There’s been a lot of hullabaloo surrounding the phenomenon of waist training over the past few years. On one hand, you have celebs and regular folk who’ve had amazing results from waist training. But on the other, there’s a group of people who can’t talk about corsets without rattling off a list of waist training dangers.
So, which is it? It waist training safe?
Well, it really depends how you do it. Waist training, like everything else in life, is sort of a double-edged sword. In the same way that fire can warm but also destroy or water can hydrate as well as drown, the fact is that anything can be taken to extremes. And that’s where the dangers lurk.
If you take the time to read up on corset training – like you’re doing right now – and practice the best waist training tips, it is actually safe to wear a corset and train your waist without damaging your body.
Again, it all depends on how you do it.
To help you avoid the most commonly cited dangers of waist training so you can craft your curves without any hiccups, we’ve listed potential side effects you need to watch out for – and how you can avoid them altogether!
Corsets cause muscle atrophy
The most commonly cited danger of waist training is that it weakens your torso muscles.
“Corset training has the potential to cause a weakening of the back and abdominal muscles, as you are not relying on using these muscles for posture when wearing the corset. The corset provides the support, not the muscles, and if the muscles are not used they will waste.”
When I first heard these arguments against waist training, I had an immediate mental image of a woman unstrapping her corset and then just flopping over in half because she can’t support herself.
Fortunately, that never happens.
Unfortunately, muscle atrophy is a possibility with waist training and can result in feeling fatigued when holding your torso upright without support from a corset.
The good news is that this potential side effect doesn’t have to affect you at all. In fact, if you keep this in mind and take the necessary precautions, you can actually strengthen your core and improve your posture permanently through waist training.
How’s that possible? Well, the risk and the amount of muscle atrophy depends on a few factors:
- How long you wear your corset. If you wear your corset all the time, like 20+ hours a day, 7 days a week and rarely spend any time out of your corset, there’s less chance for your muscles to do their job and a greater chance of atrophy.
- How tight you wear your corset. Wearing your corset with more than a 4 to 6 inch reduction causes your muscles to relax, which is great to relieve tense muscles but the same relaxation can cause atrophy when done for long periods of time.
- The amount of core and back strengthening exercises you actively practice. Corsets help support you and too much of that extra support takes the stress off your core muscles and can make them weaker over time. So what can you do to counterbalance? Engage in core and back muscle strengthening exercises! These are must do exercises when waist training, especially if you’re wearing your corset for prolonged periods of time.
So what’s the takeaway from all this? Simple: Waist train in moderation by taking time to enjoy yourself in your body without your corset and not squeezing yourself in too tight.
When you first start waist training, it can be tempting to tightlace as much as you can to get quick results but refrain from going too tight, too soon – muscle atrophy is not worth it.
Plus, there are benefits to looser tightlacing – wearing your corset at a slightly lighter lacing encourages you to keep your abdominals engaged and can improve your posture in the long run through muscle memory and increased awareness of your posture.
Corsets cause digestive discomfort
One of the first things you notice when you begin waist training is that it changes the way you eat. Because waist trainers literally compress your stomach, you’ll quickly find that you’re just not able to eat as much as you normally would.
This is actually good news, especially if you’re waist training to lose weight, since the reduction in stomach capacity will encourage you to make better decisions about the food you put in your body.
And by making the right decisions, you can also avoid digestive discomfort while waist training. You see, one of the biggest problems of trying to eat a “normal” diet while waist training is that it results in digestive discomfort like indigestion, bloating, and acid reflux.
Again, this doesn’t have to be the case. Here’s how to avoid it.
- Eat small, eat often. This is the mantra of all waist trainers. Instead of a few, large meals throughout the day, break down your meals into smaller mini-meals. These won’t fill you up enough to cause discomfort and you’ll still get all the nutrients and nourishment your body needs.
- Avoid common culprits. There are some foods and drinks that are notorious for causing indigestion and heartburn such as fried foods, greasy and fatty foods, carbonated drinks, spicy foods, coffee, and alcohol. Salty foods also result in water retention, which can contribute to feeling bloated. Try to avoid these foods while waist training.
- Loosen your corset during and after eating certain foods. Some healthy, nutritious foods aren’t the easiest to digest. Raw veggies, for example, can cause bloating but are so good for you, you don’t want to avoid them. Beans and pulses are famous for causing gas but are also nutritious so loosen your corset to accommodate them.
- Fiber is your friend. Waist trainers compress your intestines and can cause constipation. Ain’t nobody got time for that. So stock up on fibrous foods or take a fiber supplement to keep you regular while waist training.
Waist training shifts your organs
Shifting of organs sounds serious – deadly serious – until you remember that common things like pregnancy, yoga and even bending over moves your internal organs. Your intestines are flexible and able to accommodate these kinds of activities and events in your life.
Plus, not all forms of waist training has much effect on your organs. Your insides won’t move much unless you’re corset training for sustained periods of time with rigorous tightlacing.
In that case, a corset with a narrow waist will gradually push your internal organs away from your waistline with the upper organs moving upwards and the lower organs moving downwards in a way that’s similar to the way they move during pregnancy, where the organs reposition to accommodate the expanding uterus.
If you’d like to get an idea of what your organs look like after waist training, here’s a video that uses MRI imaging technology to show the insides of a corset trainer. It’s in German but the images are universal. It start around 45min in…
Corsets cause skin damage
One of the most annoying and immediate side effects of waist training for long periods of time is skin irritation in the form of itchiness, rashes and chafing.
The degree to which you experience skin irritation will differ based on your skin sensitivity but there are ways everyone can reduce the discomfort until your skin eventually becomes used to the pressure. Here’s how…
- Gentle and mild skin care. We all use a whole lot of products these days but less is more when it comes to waist training. The last thing you want is a cocktail full of skin irritants in your cleanser or moisturizer left to mix with sweat caused by your corset – that’s a recipe for skin irritation. Choose a gentle, mild, preferably natural body wash and lotion to use on your skin.
- Choose a corset less likely to irritate your skin. A lot of the skin irritation from corsets is caused by sweat and this can be drastically reduced by choosing corsets made of breathable, natural fabrics like silk and cotton rather than polyester, nylon or vinyl.
- Wear something underneath your corset. This is the great way to immediately cut out the majority of the skin discomfort you feel from wearing a corset. Go for something that’s made from natural fiber, has no seams or sequins or unnecessary stitching, and is a stretchy material to minimize wrinkles that form beneath the corset and your skin.
- Use a body powder. If sweatiness is really getting you down, dust yourself off with a body powder before putting on your corset. Again, go for one that is totally natural (and talc free – that’s carcinogenic) so you can avoid potential skin irritants.
Waist training is dehydrating
A little known effect of waist trainers is that they keep you warm, which is great on a chilly day but the increase in body temperature that it causes – as well as sweating – can very well lead to dehydration.
The solution? Drink more water, more often.