leg toning workout moves

How to Walk Better in Heels: 6 Exercises to Survive a Night in 5” Stilettos

According to a Victoria’s Secret model trainer.

By: Noah Lehava
Photography: Alec Kugler

Friends, if we were to wager our Jimmy Choo x Off-White Jane 100s, we bet you’ve all found yourself walking barefoot on concrete with your most prized pair of heels in hand. You see, when you’re squeezing your toes into an Italian leather and crystal-encrusted heel, well, it’s *always* worth the little discomfort. When it comes to surviving in high heels, arguably no one knows better than Victoria’s Secret Angels and models like Romee Strijd and Sanne Vloet. As such, they enlisted the help of trainer Stephen Pasterino of P.Volve to prep them for the VS show and beyond with a workout made specifically to help them walk better in heels. Herein are six of his essential leg-toning and heel-survival moves.

 


Move 1: Bosu Step Up

“With your foot angled down on the ball like you have heels on, push up through your glutes and down into the ball. Lift through your stomach, bringing your knee up to waist height (just to the outside of your hip). Once your knee comes to a 90-degree angle, slowly lower your leg through the standing glute while catching the floor softly.

This motion simulates the position the leg would be going through when walking in heels. The bosu ball challenges all the stabilizing muscles through the leg, especially the ankle and calf. This move also strengthens and activates the hips and butt, which is essential to efficiently moving in heels, enhancing your posture, and preventing your chance of falling.

 


Move 2: Bosu Step Open

“Start in a P.sit with one foot on the side of the bosu ball. Step that foot out to the opposite side of the ball, making sure you land on the downside of the ball so your foot is angled down. Catch the ball with your foot, and slowly lunge to 90 degrees until you feel the muscles engage. Your knee should never go past the forefoot! Step back to the other side of the bosu with your feet straight, and then go back into a P.sit.

This exercise targets the inner thighs and inner glutes. It puts the foot in the same position as it would be if you were wearing heels, using the bosu ball to challenge the stabilizer muscles. These muscles are essential to creating eversion of the foot. For example, when someone rolls their ankle or falls in heels, it’s because their stabilizer muscles aren’t strong enough. So I focus on exercises that will oppose that force when the foot buckles out, so you can pull your weight back in, saving an accident from occurring.

 


Move 3: Double Bosu Step

“With each foot on a bosu ball, angle your feet downward, making sure your heel is in the middle of the ball. Step one foot into one bosu with a narrow stance and into a P.sit. Then step back wide to the other bosu and P.sit.

This exercise targets the glutes as a whole and the outer thighs. Being on the bosu throughout these motions will activate all the small stabilizing muscles throughout the thigh. The way you angle the feet in this move will mimic high heels, training the muscles to work when they are put in that position.

 


Move 4: Band Lift + Press

“Start in a wide stance with your feet even. Drive off the glutes on one side, bringing the opposite leg up and pulling it in evenly with your hip. Slowly press forward while simultaneously reaching forward through the hip. Pull your leg back to your waist, and step back out wide, returning to your original position.

This is a key move to toning the upper thigh and eventually, as a result, you will see significant accentuation in the thigh muscles when walking in heels. The purpose of this exercise is to strengthen the glutes in a way that is essential to preventing a fall. This exercise creates forward mobility in the hip, which is needed to walk properly in heels—or walking at all—but also ensuring that if you slip forward, your hip has the mobility to absorb the slip and take you back up.

 


Move 5: Straight Forward Reach

“Start with one foot forward extended out in front of you. Make sure the band is always tight. Keep the heel lifted and the forefoot planted on the floor. Slightly lift the foot and push forward two to four inches, touching down and gripping the floor with your forefoot. By reaching forward, extend through the opposite hip, engaging your butt, and lean back while engaging your hips. Squeeze through both your glutes and your stomach to pull back in, and touch back down to your original position.

This is my favorite move! It simulates the exact motion your body goes through when you slip forward in heels, so this exercise creates hip mobility, training your muscles to not lock up and fall. As a result, this movement will create incredible intrinsic strength, bio-mechanical function, and has all the aesthetic benefits of sculpting the butt, thighs, and stomach.

 


Move 6: Forward Angled Reach

“This is the same as above, but now we’re adding an angle and therefore adding a new plane of motion into the exercise—an external rotation of the hip.

“Start with one foot forward extended out in front of you. Lift and rotate your hips and foot out on a diagonal. Reach forward as you are rotating, and tap down while your forefoot grips the floor. Change the angle by rotating your hips outward, and reach forward by extending your hip forward (do not use the knee!). Lean slightly back and engage your abs. Pull up on the band, and rotate back in to the original 12 o’clock position using your glutes, thigh, and abs.

This is a more advanced version of the forward reach because of the added plane of motion, which will recruit more muscles and fibers. Creating hip mobility and extension through your abdomen is great for toning and sculpting the top thigh, outer hip, and lower abs. This is one of my favorite motions for making the glutes pop and targeting your upper and lower glute.

 

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