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The Ugly Truth About Waist Trainers

Waist trainers have gained some traction lately as a (seemingly) amazing new way to shape your midsection and look amazing.

You’ve probably seen all sorts of celebrities from the Kardashians to Snooky sporting the trainers, plus a plethora of girls young and old all hoping to widdle their waistlines.

First, just because a celebrity uses and endorses a product, doesn’t mean it actually works. Second, if the Kardashians are endorsing something, you especially shouldn’t try it. (Do I need to mention the Kylie Jenner challenge?! Yikes.)

Does the waist trainer actually work? Or is it doing more harm than good?

We did our research and discovered the truth about waist trainers.

What is a waist trainer?

Spoiler alert: waist trainers are nothing new.

You’ve heard of a corset right? You know those tight uncomfortable pieces of clothing women wore back in the 1500-1800s to fit into their tiny dresses. Well, a waist trainer is basically a glorified modern corset.

corset gif pirates

try-wearing-a-corset

You wear the waist trainer during the day, during exercise, and if you can handle that misery, (users words, not mine) your reward is you get to take it off when you go to sleep.

It’s recommended you wear the trainer every day for at least 8 hours for up to six weeks and after doing so you’ll achieve that perfect (but temporary) hourglass shape.

Is there any scientific proof for waist trainers?

waist-trainers-any-scientific-proof-they-work

Is there any scientific reasoning or back up for waist trainers?

Besides that women have been using corsets to shape and slim their waistlines for hundreds of years? Well, none.

Putting on a corset isn’t going to make you lose fat in your waist just as putting on super tight pants isn’t going to make you lose fat in your behind.

Yes, you might lose some weight but the reasons aren’t anything magical:

  1. The waist trainer might cause you to sweat more, meaning you’d lose water weight.
  2. The waist trainer may make you feel less inclined to eat because it is so tight. So you might lose some pounds from eating less.
  3. They may help improve your posture which can help you look thinner.

You can achieve these three benefits from much safer and cheaper methods, but if you think a $50 corset is worth a few pounds and possible damage to your body, go for it.

Are there any benefits to waist training?

There’s not many benefits to the waist trainer, at least none that outweigh the cons.

You might see better posture, look slightly slimmer, and be more conscious about what and how much you eat, but these benefits are temporary and small compared to the possible damage that could occur.

What are the dangers of waist training?

Not surprisingly, there are many cons when it comes to waist training. Turns out waist training can actually do some serious damage to your body.

Here’s what we found:

1. Waist trainers can harm your organs.

dangers of waist trainers-harm your organs

Studies going back to 20th century found that wearing corsets long term actually misplaced your organs and could cause permanent damage. Yikes.

Fast forward a century and doctors are still warning about wearing waist trainers, warning that they are not the best idea.

They can put added and unwanted pressure on the midsection, limiting blood and oxygen flow to vital organs which can be dangerous.

The added pressure and tightness makes breathing harder and puts you at risk for passing out. Exercising with a waist trainer? Probably not a great idea.

2. Waist trainers can cause atrophy of abdominal muscles.

The reason the waist training companies stress you workout while you wear the corset is so you actually keep the muscles you have. The problem is waist cinchers make it hard to breathe while doing nothing, let alone working out.

What if you wear the waist trainer long term and don’t workout? You’ll probably lose any ab definition you had and come out a soft pudgy mess in the process.

dangers-of-waist-training-ab-atrophy-via-elle-com
Via Elle.com

Wearing a waist trainer can cause your core muscles to become inactive. When muscles become inactive they atrophy.

The saying, “use it or lose it” becomes very true here. You could probably slow this process by working out but who wants to do hundreds of crunches in a corset?

The same goes for your postural muscles in your back. Waist trainers claim they improve your posture, but that’s only true while you are wearing it. Once you take it off your now weakened postural muscles are going to have a harder time doing their job.

3. Waist trainers can cause dehydration.

Waist trainers heat up the core and can cause excessive sweating.

Sure this means you’ll lose water weight, but it also puts you at risk for dehydration.

dehydration-facts

Mild dehydration isn’t serious. But if you wear a waist trainer regularly and don’t hydrate properly, you’ll eventually become more and more dehydrated.

Severe dehydration is a serious problem and can cause fatigue, fainting, headaches, and in some cases, seizures.

“Wrapping” It Up

One of my favorite exercise science professors would always tell his students that there are no shortcuts when it comes to health and fitness. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.

I think we can apply that principle to waist trainers.

Waist trainers are a temporary solution that doesn’t actually solve the problem. They can be dangerous when taken to an extreme.

If you want a good looking body, our coaches recommend eating better and begin an exercise routine that you enjoy. You’ll see much better (and more permanent) results while be prolonging your life in the process!

