waist training

Can waist training flatten your abs?

Jessica Alba recently revealed that she wore a double corset day and night for 3 months to restore her pre-baby bikini bod after delivering each of her daughters. She described this form of waist training as “brutal” and “sweaty but worth it.”

Many of my clients have enjoyed similar results when combining deep core activation with supportive apparel like corsets or waist trainers, although few would describe the experience as “brutal.”

waist-training-postnatal-fitness

When the body suffers trauma that threatens its integrity – anything from a broken bone to a deep cut, we commonly splint the site of injury. A cast to stabilize and support a fracture; a butterfly bandage to minimize scarring as our flesh heals. An abdominal splint, or corset, is not terribly different. For centuries, cultures around the world have recognized the value of binding the post-pregnancy abdomen to facilitate the healing process. Somewhere along the line, we’ve forgotten the wisdom of our great-grandmothers who regularly wore girdles and corsets during the months following childbirth. This moderate waist training practice supports the stretched-out abdominal wall and minimizes stress on the connective tissue between the two halves of the rectus abdominis, the 6-pack muscles. On a very basic, physical level this practice makes sense. Although supportive apparel alone will not physically restore strength and tone to the muscles, it does facilitate a faster recovery when combined with therapeutic engagement of the core muscles.

It doesn’t have to be brutal or anti-feminist to take this simple, affordable step toward restoring abdominal integrity following childbirth. Smart waist training has real functional benefits, in addition to flattering the figure (which, if we’re honest with ourselves, has tremendous appeal for even the most liberated women).  No, I do not advocate the severe measures undertaken in some forms of waist training, like over-tightening to interfere with breathing or digestion, or the rumored Victorian practice of rib removal to achieve an unnaturally tiny waist (which is merely a myth, and an implausible one considering the life-threatening risk of surgery during that era). Nor do I recommend elective, invasive procedures… but I’m all for heeding the example of our great-grandmothers to help heal our post-baby bellies. Bring on the corsets!