One of the best exercises you can do for your legs and core is completely free, requires no equipment, and can be done while watching TV at home. Plus, there’s no movement, added load, or impact to the joints, making it perfect for beginners, seniors, and people with joint problems that prevent them from doing other forms of exercise.
Sitting on the wall is a fantastic calisthenics exercise and greatly underestimated in my book. I made great use of it during COVID, when all the gyms were closed and I was getting bored repeating bodyweight squats. It’s an isometric exercise, which means it’s based on holding a static position to induce tension in your muscles, in the same way you might hold a plank position to train your core.
In a study published in International Journal of Sports Medicine (opens in new tab)Isometric exercises like this have been found to be beneficial for improving muscle strength in people with limited mobility, perhaps even more so than traditional “dynamic” strength training.
Since it doesn’t involve your knees and hips moving, there’s no need to add extra weight to your back, and it doesn’t involve your feet impacting the floor the way running or jumping exercises can, it’s incredibly forgiving. However, it’s still a tough workout, and while you won’t be racking up any steps on your best fitness tracker, you can probably still see your heart rate spike after a few sets.
To get started, simply lean your back against a wall and slide down. Your feet should be in front of you, shoulder-width apart, and your thighs should be parallel to the floor. Keep your shoulders against the wall and look straight ahead. The TV is a great focal point and a welcome distraction.
Now, here’s the tricky part: you need to hold the position for a specific period of time. If you’ve never tried this before, or are very new to strength training, 15-30 seconds might be an achievable goal for you. Once you get to that position, it’s quite cumbersome to play around with your phone and set the timer, so I just used the Amazon Echo Dot in my living room to ask Alexa to set a one-minute timer. Then you just hold the position for as long as necessary.
Easier said than done. Very quickly, your quads, glutes, and hamstrings will light up. For an added benefit, make sure you are looking straight ahead, place your hands behind your head or extend them in front of you, slightly contract your stomach, and contract your abdominal muscles.
I won’t lie to you, it sucks. Every time I hear Alexa’s sweet tones say “ok, a minute, starting now”, I find myself gritting my teeth in anticipation of the difficult moment ahead of me. The soft sound of the alarm at the end of that minute was a lifeline, but it felt like it took forever to get there. It got to the point where I started to dislike Alexa’s voice, because I associated her with those sandy wall seats.
However, it’s still much more effective than setting a timer, and if you can use a voice assistant with your phone and the best headphones for outdoor exercise, it’s more effective to set timers this way to stay focused on the outdoors. form. Amazon Prime Day sales are worth keeping an eye on if you want to control your isometric workouts with ease.
As soon as I got back to the gym, I found that I hadn’t lost much strength in my legs and butt, even after my long absence from the squat. All Those Sitting Walls Really Boosted My Run: Research Published in the Magazine Medicine and science in sports and exercise suggests stronger glutes and quadriceps are a factor in maximum running speed.
Whether it was a coincidence or not, I’ve run a better personal half marathon after training with this unconventional and underrated method at home.
If you’re thinking you should really get some exercise while watching Netflix at home, try three 30-second series on the wall to start. Just don’t blame me if you start to resent your best smart speaker later.