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How To Do a Wall Squat

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Updated August 24, 2008

Wall Squats

Wall Squat

(c) Anne Asher licensed to About.com 2006
Experts recommend that those of us working at our desk for long periods of time be sure to take mini-breaks to save our hands and back. Below is a description of a wall squat, recommended by the American Physical Therapy Association. Wall squats target the muscles of the seat, back, abddomen and thigh. They're great for sitting posture!
Difficulty: Easy
Time Required: 2 Minutes

Here's How:

  1. If you have a back or knee injury, condition or pain, ask your doctor if this exercise is appropriate for you. In fact, be very careful with your knees. The wall squat exercise might load them with too much of your body weight, so be sure to err on the side of caution if there is pain. This article only describes how to do this exercise; it does not recommend that you do it. Only your medical professionals (and your pain level) can tell you if you should.
  2. Stand against a wall, with your legs extended out. Your feet should be about 2' away from the wall. If you have knee pain or an injury, adjust your feet out so that when you bend and straighten, you feel no pain. You should not feel pain or discomfort in your knees at any time during this exercise.
  3. Inhale, then exhale and allow your abdomen to fall toward your back. Your gaze is straight in front of you, knees slightly bent and chin is slightly tucked. Try to keep the back of your head touching the wall.
  4. As you exhale, bend your knees to slide your back down the wall. Ideally, you will come to a level almost as low as sitting. But let the presence of any pain guide you as to how far down you go. Remain with comfortable knees! You will get a better workout for your seat muscles that way. Also, check to see that your knees do not come any more forward than your ankles. Try to line them up with the area between the big toe and the 2nd toe. This will protect them from injury.
  5. Check for knee pain again. If need be, adjust the distance between the wall and your feet to accomodate good knee alignment and the level of challenge to your muscles. In other words, it's okay to take them more than 2' away from the wall, if it will help you accomplish the movement safely.
  6. Hold the position for 5-10 seconds. Breathe evenly. If this position feels challenging to your muscles, pay attention to your breath -- that should help you get through your 5-10 seconds. Eventually, you can work up to holding the position for 1-2 minutes.
  7. Move slowly back to the start position. The workout for your seat muscles should intensify on the way back up.
  8. Bibliography
    Moffat, Marilyn, P.T. Ph.D. and Vickery, Steve. The American Physical Therapy Association Book of Body Maintenance and Repair. Owl Books. Henry Holt and Company, LLC. New York, New York, 1999. Stretch and Reach p.216

What You Need

  • a wall
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