In fact, we’ve got a FREE 15-day challenge that works much better than any waist trainer. Click the banner to sign up for Trainer Lindsey’s free 15 Day Fit Body Challenge!

fit-challenge

38 Comments

  1. Nigel Chua

    Number 2 is very accurate – I run a physiotherapy and rehab clinic in Singapore, and we try as fast as we can to get patients to stop wearing any forms of supports (once medically stable/structurally sound), because we do not want patients to rely “too much” on external supports.

    And yes, atrophy is a real word, and is a real pain when one experiences atrophy – it’s really hard to build back and re-educate the muscles to fire and grow again, not impossible but can be difficult depending on the severity.

    1. Amy Posey
    2. marie

      What that’s crazy all these loose weight trainers tell you to wear it. Specially after having a baby, the nurse at the hospital gave me one and I know people who wears it every day and they have no problems. I don’t get it.

      1. Dee

        It’s not the same when recommended after delivering a baby, because it’s not meant to be worn long term, thus this article doesn’t apply.

  2. Tina Lopez

    Thanks for the article and Nigel, ur comment.. Was curious about waist trainers.. Not anymore.. =)

    1. Marilyn

      I was about to buy a waist trainer online but I just changed my mind. Thank you …..
      But my partner thinks am growing too fat ….what can I do to reduce weight

      1. Alexis Rachel

        No one should say that about their partner. You could just lose a lot of weight and dump them… just a thought.

      2. Deb

        I found a really good all natural nutritional system that I have been using for the past year and I love it. I dropped the weight I wanted to lose and I’m gaining lean muscle now. You can lose that weight, look amazing and shut your partner up! Just takes motivation and determination.

      3. Treece

        Sometimes truth hurts but if it’s said out of love and needed.. Get a body assessment at the doc and then go to a gym and workout. Ask a trainer for help if need be. Talking to a nutritionist can help with your eating habits. Best way to lose weight, keep it off and stay healthy. Don’t dump someone if they are being really truthful or loving vs being ignorant to you. We excuse weight issues too fast, too much these days. Healthy lifestyles means a longer, more productive life! 🙂

  3. Veronica Prigmore

    This trend has exploded in the past two years. Abnormal muscles, scoliosis, and limited blood circulation are in season. You might pass out from dehydration, but your waist will look great. Women have been torturing their bodies for centuries. Waist trainers are a new form of the corset. In the Genesis Book of World Recorders, there is a middle age women whose waist is no bigger than a CD due to long term use of corsets. Her body was permanently distorted and she was forced to wear corsets for support. Waist trainers are the same way.
    I do not understand why people want to risk their health in order to have an hourglass shape. A person will lose strength in their core because of muscle inactivity. People who exercise with waist trainers will gain muscles in their legs and backside but risk dehydration and abnormal muscles. I read in other articles that doctors advise people to stop wearing these types of supports, because it will cause more harm than good.
    On social media, there are photos of people wearing waist trainers that are skinny. People think they will have a Kardashian butt while doing squats while wearing a waist trainer but it is temporary. This is the trap that keeps people wearing the trend. There are exercises that will tone the core and glutes, but it takes time and effort. If the Kardashians are doing it –stop. Contouring and the Kylie Jenner challenge are poor beauty tips that hides true beauty.

    1. Chinyere

      Well said dear, “the truth hurts” but still don’t know why people especially women like to immitate other people. Just be yourself and do your best. 😊😊

  4. Kat

    I found that a waist trainer that consist of an elastic belt was very helpful. I hate the idea of defined muscles in the middle section I think they actually increase the waist line. It is almost impossible to change the position of ribs. But I notice that exercise with waist trainer are more difficult. I definitely was much more tired doing crunches and even walking as I had to work against the elastic material of the belt as well. I was losing extra water as well I guess. But over all the same exercise with belt produced more weight loss and more results in middle section. I would say also the I wasn’t try to have it as tide as if it looks like the body is going to split into two pieces. I had it so it created some uncomfortable pressure. This uncomfortable filling usually was slowly reducing during exercise and I was getting a filling that the belt is getting more loose.

  5. Trava Goodwin

    Ordered One last week from hourglassify.com and I have to say it works. I can see some visible reduction in my waist size, don’t know if it’ll be permanent or not. If you bear a little discomfort, the results can be worthwhile but most people just complain and quit, they never stick to anything and that’s why they never reach anywhere in life.

    1. Laura De la huerta

      It really works actually if you wear it continuously few hours per day or like every 2 days but of course if you stop wearing it for like 2-3 months your waist is gonna get back to its normal shape

    1. Dee

      Thank you! I do agree with you. I also found the article to be somewhat vague.

  6. WENDY

    I think it’s funny how people seem to think that waist training is a new “trend” started by celebrities, aside from the Victorian Era women have been wearing these trainers for decades (especially in Latin America) fajas among Latinas have always been popular and in my personal experience have never caused any problems when worn properly. It takes years to master and “train” your waist no one in the right mind would jump all the way to the last/tightest closure on the first try. Point is if you feel any pain or discomfort your not doing it right!

