Wall sits really can fire up the legs; it's a quads-screaming, hamstrings-shaking, glutes-just-barely-hanging-in-there type of burn. But the key to performing any exercise is knowing when it's time to progress. NASM-certified personal trainer and AFAA-certified group fitness instructor Sasha Geneva Howard told POPSUGAR that wall sits condition the body to execute correct posture, meaning having your chest up and shoulders down, what she calls a "proud" stance, and keeping your hips slightly tilted forward to avoid an arched back. The lower-body and core-strengthening isometric move also creates muscle endurance and burns fat, she said. To make it harder, Howard suggests a few challenge-adding variations, which she demonstrates in the TikTok above.
To start, ensure you are low enough in your wall sit so your hamstrings are parallel with the ground and your knees create a 90-degree angle, Howard explained. Once you can hold this position with proper form, including an engaged core, she invites you to try two different single-leg wall-sit variations: a wall sit with one leg extended out straight and a wall sit where you're in a figure four position. For the former, your extended leg needs to be in line with the stabilized leg; the lower to the ground your extended leg is, the easier the move will be, Howard said (you can always work your way up). For the latter, she stresses the importance of keeping your hips square and not favouring one side.
Then, there's a wall sit with simultaneous calf raises and one with dumbbell rotations that are similar (motion-wise) to Russian twists. The calf raises challenge your stability and "allow us to work through the wall sit in a dynamic way," Howard noted, and using free weights puts new stress on the body, particularly felt in the core. For those twists, make sure you are holding the weight at shoulder height and you're rotating fully on both sides.
Wall sits are a "mind over matter" functional exercise, Howard said. And, the more we wall sit, the more we can build strength. Progressions — regressions, too! — give us the opportunity to constantly change it up and work on performance. Which progression are you treating your legs to today?