Wall Sit Wonders – How To, Benefits, Variations & Workout
Lucas Kruel #TRUSTMYCOACH Trainer
The Wall Sit or the Chair is one of the most beneficial and well known exercise in everyone’s workout routine.
It’s simple, engages many parts of your body and you can basically do it anywhere. So this exercise is a real favourite of mine and it’s a big part of my #TRUSTMYCOACH Training Program.
However whenever I get my clients to do it, I’m faced with a bit of a moan and a ‘do I havvve to?’
So today, I’m giving you the...
WALL SIT PACKAGE: the WHY, the HOW TO and the WORKOUT
WHY DO I WALL SIT?
I’m all about exercises and training that works your ENTIRE body - not just muscle groups in isolation. Because on the soccer pitch and in day-to-day life, you have to use multiple muscle groups, not just one part of your body.
The Wall Sit is an exercise that is a perfect example of working your slow twitch fibres in so many muscle groups of your body. It’s a flexible and simple exercise that can be done anywhere. It is so beneficial for increasing endurance and stability - so it’s a must-do routine in my client’s trainings.
WALL SIT MUSCLE GROUPS
Just like functional training, the benefits of Wall Sits are endless! It is a super isometric exercise that engages your gluteal muscles, quadriceps, hamstrings, calves, back, chest, abs and hips.
WALL SIT BENEFITS
1. Tones & Strengthens
Just like with any exercise, adequately engaging the correct muscle groups help build muscle physique, lose calories and strengthen.
2. Increases Stamina & Endurance
You activate your slow twitching fibres in your leg muscles when holding the ‘Chair’ position. Your fibres are slow to engage but last longer against fatigue which tests your endurance.
3. Improves Posture
During the Wall Sit, you concentrate on keeping your entire back on the wall while opening your chest and bringing your shoulders back. This is a good example of maintaining exceptional posture.
4. Improves Focus
As you can imagine, continually holding a perfect position while your legs are burning is not an easy task. Concentration on maintaining perfect technique and breath is important. So, it is a mental challenge as much as a physical one!
5. Improves Balance & Stability
As you only have the wall to stabilise you, you must rely on your core and leg strength to hold your position. An extra element of balance comes into play when you advance your Wall Sit with dynamic leg movements. Core engagement is also a big part of this exercise as you work your abs when holding the position. A strong core equals better stability and balance on the pitch and in day-to-day life.
6. Improves Core Strength
You might be thinking that working your core in the Wall Sit exercise is impossible. But let me tell you, if you are doing the exercise correctly, you will be feeling it in your abs as well! By tightening your abs, you are improving your posture and body support during the exercise.
7. Anyone & Anywhere
I use this exercise almost daily because no matter where I am (in my gym, outdoors, hotel room etc) I can ALWAYS incorporate the Wall Sit into my training. Anyone of any age, fitness level and previous training knowledge can do this as well. You just need to find a wall and understand the correct technique.
8. No Equipment Needed
Another huge benefit of the Wall Sit is that you don’t need a gym membership, access to equipment or a personal trainer to do this. So it’s perfect for every workout, no matter your financial situation or access to training facilities!
9. Wall Sit Variations
Although this looks like an exercise that can only be done one way, there are actually a huge amount of variations that you can do once you establish the basics (see below). You can do dynamic leg movements, use weights, do interval training, use balls and more! This is an exercise that you can challenge yourself in many different ways and be creative with it! This is super important to keep your workouts challenging and interesting.
HOW TO: WALL SIT (with perfect technique)
- Lean your back against a flat wall and plant your feet shoulder-width apart on the floor. Your entire soles of your feet must be on the floor at all times.
- Slowly step your feet forward and lower your upper body down the wall. During this motion, continue to lean your back against the wall. Your knees should be bending as you are lowering yourself.
- Stop lowering yourself once your calves and hamstrings make a 90 degree angle. Imagine yourself to be sitting on an imaginary chair.
- Hold this ‘Chair’ position for 30 seconds-90 seconds (depending on your fitness level).
While holding the Wall Sit position…
- Open your chest and bring your shoulders back
- Bring your arms out to the side of your body, lean them against the wall and face your palms of your hands away from the wall
- Keep your knees in line with your feet
- Keep your feet shoulder width apart
- Maintain your entire back on the wall (do not arch your back)
HOW TO: SIMPLIFY YOUR WALL SIT
Although the Wall Sit is a simple exercise in theory, don’t underestimate how much hard work it is! No matter how fit you are, it will burn your legs!
If you find the Wall Sit a bit of a struggle in the beginning, that’s not a problem! You will get stronger at doing this exercise with practice!
Meanwhile, here are some suggestions to ease yourself into the Wall Sit:
(And no, we won’t be actually sitting on a chair - because that is way too easy haha)
Although you may start your Wall Sits with these suggestions, try to progress to a perfect Wall Sit once you feel comfortable and strong enough.
1. Interval Wall Sits
Instead of doing 30 seconds in one repetition. Do a 15 second wall sit hold - 10 second rest - 15 second wall sit hold. By having the rest in between, your technique will be better as you are fatiguing less.
