11 Pros and Cons of Waist Trainers | The Kewl Blog

11 Pros and Cons of Waist Trainers

Last updated on : May 10 2017

waist trainers

With celebs like Kim Kardashian and Jessica Alba swearing by waist trainers, it's not a surprise that it has become a trend today. Lots of women are purchasing waist trainers or cinchers in an effort to acquire a desirable hour glass figure.

But what exactly is waist training and do waist trainers work? Waist training is defined as a process of using waist trainers or cinchers to reduce your natural waist size and accentuate your curves.

However, whether they actually work or create more problems for you is debatable. So we did our own research to learn more about waist trainers and to help you decide if they would work for you. 

This article has been featured in our "How to get a bigger butt", a collection of articles and advice on how to get a shapely butt.

History Of Waist Training

Catherine de’Medici who who introduced waist training by banning thick waists at court, somewhere in the 1500s

If rumors are to be believed, it was the wife of King Henry II of France, Catherine de’Medici who who introduced waist training by banning thick and unsightly waists at court, somewhere in the 1500s. No one actually knows the reason behind her hatred of unsightly waists, but it was during this time that women started wearing corsets.  

Waist trainers were called corsets only in the 19th century, earlier they were referred to as ‘stays’ and ‘a pair of bodies’. Corset training has been in and out of fashion for several years. In recent years waist training has gained a unique following and has remained in the limelight as celebrities and socialites continue to sing it's praises.

bandage dress & shapewear

[Bandage Dresses work similar to Shape Wear]

The Pros of Waist Training

This constant constriction around your waist eventually works to reduce your natural waist size over time.

For thousands of years, women have used corsets as a mechanism to train their waist. The basic premise behind waist training is very simple. You wear a waist trainer that is laced tightly for a specified period of time – that is all. This constant constriction around your waist eventually works to reduce your natural waist size over time.

You can also wear waist trainers and perform various exercises such as stretching or pilates. A controversial means of reducing your natural waist size, waist trainers have their pros and cons.

Let’s first have a look at the advantages of using waist trainers.

Achieving the Coveted ‘Hourglass’ Figure

An hourglass figure has been assumed to be the most proportioned and flattering figure a woman can have.

The most common reason women start waist training is because they desire an hourglass figure. An hourglass figure has been assumed to be the most proportioned and flattering figure a woman can have. And, using waist trainers helps get one by cinching your waist and accentuating the curves of your hips and bustline.

If you are using waist training correctly, you will be able to see the results in a couple of weeks. If your goal is an hourglass figure with a small waist, than waist training might be good for you (but please see the cons below).

Weight Control

Waist trainers only restrict the amount of food you eat, they do not burn any fat in your body.

If you wear a waist trainer all the time, you will realize that it becomes difficult to consume large portions of food. That said, the thing to remember about waist trainers is that they cannot aid you in weight loss on their own. They only restrict the amount of food you eat, they do not burn any fat in your body.

Professor of Fitness at the California State University – Long Beach, Dr. Jan Schroeder, explains, “Corsets do not cause you to permanently lose fat in the midsection; they cause a redistribution of the fats and organs in the trunk to give you an hourglass shape”. So if you are planning to use waist trainers to help you lose weight, reconsider your decision.

Improves Posture and Confidence

A waist trainer improves your posture by providing the necessary support to your back.

Waist trainers help you maintain a good posture while standing and sitting. This is because the metal bones in waist trainers make it impossible for you to slouch. They improve your posture by providing the necessary support to your back.

As a result, many women claim they feel more confident when they see the changes in their waistline after using waist trainers. When you wear waist trainers under your clothes, they make you look slimmer – which boosts your confidence even more.

Postpartum Waist Tightening

Wearing waist trainers seems to help new moms recover their firm abs

Lots of women want to go back to their natural waist size or abs after giving birth to a baby. Wearing waist trainers seems to help new moms recover their firm abs – Jessica Alba and Kim Kardashian swear by it.

Leah Keller, the CEO and Co-Founder of The Dia Method, shares, “Corsets, when worn correctly, act as a splint to physically approximate the two halves of the rectus abdominis. While corsets do not strengthen the abs or heal a separated abdominal wall on their own, they can support and speed the healing process”.

Bustline Support

Waist trainers also offer some support to your bustline

Apart from accentuating your bustline, waist trainers also offer some support it. This property of waist trainers is beneficial, especially for women with large breasts, because it helps reduce back pain and pressure.

The Cons of Waist Training

While waist trainers certainly have their benefits they also have some side effects worth noting. There are numerous experts out there who criticize the use of waist trainers and are of the opinion that it causes more harm than good.

