Plie squats, also called sumo squats, are a strength-training exercise that strengthen your leg and glute muscles, and also enhance the range of motion in your buttocks. They also target your inner thighs and hamstrings.
Originated from the ballet dance position, Plie squats require you to keep your back straight and knees bent. Moreover, you also need to turn your toes outwards to maintain a wide stance position throughout the exercise.
While the basic back and front squat is an amazing exercise for increasing your quad and glute muscles, it is not as effective as the Plie squat for targeting the inner thigh or adductor muscles.
How to do Plie squats accurately? Correct form and technique
Learning the Plie squat is not very challenging if you know how to do a basic squat. There are a few differences, though, that you should know, including how to position your toes and the distance of your stance.
You can perform a Plie squat with or without any additional weight. You may use a kettlebell or a dumbbell to make the exercise more challenging.
- Take a basic squat position with your feet shoulder-width apart. Your toes should be pointed forward. Fold both your hands, and keep them on your chest.
- Now take a step to your side with your left foot so that the distance between both your legs is about three to four feet wide. Keeping your feet wider is also fine, provided you can perform the exercise correctly.
- Point your toes outwards away from the centre by rotating at your hips. Make sure your knees are over your toes.
- As you lower your body, slightly move your hips back, bend your knees, and take a squat position.
- Your tailbone should be straight down to the ground. Keep your spine in a neutral position, eyes forward and core engaged throughout the exercise.
- Lower your body till your thighs become parallel to the ground.
- Pause for a few seconds in the squat position. Engage your glutes, and press your body through your heels, and take the starting position.
Here's a video of Plie squats for your reference:
Benefits of Plie squats
Plie squats are a great way to develop lower body strength, and when performed correctly, this exercise primarily works the calf muscles (gastrocnemius) and thigh muscles, including the rectus femoris, vastus medialis, vastus lateralis and biceps femoris.
This move also enhances the activation of the adductor muscles, which are the muscles in your inner thighs. Plie squats also strengthen your core muscles and activate them more than a basic squat. As this exercise targets your lower body, it also helps improve your balance and stability.
You can perform Plie squats in various variations:
1) Basic squat
Basic squats can benefit beginners, as they are easy to do. The process for doing a basic squat is the same as that of Plie squat, except that you need to keep your feet at a shoulder-width distance and toes straight.
2) Weighted sumo squats
You can make Plie squat more challenging by adding weights. You may use barbells, kettlebells or dumbbells, but just keep the weight centered with your body, and hold it safely at your shoulders. Start by adding low to moderate weight, and then gradually increase them.
3) Sumo squat rotation
To boost your core strength, you may even add a rotational movement to this workout. Once you take the Plie squat position, rotate your upper body to your right using your feet to assist the rotation, and then return to the center. In the next repetition, rotate to your left, and complete the move.
Plie squats are generally a safe exercise for people with varying fitness levels. However, if you’ve recently had back or lower-body surgery or injury, consult your doctor first before practicing this exercise.
To avoid pain and injuries, perform the Plie squat in a slow and controlled manner while focusing on your posture and balance. If you experience any type of pain or discomfort, stop the exercise, and talk to a doctor.
If everything works well for you, try and complete at least ten repetitions. Increase your reps as you gain more strength and endurance.