Wall Sit (How To, Common Mistakes, Alternatives)


Wall Sit

The Wall Sit is an excellent finisher for a lower body workout. Personally, I like to incorporate wall sits once a training cycle as a competition at the end of a leg day.

In this article, I’m going to teach you how to do Wall Sits, common mistakes that people make with them and a couple of alternatives in case you need them.


How To Do Wall Sits


Equipment Needed

  • A Wall (any object that is tall enough, flat enough and sturdy enough to hold you can also work)

Step-by-Step Instructions

  • Find a good, sturdy wall that will be able to safely support your body weight
  • Lean back against the wall and place your back flat against the wall.
  • Walk your feet out and plant your feet firmly into the ground, shoulder width apart, a few feet from the wall (how far exactly will depend on limb length)
  • Slide down the wall until your thighs are parallel to the floor.
  • Shin angle should now be vertical, ankles just below the knees.
  • If you need to quickly reset to adjust the distance your feet are from the wall, do that now.
  • Once you are in the sitting position, hold that position for the designated amount of time (or as long as possible)
  • Keep hands off legs throughout the sit. They can be held in front or placed on the sides.

Coaching Points

The biggest mistakes I see with athletes when doing Wall Sits all come from the setup. The thighs should be parallel to the floor with the ankles directly below the knees.

Having the hips too high or the feet too far in front of the knees will take strain off of the quads. Athletes inherently know this because these are two of the best ways to try to ‘cheat’ if it’s a competition. (If you ain’t cheatin’ you ain’t tryin’, right?)

The other way for the quads to get relief is to actually drop the hips way down.

As a young coach I was schooled by an athlete who followed the rules of: “thighs can’t go higher than parallel and butt can’t touch the floor.” He dropped down into basically a catcher’s stance with his back firmly against the wall. He won the competition and probably could have sat there for an hour. Lesson learned by me that day.


Wall Sit Alternatives


If you don’t have a good wall to be able to do Wall Sits, here are a few alternatives that you may be able to try out instead.

Rear Foot Elevated Lunge Hold

Rear Foot Elevated Lunge

This is simply holding the bottom position of a Rear Foot Elevated Lunge. Place one foot up onto a bench or box, drop the back knee down until it is only a few inches from the floor and hold. Try to keep the chest as vertical as possible during the hold.

If you don’t have a good wall to do Wall Sits on, this is an extremely effective alternative.

Bodyweight Squat – High Volume Set

Worst case scenario is to knock out a high-volume set of Bodyweight Squats. A Wall Sit is meant as a burn-out anyway and a set of 25 to 50 Bodyweight Squats accomplish that without a problem.

Pick a number based on your skill level or just go until, as Ron Burgundy would say, you get the deep burn.


More Links and Info


Looking for more exercises to build strong legs? Check out the Lower Body Section of the Exercise Library. It’s full of lower body movements, all with step-by-step instructions and all for free.

Ryan Horton

Horton Barbell was created by Ryan Horton who has served as a Sports Performance Coach for almost 20 years. My mission is to create a training resource to help as many coaches and athletes as possible maximize athletic potential.

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