For me, it was a PE class. Others might have called it gym class or rec. But PE was the class that I remember in grade school where I was first introduced to wall sits. Before I tried them, it honestly looked pretty easy. How hard can it be to lean against a wall for a minute? Well as you probably know, it is harder than it looks.
It’s one of those exercises that are simple but not easy.
In this post, I want to discuss the benefits of wall sits. In short, they are simple, versatile, great for mental toughness, and most importantly highly effective. With proper form, the wall sit is worth its weight in gold.
Benefits of Wall Sit Exercise
Simple not Easy
The wall sit is performed by placing your back against a wall and squatting down until your legs form a 90-degree angle. You’re basically in the position of sitting in a chair, but with no chair underneath you.
When you’re first starting, you typically hold this position for about 30 seconds. As you progress and your strength builds you can bump up this time to a minute or even a few minutes. No machines or equipment are necessary. You can even do them in your jeans if need be. My point is, they are simple to do.
The wall sit is versatile in that you can do them at home, at work, on the go, or anywhere you find the time to get a quick leg workout in. Additionally, you can do them one foot at a time. By extending one leg out in front of you, you can increase the load on the single leg. Alternate to the other leg to get a symmetrical leg workout.
As you advance you can add weight to your lap or even hold a weight above your head. These little adjustments make it a very versatile leg workout.
Great for High-Intensity Interval Training
If you’re not familiar with High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) workouts, it consists of cycling your heartbeat up and down by high explosive short workouts, followed by a rest period. Wall sits are great for HIIT workouts because they are a static workout meaning you don’t move.
During your rest period doing a wall sit is perfect for lowering your heartbeat while still a low-intensity exercise.
Like a lot of things in life, if it’s hard your mind will come up with excuses for why you shouldn’t do it. The wall sit is an exercise that will make you feel the burn. Maintaining a static position while your legs are straining is a test of will.
Think of the squat. As you come up, there’s a brief break. You’re just standing there. It’s the eccentric and concentric portion of the exercise that makes it so valuable. During the wall sit, there is no brief break, you’re either holding the position or you’re not.
Fighting through the burn and strain, so you get the most out of your workout, will test your mental discipline. And during your wall sit, time seems to drag. You can get bored sitting against a wall for a couple of minutes. Fighting the boredom and the muscle strain is all part of “mind over matter.”
Shapely Calf Muscles
Having toned calves provides a certain allure to legs. It’s kind of hard to describe. Wall sits will have you feeling the burn not only in your quads and hamstrings but your calf muscles as well. Just a few minutes a week along with proper nutrition can have your calf muscles (How To Tone Calves Without Bulking Up) looking shapely and defined. That’s time well spent.
The How of Wall Sits
While the wall sit is certainly a simple exercise there are a few things you need to be aware of before implementing them into your leg routine.
- Be sure to have your back flat against the wall. Avoid leaning forward. If you’re placing your hands on your knees, you’re cheating. It’s okay to do this as a beginner, but abstain if you can.
- Sit at a 90-degree angle. Your quads should be parallel to the floor. If you’re just starting, you don’t need to go down all the way, as this makes it easier, but your end goal should be 90-degrees.
- Be sure your knees are not hanging over your toes. If your knees are out past your toes, you need to place your feet farther out, so they are directly below the knee.
- The weight should be in the heel of your foot, not your toes.
- In the end, stand back up vs going down to the floor. Collapsing down to the floor might cause injury or strain to your knees. If need be, use your hands to assist you in standing back up.
Conclusion of Wall Sits
The wall sit isn’t meant to be a big mass gainer to result in bulging legs. It’s another effective exercise that people often overlook, probably because of it’s simplicity. They’re great because no equipment or machines are needed and you can do them anywhere. As long as you’re using proper technique there a great exercise to through into your mix.
If you’re looking for a full body at home workout, check out my reviews of two programs I’ve personally tried and think are great for those that like to exercise at home. The first is Turbulence Training here, and the second is Bodyweight Burn here.
FAQ on Wall Sit Exercise
What muscles do wall sits work?
Wall sits are primarily a leg workout. This includes the quadriceps, hamstrings, buttocks (glutes), and calf muscles. As long as you’re keeping a strong core, it can work your abs too.
How long should I do a wall sit?
This will depend on your level of fitness. If you’re a beginner then shoot for starting at 30 seconds. As you progress, you can add time.
Can I add weight to my wall sits?
Yes. As you progress you might find that adding weight is a perfect progression. As long as your form is stable and correct, adding weight is fine.
What is wall sits good for?
Wall sits are for best for building endurance, stamina, and balance. If your goal is to add bulk squats and deadlifts are better exercises for that goal.
When is the last time you did a wall sit? Do you still do them today? Leave a comment below.