As a society, we are constantly told that we spend too much time sitting around doing nothing. While that is certainly true, there is one type of sitting around doing nothing that is actually good for us. That, of course, is the wall sit.
Adding this simple, no equipment body exercise to your workout routine will pay off big time in terms of strength, development, and muscular endurance in the leg muscles as well as boosting your overall fitness. Let’s uncover the 15 ways wall sit benefits your body and mind.
The Wall Sit Up Close
The standard Wall Sit is a popular isometric exercise that directly works the muscles of the lower body. The exercise simply simulates sitting in a chair but places tension on the quadriceps while also working the calves. It can also be done by people of all ages and fitness levels.
Quadriceps, calves, core muscles
Step By Step How To
- Stand with your back against a flat wall and your feet about 18 inches out and shoulder width apart.
- From this starting position, slide down the wall until your thighs are parallel to the floor as you were sitting in a chair.
- Hold your palms against the wall at arm’s length by your sides.
- Push your heels into the floor, keep your shoulder blades back against the wall and look directly ahead. Your lower back should be in a neutral position.
- Hold for the stated length of time. Begin with a 30 second hold and increase in 15 second increments until you are holding for 3 minutes. Work up to doing 3 sets of 30 second wall sit holds.
Mistakes to Avoid
- Allowing your shoulders to come off the wall.
- Placing your hands in your knees.
- Allowing your knees to cave in.
- Looking down at the floor
- Rounding your lower back.
- Open up your chest and push your shoulders back into the wall.
- Wear headphones and focus on staying in position for the entire length of your favorite song.
- Keep your knees over your feet.
- Do not allow your feet to creep in together.
- Push your palms into the wall.
- Tense your abs and pull in your belly button.
15 Incredible Wall Sit Benefits
1. Improves Your Isometric Strength
When you do the wall sit exercise, you are holding your quadriceps muscles in a dynamic isometric contraction at the midpoint of full quad extension. This will develop strength in that position. The longer you hold the 90-degree wall sit position, the stronger your quadriceps will become in that position. This exercise will also promote isometric strength through your upper body.
2. Improves Your Calf Strength
When you are in the wall sit position, you are driving your heels into the floor. This contracts the calf muscle fibers. This dynamic flexing of the calves makes them stronger in the isometric position.
3. Improves Your Mental Toughness
The wall sit is able to develop mental toughness just as much as physical strength. Most people’s mind gives out before their muscles fail. Developing the mental strength to keep holding the wall sit position while your quads are screaming out for relief will make you a mentally stronger person.
4. Improves Your Core Strength
The wall sit position brings your entire core, including your abdominal muscles, internal and external obliques, and spinal erectors into action. Your core is needed to balance your body in the seated position. The core involvement required for the execution of the wall sit will make you more power from the center of your body. It will also improve your lower back and abdominal strength.
5 . Improves Your Posture
Millions of people suffer from poor posture as a result of staring at a phone or laptop all day long. The wall sit can help to correct that problem. This exercise requires that you open up your upper body and keep your shoulder blades against the wall. If you are doing the wall sit consistently this position will lend itself to improved posture throughout the rest of your life.
6. Improves Your Balance
Balance is a problem for many people. Weakness in the lower body is largely at fault but so is a lack of strength through the core, hip flexors, and stabilizer muscles around the midsection. When you do the wall sit exercise, where you are holding the position in mid-air, you will be improving your balance and coordination. If you do the advanced one-legged version of the wall sits, you will be taking your balance development from this exercise to the next level.
7. Improves Your Endurance & Stamina
Holding the wall sit position will improve your endurance and stamina. Your ability to run, skip, and jump longer and harder will be enhanced. Improving your muscular endurance will also allow you to perform better on those compound exercise movements like squats and deadlifts.
8. It Can Be Done Anywhere
The wall sit is an exercise that you can do anywhere that you have access to a wall! That means that you never have an excuse to not work your legs. So having no space to exercise is no longer an excuse.
9. It Doesn’t Require Equipment
You can do this exercise with absolutely no equipment whatsoever. You don’t have to join a gym, purchase any gear or wear any special clothing – in fact, you can do it completely naked if you wish!
10. It Enhances Your Intensity
The wall sit is a particularly difficult bodyweight exercise. But there are ways to make it even more difficult. Of course, you can hold the exercise for longer. But once you are able to perform 3 sets of 3 minute holds, it will be time to take your wall sit to the next level. Start by holding a pair of dumbbells or kettlebells in your hands. The next step is to perform the one-legged wall sit by raised one straightened leg off the floor. If you really want to up the intensity on your quad muscles, have someone else stand on your thighs while you are in the wall sit position.
11. It Provides a Good Superset Training
You can turn the wall sit into a superset exercise by combining it with the bicep curl. Simply grab a pair of dumbbells when you are in the wall sit position and perform alternate or single-arm dumbbell curls while you are in the wall sit position. Another way to superset this exercise is to drop to the ground every 30 seconds and pump out 10-15 push-ups, then getting straight back into the push-up position.
12. It’s a Great Weight Bearing Exercise
The wall sit is a weight-bearing exercise that helps to increase your bone mass and density. Strong bones are increasingly important as we age, reducing the risk of injury and ward off such conditions as osteoporosis.
13. It Allows Multitasking
There are not that many effective exercises that allow you to do something completely unrelated at the same time. The wall sit is one of them. You can watch TV, read a book or listen to a podcast without losing your exercise focus. In fact, doing those things will help the time go by, allowing you to stay in position for longer.
14. It Challenges Your Potential
The wall sit is one of those exercises that people just love to challenge others at. That introduces an element of fun and socialization. As a result, there are many online wall sit challenges and competitions that will have you getting fitter and stronger without even realizing it.
15. It is a Great Finisher
The wall sit makes an excellent base exercise for your home workouts. But it can also serve as a perfect finisher at the end of your gym workout. Once you’ve worked your way through a leg exercise such as squats, leg extensions, lunges, leg curls, glute extensions, and calf raises, get yourself up against the wall and challenge yourself to 2 minutes on the wall sit. If that doesn’t leave you a crumpled mess on the floor, nothing will.
The Bottom Line
The wall sit is an extremely effective exercise that you can do anywhere, anytime. It builds isometric leg strength in your quads and hamstrings while also strengthening your core, improving your endurance, and improving your mental toughness.
Add the wall sit to your gym workout by using it as a finishing exercise to push your quads to the limit. At home, make the wall sit the foundation of your lower body training. Combine it with bodyweight squats, reverse lunges, and step-ups for a complete lower body routine.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do wall sits build muscle?
No, wall sits do not build muscle. The wall sit is an isometric exercise that does not involve moving a muscle through its range of motion. A full range of muscle exercises is required to build muscle mass. The wall sit will develop isometric strength, stamina, and stability through the lower body muscles. To build muscle mass through the thigh muscles, the most effective exercise options are cable squats and leg extensions.
How long should you do wall sits?
Start with a 30-second wall sit hold. Then progressively work up to performing 3 sets of 3-minute holds.
How do you make wall sits harder?
To make wall sits harder, you can extend the time that you hold the wall sit. Alternatively, you can perform the one-legged wall sit by lifting one leg off the floor. Another way to make the wall sit harder is to hold dumbbells or kettlebells in your hands.