Wall Sits for Bigger Legs

A wall sit is an isometric exercise that targets your quads, hamstrings and glutes. In this exercise, you position your trunk and limbs as if you’re sitting motionless in an invisible chair. Your back, head and shoulders should be flush against the wall. In addition to toning your leg muscles and buttocks, the wall sit can help you to build muscle mass.

Type of Exercise

Because the wall sit is an isometric exercise, the muscles in your legs and buttocks contract while the angles of your joints and the muscle length remain unchanged. Compared to traditional resistance training or plyometrics, isometric exercises are typically used for rehabilitation purposes. They can also be used to build the strength of a particular joint at a desired angle. However, your functional strength is limited to, at best, about a 20-degree range of motion at the locus of the muscle contraction.

Step-by-Step Execution

To perform a wall sit, stand with your back, shoulders and the base of your skull against the wall and your feet hip-width apart. Leaning against the wall, slide down until your knees form a 90-degree angle. Walk your feet out so your knees are not in front of your feet but aligned directly beneath them. Contract your abs while holding the sitting position. If you’re a beginner, try holding for a count of 5 to 10 seconds and then slide back up to the standing position. Perform five reps, resting for 15 seconds between reps.


To build muscle mass in your legs, aim to hold the wall sit or the leg contraction for an extended duration. The longer the contraction, the more you’ll stimulate the growth of new muscle fibers. Think of the wall sit as holding the bottom position of a squat, which is the most challenging part of the exercise. Gradually increase the time intervals of the exercise as you grow stronger. Aim to hold the position for as long as 2 minutes at a time. To boost the difficulty, put a small ball between your legs and squeeze your inner thighs to hold the ball in place.

Tips and Considerations

Avoid cheating on the exercise by putting your hands on your thighs. When you add leverage, you decrease the load. Keep your shoulders down and chin tucked in. Make sure you maintain the 90-degree angle of the knee joint when in the sitting position. If you go any lower, you put too much stress on your knees. If you feel any knee strain, stop the exercise. To reduce the difficulty of the exercise, you can position the knee angle at 45 degrees. However, your shins should remain perpendicular to the ground and your back should stay flat against the wall.

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