The Wall Sit – 3 Reasons Why and How To Do It Right

Despite its many benefits, the Wall Sit is one of the most underutilized exercises. Probably due to it’s lack of excitement and deceiving simplicity – since you don’t need any fancy equipment and it’s not a complicated exercise to do.

But as is true with most things in fitness, simple does not mean easy or that it’s not effective.

If you’re not familiar with the Wall Sit…

The Wall Sit is where you’ll assume a squat style stance with your back flat against a wall and knees at 90 degrees. It’s a great exercise that builds legs that are strong, lean and mean by challenging the muscles of the thighs and hips isometrically.

Plus it can be done anywhere with no external equipment or tons of experience, so zero excuses – we like that!

Benefits To The Wall Sit

#1: Strengthens The Entire Lower Body

As mentioned above, the main benefit to the Wall Sit is the strength and endurance it builds in the muscles of the thighs and hips. It’s main focus is building the slow twitch muscle fibers, which are primarily responsible for stability and endurance.

So, if you value being able to hike long distance without stopping or be down in the garden for longer periods of time, the wall sit is for you.

#2: Can Be Done Anywhere

This exercise requires nothing but your mental grit and a wall! That’s right, anywhere and anytime with no extra equipment and no gym, which is great for those on the go or who like to keep things simple.

We do recommend a good workout buddy to push you through the burn though.

#3: Build Stability In The Knees

The wall sit is great for the knees, which is a crucial benefit for former athletes and those who value the longevity of their knees. While in the wall sit, one of the focused areas of strength and stability is in the muscles and other soft tissues supporting the knee joint.

If you’re into avoiding knee replacements, this is your exercise.

Now, let’s talk about how to do it right, with The Wall Sit Cues

#4: Reinforce Good Posture

As you’ll see below, having your torso flat against the wall is a critical point to the Wall Sit, which helps reinforce good posture and core stability. This is a “side-dish” benefit, but definitely one we think you should know about and keep in mind.

Now, let’s move on into what a good Wall Sit should look like and how to program it into your workouts.

The Wall Sit Cues

#1: Torso Tall & Flat To The Wall

Even though the main focus is in the legs, you also want to reinforce good posture in the upper body and a braced core. Keep mindful of the shoulders, keeping them pulled to the wall and opening the chest. And the back of the head tall and against the wall.

#2: Knees at 90 Degrees (hey that rhymes!)

When setting up for the Wall Sit, it’s important that your knees are in strong positions. That means they should be tracking in line with the toes and placed right over the ankles. If your knees are too far over the feet, you increase your risk of injury and decrease the effectiveness of the exercise.

#3: Feet Hip Width Apart

This one is up for debate, but generally we find that the most benefit  can be gained from having the feet hip width apart. Having the feet out wider can shift the hips into a compromising positions and the same can be argued if they are too narrow. But like everything in fitness, try different stances and see where you feel the best with.

#4: Heels & Toes Down

We talk a lot about how strength is started from the ground up. So of course the same holds true here. Keep the heels and toes to the ground and think about creating a big arch in the feet. This helps transfer the weight to the boney side of the foot where they tend to be stronger and also helps keep the knees inline.

Program It In

The Wall Sit is a great way to finish your leg day or a way to get in some legs on your upper-body days. Here are a few ways to add them into your workouts in true Stronghorn style.

Finisher 1: Tabata Sets

A great warm-up or finisher for your leg day, set your timer and get on that wall!

  • Spend 20 seconds in the wall sit with 10 seconds of rest afterwards. Repeat this format for 8 total rounds, a total of 4 minutes.

Finisher 2: Super Sets

This is an awesome way to get both plyometric (power) and isometric (stability) benefits by combining the Jump Squat and Wall Sit in a back to back order. Complete the Super-Set for 3-5 rounds with 30-90 seconds of rest between rounds.

  • A1: Jump Squats x 10-20 reps
  • A2: Wall Sit x 30-60 second holds

Finisher 3: Time Ladder Sets

A Time Ladder is a way to gradually increase the time spent in an exercise. For this example, we start with a simple 15 seconds hold and increase by 15 seconds every new round. Once we hit the top “rung” or set of the ladder, we can either head back down, starting at the top and working our way down or start back from the bottom. Take about 30 seconds of rest between each set or “rung” and repeat until those quads catch fire…usually about 3-5 total rounds!

  • A1: 15 second Wall Sit
  • A2: 30 second Wall Sit
  • A3: 45 second Wall Sit
  • A4: 60 second Wall Sit

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Coach Joe

Joe holds multiple certifications through nationally accredited sources including, but definitely not limited to; Hardstyle Kettlebell Coach through Dragon Door Publications and Personal Trainer / Sports Performance Enhancement through National Academy of Sports Medicine. Valuing education, he plans on continuing his learning and growth in teaching kettlebells and practical healthy lifestyle changes to promote longevity and vitality to his clients and followers. Voted one of Austin's Best Personal Trainers in the Austin Fit Magazine 2017 Best Of Awards, Joe prides himself on making fitness fun and effective for all clients no matter their fitness level. Even though Joe is one of the top personal trainers in the Austin area, he also works with clients remotely and in group classes. Learn more about him HERE.

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