This week in the Best Butt Exercises series, I chose to write about a staple butt exercise that is featured in a lot of butt workout programs! This week we’ll be doing the plié squat – a wide-stance squat with your feet in plié position (to bring out your inner ballerina).
Exercise: Plié Squats
Muscles worked: Gluteus minimus, inner thighs, quadriceps
Jolie Recommends: 3 sets of 20, and finish with a 4th set of 30 seconds of plié squat pulses.
Difficulty rating: 4
Effectiveness rating: 4
Alright, I hear some of you asking, so I’ll cover it now. What the heck is a plié? Plié (pronounced plee-AY), is a ballet term and means ‘to bend’. It refers to a movement that involves bending of the knees while keeping the back straight.
For plié squats, we do these with the toes turned outwards and a wide stance, which acts to target the inner thighs and the gluteus minimus muscle of your butt.
Gluteus minimus work is great because it tightens and lifts the butt. This small muscle is one of a trio that makes up your butt, and working it is important to get that lift factor.
I like this exercise because it’s not too strenuous but it can get you a good burn in your glutes! Pump it up by holding a weight once you get used to the bodyweight version.
This may be a bit challenging for some especially if you need to work on your flexibility. You should try to keep your knees and thighs directly above the same line as your toes, and this requires you to turn out and rotate at the hips – some may find they are a bit rusty in this area! Practice makes perfect however, so don’t be discouraged.
As always, if you haven’t tried this one before, be sure to perfect your form first before even attempting to add any additional resistance in the form of weights!
Best Butt Exercise #18: Plié Squats
This video introduces you to the plié squat using a kettlebell as a weight to add resistance. However, I recommend practicing the move first without weight (put your hands on your hips instead for balance) to get used to the feel of this exercise before you advance to the next level.
How to Do the Move
- Begin with your feet spread wide apart, about 2-3 times the width of your shoulders. Point the toes outwards to a comfortable angle – around 45 degrees or maybe a bit more.
- Tuck your tailbone underneath and roll your pelvis backwards. Stand up straight and roll your shoulders up and back for good posture.
- Place hands on your hips (or you may wish to hold a weight in front of you between your legs).
- Keeping your torso upright, bend at the knees to come down into a squat, until your thighs are parallel.
- Return to standing position by pushing up and through your heels while squeezing your glutes.
- Repeat for the desired number of repetitions.
Perfecting Your Form
- Aim for a right angle at your knee when squatting down. Don’t go lower than this, but you may be challenged by flexibility initially and not be able to get as low as this.
- Keep the knees stacked vertically on top of the ankles at the lowest part of your squat. Adjust your foot position if required to allow this.
- Your knees should be held back towards your rear while squatting. Don’t allow them to angle or sink forward. You’ll need to engage your glutes and inner thighs to hold them back.
- Squeeze the glutes to engage the butt muscles when pushing up out of the squat, as well as at the top of the move.
- Keep a very good straight posture throughout. Your torso and back should be as upright as possible throughout the entire move.
Try for 3 sets of 20 plié squats, and finish it off with 30 seconds of plié squat pulses (stay down in the squat and pulse up and down over a range of a few inches – this one will burn!).
Once this becomes easy, add weight by holding a kettlebell as shown in the video, or otherwise you can hold dumbells on your shoulders, a barbell or weighted bar on your back, or any other kind of weight – but be sure to maintain that upright posture that is required for this exercise.