The Wall Sit Exercise: Benefits, Best Variations, and Form Tips

You’re going to want to be sitting down for this one. Believe it or not, you don’t need to do too many fancy exercises if you want to strengthen your hips, thighs, and abdominal muscles. Sometimes, an exercise like the wall sit — and the power of gravity — is all you need. 

The wall sit exercise (sometimes called a wall squat) is an isometric core move designed to engage your abs, strengthen your legs, and help you develop better posture all at once. Here’s how to do it. 

Editor’s Note: The content on BarBend is meant to be informative in nature, but it should not be taken as medical advice. When starting a new training regimen and/or diet, it is always a good idea to consult with a trusted medical professional. We are not a medical resource. The opinions and articles on this site are not intended for use as diagnosis, prevention, and/or treatment of health problems. They are not substitutes for consulting a qualified medical professional.

How To Do Wall Sits

Wall sits are a simple move, but that doesn’t make them easy. This exercise involves your abs, thighs, and glutes all at once for a comprehensive lower-body workout. As a bonus, no equipment is needed for this one. Here’s how to perform wall sits with proper form.

Equipment Needed: All you’ll need for the wall sit is a wall. You may want to wear comfortable, supportive running shoes or cross-trainers, however. 

Step 1 — Stand with your back against the wall and your feet underneath you with a close stance.

Step 2 — Lean your weight into the wall, and then gradually walk your feet out in front of you while keeping your spine flush against the wall until your knees form a right angle.

Step 3 — Inch your feet out and bend your knees to slide your back down the wall until your legs are bent at a 90-degree angle. Place your hands on your hips, kneecaps, or let them hang at your sides. 

Coach’s Tip: Pick a point in front of you and fix your gaze on it for the duration of the exercise.


Make It Easier: The more your knee is bent during the wall sit, the harder the exercise will be. Make the move easier by keeping your knees locked and leaning up against the wall. You can also support your upper body’s weight by placing your palms onto your knees and pushing gently. 

Make It Harder: Put a sand bag, weight plate, or another weighted object onto your thighs during the wall sit to crank up the challenge. 

Wall Sit Variations

The wall sit is one of the best core strengthening exercises you can do, but you aren’t required to do it. Here are a few wall sit variations you can try out: 

Single-Leg Wall Sit

Why Do It: The two-legged squat position of the wall sit might be too easy for you. If that’s the case, try making it a single-leg exercise by lifting one foot off the floor. Not only will this dramatically increase the difficulty of the wall sit, but it’ll also activate muscles like your obliques, hip flexors, and transverse abdominis to a greater degree. 

Equipment Needed: You don’t need any equipment for the single-leg wall sit. 

Stand up against the wall as you would for a default wall sit.

Sink into the wall sit until your legs are at a 90 degree angle. Ensure that your lower back, upper back, and head are in contact with the wall. 

Brace your core and slowly lift one foot off the ground. You can hold it motionless or cross it over your other knee. 

Wall Sit With Dumbbells

Why Do It: Adding weight to bodyweight core exercises like the wall sit is a great way to introduce some progressive overload. This can help you ensure that you’re improving your body strength in a consistent, measurable way.

Equipment Needed: You’ll need a pair of dumbbells for this one, but you can hold kettlebells instead. 

Grab ahold of two dumbbells and stand with your back against the wall.

Slowly walk your feet forward, bending your knees and letting your entire back slide down the wall.

Once your legs form a 90-degree angle, stop and hold the position. Keep your core engaged and shoulders down away from your ears.

Wall Sit Alternatives

Wall sits can be dreadfully difficult or painfully boring. If you want to spice up your strength training but still work your abs without equipment, these alternatives will get the job done just as well:


[Read More: How to Do a Side Plank, With Alternatives and Benefits]

Why Do It: Planks are very similar to wall sits or wall squats, since you still need to brace your abs and hold yourself in a stationary position. However, you don’t need to rely on your leg strength very much during planks. 

Equipment Needed: All you need for the plank is some open space, but an exercise mat might be wise to include for comfort.

Get into a push-up position with your arms locked. Ensure that your body forms a straight line from head to toe.

Get down onto your elbows.

Hold the plank position. Ensure that your knees and hips never bend, and that your lower back doesn’t sag down to the floor. 

Dead Bug

[Read More: Dead Bug Benefits and Three Core Blasting Variations]

Why Do It: The dead bug is very similar to a wall sit, except you utilize the floor for stability rather than a vertical surface. There’s also a dynamic element in play here, as you slowly move one limb while stabilizing the other. This move is more challenging on your coordination, but easier on your legs.

Equipment Needed: You don’t need anything for a dead bug, but a yoga mat might be a good idea. 

Lie on the ground on your back with your legs up and bent to 90 degrees. 

Hold your arms straight up toward the ceiling. 

From here, simultaneously straighten your right leg out until your knee and hip are extended but off the floor, while also lowering your left arm back behind your head.

Once your left leg is fully straightened and your right arm is as far behind your head as you can go, pause, then return to the starting position.

Perform another repetition with the opposite leg and arm. 

Who Should Do Wall Sits

The wall sit isn’t just for the chairless. There are a number of different reasons why wall sits might find their way into your workout program.


If you’re new to exercise, strengthening your abs, lower back, and inner thighs should be high on your priority list, since these muscles are responsible for bearing lots of load during other moves you commonly perform in the gym.

