Technique tip: turned out plié
By Rosa Anderson - Jones
The turned out plié is one of the first movements we will focus on in any given barre class. It is a great way to warm up the glutes and the hip flexors, and get us thinking about our technique from the outset. The 'sumo squat' or 'turned out' position is what challenges most people when they are new to a barre class; so here are a few tips to make sure you are executing this movement correctly.
The first thing to realise at a barre class is that everyone will be working within different ranges of motion; meaning that some people are naturally more flexible and mobile than others. A barre class will help you improve your range of motion, however you want to work within your natural range and not force your body into a position that is unnatural for your joints.
Take a wide step to the side. We are creating a wide V shape with our legs here; our toes are turned out, and our knees are following the same line as our toes. This is an important note. We always want our knees tracking in line with our toes to make sure we are not placing force into our knee joints.
At the bottom of the plié, or 'dancers squat', we are aiming for a straight line from our knee, to our ankle. Our tailbone should be in line with our spine, so that our glutes aren't sticking out behind us. Bend down as far as your can before your body wants to bend forward, but make sure that your hips never dip past the height of your knees.
As you drive back to the top, press your heels into the floor, and squeeze your glutes tight. Your glutes should always be engaged through a plié sequence, as it is this gluteal engagement that maintains the turned out position in this movement.
Remember, you do not need to force your feet right out the side. Your turn out, is your turn out. Everyone's hips move in different ways. So if you are unsure, just take a look at how your knees are tracking over your toes. If your knees can comfortably stay in-line with your second and third toes as your bend, then you are in the right position for your hips.