“I did everything he did but backwards and in high heels.” — Ginger Rogers
Working out in high heels might sound like a recipe for a small disaster, or something you might do on a dare. But done right, it’s a surefire way to get your heart pumping and your sass going. There’s something about slipping into a pair of slinky shoes and then firing up your moves to powerful choreography that releases your inner rawr. Trust us — the awkward soon goes away and you’ll walk out of our classes feeling ten feet taller.
Here’s other reasons why heels — worn in moderation — work.
1. Tone those calf muscles
Apart from making your legs look deliciously longer, heels help improve your calf muscle tone and shape as they activate the muscles more evenly. The trick is the frequency and height: go up to three inches max, because anything over that height starts giving diminishing returns and raises the risk of injury. And don’t overdo it: women who routinely wear high heels over two inches end up with shorter calf muscles and weakened Achilles tendons. Also, don’t forget to s t r e t c h beforehand, especially before a workout.
2. Your abs and pelvis will also thank you
According to a 2008 study at the University of Verona in Italy, wearing heels can help strengthen pelvic and abdominal muscles. That’s because women lean a little forward when wearing heels to counter the elevated angle, forcing us to tighten abdominal muscles and tuck the pelvis under. This action increases the ability for pelvic muscles to contract, which leads to more gratifying sex, easier childbirth, and reduces problems associated with urinary incontinence. Just think of it as your little kegel session when you’re strutting your stuff.
3. It improves your balance
Working out in heels forces you to distribute your weight differently, and improve your sense of balance over time as you learn to engage your core muscles and increase your stability.
Before walking into a heels class, check out what shoes work best for you. Ensure they don’t pinch but aren’t so loose that they fly with the first (or third!) kick. The shoes should feel secure on all sides and not gape. You should also be able to feel the ground underneath your feet, so steer clear of those with the “platform” in the front of the shoe as that will dull your sense of where the floor is. Start low if you’re starting out, maybe bring options just in case, and don’t forget to have fun most of all.