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Do Waist Trainers Work?

We explore the science, myths and research around the waist trainer.

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The Science on Waist Trainers

There have been no studies conducted on the waist trainer - either positive or negative. The reason for this is because no credible academic will study waist trainers. Academics are interested in grant money and recognition/reputation (based on publications and awards), which they will not receive for studying waist trainers. This is for three reasons: due to a lack of public, private and government interests no grant money will ever but put toward a study on them, the chances of publication for a study on waist trainers are next to none as no journal has an interest in publishing them, even if the study was published citation of the publication and study has almost no chance of occurring. This is perhaps a good sign as there have been millions of waist trainers sold in the USA and they haven't raised a government or private body health concern due to their use.


How Waist Trainers Work

It's really simple: waist trainers use pressure over time. When wearing a waist trainer, the most solid materials - bones, cartilage, adipofascia, myofascia - and even the adipose tissue itself are deformed to conform to the shape of the waist trainer with pressure applied over time. The floating ribs reposition to lead into an hourglass line, the obliques and their myofascia are deformed along the same line to a small of waist along with the superficial tissues. The transverse abdominal muscles have to compensate for the increased pressure of the waist trainer which helps train the core to remain tight as well as having a physical cue for when wearers are slouching which prompts them to activate their core. A simple example of this kind of deformation on the human body is when a guy with a beer belly wears a tight belt every day. They develop a distinct line and flat patch across the bottom of the belly where the belt has been digging in. The fat didn't disappear, it was just pushed above the belt line over time to a lasting effect even when the belt is taken off. The waist trainer works the same way, but it also takes many hours of wearing a day just like a tight belt.

This shouldn't surprise anyone: every solid or semi solid material on earth can be deformed by using pressure over time. We can bend planks, warp metals, squish putty into shapes, even solid glass if pushed slowly over time can change shape and then coal can even be deformed at an inter-molecular level into diamond using pressure over time.

Aero Waist Trainer by Slimtum

Aero Waist Trainer by Slimtum


Waist Trainer Effects & Myths


"Waist trainers help you lose fat."

Not true! Waist trainers reshape the waist using pressure. This is merely a redistribution of the tissue, not a change in the amount of it. They *can* help diet by putting some pressure on the stomach making you feel more full, but this isn’t the main purpose for wearing a waist trainer.


"Waist trainers damage organs."

Strictly false. This myth started from a segment on the Dr Oz Show, which is not a credible source (e.g. he claimed consuming Garcinia Cambogia without changes to diet or activities was a miracle weight loss cure that would have users losing lbs a week). In his segment he had a long term (10 years of consistent wearing), extreme wearer who had wide hips and a broad chest and a very very small waist from wearing waist trainers. He took two MRIs of her, one without the waist trainer on and one with it on. In his own words, in the first MRI her "organs look[ed] perfectly normal and healthy" and in the second one they looked "a bit squished" and in his medical opinion he "didn't like it". That's really the end of the story: after 10 years of wearing a waist trainer that resulted in a bird-like waist on a voluptuous figure, her organs appeared perfectly normal and healthy on a regular MRI - i.e. there was no medical evidence for any damage to the organs whatsoever.  

Customer in Waist Trainer Original
Another comfortable customer in the Waist Trainer Original


When considering the safety of something, we look for adverse events. The "proof" that something is safe is that there is no evidence that it is not safe. There is no other way to prove safety at all. Thus far, we have never seen or heard of a single serious adverse event related to ordinary use of waist trainers, not even in the USA where a burglar can sue you for hurting their ankle tripping over your sprinkler while stealing your TV. Wearing a waist trainer does increase the pressure in the abdominal cavity, but once it's on the pressure is distributed fairly evenly, just like a scuba diver experiences large increases in pressure when they dive and this is not harmful for organs (there is a risk associated with nitrogen in the pressurised air they breathe, but this is a different thing altogether). This means the organs mostly retain their shape and function. There is some risk is for *rare* individuals who suffer pre-existing medical conditions that are sensitive to abdominal pressure changes such as prolapses etc.


"Squishing the midsection with a waist trainer is bad for you."

Not right. Many women have naturally small waists and larger hips and rib cages and their organs work just fine. The body is designed to squish and change pressure in the midsection: most of us sit a lot and that's what happen. When we stand up or sit down or put a load on our back, our bodies adjust the abdominal pressure a lot to help stabilise us as well. The only issue occurs - only rarely - when wearing a waist trainer for long hours for the first time or if you've changed your diet/aren't eating enough for a natural bowel movement. In this instance, very occasionally, some wearers experience indigestion. The fix is simple: eat some fibrous food with some fats to get the bowels moving and give your body a break from wearing for 48 hours for a full digestion cycle.


"Wearing a waist trainer deactivates the core muscles."

It's actually the opposite! Whether you're wearing a waist trainer or not, if you deactivate your core you will flop over like an over ripe banana. Unless you see someone walking around or sitting down folded in half, their core is still very much actively holding them upright. It would take a steel rod from the hip to the shoulders and a large brace to hold someone upright without their core activated. In contrast to this, wearing a waist trainer makes you more conscious of your posture through the lumbar and lower thoracic region because you feel it when you slouch. This leads to most wearers activating their core more and sitting up straight. It does help relieve pressure on the discs however from the increased intra-abdominal pressure. We’ve actually had chiropractors recommend our waist trainers to patients.



Available Data on Waist Trainers

There’s no official data on waist trainers, but we have sold a lot of these products. We have many success stories, before and afters and we even know the average time to drop a size (a difference of around 3-3.5cm in the waist). The results are very consistent when worn regularly and don't seem dependent on body composition either. Surprising, but it's the information we get back from people who buy our waist trainers. In science, we never doubt the data if we know it's accurate - we accept it and adjust our model if it's conflicting with the data. After many sold over many years, we only have a few reports of negative effects which have been discomfort and a couple of cases of indigestion. Easily fixed by taking a little break. We're very active in communicating with our customer base as well, so we definitely receive the feedback.