  7. Alli

    This article is very flawed in their arguments.
    1. This is only if you use them to extremes. Women who waist train do not cause ‘permanent’ damage to their organs, once the trainer is off, the organs settle to their original place. Plus, if waist training causes such dangerous damage, how come the woman with the smallest waist in the world (Cathie Jung) has no health complications?
    2. This is true if people substitute trainers for exercise (or wear trainers while exercising). I exercise, but I don’t do it in my trainer.
    3. They CAN cause dehydration if the person wearing it is not drinking enough, just like a toaster CAN cause electrocution. Just because a few idiots in the past have become dehydrated from wearing a trainer is not the trainer’s fault.

    And yes, it is true that trainers will not PERMANENTLY give a woman an hour glass shape, everyone with half a brain knows this. Eventually after stopping wearing a trainer the waist will go back to its original state.

  8. Lana L

    I am loving your website, it’s just what I’m looking for. I’ll tell you a little about myself,
    I’m a personal trainer and I like everything about it! You should take a good look at my site,
    maybe you like it as much as I liked yours! here’s the url: http://ataq.org/waist-trainer/

  9. myslimshaper.com

    I think there are a lot of lazy people out there who are looking for magical instant results to their poor health and diet routines. Waist trainers are great if you put on a few pounds from the holidays and are trying to fit into that little black dress. Just like with anything else in this world if you are irresponsible or abusive with your use of the waist trainer you will suffer the consequences and potentially cause yourself harm.

    If used in moderation waist trainers can help develop better posture and assist with back issues. They will not make you lose 20 pounds just sitting around watching netflix all day. You will still need to change your diet and exercise regularly if you want to develop a true hourglass figure.

    Corsets have been around for a very long time and we personally love them. It is unfortunate that there was some recent celebrity hype about them and a bunch of uneducated people thought they were some magic savior to their poor health habits.

  10. QB

    I wear them all the time. I have about eight of them and never expected any instant result. Some of mine are tight and when it’s uncomfortable, I run to the restroom and remove it for the day. I give myself a break every couple of days. Like one person said, you have to eat right and drink water as you would if you didn’t wear them. I like the way they make me look in my dresses, and they definitely keep my back straight.

  11. Tiffany

    I do yoga and weight watchers. I have had belly jiggle for 10 years and it isn’t going away. Size 4 up to 6 …a few years later 8, then 10. At size 14 I knew I needed some help. I did lose weight with weight watchers since it really is a change of life. I bought a waist trainer from angel curves and went down to a size ten in a little over a month. I bought my second waist trainer , and I just want to get rid of the jiggle. I am not doing crunches the rest of my life everyday. I choose to do what they didn’t dress of years ago!

  12. Paul Samuel

    Most ladies that go for waist trainers just want to get rid of belly fat. They claimed they have tried so many other fitness programs and exercises but none of them got them what they wanted. I don’t think ladies should use waist trainers because the women who used them at that time had different standards of living compared to now. Planks, Squats, Tabata will help you lose that belly fat only if you can stick to it.

  13. Darla K Cook

    I started wearing a back support, you could call it a waist trimmer as well, it’s all the same thing, at work about 9 months ago because I was having pain in the middle of my back and thought the support would help me to not leave every day in such bad pain (I’m a chef). In 11/16 I had an MRI of my back and hips. In 11/17, I suddenly had crippling pain. I just had another MRI last week, 1 year and 1 Month after the 1st one, and my perfectly healthy hips have been diagnosed with osteonecrosis!!? I need both hips replaced. After reading this article, and others, I’m starting to believe I cut the blood supply off and caused the bone death to my hips. Is this possible? I go to see a surgeon Monday and will ask the same thing, but has anyone ever heard of this?? Any information is welcome!!

  14. Laura

    Well i have done a Dermoliposuction! And i wearing waist belt for two month! Its was necesary as you feel very weak walking whithout this ,but only for 2 month!

  15. Les

    What about prescription back braces. I have to war it 2 hours a day. Is it harming me? I also have exercise program to strengthen back and core muscles

    1. Sam Gutierrez
      Sam Gutierrez

      Les,
      Back braces can be very helpful. While Limiting the motion of the spine it enhances the healing process for bone, and will also usually decrease your low back pain and discomfort. This is not doing you any harm. This is helping your spine regain its strength so don’t worry about that too much!

  16. Shelly

    I didn’t buy the actual corset but I bought something less rigid. An adjustable straps flexi-bone waist trainer from fashionnecess.com and I think it will do the trick for me. I walk sometimes and it helps me sweat and is helping me with my posture and I don’t feel I am damaging any vital organs.

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