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How to do the plie squat to tighten your hips and develop flexibility
How to do the plie squat to tighten your hips and develop flexibility

A little ballet in your strength program.

How to do the plie squat to tighten your hips and develop flexibility
How to do the plie squat to tighten your hips and develop flexibility

What is plie squat

A plie squat is a movement in which you place your feet about twice as wide as your shoulders, turn your toes and knees out to the sides, and lower yourself to the floor in that position.

The name of the exercise comes from the ballet element of the same name plie, in which the knees and toes are also oriented outward.

Unlike choreography, there is no clear definition of plie squat in strength training. Some people think that this is another name for sumo squats, others that they are two different exercises.

It's hard to say who is right here. But since in powerlifting, squatting with a wide stance and toes turned to the sides is called "sumo", and the term "plie" is more often used for a super-inversion movement without weight, we will assume that these are different exercises.

Why do the plie squat

It is believed that plie squats pump the adductor muscles well, located on the inner side of the thigh. The latter are responsible for bringing the hips together, so it is logical to assume that with a wide stance of the legs, the load on them will be greater.

However, the scientific data on this matter is ambiguous: no one has studied the eversion plie with additional weight in the hands, and opinions about sumo squats differ.

For example, in the experiment G. Coratella, G. Tornatore, F. Caccavale. The Activation of Gluteal, Thigh, and Lower Back Muscles in Different Squat Variations Performed by Competitive Bodybuilders: Implications for Resistance Training / International journal of environmental research and public health with 10 competitive bodybuilders found that wide-leg squat activates the long adductor muscle more than the classic version of the exercise.

At the same time, in another study B. Taheri, A. Barati, AA Norasteh. EMG Analysis of Trunk and Lower Limb Muscles in Three Different Squat Exercises in Athletes and Non-Athletes / Sport Sciences for Health - with the participation of athletes and amateurs - such no difference was found.

We also found one scientific work M. Kim, J. Kim. Comparison of lower limb muscle activation with ballet movements (releve and demi-plie) and general movements (heel rise and squat) in healthy adults / Journal of physical therapy science, which compared ballet demi-plie (inversion half-squat) and regular squat with feet shoulder width apart. It turned out that the first exercise activates the buttocks better. But in the experiment, it was performed in the first position - with heels together and toes apart.

Thus, squatting plie can more intensely load the adductor and gluteal muscles, especially since the inner thigh really hurts after inverted squats.

In addition, the exercise is useful for those who want to remove the restriction in the mobility of the hip joints. The inverted position, especially under load, can increase your range of motion and make you slightly more flexible.

How to do the plie squat

To get started, try this exercise without weights to master the technique and find the perfect foot position in which you will not lose balance.

Stand up straight, place your feet twice as wide as your shoulders and rotate your toes about 60 degrees. Keep your hands in front of your chest or put them on your belt - whichever is more comfortable.

Keeping your back straight, pull your pelvis back a little and lower yourself into a squat until the hips are parallel to the floor. Make sure your knees point towards your socks.

If your knees begin to curl inward as you descend into the squat, chances are you are missing the stretch. Place your feet a little narrower and try again.

If you lose your balance, try turning your toes a little less to the sides, or do the exercise next to a support, holding on to it.

What shells can you do plie squat

You can do the plie squat with just about any apparatus. It all depends on what is available and how much you want to load the muscles.

With one dumbbell

Choose a suitable weight for the dumbbell, rotate it perpendicular to the floor and grasp the pancakes on one side with both hands.

Squat while holding the dumbbell in your outstretched arms.

With kettlebell

It is more convenient to hold a kettlebell than one dumbbell, therefore, if possible, choose this projectile for plie.

Grasp the bow of the kettlebell with both hands, place your legs wide and squat, trying not to lean forward too much.

With expander

Fold a long expander tape in half, insert your feet into the resulting loops and press them to the floor. Grasp the middle of the elastic with a straight, narrow grip and do a regular plie squat.

The video below shows the option with a dumbbell, but you can just do it with an elastic band.

How can you complicate the plie squat

Besides adding resistance, you can also make the movement harder.

Increase range

This option is suitable for those who plie with a dumbbell or kettlebell, have a good stretch and want to increase it even more.

Plie Squat Increased Range
Plie Squat Increased Range

Place your feet on two stable supports of equal height, such as steps or chairs. Squat, lowering the weight below the level of support.

Climb on toes

This option will help to additionally pump the muscles of the legs and increase the load on the hips due to static retention.

Perform a plie squat, lock at the bottom, lift your heels off the floor, going out onto your toes, put them back and repeat.

Continue raising and lowering your heels, keeping your knees apart and your back straight.

Add ripple

Lower yourself into a plié and swing at the lowest point in a small range. This will put additional stress on the hips, which will be in tension.

Add a side curl

This option will work well on the oblique abdominal muscles.

Place your hands behind your head and spread your elbows to the sides. Do a squat, and then lift one knee and stretch your elbow towards it, twisting the body clearly to the side.

Then go back into the squat and bend over to the other side as you exit. Continue alternating left and right every other time.

How to incorporate plie squats into your workouts

Do plie squats every 1–2 weeks in addition to other leg movements such as lunges, dumbbells, single-legged squats, and jumping out. So you will pump all the muscles of the lower extremities well.

Plié with your body weight, perform three to five sets of 20-25 times to properly work the leg muscles. If using dumbbells or kettlebells, start with three sets of 8-10 reps and gradually work your way up to 12-15 reps.

The main thing is that you feel tension in the muscles at the end of the approach, but at the same time you can maintain a good form of movement: do not bend your back and do not wrap your hips and knees inward.

Plie squat without weight is good for interval cardio workouts. As part of such complexes, you can combine it with other movements on the lower and upper body and perform in a row without rest for 30-40 seconds.

You can also combine several options for plie squats at once. For example, make the following combination, working for 30 seconds:

  • regular squat plie;
  • plie squat with pulsation at the bottom;
  • squatting plie with twisting the body to the side;
  • plie squat with a rise on toes.