In the basic Hillfit routine the wall sit is a fundamental exercise. This is an isometric squat held for time with your back supported by a wall. I included the wall sit for a few reasons:
- you do not need any equipment
- it is scaleable - if you are weaker, hold an easier position for example do not adopt a 90 degree knee position, don't bend your legs as far
- it is low skill - you don't need to learn a complex move. Squats are actually pretty complex to perform properly. I think a good squat pattern is important for health and mobility.
- it is safe - it keeps you in safe positions for your structure and muscles. (Bill DeSimone calls it a congruent movement - you use your muscles in a way that they are strongest where the movement is hardest)
I also find it an effective move for the thighs and hips in terms of producing strength. Holding a 2 minute wall sit takes some strength. I've talked about the exercise on this blog before by the way.
Anyway, James pointed out this paper, just published.
The effects of isometric wall squat exercise on heart rate and blood pressure in a normotensive population.
The isometric wall squat could be utilised in home-based training aimed at reducing resting blood pressure, but first its suitability must be established. The aim of this study was to determine a method of adjusting wall squat intensity and explore the cardiovascular responses. Twenty-three participants performed one 2 minute wall squat on 15 separate occasions. During the first ten visits, ten different knee joint angles were randomly completed from 135° to 90° in 5° increments; five random angles were repeated in subsequent visits. Heart rate and blood pressure (systolic, diastolic and mean arterial pressure) were measured. The heart rate and blood pressure parameters produced significant inverse relationships with joint angle (r at least –0.80; P < 0.05), demonstrating that wall squat intensity can be adjusted by manipulating knee joint angle. Furthermore, the wall squat elicited similar cardiovascular responses to other isometric exercise modes that have reduced resting blood pressure (135° heart rate: 76 ± 10 beats ∙ min−1; systolic: 134 ± 14 mmHg; diastolic: 76 ± 6 mmHg and 90° heart rate: 119 ± 20 beats ∙ min−1; systolic: 196 ± 18 mmHg; diastolic: 112 ± 13 mmHg). The wall squat may have a useful role to play in isometric training aimed at reducing resting blood pressure.
Interesting to see this benefit of the exercise - reducing blood pressure. Exercise is often promoted as a way of controlling blood pressure, but people usually take that as "cardio", thinking strength training will raise blood pressure. Here the wall sit is shown to be able to benefit blood pressure.
Another nice point in the abstract (I've not read the whole paper) is the observation that
wall squat intensity can be adjusted by manipulating knee joint angle.
That is what I mean by it being a scaleable move.