'I Did Wall Sits Every Day For 2 Weeks—Here's What Happened'
10 months ago, 7 Dec 02:28
Did you know the average American spends more than 12 hours of a 16-hour waking day sitting, according to the Annals of Internal Medicine? That means I spend more time sitting than I do sleeping. Not only is sitting one of the least active things you can do (duh), it actually negatively affects your body: There's the things you can feel, like tight hips and low back pain. But studies also show it can up your risk for depression, diabetes, and other causes of mortality without you even noticing. Not great. But as someone who works on a computer, sitting is an unavoidable part of my day. So, what if I could make some of that sedentary time feel a little more active? Enter: wall sits. Wall sits are an exercise that involves leaning against a wall with your knees at a 90 degree angle, and feet planted on the floor. You can hold it for a minute, two minutes, or however long you’re able. This move packs all kinds of strength-building benefits, too, including "quad strength, hamstring strength, glute strength, and good old pain tolerance," says NASM-certified celebrity trainer Brett Hoebel. "Keep in mind, where you apply force determines the muscles you work. If you press forward into the balls of your feet, you will focus on your quads. If you press forward into your heels, you will also activate the glutes. If you pull your heels backward, you will focus on your hamstrings." Sounds pretty enticing, right? For my own challenge, I decided that if I spent so much of my day sitting, I could at least spend 60 seconds of every day doing wall sits versus sitting in a chair. After incorporating wall sits into my day for two weeks, here’s what I learned. A wall sit is an isometric exercise, which means it works in a static position—you don’t have to move, you just have to hold it. "Isometric exercises build strength over the duration of the hold, the longer the hold the greater increase of muscle fiber activation and strength," explains Tim Hartwig, C.S.C.S., a trainer based in Los Angeles.. In my experience, the first thing I felt during wall sits was my quads. But, while a wall sit is a quad-dominant exercise, as Hoebel mentioned, I also noticed it fired up other muscles in my lower body, including calves, hamstrings, and glutes. There were times I even felt it in my abs! The first 10 or 20 seconds felt pretty easy; but the longer I held the position, the harder it felt. So here’s the thing about wall sits: You are, literally, just sitting against a wall. That gets boring pretty fast if you’re holding the position for 60 seconds or more. I found if I gave up early, it was more likely because I was bored than because I was struggling physically. Bring your phone. Bring a magazine. Bring your freakin’ computer to the wall with you. Make it a game by challenging yourself to get through a ...
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