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Diana Remaley, LMT
Diana@RemaleyMassage.com
(203)292-5362
19 Compo Road South
Westport, CT

Ballet Envy: The Plie and Releve

Use these easy and elegant movements to stretch the entire front and back of the legs.

I recently attended an all-day seminar. While the subject matter was completely worthwhile, and the day was overall enjoyable, my legs felt like jello by the time I drove home. When sitting for a long time, circulation and muscle movement are severely diminished. These two simple ballet movements stretch both the front and back of the legs, improving muscle function and circulation and lessening pain. The next time you find yourself sitting for a long time, give them a try!

The Plie

“Plie” literally means “bent”, which describes a slow and continuous bending of the knees. When done slowly, this movement will stretch the front of the legs and hips. If you're interested in strengthening these areas, 3 sets of 8 deep plies will certainly have your thighs burning!

Begin with your feet hip width apart, toes turned out slightly from the hip (rather than from the knee).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Step out a few more inches so your feet are wider than the hips, and gently bend the knees, lowering your body softly. You can certainly stop here and feel a bit of a stretch, but go on to the next step for more of a challenge.

 

 

 

 

 With your weight grounded evenly in your feet, heels flat, lower your body and bend the knees further, so that your upper legs are parallel to the floor. Don't bend your knees beyond your toes. Slowly straighten the knees back up to standing. This is one repetition. Repeat five times for a set.

 

 

The Releve

“Releve” means “raised,” describing the action of raising the body to stand on the toes, rather than the soles of the feet. This will activate the calf muscles, as well as the hamstrings and gluteal group. It also stretches multiple muscles in the foot.

Begin standing up straight, with arms either at your sides or stretched out for balance. Turn the toes out gently from the hip (rather than from the knee). Take a breath and center yourself, activating your core muscles and straightening your spine.

 

 

 

 

 

Slowly move to elevate the heels, standing on the balls of your feet. If you notice yourself teetering a little from side to side, this is normal - take a moment to steady yourself, and pay attention to the individual muscles in your toes and feet. Slowly lower back to the soles of your feet. Repeat five times for a set.

 

 

 

 

My favorite combination of these two positions is to move from a light releve into a slight plie with the heels together. This stretches the entire back of the leg, and creates lovely movement and fluidity in the knees and upper thighs.

 

 

 

 

 

If you notice me performing these stretches in my Westport office waiting room between massage therapy clients, you'll see how much I love them! Give them a try - I'm sure your legs will feel freer and stronger. In fact, ballet is all about strength and freedom of movement; I think that's why I feel such affinity for it, along with regular massage therapy! Enjoy!

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Diana Remaley, LMT
Diana@RemaleyMassage.com
(203)292-5362
19 Compo Road South
Westport, CT