If you go to the gym or even browse fitness magazines from time to time, you may have noticed a new trend popping up: women wearing tight garments over their waists as they exercise. These garments are known as waist trainers, and they've been made popular by celebrities like Kim Kardashian. Should you be wearing a waist trainer, too? What do they do? Read on to learn more about this trend.
What do waist trainers do?
Waist trainers are said to help improve your posture while you work out. They force you to stand up straight and use your core, which helps ensure you lift properly and engage your abdominal muscles with each movement. The goal, when wearing a waist trainer, is generally to achieve a tighter abdomen in less time than it would otherwise take to achieve one's desired look. Waist trainers may also help protect the back during a workout since they prevent you from slouching and using your back muscles when you should be using your arms or abs.
Does it really work?
As with most things related to fitness, the answer seems to be "if you do it correctly" or "for some people." You can't expect to get radical results from wearing a waist trainer. For instance, it won't take your 40-inch waist to the perfect 26-inch waist in two weeks. However, if you put in the work in the gym, the waist trainer can help and expedite your results. For instance, it may take you 4 weeks to lose 2 inches from your waistline rather than 6. (These numbers are just examples, not the exact results you can expect.)
How do you waist train properly?
If you do want to experience results, you must make sure you use your waist trainer properly. There are a few rules to follow:
Start off slowly. Eventually, you will be able to wear the waist trainer for a full 8 hours each day, including during your workouts. However, you must start out slow to avoid over-straining the core muscles you're not used to using. Start with wearing the trainer for 2 hours per day, including during a light, 30-minute workout. Work up to the full 8 hours by the 4th day.
Steer clear of heavy cardio. It's okay to do some walking or slower cycling in your waist trainer, but if you're going to do heavy cardio, like intervals on the treadmill or stair climber, take your waist trainer off first. It's not needed for support during these activities, and it may restrict your breathing.
Focus on strength. The waist trainer is most effective when worn during lifting and strength-building exercises. Moves like squats, lunges, curls, and burpees are great options when you wear your waist trainer. You may need to stick to fewer reps of these exercises when you first start wearing the trainer since the garment will force you to use your core more than you normally would. You can search for waist trainer workouts to find some great, targeted ones!
Make sure your waist trainer fits. Waist trainers are not a one-size-fits-all garment. To figure out which size you wear, measure yourself around the narrowest part of your waist. The trainer should not roll over at your waist -- if it does, it is too small. If there are bulges in the garment, it is too large. It's best to try on a waist trainer before you buy so you can make sure it's comfortable and fits properly.
So, there you have it: the basics of waist training. It's definitely something to try if your goal is to enhance your workout results and tighten your core.