Q: I am a male who is into natural body building  (no steroids) In the quest to obtain the smallest possible waist and the most pronounced V shape, I  was  wondering if corseting would help even temporarily, and what is the shortest  amount of time one may have to commit to achieve any results to this effect through corseting. Do you believe this may help achieve the desired look in addition to the bodybuilding lifestyle, or not? --"TD" (4/19/02)

A: With the proper model of corset on, waist reduction is certainly not a problem, but I assume your question refers to permanent effects. My chapter on "Permanency" in Corseting the Human Body explains this in detail. In addition, specifically for body building, there is a consideration of muscle tone. The shape of a body builder is a function of muscle tone and reduction of fatty tissue. The waist specifically is supported naturally by the "transversus abdominis," which is the natural girdle or corset. Training this muscle will act similar to a waist corset. However, it is possible by means of corseting to train the internals. Individuals who regularly wear tight corsets know that it becomes easier over time to tight-lace. This is due to relaxation of the muscles, but also to increased mobility of the internals. Done gradually, this poses no problems, and could be utilized to increase the effectiveness of the natural abdominal muscle. Note however, that toned muscles resist corseting, so it may be difficult to tolerate tight-lacing in comfort. Very slender muscular individuals express feeling very constricted with only 2 to 3" waist reductions, whereas those who have not exercised regularly will feel this only at 4 to 5".

In summary, a V-shape is possible, but you will have to moderate your expectations. I would allocate many months for a lasting result. As explained in my article, if a corset is not worn for lengthy periods of time, there are few permanent effects.


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