The Tree Sit exercise is an updated version of that classic ski-conditioning exercise, the “wall sit.” It’s usually done within the confines of large gymnasiums with wood floors and beige walls, but here we’ve added a much more interesting prop—the tree. In addition to the tree’s tactile nature, we also like the metaphor of gaining strength and power from the tree. Plus, while the classic wall sit only strengthens the quads, this version strengthens and tones the quads (in a big way), it also works the deep muscles of the core and abdominals, and shoulders. That’s because you mentally focus on first, pressing down through your heels, which gives you the leverage to press into the tree and engage your core.
Works: Quadriceps, core abdominals, shoulders, mental focus, environmental integration
Props: Tree with a strong base, light post, wall or mailbox
Starting Position: Find a strong tree with a circumference of at least 20 inches and a flat area around its’ base. You may also use a wall or a thick post—anything solid that you can lean against. To prevent slipping, clear away any twigs, gravel or debris first.
Action: Have a seat with your back up against the tree and your knees bent at a 45° angle. With your arms by your sides, press your heels firmly into the ground. Using the power from your heels and leverage from the tree, press your lower abdominal wall firmly into your lower back and up your entire spine. Hold your arms out to the sides at shoulder height, palms forward with a 90° bend. Notice how your entire abdominal wall is engaged and your chest opens.
Harder: Bend your knees at a 90° angle and march your feet in place.
• keep your weight in your heels
• utilizing your core for stability
• keep your hands off your thighs
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To stand up, push off the tree with your hands, to avoid straining the low back.