Waist training has made headlines thanks to popular culture (and celebrities like Kim Kardashian). But does that mean waist trainers are a passing fad with few true merits?
While critics argue that waist trainers are inherently unhealthy, others swear by the results they achieve.
Here, we’ll look at the myths behind waist training and explore what really works for tummy slimming and surgery-free body sculpting.
What is a waist trainer in modern times? Typically, it’s a corset-style belt that the wearer can tighten to shape their body into the desired form.
Waist trainers come in different types of fabric with various closure styles and inner materials. Some use laces while others have hooks or Velcro closures. They’re available for both men and women, though it’s not advisable for children to wear one.
A waist trainer can offer an immediate smoothing effect—but training means wearing the corset for multiple sessions to create lasting results.
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What Does a Waist Training Do?
Traditional waist trainers started out as corsets. Ladies used them to shape their bodies into an hourglass shape. Strong materials like steel squeezed in a person’s two lower ribs and any fat in the area. The result was a trimmer waist and flatter stomach.
Today’s waist trainers take the idea of old-fashioned steel corsets and make them more comfortable, safer, and easier to get into (and out of). But modern varieties still apply pressure to your rib and stomach area, pressing everything in to reshape without surgery.
Why Do People Wear Waist Trainers?
Some people wear waist trainers as fashion pieces—or to make a statement. But those types of trainers are usually corsets, more for fashion than sculpting the body. In some cases, women wear waist trainers to achieve a flat stomach or hourglass shape to suit a particular dress or outfit.
But other people wear waist trainers for other reasons. Both men and women wear these structured corsets for many reasons, such as:
- To help correct bad posture
- For body shaping after weight loss
- To achieve a flatter stomach
- To aid in weight loss
- For supporting weak abdominal muscles
- For a confidence boost when wearing form-fitting clothing
- To define muscles in their core areas or chest
- To trim down their love handles
Are Waist Trainers Safe?
Waist training is popular among fitness enthusiasts, Instagram stars, and people who want to change their body shape without going under the knife. But critics argue that waist trainers are dangerous and even deadly. Supporters say there’s no harm done if you know what you’re doing.
So, who is right, and are waist trainers safe? There are potential dangers involved with wearing a too-tight waist trainer (and for too long).
In short, a too-tight waist trainer is unsafe.
Cinching your waist trainer supremely tight can cause problems. For example, you may have trouble breathing if you tighten the corset beyond where it’s comfortable. You can also compress your stomach and digestive system, which can cause internal damage.
However, these issues arise with waist trainers that are overly tight. If your belt is so tight that you can’t breathe or eat, that’s a sign you’re not wearing it properly.
As with any other form of fitness and shaping, a waist trainer can be dangerous when you use it incorrectly. Ensuring that you can breathe and move freely is an essential step in fitting your trainer.
Potential Benefits of Waist Trainers
While critics worry over the risks associated with waist training, proponents claim impressive benefits. Many social media personalities share their experiences with waist training, highlighting the results they achieve over time and with multiple training sessions.
According to people who use waist trainers regularly, the potential benefits include:
Preferable body shape
Less visible love handles
Individual results will vary widely, and the changes you see in your body also depend on what type of waist trainer you use. The amount of time you spend wearing it can also dictate the level of results you can achieve.
Do Waist Trainers Work?
Corset waist training usually has an immediate visual result. Once you cinch up the corset, your waist will look smaller and your stomach will appear smoother.
But over time, waist trainer results begin to show.
Using a waist trainer long-term can help create the shape you want by squeezing your body fat and ribs into the right position. The tight fabric can also promote sweating, which means less water weight—and potentially a smoother stomach.
Health experts caution against relying on waist trainers for long-term weight loss effects, though. To maintain the shape you want, you’ll need to continue using your waist trainer—and modify your diet and lifestyle habits.
How Do I Get Results from Waist Training?
Though you can immediately change your silhouette by putting on a waist trainer, most wearers want more permanent results. To achieve results, you’ll need to wear your trainer regularly and on a somewhat fixed schedule.
But for the best results, you will also want to add a healthy eating regimen and other lifestyle changes to your routine. A calorie deficit can help you lose weight while your waist trainer is helping shape your body, so eating healthier food (and less of it) is ideal.
Exercising is also healthy for your body and can help you achieve your shaping goals faster. Plus, you still need to work the muscles in your abdomen to stay strong while shaping. Doing belly-flattening exercises can help you develop stronger abs and a healthy core.
How to Use a Waist Trainer
Using a waist trainer takes some trial and error so that you stay comfortable while working toward your goals. Most wearers agree that a regular schedule is crucial so that you can begin seeing results.
As far as how long to wear a waist trainer, some people wear them for a set time—such as an hour or two. Others work up to wearing their waist trainer all day. Your specific schedule will depend on the type of waist trainer you choose, what your shaping goals are, and how comfortable you feel with having the trainer on for hours at a time.
Keeping the trainer tight enough is also important for achieving the results you want. Here’s more on how to use a waist trainer for different purposes.
What are some other names?
Schedule for Using Your Shaping Waist Trainer
When you first buy a waist trainer, it’s tempting to start wearing it 24/7 to achieve fast results. But when you’re starting out, it’s important to take your time and get acclimated to wearing the garment. Follow these steps when starting out with a waist trainer:
Take your time tightening or cinching the waist trainer. Rushing can mean an uncomfortable fit or even chafing in some areas. Tighten the waist training garment slowly and make sure you’re still comfortable before tying it. For zipper styles, make sure to follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for measuring to get the proper fit.
Only wear your waist trainer for an hour or so for the first few days.
