How to Sit Still and Still Burn Calories

POPSUGAR Photography | Kat Borchart
POPSUGAR Photography | Kat Borchart

Admit it: at one point in time, your mother told you that you will never get into the shape you love just by sitting and doing nothing. And there is something truly criminal about that, even though she may have been right. We feel your frustration. That's why we decided to find the one exercise that will make you into the lean and fit person you've always wanted to be just by sitting still! That's right: no jumping, no running, no heavy pressing or pulling! All you have to do is sit, but you won't be needing your couch for this workout. What will you need? A good pair of sneakers and a sturdy wall. Get ready to do the wall sit!

The wall sit may seem easy at first glance, but it's a true test of your fitness level. According to Kendall Wood, NASM CSCS and coauthor of Core Fitness Solution, "The wall sit challenges your muscular endurance, core strength, quads, and hamstrings and can be a great move to lose weight, improve stability, strength, and balance."

How to do the standard wall sit:

  • Step 1: Stand with your back pressing against a wall.
  • Step 2: Slide downward into a squat position by moving your feet forward until your knees make a 90-degree angle and your hamstrings are parallel to the floor.
  • Step 3: Hold this move as long as you can.
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While you'd probably immediately associate the wall sit with leg strength or even core power, you'd be surprised to know that with some minor additions, you could transform this fat-loss move into an arm blast as well. And, don't worry, these additions are as easy as just sitting there. "There are a lot of ways to add an arm complement to the wall sit; you could hold a weight plate directly in front of your chest with your arms straight ahead and then curl it up over your head in an arch motion to target your biceps and triceps," said Terry Asher, CPT and owner of GymJunkies. "One of the best ways to enhance the wall sit is to hug a weight plate to your chest to add weight or to curl a light dumbbell at your sides."

Other options include pulling on an exercise band that's under your hamstrings with both hands or even pressing weights above your head to target your shoulders.

Either way, doing the wall sit should be approached with a progression in mind. Time yourself and challenge yourself to last longer each time. You'll get stronger and leaner legs, burn calories, and avoid running, jumping, or other 5-year-old pursuits.