Thinking about building leg muscle at home? Or do you work out and want to know if wall squats are worth adding to your routine?
You’ve come to the right place, as this simple guide will tell you everything you need to know about wall squats.
Wall squats are a bodyweight leg exercise performed against a wall. Being a bodyweight leg exercise, wall squats can be done anywhere - as long as you have a wall.
Wall squats fit somewhere between a regular squat and a leg press, as the movement mimics a squat, while having the assistance of a seated leg press (using the wall).
When done correctly, wall squats target the quads, glutes, and calves. Wall squats can also offer core benefits.
So, those are wall squats. But how do you do wall squats with good form?
Benefits Of Wall Squats
First, let’s fully run through the benefits of wall squats.
As stated, wall squats are a bodyweight exercise. This means you can do them anywhere, without any equipment, as long as you have a wall.
More importantly, however, wall squats offer these benefits:
- Effectively target the quads, glutes, and calf muscles
- Improve core strength and stability
- Build squatting strength
- Improve knee health (tendons and joints)
- Burn fat
Do Wall Squats Build Muscle?
Can wall squats build muscle? The simple answer is yes - as long as the exercise challenges you.
Similar to what front squats work in your body, wall squats activate your quads, glutes and calves as you load your bodyweight onto your legs in an eccentric and concentric movement.
One difference is that you are leaning against a wall.
Due to this, wall squats have the ability to build leg muscle.
Why Lean Against A Wall?
Like a seated leg press, wall squats keep the back straight and stabilized. This does not mean wall squats are easier, however!
By keeping the back stabilized, more focus is put on leg movement, which can help to improve form and increase muscle activation.
Are Wall Squats Bad For Your Knees?
In general, no - wall squats are not bad for your knees.
In fact, squats can strengthen your knees, due to the simple fact that you are activating the joints, stretching the tendons, and strengthening the muscles that support your knees.
Of course, wall squats should be performed with correct form to minimize injury.
And if using weights, wall squats should also be performed with a weight that is manageable.
How To Do Wall Squats
Want to give wall squats a try? This is how to do wall squats with correct form.
First, lean back against a wall with your feet positioned in front of your body. For a regular squat, your feet should also be at least shoulder-width apart.
Next - while making sure to keep your back flat against the wall - bend your knees and lower your body. Your knees should bend to ninety degrees. If not, adjust your footing.
You can keep your arms by your side or extend them out in front of you. Activate (squeeze) your core for added stability.
Lastly, push your feet into the floor, activating your quads, to push yourself back up into a standing position. And that’s it: one perfect rep.
Are Wall Sits As Good As Wall Squats?
Wall sits and wall squats are not the same thing.
Both exercises, however, offer a number of physical benefits.
What makes wall sits different from wall squats is that wall sits are an isometric (static) exercise.
This means that there is no movement, or reps, involved. Isometric exercises involve holding a position for a set amount of time, building strength and endurance.
Due to this, wall sits can help to build muscle in your legs, as well as increase your squatting strength overall. Just like wall squats, they can also build core stability.
How To Do Wall Sits
Here’s how to do a wall sit.
First, lean back against a wall with your feet positioned in front of your body - just as you would before doing a wall squat. Position your feet at shoulder width.
From here, bend your knees and lower your body into a squat. When your knees bend to ninety degrees, this is where you stop and hold the position.
Engage your quads, glutes, and core muscles to maintain the wall sit. Your muscles will start to burn, but you should hold the wall sit for as long as possible.
To track your progress, make sure to time your wall sits.
How Many Wall Squats Should I Do?
Now that you know how to do wall squats, as well as wall sits, and the benefits of both, how many wall squats should you do?
The answer here is to perform the number of wall squats that challenges you.
You can break your wall squats up into sets - for example, 3 sets of 8-12 reps, with a minute’s rest in between - which will cause hypertrophy and build muscle.
Alternatively, you can perform one max set to build strength as well as endurance.
Either way, make sure to use perfect form.
What Are The Best Leg Exercises?
In addition to wall squats, what are the best leg exercises for building muscle?
Regular squats are great for building leg muscle, and can also be performed anywhere.
The same applies to lunges, reverse lunges, step ups, and variations of the squats, such as side squats, jumping squats, sissy squats, and pistol squats.
All of these exercises can also be performed with weight, such as dumbbells and kettlebells. Check out this article on how to do kettlebell squats.
In the gym, the most popular leg exercises include the leg press, barbell squat, barbell lunge and dumbbell lunge, leg extensions, leg curls, and hip thrusts.
In short, wall squats are a great bodyweight leg exercise that can be performed using just a wall, without any need for equipment.
Wall squats target the quads, glutes, and calves, and can even build core strength.
The difference between a regular squat and wall squat is that the wall squat uses a wall for stability, similar to a seated leg press, allowing more focus on lower body movement and technique.
Wall squats are a great beginner exercise for building leg strength and muscle, and can even be performed by advanced athletes by adding weight (dumbbells) to the exercise.
Wall squats are not the same as wall sits, but both of these exercises offer an effective way to build muscle and leg strength without the use of equipment.