Updated on March 13, 2018
What is waist training? Do waist trainers work? Traditionally "waist training" referred to the use of steel boned corsets to develop an exaggerated hourglass shape. By cinching a corset tighter and tighter, the waist trainer corset was able to pull in a woman's floating ribs and even do a bit of rearranging of her internal organs to effectively reduce the circumference of her waist. The effect is semi-permanent, requiring continued corseting even after the goal reduction has been achieved. Not sure which one to buy? Check out our 6 best waist trainers for beginners.
More recently, celebrities like Kim Kardashian and Amber Rose have redefined the term with the use of latex waist cinchers during workouts, shifting the entire concept of waist training (we refer to this practice as "waist taming"). Women discussing "waist training" these days are, more often than not, likely discussing it as a part of their workout plan.
Related: See Celebrity & Instagram Waist Training Style
Understanding the differences between steel boned corsets and latex waist trainers and what each of them can do is a very important part of educating yourself if you are considering waist training. In addition to the information below, you may want to check out the waist training section of our blog for some real life stories from waist trainers and the results that they have achieved.
The most basic definition of waist training is the process of using a steel boned corset to modify your waist into an hourglass shape with semi-permanent results.
Steel boned corsets are worn for many reasons and situations. Some people wear them as a fashion statement, while others wear under clothing for back and posture support. However, many women are looking for that classic hourglass figure to really turn heads at a special event. It has nothing to do with losing weight, spot reducing or doing ab exercises while wearing a waist cincher. The hourglass figure is attained as a result of the moving of floating ribs and the reduction of space in the abdomen.
Weight loss tends to happen mainly because the corset also acts as an external LAP band, not allowing you to eat large quantities while wearing the corset.
We tend to refer to the current trend of latex "waist trainers" (yes, the Kim Kardashian variety) as "waist taming", as there is no way to truly cinch them and even the firmest latex can't compare to stainless steel bones.
Related: Waist training Pros & Cons
If you are willing to use common sense and listen to your body, then, no, waist training is not dangerous. We suggest the use safe and sane corsetry practices anytime you wear a corset, whether you're a serious waist trainer or you're simply wearing a corset as a complement to your fashion choice. The conversation goes something like this:
"Is your corset causing you pain?"
If the answer is a resounding "YES!", then loosen it or take it off completely! The idea of no pain, no gain does not apply here.
A corset does not have to be uncomfortable to give you a gorgeous hourglass figure. Breaking in a corset, also known as seasoning, is important for the corset, but it's also a chance for your body to get used to wearing it. Slow and steady is the rule of thumb for waist training.
The answer to this question is bound to frustrate you, but we just don't think it's right to give a definitive answer when there really isn't one. The results of waist training are dependent on a LOT a factors. Here are just a few:
And finally genetics...even if we took two people that had the same waist measurement to start with and made sure that ALL the other variables were the same, they would still very likely have different results with waist training. Our bodies are so different, that there just isn't any way to predict results. It's like walking into a gym and asking them how much weight you will lose if you start working out there. Too many variables!
Real Women, Real Life Results: That said, we've compiled a list of real life waist training stories. These stories contain specific information about women who have been waist training for a few months up to a few years. They have all successfully lost inches off their waist by wearing a steel boned corset for several hours each day, multiple days each week. Reading their stories, you'll understand why it is so hard to predict the results of waist training AND you'll get a peek at the dedication that's required.