We know you love to hate ’em. You know they work wonders for the butt, thighs and core, not to mention the stamina building Powers of the Plié!
So, how does one execute the perfect 1st position plié? – We’re glad you asked :o)
Here’s a little check list for setting up and getting through your sets. First and foremost, make sure before you start you have set your barre resistance correctly, whether you are facing the barre or the side, you should rest the palms down with a gentle bend in the elbow, sliding the shoulders and lifting out of the chest. Remember, the barre is there for resistance and balance, don’t be tempted to pull or lean on it.
From there, open the toes to a 1st-position (V-shape). Don’t open the feet too wide as your knees have to hold the same turnout throughout your entire set. After lifting the heels and bending the knees to a diamond, walk the toes close until you have a high triangle between the heels and a wide diamond between the knees. Your heels MUST press together throughout and the heels MUST NOT drop (even and inch!) until the end of your set. That… is the challenge.
Once you start into movement remember to keep your pulses controlled. Your sets are short (never longer than 45 seconds before a shakeout) so DO NOT BREAK YOUR SET if you can help it! Once you start your legs into that lovely fast burn don’t cut it off. Embrace it and know that with every second you are getting stronger and stronger! Here is a little check list to run through during a set. By the time you’ve got to the last point your set will be over. Try it out:
- Upper body and heels locked. The hold through the upper body and the heels must stay strong, no movement.
- Breathe it through. Start to regulate steady breathing, sending oxygen through the body right to those legs.
- Back straight. Iron out and stack up that spine loading on and supporting your own body weight. Connect through the arms so you are active EVERYWHERE.
- Find your edge. Don’t squeeze out of the plié, push into it until it’s time to release the legs! That means, the place where it isn’t comfortable. Find the shake and don’t let it go, that’s your edge.
- Find your happy place! Focus. On the music, your breath, the back of your fellow barre comrades head! Anything to get you through the set. Your head will always give up before your body.
Pliés are one of the toughest Barre exercises. Make no mistake, they should never get easy no matter how many classes you have under your belt. If they start to feel that way, push lower, heels higher and stack up taller…. That should bring the burn right back!