Do Waist Trainers Really Work?

Sarah-Jane Corfield-Smith

If reality stars don’t feature heavily on your social media channels, then you may be forgiven for not knowing what a waist trainer is. For its thanks to the likes of the Kardashian sisters—who have been paid vast sums of money to promote them—that global sales of waist trainers have risen to U.S. $8.1 million, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Waist trainers are essentially modern-day corsets, and they’re readily available on the internet, with Amazon's best seller, Ekouaer Breathable Waist Trainer having pages of five-star reviews. They are a stretchy band of latex fabric with adjustable hooks to tighten or loosen as you see fit, all with the aim of creating an hourglass shape. There are only a few differences between the traditional corset and the waist trainer.

The Victorian corset, which is when the corset was at its peak of fashionability, contained boning in it with the aim to make women stand taller, support their backs (historians have since proven they didn’t support backs but actually reshaped women’s spines into an uncomfortable S shape) and an immense amount of ribbons and ties to get the waist as tiny as possible. Historians have reported that the average Victorian woman’s waist measured in at 22 inches.

Modern-day waist trainers are thankfully made from far more flexible material and unable to get waists that small, but they do claim to offer back support and the ability to reshape the waist and are sold as the perfect workout accessory to burn even more calories. Waist Gang Society—the brand the Kardashians are linked to—pitch its waist trainers as being able to “permanently get rid of unwanted inches around the waist” and “the tight compression will help to reduce food intake.”

But do they really work? Read on to find out what our experts think.

what the personal trainer says

“I’m afraid these do not work!” says Lee Mullins, founder of The Workshop Gymnasium. “The only benefit they may have, if you’re working out in one, is it may help keep your posture in check. But that could give you a false sense of support and actually lead you to work your core muscles less, than without one.” “The best way to target your waist is to combine resistance training with lower carbohydrate consumption. Hard work and not as easy as a waist trainer, but it actually works.”

 

#ad I'm really obsessed with waist training! Thank you @premadonna87 for my new waist shapers! #whatsawaist

A post shared by Kim Kardashian West (@kimkardashian) on

what the doctor says

“Waist trainers effectively act as a quick fix to disguise a waistline. However, there is no scientific evidence that supports their use in weight loss or permanently enhancing your figure,” says Pav Dhesi, MD. “Waist trainers also effectively compress a proportion of organs in your abdomen, which can theoretically lead to problems with breathing and cause reflux. They may well disguise your waistline, but health benefits are most likely not going to be achieved through their use.”

So there you have it—whilst waist trainers may have cult status on social media, according to our experts, they are not worthy of your time or money.

Up next! Are detox diets ever a good idea?

Opening Images: Free People

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