How To Do Plié Squats

By: Chris Freytag, CPT

Chris Freytag demonstrating a Plie Squat


A Plié Squat is an exercise that strengthens the legs, glutes, and calves and increases the range of motion in your hips. Plié Squats originated from the ballet position Plié, which keeps the back straight while also bending the knees.

When learning how to do the Plié Squat, otherwise sometimes referred to as a sumo squat, the toes are turned outwards in a wide stance position. This lower body move targets the thighs (toning the inner thighs,) hamstrings, and glutes (the strongest and most powerful muscles in your butt.)

Use the links below to quickly navigate this exercise guide:


Click to view the video transcript

Hi, I’m Chris Freytag and I’m going to show you how to do a Plié Squat. It’s a great exercise and a good variation that really uses the inner thighs. Now, pliés are a little different than a squat because instead of sticking your butt out and back, you’re going to tuck your pelvis under. Heels in; toes out, feet are nice and wide. Send your knees over your toes so you really have to engage your adductors (your inner thighs). Push those knees wide as you go into a plié. You don’t want to let those knees cave in, but push them wide, sink your butt all the way down, the pelvis is tucked under, abs are tight. Squeeze up through the glutes and the inner thigh. Inhale and exhale. Breathe deeply–get down as deep as you can–and practice these plié squats to tone and tighten the lower body.




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    How To Do Plié Squats

    1. Stand with feet slightly wider than shoulder distance apart and toes turned out into a 45-degree angle.
    2. Bend knees and lower your torso, keeping your back straight and abs tight.
    3. Squeeze your glutes and come to a standing position.

    If you would like to amp up your workout, feel free to add weights to increase the intensity of the plié squats and work the upper body for additional muscle gain.

    What Muscles Do Plié Squats Work?

    Plié squats work your glutes, quads, hamstrings, and your inner thighs. While traditional squats also work the glutes, quads, and hamstrings, plié squats also give more focus to the inner thighs or adductor muscles—a nice bonus!

    This makes plié squats especially great for people looking to tighten and tone the inner thigh area. In combination with cardio and a healthy diet, plié squats can help you create lean and toned thighs.

    Benefits of Plié Squats

    There are tons of reasons to start adding plié squats into your workouts today. Here are just a few benefits of plié squats.

    They Work Your Inner Thighs

    Because of the different placement of your feet in a plié squat versus a regular squat, you are utilizing different muscles and opening your hips. When you move your legs into that plié stance, you really tone your adductor muscles or inner thighs. After doing a few sets of plié squats, you’ll definitely start to feel it in your inner thighs.

    Strengthen Your Glutes

    By changing up the stance of your squat into a plié squat, you also work your glute muscles more effectively. Your gluteus maximus is the largest muscle in your body, and glute strength is essential not only for daily functions but also to make you a better runner and improve your athletic performance in virtually any type of workout you do. Doing plié squats can help you strengthen and tone your glute muscles, helping you create a firmer, more lifted butt.

    Improve Balance and Stability

    Because plié squats take their name and stance from ballet, it’s no surprise that they can help improve your balance. To do a plié squat you are putting your body into a whole new stance that you’re probably not used to, with your feet turned out at a 45-degree angle, and this does require a bit of balance. You’ll increase your stability throughout your core and lower body as you do more plié squats, too.

    They’re Easy To Do Anytime, Anywhere

    Another great benefit of plié squats is that they don’t require any equipment and just require your own body weight and a little bit of space. You can do them at home, at the gym, or even while traveling in your hotel room. This exercise is totally equipment-free, making it a great exercise to do whenever you are looking for a quick lower body exercise.

    Incorporating Plié Squats Into Your Workouts

    If you’re looking for plié squat workouts, you’ve come to the right place. Here are some different ways you can incorporate plié squats into your workouts today.

    Use Plié Squats In Your Warm-Ups

    Plié squats are a great move to use in a quick warm-up for your workout. They help to:

    • Lubricate the joints and prepare them for more movement
    • Get your heart rate up which helps prepare your body for your workout
    • Get the blood pumping and circulating in all parts of your body
    • Warm up the muscles in your glutes, hamstrings, quads, and inner thighs

    Plié Squat Warm-Ups

    Warm-Up Idea #1: 1o plié squats, 10 hip circles, 10 plié squats, 10 arm circles

    Warm-Up Idea #2: 30 seconds of mountain climbers, 30 seconds of butt-kicks, 10 plié squats, 10 lunges.

    Warm-Up Idea #3: 5 push-ups, 10 hip circles, 10 plié squats, 5 push-ups

    Use Plié Squats In Lower-Body Workouts

    Plié squats are very effective for toning the lower body, resulting in a much tighter and lifted butt, and lean, toned legs. Here are two different bodyweight workouts you can do at home that are quick and require no equipment. Do either of these workouts 2-3 times per week to start toning your lower body using plié squats.

    Leaner Legs Workout: 10 plié squats, 10 cross-behind lunges, 10 leg lifts, 10 single-leg hamstring bridges. Do 1 minute of jumping jacks and 1 minute of mountain climbers. Repeat this cycle 3 times.

    Legs And Buns Workout: 10 plié squats, 10 jump squats, 10 glute bridges, 10 fire hydrants. Do 1 minute of butt kicks and 1 minute of mountain climbers. Repeat this cycle 3 times.

    Workouts That Incorporate Plié Squats

    7 Exercises to Go From Flat To Firm Butt

    sam working out on yoga matt outside

    10-Minute Belly and Butt Workout 


    10-Minute Beginner Tabata Workout  

    How Many Calories Do Plié Squats Burn?

    People often ask how many calories different exercises burn. It’s simpler to put it in terms of your whole workout versus an individual exercise. If you are working intensely, the average person will burn about 100 calories every 10 minutes. So if you’re using plié squats in a moderate to intense workout, you should burn 100 calories every 10 minutes.

    Other Exercises Similar To Plié Squats

    Want to try other moves to tone up your lower body? Here are some other great exercises you might like:


    Targets: glutes, quads, hamstrings


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