With stars such as Kim Kardashian raving about its effects on social media, waist training – a workout done while wearing a tightly laced corset - has become a popular exercise trend for those seeking a Kardashian-esque hourglass shape.
But what is it and how does it work? Personal trainer and founder of Twenty Two Training Dalton Wong explains all:
What is the basic idea behind waist training?
"The aim of waist training is to try and make the area between the hips and the ribcage smaller by working the front and lower abdominals and obliques. The idea is to strengthen these muscles to create a flatter tummy and more defined waist."
How many types of corset are there?
"There are two types of corset: the first is to aid strength and is often worn post-pregnancy or by people who have back problems. The second is used during workouts to increase body temperature, causing you to sweat more and feel like you are burning extra fat. The corset used by Kim Kardashian is a mixture of the two; it aids her workout at the same time as improving her core stability by providing extra support."
Kim is now selling her own version of the corset via her shapewear line, Skims, which retails for $68.
What sort of body shape can you hope to achieve with waist training?
"The idea of waist training is to produce a classic hourglass shape. Obviously you can't change the size of your hips but with proper training you can remove love handles and extra layers of fat around your waist to create a covetable curvy shape."
Which exercises will produce the best results?
"Abdominal exercises are obviously going to help produce a more defined waist but it's important to remember that this will only work if you shed residual body fat first. Metabolic training and high-intensity fat-burning exercises should always be used in conjunction with area-specific training."
Dalton's top waist training tips:
"1. The best training doesn't always start in the gym. You will never achieve a lean, sculpted body if you are eating junk food so the first step should always be to improve your diet and make sure you are eating plenty of nutrient-rich foods.
"2. If you are overweight or unfit you should take some high intensity cardio classes before beginning waist training. It's key to remove as much excess body fat as possible, otherwise you are simply strengthening muscles that are hidden beneath layers of fat.
"3. On the other hand, if you regularly go to the gym and are generally healthy and athletic, but are still failing to see results, it could mean that you need to take a break. People who work out regularly often find that their bodies enter a state of stress, resulting in the over-production of cortisone that in turn allows a layer of fat to build up around the waist. Take a yoga class, get a massage and allow your body to rest and restore its chemical balance to see some real results from your training."
From Harper's Bazaar UK