The 8-Step Workout for High-Heel Wearers

Personal trainer Matan Gavish stresses that balance is the key to achieving one's fitness goals, so he named his New York-based business Diet & Exercise to emphasize that it's a complete program. But his passion for balance might also explain the apparent split-personality vocation — he's equally adept at training Special Ops soldiers as he is helping brides-to-be tone their "strapless muscles" and drop dress sizes.

"Matt," as some clients know him, teaches women's self-defense, so it grabs your attention when he calls the high-heeled shoe a female ‘torture device.' Beyond calloused feet, he says, walking in high heels shifts body weight forward, forcing an unnatural posture and making your lower back bear the brunt. High heels can cause pain and injuries in the knees, lower back and neck, he says, pointing out that American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) recommends high-heel wearers strengthen and stretch these areas to prevent injury.

If you're not willing to forgo sling-backs for Earth shoes just yet, Gavish designed an eight-step workout specifically for you and your fellow high-heel devotees.

  1. Ankle twists: Form full circles with each foot, for 20 seconds in each direction.
  2. Calf stretch: Raise your toes against the wall and keep your heel on the floor. Lean forward and stretch, holding for 12-15 seconds.
  3. Calf raises: On the floor or preferably on a step, balance on the toes of one foot, cross the other behind. Raise your entire body up and down, trying to reach full range of motion in each direction. Do three sets of 15 repetitions.
  4. Basic squats: Stand with your feet apart, slightly wider than your shoulders. Bend your knees until you're almost sitting, then stand up. (Important: Do not let your knees pass your toes.) On the way down, push the buttocks as far back as you can and lean forward with your upper body. Do three sets of 20 repetitions.
  5. Lower back "Superman": Lie on your stomach with your hands and legs stretched out. Raise your left leg and your right hand at the same time, hold for three seconds, then alternate legs and hands.
  6. Knee extensions: While seated, raise your right foot about two inches from the floor. Straighten your leg by extending from the knee and relax, keeping it in the air at all times. Slowly do three sets of 20 on each leg. Optional: Add ankle weights.
  7. Pain reliever: Roll your foot over a tennis ball on the floor to increase blood flow and alleviate foot pain and cramps with a gentle massage.
  8. Lower back Stretch: Lie on your back. Bend your right knee and use your left hand to pull it over the left leg, keeping the upper body flat. This will "spiral" your spine and stretch tense lower back muscles.


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