a wall and assuming a sitting position by following the steps below:
- Stand with your back against a wall and your feet hip-width apart.
- Brace your core, bump your butt back, and then bend your knees lower until such a point that the knees, hamstrings, and calves form a right angle. If your thighs are not parallel to the ground, your muscles will not get a good workout.
- Hold in that position while keeping midline tight for about 20-30 seconds. You can gradually increase the hold time to 60 seconds.
- Get back to the starting position. Perform three sets of 10 reps or follow the instructions of your trainer (10).
The Wall Sit: Proper Posture and Form Tips
The form is essential for any exercise, especially if you are looking for optimum results and enjoying the wall sitting benefits for lower back pain. As much as it sounds very straight forward, which it is, there are still quite several tweaks that can improve your form and put you in great shape for the exercise.
- Tighten your torso. You must keep your core braced. Keeping your belly button punched into your spine is important because it will protect your spine and lower back. Failure to do that can lead to a lower back injury.
- Push into your ‘whole’ foot. Do it in a way that there is no breathing room left between your heel and the ground or between your toes and the ground. You have to press your entire foot into the floor (5).
- Engage your upper body. Even though the legs’ muscle group will be the first to feel the burn, it does not mean that your upper body gets to snooze. By activating your upper body, you will be preventing the shoulders from rounding forward, which could put your lower back in a position that is not ideal. Creating such tension is a good thing because it builds muscle.
- Maintain a neutral neck. A neutral neck position means your head is stacked directly over your neck without tilting, twisting, or contorting it.
- Squeeze your glutes. When you do the wall sit right, you have the opportunity to strengthen your glutes by being attentive and ensuring that you are consistently squeezing the glutes. By doing so, you make your body better prepared for movements such as the front squat, air squat, and back squat (7).
The Wall Sit Exercise Essentials
While you can do wall sits without any equipment or special clothing, there are a few basic exercising props that can make the exercise more comfortable to perform. Some of the things you will need include the following:
- Training shoes
- Comfortable clothes
- 5.5-pound dumbbells
- A smooth wall to lean against
- Resistance band
Simplifying The Wall Sit For Beginners
Since it is difficult to stay in the wall sit position for close to 60 seconds, especially if you are a beginner, you can simplify the exercise until your body adapts and then advance it gradually. If you have other complications such as knee issues, then you can also try the simplified version. Some of the tips on how to make the wall sit simple include:
- Increasing the intervals between wall sits so that there are more rest periods.
- Holding the wall sits at a higher position by lowering yourself to a 45-degree angle instead of 90 degrees or to a position in which you are comfortable.
- Increase the distance between your feet and the wall.
- Reduce the holding time (3).
Benefits Of The Wall Sit Exercise
There are many benefits associated with this exercise. What do wall sits do?
Improves Muscle Strength
The major focus of wall sitting is to develop leg strength and stability, and as such, most of the wall sit benefits are in the lower body. Apart from helping your leg muscles, the exercise can also boost your overall stamina. The lower body is crucial for building your overall strength, thus, enhancing its stability is a big bonus.
Works Your Entire Lower Body
The wall sit may be an isometric/static exercise, but it still has elements of a compound exercise because it requires several joints and muscles to work in unison. The exercise works your entire lower body, including the quads, glutes, and hamstrings. The major purpose is to increase muscular endurance and not to increase muscle mass. With time, you notice that you will be holding a wall sit longer than initially.
Since you remain in the same position when performing the wall sit, the muscles remain contracted/in use for the entire duration. This is not the case with exercises that require changing positions. If you perform a wall, sit for about 15 seconds, and your heart rate will increase, you will start to feel a burn. Typically, a higher heart rate leads to burning more calories, which boosts the metabolic rate and works the cardiovascular system (13).
Enhances Muscular Endurance
As much as the wall sit is not necessarily the best exercise for building muscle mass, it is a good option for improving muscular endurance. This is achieved by activating the Slow Twitch Fiber components of the muscles. These muscle fibers are the ones that increase your endurance, making the sport good for long-distance runners and other athletes.
