The Psychology of Waist Training

The psychology of waist training delves into the intricate relationship between the physical practice of waist training and its psychological impacts on individuals, with a particular focus on how wearing a corset can improve one's self-esteem. Waist training, a regimen involving the prolonged wearing of corsets or waist trainers to cinch the waist and achieve an hourglass figure, has garnered widespread attention in recent times.

This practice, however, extends beyond mere physical transformations, intertwining with complex psychological factors that can lead to psychological issues and influence why individuals choose to embark on this journey. From societal pressures to personal desires for body perfection, the motivations behind waist training are diverse and deeply rooted. Understanding the psychological nuances behind this practice is essential for comprehending its effects on mental well-being and body image.


Why people waist train

Waist training program Involves wearing a corset or a waist trainer for extended periods of time, ideally eight hours a day, to cinch the waist and create a more defined hourglass figure, focusing on core muscles but also putting pressure on your stomach. Here are some of the reasons why people choose to waist train:

Desire for an hourglass figure

The desire for a more clearly defined hourglass figure is one of the most popular motives for waist training, as corsets have been used historically to achieve this shape. Many people believe that the hourglass shape, which has a narrow waist and rounded hips, is the ideal body type. In order to sculpt the body and obtain this desired body shape, waist training with a focus on wearing a corset for eight hours a day is recommended.

Cultural and societal pressures

Pressures from society and culture, often amplified by figures like the Kardashians, may also contribute to why people waist train and struggle with body image. The hourglass shape has long been valued as a representation of femininity and beauty. These demands are now magnified by social media and celebrity culture, with many influencers and celebrities endorsing waist trainers as a way to get the perfect shape.

Posture and back support

Waist training might be advantageous for your postural health in addition to aesthetic reasons. When the lower back and abdominal muscles are supported by a waist trainer, posture can be improved and back discomfort can be reduced, but beware of the risk of permanent damage. Additionally, some claim that waist training enables them to keep more upright posture all day long. This suggests that over time, the posture is improved through the consistent use of waist trainers.

Despite the fact that there are many different reasons why people choose to waist train, it's crucial to be aware of the difficulties and risks involved, including how it can restrict your breathing. It's crucial to approach waist training with steel-boned corsets cautiously, to listen to your body, and to put your general health and wellbeing before getting a certain waist size.

Psychological effects of waist training

While waist training can offer physical benefits, such as better posture and core strengthening, it can also have psychological effects on those who practice it, underscoring the need to be mindful of mental health issues. Here are some of the potential psychological effects of waist training, including the sense of control over one’s body and the satisfaction of seeing the midsection constrict into the desired shape.

Body image issues and self-esteem

The development of negative body image problems and a poor self-image can be facilitated by waist training. Some people could become too critical of their physique and become fixated on getting the "perfect" waistline. This may result in lowered self-esteem, a negative perception of one's body, or even the emergence of disordered eating habits, which counterpoints the belief that wearing a corset can make the wearer feel more confident.

The impact of social media on body ideals

Social media, notably figures like the Kardashians, can have a big impact on how people view their bodies and how they perceive their ideal bodies. Many social media influencers, following the Kardashian trend, advocate for idealized body shapes and waist trainers, which can contribute to unattainable beauty standards and cause people to feel under pressure to fit in. Feelings of inadequacy and low self-esteem may result from this, but some suggest that waist trainers can make the wearer feel more confident.

The physical effects of waist training

Waist training, including the use of waist trainers and corsets, can have both potential risks and benefits for the body, including health risks and psychological benefits, both in the short term and long term. Here are some of the possible effects:

Potential risks and dangers

It is important to be aware of the potential risks and dangers associated with waist training, especially if it is done improperly or for extended periods of time, including reduced blood flow and the possibility of misshaping the midsection. Some of the possible risks and dangers include:

Breathing difficulties: Wearing a waist trainer can compress the lungs and diaphragm, making it difficult to breathe deeply.

Digestive issues: Waist trainers can also compress the digestive organs, leading to issues such as acid reflux, bloating, and constipation, which can restrict your breathing and should be a cause for concern.

Muscle weakness: Wearing a waist trainer for extended periods of time can weaken the abdominal and back muscles, leading to poor posture and back pain, and may lead to psychological issues related to body image.

