Plies Leg Exercises

Plies aren't squats. Don't stick your bum out.
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Former New York City Ballet Dancer Suzanne Farrell once famously remarked, “Plié is the first thing you learn and the last thing you master.” For ballet dancers, there are so many components to a good plié: musicality, even turnout of both legs, coordination, weight distribution and body alignment. Even if you’re not an aspiring prima ballerina, it pays to execute this deceptively simple exercise properly. When done with good form, pliés help develop the long, lean legs that ballet dancers are famous for.

Step 1

Stand with your feet together and place your hands on your hips.

Step 2

Engage your leg and pelvic muscles by feeling your inner thighs, upper thighs and buttocks pulling together. At the same time, engage your abdominal muscles, pulling your belly button toward your back. Lengthen your back, all the way from your tailbone to the top of your head.

Step 3

Bend your knees slowly, making sure that your knees move directly over your second toes and that your heels stay on the floor. You might feel a stretch on the backs of your calves when you bend your knees. This is a normal sensation. As your knees bend, your buttocks will have a tendency to stick out. Keep your abdominal muscles engaged and your back lengthened to prevent this common problem.

Step 4

Straighten your knees slowly, feeling your leg and pelvic muscles coming back together.

Step 5

Repeat eight to 12 times.

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