Scroll through celebrity Instagram feeds and you’ll likely find a handful of A-, B-, and who-the-heck-is-she-listers, donning what can only be described as a modern-day corset as they head to the gym for a workout. Called, waist training, this fitness trend has been given credit for getting everyone from Kim K. to Jessica Alba back in pre-baby shape, but how effective (and safe) is waist training?
So, what is waist training? For all intents and purposes waist training is the act of wearing a tight-fitting belt (read: corset) around your midsection during exercise. It creates an hourglass figure and is believed to “train” your waist to slim down faster than just by working out alone. However, outside of the fact that while wearing said corset you’ll have a slimmer shape (a la Spanx) the results are temporary, meaning when the waist trainer comes off your natural body shape comes back.
Temporary results aside, wearing a corset during your fitness routine doesn’t seem like the healthiest decision, and our experts agree. “Wearing a corset while training would hinder a person’s ability to breathe properly by preventing them from fully expanding the lower lobes of the lungs in order to increase lung capacity,” shared Kara Thomas, Fitness & Health Manager at Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain Resort & Spa. That’s at least one hour a day when your rib cage is being squeezed and your ability to breathe deeply is hindered.
What waist trainers shouldn’t be confused for are weight belts and support belts. Scott Danberg, Director of Fitness at Pritikin Longevity Center and Spa, shared that weight belts are actually helpful during your fitness routine and provide additional support during lifting. “There are two primary benefits for using a weight belt when performing resistance exercises,” he shared. “First; to provide additional low back lumbar support, and second; to create additional inter abdominal pressure to assist in the performance of maximal lifts.” Waist trainers are not providing this same pelvic or lower-back support and shouldn’t be used in a similar fashion.
Conclusion: There are no short-cuts when it comes to weight loss and toning. If you want the results you have to put in the work and steer clear of the passing fads that often come with high price tags and unhealthy side effects along with their lofty promises.
Have you tried waist-training? Share your thoughts in the comments.
Your Wellness Tip To-Go:
Interested toning your midsection? Do it without waist training or sit-ups thanks to these five moves!