There is much debate surrounding the waist trainer in the age of the hourglass figure. Some, like Kim and Khloé Kardashian, regularly champion its body-shaping abilities on social media—even going so far as to wear one to the gym. Jessica Alba donned a double corset “day and night” for three months post-baby, characterizing her experience as “brutal” in an interview with Porter. Whether or not you see it as a viable solution to the flatter stomach, there is one thing we can all agree on: There’s no way that this modern torture device is comfortable. “Waist trainers are made of latex to increase sweating, and cinched tight to discourage overconsumption,” explained L.A.-based fitness and lifestyle expert Christine Bullock. To be fair, she says, these belly binders are not entirely a hoax, as they do squeeze out retained water and produce short-term, day-of results. “After the big reveal, the photo shoot, the night out, a lunch, and a glass of water, you are right back where you started,” Bullock said. “If you want real results that last longer than a few hours, you need to work for them.” Here, the pro presents a few moves designed to target the inner and outer oblique muscles that wrap around the tiniest part of your waist. “As you strengthen and tighten these muscles, they will actually work as a natural corset,” she said. Curves minus the compression? We’ll take it.
Begin in plank position, keeping your hands shoulder distance, feet hip distance, and core braced. This is your start position. Float the left foot off the ground. Balancing on your right foot, pike your hips toward the sky and shift back to a single-legged down dog with your left leg extended straight up behind you. Bend the knee and try to kick your glute, opening slightly through the hip as you brace your core. Lengthen the leg, square the hips, and shift forward to a single-leg plank. Now draw the left knee into and across the chest—aiming your knee toward your right elbow. Finally, re-extend the left leg and lower it to the ground to return to your starting plank position. Repeat five times on each side, alternating right and left.
Begin in a seated position, palms together at your chest. Brace your core, lean back slightly, and float your legs to tabletop. This is your start position. Draw the core up and in, lengthening through the spine as you begin to lower the upper and lower body, extending through the legs. Lower a few inches off the ground. Now brace the core and lift the upper body as you draw the knees back into the chest. Finish with a twist of the core—rotating to the right, then back through center and to the left, aiming to touch your elbow to the floor each time. Return to center and repeat 10 times.
Side Plank Trio
Begin in a forearm side plank with elbow under shoulder and feet stacked. (You can drop the bottom knee to modify.) Place the top hand behind your head with a bent elbow. This is your start position. Dip your hips down and hover above the ground. Use your core to lift back up to your start position. Now hover your top leg. Draw the top elbow and knee together directly above your hips. Re-extend your arm and leg. Draw your elbow and knee together again, this time in front of your body and parallel to the ground. Return to start position. Repeat 10 times on the right and 10 times on the left.
Begin in plank position—hands shoulder distance, feet hip distance, and core braced. Float the right foot off the ground and draw the right knee into the chest. Now plant the right foot on the outside of the right hand in a runner’s lunge. Put your weight into your right foot as you lift the right hand and draw the left knee forward. Pull your leg between your planted right foot and left hand and finally extend it straight up in front of you. Reach for your left toe with your right hand. Reverse your entire movement to return to your start position—first returning to your runner’s lunge and finally to plank. Alternate left and right for a total of 10 reps.
Begin lying on your back with your legs extended, your right heel stacked on top of your left toe and your hands behind your head. Engage the core, floating the chest, head, and both legs off the ground. This is your start position. Begin to draw your knees and chest together as you rotate the opposite elbow toward the top knee, making sure to squeeze the legs together. Return to starting position. Repeat 10 times on the right and 10 times on the left, continuing to hover the legs above the ground between repetitions.
—Amber Kallor, Style.com