Particularly, the move is used to improve the temporary tightness your muscles and joints feel after sitting with scrunched shoulders, slouched backs and flexed necks over time. Sometimes, this can turn to be a more permanent problem.
Stiff muscles may result in a lose of mobility which forces them to compensate by twisting and moving in ways they weren’t meant to. Consequently, this results in pain, injury and poor posture.
So, wall slides promote better posture by undoing the damage caused to your spine by excessive sitting. Additionally, they improve shoulder rotation, upper back activation, anterior muscle release as a by-product and scapular mobility.
You only need a wall to be able to perform the move. Therefore, you can do it anytime and at anywhere provided there’s a wall.
The move works by creating a force angle which works against the regular slide pattern. Therefore, it becomes challenging for the scapular muscles to keep your hands and arms moving along the same plane.
So, do not be tempted to “let up” and allow your arms and hands drift forward. However, the exercise is beginner friendly and fit for beginner level fitness and training experience.
HOW TO DO WALL SLIDES
Here is a step-by-step procedure of how to do the move.
- Start by standing upright with your feet shoulder-width apart and your back against the wall.
- Lift your arms up and press your shoulder blades against the wall. Ensure your thumbs are about the height of your head and the line of your upper arm is perpendicular to the ground.
- Now, inhale as you slowly bend your knees and slide back down the wall. Ensure you bend your knees to a 45-degree angle to avoid getting injured.
- Simultaneously, extend your arms upwards but still against the wall by straightening your elbows.
- Pause at this position for a few seconds.
- Then, exhale and straighten your knees slowly back up the wall until you’re fully upright. Also, lower your elbows back to the starting position.
- Repeat the move for the desired number of reps.
WALL SLIDES MUSCLES ENGAGED
These muscles are the primary movers of the movement. They are responsible for pushing up your arms.
These muscles are responsible for keeping your arms flat against the wall. By activating these muscles, you create a tension that pulls your shoulders back, thus, improving your posture.
HAMSTRINGS AND QUADS
Hamstrings and quads are worked to a lower extent. They are responsible for pushing yourself against the wall.
WALL SLIDES BENEFITS
IMPROVE T-SPINE MOBILITY
Your thoracic spine, also known as t-spine, is found in the upper and middle part of the back. It is responsible for maintaining your body in an upright and stable position.
However, slouching and slumping caused by excessive sitting in front of a screen, really affects your t-spine. The wall slides essentially reverse the flexed upper back position you have during sitting.
Further, they activate your upper back extensor muscles and keep your upper back straight. This improves your upper-back mobility.
Moreover, the move improves your shoulder mobility and increases the range of motion in the shoulder joint. This is not only beneficial in your daily activities but also in heavy lifting.
Poor posture has several unhealthy side effects like headaches, heartburn, breathing problems and back pain. To prevent pain and stay injury-free, focusing on proper posture is of prime importance.
The exercise can help your body maintain proper posture by training your body to sit straighter and more upright.
Furthermore, it stretches out the front of your shoulder and chest muscles thus, reducing tension. At the same time, it strengthens your traps and rhomboids and this pulls back your shoulders hence, you’ll be less hunched over.
REDUCE NECK AND BACK PAIN
As discussed above, the move improves your sitting posture by keeping your core engaged, and activating and contracting your upper back extensor, lower neck extensor and deep neck flexor muscles.
Consequently, when your joints are in a good position then they’re less likely to become tight and tense. Basically, when your neck and back muscles are long, loose, and limber then they won’t ache or pain as much.
A good posture and reduced tension on your front deltoids, even distributes the forces throughout your back, thus reducing lower back and neck pain.
Proprioception is basically body awareness. The move helps you figure out what better posture feels like.
Essentially, you will be able to feel if you’re not sitting using proper posture and realign yourself accordingly.
WALL SLIDES ALTERNATIVES
3-D BAND PULL APART
The 3-D Band Pull Apart is a type of isolation exercise that works your shoulders and upper back. It is performed by holding and pulling a resistance band laterally with a shoulder-width grip and straight arms.
Wall angels are quite similar to the wall slides. First, you need to lean against the wall with your butt, back, and head.
Then, glide your arms up and down the wall steadily against the wall in a “V” pattern. The move helps to improve posture, and reduce lower back and neck pain.
ACTIVATION SERRATUS PUSH UP
The Activation Serratus Push up not only works your chest but also your serratus anterior. The serratus is small but is responsible for moving your shoulder blades.
WALL SLIDES MISTAKES TO AVOID
BENDING YOUR KNEES TOO FAR
Do not bend your knees further than 45-degrees as your risk injuring yourself.
YOUR FORM IS SLACKING
When you get more familiar with the move and your quads get stronger, you may get too comfortable and start losing focus as you perform the move.
This does not mean that the move is getting too easy, it’s an indication that maybe you’re slacking on proper form. Essentially, use steady movements and monitor yourself to make sure that your arms and knees are in the right position throughout.
NOT KEEPING YOUR LOWER BACK AGAINST THE WALL
Do not get tempted and unconsciously move your lower back from the wall which is a more comfortable position. By so doing, you will not get optimal results deeming the exercise worthless.
If you catch yourself doing this then simply reset your stance and start over.
Wall slides improve arm flexibility, scapular stability and good motor control. A balance of these contributes to a healthy shoulder function.
Consistently practicing the move with proper form and gradual increase results in great mobility.