Under Review: Stiletto Recovery and Catwalk Confidence
Posted May 07 2009 8:17pm
Now that I work at home, I only dress to impress the dog. I rarely wear heels, and on the occasions when I do, my feet know it (and hate me for it). I'm not sure how women out there wear heels day in and day out, but I know there are those of you who do—and I know your feet have to hurt. That's why Dr. Emily Splichal, aka Dr. Legs, has come up with the Catwalk Confidence workout. The workout is designed to combat the damage stilettos can do on your body by strengthening and realigning the muscles in the feet and legs. You can take classes in New York City in person, or you can check out the Stiletto RecoveryandCatwalk Confidence DVDs if you don't live in the Big Apple. Since I don't have access to NYC from the West Coast, I recently gave both DVDs a try.
Stiletto Recovery After a greeting from Dr. Legs, the good doctor goes over a quick posture lesson, and discusses alignment and all of the medical reasons to stretch your legs and feet after wearing stilettos. After going through all of the possible problems that stem from wearing stilettos, I started to wonder why women do this to themselves.
TheStiletto Recovery disc is a 30-minute stretch routine that is inspired by yoga and Pilates. Although the premise of the series is leg and foot relief, you don't only hit the lower body in this workout. Push-up planks, downward dogs, and push-ups work your upper arms, while triangle and lunging poses stretch your lower body. You use a resistance band for a series of stretches lying down, which feel great on the hamstrings and calves. I also learned that by pulling the resistance band in certain ways, you can really target the outside and insides of the lower leg.
The "Fierce Feet" section of the DVD targets your tootsies. Using a golf ball, marbles and a resistance band, you do a series of five exercises that strengthen your ankles, calves, feet and toes. You then use the golf ball as a massage tool. These exercises felt great on my flip-flop lovin' feet, and this portion of the DVD is a bit hilarious because it only shows the model from mid-shin down to her feet. While sitting, you do ankle alphabets (drawing the alphabet with your ankle) and use a resistance band to strengthen your calves while pointing your toes. Picking up marbles with your toes serves to strengthen the toe muscles, something I've never done before because they don't exactly have that station at the gym (thank goodness). My favorite stretch called for the specific Stiletto Recovery band, which I didn't have, so I used the resistance band instead, which worked well: You basically loop the resistance band around the big toes and use it to stretch them toward each other. Ahhh!
The last section, Rapid Recovery, quickly goes over a few of the moves you should do every time you're stuck wearing heels. They include a hip flexor stretch, calf and hamstring stretch, the big toe resistance stretch, and the golf ball massage.
Catwalk Confidence The Catwalk Confidence disc is an hour-long workout that is much more of a traditional workout than Stiletto Recovery. After the intro and posture lesson (which you can choose to skip if you've already seen it on Stiletto Recovery ), you go into the Bold Backside, which works the back, glutes and hamstrings. This workout is also yoga inspired and emphasizes balance—for instance, lunges with upper body twists and single-leg dead lifts, which I loved. Light weights also add an upper-body emphasis and the many push-ups and walking push-ups are a definite challenge (and too challenging for one of the girls in the DVD who wasn't able to do them with proper form). You use child's pose to recover between most of the moves, which got old and annoying after awhile (and I love child's pose).
The Crunchless Core segment takes you through a series of moves to target your abdominals and obliques. Bicycles, straight-leg scissors, planks and side planks are all very Pilates-inspired and effective. One of my favorite moves included a new twist I'd never seen before: While on all fours, you raise your left arm and right leg to test your balance. Then you lift your left leg's foot off the ground, adding a nearly impossible balance challenge. This DVD also includes the Fierce Feet portion from Stiletto Recovery. If you're looking to buy one of the DVDs, Catwalk Confidence is your best bet because it repeats almost everything you get in Stiletto Recovery and also gets into additional strength work.
Total Series While the two DVDs, Stiletto Recovery and Catwalk Confidence were great for stretching and had some challenging strength exercises, I had a couple of beefs with them. Dr. Splichal definitely knew how to cue and clue you in on proper alignment, but she could have done more. There were times when the girls in the DVD were doing varying levels of difficulty, but that was never mentioned. And at one point, two of the girls were using a mat that kept disappearing and reappearing between shots. Unless there's some magic going on, that's just bad (but funny) editing. That wasn't the only technical problem either. The sound wasn't always the greatest—at times fine and at times so much lower than the music that it was hard to hear instructions. The music itself was interesting, a notably eclectic mix of piano and what I can only describe as "tribal."
FBG Rating (Out of 5) Instruction: ★★ Long-Term Likeability: ★★ Music: ★★★ Fun Factor: ★★ Meets Expectations: ★★★ Overall: ★★★
Fit Bottom line: With some fresh twists on old moves and an emphasis on stretching and foot strength, these DVDs are a great way to learn how to take care of your feet and legs. — Erin
Do you live in your heels? Shoot us a comment or email us firstname.lastname@example.org May 14 to enter to win the DVDs! (U.S. residents only, please!)