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August 01, 2022 9 min read

It doesn't matter if you are new to the gym or have spent years amongst heavy gym equipment. You have probably been introduced to wall sits at some point and may have even shied away from performing this incredible exercise because the wall sit is known to set quads on fire.

The wall sit is one of those exercises that has stuck around for years.

It is a popular choice amongst athletes and bodybuilders for building core, ab, and leg strength. 

What Are Wall Sits?

Also known as a wall squat, a wall sit is a painfully intense exercise and whoever came up with this activity has a lot of explaining to do. This unique, static exercise will have your knees buckling and thighs on fire in no time. 

It is characterized by an athlete mimicking a sitting position while their back is flat against the wall and their glutes hang mid-air.

Before you scoff at what looks like a simple exercise, you should probably try performing it and lasting 30 seconds.

This will undoubtedly change your mind, but in the long run, your legs will thank you for this. 

The wall sit is a popular activity in sports that require leg strength because of its unique ability to strengthen the posterior chain by building isometric strength in the quads, glutes, hams, and calves.

The wall sit is straightforward and easy to learn.

Your ability to master this exercise hinges on your ability to hold correct form throughout your sets. Heads up- your legs will quiver at the end of this article.

What Do Wall Sits Do For Your Muscles?

If the wall sit is as difficult as everyone claims, why do people even bother? Wall sits do not provide diminishing returns; every ounce of energy you invest in this exercise goes towards the greater good of your legs.

Wall sits might look like a simple exercise to practice, but what’s even more simple is fixing this exercise on your workout routine.

When doing the wall sit, your body forms two right angles; one at your hip and another at your knees.

Gravity and your body weight come into play, and your muscles are loaded isometrically as your muscles contract in that static position. 

What happens at that moment is that even without movement, your quad muscles are activated to a mind-boggling degree. 

Muscles Activated During Wall Sits

Although the wall sit is a quad-dominant exercise, your abs, glutes, knees, hams, calves, adductor muscles, and core are equally activated.

These muscles are significant muscles that help you navigate functional and sports activities: 


Your quads are the bulk of large fleshy muscle on the front and sides of your thigh bone. Although this muscle is often spoken of as one lump of muscle, it is made up of 4 intricate muscle heads. Together, these muscles make moments like walking, running, jumping, and even standing possible. 

Quad injuries are a widespread occurrence in the athletic world.

Your quads need all the help they can get since they contribute to the bulk of the movement that takes place with your legs.

Strengthening your quads is an excellent way not only to increase the aesthetics of your physique but also increase the performance and endurance of your leg muscles.


Your glutes equally receive attention during the wall sit. Glutes do more than increase your physique. The strongest and longest muscle group in your body, glutes, are located on the back of your hips.

Commonly known as the butts, your glutes are made up of three muscles, namely the gluteus maximus, gluteus medius and the gluteus minimus. Together, these muscles help you to maintain stability and a perfect posture.

Your glutes are engaged during wall sits as they allow you to maintain balance.


The hamstrings are located on the back of your thighs. They are activated when your legs are straight and your knees are bent.

The hamstring is a crucial posterior muscle of three muscles that help maintain an erect position, bend your knees, and move about.

Since your knees are bent when doing the wall sit, your hand are activated, although to a lesser degree than your quads. This helps to strengthen and tone them.


Your adductor muscles are equally activated during the wall sit. Your adductors are three vital muscles present in your thigh, namely the adductor longus, adductor brevis, and adductor magnus.

These muscles help in squeezing your thighs together and flexing or rotating your legs. 

The wall sit might not provide the intensity that exercises like  burpees do, but it is highly effective for training the body's major muscle groups. 

Core Muscles

Although it might not look like it, the wall sit also engages and strengthens your abs.

There is no movement, but your ab muscles receive isometric contractions that strengthen and grow the fibers. 

Strengthening your abs provides you with an impressive six-pack layer. It also helps to stabilize your torso, prevent lower back pain, and maintain a perfect posture.

Everything you do involves your upper body and, by default, your ab muscles. Walking, bending, leaning, and even lifting objects require the activation of your ab muscles. 

Core strength is a functional feature that allows you to navigate daily and sporting activities.

Core muscles sit deep beneath the abs and spine and are attached to the spine and pelvis. Your core performs various functions that range from protecting the spine to regular postural movements, and it also helps you to maintain balance.

Your core muscles remain engaged throughout the performance of a wall sit, helping you balance and maintain stability.

Benefits of Wall Sits

The benefits you stand to gain from doing a wall sit for a few minutes daily no doubt out ways the pain. The wall sit is a welcome break from exercises that include a lot of movements.

It helps you bridge the gap in your strength that would otherwise have been left to lay dormant. A wall sit is a welcome addition to any gym enthusiast or an athlete's full-body workout.

