Exercise Review: the Wall Sit

People often ask us how to do a wall sit correctly.

The wall sit is an exercise we’ve been doing with our clients for years. It’s fantastic because it requires no equipment, except for your bodyweight and a wall!

You can do it virtually almost anywhere – at your home, cottage, office or while on vacation – you name it!

doing a wall sit in my home office/gym
doing a wall sit in my home office/gym

The beauty of the wall sit is it is what I call “client friendly”. Because even if you have pain and/or inflammation in your knees, often caused by wear and tear of your cartilage, or simply have a limited range of motion in your knees, then more than times and not you CAN DO this exercise.

And the wall sit is a static exercise, and static exercises do not require movement, which means they’re activating your muscles and stimulating your nervous system without involving the movement/wearing and tearing of your joints. So if your knees grind or crack, check with your doctor first, but in all likelihood this will be a safe and effective exercise for you.

Directions: With your back against a wall and feet on the floor, slide down the wall until your legs are at a 90 degree angle or slightly higher, as though you are sitting in an invisible chair.

Hold this position for anywhere from 10 seconds to 3 minutes depending upon your ability. Repeat 1-3 times with at least one minute rest periods in between.

Main muscles used: quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes

Make it easier:

  • Push your back up a little higher on the wall so you are not at a full 90 degree angle.
  • hold for 5 seconds at a time, do it twice per day, and work your way up to 30 seconds over three weeks

Make it harder:

  • Go lower than 90 degrees with your knees, or
  • stand on a half-ball (BOSU) like in the video, or
  • extend one leg for a single-legged wall sit, or
  • hold a weight (or a can of soup – anything works) in both hands either above your head or at chest height.
  • do a wall sit after another exercise, such as a chair step-up

Don’t do this exercise if:

  • You have high blood pressure
  • Or simply are unsure if you should

For more tips, or to have a conversation about how we can help you achieve your goals through a customized workout program with a Nielsen Fitness Personal Trainer, then contact us.

We’d love to help you reach your goals!