The Wall sit is one of the most do-able exercises and is a brilliant strengthening exercise for anyone with back, hip or knee pain.
Who would benefit from would wall sits, otherwise known as wall squats?
- Those wanting to avoid or prepare for knee or hip surgery
- Most with hip or knee arthritis will get massive benefit
- Those of you that struggle to get up from chairs
- Anyone at all who wants to strengthen their back and legs from home
So what is a wall sit?
It is simple a squat hold with your back leaning against the wall as shown in the video below. the key things to remember are:
- Your knees should not go out past your toes. Aim to keep your knees over your ankles or feet
- Keep your chest up and back straight
- Do not push into pain
- Expect some burning in your thigh muscles (this is a good pain and shows your muscles are working hard)
Top tip: Lean into the wall with a Swiss Ball, foam roller, basketball or anything that rolls to minimize friction – this makes the exercise far more effective and comfortable.
The idea for the wall sit is not to repetitively go up and down but squat down and hold for a period of time.
Aim to hold until your muscles start fatiguing and then come back up again and repeat 10 times – over time your hold time will get longer and longer and your back and legs will get stronger! (1)
Tip: Only go down as far as is comfortable for YOU and don’t go past horizontal thighs.
The one-leg wall squat is often used as a test of lower limb endurance(2,3) and also makes for an excellent exercise when you want to push your leg strength further while still looking after your knees.
All you need to do differently for the one leg hold is lower yourself down, keeping your feet shoulder width apart and then carefully lift one foot just off the ground – hold as long as you can (without losing form).
Below is a table giving average times to gauge where you are at:
The wall squat is a great exercise and well worth persevering with whether you can just hold a double leg wall sit for 20 seconds or a one leg squat for 100! Make it a challenge every night for one month and notice the difference.
Do you want more great exercises to improve knee strength and pain?
A great resource for doing that is our downloadable Knee Self-Rehab guide – You can check it out HERE