The benefits of wall sits go much further than just getting you through the dreaded middle school PE tests! While not all fitness challenges have stood the test of time, wall sits are still one of the most effective ways to build strength in your core and lower body.
That’s why I love this movement. At Lindywell, we love efficiency and a wall sit is exactly that. It’s also simple, requiring no equipment or space (just an empty wall!), and can help tone your body, challenge your endurance, and boost your confidence. Yup, all of that!
Plus, it only takes one minute each day to see these results. If this exercise isn’t part of your movement routine already, allow me to convert you. Here are five undeniable benefits you can experience from doing a wall sit for just one minute per day. Make it a consistent habit, and I’m confident you’ll notice the difference, both mind and body.
How to Do a Wall Sit
As with all exercises in Pilates, I want you to be intentional with form so you can maximize the benefits and avoid injury. Here are five steps for getting in and out of your wall sit while protecting your spine and building strength and endurance.
1. Position your back flush against the wall, pull your belly button toward your spine, and place your feet hip-width apart.
2. Walk your feet away from the wall and slide your back down until your knees are bent at 90 degrees. You can reduce this angle by not sliding down to a full 90 degrees, if you’re new to the exercise or concerned about balance.
3. Relax your shoulders away from your ears and push your feet into the floor to activate your glutes and keep your core activated (belly button pulled toward the spine).
4. Breathe in and out slow and controlled, sending energy down into your body which will help you hold the motion and sustain the burning sensations you might be feeling in your muscles.
5. Hold the stance for one minute and then slowly slide your back up as you step your feet back toward the wall to return to standing.
The Mind-Body Benefits of Wall Sits
The beauty of a wall sit is you don’t need to unroll your mat or pick up your weights to build strength. Simply holding this position for one minute can impact your mind and body in ways you may not realize. Here are a few of the benefits of wall sits that I can’t get enough of.
1. Boost Core Strength
At Lindywell, your core is always at the heart of ours so I love this move to help you (and me!) continue building core strength. When performing a wall sit, it’s common to feel the most work in your lower body. However, your core is firing on all cylinders too.
Holding an isometric contraction—which is when your muscles are flexed and strong, but don’t actually move—takes a lot of work. In a wall sit, your abdominals (as well as surrounding muscles in your back and hips) have to work hard to hold your entire body in this isometric contraction for a whole minute.
Your abdominal muscles maintain stability and support the spine, in other words: keep you upright. Your lower back muscles help counterbalance your natural inclination to lean forward. Finally, your pelvic floor muscles help your body stay in pelvic alignment and provide stability.
All of this leads to a stronger core that supports your body in nearly any movement, from bending over to reaching over ahead.
I also want to add that if you’re healing from Diastasis Recti and looking for safe ab exercises to recover your strength and repair connective tissue, wall sits can be great for you! Just focus on drawing the belly button to the spine and lifting the pelvic floor as you hold the contraction. Learn more about this, your core and pelvic floor in episode 90 of The Balanced Life!
Nearly every workout you’ll find within the Lindywell app helps you build core strength. Sign up for your 14-day trial and get access to all 250+ workouts, plus breathwork, recipes and more!
2. Build Muscle and Improve Circulation and Metabolism
Wall sits activate your hamstrings, quadriceps, calves, and glutes. The isometric contraction increases tension on these muscle groups which, in turn, stimulates hypertrophy (muscle cell growth). In other words, holding the squat position for even just a minute helps you build muscle.
Not only does this contribute to muscle mass in your legs and core, but hypertrophy can also boost your metabolism and circulation. This can lead to reduced inflammation, better digestion, and an overall greater sense of mental and physical well-being. A win-win-win!
3. Improve Alignment and Posture
We care a lot about posture here at Lindywell because a healthy mobile spine helps you move throughout your day with ease and freedom. Part of maintaining great posture is having awareness of it as you go about your day.
Maybe you’ve had a moment where you finished a meeting on your computer or had been watching TV on the couch and realized you were hunched over the whole time. You didn’t even have awareness of it, but then, as you straightened back up, you felt that familiar discomfort or stiffness.
Wall sits can help you increase postural awareness (and limit that discomfort) because, as you hold your back up against a wall, you’re creating muscle memory that helps your muscles recognize and remember what it feels like to maintain a tall posture. The more you do it, the more you can train yourself (and your muscles) to be conscious of your posture on a day-to-day basis.
This improved posture not only helps reduce back and neck pain but can also boost your confidence. You stand taller and walk stronger, which can leave you feeling more empowered in every area of your life!
4. Boost Your Endurance
Muscular endurance refers to how long a muscle can keep working (I.E. pushing or holding something) without getting tired. Isometric exercises (like the wall sit) boost this endurance because your body has to hold that resistance (in this case, your body weight) for a specific length of time without releasing the tension.
As you build this endurance, you may find that you can do more of the activities you love, like hiking, biking, gardening or just running around the yard with your pets. This ultimately improves not just your physical body, but overall quality of life. This is one of the most important aspects of movement for us at Lindywell!
5. Keep Your Joints Mobile and Flexible
The wall sit is considered a functional exercise. This means it can optimize the range of motion in your joints, making it easier to perform normal daily movements. When doing a wall sit, your hip, knee, and ankle joints are all in a state of flexion (bending), which in turn promotes that joint mobility.
Plus, the activation of your quadricep muscles reduces the amount of pressure or load on your joints. If you struggle with joint pain in your ankles, knees, or hips, wall sits can be a low-impact way to build strength without causing further discomfort. As a bonus, you’re also moving lymphatic fluid in those areas each time you gently flex them, which supports healing, immune health and detoxification.
It’s Simple and Beneficial to Do a Wall Sit for One Minute Each Day
You might only notice the feeling of your legs screaming to stand up (been there!), but the benefits of wall sits extend far beyond what you can feel or even see. If you’re searching for a convenient, low-maintenance exercise that delivers maximum results in a short amount of time, this one is for you. You’ll build core strength, support posture and alignment, and more—all in just one minute, with no equipment at all.