How to Do a Wall Sit

The wall sit is an exercise we’ve been doing with our clients for years. It’s fantastic because it requires no equipment, only your body weight and a wall. You can do it virtually almost anywhere – at your home, cottage, office, or while on vacation – you name it!

The beauty of the wall sit is that it’s almost universally safe. 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, more often than not you CAN DO this exercise.

The wall sit is a static exercise, which means that it activates your muscles and stimulates your nervous system without involving the 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.

How to Do a Wall Sit Correctly

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.

You should feel your quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes working.

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
  • Stand on a half-ball (BOSU) like in the video, below
  • Extend one leg for a single-legged wall sit
  • Hold a weight (or a can of soup etc) 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

A Customized Program

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, contact us. 

Our team of experienced personal trainers enjoys training clients of all fitness levels, and we offer in-home personal training, as well as virtual and studio training. We’d love to help you reach your goals!

Updated on August 30, 2022.