How to Do Wall Squats: A Hinge Health Guide

Learn how to do a wall squat to improve lower body strength and mobility, plus modifications to make this exercise easier or harder.

wall-squats

If you have pain from an injury or condition such as arthritis, moves like the wall squat can be a good way to do muscle-strengthening exercise in a more gentle way. That’s because wall squats add an isometric pause — meaning part of the squat is held in a static position — which gives you added benefits of strength training. Isometric exercises also improve joint stability and mobility. So find a nearby wall — that’s all you need to get started!

Our Hinge Health Experts

Dylan Peterson, PT, DPT
Physical Therapist and Clinical Reviewer
Dr. Peterson is a Hinge Health physical therapist who focuses on developing clinical exercise therapy programs and member education.

What Is a Wall Squat?

A wall squat is just like a regular squat, except you do it leaning back against a wall as you hold the position.

What Muscles Do Wall Squats Work? 

Wall squats work several muscle groups, including: 

  • Quadriceps. This group of muscles is located on the front of your thighs. The quads are responsible for extending your knee. 

  • Hamstrings are located on the back of your thighs. They play a role in bending your knee and extending your hip joint. Hamstrings work in tandem with your quadriceps to provide stability when you squat and do similar movements in daily life —  like sitting in a chair or squatting down to pick something off of the floor. 

  • Gluteal muscles — aka your butt muscles. The largest of the three muscles in your glutes, called the gluteus maximus, helps with hip extension. As you hold and stand back up from the squat, your glutes are actively engaged.

  • Calves. The calf muscles in your lower legs, the gastrocnemius and soleus, help stabilize your ankle joint during wall squats.

Benefits of Wall Squats

There are many benefits to doing wall squats, such as: 

  • A stronger lower body. Squatting is a fundamental human movement — you squat when you sit and stand, work in the garden, pick something up off the ground, play with your pet, and do activities like hiking, skiing, and playing tennis. 

  • Improved joint mobility. The gentle movement involved in wall squats can help make knee movement less painful. 

  • Reduced pain. Research shows that doing exercises like wall squats can reduce pain among those with conditions such as knee osteoarthritis.

  • Better balance. Squats help improve balance by engaging stabilizer muscles in your legs and core. This can enhance balance and coordination, which is especially beneficial for those at risk of falls.

Wall Squats: Exercises and Modifications 

The information contained in these videos is intended to be used for educational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice or treatment for any specific condition. Hinge Health is not your healthcare provider and is not responsible for any injury sustained or exacerbated by your use of or participation in these exercises. Please consult with your healthcare provider with any questions you may have about your medical condition or treatment.

Wall Squats

Wall Squats

Wall Squats

Wall Squats

To do wall squats:

  • Stand with your back and shoulders against a wall and your feet several steps away. 

  • Bend your knees so your back slides down the wall into a squat. Your knees should be bent around 90 degrees with your knees aligned over your ankles. Maintain the pressure between your back, shoulders, and the wall. 

  • Focus on contracting the muscles in your thighs as you hold this position.

  • Then, push through your feet and slide back up the wall to the starting position. 

  • As you do each rep, you might feel your thighs and hip muscles working.

Everyone is different, which is why you may need to modify this exercise to meet your needs. 

Tap into pain relief. Anytime, anywhere with our app.

Get exercises from a licensed physical therapist and more to relieve your pain. All right from your phone. At $0 cost to you.
Start your app tour

Wall Squats Modifications

Wall Squats Modifications

Wall Squats Modifications

Wall Squats Modifications

To make wall squats easier:  

  • Limit how far you bend your knees and slide down the wall.

To make wall squats harder: 

  • Stagger your feet by moving one of them a little farther away from the wall while keeping your other foot in the same place. Now, bend your knees to slide down the wall. The leg closer to the wall will work harder. Switch your feet as you do each rep.

How Hinge Health Can Help You 

If you have joint or muscle pain that makes it hard to move, you can get the relief you’ve been looking for with Hinge Health’s online exercise therapy program. 

The best part: You don’t have to leave your home because our program is digital. That means you can easily get the care you need through our app, when and where it works for you.  

Through our program, you’ll have access to therapeutic exercises and stretches for your condition. Additionally, you’ll have a personal care team to guide, support, and tailor our program to you. 

See if you qualify for Hinge Health and confirm free coverage through your employer or benefit plan here.

This article and its contents are provided for educational and informational purposes only and do not constitute medical advice or professional services specific to you or your medical condition.

Looking for pain relief? Check if your employer or health plan covers our program

Hinge Health is available to over 1,600 companies and benefit plans!

References

  1. Yoshiko, A., & Watanabe, K. (2021). Impact of home-based squat training with two-depths on lower limb muscle parameters and physical functional tests in older adults. Scientific Reports, 11(1), 6855. doi:10.1038/s41598-021-86030-7

  2. Myer, G. D., Kushner, A. M., Brent, J. L., Schoenfeld, B. J., Hugentobler, J., Lloyd, R. S., Vermeil, A., Chu, D. A., Harbin, J., & McGill, S. M. (2014). The Back Squat. Strength and Conditioning Journal, 36(6), 4–27. doi:10.1519/ssc.0000000000000103

  3. Kangeswari, P., et al. (2021). Effectiveness of Isometric Exercise and Counseling on Level of Pain among Patients with Knee Osteoarthritis. SAGE Open Nursing, vol. 7, p. 237796082199351. doi:10.1177/2377960821993515

wall-squats

How to Do Wall Squats: A Hinge Health Guide

Learn how to do a wall squat to improve lower body strength and mobility, plus modifications to make this exercise easier or harder.

