Strength Basics

Getting stronger, fitter, and healthier by sticking to the basics. It's not rocket science, it's doing the simple stuff the right way. Strength-Basics updates every Monday, plus extra posts during the week.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Wall Sits

One simple, no-equipment exercise you can do is the wall sit.

How do I do it?
To do one, you need a space of flat wall wide enough for your body width. Stand just far enough from the wall that you can lean back into it and "sit" as if on an imaginary chair. You knees and hips will each form a 90 degree angle, and your back will press flat against the wall behind you. Keep your head back against the wall, and your weight pressing into your heels. Do not rise up on your toes.

Hold there! It's an isometric exercise.

It's common to see people who have difficulty with this exercise rise up - straightening up. Don't do this - you need to keep both your knees and hips at a 90 degree angle or a little bit lower (as in a parallel squat). If you can't get to this depth, you can use a pole, stick, or a chair to take some of the resistance off. Better to get assistance than slide upwards!

Make sure you've got no-skid shoes if the floor is smooth.

Why do I want to do it?

It's a simple way to strengthen your quadriceps, the muscles down the front of your legs, as well as your gluteals to some extent as well. It also requires very little equipment.

How can I change the difficulty?

To make it easier, there is one hint above, holding onto an object to take off some weight. Work up quickly to doing your own bodyweight, even if it's for a much shorter time.

To make it harder, try it with a medicine ball between your knees, forcing you to push inwards to keep the ball up. Or try it with a band around your knees to keep you forcing your knees out.



I like to combined these with squats, step-ups and other leg exercises in a circuit, either maintaining or shortening the length of time wall sitting between each round.

For example:
Wall Sit x 60 seconds
Bodyweight Squat x 20 reps
Step Ups x 15 per leg
Reverse Lunges x 15 per leg
then repeat, dropping the wall sits to 45 seconds, then 30 seconds, then 15 seconds, for 4 rounds.

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