How to Perform the Wall Sit Quad Exercise

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The wall sit exercise is a real quad burner, working the muscles in the front of your thighs. This exercise is generally used for building isometric strength and endurance in the quadriceps muscle group, glutes, and calves.

The wall sit is often used for gradually building pre-season leg strength for downhill skiing, among other activities. This exercise isolates the quads and may help you to stay tucked longer without quad fatigue. The wall sit exercise should be used in combination with other quad strengthening exercises, such as the walking lunge or some basic plyometrics if ski conditioning is your goal.

How to Do a Perfect Wall Sit

The wall sit is not a complicated exercise, but many people often still get it wrong. You know that you are performing the wall fit properly if you form a right angle (90 degrees) at your hips and your knees, your back is flat against the wall, and your heels are on the ground. You should be able to feel a slight pulling of the quad area.

You don't need any equipment to do a wall sit, although you may find it more comfortable to place an exercise ball between your back and the wall.

Here are the steps to perform a perfect wall sit:

  1. Start with your back against a wall with your feet shoulder width and about 2 feet from the wall.
  2. Slowly slide your back down the wall until your thighs are parallel to the ground.
  3. Adjust your feet so your knees are directly above your ankles (rather than over your toes).
  4. Keep your back flat against the wall.
  5. Hold the position for 20 to 60 seconds, rest 30 seconds, and repeat the exercise three times.
  6. Increase your hold time by five seconds as you increase your strength.

Precautions: You may feel a burning sensation in the quads, but if you have pain in the knee or kneecap, stop the exercise.

Modified Wall Sit

Because the wall sit is an advanced exercise, you may need to modify your position or the length of your hold the first few times you try this exercise in order to complete it. Making a modification is fine, as it will still help you build strength as you work up to being able to complete a regular wall sit.

  • To decrease the intensity of the wall sit, don't slide down the wall quite as far. Aim for a 45-degree angle at the hips rather than a 90-degree angle. This will take a bit of pressure off your knees and lighten the load on the quads.
  • Another way to modify the exercise is to hold the position for a shorter amount of time at first and increase your hold time as you get stronger. Try to hold for 5 to 10 seconds in the beginning.
  • A similar exercise, the wall slide, may be used in physical therapy when recovering from an injury.
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