Shapewear does many things. It adds definition to your natural shape, enables clothes to hang well, and even improves your comfort and confidence. However, can it bring anything to a workout? When it comes to keeping everything in place, preventing wobble and making you feel that you can take on the world, shapewear is certainly up to the job. But when it comes down to it, is it safe or silly to exercise in shapewear?
What’s the difference?
First of all, let’s clarify the different types of foundation wear at play here. We’re familiar with traditional shapewear like control briefs and shaping shorts. Then there’s sportswear. Sports bras and lycra capris have a lot of similar compression features to shapewear. Finally, there are waist training garments, which some people work out in with the specific aim being to permanently alter a waist shape.
Waist and Thigh Training
The concept behind shape training is that with long term use of high compression garments, your body is more permanently altered to give your waist a more defined shape.
The waist training practice we’re interested in here is wearing the corset whilst working out. The idea here is to stimulate thermal activity in your core to sweat more during activity. In addition, you may eat fewer and smaller meals due to the waist trainer’s high compression.
Working along a similar concept to a waist cincher, thigh cinchers are high compression garments to train your thighs. Some women decide to wear thigh cinchers during a work out, or for a few hours every day. Of course, the effect of shape training is hugely varied and unreliable. Is it silly? Does it work? There’s simply no concrete evidence.
Traditional shapewear garments are not designed to change your body forever. They are intended to work in combination with your wardrobe to refine your shape and give you confidence. In real life, the silhouette that we’d like to project can change depending on the situation. So this flexibility is therefore shapewear’s strength. There’s an old perception that shapewear makes you uncomfortable and sweaty, which puts people off wearing it while exercising. However, developments in fabric technology have changed the game. There’s now a whole range of compression garments where sportswear and shapewear meet. Good shapewear is now breathable and more responsive to your movement keeping your skin healthy underneath.
Synthetic fabrics like nylon and spandex are common to shapewear and many types of workout wear. Both are designed to fit with compression. Shapewear aims to refine your silhouette, and sportswear to keep everything in place. The difference lies in the breathability of the fabrics. So, what are the benefits to wearing shapewear with your sportswear?
Taking a sports bra as a guide, the benefits of compression improve your workout posture, support your body through movement and prevent injury. A good sports bra supports the muscles in your back, which can prevent aches and pains. Similarly, regular sports bra wearers often find that breast compression eases back pain caused by the weight of larger breasts.
The same principle therefore goes for control briefs if chosen wisely. The key is in light compression and fabric composition. We cannot advise the practice of wearing high compression garments during a vigorous workout. Anything that impinges your breathing and muscle movement is counterintuitive to an energetic activity. However, gentle support can absolutely help your body in its activity.
Chosen correctly, shapewear can successfully support your posture while exercising. There are some fabulously supportive sports focussed garments out there. Just be conscious of the fabrics that you select. The more breathable the better, and you should always feel comfortable and confident. This is the golden rule of shapewear.