Grand Plié Anatomy

(Grand Plié Anatomy) Plié is a French word and it means ‘to bend’. It is one of the graceful moves in Ballet dance. There are two types of Plié:

  1. Grand Plié: Involves bending the knees fully until the thighs are parallel to the ground and heels are lifted off the ground.
  2. Demi Plié: The knees are half bent and heels don’t rise off the ground.

Grand Plié is a Ballet technique of lowering and raising the centre of gravity using the legs. It starts from the first position. A perfect Grand Plié is smooth and free from jerks and the knees are bent halfway before raising the heels.

For a smooth Grand Plié, you need to condition some muscles groups that we are going to see below. Without working on these muscles, you are more prone to injury during executing the Grand Plié and it will not look as smooth as it should be.

So, let’s start with the anatomy behind Grand Plié.

Muscles Lengthening while Contracting


Grand Plié Anatomy

Quadriceps are extensors of the leg at knee joint and flexors of the thigh at hip joint. During Grand Plié, on the one hand it is assisting by flexing the thigh towards more horizontal position but on the other hand resisting the bending of the knee hence it is lengthening while contracting.


Grand Plié Anatomy

Soleus is a plantar flexor of the foot. While executing the Grand Plié, the heel has to be lifted up, so the foot is positioned in such way that plantarflexion is important to maintain balance. At the same time, the Soleus is getting lengthened to heel lift.


Grand Plié Anatomy

Just like Soleus, Gastrocnemius too helps in Plantarflexion and ultimately in balancing but also being stretched. It is partially neglected by knee flexion.

Fibularis Longus:

Grand Plié Anatomy

Fibularis Longus also assists during plantarflexion and is also being stretched and contracted at the same time.

Fibularis Brevis:

Grand Plié Anatomy

It also helps in plantarflexion and maintaining the balance.

Flexor Hallucis Longus:

Grand Plié Anatomy

During Grand Plié, this muscles contracts the great toe against the resistance which means it was stretched but is contracted to provide the required balance and grip from the ground.

Flexor Digitorum Longus:

Grand Plié Anatomy

Just like the flexor of the great toe, this muscles acts on the remaining toes and helps in providing the extra friction between the foot and the ground.

Tibialis Posterior:

Tibialis Posterior

It action is also plantar flexion of the foot and that’s why it is also in the category of muscles that are lengthening while contracting.

Abductor Digiti Minimi:

Abductor Digiti Minimi

Abductor Digiti Minimi has two main function during Grand Plié. First, it abducts the fifth toe. Secondly, it flexes it against the resistance. Both these movements help in increasing the surface area and provide balance during its execution.


It is a weak plantarflexor and also a flexor of the knee. It also gets neglected during knee flexion.

Abductor Hallucis:

Abductor Hallucis

In addition to great toe’s flexion, it also abducts it increasing the surface area and is helpful during balancing.

Quadratus Plantae:

Flexor Accessorius

It acts as an assistant for another muscle. It assists Flexor Digitorum Longus in flexing lateral 4 toes against the resistance and in doing so, it is being contracted from the stretched position.

Gluteus Maximus:

Gluteus Maximus will externally rotate the leg to reach that first position of Ballet dance and also help to abduct the thighs during Grand Plié. It sharts in shortened position and never achieve full length.

Adductor Magnus (Ischial Part):

Ischial Part of Adductor Magnus will also help in slight lateral rotation of the leg.

Muscles Holding Contracted Position

Deep six Lateral Rotators:

Abduction is required mainly during executing the Grand Plié so it is obvious that Deep Six Lateral Rotators will take part in that and hold the contracted position.

Biceps Femoris:

Its main function is flexion of the knee and it will remain flexed to hold this flexed position. In addition, in semi flexed position of the knee, it will act as a lateral rotator of the lower leg on the knee joint.

Read More:

Spinal Extensors Grand Plié Anatomy:

Spinal Extensors will act to extend the spine to maintain erect posture during Grand Plié and will be hold the contracted position.

Rectus Abdominis Grand Plié Anatomy:

Rectus Abdominis that is a flexor of the trunk will act to prevent anterior tilt of the pelvis.

Psoas Minor Grand Plié Anatomy:

Psoas Minor is a weak trunk flexor and also acts to prevent anterior tilt of the pelvis.

Muscles Lengthening

All Adductors and Pectineus:

All the Adductors and also Pectineus will be getting stretched here due to them causing the leg adduction and in Grand Plié, you have to abduct the legs.

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