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by Amanda Holst
Knee & shoulder injury prevention with a wall
- Wall sit: For the wall sit, you will begin standing with both feet shoulder width apart and about 1-2 feet away from a wall that you are leaning against. From here, bend at your knees, making yourself slide down the wall. Stop when you feel a challenge from your bodyweight; most people will be able to get to a 90 degree angle with the thighs parallel to the ground, but you may need to start higher up on the wall if you are just beginning or have had a past knee injury. In order to find out how long you should hold it for, start by timing yourself and seeing how long you last. If you make it to :30s, do 3 sets of :15s holds with 30-60 seconds between each set. If you make it to 1 minute, do 3 sets of :30s holds. Essentially take your maximum time divided by 2, and do 3 sets of holding it for this long. Retest your max time every 2 weeks to adjust to your improvements.
- Wall sit march: When you can hold a wall sit for over 2 minutes, you can add in this advanced variation. From your normal wall sit, shift all of your weight onto 1 leg so that you can lift and kick out the other. Hold this for about 5 seconds, then switch sides. Use the same set and rep scheme as for the wall sit – count how many times you are able to lift and hold a leg up, cut the number of reps in half, and do 3 sets.
- Rotator cuff wall drags: You can do this exercise while in the wall sit, or just standing with your back against the wall (the floor is another option). Keeping the palms against the wall, raise your elbows until your upper arm is parallel with the floor with a 90 degree bend in your elbow. From here, rotate at the shoulder and press the back of both hands against the wall, then press the hands straight overhead. Return to the starting position, always keeping pressure against the wall with your hands and moving slowly.
- Isometric option: Instead of adding the overhead press and initial arm lift, you can stay with your arms at 90 degrees and parallel to the floor and alternate pressing your hands into the wall both ways. Hold each press for 5-10 seconds, then switch. You can do a 3 sets of 3 presses each way, or do them for the duration of your wall sits.
— Chase S., Northern Illinois Uiversity
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Amanda Holst is a recent graduate of at San Jose State University in California, where she majored in journalism and nutrition.