Do Waist Trainers Work? How To Get A Smaller Waist Using Waist Trainers

 Do Waist Trainers Work?

The simple answer is YES, waist trainers can help you get a smaller waist if used properly.

Research [1]  shows using waist trainers to achieve a smaller waist can be almost as effective as performing exercise if used properly. 

In a study conducted over 6 weeks on 30 postpartum women; half the women were placed in a waist trainer group, while the other half in an exercise group. The waist trainer group wore a waist trainer daily for 6 weeks, only taking it off when sleeping and bathing. The women in the exercise group performed abdominal exercises with emphasis on  isometric contractions pelvic tilts, reverse curls and twist every other day for 6 weeks. All women ate the same diet and were instructed not to perform any other activities. After the 6 weeks the women in the waist trainer group had decreased their waist size by 6cm while the women in the exercise group by 8cm. However these results are similar only the exercise group had achieved a significant increase in abdominal muscle strength, and a greater closure of abdominal separation. 

From the results of this study, one can conclude that the best way to get a smaller waist using a waist trainer is to control your diet, and also perform abdominal exercise 3x/week for 6 weeks or more while using the waist trainer. Abdominal exercises should focus on maintaining a good posterior pelvic tilt and and drawing in of the muscles to the spine. 

How Do Waist Trainers Work?

Abdominal support garments help support ligaments, muscles, and the spine alleviating back and pelvic pain by taking pressure off these areas enhancing the body's ability to achieve a better shape. They also help with retraction of the abdominal muscles by initially improving the strength of the abdomen by increasing the intra abdominal pressure improving mechanical stability through co activation of trunk muscles. These binders hold in abdominal muscles at increased tension and compression preventing them from expanding outward preventing lower belly bulge which prevent abdominal separation from getting worse.

Are Waist Trainers Bad?: Pros And Cons of Waist Training

Pros of wearing a waist trainer include:

  • Help achieve smaller waist
  • Help prevent back pain
  • Help maintain better posture
  • Prevent you from over eating
  • Decrease bloating in mid section
  • Help heal abdominal separation (diastasis recti)

Cons of waist training ONLY WHEN WORN TOO TIGHT:
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Increased pressure on organs
  • Infection risk if using over abdominal surgery (be sure to consult with your doctor first after surgery before using.
  • Weaker abdominal muscles from prolonged used over several months and years without incorporating exercise

How To Use A Waist Trainer Properly To Get A Smaller Waist, And Choosing The Right One For You

Some people mistakenly think you should chose a waist trainer of the size of your goal waist. This is not correct. Waist training should be a gradual process. You will need to purchase a new waist trainer as your waist gets smaller. When choosing your waist trainer be sure to look at the size guide. If your waist size falls within the limits than that is the waist trainer for you, however if your waist falls into the lower limits of the guide you can size down. For instance if my waist size is 33 inches and an XL waist trainer is for size 33-36, I would buy a L waist trainer, but if my waist was 35 inches I would buy the XL. If you choose too small, this why waist training has negative effects.

Also when buying you need to look at the materials used in making the waist trainer. Some waist trainers are made of latex and have steel bones, these waist trainers are more intense and provide an added cinching effect that a beginner waist trainer may not be able to tolerate. As a beginner or early after pregnancy one should chose a more breathable fabric that simply wraps around like an abdominal binder or binder with zipper.  But if you feel you are ready to jump into waist training full force than the waist trainers with the 25 steel bones and hooks in front are you best bet. And with exercise you should also choose a more breathable fabric if worn directly on the skin than can absorb some sweat.

Recommended Use:
Start with 4-5hrs a day and work your way up to wearing the waist trainer 8-10 hours a day while you are awake. You should only remove the waist trainer while you are sleeping or bathing. Try and wear it daily however some people just wear it 5 days a week and still get results.  Recommend using it for 3-6 weeks daily for optimal results. After you have achieved results, you should stop using for a few weeks before starting again to use for an even smaller waist. Once your final waist size have been achieve you should stop use all together and focus more on building a stronger mid section with exercise. 

Best Waist Trainers

Beginner/Postpartum first 6 weeks after pregnancy, choose a more breathable fabric with with velcro wrap around for more comfort. The Yianna Belly Band is perfect for that stage.

Intermediate: I like the Yianna waist trainer with hook and zip. It has 9 flexible bonning support which makes it less intense than the ones with steel bonning. 

Intense waist training for maximal support and compression I like the Yianna Waist Trainer Cincher. It comes in multiple fabrics some breathable some more sturdy. The version with 25 steel bonning and hooks is your best bet for maximal results of up to 4 inches. You can adjust it tighter as your waist gets smaller.

Best Waist Trainers on Amazon

In my opinion the best waist trainer company on Amazon is Yianna. They sell several types of waist trainers that can be used throughout your waist training journey, from beginner friendly postpartum trainers to more intense with 25 steel bones. I would definitely recommend this brand. Another brand that I have used is Sweet Sweat gym waist trainer. It also comes with a free sample of sweat gel to be rubbed on under the waist trainer. This waist trainer does exactly what the name implies, makes your mid section sweat. However for me it did not give me enough cinching action. Alternately you should try the Yianna Sweat Belly Band, made from a breathable material, neoprene, and with flexi bones for added cinching, or the Yianna Sauna Sweat Vest for even more sweat during your workout session. They both have the same neoprene material as the Sweet Sweat Waist Trainer but at a cheaper price. The benefit for me to wearing these sweat waist trainers is that they help get rid of bloating in the midsection to achieve a smaller look from all the sweating.

Yianna Sauna Sweat Vest


In short waist trainers can be used to help you get a smaller waist without negative consequences when used properly. When trying to lose weight you must eat a healthy diet and exercise, waist training can be used as an adjunct to get the physique you want. Overall my favorite waist trainer that I have used that gave me the best results was the Yianna Waist Trainer Cincher.

Are you still not so sure about waist training? Check out my article HERE about African waist beads and how to get a smaller waist using them. Using waist beads is like a less intense version of waist training. 

El-Mekawy H, Eldeeb A, El-Lythy M, et al. Effect of abdominal exercise versus abdominal supporting belt on post-partum abdominal efficiency and rectus seperation. World Academy of Science, Engineering and Technology; 2013, 73: 742-746

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