Myths & Legends

Do Waist Trainers Work? (Or Are They Just A Fad?)

Social media stars like the Kardashian’s appear to love them – but do waist trainers work? And are they even safe? Honestly – no. We explain more below. 

Social media and it’s biggest influencers have the recently gone crazy for the latest “slimming” craze, wearing a compression garment to cinch in the waist and, apparently, reshape your waist to achieve a thinner mid-section.

Favored by A-listers, big names like Kim Kardashian claim that waist trainers are the secret to achieving that tiny middle and hourglass figure.

Now, call us crazy girl, but as fitness fiends, we’re finding it hard to believe that wearing a trainer is the way to achieve a slimmer waist in a completely safe way. Sure, it will suck you in, but is that safe? Will you actually drop inches? And will it get the long term results you’re looking for?

We dive into the topic to find out if waist trainers work and whether they’re worth your time and money.

Article preview:

  • What are waist trainers?
  • How do waist trainers work?
  • Do waist trainers actually work?
  • Can you lose weight by wearing a waist trainer?
  • Are they safe? Pros and cons
  • What should you do?
  • The final word


What are waist trainers?

Waist trainers are like a modern-day corset. These new compression garments are worn around the mid-section and are designed to pull you in, shrink your waist and, essentially, reshape your body. According to the manufacturers, they should be worn every day for the best results.

They were recently made famous when Kim Kardashian posted a post-pregnancy picture of herself wearing one in a bid to make her waist smaller after having a baby. Since then, other social media influencers and celebs have gone crazy for them, posting pictures of themselves wearing their own waist trainers and raving about the results.

They’ve gained so much attention as they’re an affordable, non-invasive way to achieve a thinner waist.

A lot of the products available also claim that they aid the weight loss process and help you to more effectively target unwanted stomach fat to achieve the hourglass figure. Other manufacturers have claimed that wearing a waist trainer can make you appear taller. Some sellers have even said they rid your body of toxins because they help you sweat…

All of this sounds either too good to be true, or a whole heap of crap. After doing our research we weren’t sure about the claims being made by the manufacturers and social media moguls, so we’ve delved further into the topic.

How do waist trainers work?

Much like ye olde corset we’re familiar with seeing in those British period dramas, the waist trainer is worn around the middle and pulled tight to cinch you in.

According to many manufacturers you’re meant to start off slow and then start to build up to wearing them pretty much all the time, seven days a week. Apparently, as your body adapts you’ll be able to wear it for longer periods, and you’ll become ‘stronger’. This is how the compression garment leads to a trained, thinner waist.

Some websites recommend wearing the trainer for at least 6 hours a day to see any kind of results. The belt should also be tight enough to be restrictive.

According to the makers of the belt, after wearing it in this way you could lose between 1-3 inches from your waistline, even when you take the trainer off.

However, after looking into whether they live up to the claims, we’re not sure

Do waist trainers actually work?

Now, we’ll level with you girl. After wearing yours for the recommended amount of time, you will see you have a thinner waist. However, it comes at a cost.

A waist trainer does its thing by deforming the way your internal organs sit within your body. Your upper organs like your lungs are forced upwards and the lower organs like your intestines and kidneys will move downwards.

We ain’t doctors, but we’re pretty sure we shouldn’t be messing with the way our organs sit within our bodies. Due to these changes, you may struggle to breathe normally, you could experience acid reflex as your stomach moves up and your body may even find it difficult to process certain foods.

In terms of making you look taller, because of the support you have around your abdomen and lower back, you may feel like you’re sitting taller. However, because of how tightly you have to wear it, it can actually negatively affect your back muscles. They won’t be utilized enough which can cause them to grow weaker over time.

 ciara wearing a waist trainer

Can you lose weight by wearing a waist trainer?

In terms of weight loss, these are the facts. A waist trainer will make you feel hotter, and you could therefore sweat more. Due to this, you could temporarily lose water weight which will show up when you first start to use it, but that’s as far as the weight loss benefits go.

In terms of a thinner weight, yes, it will make your waist look thinner for a while. But that’s not down to weight loss, that’s due to shuffling your organs around. Not cool, girl.

On top of that, the effects of the waist trainer will only be temporary. Your organs just aren’t meant to sit in that position, so your body will soon revert back to it’s original set up.

