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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

17 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. 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.

  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.

  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

  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.

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