Published Date: Jan 29, 2024
wall-squats

If you have pain from an injury or condition such as arthritis, moves like the wall squat can be a good way to do muscle-strengthening exercise in a more gentle way. That’s because wall squats add an isometric pause — meaning part of the squat is held in a static position — which gives you added benefits of strength training. Isometric exercises also improve joint stability and mobility. So find a nearby wall — that’s all you need to get started!

Our Hinge Health Experts

Dylan Peterson, PT, DPT
Physical Therapist and Clinical Reviewer
Dr. Peterson is a Hinge Health physical therapist who focuses on developing clinical exercise therapy programs and member education.

What Is a Wall Squat?

A wall squat is just like a regular squat, except you do it leaning back against a wall as you hold the position.

What Muscles Do Wall Squats Work? 

Wall squats work several muscle groups, including: 

  • Quadriceps. This group of muscles is located on the front of your thighs. The quads are responsible for extending your knee. 

  • Hamstrings are located on the back of your thighs. They play a role in bending your knee and extending your hip joint. Hamstrings work in tandem with your quadriceps to provide stability when you squat and do similar movements in daily life —  like sitting in a chair or squatting down to pick something off of the floor. 

  • Gluteal muscles — aka your butt muscles. The largest of the three muscles in your glutes, called the gluteus maximus, helps with hip extension. As you hold and stand back up from the squat, your glutes are actively engaged.

  • Calves. The calf muscles in your lower legs, the gastrocnemius and soleus, help stabilize your ankle joint during wall squats.

Benefits of Wall Squats

There are many benefits to doing wall squats, such as: 

  • A stronger lower body. Squatting is a fundamental human movement — you squat when you sit and stand, work in the garden, pick something up off the ground, play with your pet, and do activities like hiking, skiing, and playing tennis. 

  • Improved joint mobility. The gentle movement involved in wall squats can help make knee movement less painful. 

  • Reduced pain. Research shows that doing exercises like wall squats can reduce pain among those with conditions such as knee osteoarthritis.

  • Better balance. Squats help improve balance by engaging stabilizer muscles in your legs and core. This can enhance balance and coordination, which is especially beneficial for those at risk of falls.

Wall Squats: Exercises and Modifications 

The information contained in these videos is intended to be used for educational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice or treatment for any specific condition. Hinge Health is not your healthcare provider and is not responsible for any injury sustained or exacerbated by your use of or participation in these exercises. Please consult with your healthcare provider with any questions you may have about your medical condition or treatment.

Wall Squats

Wall Squats

Wall Squats

Wall Squats

To do wall squats:

  • Stand with your back and shoulders against a wall and your feet several steps away. 

  • Bend your knees so your back slides down the wall into a squat. Your knees should be bent around 90 degrees with your knees aligned over your ankles. Maintain the pressure between your back, shoulders, and the wall. 

  • Focus on contracting the muscles in your thighs as you hold this position.

  • Then, push through your feet and slide back up the wall to the starting position. 

  • As you do each rep, you might feel your thighs and hip muscles working.

Everyone is different, which is why you may need to modify this exercise to meet your needs. 

Tap into pain relief. Anytime, anywhere with our app.

Get exercises from a licensed physical therapist and more to relieve your pain. All right from your phone. At $0 cost to you.
Start your app tour

Wall Squats Modifications

Wall Squats Modifications

Wall Squats Modifications

Wall Squats Modifications

To make wall squats easier:  

  • Limit how far you bend your knees and slide down the wall.

To make wall squats harder: 

  • Stagger your feet by moving one of them a little farther away from the wall while keeping your other foot in the same place. Now, bend your knees to slide down the wall. The leg closer to the wall will work harder. Switch your feet as you do each rep.

How Hinge Health Can Help You 

If you have joint or muscle pain that makes it hard to move, you can get the relief you’ve been looking for with Hinge Health’s online exercise therapy program. 

The best part: You don’t have to leave your home because our program is digital. That means you can easily get the care you need through our app, when and where it works for you.  

Through our program, you’ll have access to therapeutic exercises and stretches for your condition. Additionally, you’ll have a personal care team to guide, support, and tailor our program to you. 

See if you qualify for Hinge Health and confirm free coverage through your employer or benefit plan here.

This article and its contents are provided for educational and informational purposes only and do not constitute medical advice or professional services specific to you or your medical condition.

Looking for pain relief? Check if your employer or health plan covers our program

Hinge Health is available to over 1,600 companies and benefit plans!

References

  1. Yoshiko, A., & Watanabe, K. (2021). Impact of home-based squat training with two-depths on lower limb muscle parameters and physical functional tests in older adults. Scientific Reports, 11(1), 6855. doi:10.1038/s41598-021-86030-7

  2. Myer, G. D., Kushner, A. M., Brent, J. L., Schoenfeld, B. J., Hugentobler, J., Lloyd, R. S., Vermeil, A., Chu, D. A., Harbin, J., & McGill, S. M. (2014). The Back Squat. Strength and Conditioning Journal, 36(6), 4–27. doi:10.1519/ssc.0000000000000103

  3. Kangeswari, P., et al. (2021). Effectiveness of Isometric Exercise and Counseling on Level of Pain among Patients with Knee Osteoarthritis. SAGE Open Nursing, vol. 7, p. 237796082199351. doi:10.1177/2377960821993515