Let’s set aside the obvious laziness and dishonor that comes with employing this kind of “ training” in your prep. And lets focus on some possible medical issues that are associated with this twisted brand of body contortion.
The price paid for choosing this training method is a lot more than just your soul, these waist-cinching squeems can manifest themselves in a myriad of health issues:
- Gastroesophageal Reflux: Sustained compression of the abdomen can cause the volume of the stomach to decrease. Now anyone familiar with Boyle’s law knows that at a constant temperature, if volume of a closed system decreases pressure will have to increase. This pressure will displace the hydrochloric acid solution that inhabits the stomach upwards into the esophagus, where there is no mucosal lining protecting it, this allow the acid from the stomach to burns the epithelial layers of the esophagus. Prolonged exposure of this acid can lead to ulcerations of the esophageal lining.
- Decrease digestion: If its one thing I know for sure about aesthetic sport athletes is that they operate on a dose-response relationship. Which is to say, if some is good, more must be better. Or in this case, if a tight waist trainer is good, a tighter waist trainer must be better. So if a contest is approaching and the competitor is pulling the strings tighter and tighter this acts as a double edge sword. Firstly, their depleted state leaves less subcutaneous water and adipose tissue to protect the organs, making their susceptibility to compression that much greater. Secondly, this increased compression can actually slow gastrointestinal peristalsis, which is the longitudinal contraction of the circular smooth muscle that comprises your tracts of your colon and allow for food to pass through your body. Making it difficult to completely digest food.
- Shallow breathing: the consolidation of the abdominal organs leaves very little room for the diaphragm to lower and can also compress the lower lobes of the lung. This can result in shallow breathing and a less than optimal ratio of oxygen/ carbon dioxide exchange in the lungs, which can lead to a decrease perfusion of oxygen at the muscle tissue.
- Meralgia paresthetica: Compression of peripheral aspect of the spinal nerve that runs from your L2, L3 spinal vertebrae, commonly known as the lateral femoral cutaneous nerve can decrease or eliminate the body’s ability to perceive sensation on the lateral part of the thigh. If compression of this nerve persists for too long, the damage can be irreversible and the sensory loss could be permanent.
- Atrophy: muscles abide by that age-old saying “if you don’t lose it you lose it”. Which is the case with waist training, the muscles that encompass your “core” (I apologize for using a buzzword to dismantle another buzzword, but I digress) act in many roles, in order to keep us bipedal. If these muscle are no longer active because they are not being forced to work because of a certain corset doing the work for them, they lose their cross sectional area, and become small and weak. In a sport that was founded for the big and strong, we have no place for small and weak. This weakness can also leave the athlete more prone to serious low back conditions, as many of those atrophied muscles play a huge roll on the lumbar spine vertebra and their associated discs.
I’m not going to apologize for the ranting nature of my first article but if the shame and guilt didn’t appeal to your better judgment, hopefully these very real medical threats are enough to talk you back off that ledge and deter your from partaking in this disturbing trend in aesthetic sports.