Want More Burn From Your Wall Sits? Try These 5 Variations

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Add some variety to leg day by incorporating wall-sit variations that recruit more muscle fibers.
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Basic but brutal, wall sits bring the burn on leg day. That's because this simple isometric (static) exercise is also a compound move, simultaneously recruiting your quads, hamstrings and glutes, says Tatiana Lampa, CFSC, NASM-CES, creator of the Training with T app.

While wall sits work your lower body like crazy (think: trembling thighs), sometimes you need to revamp your routine a bit to keep your progress going (and to bust boredom). That's where wall sit variations come into play.

For an even bigger burn in your legs, modify with these five super tough versions. But before you do, make sure that you've mastered the standard wall sit first.

Standard Wall Sit

  1. Stand against a wall with your feet several inches away from the wall.
  2. Slide your back down the wall until your hips and knees are at 90-degree angles.
  3. Keep your shoulders, upper back and head flat against the wall and distribute your weight evenly throughout both feet.
  4. Hold this position for 30 to 60 seconds.

Now Try These 5 Wall-Sit Variations

Since "wall sits activate your slow-twitch muscle fibers," their main purpose is to improve muscle endurance, which is great for athletes who run or play sports like basketball or football, Lampa says.

You can further fire up those muscle fibers by adding weights. "This means your legs need to stabilize while an extra load is on you," she says.

Incorporating additional movements is another simple way to ramp up the difficulty factor, Lampa says. Doing upper-body exercises like biceps curls, lateral raises or shoulder presses during wall sits will engage more muscles, light up your core and increase your calorie burn.

Perhaps the simplest, equipment-free way to make wall sits more demanding is to lift one leg off the floor. Like other unilateral exercises, single-leg wall sits challenge your balance, activate your core and strengthen your weaker side.

Move 1: Single-Leg Wall Sit

Move 1: Single-Leg Wall Sit
Image Credit: Tatiana Lampa/LIVESTRONG.com
Time (In Seconds) 30 Sec
Activity Body-Weight Workout
Body Part Legs
  1. Slide your back down the wall until your hips and knees are at 90-degree angles.
  2. Keep your shoulders, upper back and head flat against the wall and distribute your weight evenly through both feet.
  3. Bracing your core, kick one leg out in front of you, so that your hip is parallel with your knee. Make sure your grounded leg maintains a 90-degree angle.
  4. Hold for 30 to 60 seconds, then switch sides.

Move 2: Wall Sit With Adduction

Move 2: Wall Sit With Adduction
Image Credit: Tatiana Lampa/LIVESTRONG.com
Time (In Seconds) 15 Sec
Activity Body-Weight Workout
Body Part Legs
  1. Slide your back down the wall until your hips and knees are at 90-degree angles.
  2. Keep your shoulders, upper back and head flat against the wall and distribute your weight evenly through both feet.
  3. Place a towel, pillow or soft medicine ball in between your knees and squeeze.
  4. Hold for 15 to 30 seconds.

Move 3: Wall Sit With Biceps Curl

Move 3: Wall Sit With Biceps Curl
Image Credit: Tatiana Lampa/LIVESTRONG.com
Reps 10
Activity Dumbbell Workout
Body Part Arms and Legs
  1. Holding dumbbells at your side with palms facing up, slide your back down the wall until your hips and knees are at 90-degree angles.
  2. Keep your shoulders, upper back and head flat against the wall and distribute your weight evenly through both feet.
  3. Contract your biceps and curl the weights up to shoulder height, squeezing your biceps at the top of the movement.
  4. Slowly lower down to your sides.

Tip

"A great way to make this harder is by creating extra tension by pressing your elbows against the wall while doing the biceps curl," Lampa says.

Move 4: Wall Sit With Lateral Raise

Move 4: Wall Sit With Lateral Raise
Image Credit: Tatiana Lampa/LIVESTRONG.com
Reps 10
Activity Dumbbell Workout
Body Part Legs and Shoulders
  1. Holding dumbbells at your side, slide your back down the wall until your hips and knees are at 90-degree angles.
  2. Keep your shoulders, upper back and head flat against the wall and distribute your weight evenly through both feet.
  3. In a controlled movement, raise your arms out to the side, keeping your elbows slightly bend, until they reach shoulder level.
  4. Slowly lower the weights back down.

Move 5: Wall Sit With Shoulder Press

Move 5: Wall Sit With Shoulder Press
Image Credit: Tatiana Lampa/LIVESTRONG.com
Reps 10
Activity Dumbbell Workout
Body Part Legs and Shoulders
  1. Holding dumbbells at your side, slide your back down the wall until your hips and knees are at 90-degree angles.
  2. Keep your shoulders, upper back and head flat against the wall and distribute your weight evenly through both feet.
  3. Bend your elbows and lift your upper arms to shoulder height, so the dumbbells are at ear level and your forearms and biceps form 90-degree angles.
  4. Press the weights up to the ceiling, fully extending your arms at the top, biceps close to your ears.
  5. Slowly lower the weights to ear level.
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