Feeling Discomfort

Wearing a waist trainer is bound to be uncomfortable because it is a garment that is tied tightly around your waist. Go easy on how tightly you wear it, because if you are too aggressive, it will cause a whole host of problems.

Beware of signs such as bruising, shallow breathing, downward pressure, and restricted movements. If you have ever started experiencing any of these signs, then you have tightened the waist trainer too much.

Acid Reflux

If you are wearing your waist trainer during meals, not only will it hamper proper digestion, but it may also cause acid reflux

Inside your abdomen, there is a complex network of your intestines, esophagus, and stomach. When you use waist trainers to reduce your waist size, it puts extreme pressure on these organs. If you are wearing your waist trainer during meals, not only will it hamper proper digestion, but it may also cause acid reflux. The way you can prevent this is by removing your waist trainer during meal times or tying it more loosely.

Muscle Atrophy and Weakness

Who would not want a perfect waistline? However, there are people out there who go overboard trying to achieve this goal. Remember, moderation is key when you want waist training to be successful. Using a waist trainer is a gradual process, the length of time you wear your waist trainer is supposed to increase day by day.

A word of caution, if you are wearing your waist trainer constantly and for long periods of time, it can cause muscle weakness and may even lead to muscle atrophy. Training your waist in an unhealthy manner may result in many other complications.  

corset training

[Achieve an hourglass shape with a bandage dress]

Breathing Troubles

If you think wearing a waist trainer too tight will give you faster results, think again. When your waist trainer is excessively tight, it can and will constrict your diaphragm. And the result is that your breathing capacity is greatly reduced and you are restricted to taking shallow breaths. Therefore, it is important to ensure that you can breathe properly even after tightening your waist trainer. Lack of adequate oxygen to your body can cause fainting, dizzy spells, and other hazards to your health.

Decreased Core Strength

When you wear waist trainers that are too tight for extended periods of time, it can decrease your core strength. The abdominal core muscles become lazy because they depend too much on the waist trainers to support them. When you are using a waist trainer, there is actually no need for your abdominal muscles to do any work.

Over a period of time, they become inactive and act as if they are switched off. Decreased core strength due to the prolonged use of waist trainers increases the chances of pelvic floor problems, poor posture, and back problems.

Bones are Reshaped

If you are even thinking about wearing waist trainers continuously to reduce your waist size, keep in mind that these trainers have the capacity to reshape your bones. Take a look at Catherine Jung, the Guinness World Record holder for smallest waist (15 inches), and you will understand how her bones have been reshaped.

She has been wearing a corset for almost all of her life, most of the day. Although corset production has come a long way from the 1940s, reshaped bones are still a possibility when you go to the extreme. Be weary of corsets with unforgiving boning because of this. This is the reason why comfort is the first thing you should look at when you are wearing a waist trainer. 

Types of Waist Training

waist training

Once you have weighed the benefits and disadvantages you can more safely determine if waist training works for you. If you decide to give it a go, the next step is to choose a waist trainer that suits your needs, style tastes, and purposes.

There are various types of waist trainers in the market today, from old-fashioned corsets to latex. Knowing about them will ensure that you do not get overwhelmed by choice.

We have compiled a list of the most common types, along with their advantages and disadvantages.

Corset Training

Do you recall old period dramas that featured the actress taking a deep breath as someone laced up her corset? Many manufactures use the word ‘corset’ to market several of their waist trainers. However, there is a vast difference to a proper corset. 

A real corset laces in the back and has steel boning throughout the bodice of the garment. The corset derives its shaping power from this boning – you can tie it as tightly as you want with the help of the laces. When you tighten the laces, your ribcage contorts into the shape of the corset because of the steel boning. If worn long term, corset training literally holds the power to change the shape of your body.


  • Corsets are your best bet when you want drastic waist slimming results, provided they are worn regularly.
  • Out of the other waist trainers, corsets are the most effective when it comes to reducing your waistline.
  • Corset training can tuck in a couple of inches of your waist instantly – all thanks to the laces and the boning.


  • As these fit really tightly, you cannot wear them for a long time. Not only are they uncomfortable, but you may have trouble breathing if you tie the laces too tight, many women have been known to faint due to a lack of oxygen.
  • Corsets cannot be worn when you are performing any strenuous tasks or are exercising.
  • While you can wear a corset under your clothes, remember that they are not completely seamless. If you are wearing a tight tee or a dress, the outline of the laces will be visible.
  • Corset training for long periods of time or over time could be quite dangerous to your health. See above.   

A word of advice – if you are new to the entire waist training trend, corsets may not be the best trainers for you. You will need to be patient and committed to this lifestyle, only then will you succeed in losing a few inches off your waistline.

If you don’t mind spending more money, you can buy a tailor-made corset. This is one made specifically for you based on your body shape and size. These customized corsets are more comfortable and easier to wear. 

