• Tami Bruskotter

Post #19 Waist Training – ‘Cuz I Don’t Have Enough Stuff to Train?!

In Podcast Episode #15 Karen talks about the elusive, teeny-tiny waist.


Have you ever wanted that small waist? That beautiful, hourglass figure? I know I have. Lately, I’ve been wondering about waist training. Also, as someone who has diastasis recti, a condition where your abdominal muscles separate when you’re pregnant (thanks, 9lb Babies!), I’m wondering if waist training can help re-connect and strengthen those abs?

What Is Waist Training and What Is A Waist Trainer?

Waist training, or waist cinching, has been around for a long time due to the invention of the corset and later, the girdle that replaced it. Shapewear is still popular today, but usually takes the form of Spanx.

Now enter the Kardashian/Jenners and other celebs posting pix of their extremely tiny waists and crediting waist training as something that guarantees a slim, hourglass figure in a few weeks without much effort. Too good to be true?

So what are they? There are a few different types of trainers. Ruben Soto CEO of Hour Glass Angels says, “Some products are best for increasing thermal activity in the midsection, and others are best for more traditional waist training.

  • Traditional corsets have laces on the back and are usually made of cotton. These are the ones with steel boning and can be tightened or loosened depending on the effect you want.

  • Cinchers, are the ones that are usually worn for everyday use. They’re usually made out of lycra and/or cotton and have hook and eye closures in the front. They can reduce your waist instantly by about 1 to 3 in.

  • Workout Cinchers are made of stronger materials like latex and are made to make you sweat in the midsection during exercise. These shouldn’t be worn for an extended period of time (no more than 3-4 hours at a time).

  • Post Natal Waist Bands usually made of a lycra blend

Any Benefits?

Dr. Brad Thomas, MD of Beach Cities Orthopedics and Sports Medicine says that waist trainers can help a person activate their core muscles and help with their posture. He says if it’s worn a bit loose and doesn’t completely smash in your stomach it could have a lasting benefit. It’s just basically a reminder to engage that core as you go about your day.

The results are usually temporary – Duh! And the latex exercise trainers that cause you to sweat to trim your waist? That’s just temporary water weight loss. Good for looking cute for a night out! Some women who’ve had a C-section and have diastasis recti (where your abs separate and your intestines push through your abdominal wall) may be helped by wearing a post-natal waist band…Especially if they’re attempting to do core work. Even this, however, is disputed by doctors. Some say that the post-baby benefits aren’t that convincing. Sigh…

Any Risks?

Yikes! There seems to be quite a few. Christopher Ochner, Ph.D., weight loss and nutrition expert at Mount Sanai Hospital says “when you wear these devices you squish your lungs and ribs making it hard to breathe and some women have actually passed out from wearing cinchers for too long. He says if you keep wearing it for an extended period of time it’s not pretty: as in crushed organs, compressed lungs and fractured ribs! Also, working out with a too tight waist trainer can inhibit your ability to take a deep enough breath AND it can give you back acne!

Several MD’s list these side effects:

  • Heartburn/reflux due to your stomach getting pushed up beyond the diaphragm

  • Decreased abdominal muscle tone

  • Visceral displacement and atrophy of the abdominal walls

  • Deformation of the stomach, liver and lungs

  • Decreased breathing capacity

  • Decreased blood flow and function to all of your abdominal organs

  • Allergy to the latex material

The Bottom Line – Does it Work?

Well, it looks like it’s a temporary fix. Gotta work for that small waist! I do think there might be benefit for women who’ve just given birth by just giving them some extra support and comfort postpartum. If you want tighter abs and a smaller waist you have to do it with core exercises like the dreaded Plank, proper nutrition and hard work. I don’t see a problem with wearing a waist trainer to look cute for a night out though. Everything in moderation, I guess!

If you want to go ahead and try it, here are some tips:

  • Go slowly and listen to your body! Wear the trainer for short periods of time at first and then gradually increase the time.

  • Use waist trainers in addition to a healthy diet and exercise.

  • Make sure it is well-fitting and doesn’t pinch or hurt.

In a nutshell, the benefits from all these waist trainers seem to be an

awareness that you need to tighten your core and keep your posture straight. Maybe a reduction in jiggle when you hit the gym so that you’re not so self-conscious? There’ll be some temporary water weight loss, it’s good for a night out and just the improved aesthetics of a dramatically curvy, small waist… if that’s what you’re into!

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