Wall sits improve the strength and tone of your legs.
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Wall sits are an excellent way to tighten the muscles in your thighs and to increase your endurance. Skiers and snowboarders use them to strengthen the leg muscles used in snow sports and to increase the amount of time they can stay in a slightly crouched position. Wall sits can be done anywhere. They're harder than they look, but also more fun. The key is to focus on perfect form as you build endurance.
Set Your Goals
Wall sits tighten your thighs and can increase both strength and endurance. According to Brian Ward at Kickass Home Gym, you want to work up to being able to hold the position for 30 to 60 seconds and be able to do at least three sets per workout. A 2016 study published in the Journal of Exercise Science found that there is no real difference in results whether you train three days per week or do the same amount of exercise once per week, so don't worry if you get off to a slow start. Once you can comfortably do three sets per workout, you can increase your frequency and also add variations to increase your strength, balance and endurance.
Just Get Started
Comfortable, supportive, nonslip shoes and stretchy or nonbinding clothing are all that you really need to get started. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart about 2 feet from a clean, unobstructed wall. Lean back against the wall and slowly slide down until your waist and your knees are both at a 90-degree angle. Make sure that your knees are aligned with, but do not overhang, your toes. Breathe in and tighten your abdominal muscles a bit by pulling your belly button in toward your spine. Breathe normally and hold that position for as long as you can, aiming for 60 seconds. If you're a beginner, aim for 15 to 20 seconds and increase your time as your endurance grows. Your thighs will burn and this exercise can be uncomfortable for a beginner, but building lean muscle mass helps speed up your metabolism, reduces cholesterol and helps strengthen your bones. That's a lot of benefits for a few seconds of discomfort.
Change it Up
Once you can comfortably hold a basic wall sit for 60 seconds, you can add variations. The first is to slide into position and then cross one leg over the other. Hold the pose for 60 seconds and then switch legs. Once you can easily hold that pose for 60 seconds, try holding one leg straight out in front of you, with its thigh level with the top of your supporting thigh. Hold for 60 seconds and then switch legs.
Have a workout partner lay a weight across your thighs to increase the intensity of this exercise. This won't accomplish much in the way of building muscle, but it will increase your endurance. Place the weight on a folded towel to protect your skin if you're wearing shorts.
Use hand weights to do lateral raises, shoulder presses or bicep curls to work your upper body while you build strength and endurance in your thighs.
Place a stability ball between your back and the wall before sliding down into position. This will engage your core and also help develop better balance, especially if you use your hand weights to do an upper-body workout while in your wall sit.
Make it Easier
Make your wall sit a little easier by placing your hands on your thighs when first starting out. This takes some of your upper-body weight off your legs. You also can't slide into a perfect 90-degree angle. Start with 45-degree angles at your hips and knees to ease into it if you can't hold the full 90-degree angle for at least 10 seconds.
Do not slide to the ground when you finish your wall sit. This can put too much strain on your knees and your tendons. Instead, finish each set by sliding up the wall to a standing position.