2. Hold your Wall Sit in a higher position
If you feel that holding your Wall Sit at a 90 degree angle is too difficult, lower yourself to a position that feels comfortable yet challenging. You could lower yourself to a 45 degree position instead and still feel your quadricep muscles engaging. Just make sure that your feet are shoulder width apart and that your knees are in line with your feet.
3. Move your feet further away from the wall
Lower yourself down to a 90 degree angle between your calf muscles and hamstrings. Then, slowly move your feet out further in front of you to a more comfortable position. Just ensure that your feet and knee stay in the same line and feel that your quadricep muscles are still engaging.
HOW TO: ADVANCE YOUR WALL SIT
The more you practice Wall Sits, the better you become at them. Of course, we want to keep challenging ourselves with this exercise, however it would be counter-productive to keep increasing the Wall Sit time because let’s be honest, that would be boring and we haven’t got all day to train!
So here are some suggestions to challenge your Wall Sits and take your training to the next level!
1. Increase Holding Time
As we touched on before, increasing the holding time of your Wall Sit is an easy option. Try to increase your Wall Sits by 10-20 seconds and see how far you can go!
2. Toes Up
This technique sounds weird, I know. But trust me, it gives you a burn you can’t imagine. In the final 10-20 seconds of your Wall Sit repetition, keep your heels on the ground and lift your toes upwards as far as you can. Hold this position until the end of your repetition.
3. Decrease the angle
Another weird one, but seriously effective! Instead of keeping your upper and lower legs at a 90 degree angle, bring your feet backwards towards the wall a little to create a smaller angle between your upper and lower legs. This really works you hard! Just don’t bring your feet so far backwards that you feel too much pressure in your knees, legs or feet.
4. Single Leg Chair
No equipment needed for this one - you only need determination, focus and balance. This exercise involves dynamic movements with your legs while you are holding the Wall Sit position. As you are holding ‘The Chair’ position, bring your whole right leg out in front, flex your right foot and hold this position for 10-20 seconds. Make sure your elevated leg is straight and in line with your body. Then place that leg back down and do the same for your left leg.
5. Single Leg Dynamic Chair
Again, you are in the Wall Sit position. Bring your right leg out in front, flex your right foot and hold your position. Once you feel somewhat comfortable, slowly move the elevated leg slightly to the outward side and back to the middle. Repeat this movement 5 times per side.
To advance this even further, you can also rotate the elevated leg in small circular motions. Just make sure that the rest of your body is still and stable, that your hips are remaining in line with your body and move your dynamic leg slowly and with control.
1. Resistance Bands
Like you can see in the video below, I put a resistance band around the outside of my thighs. These resistance bands are physically pulling my thighs inward. So, during the exercise I need push my upper legs outwards. The goal is keep your knees in line with your feet; and your quads in line with your calves. That extra muscle tension of spreading your thighs outwards really takes your quadricep endurance to another level.
2. Wall Sit with Weight
Take a kettlebell or medicine ball and hold it in front of you. Watch the video below to see how I hold the kettlebell as I ensure that my chest remains open, my back is entirely on the wall and my elbows are pointing downwards. Your external weight should be close to your body. Only choose a weight that is suitable for your fitness level.
3. Wall Sit with a Ball
This is a simple exercise but surprisingly needs a bit of concentration on technique. Place a light, medium ball (eg. soccer ball) in between your knees and hold this position while in the Wall Sit. This time, your thighs will be physically pushing more inwards as your hold the ball in-between your knees. You are engaging more muscles and focusing on technique as well.
4. Wall Sit with Stability Ball
Put a Yoga Ball/Swiss ball/Stability ball (whatever you want to call it) between your lower back and the wall. This basically makes your legs and torso work harder as you are holding the ‘Chair’ position with an unstable surface to lean on. Focus on technique - open your chest, keep your legs in the same line and stabilise your hips. Your balance and stability will improve!
5. Wall Sit with Upper Body Exercises
Hold a regular Wall Sit like usual, but instead of placing your hands next to you on the wall, you take some dumbbells. With these dumbbells, you can incorporate bicep curls and shoulder presses! Be sure to first and foremost, focus on your Wall Sit technique. Then, focus on making your upper body exercises slow and controlled. Concentrate on not arching your back, opening your chest and not straining your neck or head forward. Remember, only choose dumbbell weights that are appropriate for your strength!
DO THE WALL SIT WITH ME!
It’s just you and me now! So, you have read the How To on Wall Sits… now let’s put it into practice. I’ve set up a timer for you and I. One minute! Let’s do our best!
If you need to take a break at any time, go for it! Rest for 5-10 seconds and then resume once you feel able to.
WALL SIT WORKOUT: LET'S TRAIN!
So, you’ve got the Wall Sit technique under control and you ready to workout with me? This is one of the workouts from my training program, #TRUSTMYCOACH. I hope you enjoy it, challenge yourself and train hard! Let’s go!
How did you go with your Wall Sits? If you have any questions or comments, let me know below!
If you are looking for some more super exercises, workouts or training knowledge, check out www.trustmycoach.com ! I’d love for you to join the #TRUSTMYCOACH Family!
Happy Training Team!
Lucas Kruel, Personal Trainer