If you’re in the loop or have just caught wind about waist trainers, you might be wondering, “How do waist trainers work?” More importantly, you’re asking, “Do they work?” Beyond the hype and endorsements of celebrities, the truth about waist trainers is worth investigating to see whether it’s worth the time and the “pain.”
Waist training is a practice of wearing a corset or similar garment aimed to make the waist smaller. The practice goes as far back as the 1500s and became popular in the 1800s and early 1900s.
The corsets of the 1500s were made of layered fabric with stiffened glue. In the mid-16th century, whalebone or wood began to be incorporated in the garment. And in the 1850s, steel boning and metal eyelets became the new norm for waist training. But it was the early 1900s that saw the height of the practice, and its quick decline in the 1920s.
In recent years, we’re seeing the comeback of waist training with celebrities like the Kardashians and Jessica Alba setting the trend with a different kind of waist trainer—the elasticized waist cinchers.
There are three types of waist girdles that you can use for waist training:
This is the ideal waist trainer to use when you want to heat up your midsection during an exercise session. It somewhat doubles the effect you get from your routine simply by causing your waist area to sweat more. Exercise waist trainers are usually made from latex or Spandex.
More than the others, this is the type that you’d associate with waist training. It is stiffer and comes with boning that effectively and instantly gives you that hourglass figure. Boned corsets are often made of cotton, satin, or leather and can either be overbust or under bust.
This is the kind of waist trainer for everyday use. It’s more of shapewear that gives you a smoother outline and affords you more mobility. It’s also the type that’s more comfortable to sleep in or wear the whole day.
Waist trainers are designed to give instant curves to your figure. It works by pulling in your two bottom ribs and compressing your waist, resulting in the coveted hourglass figure in no time.
When worn for hours every day, the boned waist trainers will eventually “train” or “tame” your floating ribs and tummy to become smaller and firmer, resulting in semi-permanent results. That’s according to some waist training advocates!
While this claim is not supported by science, some people including celebrities swear by the effectiveness of waist training. New moms particularly have gotten back in shape with the consistent use of waist training girdles.
Another way that waist trainers are supposed to work, especially the ones used for a workout, is through thermogenesis—heat generation from a physiological process. With a waist trainer on, you’ll sweat more from your workout and burn more calories. And through perspiration, you get rid of toxins, impurities, and water. But if you’re merely counting on water loss, you’re likely to be met with disappointment as soon as you hydrate.
Finally, waist trainers are believed to reduce your food intake. This claim is more plausible than the others, considering your midsection—tummy, fats, and all—are compressed into a smaller size. Clearly, this will help you feel full faster. And since you “train” yourself to eat smaller meals, it has more visible and long-lasting results in trimming down your abdomen area, with or without any waist trainer on.
If you’re talking about an instant hourglass figure, yes, waist trainers work. But if you mean semi-permanent or permanent results, then that’s not likely to be the case. When you get out of your waist trainer, your floating ribs will soon pull back, and your compressed fats and organs will return to their comfortable positions.
So if you’re looking for the right types of weight trainers and they are consistently used only for an enviable figure, then they are not likely to produce the permanent results that you want. What are most likely to work are the effects of thermogenesis and the cutting down of food portions. And should there be lasting results, they are more on weight loss rather than on getting an unnatural hourglass figure, which isn’t bad after all.
A surprisingly good effect you can get from wearing a waist trainer is good posture. It trains you to sit up straight, walk confidently, and hold your stomach in.
Waist trainers, particularly boned corsets, compress your internal organs and can do more harm than good when worn for extra long hours or when you’re not using the suitable type for a particular activity. Elasticized waist cinchers and breathable shapewear, while not as effective as boned corsets, are more versatile and body-friendly.
Nevertheless, whichever you’re using, if it’s not the right size or if not used correctly, you might end up with decreased breathing capacity, bruised ribs, back pain, or abdominal muscle atrophy.
An equally important question to “How do waist trainers work?” is “How to do waist training right?“. Here are a few tips to remember for a pleasant and effective waist training experience:
Don’t go for the lower size. If you’re between sizes, then go for the larger one. It’s easier to adjust a slightly bigger corset to a smaller fit, but you can’t get more room for an already small one.
Just like your shoes, your waist trainers will need breaking in. Wear your boned waist trainers for only less than two hours a day the first few times.
From 1.5 to two hours per day, work your way up to eight hours. However, always go for a snug fit only, not too tight.
Perform core training exercises to strengthen and tighten abdominal walls. As you adjust to eating smaller portions, you might as well rethink the types of food you eat, too.
If you’re aiming for semi-permanent to permanent results, then it’s vita to see waist trainers as a complement to exercise and healthy diet. When balanced successfully, you’ll get into a naturally curvy figure in time.