Today's #MoveItMonday might be one of my all-time favorite lower body weight exercises. It's fairly simple to do and requires only a sturdy wall and a good attitude. I'm talking about the wall sit!!
Why wall sit?
Wall sits are an excellent lower body strengthening exercise focusing on the glutes, quadriceps, hamstrings and abdominals. It's an isometric or static move (meaning once you get in the seated position, you simply hold that same position for a specified period of time). Even though you are performing an isometric hold, it's still considered a compound movement as you're working several muscle groups and joints collectively to safely perform the exercise.
Not only are wall sits great for building strength in the lower half of the body, they are also great for building endurance. Over time, you should be able to lengthen the amount of time you can hold a wall sit. With different muscle fibers firing during a wall sit, you'll be gaining a great deal of muscular endurance that will help in other exercises or sports such as running.
If you think it's just your legs working in a wall sit, think again! Intentionally think about engaging your core as you perform the wall sit and you will get an ab workout at the same time. No crunches invovled! Using the abdominals helps keep you stable in the isometric position so let them do some work as well!
Wall sits are also good for our brains! Even being such a simple move, there is a lot going on that our brains are thinking about during a wall sit. Back straight, core tight, legs bent, arms relaxed, oh, and don't forget to breathe. Your mind is working just as much as your body. Not to mention that wall sits are challenging so you will be building a bit of toughness to that mental muscle as well.
In the event that a traditional wall sit gets boring over time, there are several ways you can change up the move by adding upper body movement, weight or stability challenges. Ideas include performing a biceps curl while holding a wall sit, holding a medicine ball as added weight, or performing a wall sit one leg at a time for an added balance challenge.
One of my favorite reasons for doing wall sits is you can do them virtually anywhere! If you've got a wall and a willing attitude, well, that is all you need! Wall sits are a great option for those that can't get to the gym but still want to get in an awesome lower body workout. My favorite combination to do with wall sits is one I first saw on Melissa Hartwig Urban's IG...alternating walking lunges with a wall sit. You start with 20 lunges followed by a 30 second wall sit, 18 lunges, 30 second wall sit, so on and so for until you reach 2 lunges with a 30 second wall sit. It is killllller, but so good!
Maybe this last one is just me, but I think wall sits are kind of fun to do. They are a nice supplemental exercise to a leg day session or an easy way to add in some variety between upper body strength moves. Not to mention they're an excellent calorie burner, builds strenth and endurance and are fairly simple to execute. What's not to love!?!
How to do a wall sit?
Settling into the wall sit is pretty simple. Once you've found your sturdy wall, lean back and walk your feet out directly in front of you, keeping them about hip width apart. Once there, drop your body until you have a 90 degree bend at both your hips and your knees. Keeping your head, neck and spine in a neutral position with your back pressed firmly against the wall, you will hold the movement for a specified or target time. Hand placement is up to you. I like to rest my arms to my sides. Alternatively you can raise them in front of you or against the wall behind you. Avoid where possible to place them on your thighs.
Keep the weight in your heels as you sit, engage your core and just breathe. If your legs start quivering, you are doing it right! Never fails my left leg starts to shake just a few seconds into a wall sit. I guess I know which side is my weakest!
Once you've hit time or fatigue has taken over, bring yourself back up to standing to pressing against the wall behind you. Avoid dropping to the floor to limit any unecessary damage or straing to your knees.
Wall Sit Challenge
If you weren't already thinking it, here it is, your weekly wall sit challenge. Find your wall, sink into your sit, set the stopwatch on your phone/watch and hold your wall sit as long as you're able. Remember to keep your hips/knees bent at 90 degrees with your lower back pressed firmly against the wall. And, don't forget to breathe! Record your time once you've maxed out and share on social how you did! Bonus points for trying to meet or exceed your time at least once more thoughout the week!
Until next week, have a (wall) sit and enjoy!!