11 Pros and Cons of Waist Trainers
Last updated on : May 10 2017
It's no surprise that waist training is in demand, especially with celebs like Kim Kardashian and Jessica Alba swearing by it.
But what is waist training and does it work?
Waist training uses cinchers or waist trainers to reduce your natural waist size and accentuate your curves. Whether it works or creates problems for you is debatable.
So we did our research to help you decide.
History Of Waist Training
It was the wife of King Henry II of France, Catherine de’Medici who introduced waist training during the 16th century. She banned thick and unsightly waists at court forcing women to find slimming solutions.
Women started wearing "stays" as a first attempt to control their waists. During the 19th century, these developed into full-blown corsets. And so corset or waist training was born.
Corset training has been in and out of fashion for several years. In recent times celebrities have made it famous. And it is now gathering pace with women looking for natural solutions to an hourglass figure.
The Pros of Waist Training
For thousands of years, women have used corsets as a mechanism to train their waist. The basic premise behind waist training is simple. You wear a waist trainer that is laced tightly for a specified period – 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
Many women start waist training because they want an hourglass figure. This shape is thought to be the most proportioned and flattering a woman can have. Waist training helps achieve an hourglass shape by cinching your waist and accentuating the curves of your hips and bustline.
If you waist train correctly, you will see the results in a couple of weeks. If an hourglass figure is what you want, then waist training might be right for you.
If you wear a waist trainer all the time, you will realize that it is challenging 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 lose fat in the midsection permanently; they cause a redistribution of the fats and organs in the trunk to give you an hourglass shape.”
Reconsider your decision if you want to use waist trainers to lose weight.
Improves Posture and Confidence
Waist trainers help you maintain good posture while standing and sitting because the metal bones in waist trainers make it impossible for you to slouch. They improve your position 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
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 up the healing process”.
Apart from accentuating your bustline, waist trainers also offer some support to 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 the 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.
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 symptoms, then you have tightened the waist trainer too much.
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 essential when you wish 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 regularly 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.
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. The effect is reduced breathing capacity with you restricted to taking shallow breaths. Therefore, it is vital to ensure that you can breathe adequately even after tightening your waist trainer. Lack of 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 reduce 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 no need for your abdominal muscles to do any work.
Over a period, 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.
Waist trainers can reshape your bones if worn continuously. Take a look at Catherine Jung, the Guinness World Record holder for smallest waist (15 inches). Her pictures show reshaped bones from wearing a corset all of her life, throughout most of the day.
Although corset production has come a long way since the 1940s, reshaped bones are a risk when taken to the extreme. Be wary of corsets that put too much pressure on your shape. Ensure you are comfortable in your waist trainer and don't wear it for continuous periods of time.
Types of 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 Victorian corsets to modern latex versions. 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.
Do you recall old period dramas that featured the actress taking a deep breath as someone laced up her corset? Many manufacturers use the word ‘corset’ to market several of their waist trainers. However, there is a vast difference to a proper corset.
A real corset has laces in the back with 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 over the long term, corset training holds power to change the proportions of your body.
- Corsets are your best bet when you want drastic waist slimming results if 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 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.
- You cannot wear corsets when you are performing any strenuous tasks or are exercising.
- While you can wear a corset under your clothes, remember that they are not entirely 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 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 money, you can buy a tailor-made corset. These are made especially for you based on your body shape and size and are more comfortable to wear.
Most celebrities that waist train, use waist cinchers for their training. Waist cinchers look like corsets but 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 on the fabric used to make them.
- Latex waist cinchers – If you are new to waist training, latex cinchers are perfect for you. They are known as ‘beginner corsets’ because they are made of latex and have little to no boning in their structure. Their flexibility makes them ideal for exercising at home or workouts at the gym. The drawback is that the material is not breathable and it wrinkles easily.
- Fabric waist cinchers – A little less flexible and more rigid than the latex version, however, the fabric makes it easier for your skin to breathe. These cincher types help you better define your curves, and improve your body posture because of their rigidity.
Although cinchers and corsets look similar and both reduce your waistline immediately, there are critical differences between them. Cinchers are less restrictive than corsets – while a cincher compresses your body, it does not do it to the extent that you cannot move.
Another vital difference is the boning structure. Cinchers can have fewer steel columns or no boning at all. Some use flex boning, a pliable column made from 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 more extended 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 an excellent 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 do not train your waist and shape your body. Instead, they burn the fat on your belly by increasing your core temperature. When temperature increases, your body burns calories faster – so think of them as a healthier way of reducing your waistline.
Waist trimmers work well for workouts and exercises. Their flexible material structure (materials like neoprene), does not restrict your range of motion. As an added benefit, these trimmers rid water weight and unwanted toxins in and around your waist by promoting perspiration.
Dark Iron Fitness writes an excellent article on the benefits of waist trimmers.
- Waist trimmers are more durable and less expensive than other types of waist trainers.
- These are perfect if you want to reduce your waistline by burning off your belly fat naturally.
- 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 incredibly 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 primary goal is an hourglass body, then waist trimmers are not for you. They do not shape your body directly but help burn off belly fat and reduce your waistline naturally.
- However, you can get excellent results when you combine them with corsets. Wear a waist trimmer when you exercise and corsets for day to day wear.
- Keep in mind that you will sweat when using a waist trimmer. If your skin is sensitive, then you might develop a rash or some other form of irritation.
Trainers serve different purposes. So, you don’t have to stick with one for all of your training needs. Begin with the latex waist cincher and then move on to corsets once your body gets used to training.
The most effective method of waist training may 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 hourglass 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?
No proven clinical research 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.
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