T Nation

Neanderthal in Stilettoes

I?ve been reading through the Neanderthal No More articles, according to my pics I have everything wrong with me! Lol. I?m going to give the workout a try and was wondering if there are any extra exercises I could add to counteract the effects of wearing high heels. The shoes I wear for work elevate my heels by nearly 6inches. Wearing shorter heels isn?t an option and mine are considered quite conservative in size.

I try not to stand and walk around too much in them and end up sitting for quite a bit, but heels are still elevated. I try to take them off as much as I can but it isn?t always practical. When I?m wearing them I have to overly arch my back to stick out my butt and boobs. I have had lower back pain since I’ve been in the stilettoes. Its enough to stop me squatting and deadlifting. Currently benching a lot but careful to keep row volume equal to bench volume.

In case this is of relevance…
I have seen a pilates woman re. back. She blamed it on the posture I have to adopt whilst at work, but strangely not on the heels themselves. She was shocked and horrified when I showed her videos of me training - apparently my back might explode because I arch when benching. Her colleague (a PT) told me its okay for me to squat as long as I stick to light weights (around 40kg).

I?ve also seen a level 3 CHEK practitioner who wasn?t much better. After my assessment he said my pelvis is tilted under so arching my back is fine. He told me squatting is fine as long as I don?t go too low but a squat isn?t a squat unless it hits IPF depth so I wasn?t happy with his advice. I followed his program but it didn?t make a difference.

I really want to sort this out because I miss squatting…

Thanks in advance.

You mention that you often keep your lower back in an ‘arch’. Are you doing any compensatory movement in the opposite manner (i.e. flexing your spine in the oppostie direction)?
Hip circles might be helpful.

Funnily enough I first read about compensatory back movements in one of Chek’s books.

6 inch heels at work is conservative? Interesting workplace…

No, I’m not doing any compensatory movements. The CHEK guy said my pelvis is tucked under and that arching my back would actually be beneficial to it. He didn’t discuss compensatory movements with me.

Are hip circles a CHEK exercise or do you just mean rotate hips in a circle? If the latter, then, yes, I already do this but not as part of an exercise routine or anything.

Wearing heels shortens the calfmuscles. I’d start stretching them in the morning and in the evening.

Yep, by ‘hip circles’ I mean trying to open up your range of motion in your hips by doing circles, tilts, figure eights etc. The idea is not to just go through the motions, but to actively try and (gently) push your range of movement limits. You can do these standing up, sitting on a ball (Chek), etc.

Did anyone mention if your hips being tucked under is abnormal? Any discussion as to a remedy (my thoughts would be ‘hip circles’)? If it’s normal for your body, it sounds odd to me that you should have to compensate by curving your back all the time.

As for compensatory movement, it’s about putting in some work to balance out the load across your joints. If you’re always curving your back, then you may be developing some tension in the area or some other alignment problems.

I’ve attached images from a Chek article “Fear the Squat No More”. I’m referencing him because you’ve had some contact with his ideas before.
His thoughts are that you can lose spinal fluid through chronic curving of the spine, and arching is needed to compensate.

That aside, it will help stretch your back muscles out if you do some arching work (unloaded).

You could do any number of bending exercises - something a little closer to home than a Chek squat might be the pull-through.
I’d be starting unloaded and after you’ve seen some improvement, advancing to a very light load. Keep the emphasis on stretching and elongating your spine.

alright…I gotta know…what kind of work do you do?