Courtesy Universal Pictures
Julie Jordan
June 18, 2015 08:15 PM

Bryce Dallas Howard has always been dedicated to her craft. But when the script for Jurassic World called for her high-strung executive character to run from dinosaurs in high heels, it was “something I wasn’t necessarily prepared to do,” the actress tells PEOPLE in this week’s issue.

But it was actually Howard herself who decided to wear a pair of 3.5-inch Sam Edelman pumps instead of the spray-painted platform sneakers she was offered.

To prepare her feet for the feat, Howard says she tweaked her workouts to strengthen the muscles in her legs.

“I just became completely fixated on having the strongest ankles imaginable,” she explains. The actress fashioned a wooden platform and did exercises each day before filming.

“I’d put my foot on it and do calf raises and then stay on my tippy toe and do squats,” she recalls. “Then I’d turn perpendicular and exercise each side of my foot. Just to practice the stabilizing muscles.”

About halfway through the production, which shot for six months in both Hawaii and New Orleans, Howard realized she might be “neglecting” the rest of her body. “I just felt like I should be doing more of a whole-body workout as opposed to very specific, bizarre, awkward ankle exercises every day,” she adds, laughing.

Howard, 34, enlisted the help of her costar Chris Pratt, and together the two “would always stretch and do squats and push-ups” before shooting. And the actress would also run on her own. “But at a certain point I stopped because I was doing so much running during the day,” she says of being chased by dinosaurs. “I was like, ‘This is covered.’ ”

RELATED VIDEO: Bryce Dallas Howard Worked out Her Ankles While Filming Jurassic World

For more of Howard’s interview – including behind-the-scenes stories of Jurassic World and her upbringing in Hollywood – pick up this week’s issue of PEOPLE on newsstands Friday.

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