Power Your Legs
One of the most popular ballet moves that has also been passed on to barre fitness and other aerobic exercises – Plié. The origin of the correct technique and alignment in order to gain the best benefits from the exercise though still remains in ballet.
No other step is more important to support your muscles, balance and move gracefully than Plié. This first step of ballet has the power to transform every move you make because it teaches how to support the spine as the knees bend and straighten with good alignment. Knowing how to hold your body and bend your knees with control develops good knee support, hips and ankle joints, sculpts the legs, aligns body balance, spine, posture and strong core.
There are two types of pliés: Demi-plié is a “half” bending of the knees with the heels fully on the floor. Grand plié is a full bending of the knees until the thighs are horizontal with the floor. The principles of alignment are the same for each; however, grand plié provides more intensive leg strengthening and balance training.
In terms of ballet, demi–plié forms the basis of all jumps and turns. A good plié gives takeoffs and landings, bending the knees provides power for every movement while absorbing force and protecting the hips and spine.
Learning how to move combining good posture, controlled use of the knees and ankles will benefit not only correct join functions but allows to excise safely at all fitness activities in general. So if you’re interested in performing better at sports, cultivating a good plié could be a great base!
How To Plié
You don’t need special coordination or ballet training to reap the benefits of doing pliés. It’s best to do the following barefoot or wearing socks or soft ballet shoes.
With heels touching, turn the toes out to a gentle 1st position. You should feel comfortable and stable. If you feel off balance, reduce the turn-out of the toes until you feel stable. You can also hold onto a chair ( if you don’t have a ballet barre). Otherwise, place hands on hips.
Feel the entire ball and heel of each foot on the floor.
Check in with your tailbone – it should point straight down between your heels. Squeeze the gluts and pull the stomach up, feel tall in the spine. Try to relax the ankles so that it descends naturally over the heels.
Hug in your core, while releasing the neck and shoulders.
Gently bend the knees over the toes. Heels remain on the floor.
Straighten the knees smoothly pulling the thighs up and stretching the knees fully. Pull in the core throughout the entire plié.
In the beginning, hold onto a chair or countertop ( or a barre) for extra balance.
With heels together, toes apart in 1st position, bend knees into demi-plié.
Continue bending the knees smoothly until the thighs are horizontal to the floor. The heels will naturally rise off from the floor as you go down. Make sure that the back remains vertical, bottom squeezed, the hips remain vertical and don’t go back.
Once you landed with your thighs fully open, begin coming up straightening the knees smoothly until your knees are fully stretched. Be sure to pass through demi-plié (with the heels on the floor and knees bent over toes) on the way up.
NOTE: The deeper the bend of the knees, the more the spine tends to tilt forward. Be sure to keep an upright spine throughout by hugging in your core and squeezing your bottom.
Grand plié significantly engages the core and backs of the legs. If you are not feeling your thighs on the way down and the backs of the legs ( hamstrings & gluts) on the way up in grand plié, chances are your spine is tilting forward and your tailbone is poking backwards. To adjust the alignment, lessen the bend of the knees on the way down, stopping one you just start to lift your heels and straighten up the spine until your back in completely vertical. You can deepen the bend of the knees over time as you become stronger.
You may wish to begin Plié exercises with hands on a chair or countertop. As you become stronger and more balanced, you can do this exercise in the center of the room or a studio.
Looking forward to seeing you at our classes for more plié and other fun exercises !
Source : everydayballet.com