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A Great Alternative To Squats
You may find yourself in a position where you can’t perform squats for one reason or another. In that case, you can opt for wall sits because they work for the same muscle groups. For those able to perform squats, wall sits should not be made an alternative. Instead, they should be a supplementary exercise. Either way, they increase the options of exercises you can go for (15).
Can Be Done Anywhere
The good thing with wall sits is that they can be done practically anywhere as long as there is a vertical wall. You can also do the exercise at any time of your convenience and without any equipment. It is easy and does not require a lot of time, hence can be snuck in the middle of a busy schedule.
Helps With Concentration And Focus
If you develop a habit of doing wall sits regularly, you will be training yourself to concentrate and focus. A lot of effort is required for you to get through with a wall sit routine. This is because doing wall sits is not as easy as it may seem at first. Holding the position for as long as 60 seconds is impossible without a lot of focus and concentration. You have to coordinate your breathing, to flex your abs, maintaining balance, keeping legs in the proper position, and streamlining your back on the wall all at the same time (4).
Helps You Balance Better
Doing wall sits regularly will definitely help you achieve a better balance. The primary reason why they help with your balance is that they can make your legs stronger. With more strength on the legs, there will be less slipping and falling. Apart from the exercise’s strength training routine, you will also be doing balance training because there is no support during the exercise. Proprioceptors in the muscles mostly regulate body exercise. They do so by reacting to positional shifts. The more you train them, the better your balance will become.
Helps Get Rid Of Thunder Thighs
You can choose a variation that focuses more on the thighs. Because most of your weight rests on the legs and the thigh is particular, wall sits can get rid of thunder thighs and replace them with beautifully sculpted legs. Furthermore, your thighs will be stronger, which has several benefits other than simply having a great body. Strong muscles make balancing easy and also enhance physical performance. If you are an athlete, you will definitely run faster than before and longer without tiring easily (12).
Helps Relieve Stress
Any form of physical activity can help relieve stress by the mere fact that you take your mind off the things that stress you. Wall sits are not just any physical activity. You can think of them as a form of meditation. If you like, you can include some relaxing music as you go on with the exercise. This will help you relax, and in the process, you will work your mind and lower body simultaneously. You can do this workout in the afternoon to clear the mind of stress.
Wall Sit Exercise Variations For Body Toning
The wall sits variation emanate from a combination of the wall sit and some other exercise. Wall squats, for instance, are a blend of squats and wall sits. This is usually done to increase the intensity of the exercise.
Wall Sit Lat Raise
What muscles do wall sits work? This exercise targets the hamstrings, quads, glutes, calves, deltoids, lats, abs, rotator cuff muscles, wrist extensors, and biceps. To do the exercise:
- Get into the wall sitting position while holding dumbbells to your sides with the palms facing inwards.
- Bend your elbows slightly and engage your core. The arms should be raised so that they are level with your shoulders and parallel to the floor.
- Slide up as you simultaneously lower your arms and return to the starting position.
- Do at least 3 sets of 10 reps each.
This wall sit exercise takes about 7 minutes and is meant to tone your upper body and abs. The good thing is that it does not strain your back and knees. You must remember to keep your back straight and not move away from the wall (11).
Wall Sit Bicep Curls
This exercise’s target area is the calves, quads, glutes, hamstrings, biceps, deltoids, wrist extensors, and flexors. It is done by getting into a wall sit position and holding dumbbells to the sides as the palms face forward. The elbows should be close to the torso, and the core activated. As you slide down into the sitting position, keep your upper arms stationary and flex your elbows. Raise your forearms to the point where the dumbbells are close to the shoulders. Hold in the same position for a few seconds, then slide up to the starting position as you lower your forearms and straighten the arms (1).
Do 2 to 3 sets of 10 reps each for about 5 minutes. The main benefit of this modified exercise is to tone your upper arms. You can as well replace the dumbbells with barbells for this exercise.