[Read More: 5 Beginner Friendly Squat Variations]

This makes the wall sit a great beginner core workout all on its own. It’ll also teach you how to properly brace your abs and align your ribcage with your pelvis, which is crucial during exercises like the squat or deadlift. 

The Elderly

Make no mistake — elderly folk should work out in order to improve their quality of life. Studies show that postural strength training and moves that challenge stability are very effective at reducing muscle loss and fall risk in older adults. (1)

Wall Sit Sets & Reps

Wall sits don’t really have sets and reps in the same way that other leg exercises do. Since this is an isometric or non-moving exercise, you’ll want to instead test your muscle activation and endurance capacity by timing how long you can hold the position for.

Beginner: Try 5-8 sets of 10-second wall sits to build up your volume.

Intermediate: Do 3-4 rounds of 30 to 45-second wall sits.

Advanced: Perform 4 rounds of 1-minute wall sits, then one additional round holding the position until complete failure. 

Benefits of the Wall Sit

Wall sits are good for a lot more than helping you save money on furniture. Think of them as an all-purpose wellness exercise that happens to cause some real burn in your legs, glutes, and core. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Easy To Learn and Perform

Not every move that works multiple muscle groups at once is as simple and straightforward as the wall sit. But luckily this movement is both effective and practical.

[Read More: Squats and Deadlifts Core Training Are Not Enough to Build a Strong, Defined Core]

Learning proper wall sit techniques only takes a few minutes, and you can do them basically anywhere. 

May Reduce Knee Pain

Believe it or not, one of the best ways to reduce or prevent joint pain is to use that joint and strengthen it with weight-bearing exercise. Think of it like this; if your knees can tolerate holding up all your weight during a wall sit, walking or running should be no big deal. Studies have shown that the wall sit may have positive effects on chronic knee pain. (2)

Strengthen Legs and Core 

The primary purpose of the wall sit is to enhance your tolerance for weight. You achieve this by bending your knees and hips, which requires the corresponding muscles to leap into action.

[Read More: Should You Train Core Every Day?]

Further up, your abdominals work overtime to hold your torso in place on the wall.

Wall Sit Muscles Worked

You might be surprised by how many muscles the wall sit works at once. Here’s a brief rundown of those muscles, ordered from most engaged to least. 

Quadriceps: The main muscle working during the wall sit is actually your quadriceps, which crosses your knee joint. Your quads contract to maintain the angle of your leg during the wall sit.

Core: Your rectus abdominis and other nearby muscles like your obliques must stay engaged to maintain your torso posture and keep your back flush against the wall.

Hip Flexors: Since you’re technically performing a sitting movement, the hip flexors on the front of your upper thigh must contract isometrically to keep your pelvis in proper alignment. 

[Read More: What Muscles Do Squats Work? Plus Form, Benefits, and Variations]

Common Wall Sit Mistakes

The wall sit may be as straightforward as an exercise gets: Wall? Sit. But that doesn’t mean nothing can go wrong. Be mindful of these common errors when performing wall sits yourself: 

Bracing With Your Arms

You can certainly use your arm muscles during the wall sit to make the move easier. By placing your palms on your knees, you can apply some force backward into the wall and artificially make your body feel lighter.

[Read More: 12 Science-Backed Benefits of Squats You Should Know About]

However, this does also diminish the effectiveness of the wall sit. If you find yourself relying on your arms, you may need to straighten your knees slightly instead to make the move a bit easier. 

Arching Your Back

One of the most underrated benefits of the wall sit is that the wall itself provides feedback about your posture. The exercise forces you to maintain contact with the wall along all points of your spine. If you find your lower back arches off the wall, your core may not be strong enough to keep you in the right place. 


Is a 2-minute wall sit good?

The amount of time you can hold a wall sit for will vary depending on your experience level. A beginner might struggle for more than a few seconds where someone with more practice can hold the position for minutes at a time. Aim for a 30 second hold, then progress up to 2 minutes. Once you can easily do more than 2 minutes in the wall sit, you might want to try adding weight.

Is a wall sit good for you?

Studies have shown that the wall sit can help with conditions like patellofemoral pain syndrome. Wall sits are often prescribed in clinical settings to help develop postural strength and stability as well.

Can wall sits reduce belly fat?

No specific exercise will burn off belly fat on its own. Fat loss comes from eating fewer calories than you burn. While the wall sit does burn some calories and will engage your abdominal muscles, don’t expect it to reduce body fat. 


Aartolahti E, Lönnroos E, Hartikainen S, Häkkinen A. Long-term strength and balance training in prevention of decline in muscle strength and mobility in older adults. Aging Clin Exp Res. 2020 Jan;32(1):59-66. doi: 10.1007/s40520-019-01155-0. Epub 2019 Mar 4. PMID: 30830597; PMCID: PMC6974487.

Bevilaqua-Grossi, Débora & Felicio, Lilian & Simões, Rebeca & Coqueiro, Kelly & Monteiro-Pedro, Vanessa. (2005). Electromyographic activity evaluation of the patella muscles during squat isometric exercise in individuals with patellofemoral pain syndrome. Revista Brasileira de Medicina do Esporte. 11. 

The post The Wall Sit Exercise: Benefits, Best Variations, and Form Tips appeared first on BarBend.


您的电子邮箱地址不会被公开。 必填项已用 * 标注