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Friday, March 7, 2014

Why Strong Ankles Matter for Female Models

I gotta tell ya, I've trained a lot of female models when it comes to walking in high heels for runway and fashion shows and almost every time I've almost had a heart attack for fear that one of the girls was going to roll or break her ankle.

In the past I've vented about how I really hate the latest trends of high heels that place a lot of weight on the front of the shoe using the "platform style," which automatically makes the wearer feel like she's teeter-tottering.

Even I've had to do extra practice in these types of heels. To be quite honest, I'm looking forward to the day when high heels do away with excessive platforms and models can once again go back to wearing heels that promote more stability when walking. But then again, when has being fashion forward ever meant being comfortable?

But I digress...

Okay, back to what I was saying about training models to walk in high heels...newbies are the ones I worry about the most because they obviously aren't used to walking in these kinds of shoes and many times they're walking in heels they haven't broken in yet. Or if they have broken them in, they still require a lot of practice in getting their balance and using the proper posture when it comes to the runway walk.

It just dawned on me recently that one of the reasons why I think many new models have such a hard time walking in heels--for runway/fashion show purposes not every day walking--is because they have what I believe to be "weak ankles." Yes, it is a real thing.

When watching newbies practice in their heels, I almost always see their feet/ankles seem to give out suddenly and they almost go down for the count. Thankfully, I've yet to have a girl fall but it just seems like it'll only be a matter of time. It might not sound that serious but falling in high heels could easily lead to rolling the ankle, twisting, spraining or--in extreme cases--breaking it. I don't have to tell you that none of us want that to happen.

The main way to get comfortable walking in high heels so that it doesn't look like every step you're taking is as if you're walking with needles being jabbed into your feet, is to practice...and practice a lot. However, if you've been experiencing instances where you feel like you're about to fall or your ankles seem to give way, then I would greatly suggest taking the steps necessary to strengthen those weak ankles.

This is as simple as incorporating specific exercises that target the area. No, that doesn't mean you're going to have to go to the gym and buff up your legs. Strengthening the ankles is all about enhancing endurance of the muscles and tendons, not just in the ankles but the feet and calves as well.

Below is a link to a really useful article that gives examples of easy ways to strengthen the ankles:

PopSugar: 7 Ways to Strengthen Your Ankles to Avoid Twists and Sprains

The article doesn't talk about how these exercises relate to wearing high heels but the exercises mentioned will help strengthen and provide additional support to the ankles when practicing in heels for runway and fashion show purposes.

If you want a real challenge, purchase ankle weights. They shouldn't be crazy heavy, in fact, pick the lightest ones to start with if you've never used this kind of item before. I especially like the kind that look like scrunchies that come in various designs.

Using the ankle weights is simple: you strap them around your ankles and spend a few minutes each day wearing them around. Many people wear them while exercising but if you just want them for the purposes I'm talking about in this post, then stick to just walking around with the weights on at home.

Do not wear your high heels with your ankle weights! I haven't found any specific research that says doing so is bad but it just doesn't seem like a smart thing to do so for common sense purposes, I do not advise wearing high heels and ankle weights at the same time.

Wear the ankle weights around the house while in your socks, barefoot or you can put tennis shoes on and walk around a bit outside, whichever you like best. Start slow, 10-15 minutes each day. Do not go overboard--this is supposed to be a simple exercise. The idea is slow and steady because this is how you'll build endurance and strength in the ankles.

It won't take long to notice a big difference once you slap your high heels back on again. The heels will feel lighter and you should be able to feel more fluid and graceful as you walk--hence, the whole purpose of the ankle weights.

The more comfortable you feel when walking in high heels, the more solid you'll feel as far as balance goes and with stronger ankles, the less likely you'll be to take a spill that could put you out of commission (and out of your favorite stilettos) for a while.


Anonymous said...

Hello Hello! Hi Dania!
I'm just going to ask a really random question ahahaha
When models go for casting calls or get their sizes measured or go to open call(before they actually become models), do they wear a bra with paddings or without paddings? My friend and I were talking about models and we somehow got onto this topic lol. So we thought that we'd ask you :) So...what kind of bra do they wear??

Thank you and sorry for such a random question!

Dania Denise said...

Hi, Anonymous! You'll find the answer to your questions in its own post, titled "Answering a Reader Question #723," which can be found on my other blog: "Modeling 101 - Answering Readers Questions."

Please visit this link: http://amodelsdiary-readerquestions.blogspot.com/ and you can view your post there. Thanks for reading!

Catt said...

Is it weird that I have an amazon shopping cart with ankle weights in them? ;-)
I'm getting the 1lb ones but I'm wondering if I should make them heavier?

Thanks for the post Dania! xx

Dania Denise said...

Hi, Catt! You'll find the answer to your questions in its own post, titled "Answering a Reader Question #725," which can be found on my other blog: "Modeling 101 - Answering Readers Questions."

Please visit this link: http://amodelsdiary-readerquestions.blogspot.com/ and you can view your post there. Thanks for reading!