Skin irritation: Tight-fitting waist trainers can cause skin irritation, chafing, and rashes, especially when putting pressure on your stomach.

However, it's important to note that many of these risks can be mitigated by wearing the waist trainer properly, choosing the right size, and taking breaks when needed.

Potential benefits

There are also some potential benefits of waist training, particularly in the short term, like achieving an hourglass shape and experiencing a psychological benefit from the perceived improvement. Using a corset can also lead to improved posture over time.

Some of these benefits include: temporary waist reduction through constricting the midsection with a waist cincher and the encouragement to maintain a healthy diet due to the constricted stomach.

Improved posture: Wearing a waist trainer, or specifically a corset, can provide support to the back and abdominal muscles, leading to improved posture and strengthening of core muscles.

Temporary waist reduction: A waist trainer, particularly a corset, can temporarily reduce the waistline and provide the appearance of a slimmer figure, thereby being an effective way to achieve a desired silhouette.

Back pain relief: For some individuals, wearing a corset can help provide relief from back pain by providing additional support to the spine and encouraging standing up straight.

However, it's important to note that these benefits are typically temporary and may not be sustainable in the long term, potentially leading to negative body image.

Short-term and long-term effects on health

Waist training can have both short-term and long-term effects on health, including potential benefits and risks associated with wearing a corset to improve posture or address conditions such as scoliosis. Some of the short-term effects include:

Increased body temperature: Wearing a waist trainer can increase body temperature, leading to excessive sweating and dehydration, whereas removing the corset can help alleviate these effects. Consistent use over time can result in the body adapting to the changed temperature regulation.

Discomfort: Waist training can be uncomfortable, and wearing a waist trainer for extended periods of time can lead to pain and discomfort.

However, it's important to note that these short-term effects, from wearing corsets, are typically minor and can be mitigated by wearing the waist trainer properly and taking breaks when needed. Additionally, incorporating a healthy diet can enhance the benefits of waist training and help in attaining the desired body shape.

The role of psychology in waist training

Although waist training is largely a physical activity, it also has a psychological element, where the use of a corset can also impact one’s mental outlook on their body and fitness journey. Here are some examples of how psychology may contribute to waist training: a corset can also serve as a physical reminder of one's commitment to their goals, reinforcing the psychological aspect of body transformation.

Motivation and goal-setting

Many people use waist training to get the body they want, whether it's a certain size or shape. Achieving success with waist training may depend on a number of things, including setting reasonable goals and maintaining motivation. Larger goals can be broken down into more manageable segments, and progress can be monitored along the way.

Mindfulness and body awareness

An additional benefit of waist training, through consistent use of waist trainers or wearing corsets, is the chance to work on body awareness, mindfulness, and learning to listen to your body. People can improve their body awareness and sense of attunement to their bodies by concentrating on the actual sensations of wearing the waist trainer. By attending to physical needs and taking breaks when needed, this can also be an opportunity to practice self-care and self-compassion.

Coping with setbacks and disappointments

A difficult discipline, waist training with modern waist trainers can involve setbacks and disappointments along the road. However, consistent practice over time can result in improved posture and resilience. In order to deal with these difficulties, coping techniques including self-reflection, self-compassion, and problem-solving might be useful. Additionally, it can be useful to keep in mind that learning does not always go in a straight line and that failures, which can lead to psychological issues, are a normal part of the learning process.


The psychology of waist training, often influenced by the Kardashians, unveils a multifaceted landscape where societal ideals, personal aspirations, and bodily perceptions converge. While the desire for an idealized body shape propels many towards waist training, including the use of corsets and waist trainers, the psychological ramifications such as mental health issues extend far beyond physical transformation.

Body image issues, societal pressures, and the influence of social media shape individuals' perceptions of themselves and their bodies, often fostering unrealistic standards. Employing a corset can also play a role in this perception over time, potentially impacting one's self-esteem.

Moreover, the practice of waist training presents both potential risks and benefits, underscoring the importance of approaching it with caution and mindfulness. By acknowledging the psychological intricacies involved, individuals can navigate the realm of waist training with a heightened sense of self-awareness and well-being, prioritizing holistic health over fleeting physical ideals.

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Author Bio:

Hannah – Manager at Hourglass Waist

Hannah is a certified personal trainer based in Australia. Since 2017 she has inspired women across the nation through honest & educational content. The fitness community trusts her dietary and fitness expertise.