Wall Sit Shoulder Press
Combines the wall sit and shoulder press to work the deltoids, lateral deltoid, lats, quads, hamstrings, glutes, calves, posterior deltoids, and anterior deltoids. To do it, as you get into the wall, do a sitting position, hold the dumbbells, and flex your elbows so that your upper arms are leveled with the shoulders. The palms should face forward, while the upper arms are at a right angle with the forearms. As you assume the sitting position, raise your arms to extend them fully, so they are directly above your head. Hold for a few seconds and then return to the starting position (8).
This exercise should take an average of 7 minutes. Remember to keep the core engaged throughout the entire exercise. Its major benefit is to tone up the shoulders and upper body because it is put on the shoulders.
Wall Sit Straight Leg Lift
This exercise is good for the wall sit muscles such as quads, calves, adductors, hamstrings, upper abs, lower abs, and glutes. It is done by combining the wall sit and leg lift exercises. Engage your body into a wall sit position and extend your right leg in the front. Keep it that way for about 5 seconds. Take a deep breath and lower the leg. Stabilize yourself and repeat with the other leg.
Do one set of about 10 reps. The exercise should last for about five minutes. It is an upgrade to the traditional wall sit, and it is intended to help you gain muscle strength and stamina. For it to work perfectly, the extended leg should be at the same level as the hips (14).
Wall Sit With Marching
This takes the wall sit exercise a notch higher. The muscles targeted by the exercise are the glutes, hamstrings, quads, adductors, upper abs, and lower abs. After assuming the wall sit position, exhale and then alternately lift the left and right legs up to your chest, as if you are marching. Do 3 sets of 10 reps each. It is a 4-minute exercise that helps tone the thighs. You can lower your body further during the exercise to make it more intense.
Wall Sit With Heel Lift
This exercise is meant to target hamstrings, quads, adductors, calves, and glutes. Get down into the wall sit position and be sure to engage your core. Follow this by raising both your heels and holding them in the same position for about 5-10 seconds. As you release the hold, lower your heels to the ground and then repeat. Two sets of ten reps each should be enough. The exercise will last about 6 minutes and help make your calves stronger and tone your thigh muscles (2).
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Wall Sit With Resistance Band
Do this exercise if you intend to work the hamstrings, calves, glute, adductors, and core. Before you get into the wall sit position, tie a resistance band around your thighs. As you set yourself up into the wall sitting position, widen your legs and hold for a few seconds. Slide back to the starting position and do 2 sets of 10 reps each. The exercise will take you about 7 minutes. It is good for losing fat in the inner thighs and toning up.
Wall Sit With Medicine Ball
The wall sit with medicine ball exercise is good for the adductors, glute, core, hamstrings, quads, and calves. Start with the wall sit, and then place a medicine ball between the knees. Slowly slide down as you squeeze the medicine ball. Hold in that position for about a second, and then return to the starting position. Do two sets of ten reps each. The exercise will take about 7 minutes and will help reshape your inner thighs (6).
Wall Sit With Crossed Arms
This exercise’s target muscles include the upper abs, lower abs, hamstrings, glute, quads, and calves. As you get into the wall sit position, cross your arms, and keep them at the chest level. Hold in that position for 10 seconds. Exhale and return to the starting position. Complete 2 sets of 10 reps. The exercise helps tone the belly, thighs, and buttocks.
Wall Sit With Stability Ball
The wall sit with stability ball exercise is good for the glutes, lower back, adductors, calves, hamstrings, and quads. You will do the wall sit, but instead of leaning on the wall, you will place a stability ball between your back and the wall. You can opt to do a bicep curl, shoulder press, or use a resistance band but ensure you maintain the stability ball’s balance so that it does not fall off. Hold the wall sit pose for 10 seconds and return to the starting position (9).
The Bottom Line
If you spend most of your day sitting, why not dedicate at least one minute of doing wall sits? One minute may not be a lot of time every day, but the wall sitting benefits will be worth every second. You will have managed to trim your lower body, calves, hips, and thighs without having to go to the gym. Wall sitting is worth giving a try because, apart from being easy and simple, it is designed for everyone and does not put the back or knees under undue pressure.
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This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!
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