Up Against the Wall (Sit)

The wall sit is more of a position than a movement. Imagine the stillness of a plank meeting the burn of a squat. If the aim is to build strength in quadriceps and hamstrings, this isometric exercise is ideal, especially for tired muscles after a lower body workout. Contracting muscles to hold resistance against the wall increases lower body strength. The movement cuts right to the hardest part of the squat—that point on the way down when quads start to feel it.

The beauty of the exercise is it can be scaled up or down depending on individual fitness levels and can be tweaked to hit particular parts of the legs. To begin the basic position, press the back firmly against the wall and walk feet out until knees are bent at a 90-degree angle. Push through heels, keeping knees over ankles to avoid tucking feet underneath and straining knees. Remain against the wall with arms on knees or at the waist. Breathing evenly, maintain the position for a predetermined amount of time—from 15 seconds up to two minutes. To finish, exhale and slowly inch back up the wall to a standing position.

For a more advanced wall sit, follow the directions for the basic version. Once the 90-degree position is assumed, slowly extend one leg straight out in front. Hold for a desired amount of time before switching legs.

Grab some dumbbells
A pair of weights transforms the static sit into a more dynamic exercise that involves the upper body.

When beginning the wall sit, hold a moderately heavy dumbbell in each hand.

Walk into the wall sit position and bring the dumbbells to the shoulders, palms facing forward, with forearms 90 degrees to shoulders.

Press the weights straight up overhead, exhaling as the movement is completed. Inhale while returning arms to a right angle.


Add A Medicine Ball
Squeeze a 10” to 12” diameter medicine ball between knees to involve the inner thigh muscles.

Change the Angle
Another variation involves alternating the sit angle from 90- to 45-degrees. Begin by performing the wall sit at 90 degrees and holding it for half the total time of the exercise. Then, inch back up the wall until thighs are roughly at a 45-degree angle. The shift strengthens muscles by working different angles.

Final note: The advice presented above is not meant for anyone with contraindicated health problems. Please consult a medical or fitness professional.