Are Waist Trainers Bad for You?

Woman with Toned Waist

You must have heard definitely heard about waist training, especially since it has taken the celeb world by storm and has been endorsed by celebrities like the Kardashians, Kylie Jenner, Amber Rose and many more. So what exactly is waist training? Well, waist training is essentially reducing the size of your waistline and accentuating your curves by wearing a restricting garment like a corset, a waist cincher or shapewear.

Woman with Toned Waist

Waist training can be traced back to the 16th century and was introduced by Catherine de’Medici, the wife of the King of France, Henry II. She banned women with thick, unattractive waists at the court, which forced the women to seek slimming and waist reducing solutions. So, in the beginning, to control their waists, women began wearing “stays”. However, by the 19th century, these became full-blown corsets and “waist training” was born. For several years now, waist training has been in and out of fashion and in recent times, it has become a rage again having been popularized by celebrities.

 For many decades, women have made use of corsets to train and sculpt their waists and the basic principle of waist training is fairly simple. You simply wear a tightly laced constricted corset or waist trainer for a specific period of time and over time, the constant compression around your waist helps to reduce your waist size. And, waist trainers can be worn while you exercise too for additional effect.

While waist training continues to become popular with women looking to attain an hourglass figure through natural means, it has also become a favorite topic of controversy with health experts. However, if you do decide to use a waist trainer, you should be aware of how to use it properly for the best results.

Just as any other product, waist training has both pros and cons and it is a good idea to evaluate the advantages and drawbacks and determine if waist training is ideal for you. And, if you do decide to try it out, choose a waist trainer that fits your requirements, style and personal preference.

Advantages of Waist Trainers

Waist training has its benefits, especially if you are looking to achieve an hourglass figure. Waist training helps you get an hourglass figure by narrowing your waist and emphasizing the curves of your bust line and hips. And, by waist training correctly, you can see results in just a few weeks. Some advantages of waist training include:

Weight Control

You may find it quite challenging to eat food and may try to limit the portions when wearing a waist trainer at all times, especially during your meal times. However, on their own, waist trainers do not magically burn the fat in your body and cannot help you lose weight, they only help to limit the food that you consume.

You will not really shed the weight in your belly area permanently by wearing a waist trainer, it simply causes the redistribution of organs and fat in the body to give you an hourglass shape. So, if you want to lose weight, then waist training may not be the best decision for you.

Improved Posture

Improves Posture and Confidence

Waist trainers can help you maintain good posture while you sit or stand since the boning structure makes it difficult to slouch. They help to improve posture by providing sufficient back support. And, by using the waist trainer, when you see a difference in your waistline, it is sure to increase your self-confidence. Also, wearing a waist trainer under the clothes can help to make you look slimmer, which can help in boosting your confidence further.

Post-Delivery Waist Tightening

Post-delivery, most women would like to return to their original waist size and there are claims that waist trainers can help new moms to recover their pre-baby abs and celebrities like Kim Kardashian and Jessica Alba have also endorsed this. In fact, according to Leah Keller, CEO of the Dia Method claims that corsets, if worn properly can help to support the abs and hasten the healing process.


Bustline Support

Not only waist trainers help to accentuate your bust line, but they can also offer support. This is especially beneficial for women who have large-sized breasts, as it helps to reduce pressure on the back.

As a Fashion Accessory

While it is quite common for women to wear a waist trainer under their clothes, several women just like the way the corsets fit under their clothes and fit in with their style. This allows you to waist train by making the corset a part of your wardrobe as a fashion accessory.

Helps You Keep Warm

Waist trainers are like an extra layer of clothing around your middle and on cold days, wearing a waist trainer can keep you warm and cozy.

Warm and Cozy

Limitations of Waist Training

While there are many benefits of waist training, there are some limitations too.

Can Be Uncomfortable

Wearing a waist trainer can be quite uncomfortable, especially if the size is wrong, if you tighten it too much or if you try and exercise in it. The garment should lift and support your abdomen and must not exert any pressure downwards. Some of the signs that show that your waist trainer size is wrong or you have tightened it too much are:

  • Restricted movement.
  • Your breathing becomes shallow.
  • If you feel downward pressure on the pelvic floor.
  • If you experience any bruising.

Visible under Your Clothes

Corsets may not really be suitable for the modern style of clothing we wear today. So, if you’re waist training stealthily, then ensure that the waist trainer you choose is the right material such as satin or mesh. Try and pick a material that will be hidden well under your clothes.

Picking thicker fabrics, ruffled and ruched tops can help to hide the waist trainer bumps well. Avoid ultra-fitted bodycon dresses, lightweight and sheer fabrics, as it can be very difficult to conceal your waist trainer under such clothes.

Acid Reflux

Your stomach, intestines, and esophagus form a complex network in your abdomen and wearing a waist trainer can put a lot of pressure and cause extreme compression of your organs. Wearing your waist trainer during meal time can hamper proper digestion and also cause acid reflux. So, it is a good idea to remove your waist trainer while eating your meals or loosen it.

Stomach Pain

Uncomfortable on Warm Days

As we have discussed earlier, wearing a waist trainer is adds a layer of clothing and if the trainer is made of thick leather or cotton, you are likely to perspire and feel quite uncomfortable. So, it’s a good idea to wear a waist trainer made of mesh, which is breathable and will be more comfortable in the warmer months.

Shallow Breathing

If you feel that wearing your waist trainer very tightly can produce quicker results, then you should reconsider. If the waist trainer is worn very tightly, it can restrict the diaphragm and force you to take short and shallow breaths because the breathing capacity gets reduced. Lack of oxygen can cause you to become dizzy, have fainting spells or can be hazardous to your health.

So, you should ensure that the waist trainer is not tightened excessively and that you are able to breathe properly even after you tighten the waist trainer.

Breathing Problem

Decreased Core Strength

If you wear the waist trainer too tightly for long periods of time, it may reduce your core strength. And, because the core muscles of your abdomen begin to depend on the waist trainer to support them, they become lazy and over time, they will become inactive. And, reduced core strength due to prolonged usage of the waist trainer increases the risk of a back problem, poor posture and problems with the pelvic floor.

Reshaping of Bones

When worn continuously, waist trainers can reshape the bones in your body. An instance of this is Catherine Jung, who holds the Guinness World Record for the smallest waist, whose bones were reshaped because of wearing a corset for most of her life, all through the day.

When reshaping of bones is taken to extremes, it can be a grave risk to health. So, if you are using a waist trainer, make sure that you choose one that does not put a lot of pressure on your shape and ensure that you do not wear it for prolonged periods of time.

Small Waist

Muscle Weakness and Atrophy

Wearing a waist trainer continuously and for prolonged periods of time can cause muscle weakness and can even cause muscle atrophy. Waist training is a slow and gradual process and you should increase the length of time that you wear the waist trainer slowly, day by day.

Can Be Addictive


Waist training, if done right can help you achieve the hourglass figure you always dreamed of; however, it does have its drawbacks too and can impact your health adversely if you go overboard.

The key to successful waist training without any associated problems is moderation and judicious use of waist training. In the end, nothing can beat a healthy diet along with regular exercising to achieve weight loss, a smaller waist and a great figure. If you are looking to buy a waist trainer, then you can check out the reviews of some of the best waist trainers.