But I didn’t really feel that shift translate into postural changes during specific movements; as I watched myself in the mirror during one Pilates class, I still had to actively think about pulling my shoulders back during standing moves like lunges and squats. And the more I wore the bra, the less powerful that initial feeling was. Over the course of an 18-mile run, for example, I still hunched my shoulders like I do when wearing a traditional sports bra.
As for the leggings, I felt no difference from my standard compression tights. Forme says its patented 3D waistband alignment technology engages muscle memory in your core, glutes, and spine to better your alignment, stability, and mobility. But the only difference I really felt was the high waist digging slightly uncomfortably into my midsection when I moved.
After wearing both products through multiple workouts over the course of two weeks—and a surprisingly super-comfy 11-hour flight to Japan—I have to say I’m skeptical about its posture benefits. FWIW, the brand recommends wearing their apparel for four to six hours throughout the day for four to six months to improve posture, so I can’t say for sure that following this to a T wouldn’t have led to more dramatic results.
It made me wonder, though: Should I have felt a bigger change? I connected with physical therapist and certified run roach Victoria Sekely, DPT, CSCS, for some intel.
When I told her about my experience, she wasn’t surprised. “Saying that there’s one perfect posture is not true,” Dr. Sekely tells SELF. And searching for that likely won’t bring the pain or injury benefit you may think.
Turns out, the emphasis on “good posture” is more of an old-school way of thinking that’s not really backed by research anymore, she says. Instead of needing to correct poor posture—which has become basically synonymous with slouching—what your body actually craves is change.
“Putting yourself in a different position—by, say, putting on this bra—will immediately make you feel better,” Dr. Sekely says. “But it’s not because the position’s better, it’s because the position is different.”
Any position, whether that’s curled over your cell phone or sitting at your desk with a ramrod-straight back, can be painful if you stay in it long enough. “Your best posture,” she adds, “is your next posture.” The name of the game, then, is to take movement breaks to get your body used to changing positions.
In fact, that 2021 study in the International Journal of Industrial Ergonomics declared “the PMSS is not intended as a therapeutic device to correct posture abnormalities or as a long-term solution to less-than-ideal posture.” Rather, the study authors wrote, it should be viewed as an instant posture corrector or, essentially, shapewear. And when looking at other related literature, researchers determined that there’s no real evidence supporting posture-correcting shirts as a tool for pain relief, according to a 2019 review published in the Scandinavian Journal of Pain.