We have all tried some kooky, crazy, strange things in the name of fitness, right? The Shake Weight? The Thigh Master? Prancercise anyone? (You must click on the hyperlink or Google this if you have no idea what we’re talking about.)
The point is, when you’re looking for results that don’t ever seem to be coming fast enough, most of us have been guilty of resorting to almost anything to lose the weight or whip ourselves into shape.
The Wall Sit
Enter the wall sit. Sounds dubious, right? But, heck, if we can sit during any exercise (and actually get results) we’ll give it a whirl. But, truth be told, the wall sit has been around longer than most of us—or any fancy schmancy exercise machines because, well, all you need is a wall and yourself.
The wall sit is a tried and true example of an effective, low-impact exercise that is beneficial to your overall body core strength, but you primarily perform a wall sit to strengthen your quadriceps.
Essentially, you use your body to create the two right angles: One right angle is formed at the hips (waist), and one right angle at the knees. The wall comes into play because it makes these two right angles possible (gravity and all).
To perform a wall sit, you should start by standing about two feet away from a wall—and your back should be against the wall—then rest your back against the wall with your feet shoulder-width apart and just slightly out from the wall. Next, slide your back down the wall until your hips and your knees are bent at 90-degree angles.
Be sure to keep your shoulders, upper back, and back of your head against the wall at all times. Both of your feet should be flat, so that it’s like you’re actually sitting in a chair—without the comfy chair, of course (that would be called cheating, people).
You should be careful if you’ve ever had knee injuries in the past or are susceptible to such injuries. Your knees are going to take most of your weight during a wall sit.
Are They Effective?
So are wall sits effective? The short answer is: Yes. You’ll work your hamstrings, and the abductor muscles in your inner thighs will also feel a burn—if you’re doing the exercise correctly. Basically, you’re going to feel the burn wherever you’re putting the pressure on your body since there is no movement involved in this “sitting” exercise.
That said, you’re not going to burn a boatload of calories with wall sits. That is, unless you hold that seated-without-a-chair position for super-long stretches at a time. You’re basically using your own body’s weight to strengthen the muscles, so the more you weigh, the more calories your body will burn.
Fun factoid: The longest static wall sit is 11 hours, 51 minutes, and 14 seconds by Dr. Thienna Ho at the World Team USA Gymnasium in San Francisco, California on December 20, 2008.
Word of advice: Don’t go for the record. Not today. Start with 30-second holds against the wall and work your way up. You’ll be able to hold your position longer with more and more practice.
Chances are we won’t be calling the Guinness Book of World Records anytime soon to unseat Dr. Ho, but we’re proud of you anyway!
What do you think of wall sits? Tell us in the comments below!