After the first few days, extend your waist training sessions to a few hours. Ideally, you should aim for eight hours per day within a few weeks.
Finally, once you’re comfortable with using your waist trainer daily, you can keep it on for longer periods. You may also feel at ease enough to wear it at night.
How to Use an Athletic Waist Trainer
If you choose an athletic waist trainer type of corset, you’ll use it a little differently than a regular waist trainer. First, you can wear it while you work out. Generally, the materials are washable and help promote sweating, which can aid your weight loss goals.
You’ll put the trainer on before starting your workout and take it off afterward. Some manufacturers might recommend keeping it on for some amount of time before or after your workout, too.
What Types of Waist Trainers Are There?
There are tons of waist trainers out there, from traditional steel or bone corsets to modern options that are fabric-only. There are even alternatives to waist trainers that have other purposes and goals.
Waist Trainers for Women
Typically, waist trainers for women are the ones that cinch in the waist and create an hourglass shape. These corset-style waist trainers rest underneath a woman’s breasts, cinching around her waist and rib area.
Waist Trainers for Men
A waist trainer for men has a different look than the options for women. Many men prefer a narrower waist and broader chest and shoulders, so a man’s waist trainer won’t cinch in at his waistline.
Still, a men’s waist trainer vest or corset cinches in and helps smooth over love handles and other areas of body fat. Different styles—such as tank tops, vests, and belts—are also available. Many types fit underneath clothing so men can wear their shaping waist trainers throughout the day.
Athletic Waist Trainers
In addition to specific trainers for men and women, you’ll also find athletic-type trainers. These waist trainers might look more like belts or vests, but the goal is the same: to shape your body. The only difference is that these aim to work with your workouts to help achieve targeted results.
Waist Trainer Shapewear
Other alternatives like smoothing shapewear aim to help you look and feel your best without creating long-term bodily changes. Women might wear shapewear under clingy dresses or with clothing that tends to create bulges or bumps.
Shapewear waist trainers tend to come in many styles. You can find choices like:
- Shapers for your stomach and thighs
- Options with coverage for your lower legs
- Two-piece sets to cover both your upper and lower body
- Back-slimming shapewear
- Shaping slips for wear under dresses, specifically
- Bodysuits to help tuck in problem areas all over
Still other waist trainer alternatives are fitness-centric pieces such as belts to help you work up a sweat, or latex shapers that serve the same purpose.
Alternatives to Waist Trainers
If a traditional waist trainer isn’t for you, there are many alternatives to choose from. Corsets are one option that offer high fashion without the long-term benefits of waist training. Many women wear corsets as fashion pieces, whether under or over their clothing.
How to Choose a Waist Trainer
How do you choose the right waist trainer for your body type and needs? Especially if you are shopping online, it can be challenging to figure out what product is right for you. Here’s what to consider when choosing a waist trainer.
Measure Carefully—and Check Each Manufacturer’s Size Chart
Each waist trainer manufacturer has its own sizing chart and method of measuring. Read through their guidelines carefully so that you measure accurately when sizing for your waist trainer.
A waist training corset that doesn’t fit properly can be dangerous, so it’s essential that you get the right size. Even if you hope to lose weight and trim your waist down, it’s not a good idea to order a smaller waist trainer than your current size.
Instead, order the size that fits now—and plan on downsizing later when you achieve the results you want.
Choose a Style That Fits
Think about when, where, and how you’ll wear your waist trainer. This will help you determine what style waist trainer or corset you need.
For example, if you want a trainer to wear while you exercise, you’ll want the right material blend to keep you comfortable and achieve results. Washable materials might also be a priority if you’ll be working out in your waist trainer.
Some women may prefer a more fashionable corset they can wear as a clothing item. You might choose a more detailed, colorful corset that can double as a top or an accessory. However, many of these corsets don’t help shape your body the same way as a more structured option.
Men may choose an athletic-type waist trainer to wear underneath their clothing or while in the gym. Typically, men’s styles aren’t the type to go over clothing or wear as a shirt, the way women’s are.
What Should I Do While Wearing a Waist Trainer?
In short, the answer is that you can do anything while wearing a waist trainer that you might normally do.
Can I Exercise While Wearing a Waist Trainer?
If you choose a waist trainer that’s made for working out, the answer is a resounding yes. Many waist trainers aim to support your workout efforts. The support might also help you maintain the proper posture while you exercise.
If your trainer is a corset type for shaping only, however, you may not want to get too active while wearing it.
Can I Sit Down While Wearing a Waist Trainer?
You can definitely sit down while wearing a waist trainer. Depending on the style, however, you may not have many options for how you can relax. A waist trainer that extends farther down your stomach, for example, could keep you from sitting on the couch comfortably.
And when you do sit down, you’ll need to maintain proper posture. Of course, the waist trainer helps with that by default. Still, paying attention to how straight your back is can help with both your body shaping and back pain problems.
Can You Sleep in a Waist Trainer?
While you can sleep in a waist trainer, you may not want to. Wearing restrictive garments while sleeping isn’t generally comfortable, and you might have trouble breathing while lying down with a waist trainer on.
If you’re comfortable and can still get quality rest, however, there’s no reason to shed your waist trainer before bed. Once you’ve been wearing your waist trainer for a few weeks, it might be second nature to keep wearing it through the evening hours.
Final Thoughts on Waist Training for Tummy Slimming
Waist trainers are one of the simplest ways to start honing your figure. While they won’t replace diet and exercise for achieving long-term health goals, they can help you smooth your stomach, reduce the look of love handles, and help women “get their bodies” after having a baby. Men can also benefit from shaping while building muscle and dropping fat.
All it takes is the right waist trainer, good habits, and a bit of time.