When it comes to lower body exercises, the humble squat seems to fit many requirements. Depending on your need, you can turn a simple squat into a half-squat, deep squat, lateral squat, sumo or wide squats and even squat jumps. Today we will look at the plie squat, another variation that really brings out the best in your hamstrings, inner thigh, knees and lower back. This is a lower body strength exercise targeted at the quads, hamstrings, and glutes like most other squats but requires extra coordination and flexibility.

The wide stance of this exercise means beginners can progressively adapt to plie squats with resistance at each level

To perform a plie squat get into a regular squat position. Instead of keeping your feet shoulder-width apart, keep them wider, while holding your arms at your sides. Your toes should point out at an angle, which is likely to be the natural position.

Squat down while bending your knees and going down till your thighs are parallel with the ground. Initially your body might need some time and massaging to get to the ideal position for the plie. As you lower your body, raise your arms above your head. Pause, then straighten your legs and return your arms to your sides.

Make sure your thighs stay parallel to the ground for the plie. This resistance against gravity will develop super strength in your thighs. Any further below the parallel line and you are in a sumo squat position.

MISTAKES AND TIPS

  • Don’t let your lower back go pear-shaped round. Maintain the natural tautness to effectively activate glutes and hamstrings
  • Your torso should stay as upright as possible while performing the squat. Don’t bend forward as that puts added strain on your knees and lower back.
  • Keep your weight on your heels to balance yourself in the down position. This also ensures your knees are not being pulled forward, thereby protecting the stance.
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  • Use dumbbells or kettle balls to add resistance to your upper body and increase the intensity and burn of your squat. You can turn a plie squat into a pulse plie squat by not coming up fully from the down position. Instead keep pulsating between a down and half-up position as in the video above
  • Image: Shape.com

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