Plié Squats – How to Perform, Muscles Worked and Benefits

plie squats

Looking for an effective exercise to tone up and strengthen your glutes, quads, hamstrings, calves and core?

Then it’s time to talk about plié squats!

This beginner friendly exercise is great to include in all sorts of workouts, as well as a warm-up, and brings with it a whole host of benefits.

What is a Plié Squat?

A plié squat is a squat performed with the feet turned out, often at a 90 degree angle. It is a popular movement in barre routines and yoga.

It helps strengthens and tones your hamstrings, glutes, quads and calves. It also offers the added bonus of opening up your hips and helping to improve your hip range of motion.

Plié squats are a variation of the regular air squat and are sometimes confused with sumo squats. Although they are similar, there are some subtle differences between the two. Sumo squats is a term commonly used to describe a wide squat. Your feet adopt a wide stance as you squat down. Your feet are likely to be turned out, but often not to the same degree as with the plié squat. In contrast, really turning your feet to as close to 90 degrees as you can creates the iconic stance of the plié squat and as a result, creates a very different squatting pose.

Plié squats are also commonly associated with a following calf raise, which requires good balance.

How to do a Plié Squat

  1. Stand with your feet roughly shoulder-width apart.
  2. Point your toes between 45 and 90 degrees and your thighs parallel to the floor. The more turned out your feet, the harder it will be.
  3. Your knees should be slightly bent but your back should be straight.
  4. Place your hands on your hips or thighs and engage your core.
  5. Push your hips back and bend your knees to lower into the squat position.
  6. Keep your back straight and hold for a few seconds.
  7. Return to standing position by pushing down on the floor.

Plié Squats Benefits

The benefits of plié squats include; lower body strength, core stability, better balance, improved posture, toning legs/glutes, better flexibility and increased range of motion.

Lower Body Strength

Plié squats will require your quads, glutes and hamstrings to work in unison to lower and raise you in and out of a squatting position. This strengthens them and helps build muscle.

Balance

By having your feet turning out, it will naturally create imbalance compared to a regular squat. This will force your body to adjust to avoid falling over and help promote better balance.

Core Strength

One of the main muscle groups that will help create stability during the plié squat (and help you avoid falling over) are your core muscles. They will be engaged for the duration of the movement, helping develop a stronger core.

Posture

The plié squat requires a straight back and promote a good posture during the entirety of the movement.

Toning Legs and Glutes

As the movement focuses on the lower body, plié squats are a great way to tone legs and glutes.

Flexibility and ROM

Having your feet turned outwards will open up your hips and improve the flexibility and range of motion in your hips. This is really beneficial for a lot of lower body movements and can help promote better mobility in all sorts of activities.

Plié Squats Calf Raises

The plie squat is often accompanied with calf raises, especially if you’re following a barre workout. The calf raises take the plié squat to the next level and require stronger calf muscles and better balance.

To do plié squat calf raises, once you have lowered yourself into the plie squat, you then need to push your heels off the ground so you are supporting all your body weight on the balls of your feet.

You want to maintain the correct plié squat form throughout.

Depending on how difficult you find the calf raise, you can decide how many repetitions to do.

You may want a workout to focus on the squat, or to focus more on the calf raises, it’s up to you.

By adding calf raises into your plié squats, it will really strengthen your calves and improve your balance.

Plié Squats with Dumbbells

If you’re looking for a variation or progression of the plié squat, then using dumbbells for added weight is a good place to start.

  1. Stand with your feet roughly shoulder-width apart.
  2. Point your toes between 45 and 90 degrees and your thighs parallel to the floor. The more turned out your feet, the harder it will be.
  3. Your knees should be slightly bent but your back should be straight.
  4. Hold a dumbbell between your legs.
  5. Push your hips back and bend your knees to lower into the squat position.
  6. Keep your back straight and hold for a few seconds.
  7. Return to standing position by pushing down on the floor.

Similarly, you could replace a dumbbell for a kettlebell to create a similar effect.

Plié Squats Workout Example

Plié squats can be integrated into all sorts of workouts, as well as warm-ups.

Some plié squat workout ideas:
3 sets x 10 plié squats

Or

3 sets x 10 plié squat calf raises

Or

5 sets x 8 plié squats (hold each squat for 5 seconds)

Plié Squats Challenge

Looking for a plié squat challenge? Here at fitness drum, our virtual fitness challenges, ready-made exercise programmes and digital coaching create happy, healthy workplaces, at a delightfully affordable price. Get fit by following along to a plié squat challenge or one of the new fitness challenges added each month.

FAQ
What Muscles are Worked in Plié Squats?
Quads, hamstrings, glutes, calves, core

Are Plié Squats Effective?
Yes absolutely. Plié squats are a great exercise for not only strengthening and toning your glutes and legs, but also promoting better balance and posture.

Do Plié Squats Tone your Thighs?
Yes. Plié squats are ideal for anyone looking to tone their thighs (and glutes).

 

Related Articles:

What are Hindu Squats?

Improve Hip Mobility with Asian Squats

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