Whether you're adding wall sits to a cardio routine or you're performing a five-minute wall sit as part of a sports-specific training program, there's no denying that this lower body exercise can burn calories. Determining the exact amount depends on several factors, like intensity and body size.
You can burn approximately 15 to 18 calories during a five-minute wall sit.
Calories Burned Doing Wall Sits
The number of calories you burn during exercise depends on a variety of factors including age, body size, body composition and whether you are male or female. When it comes to age, the number of calories you burn can decrease as you lose muscle mass. The more you weigh, the more calories you will burn, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Additionally, since muscle is metabolically active, men tend to burn more calories because they tend to have more muscle mass.
To get a general idea of the number of calories you can burn during an activity like a five-minute wall sit, you can use a calories-burned calculator. That said, a calculator or activity chart typically does not list the wall sit exercise.
However, since the move is considered moderate and comparable to weight training or calisthenics, consulting a chart like the one from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) or this one is a great place to start.
According to the chart from the CDC showing calories used per hour in common physical activities, a 154-pound person can burn approximately 90 to 110 calories in 30 minutes performing a moderate activity like strength training or calisthenics. Therefore, if you're doing a five-minute wall sit, you can expect to burn between 15 and 18 calories.
Performing a Wall Sit
If you're ready to add wall sits to your routine, knowing how to execute the move with proper form is key to staying safe and maximizing the results:
- Stand tall with your back against the wall and feet shoulder-width distance apart. Arms will be at your sides.
- Walk your feet out until they are about 2 feet from the wall.
- Keeping your upper body against the wall, engage your core and begin to slide down the wall until your legs are parallel to the ground like you're sitting in a chair. Knees should be directly over ankles.
- Hold this position for the recommended amount of time.
- Reverse the move by standing up while keeping your back flat against the wall.
Wall sits are considered a body-weight exercise, but you can make it more challenging by adding resistance such as dumbbells or kettlebells.
In addition to burning calories, increasing endurance and building muscular strength, the wall sit also involves an isometric component. At the bottom of the movement, you will hold the position for a prescribed amount of time, generally 30 to 60 seconds.
While maintaining this position, your quads, glutes and hamstrings will contract isometrically for the duration of the hold. In other words, the muscles in the legs do not change length and the joints do not move, which is the definition of an isometric exercise, according to the Mayo Clinic.
The safety of isometric exercises is a hot topic, most notably regarding the impact it has on increasing blood pressure.
While some individuals with hypertension may experience an increase in blood pressure during a static hold or isometric exercise, a small January 2017 study published in the European Journal of Applied Physiology found that doing a wall squat provides an effective method for reducing resting blood pressure. The authors reported a correlation between a lower resting blood pressure resulting primarily from a reduction in resting heart rate.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: "General Physical Activities Defined by Level of Intensity"
- Mayo Clinic: "Isometric Exercise: Good for Strength Training"
- Mayo Clinic: "Metabolism and Weight Loss"
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: "Physical Activity for a Healthy Weight"
- European Journal of Applied Physiology: "Home-Based Isometric Exercise Training Induced Reductions in Resting Blood Pressure"