Trainer, author, and fitness model Kirk Charles, NASM-CPT CES, knows that as you get older, life can get more complicated. But that shouldn’t prevent you from being on top of your game. He’ll help to answer the tough training questions that come with age so you too can be Fit Beyond 40.
My all-time favorite bootcamp exercise is the wall sit. All the older guys in my classes loved it because I used the exercise as a break from cardio. Even more enjoyed the wall sit because it’s a great isometric bodyweight exercise to hit your quads without doing squats or lunges and putting pressure on old and balky knees. But as much as my clients thought they were getting a break, it was only a matter of time before the wall sits proved to be tough, too.
I personally love the wall sit because I do a lot of running and I want to maintain quad definition. But, with this exercise, you can’t confuse the “sitting” for relaxation. It’s a sneaky tough maneuver when executed properly and it’s great for men over 40 to build lower body stamina and strength.
To set up, find a sturdy wall and stand with your back flat against it, your feet shoulder-width apart. Move your feet approximately two feet forward so you’re leaning against the wall. Slide your back down the wall until your hips are at 90-degrees. Adjust the position of your feet so your knees are also at a 90-degree angle. Lastly, squeeze your shoulder blades together and brace your abs as much as possible.
Some of the guys in my bootcamp class were unable to get into the 90-degree position at the hips and/or knees during the wall site due to lack of conditioning, excess weight or physical limitations. If you’re shy of 90-degrees, don’t let that stop you from doing the exercise. I’ve known many who have benefited at a 45-degree angle and worked their way down once they built the strength and stamina to do so.
Once you’ve mastered the basic positioning you can make the wall sit more challenging with several different variations. For instance, place a medicine ball between your knees and squeeze it to work your adductor muscles. Pick up a pair of dumbbells and do biceps curls, shoulder presses, and lateral raises to work your upper body. I’ve found the most challenging to be the single-leg wall sit. Simply elevate one leg and try to keep it parallel to the floor. This one can be extremely challenging because it also tests the flexibility in your hamstrings and strength of your hip flexors. But be sure to master the basic position first because this variation puts all of your weight on one leg.
For this exercise I recommend starting out easy with 30 second holds per set in the 90-degree position. Work your way up to 60 seconds per set before trying any of the variations.
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