Are Wall Sits A Waste Of Time?

wall sit
February 9, 2023 0 Comments

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In this article I will be answering the question “are wall sits a waste of time?”. Wall sits are certainly a pain inducing exercise, especially if you maintain the position for a long time.

But do they really serve any useful purpose in your training? This is what I will be exploring in this article. By the end you will have all the information you need to inform your own judgment about this exercise. I will be sharing my own opinions in this article. 

Are Wall Sits A Waste Of Time?

Overall, it wouldn’t be fair to say that wall sits are a complete waste of time. However, they don’t offer a great deal of utility as an exercise. Wall sits are best utilised as a finishing exercise after heavy compound work for the legs.

The reason why wall sits aren’t terribly useful is that they don’t really transfer well to any real world movements. Squats for instance are far more useful as an exercise in real life. 

It can be argued that holding the bottom position of a squat is far more useful than a wall sit. You can also hold the bottom position of a squat with a huge amount of weight on your back.

Wall sits are also a very poor exercise for building lower body strength or adding any appreciable amount of muscle mass. They are good for deconditioned people and can also help to exhaust your lower body muscles at the end of a workout. 

Wall Sits Don’t Improve Physical Strength

One of the big drawbacks of the wall sit as an exercise is that they don’t help to build physical strength. The wall sit is predominantly an endurance exercise, but it won’t help you to improve your lower body strength.

If you want to drastically improve lower body strength you are best served performing exercises like the squat and deadlift. The leg press will also be far more useful than the wall sit.

There is no shortening or lengthening of the lower body muscles under a load with the wall sit. In addition the movement is not very useful or functional in the real world. 

As improving strength is a popular and important goal of any workout program, performing an exercise that will not help you in this regard is pointless. The wall sit can serve some utility in other areas which I will cover later. 
wall sit

Isometric Contractions Are Limited

Whilst isometric training has proved very useful, the wall sit is not really a true isometric exercise. This is mainly because you are not really straining under a heavy enough load.

By and large you will be using your bodyweight for the wall sit and it is simply not challenging enough. This is why the wall sit is such a poor exercise for strength training. 

It is literally just a punishment exercise that is intended to test your mental strength more than anything else. Your muscles will fatigue more as you stay in the wall sit for a longer and longer time. 

No one can deny that staying in a wall sit position for five minutes is not tough. However, how useful is this really? There is hardly any carryover from this exercise to athletic performance in any regard. 

A true isometric exercise will have you straining a lot harder than you would be in a wall sit. Another big downside of the wall sit is the range of motion.

You are not really sinking as deep in the wall sit as you would be with other exercises such as a squat. The squat is far more useful for athletic performance. 

Best Used For Exhausting The Lower Body Muscles

In my view, the wall sit is best served as an exhaustion exercise at the end of your leg workout. They should be done after heavy compound movements such as squatting variations. 

You could even choose to do them after isolation exercises like leg curls and leg extensions. This would then make the wall sit a more challenging exercise as your lower body would already be a lot more fatigued.

The wall sit would then provide more utility as an isometric exercise than it normally would. You would be straining harder with your own bodyweight to maintain the position in a fatigued state.

This is really the best use case of the wall sit. If you don’t use the wall sit as an exhaustion exercise then they really serve very little purpose.

Holding The Bottom Position Of A Squat

A very valid argument can be put forward for holding the bottom position of a squat instead of performing wall sits. Personally, I believe that holding the bottom position of a squat is far better.

Firstly, it is a lot more challenging as there is a lot more weight involved. As an isometric exercise it serves a far greater purpose. Not only is it very squat specific but you are taxing your lower body muscles a lot more under heavy load.

You can also choose to hold the bottom position of a front squat or a back squat. In this way you can get more benefits and carryover to both the front squat and the back squat.

holding squat position

Final Thoughts

Are wall sits a waste of time? Overall, I would say that they are a waste of time in the main. The main utility of the wall sit is using the exercise to exhaust your lower body after heavy compounds or tough isolation exercises for the legs.

Even then, you would get better benefits from holding the bottom position of a squat under load. Not only would this transfer better as a whole to the squat, you would also be performing a far more effective isometric exercise. 

If you have any comments about the wall sit please leave them below.

As always, stay safe and enjoy your training!

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