Fitness Technology

Pro Athletes Swear By the WAFF To Build Strength and Better Posture

Zoe Weiner

Photo: Waff
If we’ve learned anything from a year’s worth of home workouts, it’s that all you really need to transform any living room into home gym is a few feet of floor space (particularly if you’re in a small space like moi). If you are going to invest in something to take your mat workouts to the next level, you want to be sure that it offers maximum benefits with minimum storage requirements. Enter: the WAFF.

The WAFF is really nothing more than a large, inflatable disk that looks a whole lot like a pool float. Because it comes in three different sizes, it has dozens of different body-benefitting applications. You can use it to add amp up your core and lower-body workouts, you can lie down on top of it to stretch out your back, or you can slide it onto your desk chair to help improve your posture as you work. It’s so versatile that Fabrice Gautier, one of the brand’s founders, says that many professional athletes have made it a part of their fitness and recovery routines.

I’ve personally been using a WAFF Mini in my mat workouts and on my desk chair for the last few weeks, and have already noticed a major difference in my core strength. Even if I’m simply sitting on it while typing on my computer, it’s clear that my abs are working harder than usual to keep my upper body from slouching. As for the Max, it’s become a staple in my recovery routine. I love to lounge on top of it, and have actually started bringing it to the park with me to nap on (don’t judge me). One of my favorite qualities, however, is that the devices are easy to inflate and deflate, which means they don’t take up a single square inch of floor space when you aren’t using them. Intrigued? Here’s how to incorporate them into your routine.

1. To make floor work more challenging

From a fitness standpoint, the WAFF is designed to make your standard floor moves—like crunches, dead lifts, and Russian Twists—more challenging. That’s because it adds an element of instability, the same way a Bosu or exercise ball does, which fires up your muscles in entirely different ways. “Working with an unstable surface is incredibly effective by recruiting more muscles and leveling up moves that your body has possibly gotten used to,” Tiffani Hendin, an Obé fitness instructor, previously told Well+Good. “Balancing works those small, stabilizing muscles that often get ignored when the bigger muscles take over.”

2. To help with posture

One reason people are loving the WAFF is that it helps them sit up straighter. “If you place a slightly deflated WAFF Mini under your butt, you have the sensation of being perfectly seated without having restrictions on your movements, because it’s more stable than sitting on an exercise ball,” says Gautier. “It raises your hips a little bit higher than your knees, and allows you to have a regular lumbar lordosis, which is the normal back curve, which prevents you from slouching and damaging your disks.” You can also place another WAFF behind your lower back for some added support while you sit.

3. To recover

While the smaller WAFFs help to fire up your muscles, the WAFF and WAFF Max are great for helping your body to recover. “Once you’ve activated your body through your workout or by sitting on a WAFF Mini, then the Max come in play for recovery,” says Gautier. “It loads up your central nervous system, and allows it to rest and reset on a cloud.” All you have to do is lie down on top of it, and give your body a break. But be warned: It’s so comfortable, it comes with a very real risk of putting you to sleep.

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