Waist Cinchers

Most of the celebrities that swear by waist trainers use waist cinchers for their training. Waist cinchers may look like corsets, however, they have hook-and-eye closures instead of laces. You adjust the tightness with the help of these hooks. Waist cinchers are of two types, depending upon the fabric used to make them. 

  • Latex waist cincher – If you are newly arrived on the waist training scene, latex cinchers are probably perfect for you. They are known as ‘beginner corsets’ because they are made of latex and have little to no boning in their structure. Whether you want to exercise at home or do workouts at the gym, they are ideal because they are very flexible. The drawback is that the material is not breathable and it wrinkles easily.
  • Fabric waist cincher – A little less flexible and more rigid than the latex one, however the fabric makes it easier for your skin to breathe. Not only do these cinchers help you by better defining your curves, but they also improve your body posture because of their rigidity.

Although cinchers and corsets may look similar and reduce your waistline immediately, there are key differences in them. The major difference is that cinchers are less restrictive than corsets – while a cincher does compress your body, it does not do it to the extent that you cannot move. Another vital difference between them is the boning, cinchers sometimes have very few steel columns or no boning. Some use flexi boning, which is a pliable column that is made of plastic.

Just like corsets, waist cinchers have their own set of advantages and disadvantages.


  • When you are looking for waist trainers that you can wear seamlessly under your clothes, waist cinchers are your best bet.
  • Because they are more flexible than corsets, you can wear them for longer periods of time. In fact, you can wear waist cinchers during your workouts to help you sweat a bit more.
  • Waist cinchers tuck your waist in and shape your body without being as restrictive as corsets.
  • Less boning makes waist cinchers more comfortable to wear.


  • While it is true that waist cinchers reduce fat on your tummy, they do not give stellar results like corsets. They will give your body a nice shape, but not the extreme hourglass shape that a corset does.

Lastly, a warning please do not try to wear your cincher too tightly and for excessive periods of time as this may cause more harm than good.  

Waist Trimmers

The main purpose of waist trimmers is not to train your waist and shape your body. These type of waist trainers burn the fat on your belly by increasing your core temperature. When the temperature increases, your body burns down the calories faster – so think of them as a healthier way of reducing your waistline.

Waist trimmers are specifically designed so that they can be used during workouts and exercises. Most of them are made with a flexible material like neoprene, which does not restrict the full range of motion. As an added benefit, these trimmers also get rid of the water weight and undesirable toxins in and around your waist by promoting perspiration.


  • Waist trimmers are more durable and less expensive than other types of waist trainers.
  • These are perfect if you want to naturally reduce your waistline by burning off your belly fat.
  • As waist trimmers are designed for keeping workouts in mind, they provide some back support to you when you are performing any strenuous activity or exercising.
  • Since there is no boning in waist trimmers, they are not restrictive at all. In fact, these are extremely comfortable to wear.
  • When you are working out, you do sweat a lot. When you wear a waist trimmer, the core temperature of your body increases, and you end up sweating a whole lot more – just like you would in a sauna.


  • Unlike waist cinchers, waist trimmers are not seamless. If you wear them under tight dresses or tees, they will be visible.
  • If your main goal for waist training is an hour glass body, then waist trimmers are not for you. They do not shape your body, simply burn off the belly fat and reduce your waistline naturally. However, you can get great results when you combine them with corsets. Since corsets cannot be used during workouts, you can use these waist trimmers instead. In this way, not only will you reduce your waistline, but you will also get the shape that you desire.
  • Keep in mind that you are going to sweat loads when you use waist trimmers. If your skin is sensitive, then it is a possibility that you may develop a rash or some other form of irritation on your skin.

All these types of waist trainers serve different purposes. So, you don’t particularly have to stick with one for the all of your waist training. You can begin with the latex waist cincher and then move on to corsets once your body gets used to the training. In all honesty, the most effective method of waist training may just be to use a combination of all the different types as they are not mutually exclusive. Make the most of all of them and get the hour glass shape that you have always coveted!

Keep in mind that waist trainers may help you achieve an hourglass figure; however, they have a lot of disadvantages associated with them that may impact your health. Consult your primary care doctor to learn more about waist trainers and to discover if they are right for you.

So do waist trainers work? There is no proven clinical research that supports waist trainers helping you reduce your waist size. There is however quite a lot of testimony from celebrities. Overall we believe a balanced diet and regular exercise routines that target your waist size more naturally is the best way to achieve a smaller waist and figure you can be proud of.

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About the Author

Sasithon Bella is the kewl in The Kewl Shop. Co-founder, chief buyer, bandage dress guru and a lot more. If you like what you see at The Kewl Shop it is because of Sasithon Bella. You might know her better as Sasi.



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