What is waist training?

Megan Smith
 min read

What is waist training? It’s a common enough question.

What is waist training?

Waist training is the practice of wearing a waist trainer (similar to a corset).

It’s worn around the midsection to reduce the waistline between the hips and the ribs.

It is very popular with ladies who want their waist to look smaller.

Let’s dive into this practice a little deeper.

We’ll touch upon some benefits and potential risks that go along with waist training.

After reading this article, make sure to also check our other page to find the best plus-size waist trainer for weight loss.

What is waist training? Introduction

Let’s start with the basics. Below, we explain what waist trainers are and what they do.

What are waist trainers?

Waist trainers are not new.

In fact, they are similar to corsets that people wore from the mid-19th century until early 20th century.

They were worn underneath ladies’ dresses to make their midsections look smaller.

Modern waist trainers are normally made from a thick, sturdy material.

Lots of them offer metal boning that supplies support around your upper body.

Waist trainers go around your upper body, between your hips and your rib cage.

They fasten using hook-and-eye clasps, sticky fasteners, or a lacing system.

The stiff boning runs vertically to provide extra support and to improve posture.

Does waist training really work?

It is worth mentioning that waist training is controversial.

There are raving users on one side, medical and fitness expert warning on the other.

There hasn’t been enough scientific research, so there is no right or wrong answer.

What it comes down to is: yes, waist trainers work in reducing your waistline.

But only for as long as you wear it on a regular basis and for long periods of time.

Tip: For more information on how long you should expect to wear a waist trainer, read our other article How long should you wear a waist trainer to see results?

That is to say that the effects of waist training are short-lived without a permanent effect.

After you stop wearing a waist trainer, your body is no longer constricted.

Your waistline will slowly start to expand again and is likely to increase again.

It is not healthy to wear them for long periods of time.

We’ll discuss potential health risks later.

What is waist training and its benefits?

You instantly look slimmer

As soon as you put on a waist trainer, you immediately look slimmer.

It’s a corset-like effect, and that’s an instant benefit right there.

As such, you could also wear one  for a particular event, for a couple of hours.

You wouldn’t have to commit to wearing one long-term.

This is not considered risky as long as you are not too restricted and are still able to breathe properly.

It can help your motivation

Wearing a waist trainer will improve your posture.

You instantly look thinner and give you self-confidence and motivation you need.

It’s encourages you to keep going while you work toward your fitness goals.

By compressing your internal organs, your stomach won’t be able to take in as much.

You’ll feel fuller faster when eating.

So it’s a good reminder to eat less, but make sure you don’t go on a fake diet to make up for it.

It can help to achieve an hourglass figure

Exercising while wearing such a waist trainer can help you to achieve a slimmer hourglass figure.

Waist training (or corset training) is aimed at obtaining a thinner hourglass figure.

The idea is to gradually wear the waist trainer for longer.

You would force your waist into this particular molded shape in stages.

It can help to lose weight

Waist training also promotes a higher core temperature.

So you’ll sweat more during exercise while actually putting in less effort.

As a result, it helps to make you lose belly fat and lose weight.

However, wearing one during exercise can be dangerous if you cannot breathe properly.

It is not long-term

This may sound like it should be under the disadvantages, instead of categorizing it as a benefit.

However, it’s actually a good thing.

It allows you to try it for yourself without long-term implications or deformities.

Luckily, waist trainers are easy to remove.

So if it is causing you shortness of breath, discomfort, or pain, you can take it off quickly.

You can wear a waist trainer for however long you like.

If it starts to bother you, just take it off, easy as pie!

What is waist training and associated risks

Part of the weight loss is due to water loss

Sweating more may sound like a good thing because you think your body is working harder.

Indeed, it is a good thing from a weight loss perspective, because you will lose weight by sweating more.

However, this weight loss is because you are losing water.

It’s not fat burn.

Less effort due to weaker abdominal muscles

The main goal of a waist trainer is to achieve an hourglass figure.

It is also advertised as help reach your fitness goals by sweating more with less effort.

The reason why you have to put it less effort is because wearing the waist trainer has a supportive effect.

A waist trainer will improve your posture and help you get that elusive hourglass figure.

However, the more you wear a waist trainer, the more your body will become accustomed to this extra support.

As a result, your abdominal muscles in your core won’t be engaged as often to keep your body upright.

So they will weaken.

