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Paige Waehner

Exercise of the Week - Wall Sits

By January 30, 2007

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Squats and lunges aren't for everyone, especially if you have knee problems. But one way to work the lower body without the up and down motion of squats is with the Wall Sit. A Wall Sit is almost like a supported squat, but it's a static move. That means, you're holding an isometric contraction rather than moving through a full range of motion. The benefit of this is that you can strengthen the quad muscles and build endurance and, in some cases, avoid pain in the knees (although that always depends on your positioning and knee issues).

Wall Sits are great for pre-exhausting the muscles before moving on to other lower body moves and it's also a great exercise for travelers because you don't need much space or any equipment. Obviously, if this move hurts your knees, you should skip it. If you're new to the exercise, only slide down a few inches until you get a feel for the exercise and know how your body will respond.

Do it right: Stand in front of a wall (about 2 feet in front of it) and lean against it. Slide down until your knees are at about 90-degree angles (or an angle that is comfortable for you) and hold, keeping the abs contracted, for 10-60 seconds. Come back to start and repeat.

January 30, 2007 at 2:58 pm
(1) jessica says:

I remember doing this exercise when i played basketball in high school..It was torture!!!!!

January 30, 2007 at 3:01 pm
(2) jessica says:

This exercise is torture. I remember doing it in high school basketball.

January 30, 2007 at 4:16 pm
(3) Nicole says:

I have always used an excercise ball to slide down the wall while doing this squatting excercise. It helps with those who have back problems as well. A trick I learned from a chiropracter.

January 30, 2007 at 6:04 pm
(4) riya says:

my gym couch always urges me to do these. they are very helping and a great exerice. recommeded!!!

January 30, 2007 at 6:55 pm
(5) SuperAmanda says:

This is such a great exercise and can be varied with toe taps, heel raises, bicep curls, shoulder flyes and the very advanced version of legs together which will work the inner and outer thighs too.
In martial arts, some call it the ‘Chinese chair.’

January 30, 2007 at 8:29 pm
(6) Shyanne says:

That looks hard but I’m going to try it. Hopefully I won’t break my legs lol.

January 30, 2007 at 11:44 pm
(7) Nira says:

I work for Curves and we recommend this exercise also. Try it.

January 31, 2007 at 9:16 am
(8) fereshteh says:

dear yahoo! i would like to fit my size in my feet. what should i do?

January 31, 2007 at 1:19 pm
(9) H says:

does this work abs as well?

January 31, 2007 at 2:38 pm
(10) maha yasin-jordan says:

i use to do this excercise, and i love it,i do recommend it to all of you,and it will helpe the one how have a back pain.so just give it a try.

January 31, 2007 at 5:18 pm
(11) Sandy says:

I teach a WOW (women on weights) class and we use this one, and a more advanced one with heel presses to the front (straighten one of your legs and press out flexing your foot) start with 3 on each leg. The ball-wall sit/squat is good as well

January 31, 2007 at 8:16 pm
(12) eliza says:

since i’ve started doing these wall sits, i’ve noticed it’s improved my posture significantly. so when i do them, i always challenge myself to go longer than the time before. i highly recommend these exercises!!

February 1, 2007 at 2:00 am
(13) mary says:

I just tried one and it is hard but good hard. I think I will continue using this one.

February 1, 2007 at 4:11 pm
(14) frances says:

Same here i remember when we did that in school but it feels good to work out your legs at age 40.

February 3, 2007 at 6:15 pm
(15) lisa says:

This is also a great exercise to help with shoulder problems. Just make sure your shoulders and back are flat against the wall.

February 5, 2007 at 1:34 pm
(16) george says:

I have horrible knees and it strengthens the muscles around it. I should do this more. It feels good and gives you confidence.

February 5, 2007 at 2:26 pm
(17) Mary says:

I’m working with a postural alignment specialist and we do this one. You can challenge yourself a little more by raising your toes and really working to press your lower back into the wall by squeezing your glutes. As a previous poster commented: it’s hard, but good hard.

February 5, 2007 at 10:14 pm
(18) Jana says:

it is a great exercise and no equipment is needed. Really strengthens the legs.

February 5, 2007 at 11:12 pm
(19) sonali says:

It is not yet clear how to do the wall sits can u pls elaborate in future a bit more

February 11, 2007 at 7:51 pm
(20) donald says:

ive done this once it felt like i had a broken leg it was torture

November 24, 2007 at 7:13 pm
(21) George says:

I started holding this position for 60 seconds, legs shook alot at first but now can go 5 mins.

January 1, 2008 at 12:27 pm
(22) michelle says:

i tried it and could only hold it for 25 seconds. it hurt but in a good way. i am going to continue. how offten should i do these? should i do more than one?

January 31, 2008 at 6:44 pm
(23) bob says:

I have to say that after doing these for a week, my knees have been feeling a lot better while I run and afterwards.

August 1, 2008 at 6:25 pm
(24) tim says:

The most i’ve done is 9 minutes, but i practice every day

August 22, 2008 at 11:50 pm
(25) Anna says:

anyone know whether to put more weight on your heels or toes? I do this exercise for fencing but am between clubs for a couple weeks and can’t remember which is correct.

June 3, 2009 at 6:21 pm
(26) patrick says:

well i got to 30….ow…

October 21, 2009 at 3:07 pm
(27) Keith says:

If you really want to focus the tension on your quads, make sure your lower back is flat against the wall, even if that means your shoulders and not quite perfectly flat on it. Without your lower back flush with the wall, you are cheating!

July 3, 2010 at 8:15 pm
(28) Anbrielle says:

i used to hate wallsits, i am 16years old now i really appreciate them because they’re strengthening and…your legs will looks great

August 11, 2010 at 12:35 am
(29) william says:

I remember doing these in ROTC, they feel amazing in your thighs!

September 12, 2010 at 1:10 am
(30) Halle says:

I can do this for 15 min no shaking at ALL!

Thats what years of hard irish dancing can do for ya

September 14, 2010 at 9:21 pm
(31) Melissa says:

We had to do this in P.E. last year. I got to 11:00 minutes. (: It was killer though, my legs were sore for 2-3 days. :D

October 7, 2010 at 5:00 pm
(32) em says:

it looks like shes sitting in a chair

October 23, 2010 at 2:09 pm
(33) jordan says:

I remember doing these in basketball, too! it was coach’s favorite form of torture. BUT I LOVE THEM!! :)

October 30, 2010 at 1:46 am
(34) Claudia says:

Used to do these in 5th grade between the first passing period. Teacher gave candy to the winners. Me and two other kids used to go until we were forced to stop cause of the next class. Wasn’t able to walk in the next class ;P

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