Although some waist trainers say they achieve the desired results when accompanied by a healthy diet and exercise, we recommend just saying byeeeee to the trainer and sticking with a nutritious, calorie-controlled diet and an active lifestyle.

This way, you’ll actually get the weight loss results you’re looking for and you won’t suffer from the weird, internal side effects of a waist trainer.


Are they safe?

A shows the natural position of the organs, B shows the deformed internal organ layout after wearing a restrictive compression garment
A shows the natural position of the organs, B shows the deformed organ layout after wearing a restrictive compression garment

In short, no.

But to help you get a clear idea of how safe they are, we’ve made a pros and cons list for you girl. This weighs up the benefits/results of wearing a waist trainer compared to the negative impacts if can have on your body. With this list, you can weigh up your options and make an informed decision on whether it’s worth the risk.

Check it out:


  • They will reduce the size of your waist temporarily


  • Although they will reduce the size of your waist, they’ll do it by squeezing and moving your internal organs.
  • The affects of the thinner waist are only temporary. You have to continually wear the trainer to maintain the slimmer results.
  • Waist trainers don’t contribute to fat or weight loss in the long term.
  • It makes you sweat a lot more, which can lead to dehydration if you don’t compensate by drinking more.
  • They can compress your midsection which can make it harder to breathe. Not a good idea if you’re into going to the gym. You may get out of breath dangerously quickly during a workout.
  • Because the waist trainer is tight around the abdomen, it an actually make your lower back weaker if you wear it for a prolonged period of time. The lumbar region will be less active, and your abdominal muscles will be supported which can result in loss of muscle. This could even compromise your posterior chain. This is a big no if you’re into training weights girl. You might say good bye to your deadlift gains and potentially become injured.
  • They can be very painful to wear. As they have to be so tight, you might feel pain inside your abdomen, pinching on the skin and even suffer from skin infections.
  • Mentally, wearing a waist trainer can take its toll, especially since they don’t have the long-term effects you’re looking for. On top of that, they’re extremely uncomfortable when you wear them. Essentially, they’re a constant and painful reminder of a body image that is fundamentally un-achievable.
  • We don’t know what the long-term effects are for constant use. Because they’re still relatively new, we don’t know what waist training for an extended period of time can do to your body in the long run. There aren’t any studies into it, but we know the short-term implications are enough for a swerve from us.
  • Waist trainers are mostly marketed via social media channels, so there’s a high probability that teenagers will be tempted to try them. This could have a negative impact on growth and development of young girls.

Healthy woman performing a back squat as a healthy alternative


What should you do?

Girl, the last thing you should do is buy a waist trainer. You should however probably stop following those social media influencers who’re telling you you need one. They’re promoting an unachievable body image, a potentially dangerous product and they’re probably making a buck out of it too. Not cool.

If you want to lose weight and make your waist thinner, there are plenty of healthy, safe ways you can make a change and achieve your goals.

First up, take a look at your diet. One of the easiest ways to ensure weight loss is to find the right food plan for you. There really is only one rule to losing weight – you have to be in a calorie deficit. That means you have to burn more calories than you lose. We also recommend you eat healthy, nutritious foods and nourish your body along the way.

One option we love is the IIFYM diet. You can enjoy a calorie-controlled plan that gives you’re a better understanding of the food your put into your body and offers flexibility, so you can enjoy the occasional treat.

You’ve got your heart set on crafting an hourglass shaped body. Fair enough girl. Create the look yourself and try weightlifting. Now, it’s not likely you’ll achieve anything as extreme as a Kardashian wearing a waist trainer, but believe us girl, you’ll look smoking hot and you’ll be so much healthier for it.

[infobox]With some smart weight training you can aid your weight loss journey, grow a bigger, rounder booty and create a gorgeous, natural hourglass figure.[/infobox]


Final word

After looking into whether waist trainers work, we feel like we can tell you with confidence to steer clear of this fad. Compression garments are designed to deform your body in order to give you a temporarily thinner waist.

They won’t help you lose weight, they won’t really make you thinner and they won’t help you feel comfortable or confident in your body.  If you’re set on losing fat or achieving an hourglass body shape, do it in a healthy way. Check out these articles on how you can improve your nutrition and your training program to make it happen:

One Comment

  1. Great article!
    Your way of explaining the basics is easy to understand and makes perdect sense.
    I’m a nurse and can just 100% agree with this article.
    Please guys/ girls don’t damage yourselves!

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