Some of the benefits of wall sit include:

  • Increase in stamina and endurance: The wall sit is a game of endurance. It represents how long you can hold out even when your legs buckle beneath you.  Wall sit exercises are a great way to increase lumbar stability as it engages all muscle groups that contribute to your stability and stamina, helping you to strengthen them along the way. It also helps to engage the slow-twitching fibers in your calves and other muscles, helping you to hold out for longer, thereby giving your endurance a boost.
  • Better posture: Your core and glutes contribute to your posture. Thankfully, these muscle groups are also engaged during a wall sit. The wall sit also features strict instruction to keep your back against the wall, core tight, and hips straight. These are all primary ingredients that contribute to correctly holding your body, a feature that increases your functional and athletic performance.
  • Versatility: The wall sit is a flexible exercise that can be fashioned in various forms to tone the intensity up or down. There are various wall sit modifications that are a splendid addition to your workout routine. Depending on the modification, the wall sit can be done anywhere, whether in the comfort of your home or a commercial gym.
  • Better focus: Unlike many exercises that require movement, wall sits demand a high degree of focus and concentration. This exercise emphasizes form than it does on breaking a high score of minutes endured. Many people struggle with losing focus during the wall sit and tuning out, and losing their form. If this remains a problem,  FOCUSED-AF  can help with laser-point focus, mental clarity, increased muscle endurance, and better performance.
  • Increased strength: Wall sits target the major muscle groups in your upper and lower body. This helps to gain full-body strength that translates into a performance in all the activities you engage in.
  • Better physique: Consistent wall sits help tighten the abs and tone the legs. Some variations also include the addition of upper body movements. When done correctly, wall sits help tone your upper and lower body, providing you with a lean athletic look.

How To Perform The Wall Sit Perfectly 


To get maximum benefits of doing the wall sit, you need to focus on doing it with proper form. While wall sits are excellent competitive exercises to figure out who has the best personal record, the effects of wall sits are futile with lousy form. 

To perform wall sits: 

  • Stand with your back against the wall.
  • Keep your feet shoulder-width apart and two feet away from the wall.
  • Pull your shoulder blades back slightly and tuck your chin.
  • Pre-tension your shoulders.
  • Keep your feet flat and toes pointing forward.
  • Square your hips and engage your core.
  • Slide down the wall until your thighs are parallel to the floor and your knees form a 90-degree angle.
  • Distribute your weight and plant your feet firmly on the floor to increase stability.
  • Hold this position for any period starting from 20 seconds.
  • Return to the standing position by driving through your feet. This is one rep.
  • Rest for 30-seconds and repeat.
  • Complete as many repetitions as you can fit in your set.

The wall sit can be done by standing against a wall and walking your feet out. If you are not comfortable with the deep squat, you can settle for a 30-degree or 45-degree wall sit. This would help you to practice maintaining good form for deeper wall sits.

Variations of The Wall Sit

The regular wall sit is good enough, but if you want to spice up your routine, you can consider tweaking a feature or two of the conventional wall sit.

Once you are comfortable holding the traditional wall sit for a long time, check out any of these wall sit variations:

1. Stability Ball Wall Sit


The stability ball wall sit is a splendid modification for people who struggle with balance and posture. It is often used as a rehabilitation exercise for people struggling with knee problems as it strengthens the knees. 

To do the stability ball wall sit: 

  • Choose a small or medium Swiss ball.
  • Place it between the small of your back on the wall.
  • Walk your feet out about one foot and turn your toes out slightly.
  • Get into the regular wall sit stance.
  • Engage your core.
  • Sit your hips back instead of down.
  • Hold for your preferred time length.
  • Rest and repeat.

2. Single-Leg Wall Sit


Also known as the one-legged wall sit, the single-leg wall sit is a quad burner. It is the perfect wall modification choice if you are up for a bit of a challenge.

The single-leg wall sit further challenges your balance, stability, stamina, and endurance by making you balance on one foot while performing a wall sit. The single-leg wall sit is a unilateral exercise. This makes it a splendid way to point out and fix muscle imbalances in your legs. 

To do the single-leg wall sit:

  • Perform a conventional wall sit as you normally would.
  • Distribute your weight between your feet to ensure your stability.
  • With your core engaged, extend one leg straight out in front of you.
  • Keep your back straight and shoulders back.
  • Hold this position for 20 seconds or more.
  • Rest and repeat on the other leg.

3. Weighted Wall Sit


Increase the load on your muscle by holding a weighted piece of equipment while performing a wall sit. The weighted wall sit can be done with a dumbbell, kettlebell, weighted plate or even medicine ball. It is a great way to increase the activation of your abs and core muscles. 

To do the weighted wall sit:

  • Hold weighted equipment.
  • Get into the regular wall sit position.
  • Keep your body as still as you can for 20 seconds or more.
  • Rest and repeat.

4. Wall Sit With Bicep Curls

The name of this variation is a dead giveaway of what it has in stock for you. The wall sits with bicep curls is a splendid way to add a little action to your regular wall sit. The wall sit with bicep curls helps you train your biceps and pecs while further loading your core muscles. It is a very demanding, advanced full-body exercise. 

To do the wall sit with bicep curls:

  • Hold a dumbbell in each hand. Choose a weight you can control throughout your sets.
  • Use an overhand grip, so your palms face away from your body.
  • Lower yourself into a wall sit.
  • Adjust your weight and ensure your stability.
  • Slowly curl the dumbbells up to your shoulders without moving your body.
  • Continue for 10-15 seconds.
  • Rest and Repeat.

Wall Sits Are Great For You

The regular wall sit and its modifications are a great way to work on your major muscle groups. It helps you build strength and tone your body, providing you with a win-win benefit. While wall sits might be difficult at first, it gets better as you get used to it.

To ensure that wall sits work for you, perform it correctly and work your muscles to fatigue. Couple your wall sit routine with other excellent exercises like  the squat and its variations.