Walls aren’t just good for practicing headstands—they’re also great for assisting in various exercises to work the entire body. Using a wall while working out can make an exercise easier or harder depending on where your body weight is. The beauty about this workout is that everyone has a wall, which makes it easy to practice these fun and creative moves anytime!
5 exercises you can do with a wall that will tone your whole body
1. Single Leg Bridges– Tighten up those hamstrings and glutes with this exercise. Lie on the ground with your feet up against the wall. Make sure your feet are flat against the wall and no lower than your knees. Lift one foot off the wall with the knee still slightly bent. Squeeze your glutes as you lift your hips evenly into the air. If you have a hard time keeping your hips square, do this exercise with both feet on the wall. Do 15–20 reps on each leg.
2. Windshield Wipers– Slim your waist while strengthening your core. Lie on the ground with your legs up against the wall. Squeeze your legs together, and use your abs to slowly lower your legs to one side of the wall. The opposite hip will lift off the ground as your legs get lower. Once you have reached your maximum spinal twist without disengaging your abdominals, pull your abs in deeper to lift the legs back up the wall to center. Slowly lower the legs down the other side. Repeat 10 times to each direction.
3. Incline Knee Stretches– Get strong abs, arms, and shoulders with this move. Get into an incline push-up position with your feet up against the wall behind you. Your legs will be slightly higher than your hips. Without moving your upper body, pull one knee into your chest using your abdominals, and slowly straighten the leg to place the foot back on the wall. Switch legs and repeat 10 times each side.
4. Control Balance– This is a traditional Pilates exercise that becomes more challenging when done on a wall. The name of the exercise says it all. It’s all about control and balance! By using the wall, the arms and shoulders also get a workout. Get into position as if you were going into a handstand. With your hands on the ground, walk your legs up onto the wall so that your legs are parallel to the ground. There should be a 90-degree angle between your legs and torso. With control, slowly straighten one leg up to the ceiling as high as you can without moving the foot against the wall. Slowly lower the leg back to the wall and repeat on the other side. Do 3 times on each leg.
5. Wall Sit with Arm Circles– This exercise tones the quads, back, and arms. Work the quads by going into a squat position with your back up against the wall. Having your back against the wall is also really good for improving your posture. Try to flatten every part of your spine against the wall in this position by pulling your navel into your back. The deeper you go in your squat, the more of a quad workout you will get. To make this more of a back and arm exercise, soften the knees just enough to flatten your back against the wall. You may use light hand weights for this exercise if you have them. With your palms facing the wall, raise your arms straight up without lifting the shoulders until your knuckles touch the wall behind you. Slowly circle your arms around and down by your sides. Rotate the palms back down towards the wall and repeat 3 times before reversing the direction.
There are so many creative ways to use a wall and your own body weight for strength training, toning, and stretching. Turning a flat wall into a fun workout partner can add a whole new dimension to your regular workouts!
More videos by Crystal: 4 Moves to Strengthen Your Pelvic Floor
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This article was originally published on October 24, 2016 and recently updated on March 27, 2023.
Video: Crystal Chin