Wall sits are a beginner-friendly exercise that can be done anywhere… and they are incredibly effective at working the quads and thigh muscles.
The exercise is “isometric” (no movement) and involves holding a parallel squat against a wall.
Although the movement looks simple, you’ll soon discover it is incredibly tough and will have your thighs feeling the burn in next to no time.
The exercise is often performed incorrectly though, which means the muscles may not be activated as they should… but we’ve included tips on how to do wall sits properly, how to progress it, and common mistakes to avoid.
This wall sit challenge also includes two versions, one suitable for beginners and one for those who really want to challenge themselves.
(We’ve also included what the current World Record is for added motivation!)
How to do a Wall Sit Properly
To make the most of this wall sit challenge, you want to make sure you’re doing the exercise properly. To do wall sits:
- Start with your back flat against a wall and your knees bent at 90 degrees, so your ankles are stacked directly below your knees.
- Your feet should be roughly shoulder width apart.
- Keep your back straight and brace your core for the duration of the exercise.
- Push through the heels of your feet to create the stability needed to hold this position for the duration required.
Coach’s Tip – You could also do wall sits by leaning back on a stability ball, placed between you and the wall. This helps to provide extra support during the movement.
Increase the Challenge
If you want to increase the difficulty of wall sits during this challenge, you could incorporate calf raises as you hold the squat position. Alternatively, you could add additional weight, for example, by placing a bumper plate on your lap or holding a kettlebell/dumbbell.
Wall Sit Challenge
This wall sit challenge is all about progress… each day, the aim is to hold a wall sit for slightly longer. By the end of the 30 days, the progress will be significant, demonstrating clear improvements in your strength and endurance.
This challenge also uses averages for men and women based on data from physiotherapy test results for wall sits, to create a tough yet achievable 30 day challenge that most people can find useful.
You could do this challenge along with other exercises on some days, as part of your fitness routine. Alternatively, you could do them to break up long periods of being sedentary during each day.
The beginner wall sit challenge aims to take you from absolute beginner (and holding a wall sit for 5 seconds) all the way up to a 60 second wall sit by the end of the challenge. We would recommend most people starting with this one. If you’re struggling to even get into a wall sit position, we wouldn’t recommend trying to hold the exercise and instead, perhaps consult a Physical Therapist about improving strength, mobility and stability around the hips, core and legs.
The advanced wall sit challenge aims to make your quads feel the burn from day one and to really push how far you can go in 30 days. By the end of 30 days, you’ll be holding the wall sit for 5 minutes!
|Day 1||5 seconds||30 seconds|
|Day 2||10 seconds||45 seconds|
|Day 3||12 seconds||60 seconds|
|Day 4||15 seconds||1 minute 20 seconds|
|Day 5||17 seconds||1 minute 30 seconds|
|Day 6||20 seconds||1 minute 40 seconds|
|Day 7||22 seconds||1 minute 50 seconds|
|Day 8||24 seconds||2 minutes|
|Day 9||26 seconds||2 minutes 10 seconds|
|Day 10||28 seconds||2 minutes 20 seconds|
|Day 11||30 seconds||2 minutes 30 seconds|
|Day 12||31 seconds||2 minutes 40 seconds|
|Day 13||32 seconds||2 minutes 50 seconds|
|Day 14||33 seconds||3 minutes|
|Day 15||34 seconds||3 minutes 10 seconds|
|Day 16||35 seconds||3 minutes 20 seconds|
|Day 17||36 seconds||3 minutes 30 seconds|
|Day 18||37 seconds||3 minutes 40 seconds|
|Day 19||38 seconds||3 minutes 50 seconds|
|Day 20||39 seconds||4 minutes|
|Day 21||40 seconds||4 minutes 5 seconds|
|Day 22||42 seconds||4 minutes 10 seconds|
|Day 23||44 seconds||4 minutes 20 seconds|
|Day 24||46 seconds||4 minutes 25 seconds|
|Day 25||48 seconds||4 minutes 30 seconds|
|Day 26||50 seconds||4 minutes 35 seconds|
|Day 27||52 seconds||4 minutes 40 seconds|
|Day 28||54 seconds||4 minutes 45 seconds|
|Day 29||57 seconds||4 minutes 50 seconds|
|Day 30||60 seconds||5 minutes|
Adapting the Challenge for Your Level
This challenge is all about progression, so feel free to adapt the timings to better suit your level, but try and keep increasing the duration of the hold each day. If you want to increase the difficulty, try adding additional weight to the exercise.
If you would like to print this wall sit challenge off, you can view a PDF version of the 30 day challenge by clicking below. Print this off and place it on your desk or by your bedside table to keep motivation high.
What are the Benefits of Wall Sits?
Wall sits are an effective way to isolate and strengthen the front of your legs (i.e., your quads). The exercise is isometric and so challenges the muscles differently to other lower body exercises like squats or lunges, making them a useful addition to any lower body workout.
Isometric exercises help improve stability, which is very useful for everyday activities.
Wall sits also help improve muscular endurance, as the exercise requires the muscles to be engaged for long periods.
Wall sits can also be done anywhere and don’t require any equipment, making them a great exercise for everyone.
What Muscles do Wall Sits Work?
Wall sits primarily work the quads. They also activate the glutes, hamstrings and calves, as well as the core.
What are Common Mistakes?
The most common mistake with wall sits is not getting into a deep enough squat position. Your thighs should be parallel to the floor (and knees bent at 90 degrees).
Pushing through your toes, instead of your heels, is another common mistake with wall sits too.
What’s the World Record for Wall Sits?
The World Record for wall sits (also referred to as Samson’s Chair) is 11 hours 51 minutes and 14 seconds by Thienna Ho in 2008.
This wall sit challenge can be a great way to keep active during the day and work on your quad strength.
Make sure to include plenty of stretching during the 30 days too, especially quad stretches, to help aid muscle recovery.
We would recommend doing other exercises alongside wall sits during the challenge too, helping to improve all-round strength and conditioning.
If you feel pain or discomfort at any point, stop doing the wall sits.