It’s a common mistake to think that a waist trainer strengthens abdominal muscles due to compression.

It actually has the opposite effect.

It will disengage your core muscles instead of engaging them more.

Interested in more of these facts and tips about abdominal muscles? Read our other post What should I NOT do to get a six-pack?

What is waist training risk of going on a fake diet?

Wearing a waist trainer compresses your internal organs, one of which is your stomach.

A compressed stomach is a smaller stomach, which will fill up faster.

The result is that you will feel full after eating less.

Eating less isn’t necessarily a bad thing if you wish to lose weight.

Make sure you are doing it consciously, and are not submitting yourself to a fake diet.

For example, eating the same unhealthy food in smaller portions (due to wearing a waist trainer).

It is not a substitute for a heart-healthy diet with all the nutrients your body needs.

Increased risk of postpartum issues

Wearing a waist trainer is not only popular with ladies who wish to have a smaller waist.

It is also favored by post natal mothers.

A waist trainer offers extra support that is missing after abdominal muscles were weakened during childbirth.

While that is tempting, the pelvic floor muscles have also been weakened during childbirth.

Wearing a waist trainer while having weak pelvic floor muscles is not a good idea.

It could result in their organs slipping out of position, a condition called prolapse.

Prolapse after giving birth (also called postpartum prolapse) is more of a potential risk.

A woman’s internal organs move as the uterus expands due to the baby growing.

After giving birth, the uterus contracts again.

Other organs, such as the stomach, intestines, and bladder, will also return to their normal position.

Wearing a waist trainer before the organs have settled would introduce downward pressure on them.

This makes them more likely to go down than back up.

Are you adamant about wearing a waist trainer after pregnancy?

Do you feel you can’t put in the effort to train your abs as you’ve been through so much?

That’s fine, just make sure to consult your doctor.

Have regular checkups to ensure that your waist trainer is having an adverse affect.

Restriction of your ability to breathe

This may seem to be obvious one but it’s dangerous.

Wearing a corset (and similarly a waist trainer) can severely restrict your ability to breathe.

This potentially reduces your lung capacity by 50% or more.

Combine this being in a position where you need more oxygen due to with exercise.

That’s a dangerous cocktail.

Waist training is not exercising while wearing a waist trainer, per se.

It is merely the act of daily wearing a waist trainer and for long periods of time.

The word “training” in waist training does not mean exercising or working out.

It refers to your waist being trained by wearing the waist trainer on a daily basis and for extended periods of time.

You could wear a waist trainer during exercise.

It can be dangerous to do so, although many are advertised for use during workouts.

Pressure on your internal organs

With common sense, wearing a waist trainer won’t cause permanent damage by putting additional pressure on your internal organs.

However, it should be said that it is unwise to add any pressure to them.

This could cause put them under undue stress.

Muscle pains due to overcompensation

A waist trainer not only compresses your internal organs, but also a part of your spine and your lower ribs.

These lower ribs are the so-called floating ribs as they are not connected to the breast bone.

They are located around your diaphragm which helps you breathe.

However, when the waist trainer limits these lower ribs, the diaphragm will have difficulty functioning at normal capacity.

Because of this limitation, your body may signal other nearby muscle groups to help for better breathing.

These could be smaller muscles near your neck, for example.

This in turn may cause these smaller nearby muscles to get overworked.

Overworked muscles lead to muscle pains, a general discomfort and even headaches.

Acid reflux

As already mentioned, a waist trainer will compress your stomach.

It’s possible that your stomach contents will find their way back up into your esophagus, or your food pipe.

This results in that acid taste at the back of your throat known as acid reflux.

What is waist training? Conclusion

Waist training is the act of wearing a waist trainer, a garment similar to a corset, around your midriff.

It is worn daily for long periods of time.

The aim of waist training is to reduce your waistline and achieve an hourglass figure.

While waist training does work, the effects are unlikely to last long-term.

We hope you’re now in a better position to make up your mind after reading up on the pros and cons.

If you’re unsure whether it would be safe for you, consult your doctor.

In any case, make sure you are comfortable, not in pain and can breathe properly!

If it starts to bother you, just take it off.

About Megan Smith

Megan has been fighting overweight and her plus size since her teenage years. After trying all types of remedies without success, she started doing her own research. Megan founded Plus Size Zeal to share her findings. She also developed various detailed buying guides for plus-size people in order to make their lives easier and more comfortable. Read More